Birth, marriage and death

Birth: Diana had a baby yesterday. It was born at 1.15 yesterday morning. It weighed 3 kilograms. They are going to call him John – after John, his grandfather. Grandfather John’s birthday is June 16th too – but he was born in 1945! The baby’s parents were born in 1974. Marriage: If you do not…

economic / economical

The adjective economic describes things related to the economy: The country is undergoing a period of strong economic growth. After the recession, the economic recovery has been slower than expected. The field of study of the economy is called economics (always plural): He is a specialist in economics. She would like to study economics at…

Confusing usage words part six

learn: verb to acquire knowledge How did you learn to swim so gracefully? teach: (verb) to instruct Will you please teach me the eight parts of speech for this test? personal: (adjective) individual or private; intended for use by a single person This is a personal problem that I would not want to share with…

Round (= on all sides of)

Round (= on all sides of) Don’t Say:The earth goes round of the sun. Say:The earth goes round the sun. Note:Around is similar in meaning and use to round

the noun clause

object of the preposition, or a predicate nominative. This type of clause often starts with any one of these words—how, that, what, whatever, when, where, whether, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose, and why. The noun clause is underlined in each of these sentences. Its function within the sentence follows in the parentheses. What…

And etc used instead of etc

And etc used instead of etc Don’t Say:I, you, we, and etc. are pronouns. Say:I, you, we, etc., are pronouns. Note:However, students are advised to avoid using etc. in an essay and to use phrases such as and other things, and so on instead. Etc. is the short form of et cetera, a Latin phrase…

about to

[ be + about + to-infinitive ] If you are about to do something, you are going to do it very soon. Don’t go out now – we’re about to have supper. I was about to go to bed when the telephone rang.

Misuse of the plural before kind or sort

Misuse of the plural before kind or sort Don’t Say:I don’t like these kind of games. Say:I don’t like this kind of game. Or: I don’t like games of this kind. Note:The demonstrative word (this/that etc ) must agreewith its noun. In the example, kind is singular and so this must agree with it.

Using must or ought to to express a past obligation

Using must or ought to to express a past obligation Don’t Say:You ought to come yesterday. Say:You ought to have come yesterday. Or; You should have come yesterday. Note:In indirect speech use must and ought to as past tenses: He said he must do it. Don’t use must and ought to as past tenses To…

introducing phrases

A phrase is a related group of words that functions as a part of speech and does not contain both a subject and a verb. ➲ Verb phrases do not contain a subject. Examples of verb phrases include has been laughing, will remain, and does believe. ➲ Prepositional phrases, such as the adjective phrase and…

Hundred, etc

Hundred, etc Don’t Say:The town has fifty thousands people. Say:The town has fifty thousand people. Note:Hundred, thousand, and million take the plural form if they’re not preceded by a numeral or by a: Thousands of people were present.

may / might

The difference between may and might is very small: Use may when the event is slightly more likely to happen: “What are you doing this weekend?” “Shopping! I’m going to buy some new clothes, and I may get a new hat as well.” (it’s slightly more probable that I will buy the hat) “What are…

American English

British English and American English: People in Britain and America understand each other perfectly most of the time, but there are differences in grammar, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation. With vocabulary, the same word may have a different meaning, e.g. British chips are American french fries; and American chips are British crisps. Sometimes there are completely…

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.

below / under / beneath / underneath

The word under is the most common. It is usually used for three-dimensional objects: I found my textbook under the bed. The cat is lying under the table. The papers are under that magazine. Under can be used both when the objects are touching (as in the papers and magazine) and when the objects are…

also / as well / too

These words are all used to show similarity or sameness: Jeff plays soccer. Greg plays soccer, too. Jeff plays soccer. Greg also plays soccer. Jeff plays soccer. Greg plays soccer as well. The only difference is in their placement in the sentence. Too and as well are used at the end of a sentence. (As…

one and you: indefinite personal pronouns

We can use one or you to talk about people in general. You can ‘t learn a language in six weeks. One can’t learn a language in six weeks. One is more formal. One and you mean ‘anybody (including the speaker)’. They are only used to talk about people in general. We do not say…

the preposition

The preposition, the sixth part of speech, is a word that shows the relation-ship between a noun (or a pronoun) and another word in the sentence. Mollie walked into her aunt’s house. (Into connects walked and house.) My mom exercises quietly in the morning. (In connects the idea of exercises and morning.) The professor placed…

Whatever – Whenever – Wherever – Whichever – Whoever

Whatever = anything or everything; regardless of what – Whatever you do, don’t forget your grandmother’s birthday. – Don’t get upset whatever your mother says. Whenever = every time; at any time; regardless of when – Whenever we organize a picnic it rains. – He interrupts me whenever I start to speak. Wherever = everywhere;…

interfere / intervene

Interfere has a negative connotation; it is when someone/something affects a situation, and you don’t want it to: I wish my mother would stop interfering in my life! I’m trying to study, but the noise is interfering with my ability to concentrate. Intervene has a more positive connotation; it is when someone/something affects a situation…

His and Her – Her

His and Her – Her Don’t Say:Ann visits his uncle every Sunday. Say:Ann visits her uncle every Sunday. Note:In English, possessive adjectives (and pronouns) agree with the person who possesses, and not with the person or thing possessed When the possess is masculine, use his, and when the possesso.” is feminine, use her.

answer / reply / respond

These verbs have essentially the same meaning. You can: answer an email reply to an email (most common when talking about e-mail) respond to an email When someone calls you, you answer the phone (or pick up the phone). When you make a statement or some comments, we usually say the other person replies or…

Confusing usage words part three

can (verb) to know how to to be able to I think that I can climb that fence with little effort. may (verb) to be allowed to May I help you with those heavy bundles? cent: (noun) one penny 1/100 of a dollar Lou found one cent under the couch. scent: (noun) a smell odor…

To Sound Like a Native, Use Filler Expressions Like a Native

“Language is wine upon the lips.” – Virginia WoolfAs we all speak, whether we notice it or not, we always throw out expressions and idioms. Just to help us think. It’s human nature. Start paying attention to the expressions and idioms you use in your own language when you’re talking. Most of them might even…

War and Peace

The outbreak (= start) of war: Wars often start because of a conflict (= strong disagreement) between countries or groups of people, about territory (= land that belongs to one group or country). Look at the diagram on the right and read the text on the left. Country A invades country B (= A enters…

The adverb of indefinite time misplaced

The adverb of indefinite time misplaced Don’t Say:They come always to school by bus. Say:They always come to school by bus. Note:With the verb to be place the adverb of indefinite time after the verb: They are always beautifully dressed. Peace adverbs of indefinite time, like ever, never, always, often, seldom, soon, sometimes and the…

hundred / hundreds

Use hundred when there is a specific number, and use hundreds when you don’t know or can’t count how many. This rule also applies to thousand/thousands and million/millions. This skeleton is thousands of years old. This skeleton is three thousand years old. When saying numbers, always use the singular form: 250 = Two hundred and…

10 Phrases for Asking for Someone’s Opinion & Giving Your Opinion

1. What do you think about…?2. How do you feel about…?3. What’s your opinion of…?4. What are your views on…?5. In my opinion…6. I’d say…7. Personally, I think/believe…8. If you ask me…9. The way I see it…10. From my point of view…

Business and finance

Banks and businesses Most businesses need to borrow money to finance (= pay for) investments (= things they need to buy in order to help the company, e.g. machines). The money they borrow from the bank is called a loan, and on this loan they have to pay interest, e.g. if you borrow £1,000 and…