Adjectives and adverbs

Confusing words & expressions

Adjectives and adverbs
'actually', 'in fact' and 'well'

Yukki from Japan writes: Could you please tell me the difference between actually, in fact and well? I think all of them can be used to correct the previous utterance. Is there any difference between them? They are all very similar, but there are also slight differences in use. actually / in fact Both actually and in fact can be used to modify or contradict a previous statement: I hear that you're a doctor. ~ Well, actually, I'm a dentist. Well, it may sound very straightforward to you, but in fact it's all very complicated. Would you agree with me that teachers should refrain from socialising with their students? ~ Well, actually I think it's a good idea for them to socialise - up to a certain point! Actually and in fact can also be used to introduce more detailed information or to make things clearer or more precise: I'm going to take on a bit more responsibility now that Kevin's left ~ John, that's wonderful news. ~ Yes, well, actually / in fact I've been promoted to senior sales manager. I got so bored listening to what he was saying that I actually fell asleep / in fact I fell asleep half way through his presentation. Note that we can also use in actual fact or as a matter of fact to clarify matters or to introduce new information: I got so bored with what he was saying that in actual fact / as a matter of fact I dozed off before he'd finished speaking. Actually is sometimes used to introduce unwelcome news: Richard wants to invite us to spend the weekend at his cottage in the Lake District. Isn't that exciting? ~ Well, actually, I've already said we can't go.


Note that when actually is placed at the end of the clause, it confirms news that others do not expect: I don't suppose you've posted my letters, have you? ~ I have, actually. Did you enjoy that modern opera at Covent Garden? ~ I did, actually. Very much. well Well is more widely used as a discourse marker than in fact or actually. As we can see from the examples above and below it is very widely used to indicate that we are about to say something. It is sometimes used to give the speaker more time to think: So how much do you want for your 1999 Renault? ~ Well, I was thinking of £2,500. So how do you propose to furnish the house? ~ Well, I thought we might invest in some second-hand furniture. Well is also used to introduce a statement which indicates that expectations have not been fulfilled: You know I said I thought I might go skiing with Jamie this year? Well, I'm not going to now. How was the tennis lesson? ~ Well, in actual fact, we forgot to go. Well can also be used to soften corrections or criticism: You live in South Kensington, don't you? Well, Pimlico, actually. You do like my yellow dress, don't you? ~ Well, yes, it's quite nice. But I think the blue one would have suited you more. Why didn't you give Bob a lift back home? ~ Well, how was I supposed to know he was at the match? I couldn't find my way to the music centre. ~ Well, why didn't you ask me? Well can also serve to introduce important information: You know I've been seeing a lot of Eddie lately? ~ Hmm. ~ Well, we're going to get engaged. Oh well! If you say oh well, you are saying that you accept the situation as it is, even though you are not very happy about it: I'm afraid you'll have to pull out of the trip to Greece. ~ Oh well, it doesn't matter. I'm afraid I forget to save that document and now I've lost it. ~ Oh well, it can't be helped. I'll just have to re-type it.


Adjective order I tried to answer latest Quiznet programme on your site of adjective order. I found it a bit tricky and difficult, so could you please give me any help of this matter. And Belen says: May I ask which the correct order in adjectives is? Hi Pasan and hello Belen! When we use two or more adjectives together to describe a noun, the order we put them in is quite important. For example, we don't usually say an old Indian beautiful carpet. It sounds much better say a beautiful old Indian carpet. As a general rule, adjectives are usually placed in this order: opinion > size > quality > age > shape > colour > participle forms > origin > material type > purpose The phrase a beautiful old Indian carpet follows these guidelines: 1 quality beautiful 4 age old 8 origin Indian


noun carpet

You don't have to include an example of every type of adjective, but the ones you do use should follow the order. So if you wanted to add red and green to the phrase a beautiful old Indian carpet, you would put it between old and Indian like this: 1 opinion beautiful 4 age old 6 8 colour origin red and green Indian


noun carpet

It sometimes helps to remember the order of adjective if you consider that adjectives whose meaning is closely, or permanently, connected to the noun are placed nearer to it in the sentence. So in this phrase: a large comfortable wooden chair – wooden has a very close connection with chair . 2 size a large 3 quality comfortable 10 material type wooden

noun chair

Here are some more examples: 3 7 quality participle noun a new improved recipe 1 3 10 opinion quality type an old-fashioned romantic candle-lit

noun dinner for two


Sometimes we can use but between adjectives, especially if their meanings seem contradictory. 2 size small 3 quality tasty



noun meal

If we use 2 adjectives that are similar in meaning, we usually put the shorter one first: a soft, comfortable cushion. I hope that's answered your interesting English questions, Pasan and Belen! Catherine


A group a Spanish learners of English have written with the following question: Hello! We are Spanish students and we want to find out all we can about adverbials in English with explanations and examples. An adverbial is an adverb, adverbial phrase or adverbial clause which gives us additional information about e.g. the time, place, or manner of the action which is described in the rest of the sentence: • • We have been living here in this house for over twenty years. We were sleeping peacefully in our beds when the earthquake struck.

From these examples, you can see that the most common position for adverbials is at the end of the sentence Place adverbials (here in this house) come before time adverbials (for over twenty years). Manner adverbials (peacefully) come before place adverbials (in our beds). They do not always follow this pattern. This applies particularly to adverbial clauses. In the above example we could begin with the adverbial clause, if it was important to highlight it at this stage in the discourse: • When the earthquake struck, we were sleeping peacefully in our beds.

Thus, adverbials answer questions such as: Where? How often? When? How long? How? How much? Why?

Where did you arrange to meet him? ~ I arranged to meet him outside the bank.


Why did you arrange to meet him there? So that he could give me the money. How long did you wait for him? I waited for half an hour but he didn't arrive. When did you first meet him? We first met when he became the manager of the bank. How often have you been seeing him since then? Once a week, usually. More frequently, if his wife was away. Note from the above examples that adverbs of frequency are often placed in midposition in the sentence, as well as at end-position. Placing them before the subject is sometimes also possible: • • • I sometimes call on my younger sister when I'm in London I never see my older sister, but occasionally I call my younger sister. Yes I see her from time to time. We get together once in a blue moon.

adverbial clauses A wide variety of different conjunctions are used to initiate adverbial clauses which function as the adverbial part of a main clause. Some of the most common are listed below: time: reason: purpose: contrast: comparison: condition: • • when, after, before, as soon as because, since, as so that, in order to although, whereas as if, as though if, provided (that), so long as, in case

We served drinks as soon as our friends arrived. After we had eaten, we played cards. We moved to Cornwall because we wanted to live in the countryside. As the winters in the north east can be quite harsh, we decided to move to the south west. I finished work early in order to catch the 4.30 train. I left work early so that I could catch the 4.30 train. When I arrived home I went to see Joan although it was very late. Whereas in the 70s and 80s most men worked until they were 60 or 65, nowadays most retire when they are in their fifties. He shook my hand warmly as if / as though he had known me for years.

• •


You can borrow my car on Saturday, provided / so long as you return it by seven o' clock in the evening. Take a packed lunch with you, in case you get hungry.

adverbs of manner Note that not all adverbs of manner which answer the question How…? end in -ly. Most of them do, like this: • • How did they sleep? ~ They slept peacefully How well does she dance ~ She dances sublimely

But common exceptions include: hard • • • fast straight late

He worked hard in order to pass the exam He was driving straight at me and I ran very fast to get out of his way. There was a power failure earlier today and the trains are all running late now.

Note also that adjectives that end in -ly, e.g. lively, lovely silly, friendly, cannot form the adverb by adding another -ly as this would be impossible to pronounce. Instead some other way must be found: • He behaved in such a silly way I was ashamed of him Surprisingly, they were dancing in a very lively manner at the over 60s disco.

adjectives: appropriate/suitable and adequate/sufficient/enough Rosana Mendes Campos from Brazil writes: In Portuguese, we have one word, appropriado, which is used to talk about manners and something that is fitted to a purpose. We use this word when we refer to social rules and behaviour and when we talk about what one should, for example, wear under this or when we talk about weather conditions. I understand that in English you have three different words with different usages, namely appropriate, suitable and adequate. Could you please explain and illustrate the differences in use of these three words in English? appropriate ~ suitable Appropriate and suitable are both qualitative adjectives - i.e. they describe the quality of something - and are very similar in meaning and usage. As you suggest, they carry the meaning of 'fitted, suited to a purpose.' They are both placed as modifiers before nouns and they are both used as complements after the verb be, although appropriate is perhaps more commonly used in this way, especially with


I wonder why you asked this question – are you by any chance writing a report?! All of the words you list above are adverbs which describe a quantity or variation in quantity. whereas appropriate and suitable suggest a qualitative response to something. but only just enough. His answer to the question was adequate but it wasn't developed sufficiently to gain high marks. adequate ~ sufficient ~ enough Adequate.50 an hour . They are both used with the preposition for and are often used with negative prefixes. There was easily enough food for every one. There was a sufficient amount of food. I'm glad you praised him for that. Usage of these adjectives often denotes quantity rather than quality. It is unsuitable/inappropriate accommodation.Samad Hi Samad. It was inappropriate for her to joke with the Queen in such a light-hearted manner. Well. He is just not suited to/suitable for this type of work. Such small flats are not really suitable for couples with young children. nearly? Many thanks in advance. these words are known as degree adverbs and one of the 8 .was barely adequate to raise a family on. It was an appropriate thing to do. Study the following examples: • • • • • • • The pay was adequate. The action taken to combat the spread of malaria was quite inadequate. The rate of pay £5.. sufficient and enough are slightly different in meaning. The supply of seats was quite inadequate. Approximately / Roughly / About / Nearly Dear Sirs. If there is sufficient quantity of something. Study the following examples: • • • • • • • • It is inappropriate to make jokes at funerals. The clothes she was wearing were quite unsuitable/inappropriate for the cold weather.the pronoun it. Does this dress suit me? ~ Oh yes. there is enough of it. roughly. but it certainly wasn't generous. this suggests that there is as much of it as you need. And it's very suitable/appropriate for formal occasions. Could you please explain the difference in usage of approximately. it does. about. The adjectival form suitable (for) sometimes crops us in the verb format suited (to). It is a very violent film and is considered unsuitable/inappropriate for children to watch. The Prime Minister gave an inadequate reply to the journalist's question. There was insufficient evidence to convict him of house-breaking. If something is adequate. There were not enough seats for all the guests.

In conversation. Police say that the main suspect charged in the case escaped from custody approximately twelve days ago. it means it takes me not quite ten minutes. Approximately. so: Roughly half (53%) of the children in the study could not identify the US on a map of the world. nearly or about in everyday situations and the rest of my explanation will look at the use of these three adverbs. And interestingly. if Jane spends nearly one-third of her salary on rent. So. Jane told me that she spends nearly one-third of her salary on rent. but you’d be far more likely to use roughly. we often talk about distances in terms of time: 9 . And I’m going to start with the adverb which is more formal in tone. it means that she spends just under one-third.differences between the words you mention is their degree of formality. Because the traffic was bad. I think Samad. or ‘not quite’. you’ll realise that these examples could be part of an academic paper or an official report. which would affect the times you use them. It’s possible to interchange roughly and about in each of these four sentences with the same meaning. I guess there’ll be roughly thirty people going to the party tonight. nearly and roughly are most usually used to modify measurements or quantities. About can be confusing for learners when they first see it as a degree adverb. such as Books and newspapers were spread about all over the room. which is approximately. Nearly is slightly different to roughly and about. If we said roughly or about. If it takes me nearly ten minutes to walk to the station. All of these adverbs could be used in writing too. Just listen to these examples: Approximately half of the residents in the survey stated that they agreed with the government’s plan to reduce traffic in the city centre. By about five o’clock. but if you’re writing a report it’d be usual to enter the actual figures or percentages in brackets. the library was deserted. about. It’s not impossible to use approximately in speech. because they’re familiar with its use in prepositional phrases. it took about four hours to get to my aunt’s house. we often use about when talking about time: Shall we meet at about seven o’clock? He says he’ll be here in about five minutes. her rent could be slightly more or slightly less than one-third. because nearly means ‘almost’.

' 'The Irish played as well as the Scots but didn't convert as many attempts on goal. I (also) play badminton with my wife at the weekend.' 'He was badly injured. but when it got dark.' 'I waited for as long as I dared. is that if you say: 'I can swim as well as cook well'.' 10 . you are stating that you can do both these things to an equal degree of proficiency. but I did as much as I could to make him comfortable. thank you for your question.' 'Please come as quickly as you can.' Note that if an adjective is placed between as and the a subordinating conjunction. Samad. in which case the '-ing' pattern is required. When we use as well as . in which case the infinitive or simple form of the verb is the norm. Let us compare the two usages: as + adj + as + clause/phrase as + adv + as + clause/phrase For example: • • • • • • 'I saw as many as three thousand people at the concert. My father is very ill. Well. a / an must be placed after the adjective.I live about half an hour out of town. What is interesting in your example. you are stating that these are two things that you can do. I think that’s about all I have to say about these adverbs! 'As well as' and 'in addition to' Van Anh from Vietnam asks: My question is: what is followed by as well as? For example.similar in meaning and usage to in addition to . the '-ing' form in the verb which follows is required: • 'As well as playing tennis with Steve three times during the week. whereas if you say: 'I can swim as well as I can cook'.' 'Richardson was as good an actor as Gieldgud (was). or whether it is used as a conjunction introducing clauses of comparison and similar in meaning to in addition to. Van Anh. can we say I can swim as well as cook well? I think it all depends on whether it is used as part of an adverbial phrase when making comparisons. It’s about three hours on the train to London. I went home.

Both are more emphatic forms of if and are used to introduce conditions: • • 'As long as you promise to help me.' ( = As well as eating out. It is also used in the expression beside the point when referring to something that is not relevant to the subject under discussion: • 'Modern art isn’t really art at all!' 'That’s beside the point when so many young people respond to it with such interest. I don't mind cooking for twelve people on Easter Sunday. 'at the side of' or 'by': • • 'Where is the apple orchard?' 'It’s right beside the main road.' besides Besides is a preposition. The wine is excellent too. he (also) translates articles for The Weekly Review. and went to the cinema as well. dissertation.' 'My wife is a chemist and both her parents were chemists as well. similar in meaning to 'next to'. We ate at Luigi's. we (also) went to the cinema. meaning 'in addition to'. Please clear up my confusion.' 'beside' / 'besides' and 'toward' / 'towards' Sanjay Khumar Bhola from India asks: I often confuse the difference between beside and besides. for they are different in meaning and usage.D. 'as well as' or 'apart from': 11 . beside Beside is a preposition. It was his boss wanting to know why he wasn’t at work.' Note here that the adverb as well is similar in meaning to as well as and is often used as an alternative to too. 'sitting'. They regard it as art.' It is often used with verbs such as 'standing'.' Note the special use of as long as which is similar in meaning and use to provided that. 'lying'. It is quite important not to confuse them.' 'I'll join you on this skiing holiday. You can’t miss it!' 'We were lying beside the pool when the phone rang. provided I can have my own room at the hotel. Note that both as well and too must be used at the end of the sentence: • • • 'We enjoyed a rare night out last night.) 'We eat well here in Sardinia.• 'In addition to working on his Ph.

I've got essays to mark and reports to write and then I've got to go to the Dean's reception before lunch!' You often use busy directly with the present participle. it’s starting to rain. Well.' toward . We shall never finish before dark. meaning 'as well'. as in: 'I was busy ironing when Jeremy arrived. Consider these examples: • • 'It’s too late to start a round of golf now.' Besides also functions as an adverb.utterly Utterly doesn't go with excited because if you are excited about something that is normally a positive emotion and both utter and utterly (meaning 12 . he cut his lip and bloodied his nose. The only slight difference in usage is that toward is perhaps more characteristic of American English and towards more usual in British English.' 'He doesn’t have very much money and he doesn’t have very many prospects.• • 'What exam subjects are you taking besides English and maths?' 'Were there any boys at the party besides Matt and Dillon?' It can also introduce a participial phrase: • 'Besides bruising his face. Instead. Adverb/adjective collocations: utterly excited? Why can't you say utterly excited? Thank you. he’s far too young to think of getting married. 'furthermore' or 'anyway'.' 'There are always more mosquitoes in the air toward evening. I've got so much to do.towards What about towards and toward? One of my own students was worried that there might be similar pitfalls in store for her when using these prepositions. but I don't think you would repeat busy with in your reply. Besides. utter . Besides. 'What are you busy with?' as in 'What are you busy with this morning?' is fine as a question. Toward or towards means 'in the direction of': • • 'Can you see that light over there?' 'I think it’s coming towards us. Have you noticed?' Busy 'with' or 'about' Pierre from Malaysia writes: 'What are you busy with?' or 'What are you busy about?' Which sentence is correct? I have not heard 'What are you busy about?' before and find it unnatural.' No preposition is then required. if you were a university lecturer. It is often used to introduce an afterthought. you might say: 'Oh. I can re-assure all of you that these prepositions can be used quite interchangeably and that there is no difference in meaning.

I'm looking for something completely different. neutral and negative contexts: Jon has sent me ten red roses and that has come as a complete surprise. is an utter waste of time. Children in Britain get terribly excited on Christmas morning when they come down to open their presents. They had no means of support and were utterly dependent on their parents. He has lied to me so there is a complete breakdown of trust between us. then you are a complete and utter fool. Note that the adjective terrible (meaning horrible. If you think that.complete/completely) have negative meanings and are used only in negative contexts: To say that we'll be landing on Jupiter in 2010 is utter nonsense. especially at Christmas.terribly One of the most common adverbs used with excited is terribly. One of the hallmarks of a proficient language learner is knowing which adverbs collocate with which adjectives. The PM's treatment for an irregular heartbeat has been completely successful. The children were terribly upset when their pet dalmation puppy died. I'm a pessimist and she's an optimist so she's the complete opposite of me. However. Prison life is terrible and I have the most terrible nightmares every night. which adverbs go best with excited? terrible .completely Complete and completely are much more neutral and can be used in positive. complete . awful) can only be used in negative contexts but the adverb terribly can describe extreme behaviour in both negative and positive contexts. His sudden death came as a terrible shock to the entire family. So. ~ I'm in terrible pain. dreadful. 13 . To spend all day window-shopping. we cannot say completely excited. To suggest that there should be a total ban on smoking is utterly ridiculous. When I go on holiday next year.: What's wrong? You look terrible. despite the flexibility of this adjective/adverb. Dozens of homes have been completely destroyed in the floods.

It was an awesome party. As an adjective.awful . awesome Note that awesome. don't you think? The most striking person in the room! It's awfully good of you to find the time to help us with this. adjectives: comparitive and superlative forms Babak Bagheri studying English in Canada writes: As you know.awfully Note that awful and awfully follow a similar pattern. We danced all night and then watched the sun coming up over the sea. He was awfully drunk. She's awfully pretty. meaning very impressive and sometimes a little frightening is a favourite adjective used by young people and people in the media currently: Thierry Henry's ability as a footballer is just awesome. But what do you do when you have hyphenated adjectives? Does easy-going become easier-going or more easy-going? And does user-friendly become user-friendlier? You are quite right. No better way to welcome in the New Year. but he has always been awfully nice to me. two-syllable adjectives ending in -y take the suffixes -ier and -iest for their comparitive and superlative forms. but as an adverb awfully has both negative and positive meanings: It's an awful shame that she's unable to come back home for the holidays. It was an embarrassment to have him there. Thus: 14 . two-syllable adjectives ending in -y have -ier and -iest as their comparative and superlative. He may get on your nerves. awful is used only in negative contexts. She was late and I was worried that something awful had happened to her. Babek.

Others. I became most anxious when I heard that there had been a fire at the hospital. particularly participial adjectives formed with -ing and -ed and those ending in -ious and -ful form their comparatives and superlatives with more and most: boring worried anxious careful • • • more more more more boring worried anxious careful most most most most boring worried anxious careful Watching cricket is even more boring than playing it. I bought the wrong type of hair shampoo for Joan. With some two-syllable adjectives. He is more pleasant /pleasanter to talk to when he has not been drinking. My wife was certainly more anxious than I was when Penny failed to return. Note that other common two-syllable adjectives ending in an unstressed vowel normally take the -er/-est patterns: simple clever • simpler cleverer simplest cleverest The cleverest solution to any problem is usually the simplest one. I was most impressed by Deborah’s performance as Lady Macbeth. Note that most sometimes means very: • • • I was most careful to leave the room as tidy as I had found it. Next time I was more careful. Three or more syllable adjectives take more or most in the comparative and superlative except for two-syllable adjectives ending in -y and prefixed with un-: reasonable more reasonable most reasonable 15 . She was the prettiest and happiest girl at the party.pretty happy dirty messy • • prettier happier dirtier messier prettiest happiest dirtiest messiest Yours is the messiest room I have ever seen. er/est and more/most are both possible: • • The commonest /most common alcoholic drink in Poland is vodka.

less/least in comparative/superlative Kim from South Korea writes: In a BBC article on a business news web page. the case is less clear cut. both are quite possible. In your examples. So. sun-tanned would have to be more sun-tanned. Babek. which are also known as compound adjectives. for example. so we would say that one form is more likely than the other. but one of the most successful. Sometimes we have to use more/most if." Shouldn't it be riskier? Can you explain? Thank you in advance. They always go to the most expensive restaurants where you can see the most glamorous people in the world. -er /-est or more/most with two-syllable adjectives? When it comes to two-syllable adjectives. normally use more and most for the comparative and superlative forms. more/most. it seems to me. -er /-est or more/most with one/three-syllable adjectives? It is clear that adjectives of one syllable normally end in -er and -est in their comparative and superlative forms whilst the comparative and superlative of adjectives with three or more syllables are formed with more and most: • • • The water in the pool was colder than I expected it to be on what was the hottest day of the year. Hyphenated adjectives. just as tanned would have to be more tanned: • You’re more sun-tanned than I am. the adjectival part of the compound ends in -ed. Sometimes it is not so clear-cut. adjectives with -er/-est. This is the general rule. 16 . With some twosyllable adjectives. The work I do is now more satisfying because the conditions under which I work are more satisfactory. -er/-est and more/most are both possible: • The water here is shallower / more shallow than it is further up the beach. a journalist wrote: "The emerging markets that investors can easily put money into seem a lot more risky than they did.beautiful untidy unhealthy • more beautiful untidier unhealthier most beautiful untidiest unheathiest John is the unhealthiest person I know.

as a general rule. I think. The situation is even more hopeless than I thought. I'm busier than I used to be so I have to get up even earlier than before. nevertheless. for the comparative or superlative to be formed with more or most in these examples. I am less hungry today than I was yesterday. Kim. 17 . It may be the case that more risky works well here because it is combined with a modifying phrase such as a lot. The most boring part of the weekend was listening to Jane's jokes. unless we use the construction not as…as: • • • I'm not as hungry today as I was yesterday. both patterns appear possible. The two brothers are both well-known internationally. She will never recover. It would be unusual. I'm less angry with you. Others. less / least Note that when we are making the not-so-much comparison. in your example.• The grey squirrel is one of the most common / commonest rodents that you will see in England. but I would say that Giles is the more famous. stick to -ier / -iest with two-syllable adjectives which end with consoant + y -ful / -less / -ing / -ed / -ous Note that two-syllable adjectives with these endings always form their comparatives and superlatives with more and most: • • • • • Having a tooth extracted was more painful than I expected it to be. less and least are the only options open to us. with particular endings. But I'm still angry. tend to folllow either one or the other pattern: -y > -ier Two-syllable adjectives which end with consonant + -y nearly always form their comparatives and superlatives with -ier and -iest: • • You are one of the messiest people I know. I'm more worried than you are about Tom and I've only known him for two days. However. I was angriest with John about the spoilt weekend. However. with risky. Compare also the following: • Walking along this mountain path is much more risky in winter than it is in summer. Even Jane is tidier than you are.

. It's less warm today.) Compare the following: • • • • The meal was as good as the conversation: spicy and invigorating! She spoke as slowly as she could Has everybody eaten as much as they want? I hope you will agree that I am as imaginative a cook as my wife (is)! Note from the above example that if there is an adjective and a noun after the first as... as as adverb / preposition Look at this example: • He came as quickly as he could. There are a large number of idiomatic expressions or fixed phrases which we use in informal English when we are making comparisons like this. Note that we tend not to use less and least to form comparatives / superlatives with one syllable adjectives. as. Here are a few of them in context: • • • • He went as white as a sheet when he saw the ghost. the first as functions as an adverb modifying the following adjective or adverb. She sat there as quiet as a mouse and wouldn’t say anything. This structure is used to measure and compare things that are of similar proportion. as short adjectives often have other words as their opposites. I know that we use adjectives or adverbs between them. Electricity will be restored to our homes as soon as possible. we can use so…as instead of as…as: • • He is not so / as intelligent as his sister is. In this construction. (It can also function as a conjunction when it relates to the following clause.. Note also that if we want to make a negative statement. The cafeteria was not so / as crowded as it was earlier. Kind regards... don't you think? as . Compare the following: • • Your cooking is less bland than Mary's. . 18 . The second as functions as a preposition when it relates to the following noun or pronoun. but I don not know what they are themselves.• Why don't you sit here? This is the least uncomfortable of our chairs. as and as Hello! I hope you are in the best of health. as are. My maths teacher is as deaf as a post and should have retired years ago.Your cooking is spicier than Mary's.It's cooler today. Would you kindly tell me what parts of speech as. don't you think? . a / an must go between them.

• • All the children were as good as gold when they came to visit me. Because puts more emphasis on the reason or introduces new information. He played the piece of music more slowly than I had ever heard it played before. Remember that when we are measuring or comparing things that are of unequal proportion. These stories are as old as the hills and have been passed down from generation to generation. as as preposition Finally. as means over the same period of time as: • • I think you become more tolerant of other people as you get older. as = when (for clauses of time) We may use as as an alternative to when when we are comparing two short actions or events that happened or happen at the same period of time. We often combine it with just: • • She left the house (just) as the sun was rising. As . as for clauses of proportion Here. I’ve decided to end our relationship because my boyfriend has been cheating on me. the demand for higher salaries became more intense. I can type much faster than you (can). As prices rose. Compare the following: • • • As Mary was the eldest child. as = because (for clauses of reason) We may use as as an alternative to because when the reason is already known or self-evident to the reader of listener. we need to use the structure comparative + than: • • Let me finish the report. she had to look after her younger brothers and sisters. As it had started to rain we had to abandon the picnic. note that as can also be used as a preposition when we want to avoid using the verb to be.clauses are often placed at the beginning of sentences. as as subordinating conjunction Note that as by itself is used as a subordinating conjunction in a variety of different ways. Compare the following: 19 . The telephone rang (just) as I was climbing into my bath.

The dimly. but I don't know how. and come after the noun they modify. it is your duty to ensure that he goes to school every day. Nevertheless. I am always interested in people’s life styles. writes: Sometimes when I read English newspapers or books I see some words with hyphens between them. As you are his father. He established his reputation as a freedom fighter through many heroic acts. Finally. normally with hyphens between them. As a social historian. A denselywooded hill would be one that is difficult to get through because the trees are so close together. Something that is dense contains a lot of things or people in a small area.• • • • • • • As his father. Some common examples would include: cold-blooded brightly-lit • • • • • kind-hearted deeply-rooted old-fashioned densely-populated open-minded well-behaved Most animals are warm-blooded but all reptiles are cold-blooded. sometimes I do not know exactly what they mean. Being a social historian./ brightly-lit streets in our town encourage / discourage burglars. it is your duty to ensure that he goes to school every day. The police described him as a dangerous criminal. studying English in The Netherlands. are not hyphenated: 20 . Could you please help me? Words like densely-populated are compound adjectives and they are made up of two or more words. Note that adverb / past participle combinations when they are used with a copular verb like be or seem. she held deeply-rooted beliefs about the sanctity of marriage. I am always interested in people’s life styles. He was a cold-blooded murderer and showed no emotion of any kind. for example densely-populated. Thus a densely-populated town or city is one with a high population count within the city boundaries. The police considered him to be a dangerous criminal Tomokje. but was kind-hearted and openminded. She lived in an old-fashioned house. I do not know what they are called. adj / adv + past participle Adjective or adverb plus past participle is one of the most common patterns for forming compound adjectives. I would like to make them up by myself.

try it out with your English-speaking friends. and see if it is meaningful. narrowminded. e. We signed a long-lasting agreement for his services which we hoped would be never-ending. When they refused to exchange the shop-soiled item. It is partly a matter of knowing which adjectives or adverbs collocate or go with which participles and nouns. 21 . For example. I was tongue-tied and didn't know what to say. She was wearing a full-length dress. We have brightly-lit streets.g. and here we come to a new pattern. last-minute. Tokmokje. tongue-tied. make sure you use only lead-free petrol. absent-minded. but also brightly-coloured dresses or swimsuits or sweets. Other common patterns for compound adjectives include: • • • • • • • • noun + past participle: shop-soiled. as well as open-minded. strong-minded. There are sometimes many possible combinations. twenty-page. sun-dried. If you want trouble-free motoring. broad-minded. The sun-dried tomatoes that we sell are world-famous. world-famous. which is also very common: Adj / adv / noun + present participle Here are some common examples: good-looking far-reaching labour-saving • • • hard-wearing long-lasting mouth-watering free-standing never-ending record-breaking The good-looking chef was dressed in hard-wearing clothing and sitting in front of a free-standing cooker. noun + adjective: trouble-free. forty-mile. adj + noun: deep-sea. as would brightly-shining stars.• The streets in our town are dimly / brightly lit and encourage / discourage burglars. number + noun: two-door. New combinations are always possible. Compound adjectives are regarded as productive features of English which means that use is not so restricted as it is in many categories of grammar. so if you think something may work. brightly-patterned curtains illustrates the productive nature of this combination. quite unsuitable for deep-sea diving. The dishes he had prepared with all the labour-saving devices at his disposal were all mouth-watering. full-length. lead-free.

Are you all right? I was very concerned that my daughter might not have proper clothing for the skiing trip. it cannot be used in the first or second person and it is normally used with the preparatory subject it. Here are some of the most important. Try out other combinations of these patterns for yourselves. Make a note of compound adjectives that you come across in your reading and note the way they are used with particular nouns. I'm concerned about you. Eunice. You are quite correct. open-top convertible was illadvised in such inclement weather. I knew something awful had happened.g. etc. concerning Eunice Cheung from Hong Kong writes: I would like to ask about the differences in meaning and use between concern and its related forms concerned and concerning. concerned (adj) = worried Note the different ways in which the adjectival form is used: • • • • Why do you keep ringing me? ~ Well. four-door saloon. to suggest that concern and its related forms are used in a variety of different ways. e. We need to indicate the idea of progression in some other way.• The forty-mile journey in the two-door. Compare the following: • • It concerns me that she'll be in London for a whole week on her own. five-page document. Rather than: That she'll be in London for a whole week on her own concerns me). well-advised. Thanks a lot. I was concerned for her safety as well. concern. concerned. There was a concerned expression on his face. it concerns me = it worries me Note that when concern is employed as a verb in this way. Note also that concern is not normally used with progressive forms. There have been a lot of avalanches recently. 22 .

~ It concerns the long lunch breaks enjoyed by the senior executives.• • Doesn't it concern you? She's only nineteen. concerned as past participle = involved / affected The participle modifies the noun or pronoun in these examples and can be used instead of a participle clause: • There was a brawl outside the nightclub. it expresses worry about a situation: • • There is growing concern that the climbers may have lost their lives. give Joan a ring. concern (verb) / concerning (prep) = about When you use concern or concerning in this way. The pensioners concerned will receive substantial compensation / The pensioners who are affected by this will receive compensation. Compare the following: Why are you arguing? What's it all about? What does it concern? • • • • • • ~ It's about the long lunch breaks enjoyed by the senior executives. concern (noun) = worry When concern is used as a noun. you are indicating what a question or a topic is about. contact the club secretary. We had a lot of questions about people's concerns about the new vaccine. If you want to know about opening hours in the summer months. • 23 . For information concerning / relating to opening hours during the summer months. / The youths (who were) involved were held in custody overnight. Those concerned were held in custody overnight. He expressed deep concern about the way in which the elections had been held. A number of questions had been tabled relating to / concerning the dangers of the new vaccine. Many have lost their savings. The pollution problem in that part of the river is beginning to concern all the local anglers. Concerning and relating to are the formal equivalents of the much more informal about.

' 'The number of tourists travelling to Britain this year has not been affected by the strength of the pound. I’d like to know the difference between efficient and effective and the way to use them. The most important thing to remember is that affect is used as a verb and effect is normally used as a noun. affect – effect Affect and effect are often confused. you can use this formula as an alternative to in my view or in my opinion: • As far as I'm concerned / In my view / In my opinion.' 'My words of comfort had little effect. I think they should be taught in primary schools. signifying ‘influence’. She just went on crying and wouldn’t stop.i. 'effect' 'affect' and 'efficient' 'effective' Warda Jamal from Pakistan asks: I always get confused in the usage of effect and affect. ‘impact’ or ‘change’. Warda.' 'I know my neighbours play loud music late at night.I can sleep through anything.e. it may have been raised once already and you. As far as x is concerned is a bit less formal than concerning x: • • As far as foreign languages are concerned.' 24 .' 'The tablets which he took every four hours had no noticeable effect on his headache. as the current speaker. want to return to that topic. even by native speakers of English. Concerning foreign languages. they are similar in meaning. in my view it is appropriate to teach them at primary school level. the English football supporters should not be held responsible for starting the far as I'm concerned = in my opinion When you want to express an opinion. but that doesn’t affect me. Please give examples of their use in sentences. as far as x is concerned = concerning x You can use these expressions to introduce the topic that you wish to talk about or the issue you want to refer back to . Compare the following: • • • • • 'The really hot weather affected everybody’s ability to work. When they are used in this way. Kisy Kesh from Guadaloupe writes: I’m 16 and I’ve been studying English for a few years now.

' Eminent / prominent Please. Consider the following examples: • • 'These tablets really are effective. education.' If something is effective. but it is used only in very formal English. and they can both be used to talk about people who are very well-known and successful in their profession. Consider the following: • 'Repairs could not be effected because the machines were very old. then he. As a prominent local businessman. If somebody or something is efficient. since eminence depends on respect which is earned through skill. if you are a sufferer. For 25 . Bill Gates is a prominent figure in the world of computers. it means to ‘carry out’ or to ‘cause something to happen’. Consider the following examples: • • • 'She was efficient in everything she did and was frequently commended for exemplary service to the organisation. without wasting time or energy. I could not understand the difference between eminent and prominent… Javed Ahmed. it works well and produces the results that were intended. she or it works in a well-organised way.' efficient – effective These two qualitative adjectives are often confused. is to stay indoors. public recognition.' 'He hasn’t made very efficient use of his time in revising for these exams: he has made no notes and his concentration spans appear to last for no longer than ten minutes. it's possible to be a prominent person without being eminent. has had a lot of success in his or her career and is often asked to give advice to other doctors because he or she is known to be so good at the job. Now. it can run for 30 km on only 1 litre of fuel. Prominent has the idea of being well-known and important. If we use effect as a verb. Here are some example sentences: The proposal for the research centre has the backing of Sir David Jones. for example. we can describe them as eminent. Mr Johnson served on many committees and was elected to be the chair of the board of governors. Eminent contains the idea of respected. one of the world's most eminent statisticians. if a doctor is very well qualified. My headache’s much better now.' 'The only effective way to avoid hay fever at this time of the year. For example.' 'This engine is really efficient. Kisy. Hello Javed! Eminent and prominent are both adjectives.Note: we talk about someone or something having an effect on something or someone.

we could say: His arm was badly cut in the accident and he has been left with a prominent scar. question or suggestion. And prominent has a couple of other meanings as well. exactly. Geoffrey is a complete and utter fool. for example: The builders did a really bad job. etc. let’s summarise. And a further meaning of prominent is 'sticking out'. Right. we shan’t be able to get into the show. certainly. and I hope that you become both prominent and eminent one day! emphasizing adverbs Aydyn Türk from Turkey writes: I have been learning English for eight months but some adjectives and adverbs are still a problem for me. Eminent means highly qualified. especially adverbs such as absolutely. These mean almost the same thing in Turkish and I don’t know when to use them in English or which one to use. I hope that answers your question. you are emphasizing that what someone has said is 100% correct.Thanks a lot. absolutely/definitely/certainly/exactly There is not very much difference in meaning or in use when these emphasizing adjectives are used to express strong agreement with a statement. It can mean 'easy to see or notice'. For example. noticeable and important. absolutely! I couldn’t agree more. If you use exactly. Compare the following: • • • • • Doesn’t Sandra look stunning in that hat? Oh.example. a pop star might be prominent but they probably wouldn't be described as eminent. definitely. Exactly! Are you going to Turkey again this summer? Definitely! Without a doubt! 26 . So. Prominent means well-known. Javed. successful and respected. . Absolutely! / Definitely! / Exactly! Will you come shopping with me on Saturday? Definitely! / Certainly! If we can’t find those tickets. The floor was very uneven and there was a prominent bump in one of the walls. If you gave me some examples that would help me. Absolutely is perhaps the strongest.

completely or quite Note that quite can mean very much or completely. Surely that can’t be Felicity standing over there? I thought she was in Australia. I’m quite tired. surely means certainly and they can be used interchangeably. give surely fairly heavy stress: • • • • You’re surely not going out again tonight. Compare the following: • • Are you quite certain that Jack’s in Paris? Completely sure? I’m absolutely sure. It was perfectly clear that she was serious and I was totally powerless to stop her. I think I’ll go to bed. as you say them to yourselves. surely can also be used to express the speaker’s surprise that something is happening. but there’s surely somebody at home. It can also mean fairly or to some extent. I can’t get any reply. I felt that she was completely wrong to even think about it and I am utterly exhausted by it all. Compare the following: • • Can you give me a hand washing up? Surely! / Certainly! / No problem! Would you join us for supper tonight? Surely! Where are you eating? However. They can’t all be out. a bit sleepy. certainly or surely When it is used in response to a request or suggestion. Are you coming to the pub? No. Study the following and.absolutely/simply/utterly/totally/completely/perfectly These emphasizing adverbs are normally used with adjectives that are in themselves already quite absolute. Surely you’re not suggesting she poisoned him on purpose? I can’t believe you could think that! 27 . are you? You went out last night. They give even greater emphasis to what is said. Compare the following: • • • • Your advice was invaluable – absolutely invaluable! I was simply amazed when she said that she was going to marry Henry. Certainly CANNOT be used in this way.

You didn’t get up sufficiently early. adverb or verb: In this climate it’s not warm enough to go out without a jumper in the evening. We don’t have enough milk if everybody wants cappuccino. It suggests that something is good enough or large enough for a particular purpose: This country will never maintain an adequate supply of trained teachers if so many leave the profession after four or five years. 28 . enough as an adverb Enough can also be used as an adverb to modify an adjective. enough – sufficient Enough (where the second syllable is pronounced as in puff or stuff) and sufficient are very similar semantically. I didn’t revise enough so I didn’t pass the exam. they will look like this: In this climate it’s not sufficiently warm to go out without a jumper at night. His computer skills were adequate for the type of work required of him. I’m afraid. You’ve missed him. are normally placed before the adjectives or adverbs that they modify. When it is used in this way. Modifying adverbs. an adverb or a verb. I have insufficient resources to be able to deal effectively with this problem. But I have sufficient information to know what the outcome should be. adequate Adequate is also close in meaning to enough and sufficient. For the negative of enough we have to use not: The level of funding available for the training of teachers is inadequate. so if we want to use the less common sufficiently in these examples instead of enough. sufficient and adequate.enough/sufficient/adequate I would like to know the differences in meaning and use of enough. We have sufficient evidence to convict him for the crimes he has committed. meaning as much as is needed: I don’t have enough time to finish reading this report before the meeting. I didn’t work hard enough so I was unsuccessful in the exam. I’m afraid. it comes after the adjective. You’ve missed him. You didn’t get up early enough. inadequate – insufficient Note that the negative of sufficient and adequate can be formed with the prefix in-. of course. This little car is perfectly adequate for any driving you need to do in town.

but I didn’t get enough of them right to pass the driving test. Enough of + determiner / pronoun Before determiners (this. specially . but that is enough for today! Enough is enough! as we say when we want to indicate that we wish to bring something to an end. thanks. enough as a pronoun Enough can also be used alone without a noun when the meaning is clear: I’ve only saved up £250. Will that be enough for this type of holiday? Some more dressing on your salad? ~ Oh no. I haven’t mentioned all of them. enough is commonly used in a wider variety of contexts than sufficient or adequate. has common usage overwhelmed the distinction? The American Heritage Dictionary and Longman's Dictionary don't think so. I didn’t revise sufficiently so I didn’t pass the exam. thanks.for a particular purpose 29 . etc) and pronouns we use enough of: I’ve had quite enough of this fruit salad. I answered all the questions. but I read enough of the report to get the main idea. It is certainly the case that in usage these two adverbs are often confused and can sometimes be used with the same meaning. Celine.I didn’t work sufficiently hard so I was unsuccessful in the exam. I didn’t read it all. As you can see. Especially & specially / continuously & continually Mark Brown in South Korea writes: Is there really any difference between the following: especially & specially continuously & continually If there is a difference. It’s a bit too sweet for my liking. the. I have quite enough. Especially and specially I don't think the distinction has been completely neutralised either.

He has such ability. It is a bit nippy. The grapes at the supermarket are on special offer . e. when it means important or different from normal. 30 .less than half price. I think he'll be the next special adviser to the President. especial value when we want to emphasise the exceptional nature of this interest or value: • • The police took especial interest in his activities and watched the house continuously. This computer programme is specially for children with learning difficulties. prisoners are allowed out on day release twice a week. especially in these meadows.However. but it's not especially cold for this time of year. mean without stopping or without a break. My father made this model aeroplane specially for me. The Koh-i-noor diamond. meaning particularly or above all: • • These butterflies are particularly noticeable in April and May. has especial value as its history dates back to the 14th Century. now among the British crown jewels. especially is more usual: • • The road between Cairo and Alexandria is especially dangerous at night. Continual . The special effects in the Lord of the Rings films are quite mind-blowing. You'll enjoy playing tennis at our local club. but certainly not every day.particularly / above all We tend to use especially for emphasis. especially on weekdays when it's not so busy. Before adjectives. In special cases. In all other cases and contexts. Its use is confined to particular contexts where it collocates with particular nouns. special . special is preferred: • • • • • • You're a very special person in my life . continual and continuous. meaning particularly. especially .especial Note that the adjective especial is rarely used nowadays.g.never forget that.continuous Both adjectival forms. especial interest. They are often used interchangeably: • This refectory has been in continual /continuous use since the 15th Century. when specially is used to mean for a particular purpose. this form of the adverb is the norm: • • • This shower gel is specially designed for people with sensitive skins. On special occasions we have wine with our meal.

constantly. The progress of pupils was measured though continuous assessment and not through examinations When we want to describe things that happen repeatedly. are often interchangeable. starting with least often and ending with most often. Vivian from Taiwan asks: Can the word fun be used as an adjective? Uma from Germany writes: Could you please enlighten me by explaining how adjectives work in English? 31 . They executed the dance in one continuous movement. continually and continuously. In these examples. continually is behaving as an adverb of frequency.continuously The adverbial forms. cf. rather than without a break. Here. all the time. so continuous is preferred: • • • A continuous line of people stretched as far as the eye could see. • She sniffed continually / continuously all the way through the film and disturbed everyone around her. continually . But when the meaning is clearly very often. continual is preferred: • • His continual drinking was bound to lead to liver failure one day. there are clearly no breaks. it would read: • never > rarely > occasionally > sometimes > often >generally > nearly always > constantly/continually Formation and use of adjectives Three questions this week on the formation and use of adjectives. always. If we arranged such adverbs along a continuum of frequency.• The continual / continuous croaking of the frogs prevented any sleep that night. continually is preferred: • I've got a very bad stomach upset and I'm continually running to the loo. In certain contexts only continuous is possible because continual here would imply that breaks are possible. He refused to give up despite the continual warnings of his family.

Check to see to what extent this is true in the above examples. class. Her teacher says that she is too intelligent for her class. etc. Study the following: • • • • A tall young man and a petite middle-aged woman were walking along the narrow road. It was fun to go there.M. New ideas are always interesting and exciting. much. It will stay fine for the next few days. Note that if we have more than one adjective before a noun. It was fun to do that. more. they can also come after the verb to be and also after other linking verbs such as stay. The fine sunny weather is set to continue. fresh. It was a fun place to go to. the order in which they appear is not always fixed. It/she made you feel happy. A. Among the most common are very. it will have one of two quite different meanings. She is a funny person. Fun is sometimes used as an adjective in the following contexts: • • • It was a fun thing to do. things and places. However. Fun here means pleasant and enjoyable. and most. appear. seem. Adjectives describe the qualities of people. She is a fun person to be with. become. Consider the following: • • • It was very noisy in the garden but much quieter in the house. rather. Tasty. instead of: • • • She is fun to be with. 32 . She is a very gifted child. white French bread is always best served with Stilton cheese and red wine. Consider the following: She is a funny person. I would have said he was rather tall. although it tends to be in this order: quality. funny is the normal adjective and fun is normally used as a noun. size. as we saw above. look. But my mother described him as exceedingly tall. too. Her behaviour is really strange. Khaliel from Saudia Arabia writes: Please let me know how to use adjectives and their formation. quite. colour. Note that when funny is used as an adjective in this way. age. They are one of the largest word classes in English. She makes me laugh. They are normally placed before a noun but. Note also that we often use adverbs of degree to modify the meanings of the adjectives we use.

special. democratic. healthy. conversant. horrible. careless. frequent serious. angry active. stony.easy / simple cruel . dirty. Here are some of the most common: -al: -ant: -ent: -ous: -ic: -y: -ive: -able: -ible: -ful: -less: -ed: -ing: typical.warm rough . expensive. hungry. attractive. fashionable possible. deviant. mental. sympathetic.smooth difficult . skilful. worried. international. excited interesting. conscious terrific. surprising. many common adjectives can be recognised as such by their endings. sensitive. industrial. breathless. probable. excellent. nervous. variant. anxious. basic filthy. valiant different. toothless interested. tireless. confusing. tiring. convenient. susceptible useful.' 33 . scientific. domestic. messy. confused. obvious. noisy. regrettable. tolerant. platonic. Consider these pairs which are opposite in meaning: light . careful. surprised.dark / heavy sad . sufficient. patient. rocky. bored. worrying. dangerous. tired. horrific.happy cool . significant. grateful. famous. dusty. enjoyable. exciting 'good' and 'well' Sven Wagner from Sweden asks: Why do you use good instead of well in the following phrase?: 'We eat good and drink well.' (An English colleague put it that way. secretive. native comfortable.) good = adjective well = adverb Therefore it has to be we eat well as we are describing how we eat and drink. general pleasant. beautiful. boring. sandy. pointless. faithful useless. violent. physical. terrible.adjectival endings Many of the most common adjectives have no special endings.kind However. passive. It might be said that adverbs answer the question How…? whilst adjectives answer the question What sort of…? Study the following: • 'She speaks good Japanese. sensible.

/ Not very well. That's (all very) well and good. Here well means in good health. A good-natured boy. sound. Very well. if you are taking an exam. I'm fine. actually. however. well and good. (well tells us how she dresses) A well-behaved boy.' 'If you want to stay here on your own over Christmas. smell. whether consciously or unconsciously. (good describes his nature) But we would also say: • • A well-dressed woman. In English. Why not sound well in this particular example? It is because when we use verbs such as be.• • 'She speaks Japanese well. we might say: • • 'If you can do the job in less time and leave early. 34 .' 'She speaks Japanese better than I do. appear. but it will sound good over a drink with friends. Thus.better than the food we had last year. So we have: • • • • 'She looks really good in those clothes. I don't mind. but as soon as I get off. look. Note that the expression well and good is used to indicate that you find a particular situation satisfactory or acceptable. 'we eat good and drink well' may be more effective in terms of impact because it breaks the grammatical rule. feel.' Note that better is the comparative form of both good and well. The only time when well can be used as an adjective by itself is when we are talking about someone's health. So. (well tells us how he behaves) Look up good and well in your dictionaries to see if you can find further examples of adjectives formed in this way. for effect.' 'I often feel unwell when I'm on a boat. whilst 'we eat well and drink well' would be grammatically correct. but the work he's done appears good enough for a pass. seem. they are followed by adjectives rather than adverbs as we are describing the subject of the sentence rather than the action of the verb.' For similar reasons we would talk about: A good-looking woman. we often play around with basic language.' 'I felt really good when she congratulated me on winning the essay prize. taste.' 'The food at the reception tasted really good . thanks. Compare the following: • • 'How are you today?' 'Fine. I would not recommend it.' 'There's no way he'll get a distinction.

neither/nor.. Note that neither/nor always come at the beginning of the response clause and that inversion of subject and verb are needed with the tense form agreeing with that of the first clause.neither/nor Only Neither do I or Nor do I is possible here. ~ Neither / Nor did I. ~ Nor / Neither can I! They're hardly / scarcely ever at home. should I answer: Neither do I OR So do I? Are both answers possible here? hardly. Olga... 'She was well pleased with her birthday present.' Again it breaks the rule and is effective in the impact it makes. This is because hardly has a negative Olga Ivanova from Uzbekistan writes: If my friend says to me: I hardly know this author and if I hardly know her. ~ Neither / Nor are we! He's dead now. Note that scarcely has the same negative meaning as hardly and that either of them can be used here..' 'I was well tired last night. Well used in this way often refers to exceptional circumstances or is used as a summary statement. particularly in the 18 . but I hardly / scarcely knew him.. you will also need a negative adverb and use neither or nor in response.Incidentally. there is now a trend among young people.25 age range. So if you wish to agree with what is being said.. 35 . Compare the following: • • • I can hardly / scarcely believe you're twenty years old now. to use well instead of very in expressions like: • • • 'I am well happy with that. I wonder if this creative use of the English language has reached you yet in your part of the world? hardly/scarcely.. It means almost not at all.

I've got hardly /scarcely any money left. / Tom does too. 36 . She always uses olive oil in her cooking ~ So do my Spanish friends / My Spanish friends do too. / We do too. but normal word order: • • She had changed so much. neither…nor Neither…nor are used together when we want to link two negative ideas: • • • When I spoke to him. ~ I couldn't either. I could hardly /scarcely recognise her. Neither the chairman nor the treasurer was / were able to attend the meeting. the verb which follows can be either singular or plural. ~ I'm not either. Neither Henry nor Harry is / are coming to Edward's party. I go to the cinema quite often . If we wish to agree with statements in a positive way. this is our opportunity to use so or too. ~ Me too. he neither smiled nor looked at me. ~ Neither would I. ~ So does Tom. Compare the following: • • • • • • • I would never work as a shop assistant in a large department store.not either As an alternative to neither/nor you can also use not either which has the same meaning. so / too When the frequency of occurrence increases from never or hardly ever to occasionally or sometimes. What about you? ~ I haven't either. They occasionally eat lunch at 'The Blue Parrot'. Don't bother preparing dessert because neither Jane nor Julie eat / eats anything sweet. / So do I.twice a week usually. I could hardly / scarcely understand a word he was saying ~ Nor could your parents. I sometimes have to work at weekends to get everything done ~ So do we. Note that when singular subjects are connected with neither…nor. these adverbs give a positive rather than a negative meaning to what is being said.

both of which are used in very informal speech. Without fail. She's far too busy to find time for me. Always tea. I'm so tired I could sleep for twelve hours. Is this right or wrong? They are not quite interchangeable as they stand. you are putting a negative gloss on what you are saying. I always have two meat rolls for breakfast. it's already two o' clock and I haven't done any work today. I often / frequently have two chocolate biscuits or a pastry with my morning coffee. but need some modification first of all. then this is synonymous with rarely and also with seldom. hardly ever These adverbs describe how frequently or regularly something happens. Compare the following: • • I occasionally see my daughter when I'm up in London. around lunchtime. ~ Me too. can only be used with first person singular agreement: • • Look. But most days. ~ Me neither. 37 . but that when you use hardly ever. rarely and seldom equate with occasionally or very occasionally in terms of frequency. I have to confess. So what do you think is causing the high blood pressure? Note that hardly ever. I hardly ever see my daughter. we might find the following: • • • • • • Well doctor…. And I sometimes have a brandy with my coffee after lunch. I hardly ever / rarely / seldom eat a full English breakfast. After a particularly good lunch. If we add ever to hardly to arrive at hardly ever. I usually have poached eggs on toast at the weekend. Not every day. hardly. If she's free. hardly ever. But most weekends.Note that the expressions Me too and Me neither. etc. Thus along a spectrum of frequency. Occasionally sounds much more positive. Every day.m. hardly any Pual from Thailand writes: I've learned that the words hardly and rarely have the same meaning and that moreover we can use these words interchangeably in any sentence. Not every weekend. I never drink coffee after 7 p. Once every two months perhaps. starting with most frequent and ending with least frequent.

I knew hardly anybody at the party.hardly Hardly. We had barely / hardly / scarcely finished dinner when they arrived. They all describe things or events which are so amazing that they cannot be imagined or believed. You can substitute any of these adjectives or adverbs under discussion as you wish: • • • 'When she died. He's hardly said anything to anybody since the accident. means only just. and equates with barely and scarcely. but hardly any money. It's worth hardly anything . hardly + any (+ -one/-thing) Hardly any means very little or very few and is the opposite of plenty of. but Katie knew loads of people. unbelievably and unimaginably. although I know he was a great friend of John's. loads of. • • • Jonathan could hardly walk but already knew how to swim. or colloquially. Aunt Isobel left me an incredible amount of money – so much I didn’t know what to do with it!' 'I intend to work incredibly hard over the summer so that I pass my exams in September.' 'My performance at the Christmas concert was unbelievably bad. as an adverb by itself. These two adjectives. are quite interchangeable and to these two you could add a third: unimaginable. 'Incredible' and 'unbelievable' Irene Cordoba from Brazil asks: I recently found the Learning English section of the BBC webpage (which was such a delight for me because I really love the language) and I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between incredible and unbelievable and the right uses of each of them.' 38 . He's said hardly anything to anybody since the accident. Note again the negative tone in which it is used: • • • • • I've got plenty of friends. incredible and unbelievable. I barely / hardly / scarcely knew Jack. nearly everybody in fact.practically nothing! Just a few pounds. Adverbial forms are incredibly. perhaps.

It is unbelievable that he survived.• • • 'The weather on the mountain yesterday was unbelievable. Neither Mike nor I could work out how to progress from level 1 to level 2. the safety of their cave bats leave bats will leave leave bats do bats leave Why is it not possible to use 'bats leave'? I would like to acquire this grammatical rule.' 'The operation was performed under almost unimaginable conditions. Quite often in English. Choose the correct answer: Only at night . 'rarely'. which is great! I like your Quiznet. Havana..' Jana from The Czech Republic asks: I have tried to learn English via the BBC. There was no chance of us getting to the top. The same rule operates for 'seldom'. 'never'.' Inversion is also found in expressions containing the word 'no'. (but) we also spent three days exploring the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.. original or surprising in some way..' 'In no way will I agree to sharing an office with Ben. 'scarcely'. but also construction: • 'Not only did we visit Cuba's capital.' 'Only after I had returned home did I realize that I had left my watch in Emma's bathroom. So.. And whenever you make such a statement. 'hardly'. when placed at the beginning of the sentence: • • 'Under no circumstances are you (allowed) to walk home from school alone. The reason for doing so is to emphasize the point that you want to make..' 'The new computer game was unimaginably difficult.. certain expressions with a restrictive or negative meaning are placed at the beginning of a sentence... 'never before' and 'no sooner': 39 .' Inversion is also used after the not only . It is striking. inversion is necessary.' Inversion after negative expressions and 'only. it has to be: • • 'Only at night do bats leave their cave. but I need an explanation for the fifth item of Quiz Three: 5.

when you do this.' 'Rarely do we see such brightly-coloured birds. Neither / nor would I. Martine Talbourdet from France writes: I would like to know if you really use expressions like So do I. so. If it is inappropriate to be so emphatic. and in conditionals? Atefe.writes: I'm getting ready for the TOEFL exam and this part of the website has been really useful for me. So must I. I'm going to get it seen to by the club doctor.' 'Scarcely had we finished lunch when the bell rang for afternoon classes. So is here followed by inverted word order: auxiliary verb + subject: • • • • Judy can run 100 m in 11 seconds. If you want to know more have a look at the web site . I like to eat really hot food on cold days and so do all my friends.' (This is a reference to a recent BBC series. you are registering surprise.• • • • • 'Never before had I seen such realistic dinosaurs as there were in the BBC television series. ~ So have I.) 'No sooner had I arrived at the station than the train came in. just look out of the window. studying English in Canada. you would say: • 'We had scarcely finished lunch when the bell rang for afternoon classes. or something similar. ~ So am I. and are readily used in short answers in spoken English to express agreement with what has been said in the first statement. So can I.Walking with Dinosaurs. etc 40 . I need an explanation for all kinds of inversion and I want to know if it is an obligation to use inversion patterns. ~ So can Henry! I've got a blister on my big toe. Martine. etc These expressions are quite informal. Do you use them or are they formal? So do I. It's snowing! ~ So it is! You've given me tea and I asked for coffee! ~ So I have! I'm sorry.' Inversion after negative expressions.' Remember.' 'Seldom do we walk on such green grass. So is occasionally followed by normal word order in short answers to express surprised agreement: • • If you don't believe me.

We can use this approach with a wide variety of adverbial negative expressions. inversion after negative expressions We can use inversion in statements for the purpose of emphasis if we decide to start the statement with a negative expression. etc. My question is about ‘no sooner’ and ‘than’ requiring the semi-inversion.These expressions are used in a similar way to So would I. we would have been obliged to give him the sack. how can I make two sentences of this one sentence. we would have been forced to sack him. she would go mad. If I say “no sooner had I arrived at the station than the train came in”. please let me know by Friday. Sentences with inversion sometimes sound more formal than those with the more conventional if-construction. Compare the following: • • Under no circumstances would I wear a mini-skirt. yeah. Hardly had I taken my seat before two goals were scored. that’s a good and interesting question. And my question is. I wouldn't dream of going into the water if the temperature is below 20° C and nor would any southerner. in order to understand better the way it functions? Prof Michael Swan answers: OK. my experience 41 . I wouldn't wear a mini-skirt under any circumstances. we need to be clear what happened first. the train came in and then me. to express agreement with negative statements: • • I can't swim very well and neither can my sister. Compare the following: • • • • • • Had he not resigned. although it makes them sound rather formal. Were she to find out that he was seeing some one else. were or should. I had to show him my press pass and only then did he let me in. Inversion in conditional sentences We can use inversion in certain types of conditional sentences when the if-clause begins with had. Only when the players had changed into smart clothes after the match were they allowed to talk to the TV reporters. If you decide to withdraw from the agreement. Does it mean. Compare the following: • • • • • At no time would he allow his team mates to argue with the referee. or I came in and right after me the train? Well. Most of those sentences sound like 'no sooner came John to the station than the train arrived'. the first statement is more emphatic than the second one. If she were to find out that he was cheating on her. In this example. Rarely / Seldom have I seen such an exciting game of football. please phone me by Friday. And let’s make it clear first of all what order things happen in. she'd go berserk. Should you decide to cancel the contract. If he had not resigned.

or “ had only just got to the station when the train came in”…or something like that. Instead I think I’d say something like this: “The train came in just after I got to the station”. Michael! Irregular adjectives and adverbs Syed Aqil Shah from Pakistan writes I'm confused about adjectives and adverbs like expensive. “No sooner had I finished the meal than I started feeling hungry again”. costly. You could say “hardly had I arrived at the station when the train came in”. that have got the same meaning. and right after me the train. because with no sooner we use ‘than’ – after a comparative. It’s a slightly different structure to the one with ‘no sooner’. and then the train doesn’t come in for hours. etc. but I probably wouldn’t say it. with ‘hardly’ and ‘scarcely’. I was pretty upset. sooner – with ‘hardly’ and ‘scarcely’ we say “when”: “hardly had I arrived when the train came in”. I came in. I’d expect to read it. So thanks for your question. I was on one recently on the way to London. dearly. but we have been moved onto a branch line because of engineering works. Can you please explain them to me? Expensive / dear / costly These adjectives are all synonyms though they are used in slightly different ways and in different collocations. and the driver made an announcement over the loudspeaker saying “we apologise for the slow running of the train. or “scarcely had I arrived at the station when the train came in”. it actually that I arrive at the station. also rather literary. It’s actually a rather literary construction. and we are likely to stay there for the foreseeable future!”. But. maybe write it. no sooner had he made the announcement than we started going faster again – so I had my birthday at home after all. if I say “no sooner had I arrived at the station than the train came in”. Hardly and scarcely There’s two similar structures. It is also the case that dear as an adjective has two 42 . dear. to answer your question. Same meaning: I got there just before the train. because it was my birthday and I really didn’t want to spend it on a train between Oxford and London! However. I got there first… just! I’ll give you another couple of examples: “No sooner had I put the phone down than it rang again”. we were moving extremely slowly. Trains are actually a bit unreliable in Britain today as I’ve suggested.

silly. I would dearly like / love to be in your shoes and to have the whole summer free to travel around Europe. She is so kind and gentle in everything she does. it means both expensive and well-liked. 43 . but other common adjectives apart from costly ending in ly include: friendly. This is confusing as most adverbs end in -ly. lively. but costly is an exception and is an adjective. lovely. It was a costly mistake and it meant I wouldn't have another chance until the autumn. He was really quite ugly and unlikely to succeed in the blind date competition. Oh dear! I've forgotten to bring my ID and I shan't be allowed to take the IELTS test. I'm afraid. but if you want to work for this firm. Compare the following uses and collocations in these examples: • • • • • It was an expensive suit. Dearly Dearly can only be used as an adverb and normally collocates with the verbs love / like and in this sense means a lot or very much: • • He's such a nice man. most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the adjective: • He is a slow and careful driver. I love him dearly. Adverbs formed by adding -ly As you no doubt know. ~ They're a bit too dear / expensive. Common adjectives ending in -ly There are not very many. He drives slowly and carefully. as well as featuring in expressions such as Oh dear! or in letters as in Dear Sir. ugly. These are very nice.meanings. you have to dress well. unlikely: • • It was a lively party and there were lots of very friendly people there. The problem with costly may be that it looks like an adverb as it ends in -ly. Haven't you got anything cheaper? Agatha is a dear friend of mine.

You always seem to come home late from work. It's hard work. early: • • • • I know he has a fast car. But note that we cannot form adverbs in this way when the adjective ends in -ly. The most common include: hard. straight. but he doesn't need to drive so fast. Sometimes there is not very much difference. I caught the early bus to be sure of arriving early. (sharply = in a harsh tone) 44 . I'm going to thoroughly clean the house.(late = arriving after the expected time) Mary can jump really high on the trampoline. Compare the following: • • • • • • • • I haven't seen very much of you lately (lately = recently). Sometimes there is a difference in meaning. fast. Nobody can hear us. Adverbs with two forms Some adverbs have two forms.: • They greeted us in a very friendly / silly manner. you'll finish it by bedtime. Adjective and adverb with the same form A number of adverbs have the same form as adjectives.(high = vertical distance) Yesterday she jumped right off it. e. We have to find some other way of modifying the verb. (freely = without feeling restricted) Can you please be waiting for me outside at nine o' clock sharp? (sharp = punctually) I thought she spoke to him rather sharply. (free = without paying) You can speak freely.g. It was highly amusing. We cannot say: friendlily or uglily or sillily.• I'm going to give a house a thorough clean. but if you work hard and really concentrate. (highly = very) Alfonso can eat free in the restaurant where he works. The Aurelian Way is a very straight Roman road which goes straight from Rome to Pisa.

likely is also sometimes used as an adverb. in fact. If something is likely. Everybody in the room can hear you. It's more than likely that I shall see Chris in Cambridge. (loudly = more formal usage) Likely / likely that / likely to Reinhard Hoffman from Germany writes: I would like to ask you about the meaning and grammatical construction of the phrase likely to be hard pressed to in the following sentence: …this region is one of the least developed in China and the authorities are likely to be hard pressed to respond to the disaster. likely Likely is most often used as an adjective. meaning probable. it is probably going to happen: • • The most likely cause of the fire in the stadium was an unextinguished cigarette The most likely outcome to the investigation is that the stadium will have to be rebuilt. meaning most probably: • They'll quite likely invite you out to eat in a restaurant when you're staying with them. it's likely that + clause Likely is quite often used with it as a preparatory subject: • • It's unlikely that this afternoon's session will last very long.• • Don't talk so loud. I am almost certain to bump into him. With the modifiers most. quite or very. It should be over by five o' clock. (opposites unlikely / improbable). (loud = informal usage) Jonathan spoke loudly and convincingly about the advantages of leasing rather than buying cars. be likely to + infinitive 45 .

