Let for Rent and Hired out for Hire – Hire

Let for Rent and Hired out for Hire – Hire Don’t Say:I hired out a surf board when I was in America. Say:I hired a surf board when I was in America. Note:To hire something is to pay to use it, usually for a short time, with one single payment a suit, a bicycle, a…

Expressions with Look

This diagram illustrates some of the most useful phrasal verbs formed with look. The meaning of the phrasal verb is given in brackets. Here are a few more useful phrasal verbs based on look. All of them are illustrated below in a business context but they can also, of course, be used in other situations….

despite / in spite of

These expressions are the same – just remember not to say “despite of”! We won the game despite having two fewer players. We won the game in spite of having two fewer players. After despite and in spite of, we use a noun or a gerund (-ING form of the verb). Do not use the…

Farther and Further

Farther and Further Don’t Say:Turn the page for farther instructions. Say:Turn the page for further instructions. Note:Use further to mean both greater distance and more of something. We only use farther for distances: I live a bit farther away than you. Don’t use it to mean more. We use further for both meanings in modern…

Confidence in, not to

Confidence in, not to Don’t Say:I have great confidence to you. Say:I have great confidence in you. Note:In confidence: Let me Tell you something in confidence (= a secret)

Die of an illness, not from an illness

Die of an illness, not from an illness Don’t Say:Many people have died.from malaria. Say:Many people have died of malaria. Note:People die of ilfness, of hunger, of thirst, of or from wounds; from overwork; by violence, by the sword, by pestilence; in battle; for their country, for a cause, through neglect; on the scaffold; at…

Feel + infinitive without to

Feel + infinitive without to Don’t Say:I could feel her heart to beat, Say:I could feel her heart beat. Or: I could feel her heart beating. Note:If the verbs make, see, watch, hear, feel, are used in the passive, to must be used He-was seen to leave the house : He was heard to speak…

beautiful / pretty

These words describe something that is attractive, nice to look at. The word beautiful is stronger and more complete. You could describe a spectacular sunset as beautiful, or a very attractive woman in a fancy dress as beautiful. The word pretty is more informal and superficial. A nice arrangement of flowers could be described as…

early / soon

The word soon means a short time after now, a short time in the future. If right now it is April, and Harry will graduate from college in May, then he’ll be graduating from college soon. If it’s 5:30 and I will be home at 6:00, then I will get home from work soon. The…


Actual means ‘real’; actually means ‘really’ or ‘in fact’. We often use them to correct mistakes and misunderstandings, or when we say something unexpected or surprising. The book says he was 47 when he died, but his actual age was 43. ‘Hello, John. Nice to see you again.’ Actually, my name’s Andy.’ ‘Do you like…

raise / rise / arise

The basic meaning is the same – for something to go up to a higher level. The difference is that raise must have a direct object (one thing is making another thing go up) whereas rise does not have a direct object (one thing is going up by itself). Here are some examples: Something raises…


[enjoy + noun enjoy + pronoun enjoy… -ing] Enjoy always has an object. When we talk about having a good time, we can use enjoy myself/yourself etc. ‘Did you enjoy the party? 1 Yes. I enjoyed it very much.’ I really enjoyed myself when I went to Rome. Enjoy can be followed by . ….

chauffeur / driver

The word driver is more general – anybody who drives a vehicle is a driver. You are a driver when you are driving your car. Some people work as bus drivers and taxi drivers (the drivers of trains are usually called conductors). A chauffeur is a person who is employed to drive a car for…


Enough comes after adjectives (without nouns) and adverbs. [adjective/adverb + enough] Is it warm enough for you? (NOT . . . enough warm . . .) You’re not driving fast enough. Enough comes before nouns. [enough (+ adjective) + noun] Have you got enough milk? (NOT . .. enough of milk.) There isn’t enough blue…

Omission of other after a comparative

Omission of other after a comparative Don’t Say:Homer was greater than all the Greek poets. Say:Homer was greater than all the other Greek poets. Note:Since Homer was a Greek poet, the first sentence makes him greater than himself, which is illogical.

Misuse of There is for There are

Misuse of There is for There are Don’t Say:There is some girls waiting outside. Say:There are some girls waiting outside. Note:There is changes to there are if the noun that follows is the plural.

Leave for a place, not to a place

Leave for a place, not to a place Don’t Say:They’re leaving to England soon. Say:They’re leaving for England soon.

among and between

1. We say that somebody/something is between two or more clearly separate people or things. We use among when somebody/something is in a group, a crowd or a mass of people or things, which we do not see separately. Compare: – She was standing between Alice and Mary. – She was standing among a crowd…

Hardly for Hard

Hardly for Hard Don’t Say:She rubbed her eyes hardly. Say:She rubbed her eyes hard. Note:Hard means severely. Hardly means not quite or scarcely: The baby can hardly walk.

singular and plural: pronunciation of plural nouns

The plural ending -(e)s has three different pronunciations. After one of the ‘sibilant’ sounds /s/, Izl, ll, /3A /tj/ and /d3A -es is pronounced hzl. buses/’bASiz/ crashes /’kraefiz/ watches/’wotjiz/ quizzes/’ kwiziz/ garages/’gaera:3iz/ br/dges/’brid3iz/ After any other ‘unvoiced’ sound (/pA /f/, /0/, /t/ or /k/), -(ejs is pronounced /s/. cups /kAps/ bafbs /ba:0s/ boo/cs/buks/ coughs /kofs/…

Notices and Warnings

Informative notices: Some notices give you information: Do this! Some notices tell you to do certain things: Don’t do this! Some notices tell you not to do certain things: Watch out! Some notices are warnings – they tell you to be careful because something bad may happen:

Using the comparative instead of the superlative

Using the comparative instead of the superlative Don’t Say:Cairo is the larger city in Africa. Say:Cairo is the largest city in Africa. Note:Use the superlative when more than two persons or things are compared


However, there is some confusion because sometimes Americans say “British” to mean “English” (from England) when in reality the island of Great Britain contains three countries.

Go on (continue) + -ing

Go on (continue) + -ing Don’t Say:The music went on to play all day. Say:The music went on playing all day. Note:Also keep on: She kept on playing the piano.

imply / infer

To imply something means to suggest it in an indirect way, without saying it directly. Larry’s remarks implied that he’d be leaving the company soon. The evidence seems to imply that the suspect is innocent of the crime. To infer something is to form a conclusion from the information available (especially if the information available…

Misuse of noun/verb homonyms

Misuse of noun/verb homonyms Don’t Say:Becky played a good play of chess. Say:Becky played a good game of chess. Note:Some verbs and nouns do have the same form and analogous meaning in English The police fight a hard fight Heather dreams long vivid dreams. If you lie the he will catch you out’ The company…

past time: simple past

Forms Affirmative Question Negative I worked you worked he/she/it worked, etc did I work? did you work? did he/she/it work? etc I did not work you did not work he/she/it did not work, etc Meanings We use the simple past tense to talk about many kinds of past events: short, quickly finished actions and happenings,…

reported speech and direct speech

1. There are two ways of telling a person what somebody else said. a. direct speech – SUE: What did Bill say? – PETER: He said ‘I want to go home ‘. b. reported speech – SUE: What did Bill say? – PETER: He said that he wanted to go home. When we use ‘direct…

Could + infinitive without to

Could + infinitive without to Don’t Say:I could not to see you yesterday. Say:I could not/couldn’t see you yesterday.