bravery / courage

The meanings of these words are essentially the same – they mean facing danger, difficulty, or fear with calm or confidence. Just make sure not to get confused between their noun and adjective forms: A fireman saved a child from the burning house. He was very brave. / He was very courageous. He was very…

big / large

When talking about physical size, we use big for most cases. Large is a little more formal. Everyday: Elephants are big animals. In a textbook: Elephants are large mammals found in Africa and Asia. In informal English, we use “large” for size when talking about clothes and drinks: I ordered a big coffee with milk….

beside / besides

Beside is a preposition of location – it means “next to” or “on the side of.” There’s a printer beside the computer. However, “beside” is a little bit formal. In casual everyday English, we’d usually say that there’s a printer next to the computer. Besides is an adverb that means “in addition to”: Besides being…

belong to / belong with / belong in

Belong to means ownership or possession: That’s my bike. = That bike belongs to me. This is Kate’s jacket. = This jacket belongs to Kate. That’s our neighbors’ dog. = That dog belongs to our neighbors. Belong with means that things/people are similar and should be together. If one person in a romantic relationship says…

begin / start

You can use both start and begin for an activity. “Begin” is more formal than “start”: I started playing the piano when I was 8 years old. What time does the meeting start? He’s beginning to read more advanced books in English. We left the park when it began to rain. When you turn on…

been / gone

When talking about past travel experiences, we typically use been to mean “gone” or “visited,” usually with ever/never: Have you ever been to Australia? (= Have you ever visited Australia?) Yes, I’ve been there three times. (= I’ve gone there three times.) No, I’ve never been there. (= I’ve never visited.) The word been describes…

baggage / luggage

These words are the same. Both of them refer to the collection of suitcases/bags you take with you while traveling. Both of them are uncountable nouns, so don’t use “a” or make them plural: I have three luggages. I have three pieces of luggage. I accidentally left a baggage at the hotel. I accidentally left…

arrive / come / get / reach

Come is a general word used for entering a current place. It can be used for coming from short distances or long distances. My sister lives in London, but next week she’s coming to visit me in Atlanta. Our neighbors are coming over for dinner tonight. Come here – I want to show you something….

apologize / sorry

Both of these words express regret for some problem or something you did wrong. I’m sorry is less formal, and “I apologize” is more formal. There are a few different ways to continue the sentence. You can say: I’m sorry (that) I yelled at you. I’m sorry for yelling at you. I apologize for yelling…

apartment / flat / studio

American English speakers say apartment, and British English speakers say flat. A studio is a specific type of apartment or flat – it is just one room, with no walls or divisions between the bed area, the kitchen area, and the area with a couch or TV. Larger apartments with multiple rooms are called a…

another / other / others

The word other is an adjective. It refers to something different. The teacher held a textbook in one hand and a pencil in the other hand. The word “other” is often used with “the.” It can be used with singular or plural nouns: We crossed to the other side of the street. I liked the…

among / between

It is often taught that “between” is used for 2 items and “among” for 3 or more – but this is not completely accurate. The more accurate difference is this: Between is used when naming distinct, individual items (can be 2, 3, or more) Among is used when the items are part of a group,…

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…

allow / let / permit

These verbs all have the same meaning. The difference is in their grammatical structure: LET + PERSON/THING + VERB (base form – without “to”) Examples: I don’t let my kids watch violent movies. Mary’s father won’t let her adopt a puppy because he’s allergic to dogs. Our boss doesn’t let us eat lunch at our…

all of / each of

We use each to talk about objects individually, and all to talk about objects as a group: The teacher gave a different task to each student. (“each” emphasizes the individuality of the members of the group) The teacher gave tests to all the students. (“all” emphasizes the students as a group) In a similar way,…

all / whole / every

Use every with SINGULAR, countable nouns: I exercise every day. Every student in the class has a computer. Every necklace in this store costs more than $1,000. Use all with PLURAL nouns OR with uncountable nouns to mean 100% of many things: All of the students in the class have computers. All of the necklaces…