Why don't you buy a new one? ~ I'm a bit pressed for cash at the moment. Note that hard also sometimes suggests physical force: This door is inclined to stick. but if you push it hard. I shall probably be back quite early from the meeting. but probable cannot be used in this way: • • • This afternoon's session is unlikely to last very long. Are you likely to be staying in when you get back? It is this realisation of likely that is used in your example. It's not really her subject. Being pressed suggests being under pressure: • • It seems to me that the Labour government will be hard pressed to win the next election. hard pressed / pushed If you are hard pressed or hard pushed to do something. Will you probably stay in when you get back? The authorities will probably be hard pressed to respond to the disaster.As an alternative. but she says she could teach beginners Spanish if we're really pressed. you experience great difficulty in doing it. it would need to re-phrase them as follows: • • • • This afternoon's session will probably finish quite early. Note that if we wanted to use probably as an alternative in these examples. Reinhard: • The authorities are likely to be hard pressed to respond to the disaster. it will open. I'm unlikely to be back late from the meeting. we can use the be unlikely to + infinitive construction with a normal subject. pressed for time / money / etc Pressed also collocates with time and money and other ideas in a similar way to hard pressed. This one's worn out. I suggest we have some lunch. Use of the adverb hard here suggests a lot of force being used against you. suggesting difficulty: • • • Are you pressed for time? If not. We were hard pushed to complete all the preparations before the guests arrived. participles as adjectives 46 .

fed and walked.I am confused as to when I can use participles as adjectives. barking dogs [ yes ] barked dogs [ no ] There are not very many adjectives formed from verb participles. Dogs can be washed. 47 . brushed. that can be used in both -ed and -ing forms. The child which was abandoning was so upset she cried for three days. I can say: I saw a barking dog. Barking works in the first pair of examples because -ing forms when used as adjectives have similar meanings to active verbs. but they can't be barked. depending on active or passive use in these examples below. The child that had been abandoned cried for three days. Let me give you an example. Barked doesn't work in the second pair of examples because most past participles have passive meanings when they are used as adjectives. The barked dogs kept me awake all night. Consider the following: The barking dogs kept me awake all night. That is something they do themselves. it is unlikely to make sense as a participle adjective. Why not? Thanks. Tutul. abandoned works as an adjective. The dogs that had been barked kept me awake all night. dried. But I can't say: I saw a barked dog. There are a few participial adjectives that can be used in both -ing and -ed forms. If it doesn't make sense as a participle in a clause. The dogs that were barking kept me awake all night. The abandoning child was so unhappy she cried for three days. using the past participle as an adjective. abandoning child [ no ] abandoned child [ yes ] Abandon (meaning to leave someone when you should stay with them) is commonly used in passive structures. though the unfortunate ones are sometimes abandoned by their parents. Compare the following: The abandoned child cried for three days without stopping. but note the differences in meaning. You can often get a sense of what works and what doesn't by transforming the participial adjective into a participial clause. For this reason. Abandoning doesn't work because children cannot abandon themselves. Here the present participle barking is used as an adjective. but abandoning does not. combed.

which was advancing rapidly. The army. 48 . Houses which are alarmed afford some protection against burglary. Reports are coming in that refugees are being racially abused. The trees that had fallen blocked the road and made it quite impassable. This class is appropriate only for advanced students.broken hearts [ yes ] breaking waves [ yes ] She is suffering from a broken heart Her heart has been broken by his cruel behaviour. b) it is the developed nations which should provide it. The leaves that were falling covered the path and made it slippery. The advancing army surrounded the city and cut off all its supply lines. it is true to say that: a) developing countries need as much help as they can get. It is suitable for students who have advanced beyond level five. Note with these examples there may not be so much change in meaning between the -ing and -ed forms: falling/fallen [ yes ] advanced/advancing [ yes ] developing/developed [ yes ] The falling leaves covered the path and made it quite slippery. A small number of verbs have past participles that can be used as adjectives before nouns with active meanings. When we think of countries that are still developing and countries that have developed. Alarming reports are coming in that refugees are being racially abused. had cut off the city by nightfall. alarmed houses [ yes ] alarming reports [ yes ] Alarmed houses afford some protection against burglary. The fallen trees blocked the road and only pedestrians could get through. This alarms me. Huge waves breaking on the beach pushed the surtboard out to sea. The breaking waves pushed the surfboard further out to sea.

even amazed . They still had a lot to talk about. of course. The confusion arises because finished operates both as an adjective and as the past tense and past participle of the verb to finish. Sheila wasn't finished with Paul yet. I was bored with the performance and decided to leave as soon as the interval arrived. If they say 'We've finished work for today'. Here are a few of the most common: • • • • • I became interested in the tennis as soon as I heard that ticket prices would be reduced. look and become. appear. She's not ready to leave. It sounds as if they say I'm finished or Are you finished? to state or to ask if you have concluded your work. She seemed surprised . She won't be finished for at least another hour and a half. -ed as an adjective When we use it as an adjective. Why do they use to be instead of to have? Shouldn't they say: I've finished and Have you finished?? I don't understand. we can talk about things being finished as well as people being finished with something: • • • Their marriage is finished. They were quite satisfied with the arrangement. so it's good it's over. There are. He was also worried that they might be late back. She thought I was in the States. It was a disaster from the beginning. There are many more. a wide range of adjectives ending in -ed which follow the verb to be and other linking verbs such as seem. Ned was frightened of Lucie. Check those 49 . they are using it as the past participle of the verb to finish. mental states or emotional reactions to something. Thank you for your answer. (This would be more normal in standard English).Ed and -ing as adjectives: Patrizia Rapali from Italy writes: I'm Italian but I'm working in Ireland see me. Note that all of these adjectives ending in -ed describe people's feelings. So if your colleagues say 'We're finished for today'. they are using it as an adjective. Sharing the cost suited them both.

depressing. pleased. tired. charming. disappointed. appalled. Note that these adjectives usually describe things rather than people directly. puzzled. concerned. convinced. Have you finished your homework? Are you finished with your homework? 50 . embarrassing. These results. inspiring. convincing. e. thrilling Remember: • • The storm was terrifying. astonishing. tempting and I am tempted to accept it. shocked. refreshing. I was terrified by it. His answers were misleading.three weeks in the Caribbean with nothing to pay! . intriguing. In fact. everyone thought he was lying. humiliating. prepared. encouraging. confused. although they also describe the effect that something has on your ideas and feelings: • • • • • The meeting was very satisfying for all concerned as everybody got what they wanted. amusing. terrifying. rewarding. are disappointing and must be very worrying for your parents. It's boring. disgusting. All of these -ing adjectives listed here have their -ed counterparts: alarming. -ed adjectives Leung Waiteng from Hong Kong writes: I am confused by the way adjectives are formed from verbs with just an -ed added. delighted. determined. thrilled -ing as an adjective There are also a large number of adjectives ending in -ing which relate to verb forms and are used in the same way as -ed adjectives. Tom. The play was quite interesting and commented on many aspects of contemporary life. His offer .you don't know in a dictionary to see how they are used and which prepositions they can be used with: amused. Here are some more which can be used in the same way. I don't want to go to the seaside again this year. annoying. confusing. entertaining. excited.

Adjectives ending in -ed A large number of adjectives in English end in -ed. I haven't completed it yet. I am disappointed with your behaviour this evening. however. meaning finished: • • • No house is complete without carpets on the floors and pictures on the walls. Is there any difference in meaning between the two sentences? Which one is more appropriate in spoken English? There is no real difference in meaning or use between finish (verb) and finished (adj) or between complete (verb) and completed (adj). They indicate that something has happened or is happening to the person referred to.The same thing happens with complete (verb) and completed (adjective). Can I read the manuscript of your latest novel? ~ No. that complete as an adjective with the slightly different meaning of whole or entire is more frequently used than completed as an adjective. Here are some more common adjectives which have a similar meaning to the related verb: amused astonished confused delighted depressed 51 . Thus. that shows a complete lack of understanding on your part. a child who is spoilt is a child who has been spoilt by something. Note. sorry. With only one hand on the steering wheel he was not in complete control of the car he was driving . If you think I can handle all this work on my own. Many of them have the same form as the past participle of the verb: • • Your behaviour this evening has disappointed me. Both sound very natural in spoken English: • • • • Is your work finished for the day or do you still have some to do? Have you finished your work for the day or do you still have some to do? Can I read the manuscript of your latest novel? ~ No. it's not completed yet. sorry.

OR: 52 . It's very interesting for me. only the middle one is a possibility. I am a very worried mum. OR: It's very interesting. -ed / -ing adjective or verb? Alex from Israel writes: Hi. Which one is best? Thank you in advance. She was wearing a spotted dress. Roger. it sounds slightly awkward. You will embarrass your father if you dare to wear clothes like that. Of the three. the adjectival form has a meaning which is different from that of its related verb. Occasionally. I think most people would say simply: • • That's very interesting. I would be interested to know if you are planning to visit Greece this summer. But even here. That interests me because I shall be there throughout August and September. The cancer was quite advanced and he had only a few weeks to live. Compare the following: • • • I spotted her through the crowded room. We advanced through the jungle as quickly as we could as we needed to reach the clearing by nightfall. It's very interesting me. I'd like to ask a very simple question. How do I say: It's very interesting to me.distressed satisfied • • • • • embarrassed shocked excited surprised frightened tired interested worried It worries me that Jack stays out so late every night. She came down the stairs wearing jeans with holes in them and I have never been so embarrassed.

I must say! interested / disappointed / surprised / pleased + infinitive clause 53 . A: Paul's an amazing guy. you would need to say: • • That interests me a lot. yesterday. It was really amazing! It was a tiring day. Most students were confused by it. Other adjectives describing emotions follow a similar pattern: confusing / confused shocking / shocked amazing / amazed Compare the following: • • • • • • His explanation was confusing. isn't he? He amazes me. but at least he's not as annoying as Ben who sniffs all the time.• I find that very interesting. I was disappointed not to get the promotion I deserved. I was dead tired after all that shopping. -ing adjective or -ed adjective? Remember: people might be interested in something and it is the thing itself that people find interesting. isn't he? I find his conversation really boring. We were shocked when we heard that everyone had drowned. I think it will be quite exciting. disappointing / disappointed surprising / surprised annoying / annoyed exciting / excited tiring / tired boring / bored Note that people can also be adjective -ing. B: I'm quite amazed by all the things Paul gets up to. He can always see the funny side of things. I'm starting a new job and I'm quite excited about it. rather than interesting as an adjective. The news was shocking. Everybody was surprised when Jenny came top of the class. If you want to use interest as a verb. B: He may be boring. That doesn't interest me very much. A disappointing day. if they awaken this emotion in others: A: Frank is such a boring person.

it will normally be either with or by. Pitiful 54 . Interested in / surprised by / pleased with / etc Note that if you are using a prepositional structure with these adjectives. I would be interested in working in Britain if I could get a work permit. however. Interested.Note that some of these adjectives are often followed by an infinitive clause: • • • • I shall be interested to hear about how you get on in Cairo. and are thus rarely used with continuous tenses: • • • • She wanted to please him. sometimes both are possible. but disappointed him when he discovered that she had spent so much money. I must say we were disappointed to learn that he had abandoned his job. I shall be pleased / delighted to accompany you to the exhibition on Thursday. He's normally such an exciting director. not an action. We were most surprised to see Kevin and Henry holding hands at the bus stop. Interest / surprise / please / etc as verbs Note that the verb forms of these adjectives describe an emotional state. (NOT: It is surprising me…) The novel interested me because it seemed to reflect real life so accurately. It amused me so much that I kept bursting out with laughter. (NOT: … was disappointing him…) It surprises me to see you making so many basic errors in this game. is usually followed by in. Compare the following: • • • • We were pleased / delighted with all the wedding presents we received. We were surprised by his rudeness at the family gathering. Quite disgusting! I was quite disappointed with / by the film.

maybe hungry. Here’s an example: After years of mismanagement. And these feelings of pity will often lead you to help the person or animal that’s suffering. They hadn’t been fed for weeks. not looked after. disgraceful and contemptible. So. You can use words like sorry and pathetic as synonyms for pitiful. Now these words pitiful. but they were not accepted. woeful. sorry and pathetic can also have quite a negative meaning. his finances were in a pitiful state. Sandro! Hwang Minsu from Korea writes: What is the difference in meaning between impossible mission and mission impossible? In English. And another one: He made a couple of pitiful excuses about why he hadn’t finished his work. that’s an interesting question. can come before or after nouns. And here are some synonyms for this second meaning of pitiful. many adjectives. Thanks for your question. They are: deplorable. cold. The children had made pitiful attempts to look after their mother but it was clear that the family could not manage. including past participles. we would normally say: • Getting all the way round Brazil in five working days proved an impossible mission. Well. But in many cases I don’t know what the difference is between an adjective placed before the noun and after the noun. Thus. or sorrow or compassion… when you see a person or an animal that’s suffering in some way. it’s suffering in a way which makes you feel sorry for it and you recognise that it needs help. and they had sore and infected patches all over their skin. Now. if something is described as pitiful.How can I use the word pitiful in a sentence? – Sandro Hello Sandro. 55 . They can be used to mean a feeling of pity but mixed with contempt or disgust for the lack of skill or care or attention that’s caused the situation. pitiful is an adjective and it comes from the word pity. adjectives before nouns Adjectives are normally placed before nouns and this is known as the modifier or attributive position. And here’s some examples: The horses were in a pitiful condition. Now pity is a feeling that people have of kind of kindhearted sympathy.

In the next street. capable of achieving first-class degrees. In all of these last four examples. Copular verbs. NOT: I used to live in a next to the Royal Opera House house. I was sitting next to the open window which I couldn’t close. Then we would have: • • • The mission was impossible. The window remained open. become. All the questions he asked were difficult. They include: be. NOT: We are recruiting capable of achieving first class degree students. It sounds original and therefore your attention is drawn to it. go. seem.• • He asked me a number of difficult questions. get. Mission impossible. I used to live in a house which was next to the Royal Opera House. feel. e. smell. stay. participles are placed after the nouns which they define: • • The people questioned about the incident gave very vivid accounts of what had happened. in fact. if I remember correctly. I used to live in a house next to the Royal Opera House. remain. describe the state of something or someone or a change of state. The suspects remained calm although I could see that they were anxious. look. however. smelt and tasted good. There is. which join adjectives to their subjects. turn: • • • The policemen became angry. sound. BUT: She was a capable student. was originally the name of an American television series which was later made into a film which you have probably seen. exceptions to the general rule: adjectives after nouns Attributive adjectives can be placed after the verb to be (and other copular verbs). The soup looked.g. Also attributive adjectives with their own complement. appear. no reason for putting the adjective after the noun here other than for effect. keep. taste. grow. The issues discussed at the meeting all had some bearing on world peace. • In a similar way. 56 . in fact. it is perhaps more normal to use a relative clause: • • We are recruiting students who are capable of achieving first-class degrees. BUT: I live quite near you. usually require the whole expression to come after the noun rather than before it: • We are recruiting students capable of achieving first-class degrees.

and. There are three normal positions for adverbs in a sentence: 1) initial position (before the subject) 2) mid position (between the subject and the verb or immediately after be as a main verb) or 3) end position (at the end of the clause). any. everybody went on strike. officially. Finally. Compare the following: • • • Two of the workers were sacked. so please regard this as a basic guide. luckily. adjectives come after most measurement nouns and after some-. This place doesn’t look very promising.words: • • • • • The fence around the estate was three metres high. We invited all the family. 57 . thirty-five kilometres long and one hundred and twenty years old. always come here. Comment and viewpoint adverbs (e. There are sometimes exceptions to the general rule.g. The issues that were discussed at the meeting all had some bearing on world peace. I couldn’t find anything interesting on the television so I had an early night. Is there any rule regarding the position of adverbs? Thanks a lot. as a result. Jang-Joon Lee from Korea writes: I studied English for more than twenty years in school. not everyone could come. But I still don't know the exact position of an adverb.• • The people who were questioned about the incident gave vivid accounts of what had happened. There’s somebody outside who wants to speak to you. presumably) can also come here when we want to highlight what we are about to say. Initial position Linking adverbs. which join a clause to what was said before.and no. However. Different types of adverbs favour different positions and I describe these trends below. but tomorrow it will rain. but let’s try and find somewhere nice for dinner. Time adverbs can come here when we want to show a contrast with a previous reference to time. The weather will stay fine today. Shall I let him in? Nobody present at the meeting was able to offer me any useful advice.

officially. may/might Katinka Raupenstein from Germany writes: 58 . I've almost finished. But John says I shouldn't wear it. Tom won't be back yet. obviously.g.g probably. is. they are placed immediately before them: • • We had some really interesting news last night. completely. was) are used. almost) all favour this position. clearly. has. quite.g. even). but presumably you'll want to show her around London mid position Focusing adverbs (e. Note that when auxiliary verbs (e. An exception to this rule is enough which is placed after the adjective or adverb that it modifies: • I got up quite early but not early enough to eat a good breakfast. ~ I completely agree! adverb-adjective When adverbs modify adjectives. My boss often travels to Malaysia and Singapore but I've never been there.she's even been to Tibet and Nepal. expressing possibility: perhaps/maybe. although. He's absolutely delighted. adverbs of indefinite frequency (e. will. John's been offered a job in Australia. I'll give her a ring. I haven't made any plans yet. but over the last few weeks it has deteriorated. She's obviously a very bossy woman. but I'll just see if Brenda's home. Have you finished yet? I haven't quite finished. Margaret ran the office. often. just. his condition remained stable. Trevor was the manager. they normally go between the auxiliary verb and the main verb: • • • • • She's been everywhere . always. never) and adverbs of certainty and degree (e. I bought an incredibly expensive dress last week which fits me perfectly.g. He says it's too tight.• • • Initially.

maybe is very appropriate for more informal contexts and perhaps is used in more formal situations. but you are not certain. present or future events. perhaps / maybe I will. They can normally be used interchangeably. Ann? ~ Oh. you may / might feel better tomorrow. buy maybe perhaps was used only in former times. I've never heard perhaps on the radio. Compare the following: • • • • • I may go into town tomorrow for the Christmas sales. How old is Jane? ~ I don't really know. St Paul's Cathedral is perhaps one of London's most prominent landmarks. I might stay at home. You use them to say that something is possible or may be true. All the VIPs use only maybe. ~ Perhaps / Maybe you threw it away. In any case. we can use the modal auxiliaries may or might to say that there is a chance that something is true or may happen. certainly. There were perhaps as many as fifty badly wounded soldiers in the hospital. May and might are used to talk about present or future events. 59 . They can be used interchangeably but of the two. I may go to Scotland. maybe / perhaps In British English both of these adverbs are still very commonly used and have the same meaning. It means that something will never happen. but there again. maybe. you might feel better tomorrow. In her twenties.Hi! I'd like to know when you should use maybe and when you should use perhaps. Note also from the above illustrations that perhaps and maybe can be used to refer to past. Maybe you are right! Perhaps it would be best if you didn't invite Johnnie Note that perhaps is pronounced 'praps'. Compare the following: • • • • • • • I can't find it anywhere. Twentyfive. Why don't you join us for the New Year celebrations? ~ Yeah. may / might Similarly. One of my New Year resolutions is to go to the gym twice a week! ~ And pigs might fly! Note that 'Pigs might fly' is a fixed expression and always uses might. I'm not sure. And James might come with me! What are you doing over the New Year. Perhaps I should explain to you how they came to be there. although might may suggest a smaller chance of something happening. If you went to bed early tonight. If you go to bed early tonight.

quite = completely When it is used for emphasis with adjectives that cannot be graded. quite means completely. you might feel better tomorrow. but it also means fairly or rather. will perhaps could be substituted. Study the following: • • • Shall we go? ~ I'm not quite ready. where might is an alternative for would perhaps. you may / might feel better tomorrow. • If you go to bed early tonight. Do you like this one? ~ It's not quite the colour I wanted. Steven Tan from Singapore writes: Hi Roger! My friends often argue about the meaning of the adverb quite. I see no hope . Webster's Dictionary defines it as extreme or very. Have you finished that book on Che Guevara yet? ~ Not quite.we were just spellbound for three hours! Are you quite sure? I think you're quite wrong about this. quite has two different meanings.the future looks quite black to me. it always means not exactly or not completely. His performance on stage was quite amazing . It does mean completely or entirely. we may find: • • • • • There's no trace of red in her hair . The colour adjective black. may cannot be substituted. In the second conditional example. • If you went to bed early tonight.In the first conditional example. for example cannot be graded. Am I right to say that it is the same in British English? In British English. quite = exactly / I agree 60 .it's quite black. not quite = not completely When not is used with quite. if we put this into context and look at some more examples of quite with ungradable adjectives. So. They are just black. Things can't be more black or less black. It's quite impossible to learn twenty new items of vocabulary each day.

it normally has the meaning of rather. / It was quite difficult. I quite agree with you. Did you get to see Hamlet at the Barbican? ~ Yes. Compare the following: • • • • I know they left in a hurry. Things can be easier or harder. when used with easy. quite with verbs When quite is used to modify verbs. So / Very 61 . really. Compare the following: • • • • I wouldn't want to be on holiday with him. but I will have by Saturday. How did you get on at Barry's party? ~ Oh. but I quite like him. Young children must never be left at home on their own. Study these examples: • • • How did you find the maths test? ~ Oh. I think it's going to be quite a nice day. ~ Quite! / That's absolutely right. it was quite nice. it was in quite a mess. Let's take a picnic with us. it means fairly or rather. I haven't quite finished decorating Jim's bedroom yet. quite = fairly / rather If we are using quite with an adjective that is gradable. meaning exactly or I completely agree: • • I always knew their marriage would never last. it was quite an interesting production. is gradable. those animals won't harm you. quite with a / an + (adjective) noun When quite is used to modify nouns or adjectives with nouns. ~ Quite! / Exactly! / So did I! If you stay quite still. it was quite a success. it was quite easy. Thus. for example. Nearly everything went. I quite enjoyed myself.Quite can be used in an emphatic way as a one-word response. What did you think of the cabaret? ~ Oh. I'm quite tired but I'll try and finish this book review before I go to bed. The adjective easy. quite. the meaning depends on whether the verb is regarded as gradable or not. it was quite entertaining. How was the house contents auction? ~ Oh. How did they leave the house? ~ Oh. means fairly or rather.

thanks for your question." But "We were laughing" is the past continuous tense. but Tokyo is a very big city. "We are laughing" is the present continuous tense. I went to the Malaysian grand prix and it was so noisy. for example. and so normally talks about a time in the past: "We were laughing at the story about Paul when he walked in the room" or "I saw what happened.that's part of a sentence . say 'are'. we are not laughing at you . say 'were'.. We might say that "We are laughing at the comedy on television" or "Don't worry. Let's start with the easy bit. places or things to make them more extreme." "The Petronas Towers are so tall that they were once the world's tallest buildings. and that normally means that it is happening right now." "Einstein was so intelligent that some other scientists had problems understanding his theories. The other question is a bit more complicated.after it." The first part of the sentence doesn't really make any sense without the second part. We use 'very' with adjectives .me neither. The 'so' part of the sentence explains why the 'that' part of the sentence happens: "Tokyo is so big that it is difficult for tourists to find their way around. Can you explain it to me? Mark Shea answers: Hi Halimatus.. so although we can say: "The Malaysian grand prix is very noisy" it doesn't really make sense to say: "The Malaysian grand prix is so noisy" . laugh: "When we're laughing. For example: "I don't like motor sports!" "No . If it was happening at some time in the past. there's normally another clause ." "The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur are very tall." When we use 'so'..those are words which describe people. it might mean every time we do something.Halimatus from Malaysia asks What's the difference between 'so' and 'very'? And what is the difference between 'were laughing' and 'are laughing'? I think both have the same meaning." 62 .unless you're replying to something another person has just said. So: "London is a big city. but why were you laughing?" So the difference is the present and the past: If it's happening now.." "Einstein was a very intelligent man. I forget about our was something John said earlier!" In expressions with 'when'.

If so here means 'in this way' or 'thus'. thus: • 'She was so indescribably beautiful that we couldn't take our eyes off her.' Remember: such + noun so + adjective such + adjective + noun so + adverb + adjective The noun with such is normally preceded by the indefinite article: • • • 'We had such a good time at Henry's party. So it will be: • 'Miles looked older than his brother. if you are using so or such for emphasis to mean 'to a very great degree or extent'. so revealing a strange maturity. and use 'so' when you want to add extra information afterwards. their position immediately before the adjective is correct. revealing so a strange maturity.' 'I've been working far too hard today and I've got such a headache now. but is placed before adjectives standing alone or before adverb plus difficult that I think I need a rest now! Use of 'so' and 'such' Savino Carrella from Naples asks: Could you kindly tell me whether the use of so in the following sentence is correct: 'Miles looked older than his brother.' ('thus' = more formal) However. it would normally come immediately after the main clause: • • 'Miles looked older than his brother. I hope this answers your question Halimatus. So use 'very' when you don't mean that something is good or bad. just extreme.What we mean here is that it was so noisy that she didn't enjoy it.' So is obviously used in a similar way. It has to be such before a noun or before an adjective plus noun. thus revealing a strange maturity. It was very difficult .' 'She really embarrassed me. She is such a fool. revealing such a strange maturity.' Here so should stand for 'in this way'. But take care using these two forms.' ('so' = less formal) 'Miles looked older than his brother.' 63 .

' 'Don't go so fast! Slow down!' 'What's so funny about that?' 'I'm so tired! It's as if I haven't slept for a week.' 'There were so few leaves on the tree that it was pointless to try to shelter from the rain beneath it. of course. the indefinite article is dropped: • • • • 'Such lovely countryside (around here)!' 'Such awful weather (these days)!' 'We had such fun at Henry's party!' 'I don't know how you have such patience (when dealing with such awkward customers).' You cannot say: 'such many sun-worshippers'.' There is one exception to the general rule as set out above and that is that only so can be used with indefinite determiners much and many and it is more usual with little and few when these are followed by a noun. We therefore have the new pattern: so + determiner + noun • • • • 'So many sun-worshippers had crowded on to the beach that there was no space left for my towel. in certain expressions. the article is. or 'such much noise' and it would be unusual to say: 'such few leaves' or 'such little rest'. Note that when plural nouns are used after such.' 'I had so little rest over the weekend that I couldn't go to work on Monday morning. • • • • • • 'I'm so glad (that) you could come!' 'It had been so hot on the journey (that) we had to drink a litre of water when we arrived home. when the noun has a gradeable meaning.' 'I'm sure there will be so much noise in the restaurant that I shan't be able to hear what anybody is saying.Occasionally.' 'She prepared such good meals (that) no one ever thought of going out to eat. 64 .' 'I've got such a high temperature (that) I'm hoping (that) my husband will drive me straight to the surgery when he gets home from work.' 'They were such good swimmers (that) they had no difficulty swimming across the fast-flowing river.' Frequently heard examples of so in this sense might include: • • • • • • 'I'm so glad you are here!' 'He was so pleased to see her.' 'There was so much to do on that holiday (that) nobody ever got bored.' 'I love you so much!' You will already have noticed from at least one of the above examples that so and such are often followed by 'that'-clauses suggesting result or consequence. omitted.

Finally compare: • • 'Such little people!' ('Little' here is used as an adjective meaning 'small'. Compare the following: • • • Even though it was suffocatingly hot.' though / as though / like Tamas from Hungary writes: I'm a bit confused about using the word though. Although she was very fond of him. Note that when plural nouns are used after 'such'.) You will already have noticed from at least one of the above examples that 'so' and 'such' are often followed by that-clauses suggesting result or consequence.) 'So few people!' ('Few' here is used as a determiner meaning 'not very many'. 'though' as adverb But in your example. We use though and however when we want to add a comment that seems to contradict or contrasts with what has already been said. 'I'm so glad (that) you could come!' 'It had been so hot on the journey (that) we had to drink a litre of water when we arrived home. We could try to phone her before we go. I like the garden though. It's often used at the end of a sentence.' 'I've got such a high temperature (that) I'm hoping (that) my husband will drive me straight to the surgery when he gets home from work. though we might miss the train if we do. and as the less formal and less forceful equivalent of although and even though. she was wearing a thick woollen sweater. of course. omitted. For example: • The house isn't very nice. though is used as an adverb as the less formal equivalent of however. Can you help me out and explain the usage of this word? 'though' as conjunction We normally think of though as a conjunction introducing a contrastive statement. the article is. she had no intention of marrying him. Tamas.' 'There was so much to do on that holiday (that) nobody ever got bored.' 'She prepared such good meals (that) no one ever thought of going out to eat. As 65 .' 'They were such good swimmers (that) they had no difficulty swimming across the fast-flowing river.

in your own example.any time before now 66 . I always think it is your mother. particularly American English. I can’t stay for lunch. if you want to be grammatically correct. However. We have to say: I have met him before. It looks as if / as though it’s going to rain. like. I can’t understand why she’s so keen on him. Like me. but not with ago? 'before' . Compare the following: • • I performed so well at interview I thought I would get the job. Ago cannot be used with the present perfect tense. Tamas. I’ll have a coffee. as though and as if are subordinating conjunctions. it was not to be. On the phone you sound just like your mother. make sure you use like in this way: • • • Like all good curries. In fact. is a preposition which can only be followed by a pronoun. The economic outlook is not very good. though. isn’t there? • • as though / as if / like Like though. So. I can assure you that nobody will lose his job. It’s not as if / as though he’s good-looking or anything. Strictly speaking. Take an umbrella. meaning similar to. I am having difficulty with the difference between ago and before. though. I’m sorry. she refuses to work after six o’ clock in the evening. it was served with fresh coriander and nan bread. What a lovely sunny day! ~ There’s a chilly wind. we sometimes substitute like for as if and as though: • • She looked at me like I was stupid. noun or noun phrase. It looks like it’s gonna rain. We use as if or as though when we want to give an explanation for something which may not be correct: • • • She looked at me as if / as though I were mad. though often indicates an afterthought. We cannot say: I have met him five years ago. 'before' or 'ago' I am studying how to use tenses correctly in English. In spoken informal English. Why is present perfect possible with before. However.

I met him somewhere before. This is my first time. It does not say when. before or earlier or previously are used. not ago: I met him at the AIDS conference in Durban in December 2002 when he told me that he had contracted AIDS four years before. How rude of them! He knelt down to say his prayers before he got into a certain time before now Ago tells us how long before the present time something happened. Note that if we are counting back from a past time. it often connects two clauses together which discuss past events. ( = 6 years ago) Last year I went back to my hometown that I had left ten years before and discovered that the house I grew up in was no longer standing. If before is used as a conjunction. Simple past is also possible because we are talking about unknown occasions in the past.Before means: at some unknown time before now. I've never been here before. 'before' . This is my first time. I've met him somewhere before. Compare the following: They left the dining table before I had finished my a certain time before then Ago always counts back from the present time. Because we are referring to a specific time in the past. It can also link clauses denoting habitual current activity with the simple present: 67 . 'ago' . It tells us when and gives us a time or a date. I shall read all the reports before I decide what action to take. We normally use the present perfect tense because the effect of meeting or seeing someone or being somewhere is still felt in the present. Therefore we would say: I know that chap. Have you been here before? ~ No. I was never here before. But note that it can also be used with a present tense in the subordinate clause to indicate future activity. (= left home 11 years ago) Last year I returned to my hometown that I had left ten years ago and discovered that the house I grew up in had been demolished (= left home 10 years ago) 'before' . Were you here before? ~ No. the simple past is used: Your mother phoned five minutes ago. Can you phone her back? I saw her for the first time at film festival in Cannes some twenty years ago.conjunction and preposition as well as adverb Note that before can be used as a conjunction or preposition as well as an adverb. but it is less likely: I know that chap.

be sure to come and see us. If before is used as a preposition.' 'My driving instructor asked me if I’d ever driven before. But for someone who has been to London before. Compare the following: To stay young and beautiful. 'Ever' and 'whenever' Tiffany Teng from Singapore asks: We know it is correct to say: ‘I have never been to London’. I prefer to watch films on video or DVD. we might add once or twice. If the answer is no.' 'Did you ever meet Tom Robinson when you were at uni?' 'No. is it correct to say: ‘I have ever been to London’? No. it usually refers to time. so it is inappropriate in the above sentence. past or past perfect verb form or with future reference.I always shave before I take a shower. Ever means at any time.' 'If you are ever in London. ever can be used in an affirmative sentence with not as an alternative to the more usual 'never'. I never did. etc.' 'Are you ever going to finish this book?' 'I’ll try and finish it over the summer. I try to go for a jog and a swim in the sea every morning before breakfast. Jason I don’t think I ever will. no. it can also be used with a present.' 'Will you ever marry me?' 'No. like hardly.' As you can see from this last example.' 68 . We’d love to have you on the team. Although it is usually associated with the present perfect. To stay in shape. There were so many tall people in front of me that I could see nothing of the procession as it passed by. You must take off your shoes before you enter the mosque. I never had. Compare the following: • • • • • • 'Have you ever been to Ireland?' 'Yes. Compare the following: • • 'If you ever change your mind. I’ve been there twice.' 'I said. Remember the meaning of ever is always ‘at any time’. we often use never in the reply. to indicate how many times we have done whatever is being referred to. It can also be used in affirmative sentences with if and with adverbs which express a negative idea. If the answer is yes. I’ve no time now. let me know. Ever is used mainly in questions. meaning ‘not at any time’. not to place when in front of is preferred. once in 1983 and again in 1995. try to get to bed before midnight each night.' 'Do you ever go to the cinema?' 'No.

you can phone me up whenever you like – at any time of the day. ‘what’. whatever. if you want to finish this job before it gets dark. ‘no matter who’ and ‘no matter how’. ‘who’ and ‘how’ to make the conjunctions wherever.' 'Whatever advice I gave her. It’s too expensive. she would be sure not to take it. I can never seem to learn vocabulary.' 'However hard I try.• • 'We hardly ever go to the theatre.' 'I shall sell my computer to whoever wants it. meaning ‘as/than at any time in the past’. it’s so long since I heard you sing. meaning 'no matter where’.late 69 . we were unable to find our way out of the maze. whichever. whoever and however. whenever. ‘which’. Recently / lately . ever is used in the comparative expression as ever and than ever. ‘when’.' 'Jayne.' 'I don’t think we shall ever see Jenny again now that she’s emigrated to Australia. ‘no matter what’. My dictionaries say they are almost the same. ‘no matter which’. Compare the following: • • • • • • 'We were playing ‘Hide and Seek’ and we couldn’t find him wherever we looked.' Finally. but I guess there's a slight difference. Rajandran from India writes: I would like to know the difference between instantaneous and simultaneous. ‘no matter when’. adjectives and adverbs Min from South Korea writes: I'd like to know the difference between lately and recently.' Remember also that ever can be tagged on to ‘where’. S. but you sing as beautifully as ever!' Time expressions.' 'Whichever path we took. isn't there? Aston Ndosi from Tanzania writes: Please assist by explaining to me the difference in use between prompt and punctual.' 'If you have a problem. Study the following two examples: • • 'You’ll have to work harder than ever today.

late There is a slight difference in use between recently and lately (see below) but note that the adverb late is quite different in meaning from lately: its opposite is early. neither late nor early . If you do something in time. (= over the last few weeks or months) My health hasn't been too good recently / lately . is used with other verbs (see below and note the position of promptly in these time If you arrive punctually. I arrived late for the performance and couldn't get in. Compare the following: • • • • • The supermarket has recently opened a new superstore outside town (= a short time ago) I haven't been to the theatre recently / lately.punctually . which means without delay. Promptly . but promptly.on time . you arrive at the right arrive on time. Compare the following: • • • • • The supermarket has recently opened a new superstore outside town (= a short time ago) I haven't been to the theatre recently / lately.There is a slight difference in use between recently and lately (see below) but note that the adverb late is quite different in meaning from lately: its opposite is early. 70 . It's a good idea to arrive early so that you have time for a drink before the show starts. Punctually is normally used with the verb arrive. In time has a slightly different meaning from on time. It's a good idea to arrive early so that you have time for a drink before the show starts.I've hardly been out at all.before the last moment. Compare the following: • He sat down to watch the television programme and promptly fell asleep. I arrived late for the performance and couldn't get in.I've hardly been out at all. you do it with time to spare . Recently / lately . (= over the last few weeks or months) My health hasn't been too good recently / lately .

everybody seems to know them. The train left exactly on time. I received his letter a week ago and I replied promptly to it. They had already left. Simultaneously . Instantaneous and instantaneously are used only in a restricted range of contexts (see below): • • • • The Beatles songs are instantly recognisable .at the same time If things happen simultaneously. I arrived at the same time as Judy. they happen at the same time. as I expected. Instant(ly) . The shots were fired simultaneously and three of them hit their target. We can have a coffee. There's no need to go in now. Death was instantaneous for all the people in the car when the bomb exploded. I received his letter a week ago and I replied to it immediately. We arrived at the same time.instantaneous(ly) If something happens instantly it happens immediately.• • • • • • • • He sat down to watch the television programme and fell asleep straightaway. I didn't get to the house in time. If something happens instantaneously it also happens immediately but at the same time very quickly. He's always very punctual. 71 . The show started exactly on time. When I saw Barbara crying I knew instantly what was wrong. My guest arrived punctually at seven o' clock. He was saved from falling overboard by the prompt action of the skipper. Note that simultaneous is used in more formal contexts than at the same time (see below): • • • The two-minute silence in memory of the famous footballer was observed simultaneously on all the football grounds in England. We're in plenty of time. The airbags for the driver and front seat passenger inflate instantaneously on impact in a head-on collision.

The converse. just give me a ring. I was there once. ever : for emphasis We sometimes use ever to give emotive emphasis to what we are saying as an indication that we feel very strongly about it. ever receives strong word stress: If I ever catch you fiddling your expenses claims again. At the same time. Thus. people are using their cars less and less in city centres. I don't think I ever will. meaning at no time. Sometimes it is used in negative sentences (not ever) as an alternative to never. present and future situations. but it was years ago. I never was. you'll be sacked. I was slightly afraid of her. Don't ever do that again! How ever did you manage to drive home through so much snow? When ever will I find time to get to the bottom of my in-tray? 72 . Ever is mainly used in questions. Simultaneously cannot be used in this way.) Cities are becoming more and more crowded. Will you ever speak to her again? ~ No. At the same time. is never. Have you ever been to the Everglades in Florida? ~ Yes. Compare the following: Were you ever in the Boy Scouts? ~ No. (NOT: Simultaneously I was slightly afraid of her. It introduces a statement that slightly changes or contradicts the previous statement. Compare the following: I admired her for her courage in the face of such adversity.In informal and semi-formal registers. in speech. If you ever need any help. (NOT: Simultaneously people…) always or ever? Could you please explain when I have to use ever and when I have to use always? ever = at any time Ever usually means at any time and can be used to refer to past. at the same time can also be used to connect ideas between sentences.

My mother and I don't ever agree about the best way to rear children. I thought she might be upset by this. ever = always But occasionally. for ever or forever 73 .Why ever did he marry such a domineering woman? We sometimes use ever in compound expressions with hardly or if: hardly ever = very rarely / seldom It seldom / hardly ever / very rarely rains in Puglia in the summer.g. These include as ever. in which we are indicating that a person has particular qualities. they never agree: My mother and I don't always agree about the best way to rear children. Here Ever yours means Always yours. but she was as unperturbed as ever. We have to say.e. they often agree. if ever = almost never Now that we have young children. As ever. ever is used to mean always: Let me open the door for you. but not on every occasion. he was dressed in the style of Eminem. if ever. seldom. e. They've never ever agreed on anything. we seldom. i. go out in the evening. ever is used to mean always. (Not: I ever bike to work now.: I always bike to work now. And in these contexts too. It's so much healthier. It's so much healthier. In the first sentence. ever = always? We do not often use ever to mean always. ever is used to mean always. they couldn't agree. We sometimes end letters with Yours ever or Ever yours as an alternative to Yours sincerely. on every occasion or all the time. for ever and ever since: as ever As ever.) Compare the difference in meaning between these two example sentences. In the second sentence. ~ Ever the gentleman! I always year loose-fitting clothes like this ~ Ever the hippie! In a number of compound expressions.

We plan to live in this village now for ever. We shall never move out. I intend to remain married to you forever. I shall always love you. ever since She's had a drink problem ever since her husband died. I first met him when I was in the army and we've remained friends ever since. Note that with the ever since construction the 'always' period commences when something happens. In the above examples, this is husband's death or army service meeting. Finally when ever is combined with a comparative adjective, it is used to mean always: The water was rising ever higher and we were in danger of being cut off. The volume of work is going to increase and I shall become ever more busy. always = very often As well as all the time or on every occasion, always can also mean very often when it is used with the progressive form: She always going on about the cost of living and how expensive everything is. I'm always losing my keys. I put them down and can never remember where I've put them. Note the difference in meaning between these two examples of use: I'll always lend you money when you have none. You know you can depend on me. (Always = on every occasion) I'm always lending you money when you have none. Why don't you try to budget more carefully? (Always = very often)

yet / still / already : position and use Maria Rita Barros from Brazil writes: I always get confused when I use still, yet and already. Could you please explain them again with examples. Maria-Leena Luotonen from Finland writes: I've been wondering why my grammar book says that yet goes at the end of the clause in interrogative and negative sentences when I have seen the examples:


I got the book a month ago and I haven't yet had a chance to read it. (Cambridge Dictionaries on line) Later issues are not yet published.(British Library)

Yet - position in sentence I would say that your grammar book, Cambridge Dictionaries and the British Library are all correct, Maria-Leena. Yet is normally placed at the end of the clause, particularly in informal English and in questions, but can go immediately after not in negative sentences in a more formal style, such as Cambridge Dictionaries and the British Library have used. Compare also the following: • How long have you been in Britain? ~ For over a year now. ~ Have you been to Wales or Scotland yet? ~ No, not yet. I haven't even ventured out of London yet.

Although she has been in Britain for more than a year, Maria has not yet visited either Wales or Scotland. Yet - meaning and use We use yet in questions to ask whether something has happened up to the present time. Not yet then indicates that it hasn't happened yet: • Is dinner ready yet? I'm starving. ~ No, it's not ready yet. It'll be another half an hour.

In a more formal style it is possible to use yet in affirmative sentences: • • We have yet to discover whether there are any survivors from the plane crash. I have yet to speak to the personnel manager to discuss my future.

In a less formal style, we might say: • • • We still don't know whether there are survivors from the plane crash. I haven't spoken to the manager yet, so don't know what my future will be. I still haven't spoken to the manager, so don't know what my future will be.

Thus, in negative sentences, as we can see from these examples, there is considerable overlap in meaning and use between yet and still. Still is the more emphatic of the two. still - meaning and use


We use still in questions, affirmative and negative sentences to indicate that something is not finished and that we are perhaps surprised or concerned about this. Because it is emphatic, it often carries considerable word stress: • • Is it still raining? ~ Yes, it's still raining. No chance of playing tennis today, I'm afraid. I still don't know whether Brendan will be coming to the engagement party. I've tried to reach him several times on the phone, but can't seem to get hold of him.

already - meaning and use Whereas still and yet normally refer to present and future circumstances, already normally refers to something that is in the present or recent past. It is mainly used in questions and affirmative sentences and usually expresses surprise that something has happened sooner than expected. • • • • • When do you expect Polly to arrive? ~ She's already here! Haven't you seen her? Can you give me a hand with the layout for this article. ~ No, I'm sorry, I'm already late. I have to leave right now. Can you help me move those boxed upstairs? ~ I've already moved them. Have you finished that typing already? Yes, I finished it about five minutes ago. By the age of three, Mozart had already learnt to play the piano.

still / already - position in sentence Note from the above examples that in contrast to yet, still and already usually occupy mid position in the clause.

A question from Katie Burton in China: Some of my Chinese colleagues asked me about the phrase 'well and truly'. We can say 'well and truly stuck' but not 'well and truly beautiful'. Are there any rules for using this phrase or is it just a case of learning it? Is 'well and truly' an adverb and what should follow it, or is it an adjective and is it only for negative things? Karen Adams answers: Thank you for your question Katie. And first let me explain what 'well and truly stuck' means. If something is 'well and truly stuck' you really can not move it. So for example if your car breaks down and you try to push it and it won't move it may be well and truly stuck. So 'well and truly' here means absolutely stuck, you can't move it. And really when we say something is well and truly stuck it shows that we are


actually a little bit frustrated or we really aren't very happy about the fact that we can't move it. So for example if I come home and I want to have a biscuit and I look in the biscuit tin and there are none there I can say 'well they are well and truly finished'. However 'well and truly' is a very difficult phrase to use because it doesn’t go with lots and lots of different adjectives. If you were to say the words 'well and truly' to someone in Britain they would imagine that the next word would be stuck. 'Well and truly' is an adverbial phrase to describe the adjective stuck. And they just go together. There are no clear rules to for why certain adverbs go with certain adjectives, they just do. So, for example, if you say to someone in Britain the adverb – 'stunningly' – the adjective they're most likely to think of is 'beautiful'. These are what we call fixed phrases. They're phrases which just go together, they collocate – co locate – they go together. It's not just adverbs and adjectives which go together in this way. We often find nouns and nouns go together. So for example 'fish and …. chips'. Or adjectives and nouns, for example we can say - 'heavy smoker', someone who smokes a lot, or 'heavy drinker' someone who drinks a lot. But someone who eats a lot? No it's not a 'heavy eater' it's a 'big eater'. Basically these phrases which go together form patterns, there are no real rules to learn. You just have to be able to work out what the patterns are. So how do you learn these phrases which go together? Well the two best things you can do are to read and to listen. When you're reading a newspaper or a book try to work out phrases that you see coming up more than once. If you see a phrase which goes together maybe two or three times then you can think 'mmm I think those go together, I think those collocate.' And similarly if you're listening to the radio, when you're listening to the BBC World Service if you hear the phrase two or three times, make a note of it, because then you know 'mmm this is a collocation, this is a phrase which goes together.' So hopefully Katie that answers your question. To sum up, 'well and truly is an adverbial phrase and most often you use it with the adjective 'stuck', 'well and truly stuck.' You can use it in one or two other circumstances, but usually you will hear it with he adjective 'stuck'. Although now I'm well and truly finished and I'm going to go and have a cup of tea.

Worth and worthwhile Roberto Miguel from Argentina writes: Would you please explain the difference between these two sentences: This book is worth reading It's worth reading this book. and also the use and meaning of:


It's worthwhile… It's worth somebody's while… There is no difference in meaning between the first two sentences. In both of them we are talking about the value of an activity. The difference is one of form only and both forms are frequently used Is it worth repairing this car? Worth usually follows the verb to be and is often used with a preparatory it. It can then be followed by an -ing clause: • • It was definitely worth making the effort to watch this documentary. It is always worth fighting for your freedom and independence.

Note that with this construction, it can be used to refer to an action mentioned in the previous sentence: • • Shall we have this car repaired? ~ No, it's not worth repairing. I shall never have any independence. ~ It's worth fighting for, you know.

This car is not worth repairing With this structure the object of the -ing clause is made the subject of the sentence and the preparatory it becomes superfluous: • • • This documentary was definitely worth watching. This documentary was definitely worth making the effort to watch. Freedom and independence are always worth fighting for.

Be worth a lot of money Worth is also often followed by a noun phrase when we are discussing the monetary value of something or somebody and saying how much it or they are worth. With this construction the question forms how much and what are often used: • • What / How much do you think this violin is worth? ~ It must be worth a fortune. It's a stradivarius. He bought me earrings worth two thousand pounds. ~ Gosh, how much is he worth? ~ He's a dollar millionaire!

be worth a lot / a great deal /etc With these expressions we are saying how good, useful or reliable something or someone is: • She's always there for me. Her companionship is worth a great deal to me. She's worth her weight in gold.


The government's promises and policies are not worth very much. The policies are not worth the paper they're printed on.

Note that to be worth your weight in gold and not worth the paper they are printed on are both idioms. Word order cannot be changed. be worth somebody's while If you say it will be worth your while to do something, it means that you will get some (financial) advantage or benefit from it, even though it may take some time or trouble: • • It would be well worth your while to invest in shares now while the stock market is low. It's not really worth my while to spend the whole day on my feet behind the counter for as little as fifty pounds.

Note from the above example that worth can also be modified by well to make the expression well worth. worthwhile If something is worthwhile it is well worth the time, money or effort that you spend on it: • • It was a worthwhile journey - he got to see everyone on his list. The meeting was so worthwhile and all the arguments about profit margins have now been sorted out.

Sometimes, worthwhile simply means of value and can be used in a similar way to worth with preliminary it. Compare the following: • • • It may be worth comparing this year's profit margins with last year's It may be worthwhile to compare this year's profit margins with last year's It may be worth your while to compare this year's profit margins with last year's

worthless Note that if something is worthless, it has no value or use: • • The guarantee will be worthless if the company goes out of business. With hyperinflation the local currency has become virtually worthless.

'yet' as conjunction and adverb Viji Palaniappan from India writes: Yet is similar in meaning to but. But people also say: not yet. This is confusing.


~Did you receive the book? ~Not yet. The problem is that yet can be used as an adverb as well as a co-ordinating conjunction. Let’s look at its function as a conjunction first of all. yet as conjunction You are right, Viji. Yet is similar in meaning to but. But is a co-ordinating conjunction used to contrast two statements: • • They can speak Arabic but they can’t read or write it. He tried to book a holiday on Bali, but he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

We use yet as the preferred alternative to but when we want to emphasise that contrast to achieve a stronger effect: • • She can play the piano very well, yet she can’t read music at all. The yachtsman had lost all sense of direction, yet he refused to give up in his attempt to cross the Atlantic.

We sometimes put and in front of yet when it is used in this way or use even so as an alternative to yet or and yet: • • She can play the piano very well, and yet she can’t read music at all. The yachtsman had lost all sense of direction. Even so, he refused to give up in his attempt to cross the Atlantic.

However and nevertheless are sometimes used as more formal alternatives to yet: • • He had no chance of winning the race or even of coming in the first six. However, he kept going and crossed the finishing line ahead of his team mates. He had not slept for three nights. Nevertheless, he insisted on going into work the following day.

In colloquial spoken English, mind you, but still or still are sometimes used as less formal alternatives to yet: • • • The weather was lousy. It rained every day. Still, we managed to enjoy ourselves. I don’t like the work very much. Mind you, the people I work with are very nice. You can be very annoying at times, but we still love you.

yet as adverb


who was trying to make 81 . As we can see from the above examples. though in American English you will sometimes hear it used with the past tense.the words even sound nearly the same! I think that the most important difference is that 'an accident' is something which happens purely by chance. Mark Shea answers: Hi Richard . even though I’ve visited England many times. And they were discovered by accident when a scientist. I forgot. When we use still in this way. We are saying that we are very surprised that it hasn’t happened. though I’ve visited England many times. there was no intention involved. it is emphatic. We have yet to learn whether there will be any survivors from the earthquake. Post-it notes. are little sticky pieces of paper that we use to write notes on. Confusing words & expressions 'accident' and 'incident' I would like to know the difference between 'accident' and 'incident'. perhaps it's something you do or did without thinking. and we can?t really use 'incident' like this. yet is normally used with negative sentences and in questions.When yet is used as an adverb. Did you phone him yet? No. it is used to talk about something over a period of time. sorry.I can see the confusion here . for example. / They’re still not ripe. They’re not ripe yet. I still haven’t been to Wales or Scotland. If you do something by accident. I haven’t been to Wales or Scotland yet. up till now: • • Is lunch ready yet? Are the Hunts back from their holiday yet? It is often used with the negative when you are saying that up to the present time something has not happened. It is normally used with present and perfect tenses. Still can sometimes be used as an alternative to yet. Compare the following: • • • • Don’t eat the plums. you don't mean to do it. but it is sometimes used in affirmative sentences in a more formal style: • • I have yet to meet the man I wish to marry.

. Acting / Acting as A question from M. "The car accident caused a big problem on the motorway. but incidents might be! I hope this answers your question Richard.. if they're not yet sure if a crime has been committed. If we were describing a particular time when something went badly wrong. It's quite common to hear: "Police are looking into the incident.we can use it to talk about almost anything that happens. Mbewe in Zambia: What is the difference between 'Acting as Chief Executive Officer' and 'Acting Chief Executive Officer'? This is in relation to office duties. and that's true of both speech and writing. So the biggest difference is that accidents are never intentional. let me explain that the Chief Executive Officer is the person at the head of a company. or sometimes if we want to make an event sound less important. and that's because it's such a mouthful that speakers of English often just use the initials . We often say 'incident' when we don't want to mention what actually happened." It means that they are investigating to see if someone has committed a crime." We couldn't call the argument 'an accident' because Li started it deliberately..'CEO'." 'An incident' is much more general . It might be something completely intentional ." It's especially common to use it when we are talking about traffic and vehicle collisions .someone deliberately starting an argument . any single event. 82 . Li was looking for an argument and brought up the subject of the recent elections. We often use 'accident' to describe something unpleasant or unfortunate ? "She had an accident while she was skiing and broke her leg. we might talk about "the incident last summer" for example.he made them by accident..a very strong glue created a very weak one instead. He didn't mean to discover Postit notes . Susan Fearn answers: So first of all. The police use 'incident' to talk about possible crimes. But you might not have actually heard this said very much. "We don't talk about politics at home since the incident last summer.

And some poor person still has to do all the extra work. So. or perhaps not find one at all. she's not officially the Acting CEO. On the other hand. is to step down to focus on private philanthropy.. And here's an example: A friend of mine. And while she was could have either meaning! adjective-noun collocations 83 . Here's one from October 2006: "Streiff resigns as CEO of Airbus" The chief executive of troubled plane maker Airbus has resigned. as in: "My children have been really acting up today. two examples: Maurizio is the Acting CEO That means he gets the official title. That person might be acting as the CEO . it's normally a level above your usual job.Acting Chief Executive Officer. If you fill an acting position. the money and the recognition. the Acting CEO got the job title. So in my friend's case. someone else took her job for a few months. the recognition. the pay or the official job title . we can say. you're acting up. And the person that normally does that job is away . is acting as the CEO but she's not getting the job title or the extra money. And he's also doing the work . Acting CEO .perhaps they've left and a permanent replacement hasn't been found.she went on maternity leave. the question here isn't 'What is a chief executive officer?' it's about Acting Chief Executive Officers. And here's another: "CEO swaps hedge fund for charity" (Sep 2006) The chief executive of the world's biggest hedge fund.. But anyway.he's acting as the CEO. Like many English phrasal verbs it's got more than one meaning. That person had an official job title. who's the CEO of a charity.. the money. Acting Head.I've got a couple of examples from BBC news stories.they're doing the work but not necessarily getting the recognition." And if you say: "My boss is acting up" . pretty much: an Acting Manager. You have to be careful with this verb though. Now acting here has nothing to do with Hollywood . Acting Editor. She was lucky! Sometimes.they may or may not be. but your role is recognized. poor old Maria. You can be an acting just means being temporarily but officially in a job. So. for instance: Maurizio is acting up while Glenda's away. in her company. Now a quick word about a related phrasal verb 'act up'. recently took a few months off to have a baby . 'Act up' can also mean 'misbehave'. a company might not find a replacement immediately.

She had a very heavy cold and her breathing was heavy too. you will become more sensitive to which adjectives best collocate with which nouns and which adverbs best collocate with which verbs. I think you would rarely hear someone say a light cold. The First World War yielded much heavier casualties than had ever been known before.Amin studying English in New Zealand writes: I usually get confused using adjectives like heavy. He’s been a heavy smoker and drinker all his adult life. Interestingly. although we would talk about light suitcases. strong. You can learn this by listening to as much spoken English as possible and reading as much written English as possible. although you might say that someone’s breathing was very light. we would talk about: • • • The heavy rain and heavy traffic made me late for my appointment. should it be : heavy traffic or severe traffic or heavy / strong / severe wind or heavy / strong / severe / hard rain or They hit me so hard/strong…? I would be much obliged if you could give me an answer. It was a very heavy meal – far too much meat and not enough vegetables or salads. severe. In your examples. we wouldn’t quite so often say a light smoker or a light drinker. hard. light weeks. Amin. He’s only nine years old. As you progress further with your English studies. The strong wind whipped the waves up into three-metre-high breakers. Instead it would be a slight cold. Other examples or contexts of usage with heavy / strong / severe / hard might be: heavy • • • • • • He won’t be able to lift such a heavy suitcase. For example.) strong 84 .(The antonyms of a word is another word which means the opposite. light meals. light timetables and light casualties. I’ve had a really heavy week – I’ve got a really heavy timetable this term. Always try to learn use of vocabulary from the context in which it appears and with the help of an EnglishEnglish dictionary which gives plenty of examples of use as well as definitions. They hit me so hard that I found it difficult to stay on my feet. thinking about antonyms of heavy.

an easy life. For the converse of strong views and strong support. I had the strong support of everybody in the room. Thinking of antonyms of strong in these contexts. being weak in social sciences and my weakest subject. although we would talk about a weak influence. hard • • • It was a hard exam and the final question was really hard – it was a hard nut to crack! It’s been a long hard day and I’ve been working very hard. lenient penalties or leniently punished. I am strong in the social sciences and psychology is perhaps my strongest subject. They had a hard life and worked through hard times. a severe shortage of food. which means that it was difficult to do this.• • • • Martina Hingis has always exerted a strong influence on the way I play tennis.(The converse of a statement or fact is the opposit of it. soft drugs. a weak case. Conversely. easy questions. Conversely. circumstantial evidence and I haven’t worked very hard.) severe • • • • The severe weather/severe winter meant that hundreds of schools had to be closed. has no converse form. easy times. Faroush from Iran asks: 85 . The heavy rain caused severe damage to crops and. later on. We had no hard evidence that they had used hard drugs. The expression a hard nut to crack. we would probably say: I don’t have very strong views on this and I had some support. slight damage and slight shortages. We are under severe pressure to reduce the wage bill and make 500 workers redundant. we would talk about mild weather and mild winters. She speaks English quite well but with a strong French accent. and a slight accent. He has a strong case and there is a strong chance that his appeal will be successful. an easy day. some pressure. Although I have strong views on this. we would have to say a slight chance. The magistrate imposed severe penalties – they were severely punished. we might say an easy exam.

Femi? F: I'm afraid not. So let's sum up. And third. Farhoush and I'm afraid that there are at least seven ways to use the adjective 'afraid'! The most common meaning of 'afraid' is the one I have just used to introduce the topic -when we want to politely tell someone something that may upset.I need the money! Or when someone calls and the person they want to speak to isn't there: A: Could I speak to Sun Chen please? B: I'm afraid not.. The next most common meaning of 'afraid' is 'to be frightened'. 'I'm afraid there are at least seven ways' . I have to be home by 9 o'clock. Would you like to leave a message? Next. 'He's easily frightened. to politely tell someone something that may disappoint them. ?He's afraid of spiders? 'He's afraid to do something .? So lots of examples there! Less common uses of the adjective 'afraid' are used as a way of saying either 'yes' and 'no'.for example. is used to mean 'no' And 'Afraid' + so. Yvonne? Y: I'm afraid so. That's not right.without using 'that'....for example.. he's not available at the moment.What is the meaning of 'afraid' in different sentences and situations? Rachel Wicaksono answers: This is an interesting question.? 'He's afraid of doing something .' 'He's afraid of something' .. is used to mean 'yes'..for example. In terms of the grammar. we can say either: 'I'm afraid that there are at least seven ways' OR. But remember that 'afraid' can't be used before a noun. Here's an example of how we can use 'afraid' to mean 'no': A: Are you doing anything nice this weekend. 'Afraid' + not. 86 . to mean 'yes' when we say 'I'm afraid so' and 'no' when we say 'I'm afraid not'. to simply mean: 'frightened'. 'afraid' meaning 'yes': A: Are you leaving now. I have to work .. ?He's afraid to ask for help. disappoint. Second. Instead. try these: 'He's an easily frightened person' or even simpler. so we can't talk about 'an easily afraid person'. annoy or even worry them. We usually hear this meaning of 'afraid' in spoken English. We can use the word 'afraid' in the following ways: First. ?He's afraid of flying.

'giveth' 'hast' etc . I’m not going to hurt you. or as they appear in literature and other forms of writing from previous centuries. This is a really interesting one. 'give' as 'giveth' and 'should' as 'shouldst'. Frightened cannot always be followed by of + pronoun or noun: 87 . 'seest' with 'see' and so on. In today's English.frightening / terrifying Hasan asks: when do you use afraid and when do you use scared? Natali asks: Could you please explain to me the difference in meaning between scary. frightening and terrifying? afraid / scared / frightened There are differences in use and I shall try to illustrate these. A question from Mechekef in Algeria: I would like to ask a question and I would be very thankful if you answered it.So. these forms are what we call 'archaic'. I'll give you an example to explain clearly my question: 'Thou seest their eyes overflow with tears. but most of them would have been in use from around the 15th century onwards in a form now known by academics as 'Early Modern English'. thanks for your question. Although this was by no means used consistently if one examines different texts from the time. by about the 18th century these forms were not so widely used and I can clarify that nowadays we would definitely not see or hear these in typical situations. Sometimes you write 'had' as 'hath'. I'm afraid that there are several uses of the word! And I hope this has helped.' Sian Harris answers: Hi there. But all these adjectives express roughly the same degree of worry or fear and can therefore be used interchangeably to some extent. A specialist in the development and history of English would perhaps be able to tell you more about the origins and the use of the specific words in your example. for example. 'thou' would always be replaced with 'you'. In other words. afraid / scared .'thou'. spoken or written. Frightened suggests more sudden fear: All small children are afraid of / scared of / frightened of school bullies. All three can be followed by of + -ing clause.most notably in certain religious texts such as The Bible or possibly English translations of The Qur'an. to return to the most common meaning of 'afraid'. other than in either religious or ancient texts. Don’t be scared / afraid / frightened. In some very old forms of English you will see these type of words . I cannot understand this method of writing. meaning they're not in active use anymore.

afraid / scared / frightened . We can use these forms as short answers to confirm bad news: Will I really have to repeat the course next year? ~ I’m afraid so. without doubt. a frightened man. He appeared frightened. meaning: I regret that I have to tell you that…. He’ll have to repeat the course. After such an experience she’s afraid to go anywhere near the sea. We cannot use afraid in this way: She was scared by the hooting of the owl. It is used to introduce bad news in a gentle or polite way: I’m afraid there’s been an accident at the crossroads. They were frightened / terrified by the gunfire and the breaking of glass.He’s afraid of / scared of / frightened of flying in small planes. We can be scared by or frightened by something. I’m afraid I / we / he / etc I’m afraid… is also used in another way. Your son’s been knocked over on his bike. Everyone seems to be afraid of / scared of him. I’m afraid. He was. Scared and frightened can be used in both positions: He seemed afraid. She’s terrified of / by large dogs and won’t go near them. John’s got to work. 88 . Note that terrified expresses a stronger degree of fear. but instead is used after a verb. / I’m afraid not. He’s a strict teacher.position in clause Note that afraid is one of those adjectives that cannot normally be used before a noun. He’s done very little work. All three can be followed by the to + infinitive pattern: She seemed too scared to swim where there were such big waves. I’m afraid we shan’t be able to come on the skiing trip with you. I’m afraid so. I was too frightened to jump in at the deep end of the pool.

scared the adjective relating to how people feel. Terrifying describes the things that make you feel terrified. Terrified and terrifying express a higher degree of anxiety or worry than frightened and frightening: I was so much in debt. Scary and frightening express similar levels of fear or worry: Being alone in a cave with five thousand bats was scary. terrified describes you feel. I doubt he will ever recover from it. Using 'approve' Frank Hasenmueller from Germany asks: I would like to know if there is a difference in using approve with or without the preposition of in your sentence structure. remember. It was a terrifying experience. frightened / frightening As a general rule. I was terrified I would lose my job when the restructuring was announced. It’s frightening to think that they are capable of producing nuclear weapons. Frightening describes the things that make you feel frightened: She looked very frightened when I told her she would lose her job. It was one of the most frightening films I had ever seen. adjectives ending in -ed are used to describe how people feel.Can’t you really come on the skiing trip with us? ~ I’m afraid not. Or is it just the same? The meaning of approve changes when you add the preposition of to make approve of. So. frightened describes how you feel. Approve'by itself means 'sanction' or 'endorse' as in these two 89 . scared / scary Scary is the adjective relating to things or situations. Adjectives ending in -ing describe the things or situations that give rise to these feelings. I felt scared when night fell and I was nowhere near human habitation. terrified / terrifying Similarly.

• • 'I cannot approve the reimbursement because you haven't given me the receipts for your expenditure.they're bringing back Doctor Who's archenemies..." 90 .is our arch enemy " Rachel Wicaksono answers: Hi Awad! Thank you for this vocabulary question.' f you approve of something. 'archenemy' is a countable noun that is usually spelled as one word.examples. group or nation that is linked to another or others because they have something in common that they'd like to achieve. when used as a noun." "The actor playing Harry Potter's in 'arch hyphen enemy' . then you consider it to be good or you agree with it... what does this statement mean? ". Some examples.. first of all.. an accountant is speaking and in the second. I want to know.. all from films and TV shows. though I notice that the BBC choose to use a hyphen to join the two parts of the word .. In general usage. means a person. 'Arch' in the word 'archenemy' is from the Greek 'arkhos' meaning 'most important'. usually beginning with a capital 'A'. a university admissions tutor. "Oscar-nominated actor.' archenemy Thank you for your efforts to teach us English. In the first.'arch-enemy'. is to be Spider-Man's next archenemy.. Sometimes 'Archenemy'.. my beloved language. Well. Thomas Haden Church." . of how 'archenemy' is used include: ". the Daleks. For example: "Britain and the United States were allies in World War II. 'archenemy' means 'the main enemy'. according to reports. Lord Voldemort. 'Ally'.the Daleks are Dr Who's most dangerous enemies and have threatened the Doctor's life on many occasions. as well as our enemies. has been chosen for The Goblet of Fire.' 'Why don't you approve of my friends? They are all good upright people. Consider: • • 'I don't approve of smoking in restaurants because it is so upsetting usually for non-smokers.' 'I cannot approve your application to study law because you do not have the relevant qualifications. is used to mean 'the devil'." If we'd like to talk about our friends. we could use the words 'main ally' as an opposite to 'archenemy'.

Annie and Fame. have you got an archenemy? I don't think I have. But I think we’d use the as . which is as a kind of filler or a speech marker. like a bicycle or a remote controlled toy. We can use like to give examples. And. two states or things are being compared: the view before and now. The view was just like I remembered it. And finally Silvio. Listen to these examples. like household electrical products. In all of these examples. Well. I’d like to tell you about another use of like. as is still used in conversation. or maybe I do. we might say. as structure to say something like She’s as lovely as her sister. like Chicago. Exercise is just as important as diet for good health. we might say: "Rachel is my best friend.. I've known her for years!" But perhaps a word of warning here: some people think it's only possible to have one best friend. which are taken from conversation: 91 . but it’s more frequent in written English. Here we go: Some consumer goods. we might say: Exercise.. where it means such as. Like is common in conversation in comparative metaphors. to continue with like: as well as being a verb that we’re all familiar with (as in I do like you. We were looking for a good present for a five-year-old. are cheaper to purchase than repair. Silvio). In conversation. is important for good health. Let's hope we have some allies and at least one best friend as well! As / Like Well thank you! What poetic examples you’ve given me to work with! If I could fly like a bird and I love you just as before. just like diet. In conversation. But maybe that's another topic! So. exercise and diet. Many successful Broadway shows. but I’ll try! Here we go: The view was just as I remembered it. like has a couple of different meanings you may not be aware of.So 'ally' is a formal noun. and just don't realise it yet. I think the main difference between like and as is in formality. and like is the informal equivalent. But on a more personal level. have been turned into films. so choose carefully. two sisters. We can see that as is being used as a preposition to show comparison. I don’t think I can think of examples as romantic as yours Silvio.

it can mean to extend.. English language learner Oksana wants to know how to correctly use the words 'beyond' and 'behind'. This kind of usage is very common in the speech of young people. If an experience is behind you. as in the case of '. it is on the other side of it. Silvio! 'beyond' and 'behind'. you support them.' 92 . there are quite a few different definitions we need to look at here but the meanings of 'behind' and 'beyond' are actually quite different. we can move on..the man behind the modernisation of the organisation.My brother is like really.' If we turn now to think about 'beyond' .' But 'behind' also has adverb uses: if you stay behind. they are delayed or are making less progress than other people think they should: 'The bus was behind schedule. One of the principal meanings of 'behind' is as a preposition of place. for example.' In these terms it means the opposite of 'in front of. If you are behind a thing or a person you are facing the back of that thing or person. like. it is finished.' There are also some more abstract uses of behind that you should be aware of. If something is 'beyond' a place. like my son.' Equally. 'The country was behind the president.a house beyond the village. For example: 'Few children remain in school beyond the age of 16.' As a time expression. And I’m going to end my explanation here – thank you for your question and I hope this has helped. continue or progress beyond a particular thing or means to extend or continue further than that thing or point. really good on the electric guitar. reasons or events behind a situation are the causes of it or are responsible for it as in the sentence: '. you remain in a place after others have gone. Sian Harris answers: Hi.' But there's a more abstract meaning to 'beyond' as well . For example: 'John stayed behind after school to take the test. 'Now that the divorce is behind us. you do not take it with you when you go: 'They'd been forced to leave behind their businesses and possessions. if you are behind someone. if you leave something behind. one hundred more points to move onto the next level. thanks for your question...' Also the people.'beyond' can also function as a preposition of place. So. For example: 'There were two boys sitting behind me.' Finally. behind appears when someone or something is behind. I’ve just got to get.

feet and yards to measure length and width as well as height. ~ That's pretty tall! And the world's tallest woman? ~ It's Sandy Allen from the US who is 7' 2.9 in.48 cm (thirty point four eight cm) 3 ft (3') = 1 yard = 0. 93 . Note that we would normally say six foot despite the plural reference. understand or control it. understanding or control. three feet is almost one metre. you mean that you cannot understand it. Note the following examples: Our dining room is long and narrow .5''. 'How he managed to find us is beyond me. How much did you have? ~ Oh. inches. The post office is about a hundred yards down this road on the left. We had over a foot of snow this morning. we had about six inches. etc. it has become impossible to believe. I'd say. As a rough guide. British measures:'s about 30' by 10'. although six feet is also possible.'Beyond' also has some quite interesting idiomatic usages. 'The situation has changed beyond recognition. but I hope this helps you to identify which word you might use. To be precise: 1 inch = 2. If someone or something is beyond belief.54 cm (two point five four centimetres) 12 in (12'') = 1 foot (1') = 30. By the age of ten she was already 6' 3''. ~ Is that two blocks away in American English? ~ Two or three.9144 m (zero point nine one four four metres) Here are some more tall men and women for you to practise feet and inches with: Who is the tallest man in the world and how tall is he? ~ It's Radhouane Charbib from Tunisia and he's 7 ft 8. In Europe we have centimetres and metres for the height of a person.' If you say that something is beyond you. so six feet would be nearly two metres. Could you possibly tell me how this height would correspond in metres? Feet and inches / metres and centimetres Six foot (or six feet) three (inches) would describe a fairly tall man. I was reading a biography of an actor whose height was given as 6'3''. ~ That's amazing! We also use inches. quite a few different meanings there to contend with.' So.

