Confusing usage words part eight

In mathematics, a negative number times a negative number yields a positive number. Similarly, in grammar, when two negative words are used (where only one is needed), the negatives cancel each other out, making the idea positive and not negative as intended. In the sentence, ‘‘I cannot get no respect from them,’’ the two negative…

Too much for Very much

Too much for Very much Don’t Say:She likes the cinema too much..He’s too much stronger than I am. Say:She likes the cinema very much. He’s very much stronger than I am. Note:Use very much instead of much for greater emphasis. Too much denotes an excessive quantity or degree She ate too much, and felt til.

stuff / things

The word thing / things is countable. It refers to specific objects, or a collection of specific objects: There are five things in the box. I forgot my wallet, my phone, and a few other things when I left home today. The word stuff can also refer to a general collection of things (usually someone’s…

extend / expand

Both of these words mean to get bigger, or to make something bigger. Extend has more the sense of making something longer in one direction, whereas expand gets bigger in all directions: You extend a TV antenna. A balloon expands when you blow it up. You extend your arm. A pregnant woman’s belly expands. We…

Return back used instead of return

Return back used instead of return Don’t Say: She has returned back to school. Say: She has returned to school. Note: Don’t use the word back with return, because return means to come back

unless and if not

Very often, we can use unless to mean if .. . not. Come tomorrow if I don’t phone / unless I phone. I ‘II take the job if the pay’s not too low/ unless the pay’s too low. We cannot always use unless instead of if not. It depends on the sense. a. The sentence…

Using will/’ll instead of would/’d in a subordinate clause

Using will/’ll instead of would/’d in a subordinate clause Don’t Say:He said (that) he will/’ll come tomorrow. Say:He said (that) he would/’d come tomorrow. Note:will/’ll change to would/’d subordinate causes, when the verb in the main clause is in a past tense.

before (adverb)

We can use before to mean ‘at any time before now’. We use it with a present perfect tense (have + past participle). Have you seen this film before? I ve never been here before Before can also mean ‘before then’, ‘before the past time that we are talking about’. We use a past perfect…

participles: ‘present’ and ‘past’ participles (-ing and -ed)

‘Present’ participles: breaking going drinking making beginning opening working stopping For rules of spelling,. When -ing forms are used like nouns, they are often called gerunds. ‘Past’ participles: broken gone drunk made begun opened worked stopped The names ‘present’ and ‘past’ participle are not very good (although they are used in most grammars). Both kinds…

The continuous form of the tense misused

The continuous form of the tense misused Don’t Say:I m understanding the lesson now. Say:I understand the lesson now. Note:As a rule, verbs denoting a state rather than an act have.no continuous forms, like understand, know, believe, like, love, belong, prefer consist, mean, hear, see, etc.

Luggage

Luggage Don’t Say:Her luggages are at the station. Say:Her luggage is at the station. Note:Baggage, another word for luggage, can’t be used in the plural either The baggage is ready for the train.

ill and sick

I’ll means’unwell’. I’m sorry I didn’t answer your letter. I’ve been I’ll. We do not use ill before a noun. Instead, we can use sick. She spent years looking after her sick mother. We can use be sick (in British English) to mean ‘bring food up from the stomach’. If you feel sick, you want…

Anxious (= troubled) about, not /or

Anxious (= troubled) about, not /or Don’t Say:They’re anxious for his health. Say:They’re anxious about his health. Note:Anxious meaning wishing very much takes for. Parents are anxious for their children’s success.

Confusing usage words part five

farther: (adjective and adverb) used to designate a physical distance This woman shot the arrow much farther than I did. further: (adjective and adverb) additional Let’s wait for further instructions before we do anything else. healthful: (adjective) that which brings about good health; wholesome Doctor Geiger told his patient to eat a more healthful diet….

appear

Appear can mean ‘seem’. In this case, it is a ‘copula verb’ , and is followed by an adjective or a noun. We often use the structure appear to be, especially before a noun, [subject + appear (to be) + adjective”] He appeared very angry. (NOT . . . very angrily.) [subject + appear to…

Misuse of miser as an adjective

Misuse of miser as an adjective Don’t Say:Jill loved money; she was miser. Say:Jill loved money; she was a miser. Note:Miser is a noun, and we can’t use it as adjective the adjective is miserly.She was miserly.

Holidays

Here are a number of different places where you can spend a holiday. – camp site: a place where you can pitch a tent or park a caravan. – self-catering flat: flat which you rent, you cook for yourself. – guesthouse: accommodation like a hotel but cheaper and with fewer services. – youth hostel: cheap…

articles: introduction

The correct use of the articles (a/an and the) is one of the most difficult points in English grammar. Fortunately, most article mistakes do not matter too much. Even if we leave all the articles out of a sentence, it is usually possible to understand it. Please can you lend me pound of butter till…

Inside (= in the interior of)

Inside (= in the interior of) Don’t Say:The boys went inside of the room. Say:The boys went inside the room.

actual / current / present

Actual is very different from current and present. Current and present refer to things happening now (not in the past or future). Actual refers to things that are true (not things that are false). The current unemployment rate is 8%. This article claims that unemployment is at 5%, but the actual rate is around 8%….

historic / historical

The word historical describes anything related to the past, to history: We need to consider the current conflict from a historical perspective. The city center contains many cultural and historical monuments. I love reading historical fiction. Historical things can be important or unimportant. The word historic describes things that were very important or influential in…

Abbreviations and Abbreviated Words

Letters or words? Some abbreviations are read as individual letters: Written forms only: Some abbreviations are written forms only; they are still pronounced as full words. Abbreviations as part of the language: Some abbreviations (from Latin) are used as part of the language. Note: This is also how we say them in spoken English; we…

Formal and Informal English

Most English that you learn can be used in a wide range of situations. But you will also hear or see language that is formal or informal, and sometimes very formal or very informal. You need to be more careful with this language because it may not be suitable in certain situations. (They are marked…

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…

Vague Language

Vague means ‘not clear or precise or exact’. For example, we can say: I have a vague idea where it is. (= I know the general area but I don’t know exactly where) I have a vague memory of the game. (= I can remember bits of it but not very clearly) In spoken F’nglish…

Work duties conditions and pay

What do you do? People may ask you about your job. They can ask and you can answer in different ways: What do you do? I’m (+ job) e.g. a banker / an engineer / a teacher / a builder What’s your job? I work in (+ place or general area) e.g. a bank /…

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:

The Senses

The Five Basic Senses: These are: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. For each one we use a basic verb, which can be followed by an adjective or noun in these constructions: It looks terrible, (from what I could see) It looks like a wedding cake. He sounds German, (from what I heard) It sounds…

Partitives

There are many different words used to describe a particular quantity of something. Usually the word is joined to the noun it describes with ‘of’. Containers (e.g. a bag) and contents (e.g. of shopping): With uncountable nouns: When we use uncountable nouns (e.g. advice), we sometimes want to talk about one of something. We cannot…

Shapes, Colours and Patterns

Shapes: a square box, a round table, a pointed end, a rectangular field, an oval shape. Note: We can also form adjectives to describe shapes in this way: The ball was egg-shaped; a heart-shaped wedding cake; a diamond-shaped bag. Colours: You will already know most of the common colours. Here are some that are less…