Look at, not to

Look at, not to Don’t Say:Look to this beautiful picture. Say:Look at this beautiful picture. Note:Also gaze at, stare at, etc But; look after (= take care of); look for (= try to find), look over (= examine); look into != examine closely), look on or upon (= consider); look down on (= have a…

think about / think of

The two most common prepositions used after the verb “think” are “about” and “of.” They are very similar, but there is a small difference. Usually when you think of something, it is a brief moment – just a few seconds. It is also used for opinions. When you think about something, you are considering it…

cloth / clothes / clothing

Clothes and clothing refer to the things you wear – shirts, pants, underwear, dresses, suits, etc. Cloth is the material, the fabric. Cotton, wool, silk, etc. are different types of cloth. There is also a pronunciation difference: The o in clothes/clothing sounds like the o in “no.” The o in cloth sounds like the aw…

Misuse of rest as an adjective

Misuse of rest as an adjective Don’t Say:I spent the rest day at home. Say:I spent the rest of the day at home. Note:Here, rest is a noun, and we can’t use it as an adjective in the meaning of what’s left.

inversion: whole verb before subject

here, there etc If we begin a sentence with here or there, we put the whole verb before the subject, if this is a noun. Here comes Mrs Foster (not I here Mrs Foster comes) There goes your brother. If the subject is a pronoun, it comes before the verb. Here she comes There he…

Ashamed of, not from

Ashamed of, not from Don’t Say:He’s now ashamed from his conduct. Say:He’s now ashamed of his conduct. Note:it isn’t correct to use ashamed of meaning shy Ashamed means feeling shame or guilt about something .Shy means feeling nervous with someone Instead of saying: I’m ashamed (or shamed) of my teacher, say I’m shy of my…

conjunctions

[clause + conjunction + clause conjunction + clause, + clause] A conjunction joins two clauses. I’m tired and I want to go to bed. I tried hard but I couldn’t understand. His father died, so he had to stop his studies. I know that you don’t like her. I’II sell it to you cheap because…

articles: countable and uncountable nouns

A singular countable noun normally has an article or other determiner with it. We can say a cat, the cat, my cat, this cat, any cat, either cat or every cat, but not just cat. (There are one or two exceptions Plural and uncountable nouns can be used without an article or determiner, or with…

actual(ly)

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…

made of / made from

Use made of to talk about the material of an object – wood, plastic, glass, crystal, etc. which has not gone through very much processing. You can still see the original material: – This table is made of wood. – The window is made of glass. – This shirt is made of cotton. Use made…

Rise and Raise – Rise

Rise and Raise – Rise Don’t Say:Val raises very early in the morning. Say:Val rises very early in the morning.

the adjective phrase

An adjective phrase is a prepositional phrase that modifies a noun or a pronoun. This phrase answers the question Which one? The adjective phrase follows right after the noun or pronoun that it modifies or describes. Generally, if you cannot logically move the prepositional phrase within the sentence, it is most often an adjective phrase….

do + -ing

We often use do with -ing to talk about activities that take some time, or that are repeated. There is usually a ‘determiner’ before the ing form — for example the, my, some, much. I do my shopping at weekends. Have you done the washing up? I did a lot of running when I was…

Wrong use of the with proper nouns in the possessive,

Wrong use of the with proper nouns in the possessive, Don’t Say:The Euripides’ tragedies are famous. Say:Euripides’ tragedies are famous. Note:If the name ends m on s or x or is difficult to pronounce with the extra syllable’s we omit the final’s Mana Callas’ voice is divine. Don’t use the definite article with proper nouns…

The relative clause misplaced

The relative clause misplaced Don’t Say:A girl has a pony who is in our class. Say:A girl who is in our class has a pony. Note:Enclose a relative clause that may be omitted between commas. My brother George, who is in another class, has a new bicycle, A relative da use that can’t be omitted…

marriage / married / wedding

The wedding is the official ceremony/party. (The party is usually called the “reception”): I’m going to my cousin’s wedding on October 7. We want to have a band at our wedding reception. The wedding will be at the church, and the reception will be at a restaurant. The marriage is the relationship in general, or…

think

Think can mean ‘have an opinion’. In this meaning, it is not used in progressive tenses. I don’t think much of his latest book. Who do you think will win the election? When think has other meanings (for example plan, or consider) progressive tenses are possible. I’m thinking of changing my job. What are you…

Family and friends

Relatives (= members of your family) These are the most important relatives (also called relations): Family background (= family history) My grandfather was a market gardener in Ireland. He grew flowers, fruit and vegetables, and sold them in the market every day. He worked hard all his life, and when he died, his son (now…

Cure of, not from,

Cure of, not from, Don’t Say:The man was cured from his illness. Say:The man was cured of his illness. Note:The noun cure takes for: There is no cure for that disease.

Mind (object to) + -ing

Mind (object to) + -ing Don’t Say:Would you mind to open the door? Say:Would you mind opening the door?

no and not a/not any

No is a determiner . We use no before singular (countable and uncountable) nouns and plural nouns. No means the same as not a or not any, but we use no: (a) at the beginning of a sentence (b) when we want to make the negative idea emphatic. a. No cigarette is completely harmless. No…

Knowledge

Knowledge Don’t Say:Karen has good knowledges of history. Say:Karen has a good knowledge of history.

Each and Every – Each

Each and Every – Each Don’t Say:She gave an apple to every of the children. Say:She gave an apple to each of the children.

both… and…

[both + adjective + and + adjective both + noun + and + noun both + clause + and + clause] We usually put the same kind of words after both and and. She’s both pretty and clever (adjectives) I spoke to both the Director and his secretary (nouns) (NOT I both spoke to the…

prepositions before particular words and expressions

(This is a list of a few expressions which often cause problems. For information about other [preposition + noun] combinations, see a good dictionary.) at the cinema: at the theatre; at a party; at university a book by Joyce; a concerto by Mozart; a film by Fassbinder (NOT of) for … reason My sister decided…

similar words

In this list you will find some pairs of words which look or sound similar. Some others (for example lay and lie) are explained in other parts of the book. Look in the Index to find out where. beside and besides Beside = ‘at the side of or ‘by’. Come and sit beside me. Besides…