The speed limit on motorways is 70 mph. The speed limit on roads outside towns and villages is normally 60 mph except where it is sign-posted as 50 mph. And seventy miles per hour . don't they? The bad news is that we still use pounds and stones to measure people's weight instead of kilograms. you will know that recipes for solid substances are still given in pounds (lbs) and ounces (ozs) and for liquid substances in pints (1 pint = 0. 1 egg. Somebody my height and build (I'm 5' 8'') should weigh between 10 st 7 and 11 st 7. ¼ pint water To make Yorkshire Pudding to accompany your roast beef.that's about 75 kilos. And if you are cooking something in an English house. And a pinch of salt.57 litres). you will need 4 ounces of plain four. yes. but watch out for lower speed restrictions which may be sign-posted. Here is another conversion table and note the abbreviations that are used: 1 ounce = 28.6093 km (one point six o nine three km) If you are planning to drive in Britain next year you will need to know the following: The speed limit in towns and built-up areas is normally 30 mph (thirty miles per hour) although in some areas it may be 20 mph. Yorkshire Pudding 4 oz plain flour. Dresses / shirts / shoes 94 .is that roughly 110 kph? ~ Round about 110. ¼ pint milk. pounds and stones / grams and kilograms English people just like to be different.4536 kg (o point four five three six kilos) 14 lbs = 1stone = 6. a quarter of a pint of milk and a quarter of a pint of water. A rough guide here is that 4 ozs is very roughly 100 gr. I'm a little bit overweight for my height. Ounces. an egg.To complete the table: 1760 yd = 1 mile = 1.35 kg How much do you weigh? I'm eleven stones eleven pounds . At least the older generation do. ½ tsp salt. Thirty miles per hour .is that approximately 50 kph? ~ I guess it is.35 g (twenty eight point three four grams) 16 oz = 1 pound = 0.

and the difference between reporter and journalist. and announcer. 95 . A presenter is a person who introduces or hosts television or radio programmes. In fact. and may also edit and present news articles. A journalist gathers. A journalist's work is most often seen in print – especially newspapers – but they can work for TV and radio too. presenting etc. An announcer's job is similar to that of a presenter. broadcaster. and Karim Kouchouk (the presenter of BBCe for BBC Learning English Arabic Service). The presenter is the person who introduces the programme. Sir Robert Winston and Sir David Frost. However. Famous British broadcasters include Sir David Attenborough. Thanks. Another main difference between an announcer and a presenter is that the announcer usually reads word-forword from a script. The word broadcaster can refer to an organisation such as the BBC (UK) or NBC (USA) which produces television and radio programmes. an announcer may only feature as a voice whereas a presenter will be seen on the screen. Turning to the second part of your question. and his or her programmes may be considered to be very important and well-respected. and in some respects the terms are interchangeable. and welcome to[name of show] with me [name of presenter].Finally. broadcaster and announcer are all related to TV and radio: media which is delivered partly – or wholly – through sound and speech (this type of media is increasingly available on internet too). directing. links between programmes. these jobs are very similar. It can also be used to describe someone who is well-experienced in the TV and radio industry. Suharno: you wanted to find out about the difference between a reporter and a journalist. advertising etc. Hi Suharno. [presenter talks about the content of the programme]. introduces or links sections of the programme together and says goodbye at the end. broadcaster. programme content. presenter. He or she usually has multiple talents – scriptwriting. weather. A presenter's opening words on a programme are usually something like Good evening. Trevor MacDonald (a British TV news presenter). I'm confused about the difference between presenter. The first three: presenter. All these words are used to describe people who work in the media. He or she provides spoken information about news. Your answer must be very helpful for me. and Larry King in the USA. you will need to note English clothing sizes. On tonight's show we will be. whereas a presenter may have some flexibility regarding the things they say. writes and reports news stories. Some well-known presenters include Johnny Carson (an American TV chat show host). an announcer may have a smaller role in a programme than a presenter does: on TV programmes... although European equivalents are usually also given on the labels. if you are going shopping in England on your next visit. and announcer. The topic of the programme is not all about the presenter.

politics. Finally. health or education. Do you also know the informal expression used in British English to give sb a bell. for example: crime. as an alternative to ring or phone. And the verb to kid means to joke. one of the meanings of the verb to call is to make a phone call. meaning to make a phone call: • • • I decided to call / ring / phone him at home as he's always in meetings at the office. A columnist is a writer (usually a journalist) who writes regularly (often weekly) for a newspaper or magazine. you can call this number. police and public records. Your wife called while you were in the meeting. She or he chooses a topic that is in the news and writes not only about the events that have become newsworthy but also often offers some analysis and/or personal opinion. Do these verbs have the same meaning in British English and are they widely used? call Yes.A reporter is a type of journalist who gathers information about newsworthy issues. photographs etc. Suharno. call is very frequently used in British English. the reporter will create a report for publication or broadcast in the media. When the information is gathered. This may involve researching through several sources – interviews. This job is usually reserved for senior journalists at a particular newspaper or magazine. Reporters often specialise in a particular area. Well Suharno. Can you ring her back? If you need more information. 96 . meaning to phone? • I'll give you a bell next week and we'll make the final arrangements then. I'd like to mention one more media profession. I do hope this has been a useful answer to your question! Calling and kidding Tanya from Russia writes: In American English.

~ Sorry. He called me into his office because he wanted a private chat. call can also mean visit as well as phone. ~ Are you kidding? Ben's the last person she should marry! I'm going to buy her a ring with diamonds and emeralds. call = name / shout / etc Note that call is also frequently used with these meanings: • • • • • If it's a boy. She was pleased to see me. This train calls ( = stops) at all stations to London Victoria. I didn't hear you because the hair dryer was on. they're going to call him Cedric Alexander Roderick or Car for short. ~ Do you mean she rang or she popped in? Note that if we want to use call with an object. This area is sometimes called the garden suburb because there's so much greenery around. Jenny called while you were at the hairdresser's. kid (verb) Kid is widely used as a verb in British English meaning to joke if you want to suggest that what has been said may not be appropriate or true: • • • I'm going to call her and tell her she should marry Ben. If I call your name. I called my sister on my way home from work from my mobile phone. Note that if the context does not make the meaning clear. we normally say to call on sb: • • I called on my sister on my way home from work. meaning to or visit? When it is used without an object. please come to the front of the . Did you call me? ~ I called you three times. this may lead to confusion: • By the way. ~ You're kidding me! Where are you going to get the money from? He says he's going to make a million before he's forty! ~ Who is he kidding? He is kidding himself if he thinks that. 97 .

because in my opinion (only?) . For example: • Do you want to come with me to Tom's party? In Korean it would be: Do you want to go with me to Tom's party? Please explain to me how to use go and come in the correct way. He's just a kid. come back and return. I've been learning English in Australia for 5 months.they are the same! Whether we use go or come all has to do with perspective and position. Some of the meanings of words too. 'come' or 'go'? 'bring' or 'take'? Joo from Korea writes: Hi. He doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong. I've been having a hard time because English syntax is so different from Korean. Andrzej Macalik from Poland writes: I've got a problem with go back. go 98 . sons and daughters: • • • • We're going to take the kids to see Lion King at the theatre in London. A group of kids were stealing the apples from the orchard and selling them on the street corner. Especially go and come.kid (noun) Note that kid and kids are also widely used as nouns to refer informally to children. They don't have any kids so there's always plenty of money for holidays.

We use go to describe movement away from the place or position where the speaker or hearer is: • • • Are you going to the pub tonight? Let's go and see Auntie Mary before the holiday is over. return The same rule applies with go back and come back. was or will be: 99 . Could you come with me? We're going to Egypt for a week at Christmas . Andrzej. He went back / returned to Mexico when he had finished post-graduate training. however. We use take to describe movement away from the position of the speaker/hearer and bring to describe movement to the place where the speaker/hearer is. They've gone to live in Australia and I don't think they'll ever come back. even though the movement is away from their current place or position: • • I'm going to the hospital this afternoon to get the test results. please. I didn't hear you come in. Diane? ~ I'm coming. come back. I've got some people coming for a meal tonight. Would you like to come with us? bring or take? Note that the difference in use between bring and take is similar to that between come and go. but you can use return for both come back and go back: • • You must have come back / returned very late last night. Can you and Henry come too? go back. Note. We've come to ask you if we can borrow your car for a week. that come with and not go with is normally used when we are talking about joining a movement of the speaker or hearer. come We use come to describe movement to the place where the speaker or hearer is: • • • Could you come here for a minute.

they are the same! Whether we use go or come all has to do with perspective and position. Some of the meanings of words too. For example: • Do you want to come with me to Tom's party? In Korean it would be: Do you want to go with me to Tom's party? Please explain to me how to use go and come in the correct way. 'come' or 'go'? 'bring' or 'take'? Joo from Korea writes: Hi. They’re not here. I‘m going to have to take them back. Andrzej Macalik from Poland writes: I've got a problem with go back. He must have taken them to the club. He’s taken my umbrella too. 100 . These shirts that I bought don’t really fit me. come back and return. They've gone to live in Australia and I don't think they'll ever come back. Especially go and come. I hope you can use them. Is it all right if I bring my boyfriend? Always remember to bring your calculators when you come to these maths lessons! I’ve brought you some beans and tomatoes from my garden. I've been learning English in Australia for 5 months. • • • It’s kind of you to invite me to supper.• • • Can you take the car in for its service tomorrow. go We use go to describe movement away from the place or position where the speaker or hearer is: • • • Are you going to the pub tonight? Let's go and see Auntie Mary before the holiday is over. because in my opinion (only?) . Jan? I’m going to take the train. I've been having a hard time because English syntax is so different from Korean.

He must have taken them to the club. Note. I didn't hear you come in. Jan? I’m going to take the train. come back. even though the movement is away from their current place or position: • • I'm going to the hospital this afternoon to get the test results. 101 . return The same rule applies with go back and come back. We've come to ask you if we can borrow your car for a week. We use take to describe movement away from the position of the speaker/hearer and bring to describe movement to the place where the speaker/hearer is.come We use come to describe movement to the place where the speaker or hearer is: • • • Could you come here for a minute. but you can use return for both come back and go back: • • You must have come back / returned very late last night. Would you like to come with us? bring or take? Note that the difference in use between bring and take is similar to that between come and go. that come with and not go with is normally used when we are talking about joining a movement of the speaker or hearer. please. He’s taken my umbrella too. Andrzej. I've got some people coming for a meal tonight. Can you and Henry come too? go back. I hope you can use them. was or will be: • • • Can you take the car in for its service tomorrow. Diane? ~ I'm coming. Is it all right if I bring my boyfriend? Always remember to bring your calculators when you come to these maths lessons! I’ve brought you some beans and tomatoes from my garden. however. I‘m going to have to take them back. He went back / returned to Mexico when he had finished post-graduate training. They’re not here. These shirts that I bought don’t really fit me. • • • It’s kind of you to invite me to supper. Could you come with me? We're going to Egypt for a week at Christmas .

like petrol station or heart attack. 102 . But there is really no substitute for a good dictionary in this case. but that are spelled with a hyphen. not a petrol station. whiteboard. Blackboard is one word. I have made two generalisations about compounds. and this may help you. and this is always true. You can see it written in both ways (drop-out or dropout). or a heart attack. but most of them . because these rules are not fixed! Confusing pairs: definite~definitive etc. and a black bird. This is also true for most longer compounds . and each of the independent words that make them up is one syllable. a process that we call compounding.not all. which is any bird that is black. which is a house that is green . I teach English in Germany and have lived here for 26 years. So. to sum up. but drawing board is written as two words. skateboard. we talk about a petrol station. On the other hand. touches on an important process in forming words in English. There are two rules that can help . And in many cases some people will spell them one way. What happens is that two independent words combine and make one compound word. But there are many compound words that are not spelled as one in the two words that you mentioned: classroom and blackboard. the first syllable is such as classroom. Or about a greenhouse . the same is true of drop-out. but living room is written as two words. and others will spell them another way . blackboard etc.A question from Charles Otoghile: What rules do I need to help me combine words . Observe how many syllables they have . Charles. Let's look at some words that are compounded and written as one word: blackbird. Teachers always like to talk about the difference between a blackbird. I notice a word which is being used in Britain these days for which I would have used another. and is not a compound.and is not a compound. greenhouse. bathroom. for example. The second important rule concerns the stress. made of two words of one syllable. Many compounds are spelled as one word .usually putting two words together to form one eye-witness with a hyphen can be spelled eyewitness without a hyphen. Other compounds are always written as two different words . compounds where one of the words has more than one syllable are normally written with a hyphen or as two separate words. Amos Paran answers: Your question. which is a compound that refers to a specific kind of bird. You will notice that in these short compounds. not a heart attack.a glass building where you grow plants. which is a compound and a green house.or maybe I should call these generalisations rather than rules. So bathroom is one word.they have two syllables.

The hot desert sand cut into our faces and we had to close our eyes.. I notice. What is the difference. cook and cooker One is the person who cooks and the other is the stove that food is cooked on. I think the difference is still maintained by most users: definite = certain.. dessert and desert One is the sweet food that is served at the end of a meal. precise.? • • For dessert I had chocolate cake with whipped cream and then a bowl of cherries. But which is which. you might try this sort of activity as a class exercise with a more advanced group of students.. if any?.. The cooker was really dirty and I could see that it hadn't been cleaned for weeks.. Barry and Susan have now got a definite date for their wedding. satisfactory and satisfying One of them describes something that gives you a feeling of fulfilment. that teenagers in Britain these days always appear to prefer definitely to certainly in the following sort of exchange: • Are you coming to the concert on Saturday? ~ Definitely! If any of the following pairs of words are easily confused. clear.? • • He was a really good cook and his spaghetti made me think I was in Italy. unlikely to be changed definitive = something that provides a firm conclusion that cannot be challenged • • In 1993 he wrote a definitive work on the behaviour of stem cells. But which is which. But which is which.? • The doctor said he was making satisfactory progress but it seemed very slow to me. The other is an area of land where nothing grows and there is very little water. 103 . The other describes something that it good enough to be acceptable..The new word definitive appears to be used with the same meaning as definite something that is sure. by the way.

? • • We could see our father only on alternate weekends.• There's nothing more satisfying than concluding an agreement after five days of talks. Does this mean that you push your bicycle through the underpass across the expressway? Why not write it simply this way instead: 104 . There are many other pairs that can be used. But which is which. a short tunnel under an expressway)... His principal interest in life was to look after the welfare of others. The other means first in order of importance or the person in charge of a school.e. There is no alternative to a prison sentence for such a serious crime.. depending on the level of the class: • • • • • • • • • • electrical ~ electronic economical ~ economic historical ~ historic complement ~ compliment personal ~ personnel stationery ~ stationary emigrate ~ immigrate housework ~ homework tasty ~ tasteful complexity ~ complication confusing road signs John Chan from Singapore writes: I need your help in answering the following: • Push your bicycles across the underpass (i. But which is which.. Unfortunately not every weekend. principle and principal One of them describes a general rule or set of beliefs that you try to adhere to. alternate and alternative One describes something that you can choose to have or do instead of something else.? • • He was a man of very few principles who later came to regret the path his life had taken. The other describes an activity that is off then on. then off then on again.

CATTLE CROSSING AHEAD Does this mean: • • (a) drive carefully because when you go round the next bend. if the underpass crosses a road beneath the expressway or motorway. I understand that the rationale for this instruction is that it would be too dangerous to pedestrians if cyclists rode their bikes through the underpass. Road signs can sometimes be confusing. shops. your bicycles through the underpass. you will see cattle crossing the road in front of you? (b) drive carefully because when you go round the next bend. restaurant etc approximately one hundred metres to you left? (b) there are public toilets approximately one hundred metres to your left? STOP CHILDREN CROSSING 105 . Logically it should be: Push. often because they are too concise. Can you work out the intended meaning in the following: CAUTION . John.• Push your bicycles through the underpass You are quite right. banks. you will come to the place where cattle sometimes cross the road? DIVERSION AHEAD Does this mean? • • (a) that there are some amusements ahead which will enable you to take a break from driving and take a rest? (b) that the road ahead is blocked and you will have to take an alternative route? Public Conveniences 100 yds Does this mean that: • • (a) you will find all the facilities you need. do not ride.

" 106 . perhaps less frequently. Mark Shea answers: This is a tricky question. 'Devoted' has remained far closer to its original meaning . 'dedicated' and 'devoted' are the two words which are commonly used in speaking and writing. 'consecrate' or 'devote'...we still use it to talk about someone's commitment to a particular activity or object. Both come from Latin: 'devote' comes from the word meaning 'a vow'.we see that they have quite similar meanings originally. We might identify some differences in the use of each word today. "The teachers were devoted to their students. which has changed very little. and both mean to have great love. Both words have a religious background. If we look at the etymology of the words ." We can use it. and 'dedicate'." for example. comes from the word meaning 'to proclaim'. It's particularly used to talk about someone's love for their family "He's a devoted father" OR "She was devoted to her grandchildren. I am well aware of the meanings of the two words. or. Please enlighten me when it is appropriate to use 'dedicated' rather than 'devoted' and vice versa. My question is that in some situations we prefer to use the word 'dedicated' rather than 'devoted' while in other circumstances we prefer to use 'devoted'.. however..Does this mean: • • (a) you must do all you can to prevent children crossing the road ahead? (b) you must stop because there are children crossing the road in front of you? ROAD WORKS Does this mean that: • • (a) the road ahead is open and in a good state of repair? (b) repairs are being carried out on the road ahead? 'Dedicated / Devoted' A question from Ikram in Pakistan: I really appreciate your efforts to help us to learn and improve English language. to talk about other areas of life: "Years of devoted research finally produced results. I have a query about two words in English language.that's how they came into English . Ikram .the words 'dedicated' and 'devoted' seem very similar. affection or enthusiasm for something.

'refuse'. so we can see that these words have very similar meanings. And it's worth noting that the noun 'devotions' might also mean religious activities like praying. To sum up then. One useful way of seeing the difference between words is to look at the opposite of each one. for example.The central meaning is that effort and concentration are involved in the object of the devotion. 'Accept' could be the opposite of 'refuse'. however. 'refuse'. 'decline'. If you are dedicated to something. 'A dedicated vegetarian' believes very strongly that people should not eat animals. 'refuse'. you believe that it's right and worthwhile and you give a lot of time and effort to it.. but we're more likely to use 'devoted' to talk about family or loved ones. 107 . and 'dedicated' to talk about work or other interests.. 'Dedicated' has become more flexible over time. 'A dedication' is a statement which says who a book has been written for or who a song has been sung can call some radio stations and they'll play songs which you request for your friends or family. 'reject' and 'decline' often translate to the same word in other languages. We're less likely to use it to talk about love for one's family or in a religious context it's a more general word. This is a very common question as 'deny'. Ikram! 'deny'. 'Dedicated' can be used in another way though: A song on the radio might be dedicated to a particular person . so this is different to the others an 'odd one out'. But 'dedicated' could also be used to describe someone who believes very strongly in the importance of an ideal. 'reject' Thuy Nhien from Vietnam asks: Could you please show me the difference between 'deny'. Mark Shea answers: Hi Thuy Nhien. so learners often have problems distinguishing between them.. The opposite of 'deny' would be 'admit'... It's especially useful to talk about someone's attitude to their job "A dedicated worker" is very committed. So thanks for being such a dedicated learner of English. 'reject' and 'decline'.. both words have similar origins and meanings. for example. 'reject'..

you decide that you do not believe in it and you do not wish to follow it. you decide not to agree with it.refuse as opposed to refuse.. for example. or a machine rejects a credit card it is because something is considered unsuitable. has the stress on the first syllable and means somebody or something which has not been accepted.. For example: "This shirt was very cheap because it was a reject" 108 . reject." 'Reject' often carries the added meaning that you don't think something is good enough . If the police are questioning somebody. which is a formal word for rubbish. The noun. the pronunciation is reject.if an employer rejects a job applicant. You could also refuse something. they behave with cruelty or indifference towards them and perhaps do not want to see them any more. a reject. If you reject a proposal or a request.if you deny somebody something. if you 'deny' someone. 'Reject' is quite similar to 'refuse' .. If someone rejects a lover. Notice that in all cases. you 'refuse' to give it to them . the suspect might deny that he committed a crime. which means that you don't accept it.. you say that they aren't connected to you at all .the opposite of both would be 'accept'.The main meaning of 'deny' is to say that something is not true. which is common for verbs with two syllables. "Judge Dread rejected the lawyer's request for more time to study the case" If you reject a belief or a theory. for instance. which is quite similar to 'refuse' . 'Deny' also has a less common use.for example: "The guards denied their prisoners food and water" Finally. To 'refuse' is the opposite of to 'accept' . "The rebels rejected the authority of the central government.if you refuse to do something you choose not to do it.but this use is rather old-fashioned. their family or friends. or say firmly that you will not do it. For example: "I offered him a cold drink but he refused it" Notice that the pronunciation has the stress on the second syllable . invalid or wrong in some way. with the stress on the second syllable.

Thanks for your question Thuy Nhien.but this time it is pronounced the same as the verb.. decline. studying English in the United States.that's a verb without an object. writes: I have difficulty understanding the meaning of done in this sentence: • It's not done to call your teachers by their first names. Americans that I have consulted would all recognise this expression. it's simply a matter of usage. In your example.. we might deny an allegation refuse an offer reject a suggestion . 'Decline' can be a rather formal synonym for 'refuse' . Listen to how the verb 'decline' is used in this sentence: "As China and India become more powerful. in conclusion then.Finally. In British English there are a large number of expressions with do/did/done in regular use. "The princess is believed to have declined various proposals of marriage" for example. the economic power of the United States may be declining" So. If something declines. you politely refuse to accept it or do it. expressions with do/did/done Navid. we come to 'decline'. I would like to know why done doesn't appear to make very much sense in this sentence in American English.and decline a formal invitation. Navid. as they would an almost identical 109 . Then there's the intransitive verb .. importance or strength. it loses quality.. It can also be a noun .if you decline something or decline to do something.

110 . In British English. It did his nut in means that it confused or bemused him. they are different. but whereas done and dusted means successfully completed and refers to something that you are upbeat about. It did his nut in. Use of the past participle done in expressions normally suggests completed action. to use another similar expression to describe actions which might appear insulting to particular groups of people (also sometimes referred to as PC and non-PC). it's all done and dusted. It's not done to remain seated when your National Anthem is played. And what about have done with and do away with? Are these two informal expressions the same. though they might not use them actively in speech or writing. They've done away with the death penalty in many countries recently. What about he's done his nut and it's done his nut in? In both of these nut means head. Clearly. It's not the done thing to poke fun at disabled people. But are these two very informal expressions the same or different? What do you think? • • I didn't have time to clear up after the party and my mum's done her nut. It may not be politically correct. Sometimes. Yes. It is clearly politically incorrect (non-PC) to refer to childcare workers as nursemaids. I've done with him. Compare the following: • • • • In this society. both of these expressions are commonly used. it is quite the done thing to eat with your hands. At long last their divorce has come through. similar or different? • • Aren't you still going out with Robert? No. over and done with suggests something mildly unpleasant which you are pleased is now finished: • • I finally completed that project last month. as in nutcase to describe someone who is crazy or insane. The meaning is that it is (not) socially acceptable to do this. to fly into a rage. Now the whole thing's over and done with. To do your nut means to lose your temper. He was so tired he couldn't concentrate on the details in his contract. expressions which may appear similar at first glance have quite different shades of meaning.expression it's (not) the done thing to.

remember that How do you do? and Hi! How're you doing? are complete opposites in terms of formality . though have done with means end relations with someone and do away with means abolish or put an end to.informality: • • Hi Bob! How're ya doin'? I'm fine. What about you Jim? All done? All done! If I offered you £200 for your old car. dress. You've done really well to win first prize! Well done! Have you finished that job. dress. thanks. similar or different? • • He did me a good turn and took care of Felix while I was on holiday. be dressed in Tugba from Turkey writes: Hello. it would mean murdered! How about do a good turn to and done to a turn? Same. please. How do you do? How do you do? (Must be accompanied by a handshake and no kisses!) Wear. The goose was done to a turn: lovely soft breast meat with the juices oozing out of it! Quite different: done to a turn means cooked perfectly and do a good turn means do someone a favour. put on. 111 .Slightly similar. and dressed in. put on. In very common use are: Well done! All done! and Done! But how exactly are they used? • • • • • How would you like your steak. I would like to know the difference between wear. would you accept it? Done! Well done = cooked thoroughly or slightly overcooked Well done! = words of congratulation for someone who has done something successfully All done = completely finished Done! = one-word acceptance of an offer or a bet someone has made As an introduction or greeting. Asha? Yeah. If we substituted done away with for have done with in the first example. sir? Well done. I don't want to see any blood. all done.

it becomes thinner or weaker because it is used frequently over a long period of time. but now he is wearing it long. If something wears you out. it makes you feel extremely tired. We also put on weight. The casserole is in the oven.Wear When you wear your clothes. Why don't you put that new CD on so that I have some music while I'm ironing? 112 . You can't go out in such an old shirt. shoes or jewellery you have them on your body: • She was wearing a beautiful diamond necklace with matching earrings. your shoes wouldn't wear out so quickly. There is another meaning to wear. We shall soon have to replace it. You can also wear your hair in a particular way: • David Beckham used to wear his hair short. I've spent all day shopping and I feel quite worn out. you take them off. The amateur dramatic company put on a new show. My patience is wearing thin. If something wears. Compare the following usages: • • • • • This carpet is beginning to wear. Put the potatoes on now and put the rice on in five minutes. Compare the following (additional) usages of put on: • • • • • Take that shirt off and put on a new one. Don't rush around so much. He is such an annoying person. People can also feel worn out. You'll wear yourself out. We also have the expression to wear thin and the phrasal verb to wear out. but had to take it off after three days as nobody came. the opposite of which is to lose weight. but I lost half a kilo as I swam every day. Put on When you put clothes on you place them on your body in order to wear them. And when you have finished wearing them. If you didn't play football every day. I thought I was going to put some weight on on holiday.

Be dressed in If you dress or are dressed in a particular way. I just love dressing up and Edward's having an Edwardian party on Saturday. Have you dressed the salad yet? I think it's better not to dress that wound. dress a wound by cleaning it and covering it and dress a salad by putting oil and vinegar on it. you put on different clothes to make yourself look smarter. You can also dress children. I must dress now for the party. you wear clothes. How should we say: neither of them is or neither of them are? Which form would you use? Is one more proper than the other? 113 . usually for a particular purpose: • She was dressed in a multi-layered organdie gown with a duchess satin opera coat for the open-air production of Don Giovanni. So I bathed her and dressed her in new clothes. I couldn't find a clear answer to this question. Either. We often speak of getting dressed as a colloquial alternative to dress. If you dress up. There is no need to wear a suit. you put on clothes that are less smart than usual. Wojciech Szczupa from Poland writes: Try as I might. I find it very difficult. either and too. Her chaperone was wearing a white dinner jacket. She came in covered in mud. Henry will be here in ten minutes. It is customary now to dress down in certain offices in the city on Fridays. if you dress down. We'll just leave it so that the air can get to it. Compare the following usages: • • • • • • You'd better get dressed now. neither and too Qemal from Albania writes: I am a military man from Albania and I would be very grateful if you could give me some explanation of how to use neither. you put clothes on.Dress When you dress.

That one's mine. Study the following examples of use: • • • • Which of these apples would you prefer? ~ I don't want either of them. but I haven't met either Francis or Damien yet. either. Now that I'm fifty I must live a healthier life.Either indicates a choice between two alternatives. ~ No. with either this does not happen: • • • • • I can't make the meeting on Tuesday. determiners or adverbs. (OR: I've known you for two years. too. But with neither. I don't go mountain climbing and I don't go mountain walking.) I can't make the meeting on Tuesday. I like peaches and nectarines. I don't approve of sex before marriage. Compare the following: • • I like peaches and nectarines best. Neither Richard nor Judy could come to the party. When either and neither function as determiners. nor Damien. they are often followed by of + noun phrase: • I've known you for two years. ~ Yeah. Both either and neither can function as pronouns. I don't either.) Neither of my two brothers survived the war. (OR: I don't go mountain climbing and neither do I go mountain walking. ~ No.) I don't approve of sex before marriage. Which of these fur coats is yours? ~ Neither (of them). subject and verb are inverted. When they function as pronouns. Too can function as an adding adverb which is placed in agreement at the end of an affirmative sentence. 114 . they behave as linking words which can be tagged on in agreement at the end of a negative sentence. neither do I. Neither Francis. nor can I. You can have either the £15 cotton top or the £17 cotton-and-polyester blouse. (OR: No. • • When they function as adverbs. ~ No. Neither combines two negative ideas. You can't have both. they are placed before the noun. nor do I. either. ~ No. but I haven't met either of your two brothers yet. I want neither alcohol nor cigars for my birthday. neither can I (OR: No. ~ No. I can't either. I don't like peaches or nectarines. thanks. I don't like peaches or nectarines.

but you will hear both formulations with no clear preference for one or the other: • • • • Neither of them are coming. Although this of-pronoun is normally considered singular..) Neither of them is or neither of them are? I don't think there is a clear answer..with an 'a' .. you see. The word with an 'e' . it should be singular. are pronounced the same by many people in many contexts.on both sides.meaning 'to make something happen'. but their meanings are also very similar one's a noun. So you could say: 'Your emotional state affects how you remember things'. Neither of them is coming. meaning not one and not the other. That's I tend to pronounce the one that begins with 'e'. So: 'What effect will the new law have on road use?' Part of the problem. is not only that these two words are spelt very similarly. It was a very boring game of tennis to watch.. You have asked a question that many native speakers of English ask when they are writing and part of the problem is that these two words. The sisters in the photograph were standing on either side of their dad. I tend to say and /Ifekt/ . So many people say affect and effect . Which of these umbrellas is yours? ~ Neither is.. Strictly speaking. one's a verb.for the word that begins with 'a' they say and for the word that begins with 'e' they say . They both have to work next weekend.. even at weekends Neither Emma nor Susan gets on with Chloe. the boundary between singular and plural is blurred and effectively it can go with either a singular or plural verb form. / Ifekt/ but not everybody does. That one's mine. Which of these umbrellas is yours? ~ Neither of them are. Thus..nor are employed as usually used as a noun and it means the result of an influence. I think. Consider the following: • • • • Neither Francoise nor Helmut likes to eat English breakfasts. even at weekends. There is a rarer and more formal use of 'effect' as a verb . A question from Qais Mohammed: What is the difference between effect and affect? Catherine Walter answers: Hi Qais. it is normally followed by plural nouns or pronouns. as a verb meaning to have an influence. Neither Franciose nor Helmut like to eat English breakfasts. when neither.that's the one with the 'e' .. There is similar confusion.• • • On neither side of the road was there anybody to be seen.. OR: .. often pronounced the same. What's the difference? The main use of 'affect' . (OR: . although spelt differently. They both have to work next weekend.effect .on each side... So you could 115 . Neither player could raise his game. Neither Emma nor Susan get on with Chloe.

For example. money or energy. Here's an example: 'New privacy regulations will take effect on July 1st. And this is the problem that Hervé has with 'effective' and 'efficient'.with an 'e' as a noun. and it has also adopted words from other languages such as Hindi and Urdu. It produces results. there are many similar looking or sounding words. But. I'll give you one last little meaning.with an 'e' . so they're not really friends. Hope that's helpful. However. in part. A car with an efficient engine is a car that travels a long way without using a lot of petrol. that's quite rare and I hope that differentiating 'affect' . in fact they have a different meaning in the foreign language. 116 . 'effective' means that something produces results or an effect. You might hear. meaning a good or bad feeling towards something. When it is 'efficace'. it doesn't waste energy. So it's a psychology term. 'Efficient' means that something is done in a good way. or read more likely: 'The influence of positive effect on social behaviour'. a car with an effective engine will move. Because English has. There are also a number of fixed phrases so something that you might hear quite often is 'take effect'. You may sometimes run across the word with an 'a' but it's pronounced differently. it means that it produces effect. And that's usually pronounced /æfekt/. but the meanings are not exactly the same. or an attitude towards something. will at least set you on the right track. When it is 'efficient' in French. they're false friends.' Since we're being complete here. English is a language that has developed from Germanic and Latin languages. These are words in a foreign language which seem similar to words in your own language. In English. Does that difference exist in English too . thank you very much for your question. Your question in fact relates to the topic of false friends. 'effective' / 'efficient''? A question from Hervé in France: Could you explain the difference between something 'effective' and something 'efficient'? Both could be translated in French by "efficace". it means that it works well.used as a noun. It is efficient. It moves the car. because the engine does what it is supposed to do.say: 'It is pointless to try and effect a chance in policy now'. It does what it is supposed to do. In French there are similar sounding words.with an 'a' .'effective' / 'efficient''? Gareth Rees: Well Hervé. So that's effect . although the word "efficient" also exists in French and there is a difference between a verb. developed from Latin. and 'effect' . without wasting time. and so has French.

I was told that we talk about life assurance but property insurance. A less formal equivalent of this verb in spoken English would be make sure: • • Ensure / Make sure that your working hours as well as your rate of pay are written into your contract. We often use such phrases as I can assure you or let me assure you in order to emphasise the truth of what we are saying: • • She hastened to assure me that the report contained no critical comment on my department's performance. insure . If you ensure that something happens. No risks of any kind will be taken.assurance. that the French word efficient' is more similar to 'effective' than the similar sounding 'efficient'.It seems from what Hervé says. I tried to ensure that everybody wore their life jackets the whole time that we were on the sailing boats. Ensure is subtly different from assure and people often confuse the two. 117 . I hope my explanation has been If you assure someone that something is true or will happen. I am not a French expert. often in order to make them less worried. so I?ll leave him to decide. you make certain that it happens. I have also heard that American insurance companies talk about life insurance. However. ensure. but not everybody carried out my instruction. However. Let me assure you / I can assure you that the children will be totally safe on this adventure holiday. assure . insurance Betty Choy from Hong Kong writes: I would be most grateful if you could tell me the difference between assurance and insurance. A couple of other examples of these false friends include 'sympathetic' and 'sensible'. and that I have made it in an efficient way.ensure . Please help. I will start with the verbs from which these nouns are derived as they are in more common use and then deal with the more specialist noun forms second. you tell them that it is definitely true or will happen. Assure. 'Sympathetic' is a false friend for the French and 'sensible' is a false friend for the Spanish.

Insurance is the term used to describe all other types of insurance: • That car is not insured. in British English we sometimes talk about life assurance as an alternative to life insurance to describe the form of insurance in which a person makes regular payments to an insurance company in return for a sum of money which is paid to them after a period of time or to their family if they die. Betty. If you insure yourself or your property. inquire and enquire 118 . theft and third party damage for as little as £30 per month. assurance has the same meaning as assure. you pay money to an insurance company so that if you become ill or if your property is stolen or damaged. the company will pay you a sum of money: • • We can insure your car against fire. Secondly. I thought we were going to die and I started thinking about my life insurance / life assurance policies. There is no noun which is derived from ensure. The insurance expired at the end of July and you haven't renewed it. I was unable to give her any assurance that Beth would arrive in time for the family re-union. If you give someone an assurance that something is true or will happen.In American English. you say that it is definitely true or will definitely happen in order to make them feel less worried: • • He sought an assurance from me that i'd always be available on Saturdays to undertake the work. Insure has another meaning. Assurance First and foremost. ensure is sometimes spelt insure: • I shall try to insure that you have a nice time while you are here. They're not included under the house contents insurance. as you suggest. Note that we cannot say ensurance. Both terms are freely used in British English: • As we came down that hill.~ Make sure you remember to insure the digital camera and the mobile phones.

For tools and utensils it is also very important to know which other words they collocate with. centre. criticise. Sam.expressions 119 . It tends to be used in scientific or technical contexts: • 'The chemistry lab was full of the apparatus needed for a range of experiments'.' Apparatus is similar in meaning to equipment.labour (labor). 'inquiry' and 'enquiry'. tool and apparatus What is the difference between 'equipment'. and so on. And finally. The same goes for the nouns. Equipment usually describes (all) the necessary articles for a purpose.sympathise. we talk about garden tools for a gardener and work tools for a carpenter. my spell checker accepts both! Equipment. words that end with . There are of course other differences in spelling between American and British English. 'take'. Thus you would say: • 'A lot of equipment was needed for this mountaineering (or camping) expedition. 'utensil'. What you need to know is what restrictions are placed on their use. 'tool' and 'apparatus'? Thank you for these four items. The spelling with 'e' is British. the spelling with 'i' is North American. They are clearly all from the same lexical field. Another common difference is words that end in 're' in British English and are spelled with 'er' in American English. but kitchen utensils for a housewife or house-husband. utensil.'ise' in British English . honour (honor). and so on.question from Eric in Singapore: Please would you answer another question for me? What is the difference between inquire and enquire? Amos Paran answers: There is a very simple answer here . For example. although it tends to relate to particular Thus gymnastic apparatus refers to all the apparatus you would expect to find in a gym. The most common ones are words that end with 'our' in British English and are spelled 'or' in American English .there is no difference in meaning.'ize' in American English and are often spelled with . Luckily.

you assume it will happen or is the case without thinking about it: • • I took it for granted that I would give the opening address at the conference.accept a difficult situation without complaining • Her criticism was quite justified. Consequently. you take them in sequence or in order with no need to prioritise: • You're going to be very busy today . Mirto. there are more than fifty expressions in current use that incorporate the verb take. without acknowledging it: • He just takes me for granted . The things I take for granted in Madrid just do not apply to my life in London. ~ Oh. they are befitting from your help.lots of customers. take it as it comes If you take things as they come. Here are eight of the more opaque. He took it on the chin and apologised.submit to insult without protesting. take it lying down . like a dog when cowed • She's horrible to you all the time . Can you please help me? Derek from Taiwan writes: What does this expression mean: take it as it comes? take something / someone for granted There are two realisations of this expression.never any thanks for all the things I do for him. In one of them when somebody takes you for granted. If you take something for granted. take-expressions We noted in another answer (to review that answer click here) that take is one of the most frequently used verbs in the English language. We'll just take it as it comes. that doesn't bother us. 120 .Mirto F Santos from Brazil writes: I don't quite understand the meaning of the expression take for granted.don't just take it lying down! take it on the chin .

take one's hat off to . • She took up line dancing after her husband died. take one's breath away .trick or deceive them. perhaps for financial gain • He's taking you for a off frustration by being unpleasant to someone • I know you've had a bad day at work.stress that something is extremely beautiful • When you get a first glimpse of the Niagara Falls. I have.take it out on someone . Why did you lend him £100? You'll never get it back.well.she takes after her mother in that respect. 121 . take someone for a ride . but don't take it out on admiration for someone's achievements. but stealing me underwear . take up an activity .000 in debt. something takes the biscuit . I took off my dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket. I went into the casino with £100 and came out £1. character or behaviour • Sylvia has always been a worrier .a stupidity that evokes surprise • I didn't mind her borrowing my resemble a family member in appearance. like take away or take off which are relatively easy to understand: • • Have you finished with that yet? ~ Yes. • I take my hat off to the police for managing the protest without arresting anyone. Some of them have a literal meaning. These include: take after . that just about takes the biscuit! take multi-part verbs Similarly.become interested in it or start doing it. Please take it away. Other examples have an idiomatic meaning where the meaning may not be clear from an understanding of the individual words. it takes your breath away. there are numerous multi-part verbs where take is combined with a preposition and/or adverbial particle. take someone to the cleaners .deprive them of their money or possessions • They took me to the cleaners.

If we want to use point of view.assume management. birds should not be kept in cages. take over . How important is it.develop a liking for someone or something • • He's taken to drinking heavily since his wife left him. From a political point of view. Both these expressions emphasise the position or angle you are judging the situation from: • • • From my point of view it makes no difference whether you return on Saturday night or Sunday morning.take up on . I'd like to take you up on that.really dangerous driving! take to . to my mind / etc 122 . Expressing views and opinions in my view / opinion I think we would normally drop point of and simply say in his view (in my view / in their opinion / etc): • • In my view. the agreement of the UN is extremely important. From the point of view of safety. always wear a helmet when you are on the building site. Note that the verb needed for going past someone is overtake: • He overtook me on the brow of the hill . I don't agree that cloning is inevitable. in your view. Tommy has really taken to his new teacher and can't wait to get to school. it's very important. that the twins should stay together? ~ In my opinion. control or ownership • It's possible that the supermarket chain Safeway will be taken over by Sainsbury's. I think we would more often say from my point of view rather than according to my point of view.accept an offer OR challenge someone verbally Can I take you up on that lift to Manchester? ~ Sure! No problem.

making concessions To achieve balance in any essay. I'm surprised you got into university with such low grades. Less formal equivalents more characteristic of spoken English. As far as I'm concerned. Let's go tomorrow. I would argue that it is kinder to allow a rare animal to die naturally in the wilds rather than to prolong its life artificially in a zoo. it may be useful to incorporate opinions that are different from your own. I reckon it'll rain later today. It seems to me that when they are confined to a cage they never have enough room to move around. If you ask me. it's unreasonable to pay for something which should be free. I feel she shouldn't be getting married so young. academic writing and expressing opinions If you are required to write an academic essay in which you are asked to express an opinion (see below). in my opinion are all fairly formal ways of expressing your opinion characteristic of written English. useful alternatives to in my view include: I think that… It seems to me that… I would argue that… I do not believe that… I am unconvinced that… I do not agree that… • • How acceptable is it for wild animals to be kept in zoos? I believe that it is quite unacceptable for animals to be kept in zoos. the matter is over and done with and we can now move forward. include the following: to my mind: to emphasise that this is your opinion reckon: usually to express an opinion about what Is likely to happen feel: to express a strong personal opinion if you ask me: to express an opinion that may be critical to be honest (with you): to express a critical opinion without seeming rude as far as I'm concerned: to express an opinion that may be different from others' • • • • • • To my mind the quality of their football is just not good enough.In my view. To be honest (with you). Useful linking words and expressions include: 123 . from my point of view.

primarily. weaknesses and drawbacks Could you help me to work out the differences in use between the following words: faults. we are wasting resources. flaws. Faults Fault is not so much used to talk about someone’s character. on the whole. many / some people argue… It is sometimes argued… Admittedly… While… • It is sometimes argued that it is possible for conditions in the zoo to replicate the wild animal's natural habitat. but. By this I mean there are more urgent economic problems to deal with: hospitals and schools should be our first priority. Instead we talk about electrical. There was a delay in the broadcast of the programme and this was due to a technical fault. she’s a nice person. We all have our own faults. mechanical or technical faults: There was a fault in the wiring and I had no idea how to correct it. A fault then describes a weakness in something. 124 . clarifying an opinion It may sometimes be necessary to explain a thought in greater detail. flaws. faults. But sometimes it is used to describe a weakness in someone’s character: She has her faults. it will never be possible. weaknesses and drawbacks? Are they interchangeable when talking about someone’s character? Of these four synonyms. fault is probably the most widely term used. Helen. in my view.Of course. or expressions with similar meanings. Useful linking expressions for doing this include: By this I mean… Here I'm referring to… To be more precise… That is to say… • By spending money on confining wild animals to zoos. A mechanical fault caused the train to come off the rails. I suppose. While this may be feasible for smaller reptiles. for the larger mammals which needs acres of space to roam around in.

However. He showed great weakness in not owning up to his part in the bad behaviour. I forgot to pass on the message. Don’t blame me. If you don’t get enough sleep. Note that if you have a weakness for something. I’m sorry. There were serious flaws in the construction of the pedestrian bridge. we can also talk about serious or major flaws: There are major flaws in the way we train teachers in this country. yes. We talk about flawed arguments for example. She attributed her flawless complexion to the moisturising creams she used. Weaknesses Weaknesses generally describe the state or condition of being weak and of lacking strength or resilience. There was a tiny flaw in the necklace and it certainly wasn’t worth all the money we had paid for it. Weaknesses can also refer to faults or problems that make something less attractive or effective: They were keen to know how well it would sell in Russia so they listed all the strengths and weaknesses of their product for this market. It’s my fault. It was partly the teacher’s fault for giving them too much homework. The main weakness of this government is that it keeps changing direction on key policy issues. Note also a flawless complexion: There’s a flaw in your argument. I agree with you up to a point. you are very fond of it: I have a great weakness for chocolate. it’s entirely your own fault. I can never refuse it. This is a more idiomatic way of saying: I am (not) to blame or I am (not) responsible (for this unfortunate situation). we can also use flaw to describe a fault in someone’s character: The only flaw in his character was his short temper – he tended to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.We also have the frequently used expression: It’s (not) my/your/his/etc fault. And. The only weakness in her character that I could spot was that she seemed to be over-dependent on others. but the last part doesn’t make complete sense to me. It’s not my fault he’s late. 125 . Flaws We use flaw mainly to talk about a minor fault or weakness in something which make it less effective or valuable.

and provide a paraphrase. from the shades of meaning inherent in all four of these terms. shouting and shooting in anger. not for practice'. note that we can refer to faults. "to fire in anger" Could you. and thanks for sending in such a challenging question! Well. the military websites clearly used the phrase to mean 'shooting in war. Pierre! Luckily.. So. depending on whether the context is military or non-military. explain the meaning of the phrase "to fire or shoot (something or someone) in anger". but we are less likely to talk about drawbacks in someone’s character. The main drawback of this examination is that it takes two months before the results are released. here goes. as far as I could tell." So I think the best answer to your question is that 'fire in anger' has two meanings. 126 . so I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to answer your question.Drawbacks We use drawback to refer to a feature of something which makes it less useful or acceptable than it could be. But I'm also unsure whether the phrase "to fire in anger" is used specifically in a war context or also applies to non-military conflicts. none of the dictionaries I consulted (including a dictionary of military terms) had information about 'fire in anger'. In a military context. When I typed "fire in anger" into an internet search engine. they're fired to deliberately cause damage or harm. For example. or as you say in your question.. two of my colleagues at York St John University are specialists in Military English and I was able to ask them about the meaning of the phrase. flaws and weaknesses in someone’s character. please. 'to fire in anger' means to shoot for a purpose in war. Drawback is often synonymous with disadvantage. the non-military websites used the phrase to mean 'to shoot angrily'. Rachel Wicaksono answers: Hello Pierre. Shots fired in anger are never just for practice. I realise it doesn't actually mean to fire or shoot because one is angry. Helen. Interestingly. So. a submarine that 'fires in anger' shoots missiles at an enemy ship. For example: "The man waved his gun around. but note that drawforward does not exist as an alternative to advantage! The only drawback / disadvantage with this accommodation is that it’s a fifteenminute walk to the bus-stop. 'to shoot because one is angry'.

The military meaning is 'in a real situation. But some things are changing.." ". For example: "I weigh fourteen stones. and for distance. the non-military use of 'fire in anger' implies strong emotion. in contrast. we buy 127 . is fully recounted. seven pounds. are: 'ounces'. You'll notice that from these authentic examples of the phrase. 'pounds'. which we can use for distance. or I'm five feet tall? Rachel Wicaksono answers: Thanks for your question.. the first British nuclear submarine ever to fire in anger. length and distance.. 'yards' and 'miles'. not for practice' and has no connection with the emotion of the person or thing doing the shooting. especially for personal weight and height. General Belgrano. For example. so it only takes me 20 minutes to walk there." Other non-metric measures." Non-metric measures are still widely used in the UK.which of the responses is correct: When somebody asks me how tall I am. For example: "It's a mile from my house to the centre of York. That's fourteen and a half stone! I really need to go on a diet. Pierre .becoming the first VII Corps unit to fire in anger since World War II.. Other non-metric measures. we heard how." ". shouting and shooting in anger.. unlike 'metres' and 'centimetres' which are metric. Maria. 'feet' is an example of a measurement for height." So it's clearly implied that the gunman was extremely upset. which we use for weight. during the Falklands war by HMS Conqueror.. In our previous example. distressed and angry about something he felt was very important. It's an interesting one because of the differences between the way we write and the way we speak. Most people now use metric litres rather than non-metric gallons for volume.and special thanks to my Military English colleagues for their specialist knowledge! Foot / Feet My question is . 'stones' and 'tons'. what should I say? I'm five foot tall..." Now. As you say. are: 'inches'. 'Feet' is a non-metric measure. as used in a military context: "The sinking of the Argentine cruiser. I hope this helps. "The man waved his gun around.the first military guns in World War I to fire its guns in anger on British soil.

the temperature in London is 18 degrees Celsius. go and grow are often preferred to become." You're absolutely right about 'five foot tall'. on the other hand. rather than 'metres'. turn. to describe their own. in an old passport of mine. They might say. 128 ." However. you may be interested to know that you are the same height as the Australian singer Kylie Minogue and the Columbian singer Shakira! However. perhaps you could contact us and let us know! So I hope that's helped. but if you really are five foot tall. But listen to that example again: "He's just like his dad. for example: "He's just like his dad. Shakira. My feeling is that verbs like get. The US. issued in 1987. it states my height in metres. However. become is more formal and is more often used in writing. you don't have to tell us your real height. Get is more informal and is frequently used in speech. to say you are 'five feet tall' is correct and is probably safer when you're writing in English. has many different meanings whereas become basically indicates development of some kind. uses non-metric juice and petrol by the litre. Most people also use Celsius rather than Fahrenheit for temperature. there does seem to be some confusion over Shakira's height. height. for example: "Today. he must be at least six foot tall. Margarete Stepaneke from Austria asks: I would very much like to know when to use become. and other peoples'. if you're listening to BBC Learning English. so you'll be fine in just a t-shirt!" Most older British people still use 'feet'. Maria. as we shall see. if you're talking to someone or writing and don't need to be formal. with some sources saying that she is 'four foot eleven' and others claiming she is 'five foot two'. saying that you're 'five foot tall' is fine. I suppose that's because metric measures are used here in Europe. Maria. 'Get' and 'become' Olga from Latvia asks: Please tell me when we must use become and when we must use get. Is there a rule for when to use become? Get. he must be at least six foot tall.

He became quite angry when he discovered there was no food Become + noun We cannot. aren't you? It became increasingly cold as we travelled north. however. we are talking about the 'complete journey'. When we use go. I was ten. he could no longer messy.' 'Could you get me a punnet of peaches from the supermarket?' 'Let me get you a drink. even though the meaning is 'grow' or 'develop into'. What'll you have?' Get and go to indicate movement Get indicates the end of a journey and can be used informally as an alternative to 'reach' or 'arrive at'. usually. 'acquire'. maintain his garden It got colder and colder the further north we went. We have to use become in this sense: • • 'She was only seventeen when she became a beauty queen.' 'Texas became the twenty-eighth state of the USA in 1845. As he got older. get indicates growth or development and can therefore be used as the preferred alternative to become in an informal register. get usually means 'obtain'.Get/become + adjective When used with adjectives. Become is impossible here: • • • • • 'I got the highest marks in the class for my essay on Lord Byron.' 'I was getting about fifty emails every day when I was working on the project. Get + noun/pronoun When we use get with a noun or a pronoun as a direct object. I'm getting quite hungry now. his garden got really As he became older. Compare the following sentences: Informal Formal I got interested in photography when I became interested in art in later life. 'receive' or 'fetch'. use get with a noun. Compare the following: 129 .' 'I got my goldfish from the pet shop down the road.

but I hope it is slowly becoming clearer. or "Let's go"? The first thing to say is that they are both grammatically correct. and why do you use the past tense of 'go' here? 'It's high time we went home' Callum Robertson answers: This is a very interesting question."It's high time we went ". without us necessarily trying to hear them! For example. which is correct . but you can only listen to something intentionally. they are 130 . but I'll get into trouble with my editor if I make this reply any longer.' So.• • • 'I usually go to work by car. sorry.' 'He drove away as soon as the lights turned green.' 'My aim is to grow old gracefully and with dignity. 'Last night. It is a difficult area. I wasn't listening.' 'The leaves turned brown as the weather got colder. Thank you for your question about what is the difference between hear and listen. but I went to Bristol by train yesterday.' A question from Abdalla Salih: Which is correct: 'Let's go home' or 'It's high time we went home'.' There is so much more to get to know about get. darling. George Pickering answers: Hello.' Listen is used to describe paying attention to sounds that are going on. they invested more money in shares. Tien in Malaysia asks: What is the difference between hear and listen? This question has been confusing me for some time. Thank you. It can be replaced by ‘become’ or ‘get’.' 'Can you tell me how to get to Buckingham Palace?' Go. Turn indicates a faster change and can be replaced by ‘go’: • • • • 'As they grew richer. I listened to my new Mariah Carey CD. you can hear something without wanting to. 'They heard a strange noise in the middle of the night. Margarete. Tien. grow and turn to indicate a change of state Grow indicates a slow change and sounds literary. We use hear for sounds that come to our ears. For example.' 'I didn't get home until nearly midnight. An imaginary conversation between a couple might go: 'Did you hear what I just said?' 'No.

What is unusual about this is that this sentence is not talking about the past at all! There are a number of phrases. I think. the past of the verb "to go. This is quite an unusual structure because it has what looks like a simple past form "went". all using the word "time" where this happens.It's about time we went and you can use a continuous form as well: . shall we?" It really does depend on your tone of voice and the relationship you have with the person you're speaking to. Now. the other phrase from Abdallah's question was." However often there is no real difference between "let's go" and "let's go. "shall we?" Imagine that you are at a party. your own style of speaking. or . shall we?" You want to leave and you want your friend to come with you. However "I were" as in "If I were you" is the correct form of the past subjunctive which is used here because obviously I am not you and I can't be you - 131 . This is often true in English that there are different ways to say more or less the same thing."It's high time we went". You are there together with a friend and because it's late you want to go home." . "Let's go.It's high time we were going The past form in these examples is."It's high time we went. who you are talking to and sometimes the way you like to sound. you are tired and you have to go to work the next day. When it's a suggestion it is often followed by the tag. But that is only true if the verb form is the past simple. and ." . but you could also say: . It could be a parent talking to his or her children .both examples of accurate English. "It's high time we went". "Let's go!" that is more of a polite instruction and suggests that you have made the decision that it's time to leave and you expect the person you are talking to do what you say. I'd change my job" Normally you wouldn't expect to see the form "were" following the pronoun "I". You might say to your friend something like. This is followed by the infinitive of a verb without "to" and is usually an informal suggestion. it's quite late at night.It's time we were going . You expect "I" to be followed by "was". Let's look at each of these in a little more detail and describe a situation when they could be used.It's about time we were going. Which one you use will depend on the situation. let's go.It's time we went.which is the common short form for "Let us". "Let's go. First. We have the example . the structure "let's" . You can see it clearly in a conditional sentence like this one: "If I were you."Come on kids. shall we?" It's not really an order to do something but a polite way of suggesting that you want to leave. The subjunctive is often used when we talk about unreal or imagined situations. If you just say. the subjunctive form of the verb.

"It's high time you found a job. They are quite formal in their use and are stating that it's time that something happened."It's high time we left come on or we'll miss the train. 'drive' / 'ride' Anne Beeker from the Netherlands asks: What exactly is the difference between to hire and to rent? I know American English uses to rent whereas British English uses to hire." And that's the same form that's being used in the expressions after the word 'time' it's an imagined or unreal situation . It is simply a matter of usage. to be honest. as I mentioned above. "let's go!" ." You can imagine the person who said that might be looking at their watch and worrying perhaps about catching a train. young man!" So in summary - "Let's go" is an informal suggestion or a polite instruction "It's high time" .it's about time I finished this answer. we use the expression "It's high time" which means it's very important that this happens now .but you could also say . do I drive back or ride back? hire or rent? The meaning is the same: to rent or hire something. you pay money in order to be allowed to use it for a limited amount of time."If I were you. Sanjay Mishra from India writes: When I return from my place of work on a automotive two-wheeler (like a scooter or a motorbike). but not 'hire a car'? Erica from Hong Kong asks: I want to know the difference between ‘rise’ and ‘raise’. You can remember the time expressions I mentioned above as fixed expressions and they all have more or less the same meaning. but I thought there might also be a difference between what you can hire and what you can rent." Or again a parent might say to an older child . And if the situation is a little more urgent."it's time you went to bed!" Which means "I want you to go to bed". A parent might say to a child. I wouldn't worry about trying to remember this or trying to work out if a sentence is subjunctive or not. for example . 'Hire a help' but surely not 'rent a help'?? 'Rent a car'. 'rise' / 'raise'. With 132 .is a formal statement that it is important that something happen soon or that something happen now. 'hire' / 'rent'. In the party situation you could say."It's time we went. And now .

' 'He rented me his flat in London while he was on holiday in Greece. motorbike or scooter) we ride.' 'If you are raising a family as a single parent. You can: rent or hire cars. a bike. so we decided to hire a private detective.' 'The police enquiries were making no progress.' (However. tools. electronic equipment: • • 'We rented a TV and video as we intended to stay in England for only six months.e.' 'If you’re planning to go to Cambridge for the day. it functions without an object and is sometimes followed by a phrase of time or place.' 'He rose (i. In a recent court case. stood up) to greet her. (even though you need a driving licence to ride a motorbike. a lorry or a train) we drive. caravan.e. It’s the best way to get round the town. but he took no notice of me.some nouns you can use one or the other – it doesn’t matter which as both are freely used. cottage. We would: rent a flat.' 'I raised my hand because I wanted to raise a question. anything with two wheels or that we straddle (like a horse.' drive or ride? Anything with four or more wheels (like a car.' rise or raise? Two verbs which are similar in meaning: to move to a higher position. house: • • 'I rented a cottage by the sea for the summer. you shouldn’t try to work fulltime. but ‘bikes for hire’) We hire some help (i. hire a bike when you arrive.' 'I was painting the outside of the house and had to hire a tall ladder to get to the top. Compare the following: • • • • • • 'The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. so I decided to hire some help three mornings a week.' With other nouns it is customary in British English to use one and not the other. The essential difference is that raise is a transitive verb which needs an object to complete its meaning and rise is intransitive.e people). note the difference in use. depending on whether it is used as a verb or a noun: ‘flats to rent’.' 'I rise (i.' 'My child was ill and I had to raise money to pay for the operation. a judge in Britain has ruled that riders of go-peds – those tiny 133 . a bus. bikes. equipment: • • • 'I had too much to do on the farm. get up) at six o’ clock every weekday morning in order to be at work by seven.

hold on to = keep 134 . For tax purposes. Hold or keep We use the verbs hold and keep in many different ways and with many different meanings.' Note that when we are passengers rather than drivers. But you can only hold records in sport. but we tend to ride on buses. you do not need to hold / keep financial records for more than five years. Hold or keep? Jana from the Czech Republic writes: Can you please explain to me the different uses of keep and hold? I know there are some phrases where I must use keep and some where I must use hold but sometimes I don't know which one I should use. we ride in cars and trains. etc.' 'I hadn’t ridden a bike for over twenty years and wondered if I would remember how to. you do not keep them: • John Lees from the UK holds the record for the fastest walk across America 2628 km in 53 days 12 hours 15 minutes between 11 April (the eleventh of April) and 3 June (the third of June).scooters which have a very small engine at the back – will also need to have a driving licence to ride them on the roads. Only when the meaning is to prevent something from moving can they be used interchangeably: • • • • Hold / keep the ruler steady so that I can draw a straight line.) Consider the following: • • 'I had never driven such a powerful car before. I'll hold / keep you to this. Her talk was so boring that she was unable to hold / keep my attention. We also keep or hold data and records: • • He kept / held all his data on a hard disk. Keep / hold still while I put this necklace on you. This is a firm arrangement which cannot be changed.

When keep means continue.000 spectators while Highbury. or to put ones arms around or to contain or to organise an event. can also be used as an alternative to keep with this meaning: • I don't want to hold you up / keep you. meaning delay. They'll keep in the fridge for about two weeks If you want to keep fit. Let's buy two kilos of peaches now. Referendums have been held in all central European countries in connection with EU membership. we cannot substitute hold in its place. Hold somebody up = keep The phrasal verb hold somebody up. we cannot substitute keep in its place: • • • • • Can you hold my books for me while I look for my mobile phone? He held her tightly and hoped that she would stop crying soon. meaning not to lose: • • • Can you hold on to these CDs for me while I'm away? Hold on to the instructions so that you know what to do if something goes wrong. the home of Man U. There is a similar distinction between hold on to and keep. Keep = continue / store / stay in good condition When keep means any of these. Old Trafford. Arsenal. Keep the instructions safely somewhere in case something goes wrong. note that it may be followed either by verb-ing or by the preposition on + verb-ing: • • • • • • Don't turn left or right. holds only half that amount.You can see from the above example that one of the slight differences in meaning is that hold sometimes suggests something temporary while keep may suggest something more permanent. You must keep taking the medication until you are quite better. eat plenty of fruit! We also keep secrets and promises and you keep your word. You do not hold them: • • Can you keep a secret? Jane's going to have a baby. holds 67. He failed to keep his promise / his word and told everybody about it. the home of their main rivals. 135 . but could I just have a word? hold = carry / put arms around / contain / organise event When hold means to carry. I plan to hold a meeting soon to see if we can increase profitability. just keep right on till the end of the road. I kept (on) reminding him that he should take my advice. Where do you keep the keys to the shed? I can't find them. but he ignored me.

It was a horrifying picture: the dead and the wounded had all been left by the roadside. horrendous . horrific You would describe something as horrific when it is really upsetting or frightening to think about it or speak about it: • • Having to survive in the desert for eight days with very little water and practically no shelter from the sun was horrific. The walls were all painted a horrible colour and I've never had such dreadful meals. but it can also be used in a less extreme way.horrible and horrific. It was a horrific motorway accident: twelve people died. -ic. terrible . -ing. It took me seventy-five minutes to travel eleven miles. Compare the following: • • The traffic this morning was horrendous. describing something you feel dismay or disgust about. meaning unpleasant or shocking.terrifying . are derived from the noun horror which also crops up in the compound noun horror film: • Horror films on television are usually screened late at night.horrifying Horrendous can mean horrifying.just awful. Note that all of these adjectives with their various endings -ible. a further twenty four suffered horrendous burns.terrific 136 . -ous. terrible and terrific Charlie Qin studying English in Canada writes: What's the difference between horrible and horrific? horrible You can describe something as horrible (or deadful or awful) when you do not like it at all: • The hotel was horrible .

That was very clumsy of me to barge into you like that. I had never seen them play so well together before. • • • Here are some more adjectives which are used informally and which mean very good and very bad.terribly These adverbs are used even more frequently than the adjectives terrible and horrible. so I could only afford one. terrific means very good. They should be back by now. I'm terribly sorry. which have similar shades of meaning to horrible and horrifying. They often mean little more than very. I'm afraid. I know that something is terribly / horribly wrong. Be careful however with the adjective terrific which does not have the same meaning as horrific. are both derived from the noun terror from which we get the nouns terrorist and terrorism: • Ridding the world of terrorists and terrorism is easier said than done. They were horribly / terribly expensive. Sharing a prison cell with a convicted murderer was a terrifying prospect. Whereas horrific means very bad. Compare the following: • • • The food was terrible. Everybody in the team was terrific. terrible and terrifying. We're going to be horribly / terribly late if we stop to buy flowers on the way. horribly . Are you all right? I was terribly upset when I heard that James had gone to Mexico without telling me. Nobody at the camp had any idea about how to cook. Note how they are used in these examples: • • • It was terribly important not to make any mistakes on the certificate as it was going to be framed.In a similar way. Note that they all have very common adjectival endings: Very good: fabulous amazing fantastic Very bad: tremendous breathtaking wonderful marvellous outstanding magnificent stupendous smashing 137 .

it is out of date or obsolete or so well-known and familiar that it has become uninteresting or boring.awful shocking hideous dreadful revolting monstrous frightful appalling Can you think of any others meaning very good or very bad. This usage quickly spread to the game of football to describe three goals scored by the same person in a football match: • Geoff Hurst's hat trick in the 1966 World Cup Final will always be remembered by English football fans. and particularly ladies' hats. Most of the audience walked out long before it was over. it was first used in the game of cricket in 1887 to describe an unlikely situation where a bowler takes three wickets with three successive balls. The dancers were superb. e. The expression is thought to originate from the fact that hats. They had obviously spent a long time rehearsing it. write to our Message Board and put them into sample sentences. Hot dogs and hat tricks Could you please tell me the origin of the words hot dog and hat trick? hat trick A hat trick was originally performed by a conjurer at a circus or variety show. In a sporting context. It has since spread to describe similar situations in other games: • Now as he approaches the tenth green. which do not have these common adjectival suffixes? If you can. A birdie on the ninth. This entitled the bowler to pass his hat around the ground for a collection of cash. like superb or dire.g. 138 . A birdie on the eighth. The conjurer or magician pulled rabbits or other impossible items out of a top hat as if by magic. tend to go out of fashion long before they are worn out. old hat If something is old hat. he's on a hat trick of birdies. or he might have been presented with a new hat or cap by the club he represented. Let's see if he can make it three in a row with a birdie on the tenth. • • Their performance was dire.

• The mini skirt is back in fashion.• Wearing a tie with a jacket . hot pants Hot pants were very brief skin-tight shorts originally worn by young women in the early 1970s in Britain . we noticed that almost every wave carried a hot-dogger performing tricks . They were hot-dogging for all they were worth. a hot dog is a sausage. but I don't think hot pants ever will be. especially a frankfurter. Care has to be taken not to drop them! Hope / wish 139 . hot dog For those among you who don't yet know this Western delicacy. cut-backs and flickoffs. hot potato A hot potato is a delicate or tricky situation that has to be handled with extreme care. that's really old hat. meaning to show off or perform very well in skiing or surfing: • If you can hot dog on two-metre-high waves. There may have been an allusion to the 'sausage' dog or dachshund which is roughly the same shape.'hot' because they looked sexy. a caterer with the New York Stadium in 1900. you are king! Similarly. hot dogger (noun): • On Bondi Beach in Australia. pumpkin pie and ice-cream sundaes is not good for your waistline! On the pier there were all the usual side-shows. As you will know. plus hot-dog. the original hot potatoes are difficult to handle when you take them out of the oven or pluck them from the barbeque slides. inserted lengthways into a hot bread roll and garnished with onions. ketchup or other relishes. possibly derived from top dog or best person. Note that we also have to hot dog in slang usage. • • A diet of hot dogs. hamburger and ice-cream stands.for young people. It originated in America and was an invention attributed to Henry Stevens. rapid turns. • The new law is politically a hot potato for the government as many people are very unhappy with it.