afraid / scared / frightened

When using these words to describe someone’s emotional state – after the verb “to be” and before “of” – you can use afraid or scared with no change in meaning. She’s afraid of spiders. = She’s scared of spiders. “Frightened of” can also be used, but it’s not as common. However, when used in the…

would rather

Would rather means ‘would prefer to’. It is followed by the infinitive without to. We often use the contraction’d rather: this means ‘would rather’, not ‘had rather’. [ would rather + infinitive without to] Would you rather stay here or go home? ‘How about a drink?’ I’d rather have something to eat.’ We can use…

way

We often use way ( = method) in expressions without a preposition. You’re doing it (in) the wrong way. You put in the cassette this way. Do it any way you like. In relative structures, we often use the way that . . . I don’t like the way (that) you’re doing it. After way,…

until and to

We usually use until (or till) to talk about ‘time up to’. I waited for her until six o’clock, but she didn’t come. (NOT I waited for her to six o’clock . . .) We can use to after from. I usually work from nine to five. (OR . . . from nine till five.)…

until and by

We use until to talk about a situation or state that will continue up to a certain moment. Can I stay until the weekend? We use by to talk about an action that will happen on or before a future moment. You ‘II have to leave by Monday midday at the latest. ( = at…

there is

When we tell people that something exists (or does not exist), we usually begin the sentence with there is, there are etc, and put the subject after the verb. There’s a hole in my sock. (NOT A hole is in my sock) We use this structure with ‘indefinite subjects’ — for example, nouns with a/an,…

tenses in subordinate clauses

In subordinate clauses (after conjunctions), we often use tenses in a special way. In particular, we use present tenses with a future meaning, and past tenses with a conditional meaning. This happens after if; after conjunctions of time like when, until, after, before, as soon as; after as, than, whether, where; after relative pronouns; and…

take (time)

We can use take to say how much time we need to do something. Three constructions are possible. [person + take + time + infinitive] I took three hours to get home last night. She takes all day to wake up. [activity + take(+ person) + time] The journey took me three hours. Gardening takes…

still, yet and already

Meanings Still, yet and already are all used to talk about things which are going on, or expected, around the present. We use these words to say whether something is in the past, the present or the future. a. Still says that something is in the present, not the past — it has not finished….

spelling: -ise and -ize

Many English verbs can be spelt with either -ise or -ize. In American English, -ize is preferred in these cases. Examples: mechanize/mechanise (GB) mechanize (US) computerize/computerise (GB) computerize (US) Words of two syllables usually have -ise in both British and American English. surprise (NOT surprize) revise advise comprise despise (but GB and US capsize, baptize;…

spelling: ie and ei

The sound IV.I (as in believe) is often written ie, but not usually ei. However, we write ei after c. English children learn a rhyme: ‘I’before e except after c.’ believe chief field grief ceiling deceive receive receipt

spelling: ch and tch, k and ck

After one vowel, at the end of a word, we usually write -c/cand -tch tor the sounds /k/ and /tj/. back neck sick lock stuck catch fetch stitch botch hutch Exceptions: rich which such much After a consonant or two vowels, we write -k and -ch. bank work talk march bench break book week peach…

so and not with hope, believe etc

We use so after several verbs instead of repeating a that-clause. ‘Do you think we II have good weather?’ I hope so.’ ( = I hope that we’ll have good weather.) The most common expressions like this are: hope so, expect so, believe so, imagine so, suppose so, guess so, reckon so, think so, be…

smell

There are three ways to use smell. As a ‘copula verb’ , to say what sort of smell something has. Progressive tenses are not used. [subject + smell + adjective] That smells funny. What’s in it?(NOT -That is smelling Those roses smell beautiful. (NOT . . [subject + smell of + noun] The railway carriage…