-ing form after to

We sometimes use an ing form after to. I look forward to seeing you. (NOT . . . to see you.) I’m not used to getting up early. These structures may seem strange. In fact, to is two words: a. a part of the infinitive I want to go home. Help me to understand b….


To be born is passive. Hundreds of children are born deaf every year. To talk about somebody’s date or place of birth, use the simple past tense was/were born. I was born in 1936. (NOT: I am born in 1936.) My parents were both born in Scotland.

Wrong repetition of object with infinitive

Wrong repetition of object with infinitive Don’t Say:I bought an English book to read it. Say:I bought an English book to read. Note:Don’t repeat an object with an infinitive of purpose if the verb takes an object.

At home

Places in the home You probably already know the names of most rooms and locations in a typical home. Here are some less common ones and what they are for. – utility room: usually just for washing machine, freezer, etc. – shed: small building separated from the house usually for storing garden tools – attic:…

Using can instead of could in a subordinate clause

Using can instead of could in a subordinate clause Don’t Say:Last Sunday Ailsa told me that she may come. Say:Last Sunday Ailsa told me that she might come. Note:The conjunction that is never preceded by a comma,. May changes to might in subordinate clauses, when the verb in the main clause is the past simple…

Dust for Cover with dust

Dust for Cover with dust Don’t Say:A sandstorm dusted our clothes. Say:A sandstorm covered our clothes with dust. Note:To dust doesn’t mean to cover with dust, but to remove dust from After sweeping. she dusted the furniture.

Think of + -ing

Think of + -ing Don’t Say:I often think to go to England. Say:I often think of going to England.

the adverb

The adverb, the fifth part of speech, modifies (qualifies or limits) verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. An adverb can answer any of these four questions—Where? When? How? To what extent? ➲ Adverbs modify verbs: Henry swam brilliantly. (How did Henry swim?) The train then came down the line. (When did the train come down the…

reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves. We use reflexive pronouns to talk about actions where the subject and the object are the same person. I cut myself shaving this morning. (NOT I cut me . . .) We got out of the river and dried ourselves (NOT . ….

Success, failure and difficulty

Succeeding I managed to contact him just before he left his office. I don’t think I can manage the whole walk. I think I’ll turn back, [manage, but not succeed, may have a direct object in this meaning] We succeeded in persuading a lot of people to join our protest, [in + -ing] We’ve achieved/accomplished…

just / only

The word “just” has several possible definitions: 1) Recently Be careful – I just washed the floor, and it’s still wet. or ( I washed the floor a few minutes ago) He just finished a big project. or ( he finished the project very recently) 2) Only I have just one brother. or ( I…

job / work / career

A job is a regular and official activity that you do, and receive money for your activity. It is also called a profession or an occupation. You can have a full-time job (40 hours a week) or a part-time job (around 25 hours a week). The word job is a countable noun: Right after graduating…

singular and plural: anybody etc

Anybody, anyone, somebody, someone, nobody, no-one, everybody and everyone are used with singular verbs. Is everybody ready?(NOT Are everybody ready?) However, we often use they, them and their to refer to these words, especially in an informal style. If anybody calls, tell them I’m out, but take their name and address. Nobody phoned, did they?…

Capable of + -ing

Capable of + -ing Don’t Say:They’re quite capable to do that, Say:They’re quite capable of doing that. Note:Also incapable of; to + the infinitive follows able or unable He is unable to do anything.

10 Words for Describing Speaking

1. He yelled.2. She screamed.3. I whispered. (= spoke in an extremely quiet voice)4. We chatted. (= had an informal conversation)5. He mumbled. (= spoke in a low voice, not clearly, without opening his mouth much)6. My kids whined. (= complained)7. He rambled. / He went on and on. (= talked too much without stopping)8….

Wrong use of the with material nouns

Wrong use of the with material nouns Don’t Say:The gold is a precious metal. Say:Gold is a precious metal. Note:Material nouns, used n a particular sense, require the definite article The coal from the Midlands exported to many countries. Don’t use any article with material nouns, If used in a general sense.

although and though

1. Both these words can be used as conjunctions. They mean the same. Though is informal. (Al)though I don’t agree with him, I think he’s honest. She went on walking, (al)though she was terribly tired. I’ll talk to him, (although I don’t think it’ll do any good. We use even though to emphasize a contrast….

The object of the verb enjoy omitted

The object of the verb enjoy omitted Don’t Say:I enjoyed during the holidays. Say:I enjoyed myself during the holidays. Or: I enjoyed my holidays. Note:We say I had a good time, as this is an idiomatic expression, but we can’t say I enjoyed my time. We must specify. I enjoyed my time in Greece. Don’t…

Phrasal verbs: form and meaning

Formation A phrasal verb is a verb combined with an adverb or preposition, and occasionally with an adverb and preposition. The price of petrol may go up (= increase) again next week. He fell over (= fell to the ground) when he was running for the bus. She’s promised to find out (= learn/discover) the…

Sick or Ill

Sick or Ill Don’t Say:He’s been sick for over a year. Say:He’s been ill for over a year. Note:We can also use sick before certain nouns The sick room, a sick note, sick leave We use the plural noun the sick to mean ill people Angela worked with (he sick on the streets of Birmingham….

Accuse of, not for

Accuse of, not for Don’t Say:She accused the man for stealing. Say:She accused the man of stealing. Note:Charge takes with The man was charged with murder.

pass the time / spend time

Use spend time to talk about the time you do an activity: I pass spend a lot of time reading. We passed spent an hour discussing the best way to finish the project. The expression pass the time is different – it means doing something to make the time pass faster while you are waiting…

become / get / turn

Words like turn, become, get, and go can describe changes and transformations -but they’re each used in different expressions. Use turn for colors: Bananas turn black if you put them in the refrigerator. The sky turned pink and orange during the sunset. My uncle’s hair is turning white. Use turn into when talking about a…

able / capable

The difference between these words is extremely small – but usually we use able to describe current things someone can do, and capable to talk about someone’s future potential. It is not a strict rule, just a general tendency. She’s able to play a song perfectly after hearing it only once. (she can currently do…

that: omission

We can often leave out the conjunction that, especially in an informal style. Relative pronoun We can leave out the relative pronoun that when it is the object of the relative clause. Look! There are the people (that) we met in Brighton. Reported speech We can leave out that aftetmore common verbs. Compare: James said…

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…

Pollution and the Environment

Important definitions: People are more worried about the environment (= the air, water, and land around us) as a result of the harmful (= dangerous/damaging) effects of human activity. Some of these activities cause pollution (= dirty air, land and water) and some are destroying the environment (= damaging it so badly that soon parts…

Disappointed by, about or at, not from – by/at/about

Disappointed by, about or at, not from – by/at/about Don’t Say:Phillipa was disappointed from the low mark she got in the test. Say:Phillipa was disappointed by/about/at the low mark she got in the test.

The number and A number – A number

The number and A number – A number Don’t Say:A number of pupils is absent today. Say:A number of pupils are absent today. Note:When we precede number by the it denotes a unit and is singular When it’s preceded by a it means several or many and is plural.