' 'I don't wish to see him ever again.' 'I don't wish to be rude. you are expressing the hope that they will have good luck in the future. Don't forget to wish her many happy returns. In this sense.' she said.' 'I wish you good health and every happiness in the New Millennium. but the potatoes are burning dry. five months after they were married.' 'He could do most of his work from home.' 'Remember it's Sarah's birthday tomorrow.' 'He wished he hadn't said that. for Fiona was terribly upset.' Let's look at wish first of all. as in 'wish to'.' 'They wished me all the best in my new job.' 'I wish you didn't have to work so hard. wish is also used when you wish that something were the case or you would like it to be the case even though you know that it is impossible or unlikely. I do wish I hadn't gone there for my holidays. often in connection with a particular event. Thus we have: • • • • 'We wish you could be here. Why should I say 'I wish you a Merry Christmas' instead of 'I hope you a Merry Christmas'? Is there any grammatical explanation on this issue? The answer is that the verb wish is used in a variety of different ways and hope cannot be used as a 'stand alone' verb in a sentence. Thus we have expressions like: • • • • 'I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. or when you wish someone good luck or Happy Birthday. For instance. the verb which follows wish has a past tense inflection.' Wish. 'I hope you will be OK' and 'I wish you were here' (from Pink Floyd). other than in the expressions 'I hope so' or 'I hope not. In your 'Merry Christmas' example. This led me to think about Christmas time. is also sometimes used as a slightly more formal alternative to 'want to'.' 'It rained every day. So we have: • • • • • 'They were very much in love and wished to get married as soon as it could be arranged.' 'I don't wish to interrupt (your conversation). but that red dress really doesn't suit you.' As you suggest.J Daudt from Brazil asks: I was told by an English teacher that the main difference between the verbs hope and wish is that when we use hope we do not know all the facts (a kind of future meaning) and when we use wish we know all the facts already. if he wished. or that they will enjoy their birthday which is to come.' 140 .

If you hope to do something. if Jennifer hadn't phoned. but that red dress that you're wearing definitely doesn't suit you. but it’s time for me to go back home now!' 'We were at home in bed when our car was stolen from outside the house. 'house' or 'home' House describes a particular type of building.' 'The Houses of Parliament in London are visited by 50. to put it in two other ways: I wish you good health and every happiness in the 21st Century.' Hopes and wishes! It is my hope and wish that all of you out there reading this column will enjoy good health and every happiness in the New Millennium. We speak of people's 'hopes for the future' and hope normally signals future intentions.' 141 .' However. we would find: • • • • 'I hope (that) she'll like these flowers. Or. you want to do it and intend to do it if you possibly can.' 'I was hoping to catch the 5.e. 'homesick' and 'homeless'.Now let's take a brief look at hope. 'housework' and 'homework'. hope must be followed by a clausal construction.' 'These children need a good home and we are in a position to give them one.' 'I’ve enjoyed living abroad for the last six years.' 'They were stranded on the side of the mountain and hoped (that) the rescue team would reach them before nightfall.' Note also the differences in meaning and use between 'houseproud'. Thus. I hope you'll enjoy good health and every happiness in the 21st Century.' 'We’re going to buy Emma a doll’s house for Christmas. plus infinitive. Compare the following: • • • • • • 'Most people in Britain live in semi-detached houses.30 train and would have caught it.' 'I hope (that) you won't think me rude. Home is the place where you live and feel that you belong to.000 people each year. Like wish it can be used with to. when a new subject is introduced. So we might have: • • 'I hope to be a millionaire by the time I'm thirty. but her heart was always set on the stage. cleaning the house) this morning and my homework (work given to me by my school to do at home) this afternoon. Study the following: • 'I did my housework (i.' 'Her mother hoped (that) Judith would become a doctor.

'Interfere' has very strong negative connotations. You intervene between two people in order to prevent a quarrel. and the title refers to two types of interference which happen in the story. The other type of interference is the type where people interfere in other people's business. it has the connotation of wanting to improve a situation. job applications I would like to know the difference between an application letter and a cover letter.' 'She said that she was missing her home and family so much. for example. how to behave. There's a wonderful short story by Julian Barnes called 'Interference'. interfere and intervene Could you kindly explain what is the difference between interfere and intervene? Thank you. I have no home to go to. telling them what to do. 'Intervene' has got more positive connotations. Amos Paran answers: Yes Eric. Stop interfering I mean that what I am doing is none of their business. And there's some of that happening in the story too. This is the letter which lists all your work experience and qualifications and should also explain why you want the job. these two words are similar and yet so different.' 'I am homeless. Begin your letter by telling the reader where you saw the advertisement: 142 . meaning 'between'.you know. One type of interference that the title refers to is interference with radio signals . when you're listening to a radio programme and there are other signals and reception is not very good. I would like to have examples of application and cover letters. in his collection Cross Channel.• • • 'People say that I’m houseproud because I spend so much time cleaning the house so that others will admire it. If I say to someone. The difference is in the connotations of the two words. She sounded really homesick. Both start with 'inter-'. This is because I am always confused as to why both must be sent when one is looking for employment. letter of application If you are responding to a job advertisement you may be asked to write a letter of application. change things for the better. what to eat and so on.

I have lots of retail initiative. You must always ensure that it is up to date. You would then go on to list your experience and relevant qualifications: • I have worked in the retail industry for a total of ten years. • I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will be able to invite me for an interview. Such a covering letter might look like this: Dear Mr Sorefoot Fashion Shop Manager Please find enclosed my completed application form for the above position. first as a sales assistant in a department store and for the last three years as a Section Head and Deputy Manager at Jones the Bootmaker. knowledge and expertise that you are looking for. You might then go on to say why you are particularly interested in this job and mention the particular abilities and skills that you have. I believe I have all the skills. Your CV or curriculum vitae lists your educational and career history and is a useful summary for an employer of all your educational and employment achievements up to the present time. I have ten years experience with Bates Retail as a Fashion Shop Manager. A covering letter may then be very useful because you can enclose it with your CV or a completed application form. In your covering letter you can draw attention to particular information which you wish to highlight. 143 . • I am applying for this position as I am looking to progress from junior to senior management. covering letter Many employers will ask you to write to them or phone them for an application form and further details when they advertise jobs. I also work particularly well with people and would enjoy leading the team and working with clients and customers. As you will see from my form.• I am writing to apply for the post of Fashion Shop Manager advertised in the 'News Shopper' of 14 February 2002. I would very much like to work for your company. • You might then close the letter with the following formula. I have always been interested in the latest fashion trends and developments and I believe your organisation is a well-run quality fashion business. Sometimes you will be asked to send your CV or resume. can schedule and prioritise tasks and can work to strict deadlines.

There was no cover of any kind. There are always lots of cafes and restaurants within the covered shopping malls in British towns and cities. cover Note that cover as verb. • • We haven't covered molecular biology yet. • • • • The air force was unable to provide any sort of air cover for their ground troops. you place something else over it to protect it or hide it or close it: • • • • Always cover what you are cooking with a tight-fitting lid and cook it slowly. just the endless barren plain. cover for = substitute for someone at work 144 . no trees. Yours sincerely Frances Slimwaist If you have filled in an application form you do not need to send a CV because all the relevant information should be on your form. no valleys.I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will be able to invite me for an interview. His desk is always covered with papers. I would very much welcome an opportunity to discuss my application in greater detail and convince you that I am the right person for the job. She covered all her bedroom walls with posters of Eminem. Are you covered to drive this car? Do you have proper insurance cover? Does your travel insurance cover you against theft or loss of valuables? cover = address or report on a topic Cover can be used to talk about studying a subject or in a journalistic context to talk about reporting. fax or email at work or at home. I can be contacted at any time by phone. He's going to cover the World Cup later this year for BBC World Service. I don't know how he can work in such a mess. cover = protection Cover can also be used to talk about protection from enemy attack or for talking about insurance. We're going to do that next term. noun and adjective is used in a variety of different ways: If you cover something.

All these words are used to describe people who work in the media. presenting etc. He or she provides spoken information about news. weather. and welcome to[name of show] with me [name of presenter]. Famous British broadcasters include Sir David Attenborough. On tonight's show we will be. and his or her programmes may be considered to be very important and well-respected. The first three: presenter. programme content. and Larry King in the USA.. He or she usually has multiple talents – scriptwriting. [presenter talks about the content of the programme]. The word broadcaster can refer to an organisation such as the BBC (UK) or NBC (USA) which produces television and radio programmes. It can also be used to describe someone who is well-experienced in the TV and radio industry. Thanks. A journalist gathers. advertising etc. However. directing. A presenter is a person who introduces or hosts television or radio programmes. A journalist's work is most often seen in print – especially newspapers – but they can work for TV and radio too. Another main difference between an announcer and a presenter is that the announcer usually reads word-forword from a script. and Karim Kouchouk (the presenter of BBCe for BBC Learning English Arabic Service). and may also edit and present news articles. 145 . In fact. writes and reports news stories. an announcer may have a smaller role in a programme than a presenter does: on TV programmes.• • Can you cover for me this afternoon while I visit my father in hospital? There were not enough teachers to cover for absent colleagues and some students had to be sent home. broadcaster. Trevor MacDonald (a British TV news presenter). Suharno: you wanted to find out about the difference between a reporter and a journalist. A presenter's opening words on a programme are usually something like Good evening. an announcer may only feature as a voice whereas a presenter will be seen on the screen. Your answer must be very helpful for me. these jobs are very similar. and the difference between reporter and journalist. introduces or links sections of the programme together and says goodbye at the end. The topic of the programme is not all about the presenter. Hi Suharno. An announcer's job is similar to that of a presenter. whereas a presenter may have some flexibility regarding the things they say. Turning to the second part of your question. Sir Robert Winston and Sir David Frost. The presenter is the person who introduces the programme.. Some well-known presenters include Johnny Carson (an American TV chat show host). and announcer. and in some respects the terms are interchangeable. broadcaster and announcer are all related to TV and radio: media which is delivered partly – or wholly – through sound and speech (this type of media is increasingly available on internet too). links between programmes. reporter and journalist I'm confused about the difference between presenter.

In a court of law one would expect all cases to be decided solely on their merits. for example: crime." The judge reached into his pocket and pulled out a check. the judge faced the opposing lawyers. attorney Campos. police and public records. gave me $10. politics.g. When the information is gathered. sorts. types and even varieties can all be used interchangeably. I'd like to mention one more media profession. varieties of tomato) The first three are very common and can be used in singular and plural 146 . He handed it to Leon. attorney Leon. He argues that his judgement will be unbiased now that the amount of bribe from defense and prosecution is equal. "I have been presented. gave me $15. Is there any difference and can you give me some examples of usage? kinds of / sorts of / types of / varieties of Kinds. A columnist is a writer (usually a journalist) who writes regularly (often weekly) for a newspaper or magazine.A reporter is a type of journalist who gathers information about newsworthy issues. Suharno. And you. She or he chooses a topic that is in the news and writes not only about the events that have become newsworthy but also often offers some analysis and/or personal opinion. with a bribe.000. by both of you. e. This job is usually reserved for senior journalists at a particular newspaper or magazine.000 from both the defense and prosecution counsels. "You. "So. Finally. I do hope this has been a useful answer to your question! Explanation of a joke Lisa from Taiwan asks: Why is it funny? What does the last sentence mean? 'Taking his seat in his chambers. but would you expect to get a fair trial in a court of law from a judge who was open to bribery? kinds / types / sorts / varieties (of music) I have always had problems using the words kind and type."' To decide a case 'solely on it merits' means that only the intrinsic rights and wrongs of the arguments will be considered. I'm returning $5. Well Suharno. It is funny because that is no longer possible in this case as the judge has already pocketed bribes of $10. (although varieties may be used more in more scientific sorts of contexts. health or education.000. and we're going to decide this case solely on its merits." he said. This may involve researching through several sources – interviews.000." Both lawyers squirmed uncomfortably. the reporter will create a report for publication or broadcast in the media. photographs etc. "Now then. Reporters often specialise in a particular area.

it sometimes has a derogatory meaning: What kind of a DVD player is that? You don’t seriously expect me to listen to electronic music with no surround sound. but a / an is sometimes retained in an informal style: What sort of (a) / kind of (a) / type of (a) dance is that? Well. double jigs. Compare the following and note that all the examples today are taken from a global music theme: What kind(s) / type(s) / sort(s) / varieties of music do you like most? ~ I like all kinds / sorts / types: hip-hop. Note that when the indefinite article is retained. They are used to modify many different parts of speech including adjectives. verbs and clauses. originating with ragtime. see below: Why don’t you like this kind of music? ~ Well. third stream and free styles of the 50s and 60s. do you? sort of / kind of Sort of and kind of. i. slip jigs and hop jigs. danced to very fast time. it’s sort of loud and tuneless. sort of (a) / kind of (a) / type of (a) Sort of / kind of / type of are usually followed by an uncountable noun or a singular countable noun with no article. pop.kinds / types / sorts varieties These nouns collocate readily with different.forms. often using traditional instruments in an original way. various and many as well as with all: There are various kinds / types / sorts / varieties of jazz. blues and swing of the 20s and 30s and then the later varieties of hard bop. funky. Global Music websites can help you various / different / many / all . I don’t know exactly what it is because there are several types of jigs – single jigs. Global Music – or World Music as it is known in Britain – is the synthesis of different kinds of music from around the world. are used in another important way in informal spoken English when we want to demonstrate to the listener that we are not speaking very precisely but simply indicating a general idea. rock. it’s a sort of jig or reel. They may also be used as fillers. R&B.e. to fill a gap in the conversation and to give the speaker more time to think: How would you describe your singing voice on this track? 147 . how to find music from Yakutia or how to buy an organo pinareno from Cuba. but not type of. soft bop. rap and classical. If you want to know what type of instrument a morinhoor is.

. but it seems to work. 'Iryna lives in a large house'. 'Large'. which doesn't sound quite right to me.. she discovered that she lacked half the basic ingredients. on the other hand. in fact. Their superlative forms are 'largest' and 'biggest'.. it's in the top 1.squeal like a pig..kinda. In these examples. Lack of is fine where lack is used as a noun.kinda. The general meaning of both 'large' and 'big' is: 'of more than average size/amount/weight/height' etc. 'Big' is a very common word in both written and spoken English.. so I'll do my best to answer it clearly and briefly! First I'll talk about form: 'Large' and 'big' are both regular adjectives.OR...' Large / Big What is the difference in use and meaning between the words 'large' and 'big'? Rachel Wicaksono answers: Well.. Although 'big' and 'large' both mean the same in these examples.' 'There was a general lack of enthusiasm among the trainees. I… I kinda howl like a wolf. so you can say.' Lack may also be used as a verb: • • 'They lacked the courage necessary to cross the fast-flowing river. 148 . is a less frequently used word and doesn't even make it into the top 3.000 most frequently used words in English.Well. For example: 'Iryna has got a well-paid job and can afford to live in a house' .. and then . what should it be? I'm not too happy with 'in lack of'. Their comparative forms are 'larger' and 'bigger'. for example: • • 'The lack of amenities in the hotel surprised all of us. Now. Uses of the word 'lack' Would you please tell me all the uses of the word lack (in different forms) and make a sentence for each of its uses? Is the sentence 'Many children are in lack of sleep' correct? If it is wrong. sort of. 'large' sounds a little more formal... both 'big' and 'large' mean that Iryna's house is of more than average size. onto the question of meaning.' 'When she came to start making the cake. Wong..000 most frequently used words. this is a big question Iryna.

'a large number of'. 'on a large scale'. is used with the following quantity words: 'a large amount'... although 'large' and 'big' are often interchangeable.. more often than 'big'. 'large'.. 'Big' is used in a lot of fixed phrases... 'He's too big for his boots' .OR. to change 'big 'to 'large' would sound wrong. There are also some fixed phrases using 'large'. 'to a large extent'. So next.because 'garden' is countable.. as well as 'successful' or 'powerful'...too proud of himself. Examples include: 'The prisoners are at large' .. Iryna! I hope this has helped a little! Take (and last) Gisela from the Czech Republic writes: 149 . for example: 'Buying a house is a very big decision'. for example: 'He's my big brother'.for example: 'There's a lot of traffic on the road next to the house.. we can't use 'big' or 'larg' with 'traffic'.a person who can't be trusted to keep a secret. 'She's a big mouth' .it's not really important..or large . because 'traffic' is uncountable. 'I have big ideas for this house' . This means. So. and because these phrases are fixed.Neither 'large' nor 'big' can be used with uncountable nouns.. for example: 'She earns a lot of money.a very big . With uncountable nouns. 'She's larger than life' . Finally. 'Big' can mean 'important'. Also in informal situations. we can use 'big' to mean 'doing something to a large degree'.more exciting or amusing than most people. However. 'a large proportion'. but she's also a big spender' . It can also be used in informal situations to mean 'older'. 'a large volume' and 'a large area'.impressive plans for the future. you can use 'a lot of' .they have escaped and may cause harm. 'a large part of'. 'a large quantity of'. I'll try and give you some examples of when this is the case.question. quantity words. 'I'm a big fan of yours'..' So. Examples of fixed phrases using 'big' include: 'It's no big deal' . we can say: 'The house has a (big or large) garden' . sometimes they are not. 'a large percentage of'. for example: 'York is a big tourist destination'.

but he only took two. It used to take me ninety minutes before I got married. I'll take a copy of the agreement. but it took me twenty minutes to settle down in the opening set. The burglars have taken all my's in such a mess. I'm going to take ten minutes now to explain to you how this works. Note that when we use preparatory it as subject and when it is followed by a personal pronoun. or them. It lasts (for) over three hours Compare also the following examples of greater and lesser control of the action using take and last: • • • It takes half an hour to prepare lunch and an hour to prepare supper usually. We tend to use take when we are more in control of the experience and last when we have little or no control over it. Which is better in these examples: How long does the film last? How long does the film take? Take or last? Both take and last are used to talk about the amount of time needed for something. 3-6. Dinner lasts for / takes at least ninety minutes when Henry's at home there's so much to talk about. 6-2. Like get. take is a very common multi-purpose verb and is used in many different ways." he said afterwards. "I didn't expect it to take so long. him. Thus we are more likely to say: • How long does the film last? ~ It's a long one. It only takes me five minutes to put my make-up on now. Here are a few of the commonest: take (opposite of give) • • • • I offered him four tickets for Romeo and Juliet. me. if you don't mind. 6-7. There's nothing left. The five-set match lasted for more than three-and-a-half hours before the champion went through to the next round 6-3.I'm not sure about the difference in use between take and last. 150 . her. we have to use take. Take suggests more active involvement and last implies a more passive experience. Then I won't forget anything. not last: • • It will take you all day to tidy your room . 6-1. you.

I'm going to take a holiday as soon as my boss gets back from leave. It's going to rain. You've been driving for two hours and you need to take a rest. My secretary always brings me my mail first of all and then she takes the children to school.e.d. We took a long walk along the seashore every evening before dinner. ~ Why don't you take a bath? It'll be more relaxing.” or “John is really idle. we can use either have or take. for example “John is really lazy.l.take (opposite of bring) meaning 'carry' They are opposites in the sense that when we use bring we are describing movements to where the speaker or listener is located. In all of these expressions with take + noun to describe common actions. Let's take a break now." take (= have) • • • • • I'm going to take a shower now. However. and when we use take we are describing movements away from the speaker/listener. Take an umbrella with you. idle.” Both mean that John’s doesn’t really work as much as he should do. I took my calculator to school every day until the maths teacher said: "You needn't bring them any more. Have is more characteristic of British English whereas Americans would be more inclined to use take. there are some very subtle differences between the two words which 151 . We have enough now for everybody. That’s idle – i. Compare the following: • • • • She took me to the hospital because I was feeling decidedly ill. but also one with a very similar meaning. lazy and idle A question from Anne McConnell in England: Why aren't lazy and idle exact synonyms? Karen Adams answers: Well we have two words here that mean very similar things. Take a good look at this and make sure it's in perfect working order before you decide to buy it. Lazy which we know means someone who doesn’t really word very hard. Both words can actually be used to describe someone who doesn’t work very hard.

it will give us a very negative idea of the person it’s being used to describe. However. you may find two adjectives that mean similar things. Both mean that something doesn’t cost a lot of money. but we can’t say the printer is lazy. you may see a sign which says “Printer idle. in British English. it’s important to learn not just what they share. except that pricey is a bit more informal than expensive. we mean they don’t work very hard. Similarly. It’s important to remember that it’s difficult to find words that are exact synonyms. What is the difference in meaning between expensive and pricey? When should I use synonyms? expensive / pricey Synonyms are words with the same or sometimes slightly different meanings. So for example wealthy and rich.means we can’t use them completely interchangeably. So lazy is always seen as a very bad thing. we often use the adjective cheap to describe something that’s not of very good quality. rich has a slightly different meaning. 152 . Remember. It’s very very important to think about the adjectives you use in particular because very many of them can carry different connotations. We can talk about wealthy people or rich people. but one adjective can be used with a wider range of nouns. the people are idle. meaning very good quality. we can only say the printer is idle. So here. rich furnishings. but without the negative judgement. Similarly. when we say someone is lazy. the work force.” This means that the printer. Both mean people with lots of money. “lazy” will always have a negative connotation. in all contexts. For example: cheap and inexpensive. at the moment. we are just saying they’re not working. we can also talk about rich food. isn’t doing anything. because there isn’t enough work. if you press print on your computer. However. which can be used interchangeably. For example. Also. It's very pricey. an so at that point. the factory is idle. Learning and using synonyms People use synonyms to avoid repeating the same word. sometimes factories must close. still to mean something or someone doesn’t work. but also what the difference is between them. So when you learn some new synonyms. Yeon-Ju. idle can be used in other contexts. Alternatives are sometimes used in the same context with little or no difference as in your example. For example: This hotel is so expensive. So for example. However. So when we use idle in this way we are not giving a negative comment on the people or the thing. So it can sometimes have a negative connotation.

but use is restricted: It was a beautiful summer's day. disgusting / appalling These synonyms are quite close in meaning. The food they served at John and Paula's wedding reception was appalling. offensive and unacceptable. She was wearing a pretty polka-dot bikini. but we have to be careful. but disgusting is perhaps more appropriate to the first context as it suggests that the food was highly unpleasant to the taste. The service at this hotel is disgusting. or collocate with each other. keen / eager I am always keen / eager to introduce synonyms in this way in the examples of use that I quote on the learnit pages. A bikini is not substantial enough to be called beautiful (whereas an attractive wedding dress we would describe as beautiful). Collocation What we learn from this is that words sometimes occur together. A summer's day cannot be pretty or good-looking. shocking. Yeon-Ju. The service at this hotel is appalling. Both adjectives are possible in both contexts. Finding alternatives with the same or similar meaning is undoubtedly a good way of expanding your vocabulary and use of English. Appalling is perhaps more appropriate to the second context as it suggests that the service was generally unpleasant. are also quite close in meaning.Virtually anything that costs a lot of money may be considered expensive or pricey. With his jet-black hair and high cheekbones he appeared unusually good-looking. Compare the following: The food they served at John and Paula's wedding reception was disgusting. can be described as good-looking and men are not usually thought of as pretty or beautiful. in fairly fixed ways. indicating someone or something that is pleasing in appearance. Only people. of either sex. but not as close as in the previous pairs. 153 . pretty / good-looking / beautiful These three synonyms. In this example. keen and eager are very close in meaning and may be used interchangeably.

(Not: He carried out a complete / all-embracing market survey…) (And not: …before discharging / dispatching / propelling the product.) adjective + noun Certain nouns tend to occur with certain adjectives: It came as a complete surprise to me when she married him (Not: It came as a comprehensive / full / entire surprise to me…) He carried out a full / comprehensive market survey before launching the product. 'lend' or 'borrow' How can I use the word owe when I lend someone some money. you'll realise that I'm right. (Not: I can't alter / amend / modify my eating habits…) learning and using synonyms When you are learning new words it is always a good idea to learn them in the contexts in which they are used and the typical collocations that go with them. it will spoil / ruin your appetite. (Not: If you purely / justly / rightly / precisely love me….) The government has recently conducted / carried out a survey on the causes of obesity in children. (Not: …it will damage / harm / suppress your appetite. If you think hard / carefully about it.) If I remember correctly / rightly. Do I say: 'I owe you 20 dollars' or do I say: 'You owe me 20 dollars?' The importance of my question is how do I use this word in both ways such as when I borrow some money from someone and also when I lend someone some money? 154 .) verb + noun Certain Verbs and nouns habitually occur together. (Not: If you think strongly / powerfully / precisely…. (Not: The government has fulfilled / administered / run a survey…) I can't change my eating habits so I shall continue to eat junk food.verb + adverb Certain verbs tend to be used with certain adverbs. (Not: If I remember exactly / precisely / truly…) If you truly / really love me. you'll turn down that job in Norway. you were not there at the time. If you eat chocolate before a meal.

First. on statues.' 'Many of his ideas are borrowed from other sources. we might finish them by suppertime. If you borrow £5. although I agree it would be cheaper to borrow them from the library. plus interest on the period of time you have borrowed if for. we might talk about something we did in the past. you will owe them £5. you will fail your examination. they will owe you the money. We can use it without a command. ‘work hard lest you fail your exam’ and ‘dress up warmly (wear warm clothes) lest you catch cold’. at the end of a limited period usually. what does lest mean and when do we use it? Lest is a very rare word and quite old fashioned. ‘work hard lest you should fail in your examination’ can 'lest' be used without the support of the word 'should'? Yes. Here are further examples: We often use it after a command.' If you lend somebody something. Consider the following: • • • 'I borrowed five pounds from my brother and forgot to pay it back.on war memorials.' 'I always buy the books I want to read. And Shazad’s example: ‘work hard lest you should fail your examination’ lest introduces the danger of things to be avoided: if you don't work hard. Most people in Britain know it. so we might say ‘I worked really hard.' (NB: verb + direct object + indirect object) 'If you can lend me a hand with these reports.000. it can. then you give them something of yours for a limited period of time. which have been put up so that we remember people who died in wars. lest I failed my exam’. If you lend someone some money. because we see it written very often in the same place .' In the sentence. or lend something to somebody. what lest means is ‘so that we don't’ or ‘so that you don't’. It's a warning.If you borrow something from somebody. you’ll never see it again.000 from the bank.' (NB: verb + indirect object + direct object) 'If you lend your coat to Philip. and what's very often written on these statues is ‘lest we forget’! Now. It's introducing a danger to be avoided. Written 155 . Consider the following: • • • 'She lent her sister her car for the weekend. you take it with their permission and promise to return it in due course.

'lest you should fail your examination'. shall we? And let's go for a run before we eat! OK. lest he fails the examination’. that when we do leave it out. because you will see it written. that use of should of course has a completely different meaning from the usual meaning of shall we? I didn't mean to offend you. you're going to sound rather strange. It is not necessary. 156 . it doesn't mean that . let + infinitive A very common usage of let is in the phrase let us or let's when we are making a suggestion involving others. the word that is left there is an infinitive . Please explain with examples. lest he fail the examination’. very formal and oldfashioned word and if you use it when you're talking. We usually think of should in terms of an obligation: something you have to do. We use both let and leave in different ways and for different purposes. It's a word which we see written . very formal situation. I would like to know the difference between let and leave. Compare the following: • • • Let's just have a cold salad for supper this evening. And that's a curious and interesting little bit of English. • Let's not get too involved in their argument.which means. I shall be very grateful to you. we don't say ‘he must work hard. In Shazad's example. We say this instead of Why don't we…? or I suggest we… which is quite formal. They cannot be used interchangeably. but not a strong possibility. but only use it if you really want to impress somebody in a very. And it normally is used without should. Remember it. the meaning introduces a conditional that suggests that this is a possibility. When it is used with the negative there are two alternative versions to choose from: don't let's or let's not. let or leave I am 22 years old and have been learning English for 6 months. And here. It's better if they sort it out themselves. that if we're using ‘he’. Both are very common. We usually do leave it out. Let's do that! Let's forget I ever said that. The interesting thing is. It is often used with shall we? as a question tag.What we do need to remember though is that it is a very. Can lest be used without the support of the word should?'s not a word that is used in conversation. we say ‘he must work hard.

we have to use permit or allow: • • We didn't let him go home until he had spoken to the Headteacher. Can you let me have those reports by midday on Friday. let me know/ let me have Finally. Note that with the passive voice. Allow me to say how pleased I am to see you here this evening. where it means tell. Note also the usage with the infinitive of there is/there are. Can Joey and Phoebe stay overnight next weekend? Oh. please let them stay. These are more formal alternatives and require to before the infinitive. please? 157 . If you had let me know earlier. I wouldn't let them stay up after nine to watch the adult film on TV. let is frequently used with know. Let there be no doubts in your minds that we shall win this battle. Let me try to get it out with this stain remover. He wasn't allowed/permitted to go home until he had spoken to the Headteacher. particularly the Joey and Phoebe example. There's still a stain on this jumper. Let's just have a quiet evening at home Let is also commonly used to make a suggestion to oneself in the phrase let me or to a third person in the phrase let him/her/them. Compare the following: • • • Please let us know as soon as possible whether you are able to accept our offer. Let me think about it.• Don't let's go to Sheila's party tonight. where it means send or give. Permit me to say how pleased I am to see you here this evening. Compare the following: • • • • • Let me say how pleased I am to see you here this evening. Compare the following: • • • • • Do you like this outfit? Let me see. I like the orange dress but not with that hat. that let also means allow or permit. I would have saved it for you. Do you want to buy it? I'm not sure. and have. I'm going to sell my car. I can't let you go to France without me. Let = allow/permit We can see from these last examples.

Compare the following: • • • • I'll eat later. Nothing was left of the castle. (= abandoning) left = remaining Here it is almost opposite in meaning and is used as a past participle normally at the end of the clause. close but not identical. OK. I can't make the decision. There are only four pages left. This final example combines a number of different usages of let and leave: • Let me finish off the translation for you. I have to leave now anyway! There are even more shades of meaning of leave than we have covered.• Let me have half an hour to think about it and then I'll let you know. I can't get the stove to work. I'll leave it for you / to you to decide what to do. Leave it with me / to me. (= stops attending) Don't tell Maureen I'm leaving her. Can you get the sandwiches? There were only two days' rations left. like they used to. Check them out in a good dictionary. I'll leave it for you. Just leave it for me in the fridge. often with there is/are or have got: • • • I haven't got any cash left. ******************************************************************* 'Lie' or 'lay' on a bed What's the easy way to remember the difference between lie and lay ? 158 . I left my car in the car park and took the bus into the town centre. leave = go (depart/quit/abandon) As we saw with let. leave has a number of different meanings and uses. but they had to last for six days. (= departed) Nobody leaves school at the age of sixteen now. leave = let it remain It is here that the meaning of leave comes closest to let. It had been completely destroyed. I'll deal with it. Compare the following: • • • The plane left early as everybody was on board half an hour before take-off.

I had never laid carpets before. 'see' and 'watch'? Karen Adams answers: 'Look'.I didn't intend to see them...... However... he is lying... he was laying. 'see' and 'watch' seem very similar. When we say 'see' we are normally talking about things we can't avoid – so for example. they all talk about different ways of using your eyes. None of us knows what lies ahead. it just happened." .lie (+ phrase of place) / lay (+ object) Perhaps the easiest way to remember the difference. Present lie lay he lies. but you must try to take a grip on your life and decide where your future lies. "I opened the curtains and saw some birds outside. we're talking about seeing something with an intention. when we use the verb 'look'. is that lay is a transitive verb which needs an object to complete its meaning and lie is an intransitive verb which functions without an object and is followed normally by a phrase of place.. Antonio. It depends on how you intend to look or watch and how intense the looking is. His lawyer will lay great emphasis on his state of mind when the murder was committed and claim that it was manslaughter. not murder. he has laid Now compare the following: lay ( + object) lie ( + phrase of place) lay ( + object) lie ( + phrase of place) lay ( + object) lie ( + phrase of place) lay ( + object) lie ( + phrase of place) She laid the baby on the bed in order to change its nappy. She was lying asleep on the sofa when her husband arrived home. 'see' and 'watch' A question from Muhammed Nadeem in Pakistan : What's the difference between the verbs 'look'. she is laying Past he lay. However. but I was determined to have a go. I could see that London lay beneath us.. he has lain. 'look'. see how the words look in the present and the past tense. but she must have lain there for at least an hour for her back was very sunburnt. she lays.. When I looked out of the aircraft window. he was lying. there are two very important differences. "this morning I looked at the newspaper" – I intended to see the 159 . First. I told her not to lie out in the sun. So. Can you lay the table for me please? Lunch is ready. he laid..

I very much look forward to meeting you soon.I switched it on to find my favourite programme. For instance. or. I just wonder why you can use both infinitive and V-ing form for the verb share. it just happened.: 160 . for example. it's hard for me to apply what I've learnt. "I heard the radio." "I watched the movie. for example. it just happened. usually because it's moving. we intend to look at it but we're also looking at it quite intensely." . but because there are so many exceptions to rules. about four years now." . we're looking at it intensely and it's normally moving. It's important when you find these verbs of the senses to gather them together and try to find the differences between them. Jolie from Vietnam writes: In the example In no way will I agree to sharing an office with Ben. so. What we are looking forward to can be exemplified as either as a noun phrase or as a verb-phrase with an -ing pattern • • • Jill says she's not looking forward to Jack's party next weekend. When we use verbs of the senses. look forward to / agree to / object to Adriana. "I listened to the radio" . and watch you intended to do it and you were looking intensely. "I watched the bus go through the traffic lights. "I felt the wind on my face. I don't understand why it's correct to say I look forward to hearing from you and not I look forward to hear from you. 'see' and 'watch' are verbs of visual sense. usually because it was moving. Similarly.g.I didn't intend to. 'look' – you intended to do it. 'see' – you didn't really intend to. They're looking forward to joining their children in Australia There are many such three-part verbs.newspaper. Remember that when you look at words which seem to be similar it's important to find out exactly the differences between them because basically you can't really use them interchangeably. it just happened. learning English in Canada.I didn't intend to feel this." We want to see it. there's usually a difference between intention and non-intention. 'look'. e. or "I touched the fabric. So. writes: I have been studying English since I came to Canada. look forward to something = anticipate something with interest Look forward to is one of the many phrasal verbs in English in which an adverbial particle (forward) as well as a preposition (to) is combined with the stem verb to signify a particular meaning. and this group.I intended to feel the fabric." . Remember. When we watch something.

If we are using the phrasal verb. agree to. not the to-infinitive pattern: • • • I managed to finish reading Jack's article by staying up till midnight.: face up to = confront get round to = do something after some delay get down to = concentrate on Note that in such instances to is not part of any infinitive phrase. agree . agree and agree to. the -ing pattern is more likely. e. Instead of going on holiday last summer. Compare the following: • What have you agreed? We've agreed to tidy our rooms when we get up.look back on = think back to put up with = tolerate come down with = fall ill with There are a number of instances where such verbs end with the preposition to. Note that when verbs follow prepositions (any prepositions) the V-ing form is normally used.agree to There is a complication in your example. • object to 161 . If we are using the non-phrasal verb. In no way can I agree to sharing / to share an office with Ben The complication arises because there are two different forms of pretty much the same verb. where both the -ing form and the toinifnitive pattern appear possible: • • I cannot agree to share / to sharing an office with Ben. He's talking about getting it published in National Geographic magazine. And I must get down to reading Jack's article which he sent me two weeks ago I must face up to the fact that I'm never going to be promoted in this organisation. agree. he undertook this arduous trip up the Amazon. What have you agreed to? We've agreed to arriving punctually before the working day begins and to not leaving before five o' clock in the afternoon. And whatever it is that we face up to or get round to is normally expressed as either a noun phrase or as a verb phrase with an -ing pattern: • • • I must get round to cleaning my car next weekend. It is an integral part of the verb. to clear the dishes from the table after eating and not to go out until we've finished our homework.g. the toinfinitive pattern is imperative. Jolie.

as you can tell by the sound of the word: 'brunch'. A common lunch in England is a sandwich.'lunch / supper /dinner' Gareth Rees: Well Pia. but dinner might include soup. Does the expression relate to the time of the day that you eat the meal. And the final word is tea. Lunch is in the middle of the day. First of all. Brunch is a mixture of breakfast and lunch. We talked about breakfast. I think that people who have a quick lunch in the middle of the day will say they have dinner in the evening and this dinner will be a good meal. supper and dinner. meat with vegetables. Lunch and supper are both light kinds of meal. you might have lunch or dinner. breakfast. I'll be talking about those later. tea and brunch. you might have dinner or supper. In the evening. I think this word is often used in families. like tea and coffee. The expressions you've chosen . Two more words that you could add to your list are brunch and tea. The expressions do relate to the time of day that you eat the meal and the type of food and the size of the meal. In the middle of the day. particularly for people who are working. food and meals during the day. Now I mentioned there are some other meals. Confused? Well most people see a dinner as a more complete meal. A question from Pia in Poland: Could you please explain the difference between lunch. Brunch is usually had at about 11 o'clock.Note that the opposite of agree to is object to and here only the -ing pattern is possible: • What do you object to in her behaviour? I object to her going out every evening and not telling me where she is going. particularly with their children. So. "It's time for tea!" This means their small evening meal. Lunch sounds more informal or more typical. "It's tea time". and then a dessert like apple pie and ice cream. 162 .lunch. the type of food or the size of the meal?. thank you for asking a question about my favourite topic. supper is in the evening. That's why it can get confusing. but it can also be a light evening meal. dinner is really the main meal and people might have it in the middle of the day or in the evening. A supper is usually a light meal and is probably had after a larger dinner has been had in the middle of the day. And people usually have brunch as a replacement for both lunch and breakfast. This is simplest. it's the first meal of the day in the morning. supper and dinner. Now of course this is a drink. belong to a larger set which includes words such as breakfast.

jobs or (leisure) activities. anything. Do you 'make an exam' or do you 'do an exam'? do You do an exam. tea and supper all in one day. nothing. it is of course unusual to have breakfast. Well.' 'You expect me to do everything around the house.' 'I'm afraid I'm going to have to make my excuses and leave. make We tend to use make when we are talking about constructing. Look at the following examples: • • • • • • 'What shall we do now?' 'You can do what you like. We always use do to describe indefinite activities. But let me tell you. But there are no easy rules to follow. I'm fed up!' 'I did all my homework last night so tonight I'm going to do the housework.' 'I've made all the arrangements for the trip and I've made a great effort to get it all right. often with what. creating or performing something. and perhaps some birdwatching too. I'm going home!' 'He didn't do anything. I did my best anyway. 'make' and 'do' Davivien asks about 'make' and 'do' collocations: I would like to know the differences between the verbs to do and to make.' 163 . Study the following examples: • • • • 'I made three suggestions and left it to him to make the final decision. not impossible. etc and generally speaking we also use do to talk about duties.' 'I have to make three phone calls. He just sat there.' 'I did a lot of research and I think I did a good job on that essay. brunch.To finish. thing. lunch. And from that comment you'll understand that I have the ideal physique and dietary habits for radio and the internet and not for TV. dinner.' 'I intend to do lots of walking on holiday this year.

a profit or a fortune fun of someone or a fool of someone amends for one's behaviour check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer check answer Answers do the cleaning and the cooking make a lasting impression (on someone) do the shopping and the washing-up do some serious work 164 . of learning and knowing which of these two verbs collocate with which nouns. Best of luck! The first two examples are done for you. for a driving test) a sound or a noise one's hair or one's teeth a lot of harm rather than good business (with somebody) (somebody) a favour love. It is often simply a matter of usage.make or do? Test your knowledge of make and do now by clicking on what you think is the correct box in the examples that follow. It is not always as easy as the above examples suggest. not war a mess.g. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 make make make make make make make make make make make make make make make make do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do the cleaning and the cooking a lasting impression (on someone) the shopping and the washing-up some serious work a lot of damage (to something) an announcement or a speech an application (e.

links between programmes. A presenter is a person who introduces or hosts television or radio programmes. An announcer's job is similar to that of a presenter. Your answer must be very helpful for a lot of damage (to something) make an announcement make an application (e. broadcaster and announcer are all related to TV and radio: media which is delivered partly – or wholly – through sound and speech (this type of media is increasingly available on internet too)..g. The topic of the programme is not all about the presenter.. A presenter's opening words on a programme are usually something like Good evening. an announcer may have a smaller role in a programme than a presenter does: on TV programmes. However. and Karim Kouchouk (the presenter of BBCe for BBC Learning English Arabic Service). He or she provides spoken information about news. It can also be used to 165 . weather. The first three: presenter. introduces or links sections of the programme together and says goodbye at the end. The presenter is the person who introduces the programme. Thanks. a profit or a fortune make fun of someone or a fool of someone make amends for one's behaviour Media related jobs I'm confused about the difference between presenter. not war make a mess. an announcer may only feature as a voice whereas a presenter will be seen on the screen. The word broadcaster can refer to an organisation such as the BBC (UK) or NBC (USA) which produces television and radio programmes. On tonight's show we will be. [presenter talks about the content of the programme]. Another main difference between an announcer and a presenter is that the announcer usually reads word-forword from a script. for a driving test) make a sound or a noise do one's hair or one's teeth do a lot of harm rather than good do business (with somebody) do (somebody) a favour make love. broadcaster. programme content. and announcer. and welcome to[name of show] with me [name of presenter]. whereas a presenter may have some flexibility regarding the things they say. Some well-known presenters include Johnny Carson (an American TV chat show host). Hi Suharno. and the difference between reporter and journalist. All these words are used to describe people who work in the media. Trevor MacDonald (a British TV news presenter). advertising etc.

and his or her programmes may be considered to be very important and well-respected. photographs etc. I do hope this has been a useful answer to your question! melt. that this too solid flesh would melt Thaw. This job is usually reserved for senior journalists at a particular newspaper or magazine. Sir Robert Winston and Sir David Frost. 166 . the reporter will create a report for publication or broadcast in the media. politics. directing. A reporter is a type of journalist who gathers information about newsworthy issues. Finally. In fact. She or he chooses a topic that is in the news and writes not only about the events that have become newsworthy but also often offers some analysis and/or personal opinion. When the information is gathered. Suharno: you wanted to find out about the difference between a reporter and a journalist. I'd like to mention one more media profession. it changes from a solid to a liquid state. Suharno. A journalist gathers. these jobs are very similar. This may involve researching through several sources – interviews. Famous British broadcasters include Sir David Attenborough. and resolve itself into a dew! melt When something melts. police and public records. and Larry King in the USA. writes and reports news stories. Well Suharno. The snow on our grass melted quickly in the warm sunshine. thaw and antonyms Keith Gama de Carvalho from Brazil writes: Could you please tell me if there are any differences between the verbs melt and thaw? I'm thinking about the second scene of the first act of Hamlet by William Shakespeare: O. He or she usually has multiple talents – scriptwriting. and in some respects the terms are interchangeable. for example: crime. presenting etc. Turning to the second part of your question.describe someone who is well-experienced in the TV and radio industry. Reporters often specialise in a particular area. A columnist is a writer (usually a journalist) who writes regularly (often weekly) for a newspaper or magazine. usually because it is heated: • • Melt 50 grams of butter in a saucepan and then add the onions and mushrooms. and may also edit and present news articles. health or education. A journalist's work is most often seen in print – especially newspapers – but they can work for TV and radio too.

We also have the phrasal verbs melt away and melt (away) into meaning to disappear: • • At first they were enemies. His assets were frozen because he was five hundred thousand pounds in debt. 167 . His attitude to the company hardened when he realized that his shares were worthless. Let me just stand by the radiator and thaw out a bit before I start to cook dinner. which we use when referring to frozen food or if we have just come inside from very cold weather: • • If I were you. All the various factions solidified and promised allegiance to their leader. The shoplifters just melted (away) into the Oxford Street crowds of Christmas shoppers. Keith. For this reason he wishes that his flesh might melt into the dew. thaw When something thaws it warms up slowly and changes gradually from a frozen state to a temperature above freezing point: • The snow was thawing and the streets had become slushy. his inhibitions melted and he gave a confident performance. the lake will freeze (over) and we can go skating. Antonyms of melt and thaw would be: freeze harden solidify stiffen Study the examples below to see how these verbs may be used: • • • • • • If it's cold enough in January. but over time their differences melted away.: • Once on stage.g. We also have the phrasal verb thaw out. This glue dries very fast and hardens in less than an hour. in the speech you refer to. Pour the beef dripping into a bowl and when it has solidified you can spread it on toast. is mourning the death of his father two months earlier and is distraught about his mother's hasty re-marriage to his father's brother. We still use melt figuratively today when we speak of our feelings or emotions melting. Hamlet. I would take it out of the freezer and leave it to thaw out overnight. e.

He scored four goals. miss / missing / missed Bernadette from France writes: It is always hard for me to use the verb miss correctly. The railway station is right at the end of this road. Her whole body stiffened when she heard him come through the door. gentle person.• • She was afraid.g missing pages are pages that are missing. e. for instance. miss = be sorry to be without In this sense. This is the meaning of miss that you allude to in your sentence Tu me manques. Please advise me. She left five minutes ago. missing / missed (adjs) = lost / cannot be found When missing and missed are used as adjectives. Compare the following: • • • • • • • • If you're not careful you'll miss the flight and there isn't another one till next week. they behave like present and past participles. I miss that too. I miss the people. No. She was such a kind. It was my granny's funeral last Thursday so I had to miss all my lessons last week. I shall miss you all right! What do you miss most about the south of France now you're in Britain? ~ I miss my family. we would say simply: I miss you! Compare the following: • • • • I miss my grandmother terribly. You can't miss it! If you leave the queue now. Note in English we would not translate it as You are missed by me. Is Jenny still here? ~ You've just missed her. you've missed the point. you'll miss your chance of seeing this film. but their resistance stiffened and they fought harder than before. Will you miss me when I'm away? ~ Oh. we can miss both people and things. Bernadette. Instead. miss = fail to make contact with There are a number of shades of meaning when miss means 'fail to make contact with'. I always get confused. The bullet just missed my head. Note also that missing is 168 . when I try to translate: Tu me manques. It whizzed past my ear and embedded itself in the wall. Do you miss walking in the Pyrenees? ~ Yes. I miss the sunshine. but then he missed a penalty. Thanking you in advance. I miss the cheese and the wine. a missed opportunity is an opportunity that has been missed. Bobby GAVE her the money. He didn't want it back. They were clearly going to lose.

Compare the following: • • • • • • • The weather cleared. We should have climbed the mountain. a vehicle or a bomb miss the boat = miss an opportunity which will probably not arise again miss a trick = fail to take advantage of an opportunity give something a miss = to avoid it a miss is as good as a mile = a failure is a failure by however small an amount 169 . Growing asparagus is very difficult and can be a very hit-and-miss affair. rather than missing people or a missing peoples register.often placed after the noun it qualifies. miss out on something = miss an opportunity that you would clearly benefit from hit and miss / hit or miss = sometimes very successful. I'm going. My name was missing from the list of participants but it was clear that I had enrolled. He's failed his exams again and I think he has missed the boat as far as higher education is concerned. Note that in this last example we talk about a missing person or a missing persons register.g. to emphasize the individuality of people who have left home and it is not known whether they are alive or dead. They were unable to complete the jigsaw as several pieces were missing. It was a missed opportunity. miss in idioms Note also idiomatic usage in the following expressions: • • • • • • • He didn't have all the advantages of a proper education and really missed out. There have been several near misses between planes landing at this airport recently. Ten people are known to have died in the blast and a further fifteen are still missing. but as the old saying goes: a miss is as good as a mile. I think I've missed a trick here in failing to consult my accountant about tax returns. sometimes not near miss = when something is nearly hit by e. Did you know you've got a button missing from your blue shirt? She has been missing for over six months and has now been placed on the missing persons register. What about you? ~ No. rather than in front of it. I think I'll give the book signing ceremony a miss. Did you know there are five pages missing from this book? It goes from 32 to 43. They came fourth in the league and missed promotion by only one point.

gathering. please? You can't make a decision without having a meeting first. meeting and rally? How do we distinguish between them when we use them? Meeting (and meet) are the most generally and widely used from your list of four. Martin. I haven't. this is Martin. ~ When will the meeting be over? Can we hold a meeting with everybody to discuss this.NB1 Miss can be used as an alternative to Ms placed in front of the name of an unmarried woman when the person concerned wishes it to be known that she is single. Dad. meet (verb) When two or more people meet. Have you met my dad? ~ No. they come together or are brought together for some reason or they just happen to be in the same place and start talking: • • • Where shall we meet this evening? ~ Let's meet under the clock at Waterloo Station. Jianxin. Assembly (and assemble). ~ Well. I'm sorry she's in a meeting. 170 . gathering (and gather) and rally are more restricted in use. Representatives from the two countries will meet again in June to resume their talks. NB2 Miss Right or Mr Right can be used as expressions to describe a woman or man who is regarded as an ideal marriage partner: • He was looking for the perfect Miss Right and had some difficulty in finding her! meeting/gathering/assembly/rally Chen Jianxin from China writes: Can you please tell me what the difference is between these four nouns: assembly. meeting (noun) A meeting is any event where a smaller or larger group of people come together to discuss something or to make a decision: • • Can I speak to Jane please? ~ No. ~ Pleased to meet you. come and meet him.

They do not meet by chance: • • • The storm clouds are gathering. he was trying to raise money by selling cars which had been stolen. we fit the different parts together to make a whole: • He couldn't assemble the jigsaw without seeking the help of his older sister. Can you see the birds gathering on that tree over there? We gathered around the camp fire and started singing folk songs. When you gather things or pieces of information. gather (verb) When people or things gather somewhere. assemble (verb) Assemble is very close to gather in meaning in the sense of coming together for a particular purpose. 171 . I gather means I understand in the sense that somebody has told me or I have read about this. It's going to rain soon. gathering (noun) A gathering is a group of people who are meeting together for a particular purpose: • • There was an exclusive gathering of show-business people and footballers at Posh and Becks' Gucci and sushi garden party last Saturday. As far as I can gather… is an expression meaning As far as I can find out…: • • I gather there will be no alcoholic beverages at the his party. I need to gather as much information as I can so that I can write this report. they come together for a particular purpose. you collect them with a particular purpose in mind: • • We went out to gather mushrooms in the woods. It perhaps suggests a greater sense of organisation: • They assembled / gathered in the school canteen after the exam to discuss how well they had done. I've got a meeting in the afternoon which is sure to go on till six or seven in the evening. It was a friendly gathering. When we assemble things. Everybody was in good humour and there was a lot of laughter. As far as I could gather.• Can you come to supper on Thursday? ~ I don't think so.

If you rally at tennis.• If the police can assemble / gather enough evidence. are held: • Over ten thousand people held a rally in the square to demonstrate their support for international human rights.g. rally (noun) A rally is primarily a large public meeting that is held to show support for a cause or a political party. After four days in bed. Over 300 were gathered together in the Festival Hall. 172 . you manage to keep the shots going with your partner for as long as possible without losing. he rallied sufficiently to be able to sit out in an armchair. Rallies. they will arrest him for burglary. Rally can also be used in this sense as a noun: • It was one of the longest and most exciting rallies of the entire tournament. In a school. The assembly of musicians was impressive. When someone or something rallies. the assembly is a gathering of all teachers and pupils at a specified time in the school hall for matters that affect the whole school: • The Junior School Assembly lasted for 45 minutes as there was a presentation on road safety. it begins to recover from a weak position: • • The stock markets rallied and shares returned to their early morning values. You will also find assembly lines in factories where employees work on particular part of a product (e. rally (verb) When people rally. a car) at a particular stage of its manufacture. assembly (noun) Assemblies are usually larger gatherings of people who meet regularly for a particular purpose: • • The National Assembly voted to hold the first entirely free elections for over 20 years. they unite to support something: • He rallied his supporters in the hope that his party would win the election. like meetings. badminton or squash.

The honeymoon period for this new government is now over. Saeed. Mother tongue . meaning a holiday spent together by a couple immediately after their marriage.Mother tongue. The greater part of learning a foreign language.native language Mother tongue is another fixed collocation. The reference to the moon (and therefore lunar month) is ironic: everybody knows that as soon as the moon is full. Honey month is an impossible combination and would not make any sense now. A small house / a little house When little and small both mean not large. You should acquire a perfect grasp of your native tongue before you start to learn a foreign language. You are right. with some nouns they can be used interchangeably with little or no difference in meaning: 173 . meaning the beginning of a period of time when everything is pleasant in a relationship and partners don't criticise each other: They plan to go on honeymoon to Thailand for a month. we would normally say native language. The examples given so far are relatively straightforward but it becomes more complicated when we look at the words which small and little naturally occur with. but you would never have guessed it from her perfect pronunciation of English. it starts to wane and dies. even though the word honeymoon was originally used to describe the first month of marriage. honeymoon and a small amount of gold Saeed asks: Why do we say mother tongue and not mother language and why honeymoon and not honey month? Marga asks: Do you say: a small amount of gold or a little amount of gold? What is the difference? Honeymoon Honeymoon is a compound noun. is all about knowing which words naturally occur together. We also have the expression honeymoon period. we do not say mother language. see below: Her mother tongue was Russian. Saeed. Instead. though native tongue is also possible.

I shan't sleep tonight if I have a large one. whereas small is more neutral and does not suggest this. Maximum reward for minimum effort. Small amount / small number When we define small as not large we are thinking about small in size. They lived in a small house in the country. change. Would you like a large or a small coffee? ~ Oh. Compare the following: He's only a little boy. Always has a smile on her face. amount or number: These shoes are too small. Note that small also combines readily with very and few as well as with too. little also suggests that you feel sympathy for something. sweet. tiny. Little = not much Little is also more complicated than small because it can also mean not much. A small glass of red wine would be nice. The new drugs appear to have had little effect. They really don't fit me at all.They lived in a little house in the country. please. Abstract nouns that often follow little (meaning not much) include hope. but that doesn't excuse his behaviour! Because little invokes sympathy. Small cannot be used in this way: This job is a nice little earner. Compare the following: Will you have beer or wine with your meal? ~ I'd like a little wine. a small coffee please. poor. He doesn't know the difference between right and wrong. A disappointingly small number of people entered the competition. They live in this tiny little bed-sit in Shepherds Bush. There has been little change in his condition over the last seventy two hours. chance. ~ He may be a small child. effect. I see little point in continuing the rescue mission. However. use and point: There's little chance / hope of finding any survivors after such a massive explosion. Few cannot be combined with little and little is not normally used with very or too: 174 . Small can only mean not large. She's a sweet / pretty little thing. I only had a small amount of gold but enough to purchase everything I needed. it is often used with other adjectives like nice. pretty.

When the bomb explodes the nails fly out and cause serious injury. which is probably: ‘how you expect something to be. Well. The blast tore through the Admiral Duncan pub at 6. What does the term nail bomb mean? I know the word bomb. which explains collocation. and verbs and their objects.37 p.m. The Soho nail bomb caused particularly horrific injuries as a consequence of the confined space in which it exploded and because of the shrapnel effect of the long nails contained within it. It was the third in a series of three bombings in the capital in which ethnic minorities and homosexuals had been targeted. but we all managed to squeeze in. The phone box was very small. What does the addition of nail do to the meaning? A nail bomb is a bomb which is filled with nails. I think normal and ordinary have [a] very similar meaning. I think it’s useful here to talk about vocabulary collocation. ordinary and usual. So if we had a normal or ordinary day at work. it would mean that nothing particularly special happened. when the area was crowded with people enjoying the evening sunshine at the start of a holiday weekend. And it’s also possible to purchase specialist vocabulary books and collocation dictionaries.I noticed that there were a few small mistakes in your essay. On Friday 30 April 1999. Three people were killed and more than one hundred were injured. But to get back to the words you asked about Hoa. Normal. this is a good question! There are so many words in English that have similar meanings. but usual has a slightly different meaning. You can do this by looking at a good quality monolingual (English-English) dictionary. it’s worth spending some time just studying collocation. You can also study collocation by reading texts (fiction or non-fiction) in English and looking carefully at the combinations of adjectives and nouns. And when you’re studying English vocabulary. Ordinary and Usual I have studied English in high school for three years but I can't tell the difference between normal. In the examples you give. normal and ordinary do have very similar meanings. which I know can be confusing for learners. which means words that are often used together. a massive explosion devastated a gay pub in Soho in the heart of London. not unusual or special’. Hi Hoa. I've heard the term 'Soho nail bomb attack'. A normal or an ordinary meal in a 175 . many of them very seriously.

meaning the drink they usually order! Well thank you for your question and I hope this has helped! no = not / not any In the sentences: Hong Kong's goal: zero accidents on the road. every day. at the same time. Zero means no and the noun that follows it should surely be in singular form. Finally. extraordinary. it probably means ‘people who think and behave in the same way as most other people’. I don’t think we’d say: These houses have been built for normal people to buy. My usual newspaper would be the one I always buy. Hong Kong's goal: no accidents on the road. … because this seems to be commenting on behaviour rather than income. meaning ‘people who are not particularly rich’. however. café or place where you meet. Please answer my question. For example. … it would be a slightly rude or negative comment. Hong Kong's goal: no accident on the road. but I suppose it’s better than having an awful one! There is a slight nuance in meaning. of course. This is slightly different because it implies habit or regular doesn’t sound very exciting. But the phrase ordinary people may carry a nuance in meaning about wealth and social status. Similarly. regular customers in pubs often ask for their usual. if we make a comment like His new watch is very ordinary. So we might say: These houses have been built for ordinary people to buy. shouldn't the plural form be changed to singular? Hong Kong's goal: zero accident on the road. You can arrange to meet someone at the usual. …which contains an indirect reference to wealth. And the opposite of ordinary is. If we mention normal people. zero = not any 176 . when we talk about normal people and ordinary people. meaning the usual bar. my usual bus would be the one I always take. and if we described a watch as extraordinary it would mean ‘very special or unusual’. usual. Now let’s get back to the other word you mention. In this case it would be impossible to use normal or ordinary.

but often has more than one child!) no = emphatic use Note that we tend to use no. Compare the following: Zero degrees centigrade is the same as 32 degrees fahrenheit. yet there was no policeman on duty outside the embassy. No road accident was reported in Chelsea throughout August. In the lonely man example above. In the Premiership last Saturday. when no is used emphatically. no is more effective than not a / not any. With uncountable nouns. In the Premiership last Saturday.m. not a single player was sent off.m.With countable nouns. the singular form is used. Sometimes. No dogs. no = not a / not any With countable nouns. No dog. no player was sent off. 177 . no players were sent off. are allowed in the flower garden. is allowed in the flower garden.. It was 9 a. it is more natural to combine singular and plural use: He must lead a lonely life in that village: he has no wife and no children. Compare: He must lead a lonely life: he doesn't have a wife and he doesn't have any children. In the Premiership last Saturday. No writer has won the Booker prize more than once. With subject nouns. We are likely to see zero growth on the stock market this year. No road accidents were reported in Chelsea throughout August. rather than not a or not any when we want to emphasise a negative idea. (A man normally has one wife. depending on whether one is thinking of one or more than one: It was 9 a. Note that singular use sounds more natural in these examples. no may be followed by singular or plural nouns. not a / not any are not possible: No politician tells the truth all the time. Sometimes.. It sounds more natural and makes better sense to say: It was early December and there were no leaves on the trees. no is normally followed by plural forms. zero is always followed by plural nouns. unless it is on a lead. yet there were no policemen on duty outside the embassy. unless they are on a lead. than: It was early December and there was no leaf on the trees. We are not likely to see any growth on the stock market this year.

this is more often used than two times. It's no use complaining. A few teachers told me there is no such word or that I cannot use it and that I should use three times collocations There are a number of common nouns that normally combine with no. There's no point in shouting. Better to say: This vehicle travels at three times the speed of sound. We can sort this out together. no evidence. He's deaf and can't hear you. rather than not a or not any. He needs me as much as I need him. There's no time to lose. There was no doubt she had lied. She complained of chest pains but the doctors found no evidence of infection. All the evidence pointed to her guilt. no reason. no problem. Compare the following: I’ve visited her twice already this autumn and she’s visited me once. thrice The norm here is to say once (rather than one time) to say three times (rather than thrice) in current usage. They play football thrice weekly. Can you help me with the cleaning? ~ No way. twice. no way. twice. Study these examples of use: No amount of washing could remove the stain from the garment. They play football three times a week and train every night. I'm not busy this evening. although two times is also quite common in informal usage. no doubt. once. although you may still come across it in certain contexts: This vehicle travels at thrice the speed of sound. We must leave immediately. no point. I have no idea how you solve this problem. Most of them are uncountable and include no amount. They won't bother to answer your letter. once. Thrice is definitely old-fashioned. thrice I’m a little confused because I’ve found the word thrice in a book. no use. Can I use this word and in what circumstances? We’ll take this opportunity to look at a number of complications with the expression of numbers and frequency in English. When it comes to twice. I’ve visited her two times already this autumn and she’s visited me once. no idea. no need. It's quite beyond me. no time. I have to be out by seven. 178 . I've no reason to think he won't return. Can you help me with the ironing? ~ No problem. There's no need to cry.

Once. Can you set out the arguments for and against capital punishment in half a dozen paragraphs? I bought two dozen eggs but we’ve only used four. Compare the following: He had only ever seen his great-aunt once before. We go out with our colleagues for a drink once a week or once a fortnight and have a staff party once a year. (not one time) can also mean at some time in the past: I once ran a fish-and-chip shop in Brighton.000. I’m only going to say this once. ~ When was that? ~ Before I bought this business. Teachers say they would be twice as effective if they had no administrative tasks. Our house in the village was once the train station. ~ When was that? ~ When the trains used to run here. maximum / minimum. eight seven o seven.000. How many zeros do I write down for a billion? Is it six or nine? Billions of dollars need to be invested to re-build this country. England won their recent match against Liechtenstein by two goals to nil. Do you know the different references to these numbers? nought / zero / nil / o / love (0) half a dozen (6 or approximately 6) a dozen (12 or approximately 12) a score (20 or approximately 20) a billion (1. He had only ever seen his great-aunt one time before.Unemployment in the north of England is twice the national average. You will hear the recording only once. One time is occasionally possible as an alternative to once. Roddick was leading by two sets to love and forty love in the first game of the third set when rain stopped the match.000 or a very large number) Note how they are used: House prices rose by nought point two per cent last month. Visibility was almost zero at the City Airport last night because of the fog. My phone number is o two o. nine nine o three. ~ Why didn’t you buy half a doxen? Scores of volunteers offered to help in the search for the missing child. maximal / minimal 179 . I’ve told you billions of times to lock the door before you go to bed.

Maximal as adjective or maximally as adverb are more rarely used. ‘Boyfriend/girlfriend’ and ‘partner’ are the words that we normally use to describe somebody who is in a sexual relationship. The language of love Mojca Belak from Slovenia asks: How old can a boyfriend/girlfriend be? A friend who is 50 recently sent me an email gladly informing me that he now has a girlfriend. There may be one or two delays on this service but they are expected to be minimal.To express the idea of the largest amount possible. is much more often used as an adjective. This is Guy Wilkinson. Compare the following: He managed to pass all his exams with minimal effort. but do not necessarily live with. How long are the shifts for this type of work? ~ Four hours is the minimum and twelve hours is the maximum. Which could be the alternatives – if there are any? ‘Partner’ didn’t seem to be accepted. but they are not married? We don’t have very much choice in the matter. but are not married to: • 'I don’t think you’ve met my partner. we would normally use maximum as both adjective and noun. thirties.' 180 .' it is also quite common for people in their twenties. The minimum wage in Britain is now four pounds fifty an hour. How long should I sit in front of the computer screen? ~ Maximally three hours. meaning very small in quantity. Mimimum describes the smallest amount possible. Mojca. Partner’ is perhaps the preferred term to describe the person you are living with on a more permanent basis. Compare the following: Arsenal now head the Premiership table with maximum points from five games. so what DO you say for somebody who is not in his/her teens or twenties any longer and is in a relationship. Although boyfriends and girlfriends are often associated with teenager years. Note the slight difference in meaning. however. The maximum sentence for armed robbery is twenty years. The minimum height for a policeman used to be five foot ten. In Slovenian this sounds really funny. as in: • 'I remember my first boyfriend was a very spotty individual whose voice had only just broken. forties and even fifties to use the words 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' to describe someone that they are in a relationship with. Minimal.

' 'He is such a good dancer that he has no difficulty in finding appropriate partners for all the Latin-American competitions. Consider the following: • • • 'After their Wimbledon experience. are not only of a sexual nature. such as 'lover' and 'other half' but it's true to say that in English there is no one preferred term! parts of the body M Ramesh Kumar from India writes: Could you please give me the parts of the body from head to toe with exact pronunciation of native English speakers? Here's a chart which shows the major parts of the body: obviously not to be used for an anatomy lesson! Some words are used mainly in the medical profession . particularly the practice of vowel sounds.' 'Will you be my partner at bridge this afternoon?' And ‘partners’ in a firm or business are the people who share the ownership of it: • 'He was partner in a firm of lawyers. 181 .others are more popular. 'partner' can sound rather formal because partnerships. of course. You can use this list for pronunciation practice. or dance then you would do so with a ‘partner’. it looks as if sister Serena will be Venus Williams’ doubles' partner for some time to come. However.' There are some other expressions that can be used. If you play a game against another pair of people.It is unlikely that teenagers would have ‘partners’. although people from their twenties onwards may well have.

stomach/tum/ tummy 19 .foot/feet 26 .hair 2 .face 8 .head 3 .ear 5 .elbow 12 .1 . On your head is your hair You can wear your hair long Or you can wear your hair short On your face your eyes.arm 11 .thigh 22 . 182 .ankle 25 .fingers 16 . And at the side are your ears to help you hear.neck 9 .big toe 27 . nose and lips are placed.knee 24 .hand 14 .toes Parts of the body From head to toe.chest 18 .wrist 13 .leg 23 .abdomen 20 .eye 4 .nose 6 .lips 7 .thumb 15 .bottom 21 . But for the sake of rhyme And pronunciation practice This time they are not in order.shoulder 10 .breast 17 .

And don't forget your eyes . And it's the skin that holds it all in. You see with your eyes. At the front is your tum . Between your chest and your legs is your abdomen. Lots of lovely white teeth And two dainty feet That's well over thirty body parts. Your bones are covered by flesh. blood and skin.roughly speaking. 183 . They're all very busy . Joints are formed where two bones meet Your upper and lower arms are joined at your elbows Your upper and lower legs are joined at you knees Your wrists join your hands to your arms And your ankles your feet to your legs. That's well over sixty.You hear with your ears.fully awake. Two eyes and two thighs. I suppose! Add on fingers. Your organs are all inside . as far as I know! Your breast is the upper part of your chest.don't let them escape.they're about one metre from your thighs. One nose.shake your hips! And your nose is nearly two metres from your big toe if you grow full-size. Your lips are about one metre from your hips . two big toes. And every other toe.short for bottom! Between your bum and your tum Are your thighs . You smell with your nose And kiss with your lips.short for tummy At the rear is your bum . And your lovely white teeth . two thumbs.about two metres from your dainty feet! Let's add them together: Two lips and two hips.

But that little 'pan-' prefix is something that you might want to remember because 184 . so I don't want my tummy to show. A question from Yumi in Japan: Hi.We'll touch them in order. 'Pandemic' is the word we use when almost all the people and animals in a certain place are affected by a disease or illness. Dainty feet: feet which are dainty are small. delicate and pretty. the parts inside your body where food is digested. Catherine Walter answers: Yumi. I would like to know about the difference between 'epidemic' and 'pandemic'.e. Bum: your bum is the part of your body which you sit on. In this sense tummy. It can also be used to refer informally to stomach. as an alternative to stomach. We hope that we won't be talking too much about pandemics in the next few months. 'Epidemic' is the word that we use when we're talking about a large number of people or animals in a certain place that are affected by disease or illness. is often used by children or by adults talking to children: Jonathan's got tummy ache from eating too many unwashed strawberries. I'm going to be doing a lot of sunbathing this summer. It is frequently used in informal English and is slightly rude: Do you think my bum looks too big in these jeans? More neutral alternatives would be bottom or backside. Glossary: Tum: your tum or tummy is the part at the front of your body. that's a very topical question. related to the bird flu. Get as close as you can: · · · · · brain: make me think lungs: breathe in and breathe out heart: I can feel you beating stomach: I can hear you rumbling when I'm hungry bladder: I'll empty you when you're full We sometimes say that we are only flesh and blood And made up of feelings which we cannot touch. i. And that's the short answer. The answer is actually very simple. just below your waist.

However it becomes slightly more complicated because sometimes you do see the word 'persons'. 'People' is in fact the plural form of person. Sometimes you'll find people used to describe the nationality so you'll find 'peoples' to describe different nationalities and sometimes you'll find the word 'persons' in more formal styles of writing or in signs for example.we often use it to mean 'all'. Finally you may find the word 'person' attached to a number. This is where 'person' is being used to describe the noun. So people make up new words by putting 'pan-' in front of something ? you might hear about a 'pan-Asian' conference. to news reports you may hear news reports talking about persons. It gets slightly more complicated when you find the word peoples. Thank you. For example if you're in a lift or elevator you might see the sign 'Four persons only'. Persons is normally a more formal use. So hear we use 'two-person car'. I wrote to you because I am in doubt with the correct use of 'person' and 'people'. for example. So don't forget 'pan-'. And sometimes if you're listening to the news. so for example. '2 – person' is the adjective describing 'car' and as you know we don't put an 's' on an adjective. So for example 4 persons were injured in the accident. For example 'a twoperson car'. The first one os to do with singular and plural nouns. there are several points to make here. So far example we talk about a 'two-week holiday' not a 'twoweeks holiday' or a 'three-year course' not 'a three-years course'. I come from Cuba. 185 . People can be used to mean a nationality – all of the people of one country – so for example 'the people of Cuba'. Karen Adams answers: Hi Yaciel and thank you for your question. So in normal everyday speech you will hear people talking about 'many people'. 'there were a lot of people at the concert'. but let's hope we can forget the pandemic. I hope that answers your question. So in summary. three people. And 'person' is one of those nouns that has an irregular plural. for example. normally you find 'people' as the plural form of 'person' – one person. girl – girls. And when you're talking about a group of nationalities you may find the word 'peoples'. boy – boys. But some nouns have irregular plurals. for example child – children. 'a three-person room'. I'm sure you know that most nouns in English are made plural by putting an s on the end. So that's another slightly more complicated and not so common use of the word 'peoples'. for example. 'the peoples of South America'. That was my question because I know that 'person' and 'people' both are nouns and I would like to know when I'm going to use 'person' or 'people'. My full name is Yaciel Edelio Tellez Toledo. a more formal plural form. So for example we talk about one person and two people. or police are looking for 5 persons.

(NOT: I can't meet him in Paris and he can't meet me in London. problem as a countable noun and trouble as an uncountable noun.) I can't meet him in Paris and he can't meet me in London. we can use both trouble and problems. Compare the following: • Could you look after Jimmy for me for five minutes while I pop out to the shops? ~ No problem! 186 . Can you please explain to me how to use both terms correctly? Problem Problem is a countable noun and describes something that causes trouble or difficulty. We talk about having a problem or having problems with something. The current drought is causing serious problems for the farmers in this area. Compare the following: • I've got a big problem with my computer.What's your problem? We also have the expressions No problem! which we use to say that we will be happy to do something or are happy for something to happen and What's your problem? which we use in a threatening way to ask someone about something we disapprove of. not about having a trouble. We couldn't solve the problem of getting across London in less than two hours. No problem! . Can you come and have a look at it? (NOT: I've got a big trouble with my computer. It's a real trouble. It's a real problem. Trouble cannot be used in this way: • • Children with learning difficulties find mathematical problems impossible.) • We also talk about mathematical problems and solving problems of various sorts. Compare the following: • • The recent football hooliganism in Sunderland caused the police a lot of trouble. Can you come and have a look at it. With the verb cause.Problems and troubles A Writer from Cameroon in West Africa writes: I'm having difficulty distinguishing between problems and troubles.

Compare the following: • • • • I'm having trouble with the printer now. the verbs that the noun trouble collocate with include the following: put to. In addition to cause. It was jammed all the way from Epping to Cambridge. go to. 187 . I'm sorry to trouble you. and be in. run into. ~ No problem. rather than buy it from the shop. I shall get into real / big trouble. No trouble! Note that the expression No trouble! is used in a similar way to No problem! • I'm sorry to have kept you waiting for so long ~ That's no trouble! problem / trouble + adjs Note from the examples above that the adjectives big. If you buy a dishwasher. I think it could cause health problems in later life. if you don't mind. save. that's their problem! trouble Trouble is mainly used as an uncountable noun and describes problems. We ran into trouble as soon as we reached the motorway. real and serious collocate with both trouble and problems. Compare the following: • • • • • • I'm sorry to put you to all this trouble ~ It's no trouble at all! I'm going to take the trouble to bake my own bread. Can you come and have a look at it? I'm a bit deaf and I had trouble hearing what she said as she spoke very softly. it will save you the trouble of washing your dishes by hand. ~ What's your problem? It's quite harmless.• • I'll finish this off tomorrow. Note that fundamental. if I lend you my brother's bike. get into. take. Why are you crying? What's troubling you? ~ It troubles me that I haven't heard from him for five weeks. I don't like people wearing face jewellery. It's blocking my drive. ~ Well. worries or difficulties. I was in serious trouble. but could you move your car forward a bit. I had run out of water and was still ten miles from the nearest oasis. insoluble and intractable collocate only with problem: • A fundamental problem in the design of this car is the transverse engine. Trouble can also be used as a verb. These verbs cannot be used with problem in the same way.

completely. it always means 'totally'. if we say: "I am quite exhausted". This can mean that I'm partially. fairly. 100% happy.. If I read the words. If you think about this. but simply reading the sentence on the page can't help us with this. don't despair .. I really don't know if this means'partially' happy or 'completely' happy. There was no way out of it. The simple answer is that it has both meanings. Your next question will probably be: How can we tell the difference? When somebody says: "I am quite happy". we have to think about the context.• It was an intractable / insoluble problem.. 'I am quite happy'. thanks for your question. Often we can clearly understand which meaning of 'quite' the speaker intends.. You asked whether 'quite' means 'partially' or 'totally'. (William: Hello!) Let's imagine that William has recently been ill: Alex: Are you feeling better now? 188 . A question from Jean-Francois from Limoges.. and so on. France: I find it difficult to understand the word 'quite' in a conversation. So. entirely. and in this situation.. For example: 'delighted' means 'very pleased' 'exhausted' means 'very tired' 'enormous' means 'very big'. However.there are some clues that can help us solve this problem. 'Quite' is often used with one of these adjectives.. How do we know if they mean partially happy or totally happy? Well. it's logical because it's impossible to be 'somewhat very tired' . completely. somewhat happy but not completely happy or it can mean I'm totally. This means I'm absolutely. If we say: "I am quite happy".. Secondly. Does it mean 'partially' or 'totally'? Please help! Alex Gooch answers: Hello Jean-Francois. I'm sorry. William's here with me. Firstly.that doesn't make any sense. we have some adjectives in English which include the idea of 'very'. by looking at the meaning of what he or she is saying. 100% exhausted.

and he's feeling 100% healthy. for example. We are always talking about the need to raise standards (and 'standards' is the object of the verb) . it's quite old-fashioned to use 'quite' to mean 'totally' or 'completely' . William probably means that he has fully recovered. Amos Paran answers: Well. In fact.another way of saying it is that standards need to rise. A question from Alice in France: 'Raise' and 'rise' . In fact. and if it rises at the end of the sentence. if the speaker's tone is more uncertain. William probably means that he feels partially healthy. The difference between them is a grammatical one. but not completely. or whatever. that probably means that he or she is partially happy or healthy. thank you. is almost the same moving up. we can often get a clue from the speaker's tone of voice and intonation: If he or she speaks in a positive. but not completely healthy. I feel great! Here. On the other hand. definite tone of voice.William: Yes. Also. 'quite' normally means 'partially'. I'm feeling quite healthy. we could have a conversation like this: Alex: Are you feeling better now? William: Well. another way I can say that is that I think that taxes need to rise. I can say that I personally think that the government of this country needs to raise taxes (and 'taxes' is the object of the verb). and 'rise' cannot take an object. 'raise' and 'rise'. However. I'm feeling quite healthy. It's still used this way sometimes in writing. that probably means that he or she feels totally happy. 'Raise' needs an object. or healthy. when these sentences are spoken. going down at the end of the sentence. especially in formal writing. so you might read that in a novel for example. the basic meaning of the two verbs. from a low position to a higher position. In this case. either physically or metaphorically. But in modern conversational least in spoken English. Will it be possible to explain these two verbs in BBC learning English? Thank you. but I still have a terrible headache. Hope this helps! 189 .'s difficult to use them.

we could also say: • Relations between (the leaders of) the two countries have never been closer. Relations Relation also describes the link between people. It can describe two things and the way in which they are connected: • Doctors now believe that there may be some relationship / connection between autism and the MMR vaccine. groups or countries and the way they behave towards each other. but Jenny felt that their relationship wasn't really going anywhere. Could you please help me to clarify the main usages and differences of these two closely related words. Relationships A relationship is a close friendship between two people. Many thanks in advance. In this sense there is very little difference between relations and relationship. It can also describe close ties between people or groups of people and the way they feel and behave towards each other: • • The Smiths placed great emphasis on close family relationships and always went on holiday together. 190 . Most of the differences are context specific in this sense. we talk about diplomatic relations and race relations.Relative / relation – relationship Denis Baizeau from France writes: I do not feel comfortable when I have to use the words relation and relationship. For example. especially one involving romantic feelings: • They had been together for two years and Mike wanted to carry on. For instance. Relationship can be used in two other ways. The relationship between the leaders of the two countries has never been closer. not diplomatic relationships or race relationships: • Diplomatic relations between the two countries were broken off over this incident and their ambassadors were sent home.

When people are related.• The need to improve race relations in Inner London boroughs is of paramount importance. so had to employ a childminder. 191 . Your relations are also members of your family: • • I invited all my friends and relations to my twenty-first birthday party. If you say that they are your own flesh and blood. not through marriage. The adjective relative and the adverb relatively are used when you are comparing the quality or size of something in relation to something else: • • • • Both cactuses were relatively small and I wanted one that was larger to fit into the pot. In the social sciences anthropology and ethnography are closely related disciplines. Your blood relations are the people who are related to you by birth. Relatives (noun) . I can't leave him to fend for himself when he needs my help. Related (adj) When two or more things are related. they are members of the same family: • • He was arrested for theft-related offences. there is some kind of connection between them. Fitness is a relative concept.relative (adj) Note that we also use the term relative to describe members of your family: • • She couldn't get any of her relatives / relations to look after the children. The chimpanzee is native to equatorial Africa and is believed to be the closest living relative to man. you are emphasizing that they are members of your own family: • He's my own flesh and blood. He was able to smuggle the animals out of the country with relative / comparative ease. Mark Totterdale and Simon Totterdale (no relation) are both head teachers in Bristol. You must always ask the question: fit to do what? They were discussing the relative / comparative merits of Liverpool and Leeds as places to live when I entered the room.

If the water in a river rises. it's known as a raise. When the sun and the moon rise. get up or stand up: • • I needed to catch the 7. you become more successful or powerful: • • • • Inflation rose by 0.• • I had all the equipment needed for gymnastics and related activities. 192 . If you get an increase in your wages or salary. The wind rose later in the night and kept me awake as it howled through the trees. He rose to greet me when I entered his office. Rise.rose . the lowest increase since 1992. this is a rather formal way of saying that you get of out bed. Industrial use of oil rose by over 200 % in the 1970s whilst industrial use of coal fell by the same proportion. If an amount rises.) If you rise to a higher position in your organisation. they appear in the sky.30. I got a rise of over £4000 when I was promoted to a position of greater responsibility. it increases. it blows more strongly: • • • I hope to be out in the desert on my horse as the sun rises behind the Pyramids. The water in the river had risen to a dangerous level and everyone had to be evacuated from the village.5 percent last year. arise and raise Would you please be so kind as to explain the difference between the following verbs: rise and arise? Thank you so much. it becomes higher. If the wind rises. I thought Henry was your cousin. this is also known as a rise. if something rises it moves upwards. ~ Oh. Aren't you two related? ~ No.risen Generally. If you rise. we're not. At the age of 32. (In American English. so I had risen early. she has risen to the top of her profession. Rise .

but it is even more formal than rise in this sense. may now (a)rise from his kneeling position as a knight of the realm. Note also that raise is a transitive verb. Amy was sitting at the back and had to raise her voice in order to be heard. I can't get teletext. The flag on the roof of the palace is raised whenever the queen is in residence. We can also use arise to mean to get up. in other words. if the opportunity arises.raised . whereas rise is irregular. you speak more loudly. just give a vague reply. Note that when a knighthood is bestowed in Britain. You always raise something. Note the following idiomatic expressions with raise: to raise the alarm = warn people of danger not to raise or lift a finger = do nothing to help 193 . you improve it: • • • • If you are in agreement with what Mr Jenkins has put to you. get out of bed or stand up. it comes into being and people become aware of it: • • • I don't think the question of compensation will arise. We want to raise standards of literacy in British schools. you move it to a higher position. Raise . e. the monarch touches the recipient's shoulders with a sword and then says. on the other hand.arisen Arise is mainly used in a more abstract way. but if it does. Make no mistake about it: standards will rise.Arise .raised If you raise something. If you raise the standard of something. A problem has arisen with the TV that I bought last week. Rise.g. • Arise. William. is an intransitive verb: it does not involve anything or anyone other than the subject.arose . Note that raise is a regular verb. Sir William! meaning that he. it must always be used with a direct object. I shall certainly go to Scotland next year. If you raise your voice. If a situation or problem or something arises. would you please raise your hand.

it always has an object which may be followed by to + infinitive or a that-clause. Could you possibly explain the differences between remember.remember / recall / recollect Agustin from Spain writes: I have a question about verbs which appear very similar. i. I reminded them that the dress rehearsal had been brought forward to Wednesday. Compare the following: Remind me to send Denny an email about the change of dates. remind Remind and remember are not the same. remind is a transitive verb. Remember 194 . When you say that somebody or something reminds you of something. shouting. He never raises / lifts a finger to help her. The female audience raised the roof when the boy band appeared on stage. If you remind somebody about something. recall and recollect? Thank you very much. remind. you make them remember it. His wife does everything around the house. They are so alike in looks and appearance. remind . Thus. I shouldn't need to remind you to wash your hands before you sit down to eat. but remind me of your house number. I think I know which one it is. clapping etc • • • • I decided to raise the alarm and alerted the rescue services when my companions had not returned by nightfall. Doesn't this countryside remind you of Cornwall? It does me. but it didn't even raise a smile. let alone a laugh. I thought it was a good joke. you associate it with a memory from your past: She reminds me of The Princess raise a smile or a laugh = say something which makes people smile or laugh to raise the roof = make a building reverberate with loud singing.e.

where. We often say: as far as I can recall or as I recall or I seem to recall to refer back to something that you have been talking about: I seem to recall that you were against the idea of Henry joining the Board of Directors. decide. listening to Beethoven's Ninth? Do you remember when we first ate wild mushrooms? ~ Yes. are always followed by to + infinitive. agree. like look forward to. Some. are always followed by verb-ing forms. Remember and forget are two such verbs.If you remember something. sometimes with some difference in meaning. you recall people or events to your mind. I forgot to warn him about the dangerous dog and he was bitten. Remember can be used transitively with an object or intransitively without an object. I shall never forget sharing a bottle of iced water with you beside the Pyramids in Egypt.or that-clauses. you were warned three times that you would lose your job if you persisted in being late. finish. Remember to close all the windows and lock all the doors before you leave the house. As far as I can recall. Remember and forget with an infinitive always refer forward in time. remember + infinitive or remember + verb-ing? A lot of readers ask about verbs that are followed by verb-ing forms or to + infinitive. you remember it and tell others about it: The Prime Minister recalled his visits to France and the six meetings he had had with the French President. It is often used with to + infinitive and with when. recall When you recall something. Some. I decided to turn off the computer and go home. I would finish writing the report tomorrow. 195 . I shall always remember flying to America on Concorde. I don't even remember you asking me about that. like want. enjoy. I remember. Remember and forget + verb-ing forms always refer back in time. Have you seen them? Will you remember to collect your suit from the dry-cleaners or shall I do it? She remembered that she was going clubbing that evening and cheered up. I distinctly recall warning you about this. Compare the following: Do you remember the first time we sat under the stars. I can't remember where I've put the spare set of car keys. Compare the following: I don't remember talking to you about Terry's divorce. Some verbs can be followed by either verb-ing forms or to + infinitive.

or something like that by rote learning. Martin: Well. that could also help her to pass the exam.and often we learn a poem. 196 . it asks for it to be returned because it has found to be defective: The pharmaceutical company is going to recall one of its drugs because of possibly dangerous side effects.but often we say "I learnt something by rote". recollect If you recollect something. over and over and over again.If a company recalls a product. What have you learnt by rote learning. then I'm sure that's very useful. although remember would not imply that the experience was talked about. If a player is recalled to a team. A question from Dahlia. She recollected / recalled that she had been living in Paris when Picasso and Matisse were both working there. Martin: Oh. saying the same thing and trying to remember how to say it. if you need to remember it for the examination. Now. Dahlia? Dahlia: My most studying is like rote learning. rote learning. without understanding. what's the exact meaning? Martin Parrott answers: What is 'rote learning' ? Rote learning is learning something by repeating helps us to remember . or study. We could also use remember here as the most common of the three verbs. I just want to know the meaning of this word: rote learning. you remember it and usually talk about it. s/he is included in the team again after being left out: Many people in Ireland still hope that Roy Keane might be recalled to the Irish squad in time for the World Cup. most of what I read. There is little difference between recollect and recall in this context. it doesn't help us to understand . It's an interesting term. It describes the technique for learning . but she wants to know the meaning as well. is it? Dahlia: I just keep saying it to pass my exam. and we use the expression "by rote". Question: If Dahlia wants to learn some useful vocabulary. trying to say it fluently and fast. or a song.

many words is hard to know the meaning of. A good bilingual dictionary is such a useful tool as well. 197 .and there is a lot of subjects quite difficult to understand every single word. looking them up and then perhaps putting them on a list. erm. to pass the exam… Martin: Yeah Dahlia: . and perhaps using some rote learning. And then as a teacher I'd just have to help them understand them. Martin: Yes? Dahlia: So.but... could you offer an alternative to a student at home who maybe does want to learn vocabulary and improve their understand it. Dahlia: . But. Question: In terms of learning a language.. A question from Ha in Vietnam: Could you tell me the difference between "satisfying" and "satisfactory"? Thank you.. It's something related to my studying. from Russian to Arabic… Martin: Yeah? Dahlia: …so. and it doesn't actually help to understand it. Martin: That's right. where my students astonished me by how good they were at rote learning.what else can you do apart from rote learning then? Martin: Reading and underlining words. I mean just as a practical tip. So. I'm studying economics… Martin: Yes. I know that I worked in China at one time. Martin: It we need to be not necessarily reading a long book.. Dahlia... Most of our books are translated from. and maybe isn't finding rote learning good. it's not my English. and I used to set lists of words for them to learn and the next day I'd discover that they remembered them. but reading text in which those words know. I think sometimes in learning a language rote learning can be useful. quite difficult sometimes to understand everything. and we can understand from the context what it means. and words that come up several times. what other ways of learning are there? Martin: I think rote learning may be useful for remembering it . we have to see vocabulary in a context . I'm interested in what you learnt by rote for your exams is this your English? Dahlia: No. we just keep just rote learning it . The best is when perhaps the word is used several times in different contexts. does it? Dahlia: Yeah..

I didn't hear the phone ringing because I was listening to a Mahler symphony on the radio. Compare the following: Can you hear me at the back? Am I speaking loudly enough? I could hear a dog barking but apart from that there was no sound. So generally we prefer to have "satisfying" experiences to "satisfactory" ones. thank you very much for your question about the difference between "satisfying" and "satisfactory". Watch is often used with progressive tense forms. in the second case it was one that you enjoyed. If you watch something or someone.George Pickering answers: Well Ha. or acceptable. I thought you liked her. but may be used with can to suggest something in progress. but I tried not to listen to what they were saying. You need to listen to the tape very carefully if you want to understand what she is saying. See / Watch Seeing is noticing something or somebody with your eyes. usually with no explicit intention or purpose behind the action. So what would be the difference between a "satisfactory" meal and a "satisfying" one? In the first case the meal was ok. See and watch I'd like to know the different meanings of see and watch and the typical uses of these two verbs. usually for a longer period. Whereas "satisfying" means that something meets your needs or requirements and has positive associations. "Satisfactory" means that something is adequate. See is not used with progressive forms. See / Hear + that-clause 198 . you look at them deliberately. I'm surprised to hear you say such awful things about her. I could hear them talking in the next room.

watch = look after Can you just watch my bags while I go to the loo? 199 . Watch out for pickpockets. She must really stop seeing him. I see / understand / gather that the postal workers are threatening another one-day strike in October. It's only a one-day strike. Have you heard that Jenny's gone freelance? ~ No.. As we saw when he went back to help them. He has a bad influence on her. but he's not well enough to see you now. I can't see / understand what all the fuss is about. He went back to see if they needed any help. I'll just see you to the door. I hear / understand / gather that you're planning to quit your job with IBM and go freelance.. We must watch the time or we shall be late. Watch your purse too. I'm sorry. these guys are totally independent. Watch that you don't spend too much money in Oxford Street.We often use I hear and I see with a that-clause to indicate that we have noted something or that we understand or gather that something has happened or will happen. I've heard nothing about that. but can you just see him across the busy road? watch = be careful about . Note these further. He's old enough to come home by himself. see = accompany You may not be able to find your way out. see = find out (note progressive forms never possible) I'll go and see if I can help them. more specific uses of see and watch: see = meet (note that in this meaning progressive forms are often possible) I'll see you outside the hospital at eleven o' clock. He's seeing the doctor about his bronchitis tomorrow.

We talk about people or things being in good / bad / terrible / etc condition. Condition can also refer to a health problem: Considering its age. if you stand or sit somewhere and watch people as they pass by. Conditions also describe things that must be true or be done before something else can happen. but they have different nuances or shades of meaning and are used in different contexts in different ways.You may also watch your weight if you decide to be careful about the things you eat or watch the world go by. Are you happy with your working conditions? ~ Yes. The extremely windy conditions made it difficult for either side to play decent football. you will need to satisfy certain conditions. they are excellent. 200 . She has a severe heart condition and shouldn't be smoking at all. Terms and conditions describe the business or financial arrangements of an agreement. He was in a terrible condition and had drunk far too much whiskey. We also talk about people's living or working conditions: The rescue was attempted under extremely difficult conditions and with little chance of success. this house is in excellent condition. I have no complaints. Conditions (plural) refer to the environment in which something occurs. Situation / Position / Condition All three nouns are similar in meaning. The refugees were living under appalling conditions with no access to clean water. The conditions imposed by the university meant that no one was likely to qualify. Condition Condition describes the physical state of something or some one. In order to qualify for a grant as a postgraduate student. We talk about meeting or satisfying or imposing conditions. We talk about things happening in or under appalling / terrible conditions.

I am particularly concerned about the situation in the south of the country where the rules of law and order appear to have broken down. our marriage might have succeeded. If you just want a clerical job. Situation Situation refers to a set of conditions that are in place at a particular time and in a particular place: If the situation had been different. We also talk about an economic or financial situation: The financial situation is dire .Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully before you take out the student loan on condition that Note the expression on condition that for saying that one thing will happen only if another thing happens: You can have the day off tomorrow on condition that you agree to work on Saturday.the company has failed to make a profit in each of the last four years. look in the situations vacant column in the local newspaper. position 201 . They spoke to the police about the incident on condition that they would not be called as witnesses. situation comedies / situations vacant Note also the compound nouns situation comedies (abbreviated to sitcoms) which describe amusing television drama series revolving around a set of characters in a family or organisation and situations vacant which refers to a column or page in a newspaper where jobs are advertised: 'The Office' is regarded as one of the most original sitcoms the BBC has produced so far this century.

Position also means opinion. This plant loves sunlight and should be placed in an open sunny position in the flower border. Sian Harris answers: Hello Lilia. i. it refers to the way or where somebody or something is other words similar in meaning and therefore sometimes used interchangeably. A question from Lilia in Rio de Janeiro: Since I'm improving my English. thanks for getting in touch.Position is used in a wider variety of contexts than situation or condition. a place in a list or where you play in a team sport such as football: Is the assistant manager position still open? ~ No. on an issue: My position on fox hunting is that it is a useful way of keeping the number of foxes down. just in front of the back four. I wouldn't dream of sheltering an escaped convict. Position can also describe a general situation and in this context can sometimes be replaced by situation: The position / situation is that everyone must be interviewed about the break in by the security services. If I were in your position / situation. I need to know the difference between the verbs 'solve' and 'resolve'. they'll move up to third. I was quite badly injured in the demonstration but managed to drag myself to a sitting position under a tree. it's already been filled. I'm trying to write my reports in English. but if they win today. where the basic meaning is to find a solution or answer to a problem. Position can also refer to a job in a company. 202 .e. The simplest answer I can give you here is to say that in many contexts they are roughly synonymous . First and foremost. where you stand or are placed. Thank you. I'm sorry. This is quite a detailed map showing the position of all the oil refineries. My best position is on the left in midfield. What is their position in the league? ~ They're in forth position at the moment.

) Compare the following: • • • 'Do you fancy a game of golf this afternoon?' The game (or match for most ball games) between Manchester United and Liverpool had to be abandoned at half time. I hope I've clarified the key differences there.For example. I spend all weekend every weekend either watching it or playing it in summer. argument or difficulty means to deal with it successfully. "We must be firm in our resolve to oppose them. Thus: rugby netball golf cricket tennis motor racing football table tennis cycling basketball squash skiing hockey badminton running baseball volleyball swimming However. but in them meantime. we talk about games when two teams or individuals meet to play against each other. (So. They are often organised competitively. 'sport' or 'game' Martina Sotona from from The Czech Republic asks: The Olympics are over and I would like to ask why we call them the Olympic Games when they are about sports. they are called the Olympic Games. "They resolved to take action.' 'Cricket is my favourite sport. If you resolve to do something you make a firm decision to do it. for this reason." However.' 203 . you'll find more examples in your dictionary. As in the example. The pitch was waterlogged. be aware that 'resolve' can be used with the infinitive with a slightly different meaning." 'Resolve' also sometimes appears as a noun meaning a determination to do something. although not necessarily. we could say either "we have solved the problems in management" or "we have resolved the problems in management"." So Lilia. Can you please explain in more detail the difference between sport and game? Sports are activities which require physical effort and ability and some degree of mental skill usually. "The cabinet met to resolve the dispute. played outdoors and with a ball. To resolve a problem.

when look is not used as a copular verb. mahjong and Monopoly. seem and appear Look. backgammon. 'computer games' and games like chess. physical ability or skill is needed. an adverb will describe how someone looks: She looked angrily at the intruder. For games like these.Games are also activities involving if / like After look and seem. Copula verbs join adjectives (or noun compounds) to subjects: She looks unhappy. appear and look in the sense of to give the impression of being or doing something? look. but as a transitive verb with an object. We do not say: She looked angrily He seems cleverly. snooker. if any. we have 'word games'. knowledge or chance in which you try to win against an opponent or solve puzzles. darts. He seems clever. are used after copular verbs. Note that adjectives. seem. He seems angry. seem and appear are all copular verbs and can be used in a similar way to indicate the impression you get from something or somebody. look / seem . They appear (to be) contented. not so much. Of course. but not normally after appear. dominoes. not adverbs. We have to say: She looked angry. 'card games'. appear and look Are there any significant structural or semantic differences between seem. we can use an as if / like construction: 204 . Thus.

Compare the following: impressions / emotions It seems a shame that we can't take Kevin on holiday with us.. Compare the following: They appear to have run away from home. It looks as if / like you won't go to prison after all. We cannot use look in this way..differences in meaning You can use seem to talk about more objective facts or impressions and about more subjective and emotional impressions. but not after look. seem / appear to + infinitive After seem and appear we often use a to + infinitive construction ( or a perfect infinitive construction for past events).. I seem to have lost my way. It seems ridiculous that he has to stay here to look after the cat. 205 . more objective facts and impressions They have the same surname. It seems like she'll never agree to a divorce. They do not appear to be at home. Can you help me? It seems to be some kind of jellyfish. has to be followed by an as if / like clause: It seems that I may have made a mistake in believing you did this.. We do not usually use appear to refer to emotions and subjective impressions.. It doesn't seem like a good idea to leave him here by himself.. It seems as if they're no longer in love.It looks as if it's going to rain again. but they don't appear / seem to be related. They cannot be traced. Do not go near it. We can also use a that-clause after It seems?. It appears that you may be quite innocent of any crime. and It appears. It looks like we're going home without a suntan. They appear not to be at home. Nobody's answering. It looks. appear / seem .. No one's answering.

It seems / appears that she's not been taking the medication. Look out for me at the concert.She's not getting any better. Do you have it? It's been a hard year. look them up in a dictionary. but I can't find it. I've looked through all the drawers and through all my files. 206 . Digital radios for less than £50 began to appear in the shops before the end of last year. look = direct your eyes / search I've looked everywhere for my passport. but both appear and look have other meanings and uses: appear = (begin to) be seen She has appeared in five Broadway musicals since 2000. Don't you want to look round the school before enrolling your children? He's a wonderful role model for other players to look up to. He didn't see me because he was looking the other way. non-copular use of appear and look Note that seem is used only as a copular verb. Note that look is used in a wide range of phrasal verbs: Could you look after the children this afternoon while I go shopping? Could you look at my essay before I hand it in? I'm looking for size 36 in light blue. I've written a letter of complaint and they've promised to look into the matter. If you don't know the meaning of these phrasal verbs. I'll probably be there by ten o' clock. I'm looking forward to a holiday now. Cracks have suddenly appeared in the walls in our lounge.

for example.' (Note that in British English defence is spelt ‘defence’ and not ‘defense’. but are quite different in use. then. defense attorneys in America who act on behalf of their clients.000 in lawyers’ fees alone. We talk about lawyers for the prosecution and lawyers for the defence.A. Belgium. family law solicitors and company law solicitors. I was advised to put the matter into the hands of a solicitor. They do not usually. in British English. The following would be an example of usage: • 'When my husband left me. to my knowledge. Study the following: • 'The defence court case cost £560. The D. Consider the following: • 'Nobody wanted the position of district attorney – it was poorly paid in comparison with that of defense attorney. appear in court. Solicitors often specialise in different areas: there are. There are also. of course.' A barrister in British English is a lawyer who operates in the higher courts of law in Britain and speaks on behalf of either the prosecution or the defence: • 'He was regarded as an eloquent and persuasive barrister and was much in demand for a period of over twenty years.' We also speak about the prosecution counsel or the defence counsel when referring to the team of lawyers who are operating on behalf of either the state or a client: 207 .) A lawyer.Krista Soenen from Belgium asks: I’m a student attending an English course in Gent.' Attorney is American English word for a British English lawyer. or District Attorney is a lawyer in the U. who works for the state and prosecutes people on behalf of it. is a person who is qualified to advise people about the law and represent them in court. Recently we had a discussion about the correct use and the difference between the following words: Is there any difference in use? Solicitor lawyer attorney barrister counsellor These legal terms all belong to the same family of words. Solicitors are lawyers who give legal advice to clients and prepare legal documents and cases.S.

so let's look at an example. in this sentence I'm saying the words 'an English teacher' twice. As such has two meanings. care and support to those who need it. and such as? Thank you. as such and such as. the second time it appears.' A question from Arif Kizilay from Turkey: I have a question . look similar. However. and as an English teacher I hate to see grammar mistakes. 208 . I'm an English teacher. and because I'm an English teacher I hate to see grammar mistakes. we use the word such to represent the words 'an English teacher'. Another way to say this.thanks for your question. and as such I hate to see grammar mistakes. These two phrases. please note that we do not use the term counsellor in the legal sense at all! A counsellor can be any person whose job it is to give advice. An easier way to say it is like this: I'm an English teacher. with the same meaning.can you please answer it for me? What's the difference between as such. I could say. is like this: I'm an English teacher.• 'The counsel for the defence argued that the case should never have been brought to court as it relied only on circumstantial evidence. and as such it had the usual happy ending. and as such she has to train very hard. but in fact their meanings are very different. The film was a romance. You could say: She's an athlete. The first is quite difficult to explain.' However. 'Such as' and 'as such' Alex Gooch answers: Hi Arif . In this example. Consider the following: • 'This hospital employs 15 counsellors whose job it is to deal with patients suffering from severe depression. Here are some similar examples.

We can also use as such to mean something like 'exactly' in a sentence like this: The shop doesn't sell books as such, but it does sell magazines and newspapers. Magazines and newspapers are similar to books, but they are not exactly books. Or: He isn't American as such, but he's spent most of his life there. Spending most of your life in America is similar to being American, but it isn't exactly the same as being American. Such as is much easier; it has the same meaning as 'like' or 'for example' (but not exactly the same grammar, so be careful there!). We use it in sentences like this: There are lots of things to see in London, such as the Tower of London, the London Eye and St. Paul's Cathedral. Or: Many countries in Europe, such as France and Germany, use Euros.

suppose and supposed to

Sanmati Pragya from India writes: Hi! I’m an Indian citizen living in America. Here people use suppose and supposed to a lot of the time in conversation. Can you please tell me in which sense and where they should be used?

Suppose and supposed to are used very frequently in British English too. We shall see that suppose has a number of different meanings and uses and that supposed to is different again from suppose. suppose = think/believe/imagine/expect In this sense, suppose is often used in requests with negative structures when we hope the answer will be positive: • • • I don’t suppose you could lend me your dinner jacket, could you? ~ Sure! When do you need it? I suppose it’s too late to see the doctor now, isn’t it? ~ Hold on. Let me see if I can fit you in. I don’t suppose I could see the doctor now, could I?~ I can fit you in at 11.30. Can you wait till then?


It is also used in short answers with the same meaning of think/believe/imagine/expect. Note that two forms of the negative are possible here: • • • Will Jeremy be at Peter’s this evening? ~ I don’t think/suppose/imagine/expect so. Will you try to see Jennifer when you get back? ~ I think/suppose/imagine/ expect not. Would you be prepared to stay on for an extra week? ~ I suppose/expect/guess so.

Note that suppose here describes a mental or emotional state, and it is not normally used in the continuous form. Suppose/supposing = what if…? Suppose or supposing can also be used in a quite different way instead of What if…? to introduce suggestions or to express fears. Compare the following and note that the verb that follows suppose or supposing can be in either present of past tense form: • • • We haven’t got strawberry jam for the filling, so suppose / supposing we use(d) raspberry jam, would that be all right? Suppose / Supposing I come / came next Thursday rather than Wednesday, will / would that be all right? Will these shoes will be OK for tennis? ~ I don’t think so. Suppose / Supposing the court is wet and you slip(ped)?

be supposed to + infinitive = should Supposed to in this sense means that something should be done because it is the law, the rule or the custom. However, in practice it is often not done: • • • I’m supposed to tidy my room before I go to bed at night, but I always tidy it when I get up in the morning instead. In Germany you’re not supposed to walk on the grass in the parks, but in England you can. I’m supposed to return these books by Friday, but I’m not sure whether I can.

In the past tense, it is used to mean that something was planned or intended to happen, but did not happen. Note that in these examples, we can use should have as an alternative to was supposed to: • • • • I was supposed to go to Cuba for a conference last year but then I got ill and couldn’t go. Wasn’t Tom supposed to be here for lunch? I wonder what’s happened to him! I should have gone to Cuba for a conference last year but then I got ill and couldn’t go. Shouldn’t Tom have been here for lunch? I wonder what’s happened to him!


supposed to be = generally believed to be Finally, we can use supposed to be in this sense: • • This stuff’s supposed to be good for stomach cramps. Why don’t you try it? The castle was supposed to be haunted, but I had a good night’s sleep there nevertheless!

When you are practising these examples in speech, note that the final d in supposed to is not pronounced. It is pronounced as 'suppose to', but should always be written in its correct form grammatically as supposed to.

synonyms for: I (don't) understand

Stefan Babec from the Slovak Republic writes: Could you please explain to me the expression in this sentence: ...they do not cotton to the idea that... cotton to / cotton on to To cotton to means to like, to admire or to become attached to. The allusion is to a thread of cotton which very easily attaches itself to clothing for example. It is an expression which is not used very much any more in contemporary British English. Much more common is the colloquial expression to cotton on to which means to catch on or to grasp a line of thought: • • They didn't know much English and it was surprising how quickly they cottoned on / caught on to what I was saying. He still hasn't cottoned on to the fact that I'm not in the least bit interested in him.

The allusion is the same as before: cotton fibres or threads which become attached to clothing. lose the thread /pick up the thread(s) Other expressions which use the idea of cotton threads are to lose the thread of something and the opposite to pick up the thread(s).


To lose the thread means to lose one's train of thought because of some sort of interruption or digression. To pick up the thread(s) means to resume one's line of argument or to get back into the way of things: • • • I haven't done this sort of work for over five years so it will take me a while to pick up the threads. I'm going back to John and we're going to try to pick up the threads of our marriage. Sorry, I've lost the thread of what you were saying. Could you go back over that last bit again?

I don't understand English, and particularly British English, appears to be incredibly rich with informal expressions for I don't understand. Here are a selection of the most common. Can any of you answer these difficult questions? If someone is described as 'sagacious', what does it mean they are? • • • I don't know I've (got) no idea I haven't (got) a clue

Which British king is supposed to have imprisoned his nephews in the Tower of London? • • • I haven't (got) the faintest I haven't (got) the foggiest I've got no notion

Notion is another word for idea. Originally, we would have said: • I haven't got the faintest / foggiest / slightest idea.

But now, it is sufficient to say: • I haven't got the faintest / foggiest.

Who made the first telescope in the world? • • • You've got me there. You've stumped me there. I'm a bit stymied there.


The expression 'You've stumped me' or 'I'm stumped' derives from the game of cricket, where if the batsman is stumped, he is out and his innings is over. We can also use get in this question to mean 'Do you understand?': • Do you get what I'm saying?

Or if you don't understand something you can say: • I don't get it.

In the Bible, which is the second book of the Old Testament? • • • Sorry, that's beyond me. That's beyond my ken. Sorry, my mind's gone blank.

If something is beyond your ken, you do not have sufficient knowledge to be able to understand it. Ken is much used in informal Scottish English as both a verb and a noun for know and knowledge. But if your mind goes blank, this suggests that you do know the answer which might even be on the tip of your tongue, but it is not immediately available. In music, what is the sixth note in the tonic sol-fa scale? • • • I'm not with you. Come again. Search me.

These last two synonyms for I don't understand are more colloquial and not quite in the same politeness register as the earlier alternatives. However, they are quite acceptable in discourse among friends. The idea of the last one is that if you did a body search on me, you would not find the answer to the questions you have asked. If you do know the answers to all these questions, please write to our Message Board and tell us. A score of 100% would suggest that you might be a suitable candidate for a TV quiz game!

I do understand! Finally, let's finish on a more positive note with some synonyms for I do understand! We don't seem to have as many of these! • • • • • I'm afraid I can't agree to you borrowing £500 from your sister. I completely understand! That's absolutely clear! You're quite right! Of course!


Absolutely is currently one of our most favoured adverbs when expressing strong agreement with something: • • Are you going to Jim's party on Friday? ~ Absolutely! Do you really want to wear that? ~ Yes, absolutely!

slang, idiomatic expressions and euphemisms slang Slang consists of very informal expressions or words which normally feature in speech rather than writing and are used by people who know each other well or who have the same jobs, backgrounds or interests. They often relate to sex, drink, drugs, relationships, social groups, etc. They are often fairly strong in emotive terms and may sometimes be found offensive to people outside the group. Have a look at some of the slang expressions on our Talk Lingo pages. Here are some more expressions: • • • • It may be big bucks to you, but it's chickenfeed to me. So, who came to this knees-up, then? My ex was absolutely bonkers. We'll have to get some booze in for tonight.

Big bucks denotes a large amount of money (bucks are dollars), chickenfeed is small change. Knees-up = party, my ex = former boyfriend or girlfriend. Absolutely bonkers is very crazy or unpredictable. Booze is alcohol, just as a boozer is a pub or someone who drinks a lot of alcohol. If you are exposed to slang expressions in your learning of English, it is important for you to understand their meaning and the emotive force behind them. It may be less appropriate for you to use them if you are not part of that group. In fact, it may sound strange and inappropriate if you do so. Also slang changes very quickly. idiomatic expressions Idiomatic expressions are combinations or collocations of words which cannot be translated word for word. Thus: • I could eat a horse.

is an idiomatic way of saying: • I'm very hungry.

Idiomatic expressions are extremely common and are found in all kinds of English, both formal and particularly informal. But do not make a special effort to learn them. There are too many. You will learn the most common naturally through the learning material that you are using. And it is much better to be accurate when


using non-idiomatic English than inappropriate when using an idiom. For example, it is better to say: • than: • It's raining cats and dogs out there. It's raining very hard out there.

which has gone out of fashion. As a learner, it may be difficult for you to know what idioms are in fashion and which are not. idiomatic expressions with 'out' Good dictionaries will usually list idiomatic usage of words after the literal meanings are given. Thus after the literal definitions of out, you may find the following idiomatic usages listed and illustrated: • • I was so tired I went out like a light. I've never seen such behaviour: he was completely out of order.

These two are in current use. (As a rule of thumb, if you come across idiomatic expressions more than once in your study of contemporary English, they are probably current.) To go out like a light is to fall asleep or unconscious instantly. The allusion is to falling asleep immediately like switiching off a light. If someone is out of order, they have acted in bad taste or their behaviour is unacceptable. Note that the primary meaning of out of order relates to machines that are not working or are not in good order: • • Go and put this out-of-order notice on the photocopier. It's not working again. He was totally out-of-order. I can't believe he was so rude to her.

euphemisms A euphemism is a polite word or expression that people use when they are talking about something which they or other people may find unpleasant, upsetting or embarrassing. When we use euphemisms we are protecting ourselves from the reality of what is said. There are many euphemisms that refer to sex, bodily functions, war, death, etc. Euphemisms are often good examples of idiomatic language use: • • • • He passed away (i.e. died) after a long illness (i.e. cancer). I decided to come out (i.e. admit to being homosexual). I didn't want to be outed (i.e. allow others to let it be known that I am homosexual). It's no good. I can't hold it in. I shall have to spend a penny (i.e. urinate). We keep the adult (i.e pornographic) magazines on the top shelf and the adult videos under the counter.


it becomes different in some way or it is replaced by something of a similar kind . • • • • • • • • • • Going out to work every day is quite a change from university life.e. smaller coins) so I had to pay with a £10 note. civilian deaths). The expression is still in frequent use today. 216 . However. (i.e.m. Many of the outlying villages suffered collateral damage (i. from red to green) before you cross the road. Can anybody change this £50 note? (i. I must admit. give me the same amount of money in smaller coins or notes) I had no loose change (i.verb and noun If there is a change or if something changes.e.and it in this respect that the meaning is most similar to switch. We cannot easily replace change with switch. then in the action (euphemism!) in Serbia at the end of the 1990s and most recently in Afghanistan. The term is of US origin and was first used to describe deaths in the Vietnam War. You'll have to change at Reading. I hardly recognised her . change clothes) There's no direct (train) service to Oxford after 10 p. It was the pre-decimal era. Spend a penny derives from the days when there were door locks on the outside of cubicles in public lavatories which could only be opened by inserting one old penny into the lock. (i. changed in appearance) I'm the father of three children but I still don't know how to change a nappy. You must wait till the (traffic) lights change (i. We have no alternative but to let you go (i. compulsory redundancy programme).e. only change is possible or normal.e.she had changed so much. Collateral damage is unintended damage and civilian casualities and deaths caused by the dropping of bombs in the course of a military operation. I shall have to come home and change first. This was not just the pre-euro era. Izmaelov from Denmark writes: Hi Roger! Are you familiar with the words switch and change? I guess you are. but me and my friends have had some pretty hot discussions about the meaning and different usage of these two words… change .• • You know that we're in the middle of a rightsizing exercise (i. then in the Gulf War. sack you). But I'll change the oil in your car first. in all of these examples that follow.e.e. I can't go straight from work. Could you change the light bulb for me please? ~ OK.e. I was away for the whole weekend so I packed two changes of underwear.

Switch to euro uncovers Ireland's excessive prices. Because of its dramatic quality. I can't afford to take everybody to this football match. We can turn them down or up.deciding to do something else. ~ You've changed your tune. I think you would create more space if you switched / changed / moved the furniture around. These three examples all appeared in the Independent daily newspaper on 28 or 29 January. haven't you? You were going to get a season ticket three weeks ago! He suddenly became responsible for his actions. We can use switch or change in all these examples. If you switch to something different. but switch is more dramatic: • • • • Would you mind switching / changing places with me so that I can sit next to my child? I had to switch / change planes in New York. switch is frequently used in newspaper headlines. This sea change in his behaviour surprised his parents. Gang switched signals to help refugees. TV or heater. radio. There was no direct service to Miami. We also turn them on and off.We also talk about: changing the subject . The answers are below: • • • Abel Xavair set to switch to Liverpool. a light. but you should know that she's going ahead with her plan to change her name from Brenda to Brendan.things which pass from one owner to another • Did you know that Brenda's sex-change operation hasn't been successful? ~ Do you mind if we change the subject? ~ Of course we can. See if you can work out the meaning. 217 . usually the opposite changing your tune .reversing your opinions or attitudes a sea change . I was going nowhere so I decided to switch / change jobs.verb and noun A switch is a device for making and breaking the connection in an electrical circuit in e. but we cannot switch them down or up: • You call that music? It's a terrible row! Either turn it down or switch it off.a more informal expression for saying or doing something else having a change of heart . We switch these things on and off. • • switch . you change suddenly to a different task or activity from what you were doing before.a complete change in someone's attitudes or behaviour things which change hands .g.starting to talk about something else to avoid embarrassment changing your mind .

Travelling is also a general term which refers to the activity of travel: • Travelling by boat between the islands is less tiring than travelling by excite them. The changeover or switch from the Irish punt to the euro has revealed the high cost of certain goods.Abel Xaviar. ~ Whatever turns you on! Travel/journey/trip/expedition/safari/ cruise/voyage Haidar Mirhadi from Iran writes: What is the difference between these words all concerning travel: travel/journey/trip/expedition/safari/ cruise/voyage? Thank you. note these more informal and idiomatic usages of switch and turn: to switch off .a stock/fixed response to a description of unusual practice • • • • • His description of his working day was so boring that I just switched's a film about stop paying attention to be switched on . is ready (= set) to move from Everton across town to Liverpool football club. I thought you liked be well-informed or up-to-date about contemporary issues to turn someone on . to stimulate their interest. We can talk about someone's travels to refer to the journeys he makes: • His travels abroad provided lots of background material for novels he wrote. He knows all about the Italian fashion houses. It's the right time of year to talk about travel as the holiday season is now beginning in most countries north of the equator. Finally. the Portuguese defender. 218 . What a turn-off! And then I became really interested in the triassic. jurassic and cretaceous periods. He is really switched on when it comes to fashion. A criminal group of men (= gang) changed or switched train signals from green to red so that trains would stop to allow refugees to climb on board. do I? Oh no . especially when you find somebody attractive Whatever turns you on! . travel/travelling (nouns) Travel is the general term to describe going from one place to another. but I don't really turn you on.

(Note that the plural is spelt journeys. We stopped at every small station. Travel often crops up as part of compound nouns. round trips and business trips. it lasted for ever. We can talk about journeys taking or lasting a long time: How long did your journey take? ~ Oh. If you don't have a credit or debit card. trip (noun) A trip usually involves more than one single journey. journey (noun) A journey is one single piece of travel. We talk about day trips. We make journeys usually. Compare the following: • Make sure you keep all your travel documents safely.• I don't do as much travelling as I used to now that I'm retired. We left at 6. but we didn't break down in four weeks of travelling expedition (noun) 219 . but we go on trips: • • • • I went on a day trip to France. make sure you take plenty of traveller's cheques with you. not journies): • • • • • The journey from London to Newcastle by train can now be completed in under three hours.30 in the morning and returned before midnight the same day. You make journeys when you travel from one place to another. Where's Laurie? ~ He won't be in this week. although it may sound a bit formal or poetic: We journeyed /travelled between the pyramids in Mexico on horseback. Air travel may well give you a bumpy ride. You can obtain your travel tickets from the travel agents in the High Street if you don't want to order them over the Internet. This year I plan to travel all around the Iberian Peninsula. The trip went well. We often use travel as a verb: • I love to travel during the summer holidays. The round-trip ticket enabled me to visit all the major tourist destinations in India. We occasionally use journey as a verb as an alternative to travel. Some of you may suffer from travel sickness. He's gone on a business trip to Malaysia and Singapore. It was an old car.

the great explorer) take care / take a look: verb + noun collocations with take Maria asks: Please can you give me some information about collocations. You go on expeditions. When we cruise. on a ship. • • • Numerous expeditions to The Antarctic have ended in disaster. (Christopher Columbus.96) led to the discovery of several Caribbean islands.1500) he discovered the South American mainland. 220 . you might have worn your light cotton safari suit for this purpose: • His one ambition in life was to go on safari to Kenya to photograph lions and tigers. usually. especially about verb + noun collocations with take? Thanks a lot. They are hoping to take a trip on the cruise liner. My parents have seen nothing of the world so are saving up to go on a world cruise when they retire. not necessarily for pleasure. the QE2.An expedition is an organised trip whose purpose is usually scientific exploration of the environment. voyage (noun) A voyage is a long journey. this is exactly what we do: • • They cruised all around the Mediterranean for eight weeks last summer and stopped off at a number of uninhabited islands. You go on safari to safari parks. just as you go on trips. cruise (noun and verb) A cruise is a holiday during which you travel on a ship or boat and visit a number of places en route. In days gone by. On his third voyage (1498 . but historically they were very significant: • His second voyage (1493 . We don't talk about voyages very much in the present time. Are you going to join the expedition up the Amazon this year. in 2004. safari (noun) A safari is a trip or expedition to observe wild animals in their natural habitat in Africa. like the one Tom went on last year? Less dangerous and less adventurous are shopping expeditions when you are hunting down particular goods or bargains and fishing expeditions when you go in search of fish which are not easy to locate or catch.

I took 300 photographs when I was on holiday in Patagonia. There are verb + adverb collocations like wave frantically (not wave hecticly). There are a large number of take + noun collocations of which I include a selection of the most common below. There are adverb + adjective collocations like completely or wholly satisfied (not utterly satisfied).collocation Collocations are words that habitually or typically occur together. There are adjective + noun collocations like regular exercise (not steady exercise). Since Sharapova won Wimbledon my son has taken an interest in tennis. Aren't you finished yet? ~ No. Why don't you take a walk round the park? It's essential for your health to take regular exercise. The first five are relatively easy to understand: take a walk / a bus / a train take a minute / a while / ten minutes take exercise take an interest in take a photo I'm not ready yet. Note how much of the original meaning of take is retained in these examples. e. Take plenty of warm sweaters. It will be cold in Scotland. take Take is one of the most commonly used verbs in the English language whose basic meaning is to move something or somebody from one place to another.g: I took him to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing. it will take me a while. I'm afraid The middle five are a bit more difficult so an explanation of the meaning is given after each example: take steps / measures / action take advice 221 . And there are verb + noun or verb + object collocations like follow someone's example (not pursue someone's example).

I was only joking! They were firing over our heads.take offence take cover take pity If you take my advice. etc: perform an action in order to achieve something take advice: follow someone's guidance (on how best to achieve something) take offence: feel upset because of something someone has said or done take cover: hide of shelter from e. The company took the axe to senior management and abolished five posts. I'm afraid. so we had to take cover. We should take steps to ensure that no more money is lost on this venture. measures. The final five are most difficult as they are idioms whose original meaning has been lost (but which is explained in the notes below): take the mickey out of someone take the axe to something take a raincheck take heart take one's breath away Stop taking the mickey. take the mickey out of someone: to tease.g bad weather or gunfire take pity: show sympathy for someone because they are in a bad situation. The expression then is a euphemism for take the piss. you'll stop seeing him. take the axe to something: make drastic cuts. Try to take heart from the fact that he's no longer in pain. Can you manage Friday? ~ I'll have to take a raincheck on that. particularly in workforce 222 . There's no need to take offence. Cockney rhyming slang for piss. Mickey represents Mickey Bliss. She took pity on the stray dog and be became a family pet. take steps. The way she played Lady Macbeth was so compelling it took my breath away. I'm fed up with being the butt of your jokes.

Start with the most commonly used ones which I have listed first. if the meaning is not clear.take a raincheck: politely decline an offer whilst implying that you may take it up later. take one's breath away: be so surprised by something that it makes you hold your breath Ones that we have not worked on include: take a seat take a bath / shower take care take a look take milk / sugar in tea / coffee take a break take somebody's word for something take your temperature take a risk take the credit take responsibility take the weight off ones feet take a dim view of something take ones hat off to someone take a page out of someone's book take a leak take stock that takes the biscuit! Check them out in a good dictionary. A rainckeck was originally a voucher used in the US entitling one to see another baseball game if the original one was rained off. 223 . moral courage was supposed to come from the heart and physical courage from the stomach. take heart: take courage In former times.

instructor. Teaching assistants can only ever support the classroom teacher. If you are enrolled as a student in a British university. lecturer. face-to-face support from trained tutors is essential. particularly at a college or university Dr Gradgrind is our lecturer on the Victorian novel and the course will be taught through a series of lectures and seminars.Teacher/trainer/instructor/lecturer etc. they can never replace him. Professor 224 . Tutor We sometimes use the word tutor instead of teacher to describe somebody who gives personal or private lessons: My son wasn't making much progress in school. trainer. so I hired a maths tutor to give him private lessons after school. On all quality distance learning schemes. Note that a seminar at a college or university is a class for a small group of students to discuss the subject with the lecturer. professor? Thank you in advance. Teacher Teacher is the general term for someone whose job it is to teach: I'd like to go into teaching and get a job as a teacher in an inner city primary or secondary school. Would you please tell me the different usage of the terms: teacher. Lecturer A lecturer is someone who gives a lecture or formal presentation. you will have a personal tutor who provides you with close support throughout your studies and with whom you will have tutorials to discuss aspects of the subject being studied: There are just six students in my tutorial group and we had a very interesting tutorial on global warming and climate change last week.

Note that in the US. you will require a flying instructor. has a new coach. The first step in an academic carrier is usually lecturer. Paul Bracewell. If you want to learn how to fly. you will need a driving instructor. The examples below are taken from tennis and football: Tim Henman. professor is a university teacher of the highest rank in a subject area: Professor Stephen Hawking. you'll need a ski instructor. then senior lecturer. who worked with Pete Sampras for six years. Instructor In British English. has resigned. an instructor is a university teacher below the rank of assistant professor. A teacher at secondary school or high school or junior college is never a professor. In the US. 225 . an instructor teaches you on how to learn or improve in a particular skill or sport: If you want to learn how to drive. Britain's No 1. then reader. Coach A coach is someone who trains individual sports players or a team. a professor is a full-time teacher at university. Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.In the UK. then eventually perhaps professor. Trainer A trainer can be someone who trains people for a particular job or profession or who trains someone in certain varieties of sport. Paul Anacone. is one of the most formidable intellects ever to theorise on the origins of the universe. national coach with the England youth teams for the past two years. If you intend to ski this winter on the higher slopes.

so: 'Can you tell me what's happened?' We say.. 'say'. 'I told him to wait for me on the platform'. 'tell'. 226 ... So you might say 'please say each word clearly and distinctly'. what is the difference between 'tell'. of patterns of use.. And of course we use it when we're talking about people's language ability: 'Do you speak English?' And you do. And we use 'say' before words like a word. If you can get Kevin as your personal fitness trainer. An example would be: 'Don't say a word.informing me. and 'speak' A question from Dmitrij in Latvia: Hello! I am learning English by myself (excluding BBC Learning English!) My question was. that are kind of fixed expressions like tell the truth. or a sentence.. With 'tell' we usually say who is told. 'me'. and 'speak'? Thank you! Catherine Walter answers: Hello Dmitrij. a name.. and when we do use 'speak'. You could say there is a personal object. It's more a question of how we use them. We use 'speak' to mean 'talk formally'. you'll work on a wide range of strategies and techniques. And if we do say who is told. There's another limit on the usage of 'tell'. You also asked about 'speak'. 'I spoke to him severely' or 'She spoke to our teachers' association last year'. With 'say' we don't usually say who is told. So you could say. and I hope this will help you be happier with the way you speak it. Maureen said 'What's the matter?' We use 'tell' without a personal object in a few expressions. tell the time and tell the difference. We only use 'tell' to mean instruct or inform. so: 'He said goodbye to me as if we would never see one another again'. 'Say' can be used for any kind of talking.' That's 'tell' and 'say'. we use the word 'to' if there's a personal object. that's an instruction. Now. 'say'. So here are three sentences where you could not use 'tell': She said 'Where have you been?' So I said what a good idea. "My father used to tell me wonderful stories" . So let me try to tell you about those. we use the word 'to'.In-service teacher trainers are in very great demand here as there is no pre-service training for teachers. It's not surprising that you find these confusing because as far as meaning goes these three words mean more or less the same thing.

But I just don’t know the reason I can say. should I say an efficient method to solve my problem or an efficient method for solving my problem? Why. it will be half an hour late'.' Sarah Bradshaw answers: Well Amir. I know that I must say Happy birthday to you and That’s a gift for you. you're looking at your watch. if last week's programme with Phil Collins is anything to go by. for example and we said. for example. For example.' So in his experience in something similar is anything to go by. do you think we would get lots more listeners' letters asking us questions?' And our producer might say. something else. you go up to a guard and say: 'When is the next train to London?' And the guard might say.A question from Amir Gilani: Hi. Britney Spears. 'If we had Britney Spears on the programme.. 'is anything to go by' means 'in our experience' or 'in the experience of the person writing' or 'in the experience of the person speaking'. according to one American. Thank you Samantha. 'Well. Renato 227 . That’s a gift for you. Can you tell me what 'is anything to go by' in the text below means? 'And if the experience of earlier Asian economic miracles like Japan and South Korea is anything to go by.. I would like some guidelines to help me with this matter. yes we would. we invited a well-known pop star onto our programme.. Another example would be if. Another example of 'is anything to go by' could be: you're standing on a station platform. the train is late. . meaning that his previous experience of the trains running late is about thirty minutes. if previous trains are anything to go by. perhaps.. I like to study English and my question is about the use of the prepositions to and for in some special cases. So it begins with if: 'if x is anything to go by then. 'Well.' So remember how to construct that: it's 'if' and 'is anything to go by'. To / For A question from Paulo from Brazil: Hi Samantha. my name is Paulo. does it sound natural to hear Let's go out for lunch? Shouldn't to be used with go when followed by a verb? Please enlighten me on this topic. As I wrote to you. Yours sincerely. 'then'. China should carry on growing at this hectic pace for another twenty or thirty years. and a similar question from Renato from Brazil: I am always confused when to use to or for. and then the concluding sentence.

Renato – Let’s go out for lunch – the verb is followed by a noun (lunch). with the infinitive verb. when we say Happy Birthday. And when we use Happy Birthday we’re using a set expression or a greeting like Happy Christmas. Let’s put this into a complete sentence by adding a verb: I discovered an efficient method to solve my problem. In your second example Paulo. In this case. I’m going to answer a similar one at the same time from Renato. And. So now to answer Renato’s question. Renato. in your own example. and functions as a preposition showing the intended recipient: The parcel is for Jenny. I’d say that the first example. In each of the examples above. so we have to use the preposition for in this expression! 228 . I made her a chocolate cake to make her feel better. But let’s begin with your first example Paulo. there is an outcome or an intention which is reported by the to clause. Happy Birthday to you! – although it might be more common simply to use the greeting without a pronoun in speech. you. the second verb always appears in the infinitive form because these are all examples of the infinitive showing purpose: I watched television all day to relieve my boredom. is the better choice. to look at the last example. you would have to use the preposition to with it . because there are so many prepositions and so many different combinations of verb and preposition that have to be memorised individually. The flowers are for mother. Renato. Here is a gift for you. Happy New Year or Congratulations. wouldn’t it? However. similar to the one in your own example. if I said Shall we go out to eat lunch? the verb go out would be followed by a verb. You’ve only given me part of the sentence – an efficient method to solve my problem – but the phrase suggests an outcome or the solution to a problem.Happy Christmas to you!. And the use of preposition is a topic that worries many of my students – I know because I’m often asked for advice about which preposition to use where. as well as answering your question. He went into town to order his new computer. especially around the time that assignments are due in! I do think that prepositions are one of the most difficult areas of English to master.Hi Paulo and thanks for your question. Finally. for is followed by a pronoun. and if you wanted to follow this expression with a pronoun. In the examples you give.

in an informal register. Note that used to cannot be used in question tag form. it can only be used in the past tense.' 'You used to play chess with your friends. Thus. Study the following examples: • • 'Did you use to go ice-skating when you were young?' 'No. but that was when I was working full-time. Please kindly show me what the differences are. we simply use the present simple tense. With the negative we often say never used to in preference to didn't use to or used not to . thanks for your question and I hope that both the answers will be useful to you. but now I smoke twenty a day. When we use used to. we use the normal auxiliary did. yeah!' 229 . I never did. Study the following examples: • • • • 'Do you remember? There used to be fields of clover where those houses are now.' To make questions.' 'I used to buy really expensive make-up.Well Paulo. Note also the possible/probable replies to used to questions. but nowadays you play chess with your computer. If we want to talk about present habits or states.' 'I never used to smoke. especially the meaning of them.' 'Didn't you use to ring the school to say you were ill and then play poker with Sam?' 'I sometimes did. 'used to' / 'get used to' Supawadee from Thailand asks: I always confuse to be used to and used to. we are talking about something which happened regularly or was true at an earlier stage in our lives but which is now over.

' 'I never got used to shaking hands with people all the time when I lived there. isn't it? In all of the above examples be or get used to can be replaced by be or become accustomed to which is very similar in meaning. I understand the meaning. Read through them again using these replacement verbs.' 'Are you getting used to the accent now? It's very different from standard English. didn't you?' 'Yes. where it is very quiet. So. It can refer to past. if a little more formal. but I'm sure you'll get used to (wearing) them. You can pop over to this office any time tomorrow. he becomes or is fully familiar with it. present or future experiences. but I soon got used to it. you see.' (It quickly became quite palatable. but probably not now. What are the differences between pop into and pop over? And how about pop out? Can we say pop out somewhere? 230 . It is no longer strange or awkward. studying English in New Zealand. I used to drink tequila at every opportunity. I know. It's just not the custom in our country.' 'I wasn't used to living in such a small flat and I found it really hard at first.' be used to + noun or -ing get used to + noun or -ing If somebody gets or is used to something. Study the following: • • • • • 'These are very high heels.) 'I found it quite a strong drink at first.' 'I'm used to all the noise now.) verbs with adverbial particles Amin. writes: Many times I have heard sentences like these: • • I'll just pop into the supermarket. but I am not sure how to use them. just to recap and confirm: • • 'When I lived in Mexico. Every Saturday between the ages of nine and twelve. but I'd always lived in the country before. I did.' (A regular habit then.• 'You used to do ballet in the church hall.

(lay on = was in a horizontal position on) Caroline laid on a wonderful spread of food for everyone. These verbs with adverbial particles or prepositions are extremely common in informal idiomatic English and are often preferred to a single verb equivalent. Lay on is not the same as lay + on: • • I lay on the bed thinking about what to do next. Compare the following: • • I decided to lay on transport for everybody as the train drivers were on strike. Informally. The problem with phrasal verbs (verb plus preposition or verb plus adverbial particle) is that the meaning of the two-word (or sometimes three-word) verb is very different from the meaning of the two parts taken separately. (laid on = provided) Let’s have a look at how pop is used with either particles or prepositions: pop into pop over pop in pop round pop out pop down pop off pop up In all of these examples with pop. I decided to provide transport for everybody as the train drivers were on strike. Compare the following: 231 . whereas in more formal English we might write the second of these two: • • Alternative transport was laid on for all employees throughout the train drivers’ strike. all the prepositions function as adverbial particles. Amin. not as prepositions with objects except for: • He popped into the shop. we would be more likely to say and write the first of these two possibilities. They are all similar in meaning with the adverbial particle indicating direction. Alternative transport was provided for all employees throughout the train drivers’ strike. except for pop off which has a more distinctive meaning and is not quite so common.I would be most grateful if you could tell me which sentences in those settings (along with prepositions) are most common.

• He had shaken the champagne bottle and the cork popped out before he was ready to pour. so thought I would just pop in for a chat. (= left college early) I opened the car door carelessly and my purse dropped out. I’m going to pop out to the shops for ten minutes. we might define pop + particle as appearing or disappearing (popping out) briefly and casually. I emphasise the word ‘current’ as idioms come into and go out of fashion. In the first five examples above. I hadn’t seen him for years. Then he just popped up one day at the club we used to belong to. Learning phrasal verbs is probably a lifetime’s work and if you want to do it well. So she often pops down if she needs anything. My friend. You don’t need to phone first. it’s probably worth getting hold of (= obtaining) or lashing out on (= spending a substantial sum of money on) a dictionary of current idiomatic English which pays attention to verbs with prepositions and particles. lives in the flat above me. Of course. but I’ve no intention of popping off yet.he just wasn’t prepared to study. Are they similar or different in meaning? drop off drop in/by drop out drop over • • • • • • pop off pop in pop out pop over Could you give me a lift in your car and drop me off at the station? (= let me get out) The lecture was so boring that I dropped off half way through. I was passing by. noticed the light was on. (= pay a casual visit) He dropped out after a term . we can also use pop in its original literal sense. Dora. (paid a casual call). 232 . And in the final example it is a euphemism for dying. Don’t answer the door if anyone calls. I may be 85 and I may have to use a stick to get around.• • • • • • My new neighbours across the road had just moved in so I popped over to see them. meaning to burst open with a short sharpish sound. it is safest to assume that for each one each particle introduces a different meaning and sometimes more than one meaning! Let’s compare the following pairs. When you are learning phrasal verbs. In the sixth example it means appearing unexpectedly. (= fell out) I dropped over to see her because I knew she wasn’t feeling well. or I might pop up to see her if I’m feeling lonely. (= fell into a light sleep) Drop by any time you’re passing.

The reward is that if you can use them appropriately in context. because it is unusual. The bride's parents did not approve of Victoria's marriage to George. It can sound quite effective however. All of this usually happens on your wedding day. Sometimes it has a poetic ring to it: • • We got wed soon after the baby was born. marriage / marry / get married Marriage describes the relationship between husband and wife or the state of being married: • • • They enjoyed a long and happy marriage. The predominant colour at Sophie's wedding was creamy white. Her wedding dress was this colour and the icing on the three-tier wedding cake was this colour too. Most marriages these days do not last. There are a number of other wedding compounds that are associated with wedding day: • • • • The newlyweds had told everybody that they wanted no wedding presents as they were emigrating to Australia. Is it true that in Britain you wear your wedding ring on the third finger of your left hand? A silver wedding is celebrated after 25 years of marriage and a golden wedding after 50 years. you marry them. wedding or marriage? Morena Diego from Italy asks: Could you please explain to me the difference between wedding and marriage? wedding / wed A wedding is a marriage ceremony which is held in church or a registry office and also includes the party or special meal which follows the ceremony. If you marry someone. they are distinguishing marks of a native-like command of English. 233 . but wed is not used very much nowadays as a verb as it is rather old-fashioned. that person becomes your husband or wife and we use the verb marry in preference to wed normally. If you wed someone. I shall never wed as I like to be independent.

we cannot say: they engaged. The verb 'await' must have an object .' Very often. you mention the length of time that you have been waiting for example. not a person.for example. 'I have been waiting here for at least half an hour. although we can say they married and they divorced as an alternative to they got married and they got divorced. It has the same sort of force as reflexive verbs have in other languages. I never get invited to Sarah's parties.for example. speakers often mention what or who they have been waiting for . is the level of 234 . Amos Paran answers: Thanks for There are two kinds of difference between 'wait' and 'await'. Thus in English we would say: Don't get lost! NOT Don't lose yourselves! Consider the following: • • • • • • • I married the man next door / I got married to the man next door. and often abstract. When should I use 'wait' and 'await'? Thanks a lot and congratulations for the site. Be careful not to get lost. This use of get with a past participle is a very common structure in contemporary English and is used across a range of common expressions. I didn't bother to get washed as I knew I would be working on the farm. Remember. Firstly. with 'wait'. if a friend was really late you could say. only they got engaged is possible. but by the beginning of the autumn both of us knew that the marriage would not last and that sooner or later we would have to get a divorce / get divorced. And the object of 'await' is normally inanimate. Sergio. 'I am awaiting your answer'. 'wait' and 'await'. 'I waited in line to go into the theatre.' Another structure that is very common is to use 'wait' with another verb . Interestingly. So you can't say. you can just use 'wait' on its own: 'We have been waiting and waiting and waiting and nobody has come to talk to us.' Finally. We got married on 10 June. 'I have been waiting for you for two hours!' The other difference between the two verbs. We had known each other for fifteen years before we got engaged. Here. Kind regards. The first difference is in the grammatical structures that are associated with these two verbs. A question from Sergio Gil Rejas in Peru: I would like to know what is the difference between 'wait' and 'await'. it's a big dark wood. 'John was awaiting me'.However. The verb 'wait' can come in different structures. even more usual than marry is get married. They didn't get dressed until two o'clock in the afternoon.

you may not be rich exactly. Just look at the way they dress! To be better-off. You’ll be better-off if you leave the motorway at this junction which is coming up now. well-off for However. I would suggest that you should use 'wait for'. If you want a tip about using these two verbs. you’d be better-off taking a taxi. cf the rich / the poor: 235 . use 'await' only in cases where you are absolutely sure that you have heard good users of the language using it. also has another meaning of being in a better situation and is used mainly in conditional patterns as follows: If you’ve got heavy bags to carry. Well off.formality. as you suggest. this means that there are many of them: We’re well-off for coffee shops in this town. If you are well-off. better off well-off Well-off relates mainly to money would be used in formal letters. There’s one at every corner in the High Street. It says on the sign that the motorway ahead is blocked. Mariano. but you have enough money to live well and comfortably: By central European standards they are quite well-off They have their own flat and drive new cars. and in cases where things are quite formal. if you say you are well-off for something. They’re definitely better-off than we are. for example. the better-off The better-off is sometimes used as a noun to describe a category of people. better-off The comparative form of this adjective is better-off which is used to talk about the varying degrees of wealth different people have: We’re not as well-off as the Jones’s. 'Await' is more formal than 'wait' .

I'd like to know the difference between prefer and would rather. What about you? They'd rather have the strawberries by themselves. when we are talking about specifics. Would rather is very common in spoken English and is often abbreviated to 'd rather. It is used in this form with all personal pronouns: I'd / you'd / he'd / she'd / we'd / they'd rather… Study these examples: • • • Would you like to go out for dinner tonight? ~ No. Would you rather drink beer or wine with the curry ~ I'd rather drink beer. • • I'd rather do x than do y I prefer doing x to doing y Prefer and would rather can be used interchangeably. would rather is used as an alternative to would prefer to followed by an infinitive. when we are talking about general preferences. whereas prefer requires to + infinitive. Omar. 'd rather However. but I'd prefer to have them with cream. I'd rather listen to music than watch TV. while those who are worst-off should pay no tax at all. even though it has a present or future meaning. The better-off should pay a higher rate of income tax. Note that would rather is followed by a bare infinitive without to. thus: • • I prefer listening to music to watching TV. Would rather (but not would prefer to) is also followed by a past tense when we want to involve other people in the action. Study the following: 236 . rather and better? Omar studying English in Canada writes: I’ve just found this page which is for learning english and I find it amazing and easy to follow. As you indicate.The rich and the poor live side-by-side in this part of town. I think I'd rather eat at home / I'd prefer to eat at home. prefer is followed by verb-ing.

wound. rather than walk home after the party. Study the following: • • • We'd better not be late for the Ambasador's party. I suppose. So we'd better do that. she insists on it. 'd better is followed by the bare infinitive without to. Like 'd rather. Rather than means instead of and can be used in combination with would prefer to and would rather. Study the following and note the intricacies of the verb forms: • • • Rather than lose precious sleep discussing it now. as in the last example. My mother would rather we emailed each other once a week instead of spending half an hour on the phone every night. My mother would rather we caught the bus. Note that it is sometimes slightly threatening in tone. 'd better Note that 'd better. I'd rather we ate at home. 237 . or We must / we mustn't…. hurt. injure/wound/hurt/harm/damage as verbs/adjectives/nouns Agustin from Spain writes: I would be very grateful if you could explain the difference between injure. In fact. You'd better phone him and tell him that you're not going. Had better is always more urgent than should or ought to and has the same force as I would advise you strongly to…. hurt. if you don't mind. I think we should go to bed and talk about it in the morning. It would be unforgivable to arrive late. My mother would prefer us to email each other once a week. wounded. harm. damage and their associated adjectives: injured. but there are a number of distinguishing characteristics. You are quite right. Their meanings are so close that I have difficulty differentiating them.• • • Shall we go out for dinner tonight? ~ No. is used to suggest necessary action. not would. They'd better buy me a Christmas present or I shall never forgive them. which is similar structurally to 'd rather. Shall I write to Harry and tell him that we've sold the car? ~ I'd rather you didn't. Agostin. In this case however. rather than spend half an hour on the phone every night. 'd is the abbreviated form of had. These verbs and related nouns and adjectives are quite close in meaning and use. harmed and damaged.

He was not seriously injured. • • There was no escape. and cause them to feel emotional pain: • • I think she's going to be hurt.hurt (verb) If part of your body hurts. Note that verbs that refer to physical feelings (hurt. you feel pain there. wound (verb) If you wound somebody. The driver of the Red-Cross ambulance was wounded by the shrapnel. ache. you cause physical damage to part of their body usually the result of an accident or through fighting: • • A number of bombs have exploded. You're hurting my arm. injure (verb) In the sentence describing people suffering from shock above. Two minutes of injury time were played at the end of the fist half. Their injuries were thought to be serious. the 238 . ~ My arm hurts. injured / injury (nouns) / injured (adj) • • • • The injured were taken to hospital by air-ambulance. If you injure somebody. it is often a matter of knowing which adjectives collocate with which nouns and which adverbs go with which verbs. They were suffering from shock but did not seem to be otherwise hurt. That hurts! You can also hurt someone's feelings. hurt could be replaced by injured. The demonstrators injured a number of innocent people when they started throwing stones. often in battle. How could he behave like that? hurt (noun/adjective) • • The hurt that she felt was deep and would only be softened with the passing of time. a knife or some other weapon. I don't think she'll ever fall in love again. What hurt me most was the betrayal. If you hurt someone. though his coach took him off at half-time as a precaution. you cause them to feel pain. They were mortally wounded by the enemy fire. In this particular word family. In English. seriously injuring scores of people. especially a cut or a hole in their flesh caused by a gun. Ouch! Don't touch me. etc) can often be used in simple or progressive tenses with no difference in meaning: • • Have you been knocked over? Tell me where it hurts / it's hurting. you inflict physical damage on part of their body.

You will also have noticed that with these verbs the passive voice is often used. his reputation as a defence lawyer will be damaged. i. Normally damage relates to inanimate objects: • • Professional boxers sometimes suffer irreversible brain damage.e. we can also speak of someone being brain-damaged (not brain-injured) or suffering brain damage.e. i. damage (noun) / damaged (adj) However. wound (noun) / wounded (adj) • • The open wound really needed stitches and took a long time to heal.adverb-verb collocations are normally as follows: badly hurt / seriously injured / mortally wounded. What's the damage? harm (verb) 239 . The four wounded men were taken to the field hospital in the back of the Jeep. Compare the following: • • • • The car was so badly damaged in the accident that it was barely worth repairing. High inflation was damaging the country's economy. Damage is the physical harm that is caused to an object. We also have the informal expression: What's the damage? meaning 'What is the damage to my purse or my pocket?' in other words: What do I owe you in payment for this service or these goods?: • Thanks very much for the work you have done on those curtains. such as reputations and the economy can also be damaged. to make an unpleasant situation even worse and to lick one's wounds. The British team could only retire and lick their wounds after such a comprehensive defeat on Spanish soil. More abstract qualities. We also have the expressions: to rub salt into the wound. damage (verb) It is things that are damaged. When he got home. to slowly recover after being defeated or made to feel ashamed or unhappy: • • I didn't want to rub salt into the wound so decided not to mention Bob's infidelity. not people. he discovered that the vase he had bought had been damaged. It was a huge bomb and the damage caused to the shopping precinct was quite extensive. If he continues drinking like that. But this is an exception.

but he's quite harmless. Without doubt. it will do no harm to…. He'll come to no harm in my garden.the burning of fossil fuels harms the environment in which we live harm (noun) We have a number of expressions with the noun harm which are confusingly similar: will come to no harm. but there's no harm in asking her to postpone the meeting. 240 . She might not agree.People OR things can be harmed or physically damaged: • • The bank robbers were anxious not to harm anyone. It will do / can do no harm to remind him to take the medication before he goes to bed. The harmful effects of smoking on people's health is well-documented. I'm sorry to crash into you like that! Are you all right? ~ I'm fine. No harm done! harmful / harmless (adjs) Harmful and harmless describe something that has or does not have a bad effect on something else: • • He looks quite ferocious and barks quite loudly. no harm done: • • • • Will my dog be all right with you? ~ He'll be fine. there's no harm in….

BBC Learning English Conjunctions & clauses Prefixes and suffixes Prepositions & prepositional phrases 241 .

She then did the ironing after lunch as I cleared away the dishes. my mum prepared my supper. While I cleaned the car. we tend to use while here rather than as because as has many different meanings and uses. (As = because) As I was doing my homework.Conjunctions & clauses as. when. my mum prepared my supper. as long as William Martinez from Puerto Rico writes: How can I correctly use the following conjunctions concerning time expressions: as. would you be kind enough to give me some examples of use of these two expressions: as a basis for and on the basis of? as or while We can use as or while to talk about two longer actions that are in progress at the same time: • • There was a lot to do. as long as and while? Also. It could be confusing if as meaning while could be mistaken for as meaning because: • • As I was doing my homework. (As = while) 242 . while. As a general rule. my wife was preparing lunch.

We cannot use while here: • The telephone rang just when / just as I was about to leave. You can go home early. While in France. I shall smoke no more cigarettes.. You can leave early.. he grew particularly fond of all types of cheese. it became hotter and hotter.. as construction is used when we are making comparisons and comparing ideas of similar magnitude or duration • • • There was extra time. I decided not to answer it. while or when In more formal speech and writing. I don't mind. as long as: expressing time The as . remember to use as much sugar as or when We use as or when to talk about two short events that happen at the same moment. We cannot use as in this way: • • • • When making cranberry jam. so long as you finish the work. While he was in France. However. You can leave after lunch. be sure to use as much sugar as fruit. As and when are often used with just in this context. so the football match lasted as long as the concert. we tend to use as: • • As the day wore on. "Take as long as you like. it becomes more and more difficult to make friends. on a . He worked for as long as he wanted to on the project. When you are making cranberry jam. basis The noun basis suggests a particular method or system for organising or doing something. provided you finish all the work. he grew particularly fond of all varieties of cheese. So long as is also possible in this context: • • • I don't mind. As you get older. meaning if and only if. We have the expressions on a/an hourly/daily/monthly/annual/temporary/permanent basis: 243 . when one is the consequence of the other. it is possible to leave out subject + be with when and while when main and subordinate clauses refer to the same subject. as long as you finish the work. if we want to say that when one thing changes another changes at the same time. I don't mind. as long as: expressing condition Note that as long as is also used in conditional sentences as an alternative to provided. "There's no hurry!" As long as I live." they said.

facts or actions from which something can develop is suggested: • • The contract was awarded on the basis of cost more than anything else.' 'I'm going to the fancy dress party as Superman. method or system is suggested."I’ve worked as a dog" or "I’ve worked like a dog.• • • These toilets are checked for cleanliness on an hourly basis She thought she would have the job on a permanent basis. Consider the following examples: • • • 'Before I became a teacher I worked as a waiter. on the basis of / as a basis for Here we have two further expressions with basis with a slightly different meaning. Used with the preposition on.prepositions As refers to something or someone's appearance or function. 'as' and 'like' Cristina Pinho from Brazil asks: I love this section of the BBC. 'as' and 'like' . Look at these examples: 244 . Here is my question:. This place is known as 'the windy city' and typhoons are expected on a regular basis. These preliminary talks will be very useful as a basis for further negotiations. ideas. Used with the preposition as.' 'The sea can be used as a source of energy. but it turned out to be temporary.' The expression 'I've been working as a dog' sounds unusual because it suggests that you were doing the work of a dog! Like has the meaning 'similar to' and is used when comparing things." What is the difference between as and like? As and like are used in a number of different ways and can be different parts of speech.

.' 'Try to keep your balance on the tightrope.• • • 'I’ve been working like a dog. as I do. quite. as and as Mohammad Tariq from Afghanistan writes: Hello! I hope you are in the best of health.' The expression 'I've been working like a dog' is idiomatic and means that you have been working very hard. not much. as they were last year and the year before... just as they do on the continent. as are. as as adverb / preposition Look at this example: 245 . as . like you were when we went to Brighton. Would you kindly tell me what parts of speech as. etc. Consider the following: • • • 'I always drink tea without milk.' 'Just like you. to modify like: • 'He’s very serious – not at all like his father.' 'I hope you’re not going to be sick again. baby!' 'She needs the money. perhaps more like his mother at times.. like I do.' 'She looks a bit like her brother. very.. 'as' and 'like' .' 'The first ten days of July were very wet this year. Note that we can use adverbs of degree. This is particularly common in American English. not at all. a bit. so she works in a bar in the evenings. Kind regards.. as. Consider the following: • • • 'Nobody else would look after you like I do. like is used in the same way. such as just. by spreading out your fingers like this.' In informal English. I’m always a bit wary of large dogs. I know that we use adjectives or adverbs between them. but I don not know what they are themselves.conjunctions As and like can also be used as conjunctions: As means 'in the same way that'.

we can use so…as instead of as…as: • • He is not so / as intelligent as his sister is. Note also that if we want to make a negative statement. I can type much faster than you (can). There are a large number of idiomatic expressions or fixed phrases which we use in informal English when we are making comparisons like this. We often combine it with just: • She left the house (just) as the sun was rising.• He came as quickly as he could. He played the piece of music more slowly than I had ever heard it played before. as = when (for clauses of time) We may use as as an alternative to when when we are comparing two short actions or events that happened or happen at the same period of time. These stories are as old as the hills and have been passed down from generation to generation.) Compare the following: • • • • The meal was as good as the conversation: spicy and invigorating! She spoke as slowly as she could Has everybody eaten as much as they want? I hope you will agree that I am as imaginative a cook as my wife (is)! Note from the above example that if there is an adjective and a noun after the first as. a / an must go between them. we need to use the structure comparative + than: • • Let me finish the report. This structure is used to measure and compare things that are of similar proportion. Electricity will be restored to our homes as soon as possible. the first as functions as an adverb modifying the following adjective or adverb. Here are a few of them in context: • • • • • • He went as white as a sheet when he saw the ghost. In this construction. The cafeteria was not so / as crowded as it was earlier. 246 . She sat there as quiet as a mouse and wouldn’t say anything. The second as functions as a preposition when it relates to the following noun or pronoun. All the children were as good as gold when they came to visit me. as as subordinating conjunction Note that as by itself is used as a subordinating conjunction in a variety of different ways. My maths teacher is as deaf as a post and should have retired years ago. (It can also function as a conjunction when it relates to the following clause. Remember that when we are measuring or comparing things that are of unequal proportion.

As prices rose. The police considered him to be a dangerous criminal S Boon and D Nukoon from Thailand write: Could you please explain the usage of the adjective unfair to us? For example: I won't argue with you. note that as can also be used as a preposition when we want to avoid using the verb to be.clauses are often placed at the beginning of sentences. I am always interested in people’s life styles. Compare the following: • • • • • • • As his father. it is your duty to ensure that he goes to school every day. He established his reputation as a freedom fighter through many heroic acts.• The telephone rang (just) as I was climbing into my bath. as means over the same period of time as: • • I think you become more tolerant of other people as you get older. Being a social historian. Also. the demand for higher salaries became more intense. as for clauses of proportion Here. How is you're being unfair different from you're unfair? Santhosh KP from India writes: 247 . Compare the following: • • • As Mary was the eldest child. As . As a social historian. I’ve decided to end our relationship because my boyfriend has been cheating on me. As it had started to rain we had to abandon the picnic. as as preposition Finally. I am always interested in people’s life styles. Because puts more emphasis on the reason or introduces new information. she had to look after her younger brothers and sisters. but I think you are being unfair. The police described him as a dangerous criminal. As you are his father. as = because (for clauses of reason) We may use as as an alternative to because when the reason is already known or self-evident to the reader of listener. we'd like to learn why being is placed in front of unfair. it is your duty to ensure that he goes to school every day.

The doubts which people are asking about are really the doubts of a majority. this site has helped me a lot. So can you please explain to me the different uses of being with different examples? Bhavin from India writes: Can you please explain how being is used with the past participle? 248 . I am doubtful about using being.Really.

Here are some further examples: • • You're being silly / foolish / childish when you do such silly / foolish / childish things. Using a participle clause in this way is 249 . relates to somebody's behaviour of not being fair in their actions. when the adjectives relate to feelings. My nieces enjoyed being taken to the circus. Bhavin. i. The computers are being installed tomorrow. being + past participle We use being with the past participle. I was quite sure I was being followed. being in participle clauses We can use an adverbial participle clause to express reason or cause as an alternative to a because/since/as clause. However. in present progressive and past progressive passive forms. Note that other passives with being. So we might say: • • • • • My car is being serviced.being + adjective We normally use the progressive form with an adjective when we are talking about actions and behaviour. Instead of: The local garage is servicing my car. Instead of: I was quite sure someone was following me.e the future progressive passive (will be being) and perfect progressive passive (has been being) are quite rare. And being unfair in your example sentence. I was walking on tiptoe and being very careful not to wake the baby. Rather than: I enjoyed taking my nieces to the circus. Boon and Nukoon. Instead of: They're installing the computers tomorrow. She was being punished for being cruel to the cat. we do not use the progressive form: • • I was upset / worried when I heard that they would have to operate on John's knee. so the progressive form is preferred. Rather than: They were punishing her for being cruel to the cat. I am delighted / overjoyed to hear that you have passed all your exams. Note that cruel in the above example is an adjective describing behaviour so the progressive form is used with it.

The present perfect is often used with since and for to denote periods of time up to the present. • verb + verb-ing / adj + prep + verb-ing Note that being as verb-ing. If you use for. I think it's very confusing. I'm often invited to No 10. rather than spoken colloquial English.' 'She has been living in Holland for the last nine years. Rather than: As I am a friend of Tony Blair. I was able to squeeze through the hole in the railings. Compare: • • 'She has been living in Holland since the summer of 1992. is required in all such instances: • • • • Would you mind being quiet for a moment? I look forward to being interviewed on the current affairs programme. Instead of: Since I am quite slim I was able to squeeze through the hole in the railings. The difference in use between 'because'.e. 'as'.' 250 . Geoffrey was unable to squeeze through. he is passionate about wine and cheese. he is passionate about wine and cheese. Compare the following: • • • Being French. Being quite slim.') If you use since with the present perfect or present perfect continuous. I'm often invited to No 10. Being a friend of Tony Blair. I am tired of being taken for granted and expected to do all the housework. Geoffrey was unable to squeeze through. She was afraid of being accused of a crime which she did not commit. you are signalling when something started. Being rather over weight. Instead of : Because he is French. i. 'last week' or 'the day before yesterday'. Here the simple past is used: 'I went to the cinema three times last week. as.more characteristic of written English or a literary style. since and for. 'since' and 'for' Agnes Leyen asks: Could you please tell me the difference (in use) between because. (Note that we do not use present perfect with expressions that refer to a time period that has finished. you are signalling how long something has been going on. Rather than: Because he's rather over weight.

there are important differences between them.' 'Since John had already eaten.for it was very late and I wanted to go to bed. rather than spoken English: • 'I decided to stop the work I was doing . It is never placed at the beginning of the sentence and is more characteristic of written. we went up to the balcony and occupied some empty seats there. We could also use bar which has the same meaning: • All but / bar / except for / apart from two of the boys are coming with us. but as conjunction We usually think of but as a conjuction linking two contrastive sentences or clauses: 251 . Because is used when the reason is the most important part of the sentence or utterance.That is one use of since and for.' but as conjunction and preposition L S Ng from Singapore writes: What does but mean in this sentence? • All but two of the boys are coming. But since and for can also be used in a similar way to as and because to give the reason for an action or a situation.' For suggests that the reason is given as an afterthought. Here it means except (for) or apart from and we can substitute these prepositions for but in this sentence. The because clause usually comes at the end: • 'I went to Spain last summer because I wanted the guarantee of sunshine on every day of my holiday. The as or since clause is usually placed at the beginning of the sentence: • • 'As the performance had already started.' As and since are used when the reason is already well known and is therefore usually less important. However. I made do with a sandwich.

On holiday he eats nothing but / bar / apart from hamburgers and French fries. but (they) always bought their children expensive presents. anywhere. I really hate it there. (i. I sometimes swim in the North Sea. but (I) only (ever swim there) in July and August. the whole truth and nothing but the truth. none. all. every. any.e. anything. They were poor.• • • • • • • They had very little money. But if he has no religion. there are two more people to be interviewed) 252 . two houses away from Mary) Is this the final candidate? ~ No. I've marked all the essays but / bar / except (for) / apart from two. repeated information from the first clause can often be left out in the second clause. He is required to say the following: • I swear by Almightly God to tell the truth. apart from and bar to introduce the only thing or person that the main part of the sentence does not include. no. It is often used after words such as everyone. a witness giving evidence is required to take the oath before he gives his testimony. the whole truth and nothing but the truth. These earrings would look really good on your wife! ~ But I'm not married! In the first five examples. But my husband insisted that we should read the small print first. I've been to Hong Kong but (I've never been to Shanghai) not to Shanghai. nobody. it's the last but one. last but one. (i.e. • • They live in the house next but one to Mary. he says instead: • I affirm that I will tell the truth. My car is fifteen years old. but (they were) hardworking. Nobody but / except (for) / bar Jessica would wear a mini-dress at a formal dinner In a British court of law. Everybody but / bar / the very young must carry their own belongings in a rucksack. I wanted to sign the contract there and then. • • • • • • I'll go anywhere for my holiday but / bar / except (for) Blackpool. She took everything on holiday with her but / bar / apart from the kitchen sink. Note the useful expressions next but one. but (it) still drives beautifully. But as preposition We use but as an alternative to except (for).

If he hadn't broken his leg in the earlier part in the season. the place where. I would have been home in time for supper but for the fog. Kristina from Bulgaria asks: What is a cleft sentence and how do we use it? Cleft sentences are used to help us focus on a particular part of the sentence and to emphasise what we want to say by introducing it or building up to it with a kind of relative clause. the thing that. Cleft structures include the reason why. if there had been no fog to delay me. The reason why I've come is to discuss my future with you.but for Note that but for as a preposition has a different meaning from but by itself. Cleft sentences are particularly useful in writing where we cannot use intonation for purposes of focus or emphasis. he might have been in the England team to play Poland last May. indicating what might have happened if other things had not happened. but they are also frequently used in speech. Compare the following sets of sentences and notice how the cleft structure in each case enables us to select the information we want to focus on: • • • I've come to discuss my future with you. I wouldn't have been able to go to America. Your generosity impresses more than anything else. Compare the following: • • • • If it hadn't been for your generosity. • • But for his broken leg in the earlier part of the season. the day when and what-clauses which are usually linked to the clause that we want to focus on with is or was. I would have been home in time for supper. We can sometimes use it as an alternative to an if-clause with a third conditional negative sentence. Because there are two parts to the sentence it is called cleft (from the verb cleave) which means divided into two. I wouldn't have been able to go to America. 253 . he might have been in the England team to play Poland last May. But for your generosity. the person/people who.

loathe. What we now need are actions rather than words. We now need actions rather than words. • • • • • • • • • • • • Note from the last two examples that cleft structures with what-clauses are often used with verbs expressing an emotive response to something like adore. Epping. Cleft structures with what-clauses are also often used with does/do/did and with the verb happen when we want to give emphasis to the whole sentence. I enjoyed the brilliant music most of all in the Ballet Frankfurt performance. etc. hate. rather than a particular clause. The day (when) the Second World War ended in Europe was 7 May 1945 7 May 1945 was the day (when) the Second World War ended in Europe. The Second World War ended on 7 May 1945 in Europe.• • • • The thing that impresses me more than anything else is your generosity. The place where the jewels are hidden is under the floor at 23 Robin Hood Road. need. You should invest all your money in telecoms companies. Epping. What she does is (to) write all her novels on a type writer. Under the floor at 23 Robin Hood Road is the place where the jewels are hidden. 254 . Compare the following: • • • • • • • • The police interviewed all the witnesses to the accident first. What you should do is (to) invest all your money in telecoms companies. love. Actions rather than words are what we now need. enjoy. Their car broke down on the motorway so they didn't get to Jo's wedding on time. Mary works harder than anybody else in this organisation. dislike. What you should invest all your money in is telecoms companies. What I enjoyed most in the Ballet Frankfurt performance was the brilliant music. What the police did first was (to) interview all the witnesses to the accident. want. The jewels are hidden under the floor at 23 Robin Hood Road. She writes all her novels on a typewriter. Mary is the person in this organisation who works harder than anybody else. like. The brilliant music was what I enjoyed most in the Ballet Frankfurt performance. The person who works harder than anybody else in this organisation is Mary. prefer.

In the example which follows. A new coat is all I want for Christmas. but and or are the three main coordinating conjunctions. which may be important at the time: • • • • • My brother bought his new car from our next-door neighbour last Saturday. Finally. It was my brother who bought his new car from our neighbour last Saturday. It is sometimes very effective to use all instead of what in a cleft structure if you want to focus on one particular thing and nothing else: • • • • • I want a new coat for Christmas. Look out for cleft structures in your reading.• What happened was that their car broke down on the motorway so they didn't get to Jo's wedding on time. Compare the following: 255 . we can also use preparatory it in cleft sentences and join the words that we want to focus on to the relative clause with that. They join two clauses which are grammatically independent of each other and would make sense if they stood alone. who or when. It was a new car that my brother bought from our neighbour last Saturday. They are a very common feature of written English. note how this construction enables us to focus on different aspects of the information. All I did was (to) touch the bedside light and it broke. It was last Saturday when my brother bought his new car from our neighbour. Subordinating and coordinating conjunctions Khadija Attarabulsi from Libya writes: Would you please help me to learn and understand coordinating and subordinating conjunctions? I would be so grateful if you could explain them in full. Thank you in advance. It was our next-door neighbour that my brother bought his new car from last Saturday. All I want for Christmas is a new coat. I touched the bedside light and it broke. Conjunctions are joining words and their main function is to link together two different parts of a sentence. And / but / or (coordinating conjunctions) And.

are subordinating conjunctions which introduce subordinate clauses. Note the way in which subordinating conjunctions also give meaning to the sentence: * * * * * if suggests a condition when / whenever indicate time while suggests time or contrast of surprising facts because points to reason since suggests reason or time 256 . And indicates that we are listing items or ideas.) If / when / because / since / even though / etc (subordinating conjunctions) Words like if. I had a terrible cold last week. or you can stand at the back. but I still went to work. She was anxious and unhappy because she didn't know where her husband was. You can stand at the back. I had a terrible cold last week. when. I don't mind. Now she wants another one. I had a terrible cold last week. This is not normally possible in subordinate clauses. But note they way in which conjunctions help to add meaning to the sentence. She's already had two holidays this year. 3. 2. She's already had two holidays this year and now she wants another one. (NOT: She was anxious and unhappy because didn't know where her husband was. since. Note also that in the second of the two coordinating clauses. I don't mind. the subject words and modal auxiliaries can often be left out: • • • She's already had two holidays this year and now wants another one. because. etc. You can sit at the front or stand at the back. I still went to work. You can sit at the front. I don't mind. You can sit at the front. Subordinate clauses are dependent on the main clause in some way and do not normally stand alone. although. Compare the following: • • She was anxious and unhappy and didn't know where her husband was. but still went to work.1. or means that we are discussing alternatives and but means that we are contrasting facts or ideas.

as) can be used for different purposes. I can't even find time to see my friends. Because / since / as I work six days a week. 'owing to'. help yourself to anything at all in the fridge or freezer. on account of' and 'because of' Sathya Narayanan from India asks: What is the difference in the usage of owing to and due to? 257 . I am always very well looked after whenever I babysit at their house.* as suggests reason or time * although / though / even though all indicate a contrast of surprising facts Compare the following examples of use and note the way the same conjunction (e. I think I should try and get out more. I helped myself to an ice-cold beer and a pizza from the freezer. (BUT NOT: I think the parents are very mean while I am fond of their children) Since I started working full-time. • • • • • • • • 'Due to'. Subordinating clauses of this kind can normally go first or last in the sentence.g. I was given nothing to eat or drink. I bumped into an old friend as I was leaving work the other day. depending on what you want to emphasize: • If you feel thirsty or hungry. I was given nothing to eat or drink when I babysat for the Robinsons last month. I think I should try and get out more. even though I am happy with my life. I don't have so much time now for babysitting since I started working fulltime. I don't have so much time now for babysitting. When I babysat for the Robinsons last month. While they were away. Help yourself to anything at all in the fridge or freezer. While I am fond of their children. I am always very well looked after. I think the parents are very mean. I can't even find time to see my friends as I work six days a week. I bumped into an old friend. while. I helped myself to an ice-cold beer and a pizza from the freezer while they were away. As I was leaving work the other day. Whenever I babysit at their house. since. Although I am happy with my life. if you feel hungry or thirsty.

we had to give up the idea of a boat trip.' = 'The new cruise liner returned immediately to port because of/on account of a broken propeller. even though.' It used to be thought that it was incorrect to use due to in this way. even so Damien van Raemdonck from Belgium writes: Is there any difference in meaning between even if and even though? For example. there is a mismatch of formal and colloquial styles and it does not sound quite right. They indicate that something happened as a result of something or introduce the reason for something happening: • • 'He was kept in after school due to/owing to his bad behaviour.' = He was kept in after school on account of/because of his bad behaviour.' 'It was owing to/because of traffic congestion on the road leading to the airport that I missed my flight. in the sentence: Even if I had time. In the following examples. They are all prepositions used with noun phrases and are often used interchangeably.Due to and owing to are similar in meaning to on account of and because of. even. 'Due to/owing to a broken propeller. But remember that because is a conjunction and must therefore be used to introduce a subordinate clause of reason: • • 'We had to give up the idea of a boat trip because it started to pour with rain.' The noun phrases which these prepositions introduce are often rather formal and it may be more natural to use because in informal. the new cruise liner returned immediately to port. I wouldn't do it. conversational English. but modern usage shows no hesitation in using these expressions interchangeably. 258 . the prepositional phrase might be preferred as it is more succinct: • • 'Why are you so late?' 'On account of the traffic. ' even if.' In this final owing to example. however. Note that these prepositions are sometimes used in cleft structures with it and the verb to be: • • 'It is due to/on account of all his hard work over the winter months that he has passed the exam with such a good grade.' 'Owing to the heavy rain. Incredibly heavy!' 'Why are you so late?' 'Because the traffic was so incredibly heavy on the road into London.

Even though I've cleaned it and polished it. Even if I had two hours to spare for shopping. If you want to use even though. we are in effect saying: you may find this surprising but. Even though means despite the fact that and is a more emphatic version of though and although... she decided to carry on playing. I wouldn't go out and buy a suit. I know she'll want to carry on playing.! Compare the following pairs of sentences: • • • • • • even Note that even cannot be used as a conjunction like even if and even though when it stands alone. 259 . they are not interchangeable. I couldn't find the suit I wanted. The second example describes a real situation where the shopper spent two hours looking for a particular kind of suit. It was an important match. it still won't look new. Even if I clean and polish it. he continued to serve in the government. I still wouldn't go out and buy a suit. Compare the following: 1. We cannot say: Even though he lost his job as Arts Minister. When we attach even to though in this way. it still doesn't look new. Even if he loses his job as Arts Minister. Even though I had two hours to spare for shopping. Even if means whether or not and has to do with the conditions that may apply. the meaning changes. The first example describes an unreal situation where we could substitute 'just supposing' for even if and say: just supposing I had two hours to spare for shopping. 2. even if she gets injured. but couldn't find it. I think he'll continue to serve in the government.Could even though be substituted and used instead of even if? even if / even though No. Even though the injury was serious. It's an important match.

Ever means at any time. 'Ever' and 'whenever' Tiffany Teng from Singapore asks: We know it is correct to say: ‘I have never been to London’. But for someone who has been to London before. you are registering something that may be surprising when you use it. past or past perfect verb form or with future reference.Even I've polished and cleaned it. it still doesn't look new. Even so. Russian. Again. French. Although it is usually associated with the present perfect. Spanish. If the answer is no. It connects ideas between clauses or sentences: • • I know her English isn't very good. If the answer is yes. Even at Christmas and New Year! I know his English isn't very good but even I can understand him! even so Even so is a prepositional phrase that can be used in a similar fashion to introduce a fact that is surprising in the context of what has been said before. Arabic. again because this is surprising information for the listener: • • He works all through the year. When even stands alone. we might add once or twice. so it is inappropriate in the above sentence. Polish. German. Study the following and note the position of even in these sentences: • • I can't dive. She even speaks Catalan! Even can also go at the beginning of a phrase when it refers to words or expressions that we wish to emphasize. he was convicted and spent ten years in prison for a crime that he perhaps did not commit. I can't even swim! She speaks so many languages. we often use never in the reply. Ever is used mainly in questions. is it correct to say: ‘I have ever been to London’? No. but even so I can understand her. it functions as an adverb and means this is more than or less than expected. The evidence was only circumstantial. to indicate how many times we have done whatever is being referred to. meaning ‘not at any time’. it can also be used with a present. etc. Compare the following: 260 .

once in 1983 and again in 1995. I can never seem to learn vocabulary.' 'Are you ever going to finish this book?' 'I’ll try and finish it over the summer. It’s too expensive. meaning ‘as/than at any time in the past’.' 'However hard I try. you can phone me up whenever you like – at any time of the day.' Finally. ‘no matter who’ and ‘no matter how’. whoever and however. but you sing as beautifully as ever!' To + infinitive and for + verb-ing to express purpose 261 . Jason I don’t think I ever will.' 'Will you ever marry me?' 'No. ‘no matter when’.' 'We hardly ever go to the theatre. Compare the following: • • • • • • 'We were playing ‘Hide and Seek’ and we couldn’t find him wherever we looked. I prefer to watch films on video or DVD. ever can be used in an affirmative sentence with not as an alternative to the more usual 'never'.• • • • • • 'Have you ever been to Ireland?' 'Yes.' 'Do you ever go to the cinema?' 'No. Compare the following: • • • • 'If you ever change your mind.' 'Jayne. We’d love to have you on the team.' Remember also that ever can be tagged on to ‘where’.' 'Whatever advice I gave her. I never did. let me know. ‘no matter what’. whatever.' 'I shall sell my computer to whoever wants it. ‘who’ and ‘how’ to make the conjunctions wherever.' As you can see from this last example. ‘no matter which’. we were unable to find our way out of the maze. meaning 'no matter where’.' 'Did you ever meet Tom Robinson when you were at uni?' 'No. I’ve been there twice.' 'My driving instructor asked me if I’d ever driven before. ‘when’.' 'If you have a problem. she would be sure not to take it. I never had. I’ve no time now. whichever. Study the following two examples: • • 'You’ll have to work harder than ever today. whenever. like hardly. it’s so long since I heard you sing. ever is used in the comparative expression as ever and than ever.' 'I don’t think we shall ever see Jenny again now that she’s emigrated to Australia.' 'If you are ever in London. Remember the meaning of ever is always ‘at any time’. ‘which’. ‘what’. be sure to come and see us. no. It can also be used in affirmative sentences with if and with adverbs which express a negative idea.' 'Whichever path we took.' 'I said. if you want to finish this job before it gets dark.

Gloria Fulvia from Italy writes: Do I say Schools are for learning or Schools are to learn? I would like to know the grammar of to + infinitive and for + -ing form when I'm talking about purpose. I decided to save up to buy a new computer. Thanks.) I decided I would save up for a new computer. (Not: I popped into the supermarket for buying some apples…) I stopped by at his office for a chat about our marketing strategy. (NOT: I decided I would save up for buying a new computer. 262 . Life is for living. Note that when the subject of the sentence is a person rather than the thing described. we normally use the for + verb-ing pattern. I popped into his office to have a chat about our marketing policy. What's this for? ~ It's for opening oysters. Note that this pattern commonly answers the question: What are they (used) for? Compare the following: • • • • • Schools are for educating children not for entertaining them. for or to + infinitive: individual purpose For is commonly used with nouns to express individual purpose: • • • I popped into the supermarket for some apples on the way home. What's this fifty pound note for? ~ It's for buying food for the weekend. This kitchen knife is especially useful for slicing vegetables. I use this gadget to open shellfish with. the to + infinitive pattern is also possible: • • I use this small knife to slice vegetables with. if we are talking about the purpose of an object or an action. Schools are for learning. I greatly appreciate your explanation.) If we want to express individual purpose with a verb pattern. For + verb-ing: the purpose of an object However. (Not: I stopped by at his office for having a chat about marketing. we are obliged to use to + infinitive: • • • I stopped by at the supermarket to buy some apples on the way home. It's much better than a knife.

Nevertheless. I would much appreciate it if you could make the differences clear to me. and before negative inifinitives: • • • • So as not to appear foolish. as an alternative to to + infinitive. we might use in order to. After four weeks of exams. After all those order to / so as to Note that. Rufus had been living in the village of Edmonton for over a decade. I went to the seaside to rest. to express individual purpose when we want to be more formal or explicit about the reason for doing something. After twenty days of exams. however / nevertheless / moreover Wutthichula Khunpatwattana from Thailand writes: I have a very simple question. know. appear. Compare the following: • • • • I went to bed early in order to get enough sleep before the exam. I went to the seaside so as to have a good rest. I know that the words however and nevertheless are slightly different in meaning and use. Consider the following: • • I can understand everything you say about wanting to share a flat with Martha. All of these structures answer the question: Why…?. The in order to and so as to structures are particularly useful with stative verbs such as be. I went to the seaside for a rest. she bought a flat in the town centre. the villagers still considered him to be an outsider. However and nevertheless: to express a contrast We can use either of the adverbs however or nevertheless to indicate that the second point we wish to make contrasts with the first point. she studied his movements carefully. 263 . However. I learnt all I could about the company before going for the interview. but nobody has been able to make it clear to me. In order to know more about him. have. or so as to. I am totally against it. In order not to have to commute. I'm going to move to the city centre in order to be near where I work. The difference is one of formality: nevertheless is bit more formal and emphatic than however.

Moreover is the very formal equivalent of futhermore or in addition which would be the least 264 . He's still able to get around quite well. agreed to carry out a full review of pay and conditions. But be careful here. however and nevertheless: for counter-argument If you need to write essays. It is true that more and more factories are being built along this stretch of the river and that a certain amount of waste will inevitably be discharged into the river. We have. They can.still. We have agreed. * in the third part introduce the counter-argument with however or one of the other discourse markers listed above. These alternatives would be better suited to spoken English discourse: • • She's really quite ill and has been for some time.Note that however and nevertheless are normally placed in initial position in a sentence when contrasting two ideas. nevertheless. His whole life has been plagued by illness. Even so / In spite of this she remains in good spirits. yet or yet. • • It is said that water pollution is one of the greatest evils in this country. however. however. in spite of this. nevertheless • Less formal equivalents of however and nevertheless would be even so. nonetheless or even so to introduce the final part of a three-part structure: * in the first part you might outline an argument. * in the second part you might indicate that there is supporting evidence using it is true or certainly to introduce these ideas. it is also useful to use however. also come in mid position or end position: • There will be no more pay increases this year. nevertheless. I have not found one who does not have a responsible attitude to environmental protection. Yet he still gets up at six every morning to go to work. However. That is for sure. to carry out a full review of pay and conditions. It does not have the same meaning.. His whole life has been plagued by illness. • moreover: for adding I often find when marking essays that moreover is used as an alternative to however. introducing it perhaps with it is often said. in all the discussions that I have had with these firms' representatives. He has over a million pounds in his bank account. however.

they are desperately in need of medical supplies. However. to sum up: In conclusion. he seemed to be smiling at her as if he recognised her. to… / in order to…. remember that if you are writing essays. Moreover. it is useful to introduce the final paragraph with one of these expressions: to conclude. These adverbs should be used to support or to add information to what has already been said: • The refugees are desperately short of food. it is clear that pollution will continue to plague our planet for the foreseeable future. They both convey exactly the same meaning when expressing purpose: • • To cut the tree down. They have very little shelter to protect them from the winter winds that are now blowing. I had to hack through the undergrowth first. clauses of purpose: 'in order to' and 'so that' Gyonggu Shin from South Korea writes: I would like you to talk about the difference between to + infinitive and in order to + infinitive. though perhaps you do not say it. We do not usually use to by itself here: 265 . if individuals and governments act responsibly. If we use in order to it sounds a bit more formal and explicit than to by itself. In order to cut the tree down. / so as to…. • in conclusion Finally. In these two sentences: a) I went to school to study. rather than watching the play. b) I went to school in order to study. She had noticed that there was a man sitting in the second row of the stalls to her right who was observing her. (b) seems to be all right. Furthermore.formal of these three. Gyonggu. in conclusion. but both are equally possible in both spoken and written English. I had to hack through the undergrowth first. You are right. In order to is normal before a negative infinitive. there may come a day in the not too distant future when a more optimistic outlook is justified.

appear. (Very formal. that may be omitted from the so that construction. etc. We’re going to leave by three so that we don’t get stuck in the rush-hour traffic.. Before stative verbs like know. In order that you may pass the exam. although so that is more common and less formal than in order that. it is more usual to use in order to or so as to: • • I talked to them both for half an hour so as to have a thorough understanding of the problem.. we recommend you read through all your notes. though I wouldn’t recommend that you use it: 266 . These structures are also frequently used to talk about purpose. seem. understand. So that.• • In order not to oversleep. Jamie had an afternoon nap so that he wouldn’t fall asleep at the concert later. He’s staying on in Australia for nine more months in order to perfect his English. We can also use so as to instead of in order to and it carries the same degree of explicitness or formality: • • We moved house last year so as to be closer to our children and grandchildren. I walked very slowly across the room with the drinks in order not to spill them. Compare the following: • • He’s staying on in Australia for nine more months so that he can perfect his English./ in order that . we recommend you read through all your notes. Listen out for this variation. We’re going to leave by three so as not to get stuck in the rush-hour traffic.) In order to pass the exam. I followed her around all day in order to know whether she had any intention of meeting him. Note that these structures are normally used with (modal) auxiliary verbs. (Less formal. I gave him a cheque in advance to ease his financial problems and so as not to delay the building work..) • • • • • • Note that in informal colloquial English.. have. Jamie had an afternoon nap in order not to fall asleep at the concert later. I set the alarm for seven o’clock.

The fancy-dress party. where / in which / at which In which and at which are sometimes used as more precise sounding alternatives to where to introduce relative clauses after nouns referring to place: • • • • Near where I live there's a wood where you can find woodpeckers. My new camera which I bought on the internet last week is broken. David Cho from South Korea writes: 'I have difficulty in using 'in which'. where to introduce them in order to identify people and things or to give more information about them. position of prepositions Note that in questions the preposition is more frequently placed at the end of the 267 . etc. The fancy-dress party. The day on which I'm forced to give up riding will be a sad day for me. was held in Manhatten.• • • I’ll come early so we can have a good chat before Denise arrives. where the men all turned up as gangsters. • • • That boy who is standing at the bus stop over there is my little brother. I’ve bought a video camera so I can film the children as they grow up. The High Street jeweller's which bought and sold silver and where you could get a good price by bargaining has closed down. 'on which'. Near where I live there's a wood in which you can find woodpeckers. relative clauses We use relative clauses and relative pronouns like who. Please explain more about relative clauses such as 'of which'. I think. 'where'. sometimes not. We shall wear warm clothes when we go camping in October so we don’t get cold. at which the men all turned up as gangsters. 'by which'. It is one of the relative clauses. Sometimes I understand it. which. when / on which On which is sometimes used as a more precise sounding alternative to when to introduce relative clauses after nouns referring to time: • • The day when I'm forced to give up riding will be a sad day for me. was held in Manhatten.

under which fairies were sitting. He works for a spy network (which) I know nothing about. Note from examples above and below that putting the preposition at the end of the clause is usually also possible in statements: • • • • The people with whom he worked have all been arrested. the prepositions retain their original meaning. Compare the following: • • • • • • That post marks the beginning of the mined area. An Austrian naturalist. It can also be placed before the relative pronoun where it sounds more formal: • • • • • • • • In which street does he live? Which street does he live in? He lives in the street where all the houses are surrounded by high fences. that in statements when the preposition is placed at the end of the clause. about which I know nothing. We passed a giant toadstool in the forest. 268 . They had collected the sap from the sugar maple trees. He lives in the street in which the houses are surrounded by high fences For which organisation does he work? Which organisation does he work for? He works for a spy network. with whom I worked closely in the Eighties. discovered this particular orchid. from which maple syrup is manufactured. In the clearing lay the badly injured soldier. Before us we could see a forest orchid of which there are many varieties. we can use that instead of who or which or we can omit the relative pronoun completely! preposition + relative pronoun A wide range of prepositions are often used in prepositional structures with relative pronouns who and which to introduce relative clauses. (Informal) This is the bedroom in which he was murdered.clause. In most cases. (Formal) This is the bedroom (that) he was murdered in. beyond which it is inadvisable to go. above whom birds of prey were circling. (Formal) The people (who) he worked with have all been arrested. (Informal) Note from these examples.

contrasting ideas: • • • • Haven't you finished that work yet? Come on. Here are some of the most common.Note that when the relative pronoun is placed immediately after the preposition we can't use who instead of whom. spoken language. We use a very wide variety of linking adverbs. Ken Peng from Malaysia writes: What are linking adverbs . Get a move on! I have yet / still to see an English orchid as beautiful as those in the rain forests of Brazil. He claims he is a vegetarian. Would you please explain to me how to use those terms correctly? Linking adverbs Linking adverbs are adverbs that are used to link ideas or clauses in spoken discourse or written text. Some are more commonly used in formal written English. In the examples below. whilst others are more characteristic of informal.and are they also called conjunctive adverbs? Xiao Ling from China writes: I'm having difficulty distinguishing some linking devices like however.please give me some examples . adding information to the verb. etc. They could also be called conjunctive adverbs in so far as they perform the same sort of function as conjunctions. nevertheless. (and) yet he eats everything my mother puts in front of him. But still is very informal. yet is semi-formal. and as linking adverbs. Yet / but still Yet and but still are used to link contrasting ideas together. whereas. I've cautioned him three times already for arriving late for work. and we can't use that or zero pronoun either. note how different meaning and usage is when they are employed as adverbs. But he still turned up ten minutes late again this morning. 269 .

but not as well. and Jeremy's coming as well / too. It is. meaning also or in addition. I play quite well. I need a larger size. however. However / nevertheless As linking adverbs.Note that yet as a linking adverb can only be placed in front position in the clause. nevertheless. Oh. they are unlikely to rise as sharply next year. I would be the first to admit that prices have risen sharply this year. mid or end position in the clause. His advisers were not so certain. He always remains cheerful. and as linking adverbs. Still can be placed before or immediately after the subject: but he still… / but still he…. however and nevertheless are used to emphasize a contrast with what has been said or written before which may appear surprising to the listener or reader: • • • • It is clear that prices have been rising steadily throughout this year. My birthday's on the sixth of June. unlikely that they will continue to rise as quickly next year. ~ That's funny. meaning in addition: • • • • This T-shirt is too small for me. 270 . which would be a more formal equivalent. As well / too As well and too are linking adverbs. although in a more formal style too can be placed immediately after the subject: • You like Beethoven. We're all going to Cornwall for our holidays this year. Nevertheless. Note that too and as well as linking adverbs are normally placed in end position in the clause. however. But his life has been beset by constant illness. Again. I certainly can't play the piano as well as she does. Note that however and nevertheless reflect more formal usage and that both can come in front. My birthday's on the sixth of June too / as well. The politician was confident of success. Katerina is good enough to be a concert pianist. I too am fond of Beethoven's music. note the difference in meaning and usage when they are employed as adverbs modifying the adjective or adding information to the verb.

“I listen to the news on the radio and I listened to the drama programme on the radio. Could you please tell me how you would classify it? Karen Adams answers: This is a really interesting question. As conjunctions they can only come at front position in the clause • • • • It rains quite a lot in England in the summer months whereas rain in Spain in the summer is a rare occurrence. both the listener and the speaker know that this information is shared so they don’t need to say it. in the sentence: “I drove to work." The other person replied: "nor I you. but I know it is grammatically correct.” You wouldn’t really expect to hear “I” said twice.Whereas / while Whereas and while are both conjunctions which we use as linking devices to balance ideas or contrasting points in a more formal style of English. While I don't mind you having the occasional glass of wine.” 271 . “I listened” so “I listened to the news and the drama programme on the radio.” The person who is answering really means “nor will I ever forget you. for example. and then I parked the car in the car park. A less formal equivalent which might be used in more informal contexts would be the connecting phrase: on the other hand. the question does give us a very clear example of something which is very common in English. So normally you would hear “I drove to work and parked in the car park. the speaker and the listener already know.” This gives us all of the new information. On the other hand. In this case. Ellipses is missing out what you.” We miss out the second “I” because we already know that it’s there. A question from Paul Zaffaroni in Mexico: Several years ago I heard this dialogue in a movie: "I will never forget you. In Paul’s example. However. but it misses out the things which we know already. it may rain a lot and then we could return home earlier. we have “I will never forget you” and “nor I you. drinking too much is not in order." I have never heard this kind of reply before. You can find much more common examples of ellipses in everyday language. But before we begin I do need to say that it sounds as if Paul has been watching a very old English film. It’s an example of ellipses. Perhaps we should spend the whole week under canvas. because the phrase “nor I you” isn’t really something you would hear nowadays in British English.” However. Similarly.” You would normally say “I listened to the news and the drama programme on the radio.

One important thing to remember. felt. we tend to drop them out. Ellipses also feature in sentences where we know exactly what the speaker is saying. especially in informal speech: I discovered Julian had borrowed my car without my permission. “he is as tall as I” is the more correct. And in Paul’s example “I will never forget you”…“nor I you” . discovered. So for example: “he is as tall as I am. to omit that. “nor I you” is the more correct. for example. grammatically. but he thought it would be all right. Saulo. joining two parts of the sentence. thought. these days “he’s as tall as me. We try to be as economical as possible when we speak. it is quite natural to omit that.? There are a number of instances in English.. So in our example “he is as tall as I” normally in British English you would hear. knew.” We don’t need the “am” as it doesn’t add any new information.” And the person who’s listening may say “and I you.” However. Therefore.this is something you’re actually unlikely to hear these days in British English. Do try to listen out for ellipses in everyday language. “and I will always love you. you may hear in a film. however. using only the words which will give the listener the information which he or she needs. if we’re repeating information or adding in extra words which don’t give any more information. found (out)..We can think of lots of other examples if we can think of the example of love and forgetting. in our examples. where it is possible.” However. that as conjunction with reporting verbs In your first example sentence. 272 .” But they don’t need to repeat the words which the other speaker has already said. After verbs like learned. I felt he was wrong to do this. is that sometimes. grammatically. and they may drop off a final word. “I will always love you. ellipses can sound a little old fashioned. but in the sentence The work I do is very important it is not included.” What they mean is.” You may actually hear someone say “he is as tall as I. Shouldn't it be: The work that I do. Probably the person answering would say “me neither. This is what ellipses are. even desirable. In the sentence: Today we learned that the university is going to close the math department it is necessary to include that. that is used as a conjunction.

After the more common reporting verbs, (e.g. say, tell) it is also entirely natural to omit that in informal speech: I told him I'd be back by ten o'clock but he said he needed me here by nine. After certain verbs (e.g. replied, shouted) that cannot be omitted and it is not normally dropped after nouns: The Dean of the Humanities Faculty informed the students that the drama dept was going to close. He left a message on my voice mail that he was leaving immediately for Vienna. I replied (to his message) that he should remain in Britain. He shouted at me that he was fed up with living in Britain. omitting that in two-word conjunctions There are a number of two-word conjunctions where that may be omitted. These include so that and now that which we can use to talk about purpose and result and providing that and provided that which we can use to talk about imposing conditions. In a more formal style we may prefer to retain that, but in an informal style it is often omitted. Compare the following: We intend to send her to Brazil so that she can perfect her Portuguese. I spent Easter with Anneke in Switzerland so I could learn to ski. Now that we've joined the EU, prices are sure to rise. Now the exams are over I can lie in bed all morning. Provided that / providing that you sign the contract before we join the EU, you won't have to pay VAT. You can borrow my DVD player, providing / provided you return it on Monday. omitting that as relative pronoun In your second example sentence, Saulo, that is used as a relative pronoun, introducing a relative clause. When that is the object in a relative clause, as in your example, we normally leave it out: The work (that / which) she does for this company is much appreciated. The representatives of the company (that / who) I met in Portugal were very helpful. Note from the above examples that that can be used to refer to both things and people, whereas which as a relative pronoun can only refer to things and who can only refer to people.


Note also that when the relative pronoun is the subject of a relative clause, it has to be included. It cannot be omitted then: Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands that / which lies to the north east of Mallorca. We have a number of friends who / that have built holiday homes on the island.

Tamas Hoczat from Hungary writes: I’m learning about relative clauses. I’ve got two sentences: • • At the end of the street there is a path leading to the river. At the end of the street there is a path that leads to the river. Are both of them correct? Which one should I use? Thank you for helping me. Both are perfectly correct and sound perfectly natural in this example, so use either or both. Generally speaking, the participial clause, starting with -ing or -ed, is more characteristic of written English, as it allows us to say the same thing as a relative clause, starting with who, which or that, but with fewer words. Participial clauses are also frequently heard in radio and TV news broadcasts (as well as newspaper articles and reports) as they permit a lot of information to be compressed into a limited amount of time. This is one reason why they are often difficult for a learner of English to follow. The reporting of The Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs’ arrival back in the UK a couple of weeks ago as he stepped off the plane after 35 years on the run in Australia and Brazil was reported as follows: "The only glimpse of Biggs, dressed in blue shirt and green sweater, lasted only a few seconds. Lawyers acting for Biggs have said they will seek a hearing before the Court of Appeal". A participial clause, starting with –ed or past participle, is used instead of a relative pronoun plus passive voice. Study these further examples: • • • • Food sold (= which is sold) in this supermarket is of the highest quality. Anyone found touching (= who is found ) these priceless exhibits will be escorted out of the museum. The tailback on the A34 caused ( = which was caused / which had been caused) by the head-on collision stretched for over 20 miles in both directions. It took the ambulances called ( = that were called / that had been called) to the scene over half an hour to get through.

A participial clause, starting with -ing is used instead of a relative pronoun plus active verb, continuous or simple.


• • • • •

The train now arriving (= which is now arriving) at platform 1 is the 6.36 from Newcastle. There are delays for people travelling to work (= who are travelling to work) on Southern Region trains this morning. Anyone touching (= who touches ) these priceless exhibits will be escorted out of the museum. The police impounded all the vehicles belonging to (= which belonged to) his brother. The boy driving (= who was driving) the BMW was underage, unlicensed and over the limit.

Note that when we are talking about a single completed action in a defining relative clause, we cannot use an active participle: • The girl who fell down the cliff broke her leg. (NOT: The girl falling down cliff…)

What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences: Seeing an accident ahead, I stopped my car. Having seen an accident ahead, I stopped my car. There is not very much difference in meaning between these two pairs of sentences. Sometimes we can use an -ing or past participle clause with similar meanings, as here, although use of the past participle form emphasises that the first action has been completed before the second action begins. Thus, we could paraphrase these two sentences as follows: Having seen an accident ahead, I stopped my car. I noticed that there had been an accident ahead and stopped my car. Seeing an accident ahead, I stopped my car. When I saw the accident ahead, I stopped my car. In general, we tend not to use participle clauses so much in speech. They are too formal. In speech we would probably say: I saw an accident ahead, so I stopped my car. However, in written English participial clauses can be very useful. As you can see from the examples above, when the subject in the participle clause is the same as the participle in the main clause, they enable us to say the same thing, but with fewer words. participial clauses = adverbial clauses


Participial clauses often express condition, reason, cause, result or time in a similar way to full adverbial clauses, only more economically. Compare the following: Used sparingly, this face cream should last you until Christmas. If you use it sparingly, this face cream should last you until Christmas. Having taken the wrong train, I found myself in Bath, not Bristol. Because I had taken the wrong train, I found myself in Bath, not Bristol. Passing the theatre on my right, I walked up the steps and could see all the lights on the Thames ahead of me. After I had passed the theatre on my right, I walked up the steps and could see all the lights on the Thames ahead of me. Note from the above examples that the -ing form participle is used to talk about past, as well as present events, e.g.: Talking to you I always feel that my problems will be solved. By talking to you, I always feel that my problems will be solved. participle clauses following conjunctions and prepositions Participle clauses, with -ing particularly, can be used after various conjunctions and prepositions, such as: when, while, before, after, on, without, instead of. Note the following examples: Remember to take all your belongings with you when leaving the train. I sprained my ankle while playing tennis. Before entering the mosque you must take off your shoes. After taking everything into consideration, we decided to sell the house. After having driven 300 miles across country, I arrived to find the house had been sold. On hearing that my sister was planning to marry him, I decided to leave the flat to her. Without wanting to seem rude, I must tell you that you are ungrateful. Instead of listening to my advice, she walked out without saying goodbye.

Note from the above examples that the participle clause normally, but not invariably, comes in front of the main clause.

negative participle clauses Negative participle clauses are also possible, in which case not normally comes before the -ing form or past participle: Not having had a shower for two days, I was desperate to get to the bathroom. Whilst not wishing to appear impolite, I must ask you to leave so that I can make a private telephone call.


having been + past participle Note that this passive structure can also be used in participle clauses as an alternative to a since-clause: Having been invited to the party by Prince William himself, we could hardly refuse to go. ( = Since we had been invited…) Having been deprived of food for over twenty days, the castaway was fed intravenously at first. Having been unemployed for over two years, I found it difficult to get work.

'since' as time preposition, conjunction and adverb Is it correct to use the present perfect after since, for example: Mr and Mrs Smith have been quarrelling since they’ve been married. They’ve been happy since they’ve lived here. I was taught that since introduces a date, not a period of time, and no grammar has given me a clear explanation on that question. Thank you. Since is used in a variety of different ways, both with the present perfect and with other tenses. 'since' as preposition When it is used as a preposition to introduce a date or a specific time in the past, it is normally used with present perfect and past perfect tenses. It refers to a period of time starting at a particular point in the past and continuing up till now (present perfect) or up until another point in the past (past perfect). Compare the following: I haven’t seen my younger brother since 14 July 1998. They’ve been on strike since the beginning of April and there’s no sign of it ending. I hadn’t visited the area since my childhood days and I noticed last summer how everything had changed. 'since' as conjunction Since can also be used as a conjunction, as in your examples, Michele, introducing a clause. The tense in the since-clause can be past or perfect, depending on whether it refers to a point in the past or to a period of time leading up to the present or, in the case of the past perfect, leading up to a point in the past. Since as a conjunction sometimes combines with ever to make ever since. Note also in these examples that present and past tenses are possible in the main clause as well as the present perfect:


We’ve been patronising this pub (ever) since we’ve been living in this village. We’ve been patronising this pub (ever) since we moved to this village. Henry’s been teetotal since we got married. Henry’s been teetotal since we’ve been married. It’s only a week since I met him, but we’re very much in love. It’s only a week since we’ve known each other, but we’re very much in love. They’re a lot happier since they separated. They’re a lot happier since they’ve been living apart. You’re looking much better since you came out of hospital. You’re looking much better since you’ve been out of hospital. It was in the summer of 2001 that I saw her and it was over 20 years since we had last met. 'Do you realize,' I said, 'it’s over 20 years since we last met?' 'since then' / 'ever since' Note that since can also be used as an adverb. Since then refers to a particular point in time and ever since to a period of time. Which one we use depends on whether we want to focus attention on the point in time or on the continuing period of time. Compare the following: She left home in 1992 and hasn’t contacted us since then. The company started losing money in 2002 and has been in serious decline since then. The company started losing money in 2002 and has been in serious decline ever since. I took my final exams five years ago and have been working as a doctor ever since.

Use of 'so' and 'such' Savino Carrella from Naples asks: Could you kindly tell me whether the use of so in the following sentence is correct: 'Miles looked older than his brother, revealing so a strange maturity.' Here so should stand for 'in this way'. If so here means 'in this way' or 'thus', it would normally come immediately after the main clause: • • 'Miles looked older than his brother, so revealing a strange maturity.' ('so' = less formal) 'Miles looked older than his brother, thus revealing a strange maturity.' ('thus' = more formal)


However, if you are using so or such for emphasis to mean 'to a very great degree or extent', their position immediately before the adjective is correct. But take care using these two forms. It has to be such before a noun or before an adjective plus noun. So it will be: • 'Miles looked older than his brother, revealing such a strange maturity.'

So is obviously used in a similar way, but is placed before adjectives standing alone or before adverb plus adjective, thus: • 'She was so indescribably beautiful that we couldn't take our eyes off her.'

Remember: such + noun so + adjective such + adjective + noun so + adverb + adjective The noun with such is normally preceded by the indefinite article: • • • 'We had such a good time at Henry's party.' 'I've been working far too hard today and I've got such a headache now.' 'She really embarrassed me. She is such a fool.'

Occasionally, in certain expressions, when the noun has a gradeable meaning, the indefinite article is dropped: • • • • 'Such lovely countryside (around here)!' 'Such awful weather (these days)!' 'We had such fun at Henry's party!' 'I don't know how you have such patience (when dealing with such awkward customers).'

Frequently heard examples of so in this sense might include: • • • • • • 'I'm so glad you are here!' 'He was so pleased to see her.' 'Don't go so fast! Slow down!' 'What's so funny about that?' 'I'm so tired! It's as if I haven't slept for a week.' 'I love you so much!'

You will already have noticed from at least one of the above examples that so and such are often followed by 'that'-clauses suggesting result or consequence. Note that when plural nouns are used after such, the article is, of course, omitted. • 'I'm so glad (that) you could come!'


• • • • •

'It had been so hot on the journey (that) we had to drink a litre of water when we arrived home.' 'There was so much to do on that holiday (that) nobody ever got bored.' 'They were such good swimmers (that) they had no difficulty swimming across the fast-flowing river.' 'She prepared such good meals (that) no one ever thought of going out to eat.' 'I've got such a high temperature (that) I'm hoping (that) my husband will drive me straight to the surgery when he gets home from work.'

There is one exception to the general rule as set out above and that is that only so can be used with indefinite determiners much and many and it is more usual with little and few when these are followed by a noun. We therefore have the new pattern: so + determiner + noun • • • • 'So many sun-worshippers had crowded on to the beach that there was no space left for my towel.' 'I'm sure there will be so much noise in the restaurant that I shan't be able to hear what anybody is saying.' 'I had so little rest over the weekend that I couldn't go to work on Monday morning.' 'There were so few leaves on the tree that it was pointless to try to shelter from the rain beneath it.'

You cannot say: 'such many sun-worshippers', or 'such much noise' and it would be unusual to say: 'such few leaves' or 'such little rest'.

Finally compare: • • 'Such little people!' ('Little' here is used as an adjective meaning 'small'.) 'So few people!' ('Few' here is used as a determiner meaning 'not very many'.)

You will already have noticed from at least one of the above examples that 'so' and 'such' are often followed by that-clauses suggesting result or consequence. Note that when plural nouns are used after 'such', the article is, of course, omitted. 'I'm so glad (that) you could come!' 'It had been so hot on the journey (that) we had to drink a litre of water when we arrived home.' 'There was so much to do on that holiday (that) nobody ever got bored.' 'They were such good swimmers (that) they had no difficulty swimming across the fast-flowing river.' 'She prepared such good meals (that) no one ever thought of going out to eat.' 'I've got such a high temperature (that) I'm hoping (that) my husband will drive me straight to the surgery when he gets home from work.' Though I have a little question about though. I'm not sure of its many meanings. Sometimes it is in the middle of a sentence and sometimes at the end of a sentence and I get confused.


George Pickering answers: Thank you Raphael for your interesting question. Yes, it's true, you can put though at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of sentences. We can use though, and although, or even though at the beginning of a subordinate clause to mark a contrast with the idea in the main clause. For example: 'Even though he didn't have much time, he stopped to help the old lady.' We can change the order of the two clauses and say: 'He stopped to help the old lady, even though he didn't have much time.' In these examples, though means 'despite the fact that'. We can also put though at the end of the contrasting clause. For example: 'I still find English hard to understand; I can understand more than last year, though!' When placed at the end of a sentence like this, though means 'nevertheless' or 'however'.

Nguyen Tu Thang from Vietnam writes: Could you please explain the use of the word though in sentences where its role seems to be nothing but an added word used at the end of sentences in conversation? Alex from Peru writes: Is the meaning the same when we use even though and even when? I'm quite confused about this.

Though can be used both as a conjunction and as an adverb though as conjunction We usually think of though as a conjunction as the more informal alternative of although, introducing a subordinate clause of contrast. When we use though or although, they introduce an idea that makes the statement in the main clause seem surprising: (Al)though I was late for the meeting, I decided to go nevertheless (Al)though the sausages were past their sell-by date, I ate them and didn't become ill. even though


Note that we use even though as an alternative to though or although when the ideas expressed appear more extreme or surprising:: Even though the earthquake occurred ten days ago, the authorities believe it may still be possible to find survivors under the rubble. though as adverb In your definition of the word, Nguyen, though is used as an adverb with a meaning similar to however. Again it indicates a contrast. Used in this way, it occupies either mid or end position in a sentence and makes the previous statement or idea seem less true or appealing: I thought Steve's essay was very good. ~ Yes, he made some good points and it was good in parts. It was a bit repetitive, though. I drove that new convertible the other day. Very impressive. ~ Isn't it rather expensive, though? It seems he's still suspected of the crime. His main defence, though, is that he spent the evening with his girlfriend and she seems totally credible. even if / even when / even though When we use even before if, when and though, it has the effect of making the ideas expressed appear more extreme or surprising. Even if is used for emphasising that although something might happen, the situation will not change: I shall continue to work from 6 a.m. till midnight, even if it kills me. Even if I became a millionaire, I would not stop working. Even when is used for emphasising that although something happens on a regular basis, the situation does not change: She checks her text messages when you least expect her to, even when she's driving. He never stops talking and goes on and on even when other people are talking. Even though, as we have seen, introduces a fact that makes the main statement in your sentence seem very surprising: Even though she has a degree in business administration, all her business ventures have failed. They made me feel as if I was one of the family, even though I'd never met any of them before. even so


Note that even if, even when and even though are conjunctions, linking two clauses. Even so like though, meaning however, is an adverb and is used for introducing a statement that seems surprising after what has been said before. This time he has kept all the promises he made. Even so, I don't really trust him. I know you know this piece of music off by heart, but, even so, you should follow the score.

Unless and otherwise Haja Najubudeen from Dubai writes: Please help me to use unless and otherwise. Does unless have to be used with a past participle in a sentence? unless = if not Unless is similar in meaning to if not and can be used instead of if not in certain types of conditional sentences. We normally use unless with present tenses when we are referring to the future: You won't get in to see the show, if you don't have reserved seats. OR: Unless you have reserved seats, you won't get in to see the show. Let's play tennis on Saturday, if it's not raining. OR: Let's play tennis on Saturday, unless it's raining. I'll see you at the gym this evening, if you're not too tired. OR: I'll see you at the gym this evening, unless you're too tired. if not However, we cannot use unless in questions: • • • What will you do if you don't pass those exams? If I don't pass those exams, I won't be able to study in Australia I won't be able to study in Australia, unless I pass those exams.

And we cannot use unless with would to talk about unreal future situations: • • If he didn't take everything so seriously, he would be much easier to work with. If he weren't so bad-tempered, I would help him to get the work done

We cannot use unless with would have to talk about unreal situations in the past either:


• •

If you hadn't driven so recklessly, you wouldn't have had this accident. If you hadn't had that last glass of wine, this would never have happened.

unless We have to use unless, and not if not, if we are introducing an idea as an afterthought: • I shan't bother to go to the meeting at the school tonight - unless you want to go, of course.

Note that in written English, as regards punctuation, the afterthought is usually preceded by a dash. unless + past participle Unless can be used with a past participle in a reduced clause, Haja, when you choose to omit the subject words and the auxiliary verbs within the brackets in the examples below: • • Don't shut down these computers unless (you are) instructed to do so. Just log off. Unless (he is) given sufficient warning of the consequences, he will continue to misbehave.

However, this often makes the language produced sound rather formal and in spoken English we would normally retain subject words and auxiliary verbs. otherwise = apart from this / if not Otherwise is used as a linking adverb and has the meaning of apart from this or if we disregard this: • • The sea was very rough and we couldn't swim all week, but otherwise / apart from this we enjoyed ourselves. They all suffered from hypothermia. Otherwise, / Apart from that, they were OK.

It also has the meaning of if not, in the sense of if this does not happen, or if this were not the case, when it is used as a linking device: • • • Remember to use sun cream with high protection when you go down to the beach. Otherwise, / If you don't, you'll get sunburnt within half an hour. Look, we really must hurry. Otherwise, / If we don't, we'll miss the train. He must be quite intelligent. Otherwise, he wouldn't have got into university. / If he wasn't, he wouldn't have got into university.

What or that? and noun-verb collocations


Maria. What cannot be used as a relative pronoun coming after a noun or pronoun.Maria Grazia Rinieri from Italy writes: I have two questions. Noun-verb collocations In your example. The only thing that keeps me awake at night is wondering if the house is properly insured. Or. 285 . or must I use subject or topic instead of arguments and the verb dealt with instead of treated? What or that? Yes. is it a mistake to say all what I have done instead of all that I have done? Secondly. the verb which best collocates with arguments here is raised. The paintings (that) I bought are now hanging on the walls in my house. I haven't done his homework for him. What he does in his free time doesn't interest me. What can. Note that that cannot be omitted if it is the subject of the relative clause as in the last example below: • • • Everything (that) you ordered is now in the shop and can be collected. we can simply omit it. I don't remember what time he went to bed last night. Here are some more examples. (what = the time at which) I have no idea about what happened after I left. Firstly. not do it for him. We have to use the relative pronoun that and say: All that I have done…. so the sentence would read: • The students gave their feedback on the arguments raised by their teacher. however. be used to introduce a clause where it combines the function of noun and relative pronoun and means that which or the thing(s) that: • • • • What I did was help him with his homework. it is a mistake to say: All what I have done…. if that is the object of the relative clause as in this example. of students gave their feedback on certain arguments. use zero pronoun instead and say: All I've done… • All (that) I've done is to offer to help him with his homework. I would like to know if it's possible to write: students gave their feedback on the arguments treated by the teacher.

it's very important to develop an understanding of words that regularly occur together. How do you propose to treat this topic when you are writing about Napoleon? In language learning. 'that' is less formal. and it can be used for both people and things in some relative clauses. One of the alternatives listed is the best fit or the normal collocation. And crocodiles seal their nests for protection against predators. birds and insects all build their nests. We normally would not say that. I am calling from India. So I could say. We do not usually treat arguments.Collocation (or co-location if you like) refers to the way in which some words regularly occur together. we raise arguments or discuss arguments. in a relative clause. the baby crocodiles proceed/ hatch/appear/arise from the eggs after about twelve weeks. 'the 286 . 'the bridge which crosses the Ganges'. and my question is: 'When do we use 'which' and when do we use 'that'? What are the constraints. But if they are lucky. She then closes/shuts down/seals/binds the nest for protection against predators. and 'which' for things. • • His injuries were serious and could only properly be treated in hospital. Hello. • The female crocodile usually assembles/builds/manufactures/erects her nest on the banks of a river. Now scroll down the page to check your selections Crocodiles. So we can say: 'the man who came to dinner'. the baby crocodiles will hatch from the eggs after twelve weeks. or 'the bridge which crosses the Ganges up river from here'. If they are unlucky. if we are talking about wounds or injuries. their nests might be disturbed by predators. what are the conditions under which we use these two words? Catherine Walter answers: OK . Provided the nests are not molested/assaulted/bothered/disturbed. We might also treat a topic or subject if we are writing an essay as an alternative to dealing with it. I'm assuming that you mean in what we call relative clauses since this is where the confusion usually occurs.that's a good question. So: 'the man who came to dinner'. less formally: 'the man that came to dinner'. I am Vaibhav. She normally lays/releases/drops/spawns about fifty eggs. these are the things we treat. However. Instead. we can use 'who' or 'whom' for people. Now. Now. Test your knowledge of these noun-verb collocations in the text below. Choose that one. They lay their eggs.

who / which / that Who. Thanks in advance.bridge that crosses the Ganges'. Isabelle. there is a group of presidents who are meeting in the conference: 'the president who is from India'. she. which or that? I would be very grateful if you could explain how to choose between which and that in a sentence. So. So. 'the president that is from India' . instead of 'the president that's not coming there'. If there are several presidents and you want to talk about 'the president that is coming there'. and you can not use 'that' if you are talking about: 'Waterloo Bridge. You have to say 'who': 'the president who is coming to the conference'. that's when you use 'which' for identifying relative clauses and for non-identifying relative clauses. Let's take a closer look. I don't need 'who came to dinner' to define Mr Swan. I've already identified him. But. But that can refer to both people and things. This is a great problem for me. 287 . As relative can't use 'which' for a president.I know a German web artist who designed web pages for Lufthansa. Do you know anyone that could help me design web pages? . who can only refer to people and which can only refer to things. Is that clear? Vaibhav responds: Can we take certain examples for this. but you can only use 'that' informally for identifying relative clauses. But if by saying 'the president' it's clear that you mean only one person. because a president is a person. You can use 'who' or 'that'. They can be used as the subjects of verbs in relative clauses. you can not use 'that' in that sentence. That when it refers to people denotes an informal style of English. 'the president which is from India'. but if I said: 'Mr Swan. That can even be used as an alternative to who. which and that are all relative pronouns and are used to introduce relative clauses. like. which crosses the Thames up river from here'. which and that replace he. That and which can be used interchangeably in most circumstances. 'that' can only be used in what we call identifying relative clauses and those are clauses where you need the information to understand what you're talking about. Compare the following: Who is the woman wearing dark glasses who arrived five minutes ago? 'The Office' is a TV sit-com which / that is not suitable for young children. it and they and enable us to join two clauses which would otherwise be separate.which one is correct? Catherine Walter replies: OK . Note that who. who came to dinner'. Those were both identifying relative clauses. then you can not use 'that'.

Compare the following: She's now living with the musician that / who she met at the pop concert. 'The Office' is a British TV sit-com. which and that function as object relative pronouns. we have to use which: The explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran in seven marathons in five different continents recently which is amazing for a man of 59 who had a heart attack six months ago. Here which replaces this: 288 . The thing that amazes me is how wide his interests were. Where are the Radiohead CDs your brother borrowed last week? that rather than which After quantifiers like everything. Where are the Radiohead CDs which / that your brother borrowed last week? Where are the Radiohead CDs? Your brother borrowed them last week. which but not that Where the relative pronoun refers to the whole of the previous clause. Who.Who is the woman wearing dark glasses? She arrived five minutes ago. and not just to the noun that precedes it. We can use whom instead of who as an object relative pronoun in a more formal style of English. It is not suitable for young children. all and after the thing… we normally use that rather than which: Everything that is in this room once belonged to Elton John. He designed web pages for Lufthansa. She met him at the pop concert. All that will be left after the auction are a few candlestick holders. which and that can also be used in a similar way as the objects of verbs in relative clauses in which case they replace him. Note that when who. that cannot be used. I know a German web artist. it and them. In these instances. they are often left out of the sentence altogether:. her. She's now living with the musician she met at the pop concert. She's now living with the musician whom she met at the pop concert. She's now living with the musician. something.

we try to take that preposition and put it into the middle of the sentence. for example.” The important thing to remember is this is found in very formal written English and when we’re speaking we would normally put the preposition at the end of the sentence. The last symphony (that) he composed was the ninth symphony. However. which but not that in non-identifying relative clauses In non-identifying relative clauses. Compare the following pairs of identifying and non-identifying relative clauses: Have you got any pieces for the guitar that are easy to play? I lent him The Rain in Spain and Japanese Folk Song.” It’s the verb “interested” that tells us we need to use the preposition “in”. of which. nonessential information and are separated by commas. which is the relative pronoun that is normally used. This is amazing for a man of 59 who had a double heart bypass operation six months ago. Similarly.” “That’s the university which I studied at.” “That’s a song I’ve heard of. So.” Another way of saying this is “That’s the film I’m interested in. which was composed in the final year of his life. for which – which one do we choose? Basically. with “at which” – “that’s the university at which I studied.” “That’s the film in which I’m interested. which usually serve to provide additional. The ninth symphony.The explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran in seven marathons in five different continents recently.” Another way of saying this is “That’s the university which I studied at. 'at which'. we try to avoid putting the preposition at the end of the sentence.” But when were writing formal English.” It’s the verb “study” that tells us we need to use the preposition “at”. 289 . 'of which' or 'for which'? Karen Adams answers: Thanks very much for your question Annie. in written English. That would be unusual.we might say “That’s the film in which I’m interested. So let’s look at the first one – the prepositions that you’ve given us are in which. So it’s not really a big problem. which are easy to play. This is where we need to use the relative pronoun which – “That’s the university I studied at.” “That’s the university at which I studied. was not performed until after this death How do we know whether we should say 'in which'. if we take the phrase “in which” . at which. it actually gives us two questions in one. our choice of preposition is governed by the verb that relates to it. We can say “That’s the film I’m interested in.” “That’s the film I’m interested in.

is a preposition which is use with a noun or noun phrase: • • I first met my future wife during my stay in Casablanca. when/while/meanwhile Sellami Yazid from Algeria writes: What are the differences in use between when and while and when can we use meanwhile? when or while We use both when and while as subordinating conjunctions to introduce adverbial clauses of time. When / While the prison warders were eating their lunch. I hope that helps you. not while. the prisoners escaped. 290 . although they sometimes sounds more formal or literary • • As the sun went down. I sipped a rum and coke on the balcony. which also introduces a longer period of time. Note that during. when not while We use when. Note that we can also use as and whilst in the same way. They mean during the time that and indicate that something is or was happening when something else occurred: • • The prisoners escaped when / while the prison warders were eating their lunch. to talk about something that occurs at the same time as a longer action or event that is described in the main clause: • • I was asleep in my chair when Dora rang to say she wasn't coming home. I sipped a rum and coke on the balcony whilst the sun went slowly down on the horizon. We were playing monopoly when the lights went off. if you want to make your written language very formal then this is where you need to consider putting the preposition into the middle of the sentence before the relative pronoun. I first met my future wife while I was staying in Casablanca.However.

meaning every time that: • • I always visit my mother-in-law when I'm in Manchester. Note in this usage the while-clause is normally placed as the first of the contrasting points. left and right again. simple tenses are also possible. • • When the lights went out. When can also be used instead of whenever. meanwhile = during this time 291 . Note also that it is often possible to omit subject + be in when. not another power cut!" When I was a little boy. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing the food. I cooked the supper while Jenny did the ironing.and whileclauses if the main and subordinate clauses refer to the same subject: • • When (you are) crossing the road. While I was writing my Christmas cards. Note from the above examples that while a progressive tense is normally used to describe the longer action associated with a while time clause. while not when We often prefer while to when to describe the longer action of two events or to talk about two longer actions that go on simultaneously: • • • Dora left a message on the voice mail while I was asleep in the chair. While the news from the front has so far been good. not while.We also use when. but that was just after the war. They came across human remains while (they were) excavating the site. be careful to look right. it is used to link or balance ideas that contrast each other: • • While I am happy for us all to eat at home. the children were decorating the tree. there will almost certainly be days when we must expect heavy casualties. to talk about one event that happens immediately after another and to talk about periods of time in the past. while to contrast ideas While is not used only used to introduce adverbial clauses of time. power cuts were very frequent. I always visit my mother-in-law whenever I'm in Manchester. In more formal usage. everybody groaned: "Oh no.

In this sense.Meanwhile. a Chinese student studying in the UK asks: How can I use the conjunctions: while and whereas? While to introduce a time clause: While can be used in a number of different ways. meaning during this time.' As you can see from the above examples. note the use that is made of the past continuous in these contexts. It indicates that one event is going on at the same time as another: • • Slice and brush the aubergines with oil and bake in the oven till soft. We use it. I'll check to see that we've got enough oars. particularly in written English. Compare the following: 292 . it is similar to ‘as’ and ‘when’.' 'I remembered that I had a letter to post when I was walking past the post box. is a linking adverb which connects and contrasts ideas between two sentences.' 'While I was recovering in hospital. a while = a short time Note that when while functions as a noun. my wife was enjoying a holiday in Cyprus. first and foremost. Consider the following: • • 'I’ll prepare breakfast while you’re having a shower. my wife was ironing my shirts.' 'While I was reading the newspaper. when we want to talk about things that happen simultaneously. 'while' and 'whereas' Ben Tang. • • • 'I completed the crossword as I was talking on the phone. at the same time. while is particularly useful if we are discussing long actions and wish to draw attention to the duration of the activities.' Note that if the subject is the same in both clauses. Where have you been? Let's just wait a little while longer. a participial construction may be used. it is nearly always used with an indefinite article: • • I haven't seen you around for a while. All of these conjunctions can serve to introduce a longer background situation which started before the shorter action. Meanwhile. He's bound to turn up eventually. Consider the following and. melt some butter in a small pan… Why don't you prepare the boats ready for the water?Meanwhile.

Let’s look at its function as a conjunction first of all. Consider the following: • • • 'While I like all types of fish.' 'Britain secured only one gold medal in Atlanta four years ago.• • 'She completed her first novel while working for the local newspaper. At Sydney 2000. each other. whereas others never do.' Note that whilst we would use while or whereas within sentences to contrast two ideas. 293 . my girlfriend always chooses meat dishes when we go out to eat. yet as conjunction You are right.' 'Britain secured only one gold medal in Atlanta four years ago. it is similar to whereas. but do not contradict. Compare the following: • • • • 'In the UK the hottest month of the year is usually July.' 'Some married couples argue all time. ~Did you receive the book? ~Not yet. It is also used to balance two ideas that contrast with. we ended up with eleven. But is a co-ordinating conjunction used to contrast two statements: • They can speak Arabic but they can’t read or write it. Viji. The problem is that yet can be used as an adverb as well as a co-ordinating conjunction. Yet is similar in meaning to but. But people also say: not yet. whereas in southern Europe the hottest period is usually in August. while at Sydney 2000 we ended up with eleven.' 'In the UK the hottest month of the year is usually July. while our children always want the seaside. On the other hand.' 'She completed her first novel while she was working for the local newspaper. This is confusing.' 'We would always choose somewhere in the mountains for a holiday. In this sense. however.' while / whereas to link two ideas that contrast with each other: Note that while does not always refer to time. in southern Europe the hottest period is usually in August. 'yet' as conjunction and adverb Viji Palaniappan from India writes: Yet is similar in meaning to but. across sentences we would need to use ‘however’ or ‘on the other hand’.

it is used to talk about something over a period of time. it is emphatic. We are saying that we are very surprised that it hasn’t happened. Nevertheless. though in American English you will sometimes hear it used with the past tense. He had not slept for three nights. the people I work with are very nice. / They’re still not ripe. 294 . he refused to give up in his attempt to cross the Atlantic. It is normally used with present and perfect tenses. You can be very annoying at times. We sometimes put and in front of yet when it is used in this way or use even so as an alternative to yet or and yet: • • She can play the piano very well. The yachtsman had lost all sense of direction. In colloquial spoken English. yet he refused to give up in his attempt to cross the Atlantic. yet she can’t read music at all. he kept going and crossed the finishing line ahead of his team mates. When we use still in this way. but still or still are sometimes used as less formal alternatives to yet: • • • The weather was lousy. They’re not ripe yet. Even so. he insisted on going into work the following day. but we still love you. mind you. It rained every day. Still can sometimes be used as an alternative to yet. However. We use yet as the preferred alternative to but when we want to emphasise that contrast to achieve a stronger effect: • • She can play the piano very well. Mind you. The yachtsman had lost all sense of direction. However and nevertheless are sometimes used as more formal alternatives to yet: • • He had no chance of winning the race or even of coming in the first six. we managed to enjoy ourselves. and yet she can’t read music at all. I don’t like the work very much. Compare the following: • Don’t eat the plums. Still. yet as adverb When yet is used as an adverb.• He tried to book a holiday on Bali. up till now: • • Is lunch ready yet? Are the Hunts back from their holiday yet? It is often used with the negative when you are saying that up to the present time something has not happened. but he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

but it is sometimes used in affirmative sentences in a more formal style: • • I have yet to meet the man I wish to marry. but it was unusually cold. 'for example' and 'for instance' Nick Leung asks: What's the difference between 1. yet is normally used with negative sentences and in questions.' In spoken English. Used as a conjunction. I forgot. for example and for instance 1. 2. even though I’ve visited England many times. 'yet' and 'but'. 'so' and 'hence'. We have yet to learn whether there will be any survivors from the earthquake. As we can see from the above examples. so you can say: • 'The cyclists were tired and hungry. yet and but. Compare: • • 'The sun was shining and there was no wind. sorry. but of course this is not possible with but. we often begin a sentence with so. Did you phone him yet? No.• • • I haven’t been to Wales or Scotland yet. so he had to go to the cashpoint before he could travel. though hence is much more formal.' 'It is clear to us now that drug abuse can never be beneficial to the user. thus making a link with what has been said before: 295 . So as a linking word between two clauses or sentences is similar in meaning to hence. (and) yet they refused to give up in their attempt to finish the race. but it has a stronger effect on the reader or listener. yet it was unusually cold.' 2. Compare: • • 'Paul didn't have enough money for the train ticket.' 'The sun was shining and there was no wind. I still haven’t been to Wales or Scotland. 3. though I’ve visited England many times. Note that you can put and in front of yet when it comes at the beginning of a clause.' There is perhaps more of a surprise associated with the former statement. so and hence. yet is similar in meaning to but. all but exhausted. hence we seem to have got it wrong in suggesting that it may sometimes be acceptable.

' 'You have all made silly mistakes on this trip. so it is just a matter of personal preference as to which you decide to use: • • 'There are a number of rules you must abide by. -able. failed to secure the boat properly and Adam took the jet ski out when the sea was far too rough. John. -al. For example and for instance are completely interchangeable. For instance. you may not use the swimming pool unsupervised. Consider the following: 296 . industries. For example. -y. -ic. -ible Prefixes and suffixes Anderson Braga Mendes from Brazil asks: I am an English teacher in Brazil and I am in doubt as regards the use of the suffix al. components and certain machines or devices. -ous. for example.' 'So what did you do?' 3.• • 'We couldn't find the key.' -ive. in the sentence: ‘The Electrical Sector plans new measures for next year’ is it: • • ‘The Electrical Sector’ or ‘The Electric Sector’? Is there any rule to solve this sort of problem? Is this kind of mistake common among native speakers of English? Adjectival suffixes: -ic and -ical We use ‘electrical’ to describe systems. -ful. so we couldn't open the door.

' 'Storage heaters are extremely economical because they run on night-time electicity.' 'The atmosphere was electric when Tina Turner came on stage.' However. Economic/economical is similarly difficult. It very much depends upon context as to which one you use.' 'We wanted to make the most economical use of our time as we had only half a day there.' 'The electrical and mechanical engineering industries are doing well at the present time. 297 . Consider the following: • • • 'An electric fire in winter and an electric fan in summer were all I needed.' So in your example.e. if we are talking about making personal economies and saving money.' 'Japan is one of the most technologically advanced nations. i. there is no choice: the adjectival forms are quite clearly ‘scientific’ and ‘technological’: • • 'Scientific investigation revealed that the dinosaur footprints were from the Cretaceous period.' 'My house was full of electrical and electronic (note: not ‘electronical’) equipment. it would have to be: • ‘The Electrical Sector plans new measures for next year’. If we are talking about ‘the economic situation’ or ‘the economic outlook’ of a country.' Other adjectival suffixes are much more clear-cut.' 'My new car has electrically-operated windows. Anderson. we tend to use ‘economical’. We use ‘electric’ to describe things to do with current and voltage. then the adjectival suffix -ic is preferred: • 'The economic outlook in this country is now bleaker than at any time in the last ten years. ‘Economical’ also means using the minimum amount of time or energy. simpler machines and devices and the atmosphere.' Although he came from Genoa in Italy.' 'The electric wiring in this house needs to be renewed. Study the following: • • • • 'This car is not very economical. It only does 15 miles to the gallon. If we are discussing science and technology.' 'Politicians are invariably economical with the truth.• • • • 'Electrical appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers use a lot of electricity. where we are discussing ‘the economy’.

national 298 .that she will leave hospital next week. It was such an . hopeful 7.Christopher Columbus is often thought of as a . fashionable 6. photographic 8.FAME . Many people believe that a diet rich in vitamins is very .HOPE .Spanish explorer. horrific 3.HEALTH -.way to die. It is no longer .exhibition last week.HORROR .present that I was too embarrassed to accept it.FASHION . To be left by the roadside bleeding to death is a . I am .NATION dress at the parade.EXPENSE . healthy 4. Everybody was wearing . Answers 1. expensive wear high platform heels. We went to see an excellent photography . famous 2.

Massimo. while I could not find the corresponding -ise version of most important verbs ending with -ize (realize. it is usually the first two adjectives or the most adjective-like that are hyphenated. etc. 2. scientific reviews and even in your answers to previous questions. not catalog'. but I could not think of anything else at the moment)? 1. Taking your questions in order.)..the river Thames' but also 'the Hudson river'? Why not also 'the lake Como' rather than 'lake Como'? Should one say 'Mount Etna' or 'the Etna Mount'? Why do the speakers of the BBC say 'the Kosovo conflict' rather than 'Kosovo conflict' (I am sorry for this last example. so we have 'a high-quality performance'. etc. like analyse. hyphens and The Lake Como. e. In a standard British dictionary . so it is perhaps useful to standardise on one of these two patterns as far as possible. advertise. 'colour'. while the British prefer the corresponding ones ending with -ise? In a bilingual (Italian to English) dictionary I saw that there are really few verbs ending with -ise. organize. The last question concerns the use of articles before geographical names: Why does one say . a blue-eyed boy'.. it is generally true. for example. 'a ten-dollar note'. Since I prefer British English to American English. 'metre'. magazines. 'analyze' = American English. so we have 'a deep-seated gravitational slope' to use your example. On the other hand I see them spelt as -ise in many newspapers.g. which you would not hyphenate if they were not used as adjectives ( 'that material is of a high quality'. privatise. least-squares problem. Another question is this: what is the rule for hyphenating words. Please tell me if I should definitely convert to -ise. With multiple compounds.e. When you are reading American English.g. 'organsise' or 'organize' whilst for other entries -ize is listed as unmistakably American. not 'program'.-ise or -ize.. the Concise Oxford . not 'color'.g. 'catalogue'. it can be fun to spot the differences.Compound adjectives are usually hyphenated. etc.g.. e. 299 . in expressions like. if there is any. 'traveller'. I would like to know if it is true that verbs (and thus their relative substantives) ending with -ize are more used in the USA. with an expression like 'high and low tide-like phenomena' or 'deep seated gravitational slope deformation phenomena'? 3. not 'meter'. I assume for the sake of consistency you will retain this preference for other spelling options. If you have a preference for British English in this respect. 2. high-quality performance. e. not 'high-quality'). Massimo Vitale from Italy has three questions: 1. that the American preference for -ize is mirrored in British English by a general preference for -ise.. 'programme'. 'analyse' = British English.'realise' or 'realize'. How would one cope. not traveler'.you will often find that both options are possible in British English . or 'a high-quality virtuoso performance'.

they are usually not hyphenated. but so is …an. the Majestic) We generally use no articles with: • • • • • continents (Africa. etc. Compare 'an out-of-work actor'. The USA. Lake Windermere. fisherman). The Netherlands. dustman.and low-tide phenomena. whilst those in scientific or medical professions are often designated with …ist. flight attendant) …man (postman. Vesuvius) Of course. employee) and …ive (representative. The …ist ending is also quite common. The Hague. although a number of patterns emerge. the Middle East) rivers (the Danube. we tend to use the definite article with: • • • • • • • • seas (the Atlantic. The UAE. Unskilled or semi-skilled job-holders are often denoted with …er.. the Grand Palace) cinemas and theatres (the Playhouse. hostess. Nigeria) towns and principal buildings (Ely Cathedral. draughtsman. Headmistress) …ee (trainee. the Lake District. Bulgaria. the Thames) deserts (the Gobi. 300 . But there are many exceptions. Derwent Water) mountains and volcanoes (Everest. The …er suffix is very common.. the Blue Nile. 'high. Etna. but so is …or. there are always exceptions: The UK. the West Indies) areas (the Midlands... the Sahara) hotels and pubs (the Red Lion..Note also the pattern: 'part.. Referring to geographical names or areas. the Pacific. 'She was up to date. fireman. the Andes) island groups (the British Isles. …ess (waitress. shop assistant. South East Asia) counties and countries (Oklahoma. 'an up-to-date account' and 'He was out of work'. barman.' 3. I'm afraid. South America. machine operative). the North Sea) mountain ranges (the Alps. if adjectives are placed after the verb. civil servant. Is there any rule which tells us when to use .and full-time jobs'.er and when to use . Oxford University) lakes (Lake Como. We also have …ant (accountant. It is just a matter of learning them! job title suffixes Ernesto Rocchetti from Italy writes: I've got a question for at the end of a job name? For example: painter or nutritionist There are no rules..' However.

writers write. as in these examples below. supervisors supervise. bus and truck drivers drive their buses and lorries. Their parents are both singers. His older sister's a chemist / pharmacist. My son's got all his stuff in his bedroom: DVD player. actors act. • …ist (but not only …ist) • The whole family are musicians: Ed's a percussionist and pianist. • • …or (but not only …or) • The Managing Director delegated responsibility for the project to the supervisor. video recorder. …er (but not only …er) • Bob's a well-known local builder who employs two plumbers. film projector. Viola's a flautist and cellist and Barry's a French horn player.the author of four books about China. education officers. Note that noun and verb forms relating to common occupations ending in …er and … or are closely linked: teachers teach. none of these children would have suffered abuse. If teachers. child minders and social workers had worked together. a roofer. He's a writer . but he was a poor administrator and would never become a manager. electric can opener. electric toaster. his younger sister's a speech therapist and his mother works as his receptionist and telephonist. camcorder. gas cooker with five burners. • • …an (both …ian and …man) 301 .It is really a matter of leaning them and knowing them. directors direct. actor and journalist. He's a doctor .a general practitioner. Note also that the …er /…or suffixes are also used for machines and equipment that do a particular job: • My kitchen is full of the latest gadgets: dishwasher. sailors sail. three carpenters. blender / liquidiser . I've got name it. but he's also worked as a translator and interpreter. four electricians and half a dozen unskilled labourers. but he wants to become a specialist . Learn them in word families. etc.a gynaecologist and obstetrician.

Here are a few of the most common: • • • • In the Roman Catholic the beginning of adjectives. although if we don't wish to specify the sex of the person.• Did you say you were an optician? ~ No. Your piece of paper should look something like this: 302 . So we might say: 'Aircraft fuel is highly flammable'. but started out as a cook in a twostar hotel. So we might say: 'The material from which these car seats are made is highly inflammable. bishops are senior to priests and in the Anglican Church rectors normally have wider responsibilities than vicars and curates. il-. un-. etc. in usage. Perhaps. Draw half a dozen columns on a large piece of paper and insert a prefix heading in each column. Garnet Teo from Singapore asks: what is the difference please between flammable and inflammable? There is no difference in meaning and little or no difference in use. certain gases or chemicals may be thought of as flammable. I'm a politician. we give them the opposite meaning. His two passions were animals and flying: he never made it as a vet but became a successful pilot. My older brother is the parliamentary librarian. Chemicals. because usually when we add a prefix such as in. gases or cloth materials that are flammable / inflammable catch fire and burn easily. 'Flammable' or 'inflammable'? Negative prefixes. And conversely. In the above example. in-. suffix (but not only .suffix) Note that there are a number of jobs and professions which do not have suffixes such as those outlined above. adverbs and verbs. im-. He's pastry chef at the Dorchester now. All this is somewhat strange. I'm spokesman for international affairs and chairman of the refugee committee. we can use police officer instead. …man can refer to both men or women. But there are no hard and fast patterns. Some people now argue that using …man is sexist and prefer to use spokesperson or chairperson. Perhaps leave one or two columns empty for new prefix headings as they occur to you. cloth materials are usually described as inflammable. She's a nurse on a hospital ward but hopes to be promoted to sister and matron one day.or un. Try this activity.or dis. dis-. My younger brother's a magician. We obviously do not have the same problem with policeman and policewoman.

Answers 1. The first one is done for you. 7. Paris to Madrid in one day. successful: He made an ________________ attempt to climb the highest mountain in the range. 5. 9. Opposite of: happy: We were really unhappy with the way the party was going 1. 4. write in as many adjectives with a negative meaning using these prefixes that you can think of. 6. 8. appropriate: The dress she was wearing was quite _________________ for the occasion. contented: She was __________________ with her life and decided that things had to change. 10. possible: It was quite _________________ for us to drive all the way from 3. over a period of time. responsible: To take the boat out with four children under the age of ten and with no life jackets on board was quite ________________ of him. Print out this exercise. To help you get started.un- im- in- il- dis- ir- Then. fill in the missing words and then check your answers against the answer key. legal: There is no doubt that cannabis will remain an ______________ drug for the foreseeable future. you might like to test your knowledge against these opposites. 2. honest: As a politician he was __________________ and it was not long before nobody trusted him. religious: They were a completely _________________ family and I never thought that one day I would marry one of the daughters. polite: It was very ________________ of him to insult his mother in front of his aunt. 4. 5. 2. perfect: The goods were ________________ and had to be returned to the store we bought them from. 3. An illegal drug Impossible to drive such a distance in one day An unsuccessful attempt Irresponsible behaviour A dress which was inappropriate for the occasion 303 .

It is used to make nouns from adjectives. you will probably find that you end up with many more adjectives in the un. although not every adjective can be modified in this way. Discontented with her life N. He is such a forgetful person. -ness (nouns from adjectives) -ness is one of a number of noun suffixes. Here are some adjectives whose noun forms are made in this way: possible probable responsible complex hilarious scarce 304 .and in. Impolite behaviour 7. -ity (nouns from adjectives) -ity is another noun suffix that is formed from adjectives. An irreligious family 8.columns than in any others.6. Such forgetfulness cannot be excused. Happy hunting! Noun suffixes Yee from Hong Kong writes: I'm not sure how the suffix -ness works. Can we add -ness to all types of words to make nouns? Thanks for your answer. His readiness to have a personal word with everybody at the funeral was much appreciated. There was a lot of sadness in the office when people learned of his illness. you are expected to maintain a high standard of tidiness in your appearance. A dishonest politician 9. If you want to work for such an organisation. Imperfect goods 10. As you complete your table.B. Here are some common adjectives whose noun forms are made by adding -ness: happy sad weak good ready tidy forgetful Note the spelling change to adjectives that end in -y: • • • • • Everybody deserves happiness in their life. To be happy is a basic human right.

Her behaviour was hilarious but hilarity is not easily tolerated in a convent school. or even possibility. Here are some common verbs whose noun forms are made by adding -tion: admit alter inform decide describe multiply Note that adjustments that are necessary to the spelling in each case: • • • • • He admitted he had lied and this admission landed him in court. And I had been on the run for three weeks. -tion / -sion (nouns from verbs) -tion. The scarcity of water was serious. The dress will have to be altered and I'm going to have the alteration done professionally. The decision was easy. Multiplication is the easiest part of arithmetic . less frequently -sion (both pronounced with a 'sh' sound on the initial letter) are noun suffixes that are used to make nouns from verbs. I decided to give myself up. It was a complex operation but such complexities are common in cardiac surgery. of Jason returning home unharmed was remote.Note the spelling changes that occur in these conversions: • • • • • Everything was possible. -ment (nouns from verbs and adjectives) -ment is another suffix that is used to make nouns from verbs and occasionally from adjectives: enjoy • replace appoint arrange merry Enjoyment is the most important thing in life and you simply don't know how to enjoy yourself. I informed the police that I had seen one of the robbers in Margate and this information led to the arrest of the gang. I was given a great deal of responsibility in my new job. but all natural resources were scarce. or. 305 . My description was in all the newspapers.much easier than addition. subtraction or division. but the probability.

Such merriment had not been seen in my mother's house for a long time. 306 .• • • • You will need to replace the broken part and unfortunately replacements cost £350. I had arranged to be there early so that all the arrangements would be in place by the time Yuan arrived. The importance of independence for teenagers should not be underestimated. Admittance to the theatre is not permitted once the show has started. His appearance did not permit him to be admitted. His existence as a writer was threatened when people stopped buying his books. -hood (abstract nouns denoting different kinds of 'families') childhood • motherhood neighbourhood priesthood Childhood and motherhood/fatherhood are two very important stages in our lives. more restrictive noun suffixes (nouns from nouns) -ship (abstract nouns denoting different kinds of relationships) relationship • • friendship partnership membership His friendship with Carole slowly turned into a relationship. I don't know if I shall be appointed to the job but I have an appointment to see the manager this morning. Everyone was quite merry by now. -ance / -ence (nouns from adjectives and verbs) -ance and -ence are suffixes that are used to make nouns from adjectives and sometimes from verbs: absent • • • • • silent independent important admit appear exist Her absence was not noticed during the silence of prayer. I'm going to go into partnership with SIP and that will automatically give me membership of the golf club.

you are describing something as not having or not affected by the thing mentioned. usage prescribes one OR the other. chewing gum. where to begin. Check your answers with those below. 8. prisoners are power The operating theatre was completely germ environment. 2. 3. breakfast cereal. But I can only think of one other example (although there must be more) where they can be used quite interchangeably in this way. 7. 6. Some of the runners tired very quickly. It was an errorless piece of work. There were so many duty goods in the airport shop that we just don't know 4.• The neighbourhood was extremely quiet and the priesthood was attractive to many in this peaceful environment 'Sugarfree' or 'sugarless'? When to add 'less' and when to add '-free' to form an adjective Izida Mladenova from Bulgaria asks: I find it a great idea to help people with their English via the Internet. In the following examples. Test your knowledge by using either less or -free in each example. It was a completely meaning exercise and they made no progress in their work. When there is never any opportunity of being released. Whenever you form the adjective by adding the suffix -less or -free.' Normally. only one is possible. but others among them appeared quite tire It is doubt the case that this prisoner will be extradited. 5. 1. Answers homeless people trouble-free journey duty-free goods meaningless exercise powerless prisoners 307 . So my question is: What's the difference (if any) between the adjectives ending in -less and in -free (Is the chewing gum 'sugarless' or 'sugarfree'?) In your particular example. as in: • 'This piece of work was quite error-free. or food in general can often be described as 'sugarless' or 'sugarfree'. The whole journey was trouble and we arrived at our destination on time. There are many home people sleeping rough on the streets of London.

at for time For clock times we use at. it is added to the verb 'tire' and in the final example. What about 'careless' and 'carefree' you might ask. there is normally no hyphen. 'doubt' can be viewed as either noun or verb. These are both possible. whereas a 'carefree person' is someone who has no worries. Cintia from Brazil and Christine from Austria) have been asking about accurate use of the prepositions on. not on Thursday. A 'careless person' is someone who does not take very much care over what he is doing. 'sugarfree' and 'carefree'. I'm in Leeds all day on Thursday. Can we do it on Thursday? ~ No. at least in the examples I have seen. My birthday is on 26th December and then Mark arrives on 27thDecember. In the penultimate example. but not usually in the question: What time are you leaving for Germany? ~ I shall try to leave at three o' clock. dates and times like Sunday evening or Saturday morning. on Saturday morning I'm normally at the gym. in two of the above examples. we use on: I usually do my homework on Sunday evening. but note that they are not alternatives. They are quite different in meaning. in and on A number of you (Kirill from Russia. on for time For days.germ-free environment tireless runners doubtless the case Note that the suffix 'less' or '-free' is normally added to nouns to form the adjective. 308 . Indeed they are. at and in with time and place phrases. Prepositions & prepositional phrases time and place phrases with at. However. You will have noticed that the suffix '-free' is usually hyphenated and is a stressed syllable (unlike 'less').

I was waiting for at least half an hour at the station.) in for time For centuries. but in 1966 it was England's turn. all. (But note we say at the weekend. weeks. but we could do it next week. this. I never seem to have any money at the end of the month. at Easter and at night. Brazil first won the World Cup in 1958 and then again in 1962. I've got my final exams in May. ~ You shouldn't worry 309 . any: What are you doing this afternoon? ~ I'm busy this afternoon. When in May? In the final week of May. but we say on the 27th of December. and for time phrases such as in the afternoon. 200. I work best in the morning. I couldn't get there in time for the beginning of Jo's concert and missed the opening number. I'm at home all afternoon tomorrow. but I prefer to relax in the afternoon.(Note that we write on 27th December. last. but yesterday it was late. I work from home every Thursday. zero prepositon with time phrases Note that usually no prepositions are used with time phrases beginning with next. seasons.000 people were executed in America for practising witchcraft.53 is always on time. I'll work again in the evening if I have to.) Note also subtle the difference in meaning between the expressions in time (which means before a given time) and on time (which means exactly at that time): The 7. years. so any time would be convenient. but no train came. every. I prefer to take my holidays in the spring and autumn and work in summer when everybody else is on holiday. at Christmas. at for place We use at to specify position at a point: He failed to stop at the traffic lights and went through the light on red. or in the evening we use in: In the 17th Century. if you like. months.

I never have any at the beginning of the month. it was on the bottom shelf at the back. it's in the Czech Republic. ~ Did you find it? ~ Yes. Javier. Generally speaking: • • • in is used to specify position inside larger areas. on is used to specify position on a line or continuum. Compare the following: 310 . it's in the wardrobe ~ Whereabouts in the wardrobe? ~ It's on the fourth shelf at the front. on and in for place: We use in to specify position inside larger areas such as containers.15.about that . ~ Where exactly? ~ In the foyer at 7. They have lots of family photographs on the walls on the landing. 'in' Javier Balsells from Spain asks: Why. I'll meet you at the theatre. Prepositions 'at'. on and in are the main prepositions in English indicating position. or on a newspaper? Pilar Velarde in Peru asks: What are the rules for using to and at? Why is it that you say: I will meet you at the bank and I will go to the bank? Weena Kanagpon from Thailand asks: Which is correct: in the street or on the street? And how about at the village or in the village? At. Compare the following: I live in Ostrava. And I think there is some logic for the preference for one of them over the other two in given situations. towns. rooms. etc and we use on to specify position on a line or continuum. 'on'. Have you seen my yellow T-shirt? ~ Yes. countries. ~ Is that in Slovakia? ~ No. when you are on the beach you walk in the sand? But when you are in the street. you walk on foot? Is there any logical rule to it? Poliang Lin in the USA asks: Do we say we read something in a newspaper. but no curtains at any of the windows. at is used to specify position in a larger place.

' 'They were playing in the sand. Compare the following: • 'I saw it on BBC World. I've read the following sentence recently: I am likely to be late home this evening. we imagine someone surveying the crowds from a distance and in the second example the perspective is from inside the street. Both on and in are therefore possible alternatives in this example. heard about it on the BBC World Service and then read about it in the Guardian Weekly. Weena. which their feet sometimes disappear into.' 3. Weena. we usually have to open the newspaper and look inside. In your example. it depends upon perspective. In your example. 311 .• • • 'They were walking on the beach. It could be anywhere inside or outside the bank. reading their books. although the two people who are arranging the meeting obviously know exactly where they are going to meet and do not need to specify it further. 'I will meet you at the bank' the precise location remains vague to the reader. Compare the following: • • 'I bumped into him at the supermarket. one imagines soft sand.' (Precise location specified) 4. we imagine people at a certain point on their walk along the beach.' (Precise location unspecified) 'I bumped into him at the checkout in the supermarket.' 'They were lying on the warm sand. Prepositional use for common nouns without articles Ilham Sarukhanov from Azerbaijan writes: I'm slightly confused whether to use the preposition at before home or not. Poliang. we read about things in a newspaper. of people walking in the sand.' 'In the street where I live there are speed bumps every fifty yards. In your example.' In the first example. Javier. 2. To find what we are looking for. older children or adults lying on top of the sand. really. so on is most appropriate here. use of an appropriate preposition sometimes depends on how you think about it. but if you said on the sand. Pilar. we would imagine it as hard sand which their feet do not sink into. As we can see. and in the third example. In your example. Therefore in is the most appropriate preposition. in the second example a group of children surrounded by sand and having fun in the sand.' In the first example. 1. Compare the following: • • 'There were crowds of people on the streets.

Home in your example is behaving like an adverb expressing direction. especially in American English. I'll be at home. dinner. even here. It's healthier. Once you arrive home. We do not need a preposition with home when it is used with any verb referring to direction: • I shall be arriving / going / coming / leaving home late this evening. at is often omitted. Is the above sentence wrong? Home / at home Your sentence is fine. I'm going to walk to work from now on. you are then at home and no more direction is suggested. supper by bike/car/bus/taxi/tube/train/plane/boat . tea. but not home. Compare the following: • • • • I made my way to the mosque before sunrise. I arrived at the harbour just as the boat was leaving. so at is then the appropriate preposition to use with home: • Will you be at home tonight or are you going out? ~ No. Note that most verbs expressing direction require the preposition to before the noun. I ran all the way to the theatre so that I wouldn't be late. Ilham.BUT on foot 312 . No article with common nouns Note that there are a number of common fixed expressions with prepositions involving everyday time and place nouns where no article is required: after school / at school / before school / from school /in school to school after university / at university / to university in bed / out of bed / to bed at home / from home / go home / leave home after work / at work/ before work / from work / to/into work /leave work from town / in town / out of town/ to/into town after breakfast* at breakfast* before breakfast* for breakfast* to breakfast* * OR: lunch. ~ I'll pop round and see you then. However.But as a rule in this situation we use the preposition at before home.

school.e. you are signalling when something started. The work that you did on the Tudors was excellent. geography and English. i. piece of work etc. the definite article will normally be required: • • • • • The bed I slept in last night was most uncomfortable. The car you sold me for £500 is unreliable. have fruit juice and muesli for breakfast and then walk to work. but at university I'm going to study psychology. The present perfect is often used with since and for to denote periods of time up to the present. since and for. I'm going into town this afternoon. 'as'. (Note that we do not use present perfect with expressions that refer to a time period that has finished. as. Do you want me to get you anything? I find it difficult to get out of bed. I think it's very confusing. I'll meet you outside the school at eight thirty. Here the simple past is used: 'I went to the cinema three times last week. 'since' and 'for' Agnes Leyen asks: Could you please tell me the difference (in use) between because. The lunch you prepared this morning was delicious. but always exercise for half an hour before breakfast.' 'She has been living in Holland for the last nine years. you are signalling how long something has been going on. It's quicker on foot or by bike. • • However. Compare: • • 'She has been living in Holland since the summer of 1992. At school I studied biology. If you use for.') If you use since with the present perfect or present perfect continuous. It will take you ages to get there if you go by car.' 313 . bed.• • • More and more people work from home these days at least one or two days per week. 'last week' or 'the day before yesterday'. if you are referring to a specified breakfast. The difference in use between 'because'.

' As and since are used when the reason is already well known and is therefore usually less important. I made do with a sandwich. The because clause usually comes at the end: • 'I went to Spain last summer because I wanted the guarantee of sunshine on every day of my holiday.That is one use of since and for. in relation to / with relation to 2.' When to use 'with regard to' and when to use 'regarding' Gauss from germany asks: I am completely confused by the following relationship terms. in connection with 4. They are 'markers' because they help to point out the structure of discourse. concerning They are very similar in meaning and use. 'Discourse' is the term used to denote pieces of speech or writing that are longer than a sentence. It is never placed at the beginning of the sentence and is more characteristic of written. rather than spoken English: • 'I decided to stop the work I was doing . The as or since clause is usually placed at the beginning of the sentence: • • 'As the performance had already started. is to know when and how to use them. we went up to the balcony and occupied some empty seats there. They make clear the connection between what we are going to say and what has come earlier. The key issue. Would you please give me a precise explanation and some proper examples? Are they the same or similar in meaning and in use? 1. 314 . there are important differences between them.' 'Since John had already eaten. as you suggest. These expressions are sometimes known as 'discourse markers'. But since and for can also be used in a similar way to as and because to give the reason for an action or a situation. They are used to focus attention and to signal what we are going to talk about.' For suggests that the reason is given as an afterthought.for it was very late and I wanted to go to bed. Because is used when the reason is the most important part of the sentence or utterance. with regard to / regarding 3. However.

you can go to Italy for Christmas. This is a good question and I'm sure that a lot of people have asked themselves this question.' The expression As far as I'm/we're concerned. I can give you a general answer because vocabulary tends 315 .' A final note about use of concerning. there are clear signs that it is on the wane. One is the question of non-taxable allowances and the other is bonus or productivity payments. the position of this organisation is quite clear.' You could also add 'with reference to' as a further alternative and this would perhaps be most formal of all. Could you kindly explain? Catherine Walter answers: Hello Cindy. I am Cindy Wang from Taiwan.Such discourse markers will often be found at the beginning of a sentence. there was no point in remaining at the site any longer. For an example. The personnel manager of a company is responding to questions from members of staff. Now. is/am/are concerned and as regards link discourse in a similar way.. but as far as whooping cough is concerned / as regards whooping cough. I shall be quite happy here at home..' Note that expressions like as far as. When placed later in a sentence.. 'below' and 'beneath'. let us eavesdrop on this business meeting. With reference to your fax of yesterday. is also used colloquially to indicate that you are stating your own position on something: • • 'As far as we were concerned. They are all fairly formal in tone and characteristic of formal or written discourse. with regard to/in connection with/ concerning the former. but these are slightly less formal and more characteristic of spoken discourse: • 'There is no doubt that in this country infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and diphtheria are on the increase. This expression is frequently used at the beginning of business letters: • 'Dear Ms Irvine. it is sometimes used as an alternative to about or regarding: • • 'He refused to answer any questions concerning his private life....' 'There was much discussion in Parliament concerning the admission of homosexuals to the armed forces. I am pleased to inform you that.' 'As far as I'm concerned. • 'There are two major issues on today's agenda which we should move on to before lunch.' A question from Cindy in Taiwan: Hello.... I searched your archive and did not find a comparison between prepositions 'under'.

'officials said there was nothing under President Bush's jacket'. There are a number of fixed expressions. Both of these words can mean 'in a lower position than'. So.. the eleventh month in 1918. 'an IQ below 80'. if you're talking about something being covered by something. So.. . This often quoted sentence reads like this: • The First World War ended at 11 a..m. or controlled by something or someone. and that you'll enjoy keeping learning about these three fascinating words. or not necessarily immediately under.. Or. the eleventh day . and so what you want to do is just read a lot and note when one is used and when the other is used. or because of certain conditions.. But there are lots of fixed phrases. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. but here goes. 'I hid the key under a rock'. 'beneath' is basically more literal. we say things like.. 'under scrutiny'. Or. So. 'under the age of ten'. First of all. at / around / about / by 316 .. prepositions in time expressions Lydia from China writes: How can I finish this sentence? The First World War ended at 11 a. So what about 'beneath'? Well. not necessarily just touching it..m. 'below the surface of the water'. That might be anywhere below the surface of the water. 'radio waves below 22 kHz'. definitely not immediately under it. So we say. So you say. I hope those will give you some general guide lines. We also use 'under' when we're talking about 'younger than' or 'less than'. if we're visualising a kind of vertical scale. so there's a sense in which they mean the same thing. by extension. to make the difference between 'under' and 'below'. or formal.. But we use them sometimes in different circumstances. and we use it in many of the same senses. 'below the poverty line'. 'under attack'. 'under construction'. 'under arrest'. Whereas we use 'below'. we use 'under'. 'below sea level'. 'under a dozen times'. a lot of expressions about what's happening while something else is going on. 'under fire'. You use 'below' when you're talking about something that's not physically immediately be a bit fuzzy around the edges. 'under the Ceausescu regime'.. 'twenty miles below the earth's surface'. All of those form a kind of a family. 'under pressure'. for example. for example. And. 'below average'. so. 'under these conditions'..

Note that they can both be used as conjunctions introducing clauses as well as prepositions introducing time phrases: • • • Can you work today till seven? ~ No. but I've got no plans for next weekend. On weekdays I get up at seven. When we are speaking though we usually say: the 29th of February 2002. I have to leave at five. Until Tom met Jane. but at weekends I lie in until nine. both children were in bed and asleep. We use around or about when we want to indicate approximate times: • • When does his train get in? ~ Around / About ten o' clock usually. In formal letters it is usually the latter. What are you doing at the weekend? ~ I'm going to see my parents at Easter. Note that we can write dates as 29th February 2002 or 29 February 2002. weekends and public holidays: • • • What time does your train get in? ~ It gets in at five twenty five. She was born on 29th February 2000. Let's meet at Waterloo Station at the end of platform one at five thirty. It can also suggest progression up to a certain time: • • on We use on when we are discussing particular days and in the expression on weekdays: • • • • • My daughter's birthday is on 29th February. By the time I arrived home. Can you stay over till Monday morning? ~ OK. I'm sorry. he had always visited his mum at weekends.We use at when we are discussing precise times.45 if we want to catch the eleven o' clock train. Peter's tennis lessons are on Thursdays at lunchtime. But I'll have to be gone by six thirty. We use by to indicate at or before. till / until Both till and until mean up to the time indicated or up to the time when. so she won't be one till 29th February 2004! My aerobic classes are on Tuesday evenings. but you can never be sure these days! What time should I come? ~ Come about / around eight. not later than. You must be here by / not later than 10. in 317 .

Try not to leave it so long next time. 'On'. zero preposition Note that there are some time expressions. He must have phoned during lunch. I try to have a nap at some point during the afternoon. this. In April. We also say: 'in the morning'. Sometimes twice a day. Consider these further examples: 318 . during We can use during when we are discussing something happening between the beginning and end of an activity: • • • • In / During summer. last. How often do you text message your sister? ~ Every day. every. When the clock strikes twelve. 'in the afternoon' and 'in the night'. These fox cubs were born in the spring. but I'll be in all this week. typically involving all. any. that. winter or spring. Feel free to call any evening. each. I don't mind working in the evening. but can we say 'on September the 29th'? 'at' with time phrases We use at to specify a particular point in time. some.We use in when we are discussing parts of the day or longer periods: • • • • I'm happy to work in the morning. next. Could you please try not to interrupt me during this meeting? There's an answer phone message from John. I was out. ~ In April or May? ~ I'm not sure. Both noon and midnight are very short periods. but I always have a snooze in the afternoon. Phoebe Chiang from Taiwan writes: We use in for longer periods of time. Why can't we say: 'in the noon' or 'in the midnight'? And Marta Fernandez from Spain asks: When do we use in and when do we use on with dates? We say 'in September'. 'in' or 'at' midnight? This week we have two questions about the use of prepositions to indicate time. where no preposition is needed: • • • The last time we met was at Sheila's birthday. But I never bother with siestas during autumn. They'll be ready to leave home and fend for themselves in about three weeks from now. it will be midnight. We would therefore say: at midnight or at noon. but I hate to get up in the night. I think. Where were you last Tuesday? ~ Sorry.

parts of the day.' 'I like to spend some time with my family at Christmas and at Easter. Consider the following examples: • • • • 'My dad prefers to work in the morning.' 'I have to get up at six thirty on weekdays.' Note that although both Christmas and Easter last for a few days. we will tend to write them in one of the following styles: 21 April 2001 on 29th December I'm leaving for Paris (as part of letter heading) (within the body of the letter) 319 . so I'll ring you on 23rd.• • • • • 'We'll meet you in front of the cinema at a quarter to eight.5 seconds!' on with time phrases We use on. Consider the following: • • • 'Do you mind waiting? I shall be ready in about ten minutes. 'At the weekend' follows a similar pattern. Consider the following: • • • 'Could we meet on Sunday morning?' 'No. Marta. not on Sunday. even repeated ones when plural forms are used.' We also use in to describe how much time will pass before something happens or to talk about how long something took or takes. or for longer periods altogether.' 'Why don't we have the meeting sometime in the afternoon on Thursday 5th April?' 'It's my birthday on 22nd April. we prefer to think of them as a particular point in time and therefore use at when referring to them.' 'Our first child was born in 1996.' 'My granny always has a cup of tea at four o' clock in the afternoon. so he'll be five years old in June. you'll receive it in about two weeks' time. Phoebe. morning. I go to church on Sundays. so I'll take it sometime in the autumn. evening.' 'What are you doing at the weekend?' He was born at the end of the 19th Century and died at the end of the 20th.' 'in' with time phrases As you rightly say. though Americans would say 'on the weekend.' 'I can run one hundred metres in 12.' 'If you order it now. afternoon. to refer to particular days and dates. we use in to specify periods of time.' Note that when we specify dates in writing. He's too tired to work in the evening.' 'I can't take my holiday in the summer.

although I think it is more characteristic of American English than British English. zero preposition with time phrases At/in/on are not normally used with time phrases starting with next. Do I mishear them or it it not possible to use on before the name of the day? on We do sometimes omit on in time expressions in informal English. every. So in your first example. note that prepositions are often omitted from time questions starting with What. Our wedding anniversary is on the 22nd of October.' Finally. Compare the following: • • • • • • They will meet on Sunday next week. I'll see you next week. They will meet Sunday next week.' 'Are you free this morning? If not. Our wedding anniversary is the 22nd of October. so come round (at) any time..? or Which…? Look at the following examples: • • 'What time are you leaving?' 'At eight o' clock. Consider the following: • • • 'Last year I made a cake for Jenny's birthday.' 'I'm at home all day tomorrow. We’re going to have a game of tennis on Wednesday evening... some. this. all.' time expressions with 'next'. last. as follows: I'm leaving for Paris on the twenty ninth of December. but I'm free on Thursday.. when we are speaking those dates. we will normally insert the definite article and the preposition of. both versions are possible. I'm leaving for Paris on December the twenty ninth. but this year I'm going to buy one. Anid. We’re going to have a game of tennis Wednesday evening.However. 320 . that. 'last' and 'on' Anid Galon from the Czech Republic writes: I have noticed that in the news to determine the day of some event they say: They will meet Sunday next week or It happened Friday.' 'Which days are you busy next week?' 'I'm busy on Wednesday and Friday.

but the one after that! For your example of a time expression with the past tense. Compare the following: • • • Let me see. ( = at some point during the year) I’ve had diarrhea for the last week. starting now) The last year has been hell! First the divorce. I’ll phone you on Friday. ( = all 12 months. I think we would normally use one of the following formulations: • • It happened last Friday. no. Can you give me something for it? I had diarrhea last week. It happened on Friday. It’s Wednesday now so I’ll give you a ring next Friday.Note that if we say: I’ll see you next Sunday week rather than I’ll see you Sunday next week. then I lost my job! ( = all 12 months up till now) I got divorced last year and I plan to remarry this year. ~ Do you mean this coming Friday or the following one? ~ No. Compare the following: • • • • • • • • I shall be working for the next week and then I shall be on holiday. this coming Friday. Note prepositional use and the use of the present perfect and past simple tenses in the above examples. but not every day) I’m going to have driving lessons next year. We rarely use prepositions with time expressions involving next and last And there is a big difference in meaning and use between next and the next and last and the last. ( = at some point during the year) For the next twelve months I shall be in Birmingham on a post-graduate course. Couldn’t eat anything for three days. ( = starting now for the next five or seven days) I shall do some work next week before I go on holiday. prepositions by and from Lilia from Bulgaria asks: When do we use by and when do we use from? 321 . 'this' or 'next'? Finally. ( = some work. 'next' and 'last' Note the pitfalls when using next and last. I’ll ring you this Friday. doctor. it is not the following Sunday that is intended. we sometimes need to clarify which date we are referring to if it is in the immediate future by using on or this instead of next.

The palace was built by a famous architect. 'by' with passive clauses In passive constructions. everybody had left. When we talk about the tools used for an action we say with rather then by. The only exception to this is when we are talking about the tools used for the operation rather than the agent bringing about the action. by or near? By also means very close to. By the end of the lecture. Compare the following: • • • • She was killed with a kitchen knife. The visiting speaker was introduced by the club chairman. She was killed by an unknown assassin. 'by' to express time By is used to indicate time up to a particular point: • • • I want you to be home by eleven o’ clock (= before eleven OR at eleven at the latest). The palace was built with red bricks from the local brickyard. OR The decision has been approved from the committee. We could turn the passive sentence into an active sentence if we wanted to use from and say: • This decision has received approval from the committee. do we say: • • The decision has been approved by the committee.For example. By the time I arrived. All the roofs on the houses in the village were ripped off by the tornado. Thank you in advance for your explanation. as in your example. But for all passive clauses we need to use by when introducing the person or thing responsible for the action: • • • The walker was killed by a falling tree. 322 . so the first one is correct. nearly everyone was asleep. the agent of the action is always introduced with the prepostion by.

sometimes from ten till six. or will you send it by post? Do you want to pay for this in cash. Compare the following: • • • Why don’t you send it by email? It’s quicker.For example: • Our house is quite close to the sea. Did she come by car? Yes. You can drop by at any time during the afternoon. From now on you must wear a suit and a tie whenever you go to the office. but however you travel. it is no longer a set phrase and the preposition changes. she did. 'by' in common phrases By is used in a number of common phrases. 'despite'. I learnt about it in an email from Richard. I have learnt this piece by heart and don’t need to have the music in front of me. 'although' and 'even though' 323 . by cheque or by credit card? You can get there by air. With other tenses we normally use from. Compare the following: • • The office is open from eight o’ clock. Note the following: • • • • Are you going to deliver that parcel by hand. by rail or by sea. if we put a determiner in front of the noun. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. She turned up in a brand new sports car! from or since? The preposition from indicates the starting point of an action. but I would really like to live right by the sea. 'in spite of'. I have been working on the project since the beginning of September and hope to finish it by the end of October. I shall be here from two onwards. Note. by road. though'. It is often used with to or till which indicates the finishing time of the action: • • • I normally work from nine to five. Note that since is used with the present perfect or past perfect tense to indicate the starting point of the action. however. but I don’t usually arrive before nine.

Reza Fahimi from Tehran asks: I am a beginner in English and want to know about differences between although and in spite of.' 'They decided to get married in spite of the huge differences in their ages. Though is perhaps more common in informal speech and writing. they succeeded in walking to the top of Ben Nevis. to summarise: despite and although: similar meanings. whereas although can be used in a wide variety of styles.there is really very little difference in usage between the two: • • 'Despite the appalling weather. in spite of and although. whilst in spite of and despite are both prepositions. yes.' Though is often used with even in order to give emphasis: • 'I managed to get good results in my exams. even though by example.' 'Although she was commended for completing the Millennium Dome project on time and within is.' So. But the difference in usage is that although. we understood most of what he was saying.' 'Despite his strong Welsh accent.' 324 . Compare: • • • 'Although it was raining heavily. They are similar in meaning. So usage requires: in spite of + noun although + clause despite + noun though + clause even though + clause Although and though can be used in the same way. management felt that it was now time for a new person with different talents to take over. although it was extremely warm in the house as the central heating was on. after all. Compare: • • • 'Our new neighbours are quite nice. Is their meaning equal? B Polat from Turkey asks: I would like to ask if you can explain the differences between the words despite. we finished the game of football. even though I went out four times a week when I was supposed to be revising. but different syntax required.' 'She insisted on keeping her coat on.' Whilst despite might be thought more formal than in spite of . one word rather than three . though and even though are all conjunctions.' 'We finished the game of football in spite of the heavy rain. though. They all serve to record something that is surprising or unexpected. though their dog is a bit of a nuisance.

It was such a sad play. During the school holiday period in the summer all the campsites are full. If the activity continues for a period of time. During wars food is often rationed. Compare the following: • • I sometimes wake up during the night and then I can't go back to sleep again. These hotels are usually fully booked throughout the summer season. Please help me. Although. we understood most of what he was saying. Sylwia from Poland writes: I can't distinguish the uses of until and by when referring to time. We sometimes use in as an alternative to during to talk about something that happens within a particular period of time: • • I sometimes wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep again.' marking time: during / for / by / until Bertille from France writes: I'd like to know the differences in use between during and for. I went to work every day that week.• 'Even though he had a strong Welsh accent. we sometimes use over instead of during to describe the specified period: 325 . thus: • • • 'I managed to pass my exams. I cried during the performance. In my fours years as head of this company I have only taken a holiday once. despite and in spite of are normally used as prepositions.' 'Despite being severely handicapped. despite going out four times a week during the revision period.' 'In spite of feeling terribly sick.' One further word. we sometimes use throughout as an alternative to during for emphasis: • • Sugar and cheese continued to be rationed throughout the post war period. during We use during to talk about something that happens at one point within a period of time or to talk about an event that continues throughout a whole period of time. they can also be used in adverbial constructions with -ing. When we are referring to a whole period of time. he managed to complete the race.

By that age she could play almost any tune you asked her to. She learnt to play the piano until she was nine years old. Since is also used to measure the duration of an activity. I've been working for this company for twenty five years.since 1978.• • for Over the last few days. She had learnt to play the piano by the age of nine. As you get older. she quit. We couldn't leave early even if we had finished.I shan't be home till late. We don't need to be at the stadium until the first race is over so we don't need to leave home till eleven o' clock. Note the contrast between by and until in the final examples below: • • • We have to be at the stadium by midday. Note from the above examples that for is used with a wider variety of tenses than since. weather conditions have been steadily improving and a rescue now seems possible I don't intend to do very much over the summer . but it describes the starting point up to a given time and is most often associated with present perfect and past perfect tenses: • • • I've been working for the BBC for a long time . it becomes more and more difficult to make friends. Take care not to confuse for with since.just relax! During tells us about the period when something happens. until We use until or till to indicate that something continues up to a particular point in time and then stops: • • • • Don't bother saving me any supper . for and during 326 . I'll pop in and see you for a few minutes at some point during the afternoon. For tells us how long it continues or lasts: • • • I was ill for three days during my holiday and couldn't go out at all. We had to stay in the exam room until the end of the exam. Then suddenly and without warning. We haven't seen much of him since his marriage to Julie last summer. I had no umbrella so waited until the downpour was over before I left the shop. so we should leave home by eleven fifteen. by We use by to indicate that something will be achieved before a particular time or at that particular time at the latest.

Why can't I say this? During the few years my brother worked on the plant? 'for' to express length of time You are quite right. Those oak trees have been standing in Greenwich Park for centuries . present or future: • • The English course that I'm attending lasts for three months. We don't know exactly when it was and I don't know how old your brother is but it might have been in the 90s. Last year I went to Australia and stayed for six weeks.Serj from Russia writes: My question is: I can say: For a few years my brother worked on the plant. We use for as a preposition when we are talking about a period of time: • • For a few years my brother worked on the plant. My brother worked at the factory for a few years. During means (at some point) in the course of. the 80s or the 70s or even earlier and it lasted for two or three years. during to express length of time We also use during as a preposition when we are talking about a period of time. It must have rained here during the last fortnight as the ground is quite soft and damp. it indicates a period of time which started in the past and continues up to the present time: • • My sister has worked as a vet for fifteen years now . For can be used to describe a period of time in the past. However. but the meaning is different. I expect he'll phone me at some stage during next week. I think. Compare the following: • • • • I saw not one duck on the lake during the whole of last summer.since 1987. if you use for with the present perfect or present perfect continuous tense. Serj. I don't know when exactly but he must have left during the night. Then I shall be on holiday in Dublin for five days. Note that since is used to indicate the starting point of the action and for measures the period of time up to the present. 327 .since the 18th Century.

When should I use for and when must I use to? for + noun or to + infinitive To talk about the purpose of an action. .Remember the difference by thinking that during tells us when something happens. we use a for + -ing construction: . the sentence will be complete and grammatically correct.Are they suitable for backache too? 328 . • During those years (when / that) my brother was working in the factory. because it introduces a subordinate clause starting with when or that and the sentence is incomplete. I’m going to Brussels next week for an interview. But now I’m leaving for Rome. Do you want to have a drink at the Goose before we go on to dine with the ambassador? I’ve come to Dublin to attend a seminar and to meet the new members of the faculty. I was studying at university. Compare the following: We stopped off at the Goose for a drink and then we carried on to embassy for dinner. 'For' and 'to' Very often I confuse the uses of to and for when I want to express the idea of purpose. we use a for + noun construction or a to + infinitive structure. There is no main clause. I was away at university. I hope to work for the UN. During does not work in your original sentence. Serj. Note that we can replace during…when or during…that with the conjunction while: • • My brother was working on a farm while I was studying for my masters degree. for + -ing To talk about the purpose of something. While my brother was at home working on the farm. for tells us how long it lasts. • • During the few years… During the few years (when / that) my brother was working in the factory… If we add a main clause.These double-strength paracetamols are good for getting rid of headaches.

.This one is for cutting bread and that one is just for slicing meat.You pinched me! What did you do that for? . That sort of behaviour is unacceptable. He was sent to prison for falsifying the accounts.What are these two knives used for? . He was criticised for not coming forward as a witness to the accident..The blue one is for gaining access to the main menu and the green one is for quitting teletext. He was fined heavily for speeding on the motorway. He really should apologise for spitting in his face. Note also the way in which the for + -ing construction is used to explain the reasons for the following actions: He was rewarded for handing in the purse. They’ve got the thankless task of cleaning up all this mess. even on a football field. South Western trains would like to apologise for the late arrival of this train and for the inconvenience this may cause you. Compare the following: Thanks for the lift.What are these two buttons for? .I feel sorry for them too. What…for? Note that What…for? can be used in questions to talk about the purpose of both actions and things: . are used with thank. giving reasons and explaining behaviour Note that the same constructions. apologise and be / feel sorry: With be / feel sorry a to + infinitive structure is also possible. I’m sorry to have taken so long with this report. in order (not) to / so as (not) to + infinitive 329 .I wanted to see if you were awake .I feel sorry for the cleaners. for + noun and for + -ing. . Thank you for driving me home. I’m sorry for taking so long with this report.

This structures are especially common before negative infinitives.' In front of / before / across M Peres from Brazil writes: I would like to know the difference in use between in front of. in order not to and so as not to: To get a better job I decided to take a computer course. When we want to be explicit or sound more formal we can also use in order to or so as to. the standard form appears to be good at as in 'I'm not very good at football'. the preposition in would be required.e: • 'He was the best in the class in French. like the ones you have quoted. and there is no easy rule to follow. I left home early in order not to be late for the appointment. why do we say: the criminal was brought before the judge? Before / in front of (prepositions) 330 . However. in this following sentence. In order to get a better job I decided to take a computer course. before and across.' This is perhaps because with other expressions or verbs denoting assessment or ranking. Is it correct to say: he was sitting before me or do we have to say he was sitting in front of me? If it's incorrect to say: he was sitting in front of me. i. but in mathematics and chemistry he was not so good. Lim Chiu Lan from Malaysia asks about prepositional phrases: Would you be good enough to explain to me what is the difference between these prepositional phrases: good at and good in? Which of the following is correct: 1) 'I'm good at English' or 2) 'I'm good in English' and 1) 'I'm good at football' or 2) 'I'm good in football'? To be good at and to be good in are often interchangeable. Lim.Note that to + infinitive is one of the most common ways of expressing purpose. I left the house early so as not be late for the job interview. to be good in seems more likely than to be good at. In simple statements. thus: • 'In pharmacology she obtained/scored/gained/attained the highest marks.

Before (conjunction or adverb) Before is often used as a conjunction linking two clauses or as an adverb of time. I realized that I'd seen this film before. I was accused of dangerous driving but rather than pay the fine. Compare the following: • • Sam was sitting in front of my girlfriends in the cinema but behind my sister. before is used to refer to place when it indicates position in a list or when it means in the presence of somebody important: • K comes before L in the alphabet. Make sure you get to the church before the bride arrives. but after J. Within two minutes of it starting. for I had never been there before. • However. I elected to appear before the local magistrates. Before is normally used as a preposition to indicate time.Before is not normally used to refer to place. Excuse me. I was here before you. I should therefore be in front of you in the queue. He had behaved so badly in school that he was brought before the headmistress. Its opposite of which is after: • Your brother arrived at the church shortly after three. I was waiting patiently in the queue. In front of me there were about two hundred people and behind me a further three hundred. • Note that in these last two examples before means facing and not one behind the other. but I distinctly remember saying to everyone: "You must be in your seats at or before three o' clock". she went out with Austin for a couple of years. Before she married Maurice. We normally use in front of to specify place the opposite of which is behind. He was certain we had met before. Across (preposition) 331 . but I was equally sure we hadn't. • • • • • Give me a ring to let me know you are on your way before you leave the house. meaning at some time before now.

Across or through? Note the difference in use between across and through. I was not afraid of walking home through the forest.) In British English. When I’m making a cold drink. whereas through suggests a space which is closed with things on all sides: • • • Although it was dark. The ice was quite thick and he experienced no difficulty in skating right across the lake. preferences and habits. I liked it very much. across from as in across the road from me or across the table from me is expressed in British English by the prepositions opposite or facing: • • She sat facing me across the table. (They live across the road from us in the green house. or be fond of or be keen on. I quite like it now.) They live directly opposite us in the green house. expressing position: • • My older sister lives just across the road. Compare the following: • • • Do you like cross-country skiing? ~ Yeah. 60 minutes by Tube or two hours in the car. we decided to swim across the fast-flowing river. or on the other side of an imaginary line. Across suggests flat or open space. I always like to put the ice and slices of lemon in first. my baby sister. How did you like the pumpkin soup? ~ Oh. expressing movement. We cycled across Bodmin moor and through a number of small villages. Rather than walk twenty miles to the nearest bridge. but I still prefer downhill. (She sat across the table from me. but Jenny. unaware of the dangerous currents. lives right across the city. 332 .In American English. It is perhaps not quite as strong in emotional terms as love. across means from one side to the other. 'like' as verb and preposition Jose Luis Luque studying English in the UK writes: Could you please tell me the difference between like as a verb and as a preposition? like Like as a verb is used mainly to talk about enjoyment.

I would like to visit him in hospital. I like. I'd like to. Do you like blackcurrants? ~ Oh. Compare the following: • • • • • When she's on stage. please do. it was so dark. (NOT: Yes. but she sounds more like Madonna. please. They have quite different meanings. but I could never go out with him. He’s a very kind person.) would like to = want to Take care not to confuse like with would like to. I like it. Compare the following and note the structural differences when using them: • • • • • I'd like to / I want to send this parcel by international recorded delivery. would like to sometimes sounds slightly more polite than want to. like as preposition Like as a preposition with nouns or pronouns is used to express ideas of similarity or comparison. Like you. I want to. I’m a very social person but I don’t like people following me around all the time. but Mary didn't want to. I prefer to eat my breakfast in the morning without engaging in small talk. like Costa Rica and Venezuela. / Yes. OR: Yes. she looks a bit like Britney.) Do you like garage music? ~ Yes. I like him very much. If you'd like to / you want to take your coat off. She doesn't like hospitals. It's rather hot in here. I love them. Note that when used for requests and suggestions. but my wife doesn't want to. ~ Yes. These plants grow very well in hot countries. What's Bournemouth like as a seaside town? ~ It's a little bit like Brighton. (NOT: I’m liking them. It was only five o' clock.• • • I’ve got blackcurrant mousse for desert. but it seemed like the middle of the night. Quite lively! 333 . Note that like is not normally used in the progressive form and cannot normally be used without an object: • • What do you think of the conversation classes? ~ I like them. I would have liked to have seen John before he left for Canada. Are you interested in going to the match on Saturday. I do.

we might say: "Paper is made from trees. a student asked me the same question in class a couple of weeks ago . you'll notice that there's a common theme . we realised that this rule is really quite simple. wine.When should we use 'made of' and when should we use 'made from'? Do they have different meanings? 'Made of' / 'Made from'? Alex Gooch answers: Hi Pavel.I might say: "This shirt is made of cotton" "This house is made of bricks" OR "The keyboard I use on my computer is made of plastic. The cotton in the shirt is still cotton . if you think about the first group of examples. 334 . Let's start by looking at some examples . we use 'made of'' But if the form is changed during the process of making.and just like you." So.a different type of substance ." On the other hand.they've been changed into a different type of stuff . the trees in the example where we say: "The paper is made from trees. the bricks in the walls of the house .and eventually. In the same way. thanks for your question. these have all changed their forms as well when they became cake." "Wine is made from grapes. And the flour and the eggs and the sugar in the example about the cake. And the plastic in my computer keyboard is still plastic. They didn't stop being bricks when the house was made." "The house is made of bricks.they stopped being trees when they became paper." "The keyboard is made of plastic." The grapes are no longer grapes . this case. But I talked it over with my colleagues ? the other teachers in the Teacher's Room . So this is the rule: If something keeps its form. I was a bit puzzled by this." OR "This cake is made from all natural hasn't changed its form and become something else. I couldn't immediately work out what the rule was. So we say: "The shirt is made of cotton." On the other hand.they're still bricks." These trees are not trees anymore . then we use 'made from'. And if we say: "Wine is made from grapes.a common pattern.

and I want something else then we can either fall out and do nothing. we're going to collaborate on something . firstly.and in that case. We often say 'I'll meet you halfway'.. but I think it's relevant. you want something. because of course 'I will meet with you' -. Personally. but I think in American English too. it's a fairly recent form. It comes from American English. with their friends? Well. and not getting some of what we want . and disapprove of.well. I love it! Are there any other expressions that mean more or less the same thing? Are there any more colloquial expressions that people use to meet up with somebody else. and we're going to go and do something else afterwards. 'Meeting up'/'meet up' 335 . but it could simply mean that's where we're going to see each other.that 'with' there is a recent form. and I use 'I'll meet with you' at every opportunity. I love these new expression. and we're going to do some work together.and that it will go on for quite a long time. I will meet you There is a difference: I will meet you or I'll meet you. Which is the more common expression? I'll meet you is much more common. could mean all kinds of things. It could mean that we're going to have a meeting. I will meet with you 'I will meet with you' does imply a number of things: it implies that it's quite formal.. what we talk about is meeting somebody halfway: 'I'll meet you halfway'. I'll meet you half way And if you meet somebody halfway. it implies that it's very professional reasons and it implies that somehow. well done Mustafa. it's not to meet up with their friends. So.To meet/to meet with What is the difference between 'I will meet you' and 'I will meet with you'? Martin Parrott answers: Yes . it's got to do with negotiating. it's got nothing to do with actually meeting. certainly in British English. However conservative people very often dislike. well done for being really up-to-date. these new expressions which come into the language and so I tend to be a little bit careful about who I'm talking to when I use expressions like this. or we can both compromise and find a solution which involves both of us getting some of what we want.

and it may involve not two people. it implies that it's very professional reasons and it implies that somehow. It's very colloquial. and disapprove of. or a text message . or an e-mail.well. we talk about meeting up. To get in touch We often use the expression 'to get in touch with someone'. somebody might say ‘when are we going to meet up again’? To 'hook up' If you hook up with somebody you meet them. or a phone call. They don't have very much time to spend with anyone. could mean all kinds of things. but a large group of people. I love it! 336 . and we're going to do some work together. and we're going to go and do something else afterwards. well done Mustafa. firstly. So.. because of course 'I will meet with you' -. at the end of an evening of doing something socially. that very often doesn't involve touching. It comes from American English. these new expressions which come into the language and so I tend to be a little bit careful about who I'm talking to when I use expressions like this. I love these new expression. or you can meet up with somebody .that 'with' there is a recent form. I will meet with you 'I will meet with you' does imply a number of things: it implies that it's quite formal. However conservative people very often dislike. It's very often a letter. Martin Parrott answers: Yes . but I think in American English too. professional people. but it could simply mean that's where we're going to see each other. Which is the more common expression? I'll meet you is much more common.but that has the sense of contacting somebody who you haven't had contact with for quite some time. I will meet you There is a difference: I will meet you or I'll meet you.and thinking of them.Of course. Usually young professional people use this. I'll hook up with you sometime' .that's always for social reasons and it involves getting together. It could mean that we're going to have a meeting.and that it will go on for quite a long time. or even seeing. and I use 'I'll meet with you' at every opportunity. we're going to collaborate on something . but you can meet up. They will then move on and hook up with somebody else. it's a fairly recent form. Personally. certainly in British English. Now.. Christmas in this part of the world of course is where we tend to get in touch with people that we don't see regularly and that just means sending them a card and it's really to let them know that we're still there . usually then to do something else.meaning getting into contact for a quick conversation which has some definite purpose. well done for being really up-to-date. and that's a very common expression: in fact it's what we call a phrasal verb. and they say 'oh. people in their twenties. who lead a very busy life.

at the end of an evening of doing something socially. it's got to do with negotiating. you want something. people in their twenties. It's very colloquial. somebody might say ‘when are we going to meet up again’? To 'hook up' If you hook up with somebody you meet them. with their friends? Well. Usually young professional people use this. but a large group of people.but that has the sense of contacting somebody who you haven't had contact with for quite some time. usually then to do something else. They don't have very much time to spend with anyone. Now.and in that case. Christmas in this part of the world of course is where we tend to get in touch with people that we don't see regularly and that just means sending them a card and it's really to let them know that we're still there . it's not to meet up with their friends. and they say 'oh.meaning getting into contact for a quick conversation which has some definite purpose. and I want something else then we can either fall out and do nothing. who lead a very busy life. I'll hook up with you sometime' . They will then move on and hook up with somebody else.Are there any other expressions that mean more or less the same thing? Are there any more colloquial expressions that people use to meet up with somebody else. and not getting some of what we want . and that's a very common expression: in fact it's what we call a phrasal verb.that's always for social reasons and it involves getting together. we talk about meeting up. or a phone call. It's very often a letter. I'll meet you half way And if you meet somebody halfway. that very often doesn't involve touching. on/off Tamas from Hungary writes: I have two sentences: 337 . but I think it's relevant.and thinking of them. We often say 'I'll meet you halfway'. or we can both compromise and find a solution which involves both of us getting some of what we want. professional people. 'Meeting up'/'meet up' Of course. or you can meet up with somebody . but you can meet up. what we talk about is meeting somebody halfway: 'I'll meet you halfway'. To get in touch We often use the expression 'to get in touch with someone'. or a text message . and it may involve not two people. or an e-mail. So. So. it's got nothing to do with actually meeting. or even seeing.

Note that we do not need to say off from. You can walk anywhere on the grass. doing things on the off-chance and having off days: • • • I caught him completely off-balance and he didn't know what to say. love. Drive along The Avenue almost to the end and then turn off to the right into a little cul-de-sac. You don't have to keep off the grass in this park.• • vacationers reported seeing sharks just off the coast we have two full weeks off from school I understand these sentences. In your second sentence. One preposition. tiredness or holiday arrangements. I think this crab pate has gone off. Tamas. taking things off the table and putting them on the floor. We speak of getting on a bus and off a bus. It doesn't taste fresh any more. off appears in off the coast to describe something that is situated near or next to land. but I'm not sure how to use the word off in examples like these. ~ Why don't you take the afternoon off today? expresssions with off We also speak about people being off-balance. Here are some examples of other common usages of off as a preposition: • • • • • Did she jump off or fall off the cliff or did someone push her off? ~ Nobody knows! I'm off alcohol just now. A big celebration last Sunday. The Inner and Outer Hebrides are situated off the Western coast of Scotland. Consider these other similar examples: • • We live just off The Avenue. I'm off duty at the moment. off-duty. you know. Could you just do this for me? ~ Sorry. And it's put me off my food too. but which is not exactly on the coast. off-colour. Tamas. Could you please explain this usage of this word? off / on as prepositions Off functions as a preposition of position or movement and is the converse of on. but there was no sign of any real illness developing. She'd been off-colour for days. ~ When are you on again? 338 . is enough here: • • We're getting two extra days off school at the beginning of June for the Queen's Jubilee. off describes time that is taken off work or off school typically because of illness. In your first sentence. off. I can't keep going like this all the time. Have you heard? There's 20 % off all CDs at the music shop in Elm Street next Friday. I shall have to have a day off soon.

phrasal verbs with off There are many common phrasal verbs with off. had an off day and missed three open goals.• • I decided to take a detour into Paris on the off-chance that Amelie might be there. such as put off (= postpone). Brobbins. if my friend had an accident and went to hospital.'.' or 'I'm thinking about you'. but they soon polished it off. In these cases. usually temporarily). However. knock off (finish work). we often tend to use them both in a similar way: For example. I shall have to go to the dentists soon. I thought the Christmas cake would hang around for weeks. I hope that helps Cecile . For example. it's just natural usage patterns that tend to favour one form over another But when we are talking about people. please don't interrupt me! I mean I'm imagining it or daydreaming about it.'think of' and 'think about'. Basically.' means they're considering the sale. 339 .. lay off (dismiss from work. if I say I'm thinking of a tropical beach. so the differences would arise in certain contexts. They had a wonderful time.thanks for your question.. Aren't you going to knock off soon? You've been staring into that computer screen all day. I might send a card and some flowers with a message which could either read: 'I'm thinking of you.which means we need to look at which words work best in partnership with 'think of ' and 'think about. but it's no good. Sian Harris answers: Hi Cecile and thanks for your question . bring something off (complete something successfully). a sentence like 'they're thinking about whether to agree to the sale. 700 workers will be laid off in the Belfast shipyards following a decline in orders. the club's leading striker. A question from Cecile Arnould in Belgium: I want to know the difference between .prepositions are a very tricky area! This is also what's known as a collocation issue. I didn't think you'd be able to bring it off. 'think of' usually means 'imagine' whereas 'think about' tends to mean something closer to 'consider'. polish off (eat something quickly): • • • • • I've been putting it off for weeks. and the meaning wouldn't be significantly different.

Speaking & writing 340 .

when Americans make sentences using 'just'. might say: "I already had lunch. there are many well-known differences between British and American English. You're right. So an American." 341 . we use the present perfect. they normally use the past simple tense. Any tips would be appreciated! Alex Gooch answers: Hi Brittney. but these differences won't cause you any serious problems if you come and work in Britain. but I also know that there are many more differences. and I was wondering how big the language barrier would be in my prospective move from America to the United Kingdom. 'already' or 'yet'. First. I know there are similarities. there are a few noticeable GRAMMAR differences between British and American English: I'll talk about the two most important ones.British English vs American English A question from Brittney in the United States of America: I am an American college student who is contemplating applying for work in the United Kingdom after I graduate. First of all. for example. while in Britain.

"She didn't arrive yet. If we want to describe 2:45 in Britain. but again." Or. the differences in VOCABULARY between American English and British English are stronger than the grammatical differences. in America. these differences almost never make it difficult for us to understand each other. On the other hand. I think many Americans would be unfamiliar with the British slang word 'naff'.. we might say: "Quarter to three". A lot of the words which are different are informal or slang words. but we don't have the word 'kitty-corner' in British English. but to be honest. On the other hand." And a British person would say: "I've already had lunch. but it's one that's not going to cause serious problems it's quite easy to get used to. There are these and a few other very small differences. For example. "She hasn't arrived yet." This means that the café is diagonally opposite to the pharmacy." The meaning's the same. while Americans generally just use 'have' or 'has'. or 3:15 would be "Quarter past three". 342 . in Britain we often use 'have got' or 'has got' when we talk about possession. or "Quarter after three" for 3:15. On the other hand.. So. a Brit (a British person) might be very confused by a sentence like: "The café is kitty-corner to the pharmacy. these very rarely cause serious problems.That's "I have already had lunch.. which means 'un-cool' or 'poor-quality'. these might be: "Quarter of three" for 2:45. Another example would be telling the time. in American English we might say: "I have a new car." ." Also. for example.. there's just a small grammatical difference that you might notice.. It's another small difference.." In British English it's more normal to say: "I've got a new car.

the question 'Can we not go there?' can have two completely different meanings. Americans. Here's an example: Let's imagine a couple in a travel agency. this is spelt with an 'S'. If I say 'Can we not go there?'. I should also point out that regional English can be an important thing to think about.. In American English. I think. Let's call them 'Mary' and 'David'. Firstly.. British and American people can understand each other without any trouble at all. I'd like to finish by saying that many. I would like to know the correct usage of the phrase 'Can we not. Not everyone in Britain talks like James Bond. so American English is generally very familiar to us. You're right. One example of this is the verb 'to practise': In British English. and we listen to lots of American music. So. and they don't have any serious language problems at all. you'll be fine! A question from Diana from the USA: Can we not. it's spelt with two 'C's.'. don't watch quite so much British TV or British movies. but we think it might be impossible or not allowed.. which is the right way? Alex Gooch answers: Hello Diana. so that's P-R-A-C-T-I-S-E. However. / Can we not go there? Hi. There are some regional accents in Britain which you don't hear so often in the movies. one would be of disgust. so in American English it's P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E. And there are lots of other examples of slight difference of spelling.There are also some differences in SPELLING which I should mention. the other of eagerness. In Britain we watch lots of American films and TV programs. many Americans live and work in Britain. it can express eagerness. looking at the brochures and trying to decide about a holiday.. Brittney. When we use the question: 'Can we not (do something)?' we want to do this thing. my advice to you is: don't worry about the language... and these might be a bit more difficult to get used to. that could have two meanings. but about 99% of the time. This is probably not quite so true for an American coming to Britain. 343 . Are both correct ways to use the words? If not.

344 . Can we not go there?" Here." . we can also say: 'Can't we' . but they're normally used in spoken English. So in this situation. but she thinks this might be impossible or not allowed because of David's comments. the sentences all look the same when they're written down. just "Can we go abroad this year?" On the other hand. So. and we don't want to do it. so she uses the simple form of the question. 'Can't we (do something)?' is the more common way of expressing this. there might be a conversation like this: David might say. when someone uses a question like this. David says: "I'd like to go to Iceland. Mary says: "Can we go abroad this year?" In this case. We sometimes use 'Can we not (do something)?' to express the fact that we really don't like this thing. It's always "Can we not. the stress changes according to the meaning. but British people have started to use it too. without 'not'. Mary wants to go abroad. This use of 'Can we not (do something)?' is very informal ... again.In this first example. 'Can we not (do something)?' can also express disgust or not wanting to do this thing. Mary might say: "Can't we go abroad this year?" On the other hand.'Can't we (do something)?' In fact..and it's more common in America."Can we not (do something)?" So. In this type of situation we never use the contraction 'can't'. are in the travel agents' looking at brochures. and when we say them.. Let's think about another example: Mary and David. she thinks it's probably okay to go abroad. I don't like cold places. Mary doesn't want to go Iceland." Mary replies: "Iceland sounds very cold. as in 'Can't we (do something)?'. Let's take a holiday in Britain this year. we've been on holiday in Britain for the last five years. "We haven't got much money. we stress the word 'can' and the main verb. we use the question 'Can we not (do something)?' When we say 'Can we not (do something)?' to express eagerness. Can we not go abroad this year?" Here. When we want to express eagerness." And Mary might answer: "Well. because she doesn't like cold places. how do we know what they mean? Actually.

but not so important to be able to produce it in speech or writing. or what?' 'It ain't arf 'ot in 'ere. Note that he's not is the standard contracted form for both 'he has not' and 'he is not'. which you should be using. Simon. It is used as the contracted form of a number of different aspects of the verbs and auxiliary verbs 'to be' and 'to have'. as you can see. don't make it a sad one. or the desire not to do this thing. when we want to express disgust.' The standard negative contractions of these two verbs. 'isn't' Julia Melnikova from Russia asks: My question is not very serious. we put strong stress on not.' (= myself). 'Moonlight and roses'. If we say: "Can we not go there?" That can mean: "I don't want to talk about it: let's not talk about this. but is quite common in dialects and in colloquial forms of British and American English. So it is important to be able to recognise it. I met it in the song of Chris de Burgh. You're stayin' right here. Am I right? You are right. No. which is ungrammatical. It is the contracted form of: 'am not'. 'It ain't' here could be re-written in standard English as 'it isn't' or 'it's not'. the particular example that you chose: 'Can we not go there?' has come to have a special meaning in English recently. "Can we not go there?" Incidentally. 'Ain't' is non-standard English. 'I ain't Superman.. are as follows.' 'He still ain't returned that bike. so it is quite useful. 'have not' and 'has not' It is often used with a second negative in the same clause. but I'd like to know what the contraction ain't means. it ain't such a bad one / Play me a song. 'haven't'. particularly in speech and in informal writing. but quite normal in this variety of English: • • • • • • • 'You ain't goin' nowhere. Note also that 'am not' is normally contracted to 'aren't' only in questions. 'Tonight there's a band."Can we not go abroad this year?" On the other hand. Ain't you 'ungry. I ain't 'ad a minute to meself.' I think it means 'not'. as you can see. 'is not'." Contractions: 'aren't'.. How long's he 'ad it for now?' 'You ain't finished your supper. 345 . producing a double negative.' 'It ain't right for Joan to tell Jane what to do. Diana. Julia. There are quite a few of them.' 'I ain't done it yet. 'are not'.

Simon. Discourse markers or linking words like mind you indicate how one piece of discourse is connected to another piece of discourse. They've already left. He's/she's not very clever. We aren't going to Tom's party after all. so don't throw it away. aren't I? We're not very happy with plans for tomorrow. He's/she's not been to work today as he's/she's got a cold. Discourse markers Please help me out. Those tomatoes . haven't they? The car's not in the drive. aren't you? You're not yet 16. I can see you've played this game before.they aren't very red. is it? It hasn't rained for a long time. Others are quite formal and characteristic of written language. is it? It isn't going to rain. How are you? I've not read that newspaper yet. haven't you? They've not been to see Brenda's mother at all since she's been in hospital. So you're not going clubbing. It's not been long since I saw you. Aren't you hungry tonight. There are many of them. They show the connection between what has already been written or said and what is going to be written or said.Full form I am not Am I not? We are not We are not You are not You are not They are not They are not He/she is not He/she is not It is not It is not It has not It has not He/she has not I have not I have not You have not You have not They have not They have not Contraction I'm not Aren't I? We're not We aren't You aren't You're not They aren't They're not He/she isn't He's/she's not It's not It isn't It hasn't It's not He's/she's not I haven't I've not You've not You haven't They've not They haven't Example I'm not going out this evening. I haven't seen you for ages. Please help me to understand this expression. mind you / still 346 . I'm staying in. The expression mind you has been confusing me for some time in many ways. are they? They've just phoned to say they're not coming to dinner tonight. You've not finished your supper. I'm too old for this sort of thing. Some are very informal and characteristic of spoken language. The following represent a tiny fraction of the total. But you're going. He/she isn't quite ready to take this exam. is he/she? It's not very warm today.

Mind you is an example of an informal linking device used in spoken English to point out that what you are going to say as an afterthought contradicts what has already been said. Mind you. Oh. I shan’t want anything to eat when I get home. Like is very heavily used as a filler at the moment. Still can be used in a similar way: Miners in this country work for long hours in very difficult conditions and mostly in the dark. they are much more characteristic of written English: As expected. That was back in – like / let’s see – October? 347 . we did register one small success by coming third and winning the bronze in the hop. mind you and still could replace however and nevertheless. Britain has again come last in the European athletics championships. you know / like / let's see You know. Here are some examples of use: That strong wind that caused all the damage to the beach huts. Both are used in informal and semi-formal spoken English. She should do well. He is unlikely ever to get into the first team and I know he is keen to return to his native country at the earliest opportunity. For many young people it has become a speech habit. by the way / incidentally By the way and incidentally can also be used to introduce afterthoughts but they do not contradict what has already been said like mind you or still. Note from these examples that in an informal medium. her name is misspelt on the examination entry form. by the way. But they do indicate a change in direction of the conversation. they’re well paid for the work they do. She’s highly intelligent. she has worked hard and done a lot of revision. Incidentally is slightly more formal than by the way: I’m meeting Tom at five o’ clock to discuss the end-of-year balances and then I’m playing tennis with Greg. They are employed to give the speaker a second to think about what he wants to say. Incidentally. she’s been left with a comfortable house to bring the children up in. however / nevertheless Like mind you and still. he will be expected to fulfil his contract and remain with us until the end of the summer. especially by young adults and teenagers. However. The divorce was very acrimonious and she didn’t get half of what she was expecting. like and let’s see are all examples of a special kind of discourse marker used in conversation and they are known as fillers. However. Nevertheless. skip and jump. however and nevertheless are used to introduce a contrast with what has been said before. Still.

if I say: Roberto's from Brazil the stressed or strong parts are bert and zil.the kind of speaker that I guess you'd like to become.I don’t ever throw my rubbish away in the street. Listen to the BBC! The next step is to notice what it is that speakers of English do. Roberto's from Brazil Stress differs from language to language and it's likely that you transfer some of your Portuguese patterns when you speak English . Notice how a native speaker says it or look in a dictionary. I mean that some parts of a word or sentence are stronger and louder than others. That’s – like / let’s see – south of London? He was rapping away like Eminem.a few grammar errors aren't going to worry them. If you do. And I’m – like – wow! A question from Roberto in Brazil: I'd like to know about fluency. If you don't get to meet many speakers of English. then listen to radio. When you learn a new word or expression. though. There are some rules for word stress in English but they're very complicated with a lot of exceptions! The easiest thing to do is to learn the stress with the word. Some people are afraid to speak a foreign language because they think they might make mistakes. a good user of a language isn't afraid to speak. What you do need to worry about. You’re from Tunbridge Wells. By 'stress'. Don't worry about that.and this could make you sound less fluent. not just to native speakers of English but also to very good users of English as a second language . and in particular. TV or films in English. I know you're writing this from Brazil Roberto. The first trick is to probably have confidence. She didn’t get the joke! I’m – like – laughing my head off. but she couldn’t see what was funny about it. Roberto wants to know how to become more fluent in English. He phoned me to say it was all over. the first rule of becoming more fluent is to listen. and this is something he wants to be able to do 'fast'. I – like / you know – care about the environment and stuff. is pronunciation. which makes them sound fluent. I said – like – you can’t do that to me. stress. learn it with its stress. 348 . but you don't say whether or not you get to meet English speakers much. For example. What can I do to feel better when I'm talking to other people? Do we have some way to learn it faster? Please help me! Susan Fearn answers: So. Your listeners will usually try hard to understand you .

not worrying too much. That's often the nouns. the adjectives and adverbs. In a whole sentence or utterance. ten years.Here's a little test: Can you spot the stress in these words? English BBC university Again: English BBC university And did you get that? It's English with the stress on Eng.. stress? What else? Well. and university with the stress on ver. you'll begin to notice the stress and the rhythm of English. pronunciation. so. And they use 'filler sounds' like er. Eng. for example. um and so on. And the stress is on bert. special expressions like So what I'm saying is? Do you see what I mean? You know? So. the main verbs.. listen and notice what some of these expressions are that people use to win extra time. Another thing that English speakers do is make words longer: well. Listen to this sentence and see if you can spot the stress: Roberto has been learning English for ten years.. So. another good thing that speakers of English do is to have a few tricks up their sleeves for when they need to give themselves thinking time because they're searching for what to say next. how far have we got? Confidence. And again: Roberto has been learning English for ten years. the stress is usually on the words which carry the most meaning. to BBC interviews and think of this. BBC with the stress on the first 'B'. Another thing that it's useful to know how to do is how to bring other speakers into your conversation so that you keep them interested . Roberto has been learning English for ten years.and this often done by asking questions. 349 . And there are a range of other expressions they use too.. learn. And if you start listening.

Note that in the interrogative. and what exactly they mean. you'll have to agree with another learner of English that you're going to have . And there's the key: practise.say . meet up with them as much as possible. you'll need to put into practice all these kind of things. are is omitted in second person singular and first and second person plural • • • • What we gonna do now? (= What are we going to do now?) Don't know about you two. It does work! It's what I do with French. *If you do have English-speaking friends. 350 .What do you think? What do you reckon? How do you feel about this? and so on. And if that's not possible. You will also see them used in writing in quotes of direct speech to show the conversational pronunciation of want to and going to. practise. practise. I talk to the cat . Bonjour chat! My daughter thinks it's French. gotta. he found an English person who was learning Chinese and they did half an hour of each language.someone who wants to practise your language in return. *Find a language exchange partner . What's he gonna wear on his wedding day? ~ I dunno. wanna and dunno Daniel Haieck from San Luis in Argentina writes: I would like to know please under what circumstances we should use wanna and gonna. One of my students was a speaker of Chinese who was learning English. We're gonna carry on and try and get there before dark. So. very funny! gonna. I'm gonna put my feet up and take a break. particularly American English. *Try and put yourself in a position where you're the only one who doesn't have first language or very fluent English. Gonna to express the going to form of the future is used with first second and third person singular and plural.. If you can't do any of that. use English with yourself. Thank you.. I've got no one in my house who speaks French. Think in English. wanna / gonna Wanna and gonna are frequently used in speech in informal colloquial English. to become a fluent speaker. and so to practise. inside your hour a day speaking just English. instead of want to and going to. But he's gonna look real smart.

except third person singular. It is not so much used in the interrogative: • • • • Don't go out there tonight. My mum'll be worried. but is now used extensively in British English. When to use these expressions You don't ever need to use these forms actively yourself. Note that the word stress in this expression is on the second syllable. • Scores of Britney Spears wannabees raided the shops where she had bought her latest outfit. ~ A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do I gotta / I've gotta phone home right now. They may sound too informal if you do. but not with he/she wants to where the final s is too intrusive: • • What you wanna do now? (Instead of: What do you want to do now?) I wanna go home. My mum and dad are waiting for me and they wanna go out. This is because wanna scans with I want to. as you 'grow into them. 351 . gotta Gotta is used in a similar way to gonna and wanna. of course. ~ You wanna bet? (which means: Do you want to place a bet on that?) • a wannabee This term derives originally from the US.Wanna can be used with all persons singular and plural. important to recognise and understand them. meaning I don't know is characteristic of very informal speech in British English. they want to. in this case to show the conversational pronunciation of have got to. Usually the person they are trying to copy is somebody famous. You gotta / You've gotta get changed right away. A wannabee (literally a want-to-be) is someone who is trying to copy somebody else. dunno Dunno. you want to. whereas with gonna.' It is. we want to. as a language learner. You'll never give up gambling. • • Are you going to college when you leave school? ~ Dunno! Will you quit your job if they re-locate to Manchester? ~ I dunno. gotta and wanna it is on the first syllable. there is probably no reason why you shouldn't use them too. Daniel. although if other native speakers of English around you are using them. I'm sure of that. The match starts in five minutes. It's really dangerous. or as informal alternatives to have to or must.

‘I see that your company has been performing very well in South East Asia. the most common greeting would probably be: Hi! to which the response is: Hi! This might then be followed by one of the following: How are things?..g. (Note that the question is not usually meant or interpreted as a searching enquiry after the person’s health. among friends and particularly among young people.' The more usual exchange between two people meeting with a handshake on a fairly formal basis for the first time would be: Pleased to meet you. Or: Nice to meet you. How’s it going?. Informal farewells 352 . At the most informal level. Greetings and farewells What is the difference between these two sentences: ‘How are you?’ and ‘How do you do?’ Formal greetings How do you do? is very formal and is not used very much. fine! or with typical British understatement: Yeah. now. the most common farewell would probably be: (It was) nice to meet you or Nice to have met you. Informal greetings The most common way of greeting someone both at an informal level and more formally would be: Hello! How are you? to which the standard reply is: Very well. these days. wanna and gonna in the history of popular music Gotta.. Bye. and again accompanied by a handshake.) After we have given this reply. If a follow-up meeting has been arranged. or: Fine. It may be used on first meeting and accompanied by a formal handshake when both partners issue the same greeting. wanna and gonna have been used regularly in the titles and lyrics or popular songs since the 1950s or even earlier. this might be accompanied by: I’ll see you in three weeks. The reply to How do you do? is How do you do? Then it would be a matter of getting straight down to the business in hand. thanks. thank you.Gotta. especially by younger people. thank you. (Are) you OK? to which the answer is probably: Yeah. we often repeat: (And) how are you? or: (And) what about you? The response is still the same: Fine. e. not so bad! Formal farewells At a formal level. How’s things?.

' 'Bye-bye.' 'See you. Listen An effective discussion is one in which people listen to each other. Here are my top tips for participating in a group discussion: 1. it would be quite normal to say: Nice to have met you. If you can find any English-language audio or TV materials about the topic. and spend some time deciding what your own position is. Hi Mayur. 2. Group discussions I will have to face interview and group discussions in order to get recruited into a company./tomorrow. verbs and adjectives that you think will be useful and practise their pronunciation.At a more informal level too./on Saturday. Make a list of the nouns. Prepare If you know what the topic of the discussion will be. You can read round the topic to make sure you are aware of the main issues and arguments. but there are a few simple techniques that can make you an effective participant. Bye/Goodbye. can you please tell me how to speak effectively in a group discussion. A lot of online dictionaries have pronunciation help.' 'See you later. make sure you watch it! You can also do some vocabulary research around the topic so that you can talk about it confidently. on first meeting./etc' 'Take care. there is a lot you can do to prepare in advance. farewell might be taken (by a combination of) some of the following: • • • • • 'Bye. Thanks for your question! Lots of people feel nervous about participating in group discussions. Listening is a very important discussion skill: make sure you listen and respond to 353 . Among friends.

. especially one with colleagues. 354 . But make sure you are prepared to support what you say. this isn't the case.? Would you mind.. Learn some useful phrases There are lots of useful phrases that you can use in discussions. Take / make notes It's a good idea to have a pen and paper handy.or afterwards. There are many more phrases you can learn and use to help you feel more confident in discussions. by referring to your own experience or simply by explaining why you said what you said. do you mind if I say something here? o Dealing with interruptions: Could I just finish what I'm saying? o Asking for an explanation: Would you mind telling us what exactly you mean by that? o Asking for more information: Would you mind saying a little bit more about that? o Adding more information: Another point I'd like to make is. they have to speak a lot. In a discussion. In fact.? Make you sound polite and respectful. Don't dominate Many people make the mistake of thinking that in order to be effective in a discussion. People may get angry and behave rudely or shout or get aggressive in an argument. You can do this in a number of ways: by providing facts or statistics to support your idea. 5.. I'd like to. even if you feel strongly about the topic under discussion. I don't see it that way at all. what you say is often much more important than how much you say. it's important to stay calm and be polite. If you give other people a chance to say what they think. May I. and then respond with a polite. o Interrupting: Sorry. 7.what other people have to say. you will gain the respect of your colleagues... Here are just a few of them: o Agreeing: You're absolutely right about that. quality is more important than quantity: in other words. and try to avoid making 'empty' points. by quoting expert opinion. It's not a competition! 3. Using words like please. In discussions. Be polite The words argue and discuss in English have different meanings.? Could you. You can jot down any useful or important words or ideas that might come in handy later in the discussion . intelligent comment which you are able to back up.. thank you.. o Disagreeing: I'm sorry... Back up your points If you make a point in a discussion. 4. A good discussion is one in which people share and talk about different opinions and viewpoints. you may be asked to explain or support it. Find out more here 6..

hon or honey (in American English?). Or you could say Could you just repeat that please? to get a bit more time to think. However. and more time listening to others and participating in the discussion. There are also different terms of address depending on the relationship between the speaker and the other person. If you are relaxed. This would give us a very long list . Speak clearly Most people are happy to forgive a few grammar mistakes when they are talking to a foreigner. So. although women might call each other mate as well. duck (?). and remember to listen and respond to other people. Thanks again for your question Mayur. You'll be able to spend less time trying to think of vocabulary and ideas. just let me have a minute to think about this. 9..8. Are there any other terms in regional dialects of English? Mark Shea answers: Hi Tri. or much too slowly. I use it for friends and family and mostly for men. practise your pronunciation and speak clearly and confidently. If you need time to collect your thoughts. a discussion is not a competition: it's an opportunity to share ideas in a positive environment. or when they have poor pronunciation.. Relax! Remember Mayur. they have much less patience when they can't understand someone because they are talking far too quickly. Thanks for sending in such a fun question! Friendly and informal ways of addressing people is an area where English vocabulary is very rich.and the best way to make sure you are relaxed in a discussion is to prepare for it! Preparing for a discussion can make the discussion a lot are a few of my favourites: The one that I personally use most is "mate". Speak slowly and clearly. and good luck in your job search! 'Friendly/informal terms of address' Tri from France writes: Could you please explain the friendly/informal terms of addressing people usually used in British English as well as in American English? I've found the following: love. hen (in Scotland?). you could say something like Hmmm. don't worry too much about little grammar mistakes. or tag it onto the end of a sentence. 355 . you will be more likely to feel confident and enjoy the discussion . Many different local or national varieties of English have their own terms of address. I frequently start sentences with 'mate'.

. you might also hear 'love' used . or 'kiddo'. 'Boyo' is the Welsh version. and it's particularly common in London and in Australian English. men might address male strangers as 'governor' or 'gov' for short. But they can sound very condescending if you don't know each other really well.a greengrocer might say to a customer: "That'll be two pounds please. mate. Rather confusingly. bruv.. where it might be used for almost any young male. 'Pal' means friend.. and isn't always as friendly as it sounds. boys might also be called 'lad'. known or unknown .could well be a warning or a threat."Mate. It's often used between boyfriends and girlfriends . though far less common. adults might address children as 'kid'. what are you up to tonight?" or "See you later. is that by using them you are claiming membership of a particular group or club." . just like all slang. 'laddy'. 'sonny Jim'. love." The meaning is 'friend'. 'Geezer is another London term. and rap music in particular.which rhymes with 'push' and comes from the old Romany word for 'man'. we get brother. All over Britain. particularly in Newcastle. blood. The United States. brud. some terms that sound very friendly might not be. 'squire' or 'mush' . etc. but a sentence which begins "Listen pal. In Britain. 'young fella m'lad'. and even more in the United States. La' is a common abbreviation in Liverpool in the north-west of England. beau or boo. In a very informal context. In the north of England. "Sunshine" is another term that can be used between men. bro'.although men wouldn't usually call each other 'pet'. "Alright. 'Laddy' and 'lassie' are used in Scotland for young men and young women respectively. dog etc. which gradually crosses the Atlantic in American film and music. 'pet' is an affectionate term of address. has always been a very rich source of slang. From this. pet" is just a way of saying 'hello' to virtually anybody. and can be used for adults too. In London. It sounds 356 .who might also call each other 'babe'." Men wouldn't normally use this with other men though. An important point to make about all of these terms..

people might not expect you to use slang. well-fitting clothes which are appropriate for the job and company you have applied to. You need to be very confident that you're using this vocabulary in an appropriate context to use it well .perhaps amongst friends. Hi Mayur. and so they'll be surprised when you do and may mishear or misunderstand what you are saying. Try to make a good first impression. It's always fun to learn slang. Some general questions you might be asked are: • • • • • • • • Why do you want to work for this company? How would you describe yourself? What special skills and talents can you bring to this position? How would your manager describe you? What did you learn in your last job? Give an example of a work problem that you have been able to solve. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is your long-term career plan? Make sure you can answer these questions! Practise pronunciation of difficult words and if you know the name(s) of the person/people who will be interviewing you. make sure you can pronounce them properly.strange when older people try to use slang that teenagers use for example . Here are some of my favourite tips for successful interviews. and prepare your answers. Try to predict what questions you will be asked. but there are a lot of things you can do to help yourself. look at the job advertisement and job description/person specification if you have them. as well as your CV and covering letter. Wear clean. Speak clearly and 357 . As a non-native speaker of English. make eye contact and give a firm handshake. 2. Do some research about the company so that you can talk knowledgeably about it. Job interviews I will have to face interview and group discussions in order to get recruited into a company. but it's really easy to get it wrong. can you please tell me how to behave in an interview. Smile. Thanks for your question! Many people feel nervous about interviews. To help you do this. 1. Prepare for the interview.they just don't fit in. Sit fairly upright in your chair and sit still.

But don’t give so much detailed information that you become boring! 4. Give full answers to’s normal . Speak clearly and confidently. If you want to check your understanding. you can practise your interview technique by getting a friend to role-play the interview with you. I solved the problem by making a study timetable so that I didn't spend too much time working on each essay. I improved my organisational skills as I was responsible for organising the work schedules of 10 full-time and 5 part-time staff. 5. You should also say something about how successful the solution was. You should briefly describe the pr o blem and then explain how you tried to solve it. so don't mumble or give one-word answers. 358 . for example: ‘The workload on my degree course was very high in the first term. I also booked a couple of one-to-one sessions with my sociology teacher. Tell the truth. 3. and I found myself falling behind. you could say: In my role as assistant manager. You must ALWAYS tell the truth. Don't pretend you understand something if you don't. which saved me a lot of time. The interviewer is asking you questions because s/he wants to know more about you. Don't worry about being nervous . don't be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat something if you didn't understand it. Make sure you answer the question that was asked. This sounds mechanical and boring. Don't lie or exaggerate. For example. The interviewer will probably start by asking you some general questions to make you feel relaxed. Make a note of any difficulties you have with your English so that you can research and practise them before the interview.confidently. During the actual interview. Don’t memorise answers and repeat them word for word. experience a retail environment and earn some money to support my studies' . if the interviewer asks you what you learnt in your last job. You will give a much better impression if you speak naturally. A part time job stacking shelves in your local supermarket isn't ‘just only a part-time job' and it may not be ‘a fantastic opportunity' but it is ‘a chance to meet people. Prepare your English. remembering to try to show yourself in a positive light. Don't panic if the interviewer asks you to talk about problems you have had. repeat the question in your own words: ‘So you're asking me…. who was able to guide my research. Before the interview. not too quickly and don't worry if you make a few mistakes. and you’ll get stuck if you are asked a question which you haven’t prepared for.' ‘You mean you want to know…' This will also give you some time to think of your answer. and try to give specific answers with examples.but don’t let you nerves stop you from giving full answers to questions. S/he isn't trying to make you look bad.

with the way it was said on the radio. often we try and pronounce things correctly before we can really hear what the differences are. and we learn by working hard. As we learn to make these distinction between similar 359 .. I don’t think there are easy ways to learn languages – I don’t think people who promise sudden ‘quick fix’ methods are to be believed. in the language we’re learning.6. Well I do hope these tips are helpful Mayur. and to compare how we’ve said it. When it is your turn to ask questions. Shazad Enam. have a quick look at it and ask any that haven't been answered already. Ask questions. the most useful thing perhaps is to listen to the radio with a tape recorder. and good luck in your job search! A question from one of our regular listeners. for instance. And of course the other thing about pronunciation is.. We need to spend a lot of time rehearsing. for hours and hours as I was walking or cycling. Could you tell me a little bit about. At the end of the interview. So. We learn slowly. Some topics you might like to ask about include: • • • • • Promotion prospects Opportunities for travel Pension or healthcare scheme Training opportunities Cost and availability of accommodation in the area Use polite question forms like I was wondering. Thanks again for your question. Shazad wants to know how to improve pronunciation and fluency. Make a list of things you want to know about the job and take it with you to the interview. I remember when I was learning. as we improve our pronunciation. It’s a slow process.. The more we do that. How do we check out whether we’re doing that? Record ourselves I think we need to record ourselves and we need to record what it is we’re repeating and listening to. to record a little bit of the radio.. the most important thing is listening! I think. I don’t know.. As far as pronunciation is concerned. remember to thank the interviewer for seeing you. that also improves our comprehension.. Is there any way of doing that easily? Martin Parrott answers: Easily. or whatever – I was trying to produce those sounds. the more we pick up when we hear them. difficult sounds that I was learning.? I'd like to know something about. and then to say it ourselves.

don’t think about the individual sounds and getting those right. Pronunciation is getting the sounds right. are usually easier to understand than people who’re taking a lot of trouble over their pronunciation and therefore are slowing themselves down.A question! What is the difference between: 'I don't want nobody but you' and 'I want nobody but you'? Susan Fearn answers: Right. and getting those out as quickly and as smoothly as you can. A question from Roberto Leiro in Spain: I would like to know why sometimes is used 'she don't care' and not 'she doesn't care'.. And a similar question from Kian Edalat who's an Iranian living in Malaysia: Hello . Many thanks.and she don't care. but who speak fluently and put it together and get it out reasonably quickly. and of course it’s also getting the intonation and the rhythm right – it’s not just individual sounds. Being fluent is more a question of being confident in the vocabulary. we start hearing them – and that makes understanding easier. Roberto Leiro in Spain comments: "I'd like to know why sometimes we use she don't care and not she doesn't care. but they're both on the same theme. there are two questions today. Spelling is a problem One of the biggest problems in English is that the spelling gets in the way because there are so many ways of spelling the same sound. as in The Beatles song "Ticket to Ride". and how to put the words together in the grammar – being confident in that . and think about meaningful groups of words. that can interfere with our pronunciation. It’s those psychological factors much more than whether you can get your tongue around the individual sounds. and speaking one word at a time. When we learn to read. Fluency is saying things easily. well. Is there a difference between pronunciation and fluency? They’re quite different. Also because letters may be written and not pronounced and because letters may be written and pronounced in a very unexpected way. and can cause problems in itself. In fact people whose pronunciation is poor.…and just being confident in your ability to express yourself and having a go. Standard English / Non-standard English One piece of advice When you’re speaking.' And an Iranian listener currently living 360 . Fluency perhaps overlaps there a little bit. Think about groups of words. it’s pushing them all together..sounds. and he gives an example from The Beatles song "Ticket to Ride": '.

for example. by what I guess could be described as an 'educated elite'. which is the other form that's mentioned in the question. along with quite a few other British musicians at that time and since then as well. They're conversational forms used by some groups of people in the United States. Back to those questions: She don't care and I don't want nobody but you are both what you could call 'non-standard' forms.the accents. letters. well. 'I ain't'.always seemed a bit more glamorous. It's also. the vocabulary that vary according to where you live. to some extent.. back then in 1972. and Elvis and friends often used 'non-standard' forms in their songs: 'She don't'. in North West England. Standard English is what is seen as. in the early 1960's. And Labov argued that non-standard forms were just as expressive and wonderful as standard . Now. of newspapers. 'I don't want nobody'. I suppose you could say the 'educated norm'. near where I come from. non-standard English is pretty much everything else . This was the country of Elvis Presley. or what social group you're in. 'I wanna'.you know. They were from Liverpool. It's the language of formal written English . Malaysia asks: "What is the difference between: I don't want nobody but you and I want nobody but you?" Perhaps the starting point for looking at these questions is way back before many of you were born. They're not the sort of things you'd read written in a newspaper or written in an essay. 'I don't want nobody' is what we call a 'double negative'. It was the pop group The Beatles who sang "Ticket to Ride" in the early 1960's and that's the song Roberto mentions. did a detailed study of its use in parts of New York. the dialects. spoken.. must have thought that this was pretty cool .. the American linguist William Labov did what became a very famous study into so-called 'standard' and 'non-standard' forms of English... A question from Fatimah in Egypt: My question is: how to be a good translator to your language? 361 . And the linguist we mentioned. But when they were writing that song. In so-called 'standard English' this would be: 'I want nobody' OR 'I don't want anybody'. It's a non-standard form that's found in several types of both British and American English. And the Beatles.the kind of things you saw in the movies. life in England probably wasn't much fun and life in the United States . for example. Labov. reports and so on. And. this form of non-standard American English. they copied this American style even though they were actually British.they had their own rules and were in no way inferior. in the Hollywood movies . it's something you may hear in American songs or American movies. who was big at that in some of their early songs at least. but they weren't American.

from Indonesian into English. or even a digital copy as an e-mail attachment. thank you for your question. Next. fax or courier is needed. the money: Will you be paid according to the number of words you translate or the number of words you deliver in your translation? Sometimes you can be paid according to how many hours you spend on the work. And don't forget to ask when you'll be paid and will you be paid by cheque. cash or in another way. you need to know what variety of the target language is required. And in terms of structure and layout of the text: For example. In your case. do you need to use an academic. for example. Egyptian or Standard Arabic? And so on. in terms of vocabulary: If you're translating an academic article about the results of a scientific experiment. maybe in court? And the answers to these questions will help you decide how much attention to detail is needed. are there sections that should be in italics or bold? And now onto more practical matters: When and how should the translation be delivered? Maybe a printed copy by post. For example. PayPal. vague or 'hedged' with words like 'may' and 'might'. But remember to check whether you'll be paid an extra fee for an urgent job or for other difficulties that you have to deal with. is it British English or American English? And if you're translating into Arabic. if the job is 362 . by bank transfer. 'perhaps' and 'possibly'. as well as the structure and layout of the text. I've done a little bit of translating. doctors? How will the translation be used? Perhaps it will be used for legal purposes. I know you're translating between English and Arabic. about being a good translator. is it Lebanese. for example. or uploaded to a webpage? And finally. you need to know about your audience: Are you translating for a general or a specialist audience. should the style be formal or informal? If you write for publication. medical or even conversational style? The answers to these questions about style could affect your choice of vocabulary. So. so first. so my suggestions are based on my limited experience. And last. a complex layout or a handwritten text that's really difficult to read. you may need to decide whether the results have been proven or not. if you're translating into English. legal. the most important part. or by Skype. but not least. And I hope they're useful! I'll try and answer the question: What do you need to know before starting to translate a document? The target language is the language you are translating into.Tips for translators Rachel Wicaksono answers: OK. And this will affect whether your vocabulary should be confident. Does the style of the translation or the vocabulary need to be similar to what the clients have received before? For example. Fatimah.

" . especially for scientific 363 . If a text is written in a subjective tone. which gives us information about something but doesn't include information about the writer. what happens if the job is cancelled? Perhaps you could use these suggestions to check or to draw up a contract with the person who needs the translation. it will tell us something about the writer. will there be any compensation for the translator . because it just tells us a fact. and particularly about how he or she feels. we can talk about subjective tone and objective tone.. especially after you've started work on it. objective tone refers to an impersonal style of writing. subjective. I hope you enjoy your Translation Studies course. will be used in your translation? Who are your audience and how much information do they need from your translation? How should your document look? So.a sort of 'cancellation fee'? So.. for example. So. and your future work as a translator! A question from Calla Tang from Hong Kong: What is 'objective tone'? Could you give me some examples? Objective tone Alex Gooch answers: When we're discussing English." .is objective. Fatimah. to sum up: What language and what variety of language... because it tells us about the writer and about his or her feelings. or any language. Objective tone is particularly important in academic writing. a sentence like: "I enjoyed the film very much. British or American English. style and layout. However.cancelled. a sentence like this: "The film lasted for one hour and forty-five minutes. How and when should you deliver the document? And how and when will you be paid? And finally. On the other hand.

the most important advice I can give you is: look at the style guides. a sentence such as: "I performed an experiment. If you were writing a scientific report. it's important to remember that in certain subjects. This is a very important thing to know about. it's a feeling or an emotional reaction. If you go to a British university." This sentence doesn't use 'I'. Thank you very much! Amos Paran answers: This is an interesting question because it's not really about English. objective writing often uses the passive voice. If we put this example into the passive. Your academic department will produce a style guide which tells you about this and the other ways in which your writing must be laid out. is it . but you must also avoid evaluative words . The examples that I've given are all adjectives . you must avoid words like 'I'. I'll finish with saying a few words about vocabulary.and therefore this is clearly a subjective word. We have to be very careful's about 364 .. In fact it's subjective. it would say: "The experiment was performed. at least at British universities. so it might look objective. because it doesn't tell us about the writer .subjects. what is the main difference between "slang" and "jargon" and could you point out some examples that are used in BBC news. A question from Irena in Latvia: could you tell me. If you want to write in the objective tone. In order to avoid personal words like 'I'. If we use the word 'terrorist' to describe someone. because it includes 'I'. Think about a sentence like this: "The film was just tells us about the experiment.words which express your personal feelings or emotions.but there are also some nouns that we have to be careful with. because it tells us about the writer's feelings. personal opinions are acceptable. academic sentence." . However." This makes a much more objective sentence and therefore a much more scientific or in some ways.. A good example here is the word 'terrorist'. It isn't a fact that the film was terrible.would be too subjective. and so a sentence like this would not be acceptable in objective writing. like 'terrible'. this includes a personal subjective judgement about this person's actions . 'wonderful'. 'me' and 'my'. etc. or 'me' or any similar words.

by using jargon I can identify myself as a linguist . the word 'chap' or 'chum'. on the way to the studio I saw the words 'wicked meal' in an advertisement . So jargon is the word we use that refers to the language of a specific group as seen by an outsider.words such as prefix. but many slang words disappear and new ones come into the language. tense. and so on. we use it in highly informal situations. indeed. I would advise against using slang unless you are absolutely sure that it's appropriate for you to use it. 365 . on the other hand.if I used the word 'wicked' in the sense of 'really good' it would be ridiculous.where the word 'wicked' means very good. because this is the slang of young people. It's a very colloquial variety of language. For example. So you're not going to hear a lot of slang on the news .language in general. We change our speech according to who we are speaking to. Jargon. I speak in yet a different way. too. one of the most important functions of slang . all this may seem normal technical language. we all have at our command different verbal repertoires. Slang is actually quite difficult to define. in speech. where. and when I go into the classroom and teach. under what circumstances. much much younger than me. . sometimes as an alternative to could or can: • • • Would you / Could you hold my umbrella while I put my coat on? Would you / Could you post this letter for me this afternoon when you are at the post office? Would you / Can you turn the music down. It is important also to know that slang is very often characteristic of specific social groups . This is. either new words being invented. or old words taking on a totally new meaning . please? I’m trying to write an essay. identifies you . Now to me. I'll take as my starting point the observation that we don't speak the same all the time. suffix. One really important aspect of both slang and jargon is that they identify you as a member of a group.or the words I used just now . Some experts describe it as 'below the level of neutral style'. I don't speak to my partner at home in the same way in which I speak to head of department at work. a language variety.for example.unless someone is being interviewed and they use it in their speech. is the variety of language that belongs to a specific profession or activity. and with people very much from a similar social background to us. Jargon.but I do hope I haven't used too much jargon in this answer! 'would' in conversation 'would' in requests Would is often used in polite requests. Some slang words stay in the language for a long time .verbal repertoires. linguists use special language to describe the way language works .for example. but to an outsider this may seem jargon.

often combining with if-clauses: • • • I would help you with your homework if I could. I’d be most grateful. I’d tell you. 'would' in correspondence requests Would be grateful is often useful when making written requests and it can also be used in conversation: • • I would be grateful if you could / would send me further information and an application form in relation to the job advertised on page 6 of your publication – reference DS 112. I wouldn’t. (= he refused) 'would' meaning intention Would is used as a conditional auxiliary with verbs that refer to intentions. please. If I knew where Sarah was. if you have it. I wouldn’t ever sunbathe topless either. but I can’t. (= refused to listen) I wanted him to take over my examining work on Saturday. rather than the bare infinitive: • • Would you mind picking Jenny up from school for me today? I may be late getting back. or would you prefer tea? ~ I’d love some tea – Earl Grey would be lovely. 366 . Would you mind holding the torch for me while I change the wheel? 'would' in offers would like. I’m starving! I can see you’re struggling. I just don’t understand maths. Would you like me to pop an application form in the post to you? ~ Yes. would you? ~ No. But I’ve no idea where she is.Note that would you mind is followed by -ing. but he wouldn’t. Would you rather eat now or later after the film? ~ I’d rather eat now. but she wouldn’t listen. would prefer and would rather Would you like…? is often used when making offers. Would you like me to help you with that? 'would' meaning refusal Would is sometimes used in this way with the negative: • • I advised her not to go out late at night on her own. It’s so dark out here. as the more polite alternative to 'Do you want…?': • • • Would you like coffee. I would never sunbathe near a nudist beach.

The addressee details Next come the addressee details. Your business address Your business address will normally be printed on your official stationery at the top of the page. then street number and street. There is no need to use commas after each of these categories and do not put your own name with the address. So that the business runs English: correspondence Shahid Ullah from Bangladesh writes: I am working as a senior officer in a garments factory which is 100% exports oriented. designation and address of the person you are writing to on the left-hand side of the page. If not. In English there are various ways of writing the date. Dear Mary or Dear Henry. insert it at the top. Where should I put the date? There are three possibilities: directly under your business address. Where should I put telephone and fax numbers and my email address? There are two possibilities: either beneath your business address after a space or below at the bottom of the page. can you please help and advise me how to write official letters easily? There a number of fairly standard conventions when framing a business letter that it is important to observe. centrally or to the right: name of business. perhaps with a logo. Put the name. If you know the person you are writing to very well or are on friendly terms. 367 . then town and district. begin simply with the first name. The preferred mode in business correspondence is 30 November 2001. Beginning and ending the letter We can now begin the letter but leave as much space as possible so that the body of the letter sits tidily in the middle part of the page. telephone and fax numbers and email address after a space OR above the name and address of the person you are writing to OR beneath the name and address of the person you are writing to.

followed by your full name and designation. If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to. Here is a sample letter that someone working in sales promotion might need to write. but know of him as a named individual. Decide on order of importance and put each idea into a separate paragraph. or with your full name. it is probably best to stick to Ms. Make sure it is concise: delete anything that is irrelevant or can be Ms Felicity White Promotions Manager Softskins The Chemist The High Street 368 . Sign the letter with your first Your full typewritten name and designation (on separate lines) should appear beneath your handwritten signature. In the body of the letter. Give your letter a heading so that the person you are writing to can see at a glance what it is about. If you know the person you are writing to well. Use short sentences and short words that everyone can understand. Five tips for writing good business letters • • • • • Think carefully about exactly what you need to say before you write. Finish this type of letter with Yours sincerely. start with title and surname: Dear Mr Potter or Dear Dr Baker or Dear Miss Taylor or Dear Mrs Cook or Dear Ms Barber. The organisation is fictitious but the message is real.If you don't know the person you are writing to so well. Will your reader understand exactly what you mean and will it create the right impression? Get the person in your organisation with the best English to read it through for any spelling or grammar or layout errors. if it needs to be a little more formal. Check your letter after you have written it. such as With very best wishes. it may be appropriate to insert a closing formula. begin with Dear Sir or Dear Sir or Madam or Dear Madam and end your letter with Yours faithfully. useful phrases appear in bold typeface: Supersoft Hygiene Ltd The Technology Park All Products Road Boxham Surrey BH11 4TY Telephone: 0178 55 66 777 Fax: 0178 55 22 333 Direct Dial: 0178 55 98 678 Email: info@softhy. but without any title. before the ending itself. If you are not sure which of the last three titles is appropriate in any particular case. It is not necessary to insert a comma after beginnings or endings. if you are on first-name terms.

All of our promotions which are new this year are highlighted NEW in the top left hand corner for each item. please do not hesitate to contact me. they are all available to you until the end of this calendar year at an additional discount of 5% from list price. We look forward to receiving your order in the near future. mangled sentences and clichés Muhamed Maiwada from Abuja in Nigeria writes: I was browsing the internet when I came across ten tips for better on the new promotions webpage. my personal assistant. Spelling errors. As an introductory offer. Ms Violet Rose.softhy. Price List & Order Forms. Enclosures: 2002 Catalogue. will be very pleased to help you. For the tenth tip it says: use a spell check and thesaurus. mangled sentences and clichés? Typos and spelling errors 369 . They can all be viewed in greater detail on our website www. please find enclosed our catalogue and price list for your attention. Should you require further information.Bexford Kent BX44 0JB 30 September 2001 Dear Ms White Catalogue and Price List As requested. typos. Yours sincerely (space for signature) James Smellsnice Sales Should I be unavailable. avoid typos and mangled sentences and avoid clichés too. What is meant by avoid typos.

Misspellings corrected: 370 . If you are not sure of a spelling. try to use language that you are certain of and make sure that sentences follows on from each other with good use of connectors. Nowadays travelling abroad is increasing. It is re-printed with the errors corrected after the mangled sentences section. Many people travel abroad to try to find jobs and work abroad for a limited period of time. people become closer to each to other. • Nowadays travelling abroad is increasing and most of them for the reason to find jobs and work there for a period. They transferred their knowledge and skills to the new society that people going there develop faster than the rest part of the world. Do not make sentences too long. See if you can find them all. This is completely unacceptible and I personaly belive such practise should not be allowd. you should be able to try out several versions as you type until the correct one appears and the underlining disappears. By travelling around the world. A mangled sentence is one that cannot be understood because the information is not arranged coherently or logically. The moral of this is always think clearly about what you need you say. In the second one I have attempted to straighten them out so that the information flows smoothly and effortlessly for the reader. A good way of banishing typos to the past is to learn to touch-type with the keyboard covered up and your eyes permanently on the screen. • In developping countrys nowdays proffesional people have little opertunity to develop their carriers without help from people in goverment. When you look at the screen you might then find that you have typed chck instead of check or theses instead of these. Mangled sentences If a physical object is mangled. Read the two texts below.. The following text contains twelve commonly misspelt words in English. They can also transfer their knowledge and skills to the new society they are working in and develop faster than they would in less developed parts of the world.Typos are misspelt words which arise as a result of careless typing or wordprocessing. Typos as well as genuine spelling errors should all be revealed by the spell-checker on your computer so it should be easy to spot misspelt words. it is crushed or twisted with such force that its original or true shape cannot be recognised. plan your writing and think in terms of paragraphs. In the UK we see a multicultural society and one that benefits from the knowledge and skills that people from abroad bring to it. In the first one. By travelling people around the world. the people become more closer. People in the UK we see a mixed society and it helps for that country who need that knowledge and skills. usually because your attention is focused on the keyboard. rather than on the screen. the sentences are mangled and the text is difficult to understand.

there are clearly defined conventions for opening and closing: 371 . Netiquette There is no standard format as far as I know for netiquette . • At the end of the day. Here are two more. I can assure you that I have made every effort to discover the truth. Clichés A cliché is an overworked phrase which has been used so much that it is no longer very effective or informative. although they may still be useful and serve the purpose of providing padding or filling gaps in this case all the people who use the web for emails. Clichés are tired from overuse. with standard English versions given underneath: • I think I can honestly say that I have left no stone unturned to discover the truth. professional people have little opportunity to develop their careers without help from people in government.etiquette for the net. whose progress can be as slow as that of a snail when they are entrusted to the postal system.• In developing countries nowadays. At the end of the day is a cliché which is often used by sports' commentators in England. Netiquette is a new word. England must win their next two matches if they want to qualify for the World Cup finals. meaning: this is what happens after we have considered all relevant facts. This is completely unacceptable and I personally believe such practice should not be allowed. i. which are the correct forms of address for emails and how do you close them? Thanks. Etiquette is a system of social rules or polite bahaviour relating to a particular group of people . Note that clichés are often overworked idioms.e. Note that the letters where errors occurred are printed in bold. Writing emails: openings and endings Daniela from Italy writes: Could you please give me some tips about netiquette. snail mail For letters.

is reminiscent of business memos among colleagues within the same organisation. Love. sometimes: Yours truly. sometimes: Sincerely Yours. Dear Mrs Jenkinson) CLOSING: Yours sincerely (In American English. Dear Ms Hopkins (or. Dear Mr Woodham These formats are used more in business correspondence. starting emails • Hi. in public service Yours ever For letters to friends or close family members: OPENING: Dear Maggy. Dear Madam or Dear Sir or Madam CLOSING: Yours faithfully (In American English. For informal letters to business contacts that you know well: OPENING: Dear Tony. Roger. Dear Roger Woodham (note that this formula is also used in letters sometimes). so informal language tends to be the norm. Dear Estelle CLOSING: With best wishes or With kind regards followed by Yours sincerely or. Lots of Love (Hugs and Kisses) Emails However. as above. 372 . as far as there is one. But I have also received emails with a wide variety of other opening formulas over the last twelve months. Your. Dear Roger These seem to represent an informal norm. Sincerely. Only one thing is clear. Hello Roger. I list them all below from most formal to least formal: • • Dear Professor Woodham (this is incorrect as I am not a university professor). sometimes. • Roger. Emails are invariably of an informal nature. there are no standard formulas for starting or finishing emails.) For the more formal style of letter when their name is known but you do not know them very well: OPENING: Dear Mr Jenkins.For formal letters when the name or sex of the recipient is not known: OPENING: Dear Sir(s). if you know their marital status and know that they prefer to be addressed as Mrs or Miss: Dear Miss Hopwell. Note that using the given name alone. Dear Freddie CLOSING: Yours.

Good morning Roger. Ta v much. Very occasionally. See you soon. David Green. but you might one day get an email looking something like this: • Hey babe b4 u leave b'ham pls spk 2 NG & tell her we'll b @ r hse in sth ldn till nxt weds. Hi Roger Woodham.g. to dispense with capitalisation. C u soon. Regards. This is a slightly extreme example.g. Thanks very much.• Hello Roger Woodham. followed by the given name (David/Dave/etc) of the sender. particularly in informal emails. punctuation and to use shortened forms and shortened words as in text-messaging. Hey Roger. Hey you guys (this one to me and my colleagues) ending emails • Best wishes. I have received emails ending. e. Dave Look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely is combined with Best wishes or stands alone before the given name of the sender. e. Best wishes. Best regards. Good wishes. Occasionally. Love. These seem to represent the informal norm. Sometimes. Dave The text itself There is also a trend. Andy 373 . this would read: • Dearest Before you leave Birmingham. Luv ND Translated into more standard English (the opening here is slightly old-fashioned). please speak to Angie and tell her we'll be at our house in South London until next Wednesday. Yours sincerely and then on the next line the given name plus family name. but this is an exception. as in a semi-formal letter. • • Let me know if you need more information. a pre-closing formula is used instead of or in addition to the standard closure.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful