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Samantha and Jane went shopping, but she couldn’t find anything she liked. Error: The above she could refer to either Samantha or Jane. This is a pronoun error of reference The average moviegoer expects to see at least one scene of violence per film, and they are seldom disappointed. Error: Here they clearly refers to moviegoer, so obviously there is no reference error but the number is wrong. The usage of he is instead of they are is absolutely perfect. Relative pronouns • Animals and things had to be referred as that/which • People had to be referred as who/whom • They is not a proper noun, it can be used only as a pronoun. Number Refer to Sec II. 2. Number 2. Misplaced Modifiers If a sentence begins with a modifying phrase that is followed by a comma, make sure the noun or pronoun right next to comma should be what the phrase is referring to. E.g. Coming out of the department store, John’s wallet was stolen. Error: Was the wallet coming out of department store? No. E.g. On leaving the department store, John’s wallet was stolen. Error: Same error E.g. Frail and weak, the heavy wagon could not be budged by the old horse. Error: Is the heavy wagon frail and weak? No E.g. An organization long devoted to cause of justice, the mayor awarded a medal to American Civil Liberties union. Error: Looks like mayor is the organization. E.g. Although not quite as liquid investment as a money-market account, financial experts recommend a certificate of deposit for its high yield. Error: Misplaced phrase: financial experts E.g. Before designing a park, the public must be considered. Error: The public is not going to design the park. Before designing the park, the architect must consider the public is -correct. 3. Subject Verb Agreement (Refer to Sec II.10 Subject Verb Agreement) E.g. The number of arrests of drunken drivers are increasing every year Error: Subject is singular whereas verb is plural. Subject verb agreement E.g.
2 The number of arrests of drunken drivers is increasing every year is -correct Note: Also while checking for subject/verb agreement, note that the subject doesn’t always appear before the verb E.g. Dominating the New York skyline is the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building - incorrect Dominating the New York skyline are the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building - -correct 4. Idiomatic Errors (Refer to Sec. II.6 Common Idioms) E.g. Many political insiders now believe that the dissension in congress over health issues decreases the likelihood for significance action being taken this year to combat the rising costs of health care. Error: ‘Likelihood for’ is an unidiomatic expression ‘likelihood that’ is correct. E.g. There is little doubt that large corporations are indebted for the small companies that broke new ground in lased optics. Error: Indebted for is incorrect. Indebted to is the correct usage. Each idiom has its own usage. There is no particular rule as such. 5. Parallel Construction There are two kinds of sentences that test the parallel construction. The first one is a sentence that contains a list, or has a series of actions set off from one another by commas. E.g. …to ….to ….to … The second kind is a sentence that’s divided into parts. All the parts must have parallel types of verbiage E.g. ate _____, slept ____, drank ____ Bad construction might look like: …to ____, _____ …ate _____, sleep _____, drank ____. I like to swim, to run, and to dance. I like to swim, run, and dance. I like to swim, run, and to dance. I like to swim, to run, and dance. – Correct – Correct – Incorrect – Incorrect
6. Apples and Oranges When the sentence compares two actions/items, things, can they really be compared? E.g. The people in my office are smarter than other offices Error: The sentence compares people to other offices, literally. This is wrong. Two dissimilar things cannot be compared.
3 Usually, the problem is with hidden comparison where two things or actions are compared, but another two items or actions are intertwined and you lose the comparison relationship. E.g. Synthetic oils burn less efficiently than natural oils. Error: In this case, what needs to be compared is how well each oils burn, and not the oils themselves. Synthetic oils burn less efficiently than natural oils burn (or) Synthetic oils burn less efficiently than do natural oils is correct
4 7. Critical Reasoning Critical reasoning passages normally are of the following formats 1. Premise (evidence), premise, premise, conclusion 2. Conclusion, premise, premise, premise The conclusion can either be stated at the beginning or at the end. More importantly, do not infer too much, just stick as close to the passage as possible. Therefore, thus, so, hence, implies, indicates, etc are a few flag-posts that signal a conclusion. Assumption questions E.g. Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends? • Assumptions are never stated in the passage • Assumptions support the conclusion of the passage • Assumptions frequently work to fill in the gaps in the reasoning of the argument • Look to see if the assumption is causal, analogical or statistical. • If a cause is being suggested for an effect, ask your self if the cause is truly the reason for the effect, or if there might be an alternate cause. • Argument based on analogy, compares one situation to another, ignoring the question of whether the two situations are comparable (analogous). • If the assumption uses statistics, ask yourself if the statistics involved are representative Strengthen the argument questions • The statements are never stated directly in the passage • Information will support the conclusion of passage. • Similar logics for causal, analogies and statistics can be used as in Assumptions • The easiest way to strengthen a passage is to strengthen the conclusion and(or) the assumptions. Weaken the argument questions • The above-mentioned techniques can be used in a similar way, except that it should weaken the conclusion Inference questions • Not directly stated in the passage • Inferences have got little to do with the conclusion Mimic-the-reasoning questions If A occurs then B occurs is true then it is necessarily true that if B does not occur then A does not occur and not necessary that if B occurs then A occurs
If A(B A(~B ~A(B Necessarily True ~B(~A B(~A ~B(A Non necessarily true B(A ~B(A B(~A
~A(~B ; B(A ~B(~A
6 II Usage 1. Some vs. Any Some is used in affirmative sentences Any is used in negative and interrogative sentences. E.g. I shall buy some mangoes. I shall not by any mangoes. Have you bought any mangoes? Some can actually be used in sentences that are requests or strong commands E.g. Will you please lend me some money? Lend me some money. 2. Number (Refer to Sec I. 1. Number) A few nouns have their singular and plural forms alike E.g. Swine, sheep, deer, cod, trout, salmon, pair, dozen, score, gross, hundred, thousand (when used after numerals) • The number, the amount, measles, politics, audience, someone, somebody, something, everyone, everybody, everything, either, neither, one, each, anyone, anybody, anything, no one, nothing, nobody, whoever, whosoever, whomever are singulars. • Group, jury, team, country, family are singulars. • The term ‘Society’ can be used as a plural as well • Both, many, their, several, few, others are plurals • Some, more, most, all take number based on the usage, especially on the noun they refer to. • When two nouns are in the sentence doing an action together but they are linked with Along with, Together with, With, As well as, together with, besides, In addition to, Accompanied by, deploy singular verbs E.g. Janie, with her poodle limping behind her, walks to the dog park. Janie is singular. The poodle is singular. They both do the action together, but the use of “with” means that we need to keep the verb singular. “Walks” is singular and “Walk” is plural. E.g. I, along with my dog, am going to go for shopping - correct I and my dog, are going to go for shopping - correct E.g. Catherine, along with her husband jog everyday - incorrect Catherine, along with her husband jogs every day. - correct Catherine and her husband jog every day - correct E.g. George Bernard Shaw, as well as Mahatma Gandhi and River Phoenix, were vegetarians. - incorrect George Bernard Shaw, as well as Mahatma Gandhi and River Phoenix, was a vegetarian. - correct • A verb that ends with an ‘s’ is mostly singular
3. Spoonfuls or Spoonsful? The correct plural forms of spoonful and handful are spoonfuls and handfuls respectively and not spoonsful and handsful.
7 4. Not only… but also… E.g.: The administration of a small daily dose of aspirin has not only been shown to lower the risk of heart attack, and it has also been shown to help relieve the suffering of arthritis. Error: Not only should be followed by but also
8 5. Tense Past Active Past Passive Present Active Present Passive Future Active Future Passive Simple I loved I was loved I love I am loved I shall love I shall be loved Continuous I was loving I was being loved I am loving I am being loved I shall be loving Perfect I had loved I had been loved I have loved I have been loved I shall have loved I shall have been loved Plural Perfect Continuous I had been loving I have been loving I shall have been loving -
Simple tenses Indicate that an action is present, past or future relative to the speaker or writer. Present 1st person 2nd person 3rd person Past 1st person 2nd person 3rd person Future 1st person 2nd person 3rd person I will walk/draw you will walk/draw he/she/it will walk/draw we will walk/draw you will walk/draw they will walk/draw I walked/drew you walked/drew he/she/it walked/drew we walked/drew you walked/drew they walked/drew I walk/draw you walk/draw he/she/it walks/draws we walk/draw you walk/draw they walk/draw
Perfect tenses Indicate that an action was or will be completed before another time or action. Present perfect 1st person I have walked/drawn we have walked/drawn
9 2nd person 3rd person Past perfect 1st person 2nd person 3rd person Future perfect 1st person 2nd person 3rd person I will have walked/drawn we will have walked/drawn I had walked/drawn you had walked/drawn he/she/it had walked/drawn we had walked/drawn you had walked/drawn they had walked/drawn you have walked/drawn he/she/it has walked/drawn you have walked/drawn they have walked/drawn
you will have walked/drawn you will have walked/drawn he/she/it will have walked/drawn they will have walked/drawn
Progressive tenses Indicate continuing action. Present progressive 1st person 2nd person 3rd person Past progressive 1st person 2nd person 3rd person Future progressive 1st person 2nd person 3rd person I will be walking/drawing we will be walking/drawing I was walking/drawing you were walking/drawing he/she/it was walking/drawing we were walking/drawing you were walking/drawing they were walking/drawing I am walking/drawing you are walking/drawing he/she/it is walking/drawing we are walking/drawing you are walking/drawing they are walking/drawing
you will be walking/drawing you will be walking/drawing he/she/it will be walking/drawing they will be walking/drawing
Present perfect progressive 1st person I have been walking/drawing we have been walking/drawing
10 you have been walking/drawing he/she/it has been walking/drawing you have been walking/drawing they have been walking/drawing
2nd person 3rd person Past perfect progressive 1st person 2nd person 3rd person
I had been walking/drawing you had been walking/drawing he/she/it had been walking/drawing
we had been walking/drawing you had been walking/drawing they had been walking/drawing
Future perfect progressive 1st person 2nd person 3rd person I will have been walking/drawing you will have been walking/drawing he/she/it will have been walking/drawing we will have been walking/drawing you will have been walking/drawing they will have been walking/drawing
11 6. Common Idioms (Refer to Sec. I.4 Common Idioms)
Not only…but also… not so much.. as.. defined as regard as neither… nor… modelled after a result of conclude that distinguish between distinguish...from so...as to be ... so(adjective) that... depicted as define as as great as as good as better than attributed to either... or... based on contribute to depend on different from due to in order to instead of rather than worry about credited with according to a dispute over a responsibility to responsible for different from a consequence of agree with appear to because of choose from subject to think of... as see...as targeted at… prohibit from to result in a debate over
a debate over a lot a responsibility to a result of a sequence of acclaimed as is the correct idiom (Acclaimed to be is wrong) accompanied by.... adapted for Adverb twice cannot be an object of proposition ‘by’. ‘Increase by twice’ is incorrect; ‘doubled’ is correct affect to.. agree with Aid in (Aid for is incorrect) Allergy to (Allergy of, allergy for are incorrect) Allocated to is the correct idiom alternative to.... as a result of... as an instance of as good as...or better than as great as as much as more than ever more X than Y ... more...than / less...than more...than ever... must have (done) Native of (Native to is also used in some cases) Neither - Nor should have parallel forms associated to it. no less....than No sooner than Not in a flash but in a not only...but also Not so much to X as to Y not X ...but rather Y .. noted that ..
Associate X with Y assume ...to be of... At least as strong as(At least as great as) Attempt to ‘do something’ (Attempt at doing is incorrect). attend to (someone) attribute X to Y/X is attributed to Y based on believe X to be Y Believed to have benefit from... better served by X than Y .. between X and Y Both X and Y (Both X as well as Y is incorrect) Both at X and at Y is correct. Both on X or on Y is correct. Business ethics - Is a singular word call...to consider... centers on Combined X with Y OR Combined X and Y (Both are correct) Compensate for expected X to be Y ... extent to ... fascinated by for jobs.. for over...XXX years... forbid X to do Y identical with forcing ...to... From X to Y (Grow from 2 million to 3 billion) (From X up to Y is wrong) Given credit for being ones - who had better(do) In an attempt to (gain control) in contrast to independent from indifferent towards Intent on interaction of ...
Concerned for worried; concerned with - related/affiliated conform to Consider X to be Y (a little controversial) contrary to... created with Credit X Rupees to Y’s account (When money is involved) Credit X with discovering Y (Credit with doing something) decline in.... defined as pends on whether depicted as Descendent of (Descendent for is incorrect) Different from one another (Different one from the other is wrong) Distinguish between X and Y (2 very different items, distinguished, say red and green colors) Distinguish between X and Y (Distinguish X from Y is incorrect) Distinguish X from Y (Two pretty similar items, say original paintings from fake ones) doubt that either...or enable to entrusted with... expected that X would be Y ...
one attributes X (an effect) to Y (a cause) One X for every ZZ( some numeric number) Y's ... Persuaded X to do Y Plead guilty for failing Potential for causing potential to Just as - So too May be (This is a word) is idiomatic, maybe (This means perhaps) is not idiomatic Mistake X for Y modeled after Estimated to be (Estimated at is incorrect)
13 7. Comparison between two things VS more than two things E.g. On the flight to Los Angeles, Nancy had to choose among two dinner entrees. Error: If there were more than two things being compared, use of among is correct. For comparing two things, between is appropriate. To compare two things between more better less To compare more than two things among most best least 8. Countable nouns Vs Non-countable nouns Could I have fewer soup, please? - Wrong Could I have less soup, please? - Correct Could I have less French fries, please? - Wrong Could I have fewer French fries, please? - Correct If an item can be counted, the correct adjective is fewer and if it cannot be counted, then the correct adjective is less. Number and many are similar to fewer Amount, quantity and much are similar to less - countable - non countable
Most of the people is/are...? Most of the water is/are...? Rule: Quantifier + of + NOUN + verb Most of the people are...; "Most" becomes a count noun because "people" is a count noun. Most of the water is... "Most" becomes a non-count noun because "water" is a non-count noun. So, this rule tells us only whether the quantifier is count or non-count. To figure out whether the quantifier is singular or plural, we need to check one more thing… Sometimes, a quantifier refers only to one thing, not many things. For example, each, every, and one always refer to one thing, but 10%, half, all, and most would refer to more than one thing if the object of the preposition is count (with one possible exception that follows below). Of course, if the quantifier is always singular, then the verb must always be singular, too. 1% of the 100 people is… 1% of the 100 people are... incorrect -correct - 1%,10%, etc are always plurals, they refer to one object though.
Note the difference The number of people has increased A number of people have gone
14 However, the following are correct. It's less than twenty miles to Dallas. He's less than six feet tall. Your essay should be a thousand words or less. We spent less than forty dollars on our trip. The town spent less than four percent of its budget on snow removal. The can be used with non-count nouns, or the article can be omitted entirely. E.g. I love to sail over the water - correct (some specific body of water); I love to sail over water (any water) - correct E.g. "He spilled the milk all over the floor" (some specific milk, perhaps the milk you bought earlier that day) or "He spilled milk all over the floor" (any milk) - correct A or an can be used only with count nouns. E.g. I need a bottle of water E.g. I need a new glass of milk You can't say, "She wants a water" unless you're implying, say, a bottle of water. 9. Quick Tip Of many decisions facing the energy commission as it meets to decide on new directions for the next century, the question of the future of nuclear energy is for certain the more perplexing. ‘is certainly the most perplexing’ is more appropriate 10. Subject Verb Agreement (Refer to Sec I. 3 Subject Verb Agreement) Most of the people is/are.. – ‘are’ is the correct option as most qualifies people as plural; Most of the water is/are… – ‘is’ is the correct option, as water cannot be counted. One of the people is… ; Each of the students is… ; 1% of the 100 people are… – No error The teacher together with the student is/are… - ‘is’ is the correct option. “together with” is not a conjunction and therefore cannot take a plural subject. The teacher and the student is/are … - ‘are’ is the correct option "a number of ..." always takes plural verbs. "the number of ..." always takes singular verbs. E.g. The number of people has increased A number of people have left home With singular or non-count nouns or clauses, use a singular verb E.g. One third of this article is taken up with statistical analysis. All of the book seems relevant to this study. (entire book is better) Half of what he writes is undocumented. About fifty percent of the job is routine. All the information is current.
With plural nouns and count-nouns use plural verbs E.g. One third of the students have graduate degrees. Fifty percent of the computers have CD-ROM drives. Many researchers depend on grants from industry. With collective nouns, use either singular or plural, depending on whether you want to emphasize the single group or its individual members. E.g. Half of my family lives/live in Canada. All of the class is/are here. Ten percent of the population is/are bilingual. Tips on subject verb agreement: a) The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always singular and, therefore, require singular verbs. E.g. Everyone has done his or her homework. Somebody has left her purse. Some indefinite pronouns — such as all, some — are singular or plural depending on what they're referring to. (Is the thing referred to countable or not?) Be careful choosing a verb to accompany such pronouns. E.g. Some of the beads are missing. Some of the water is gone. None can either take singular or plural, depending on the usage E.g. None of you claims responsibility for this incident? None of you claim responsibility for this incident? None of the students have done their homework. b) Some indefinite pronouns are particularly troublesome Everyone and everybody (listed above, also) certainly feel like more than one person and, therefore, students are sometimes tempted to use a plural verb with them. They are always singular, though. Each is often followed by a prepositional phrase ending in a plural word (Each of the cars), thus confusing the verb choice. Each, too, is always singular and requires a singular verb. E.g. Everyone has finished his or her homework. c) You would always say, "Everybody is here." This means that the word is singular and nothing will change that. E.g. Each of the students is responsible for doing his or her work in the library. - Don't let the word "students" confuse you; the subject is each and each is always singular — Each is responsible. d) Phrases such as together with, as well as, and along with are not the same as and. The phrase introduced by as well as or along with will modify the earlier word (mayor in this case), but it does not compound the subjects (as the word and would do). E.g. The mayor as well as his brothers is going to prison. The mayor and his brothers are going to jail.
16 e) The pronouns neither and either are singular and require singular verbs even though they seem to be referring, in a sense, to two things. E.g. Neither of the two traffic lights is working. Which shirt do you want for Christmas? Either is fine with me. In informal writing, neither and either sometimes take a plural verb when these pronouns are followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of. This is particularly true of interrogative constructions: "Have either of you two clowns read the assignment?" "Are either of you taking this seriously?" Burchfield calls this "a clash between notional and actual agreement." f) The conjunction or does not conjoin (as and does): when nor or or is used the subject closer to the verb determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after the verb doesn't matter; the proximity determines the number. E.g. Either my father or my brothers are going to sell the house. Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house. Are either my brothers or my father responsible? Is either my father or my brothers responsible?
Because a sentence like "Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house" sounds peculiar, it is probably a good idea to put the plural subject closer to the verb whenever that is possible. E.g. There are two reasons [plural subject] for this. There is no reason for this. Here are two apples.
With these constructions (called expletive constructions), the subject follows the verb but still determines the number of the verb. g) The words there and here are never subjects. E.g. There are two reasons [plural subject] for this. There is no reason for this. Here are two apples h) Words such as glasses, pants, pliers, and scissors are regarded as plural (and require plural verbs) unless they're preceded the phrase pair of (in which case the word pair becomes the subject). E.g. My glasses were on the bed. My pants were torn. A pair of plaid trousers is in the closet.
17 i) Fractional expressions such as half of, a part of, a percentage of, a majority of are sometimes singular and sometimes plural, depending on the meaning. (The same is true, of course, when all, any, more, most and some act as subjects.) Sums and products of mathematical processes are expressed as singular and require singular verbs. The expression "more than one" (oddly enough) takes a singular verb: "More than one student has tried this."
Some of the voters are still angry. A large percentage of the older population is voting against her. Two-fifths of the troops were lost in the battle. Two-fifths of the vineyard was destroyed by fire. Forty percent of the students are in favour of changing the policy. Forty percent of the student body is in favour of changing the policy. Two and two is four. Four times four divided by two is eight. j) If your sentence compounds a positive and a negative subject and one is plural, the other singular, the verb should agree with the positive subject. E.g. The department members but not the chair have decided not to teach on Valentine's Day. It is not the faculty members but the president who decides this issue. It was the speaker, not his ideas, that has provoked the students to riot. 11. Quick Tip ‘Ethics’ is normally used as a plural. “My work ethic” – singular usage 12. Usage of May, Ought, Should, Can May is usually appropriate to sentences either asking for or granting permission. As in "May I come in?" (instead of the more oft-used Can I come in?) Answer would be, "Yes, you may" Ought is more comfortable with words that concern themselves with what is right or correct or even, what should be. E.g. I think you ought to get all those questions on modals right. Always note, ought is mostly always used with to Should is slightly more ambiguous. It's slightly more informal and the connotation would be its use as either certainty, permission to a person on the same level as you are or again, to signify something you are expected to do. E.g. Ethics dictate that you should pay damages for the losses he has incurred
18 Can is usually used to signify ability. The past tense of can, could is also used to signify probability E.g. I think I can win the race. "Should I be concerned about VA and RC?" is correct usage. "Ought I be concerned about VA and RC?" simply doesn't sound right!
19 13. Advice Vs Advise Advice is a noun and advise is a verb 14. Quick Question Q: The Company fired no less than fifty employees. Error: Countable nouns do not go with less. Instead use fewer. The company fired no fewer than fifty employees. 15. Among Vs Between Use between only when we need to choose from only two options. For more than two, use among. Between the red car and blue car, … Among the five correct answers, … Among the many books, … 16. Whether Vs If Use whether where only two options are discussed and use if for more than two. E.g. Whether to buy a chocolate or strawberry ice cream… If she should get ice cream, frozen yogurt, or a cookie Her client didn’t tell her if he had sent his payment yet. Her client didn’t tell her whether he had sent his payment yet E.g.:
17. Compared to Vs Compared with To show comparison between unlike things, compare to is used. To show comparison between like things, compare with is used. Compare to is used to stress the resemblance. Compare with can be used to show either similarity or difference but is usually used to stress the difference. E.g. He compared her to a summer day. Scientists compared the human brain to a computer. (Unlike thing) The police compared the forged signature with the original. (Like things)
18. Each The traditional rule still holds true i.e. "the subject of a sentence beginning with each is grammatically singular". But there is another rule, which says that when each follows a plural subject, the verb and subsequent pronouns remain in the plural form. E.g. The apartments each have their own private entrances Three cats each eat ... Three cats, each of which eats ..., Each of the three cats eats…
20 19. Which/It E.g. Get me the book, which is mine. Which is used to qualify the book i.e., which is mine. There may be many books in the room, but I want my book. Which should always refer to a noun. In the above sentence, which refers to the book. Which must replace a noun, not a sentence or idea. Similarly, It is used to replace a noun and so is used to replace a verb in a sentence 20. Quick Tip Correct: Incorrect: Correct: He is faster than usual today A Mercedes is more expensive than usual for a car A Mercedes is more expensive than is usual for a car
21. Who else but he/him? Incorrect: Whom were you expecting? Who else but him Correct: Whom were you expecting? Who else but he Who else but he/she/I/they/we... Simply because of the following reason; If the question is ‘Who was coming?’ ‘He was coming’ would be the answer. Not ‘him was coming’ Your husband doesn't believe that you are older than (me,I) Correct option would be ‘I’. Your husband doesn’t believe that you are older than I (am) 22. Each Vs Every What is the difference between "each & every" as the two are depicting the same meaning? Using either 'each' or 'every' would mean we are talking about a set of particular items belonging to a group. Now, 'each' would emphasise on the items as individuals and 'every' would also emphasise on the items, but not in such an individualistic sense 23. Quick Tip Schliemann determined at the age of seven to find the site of ancient Troy and devoted his subsequent career to do it - incorrect It/which can replace only a noun and not a sentence as given above 24. As much as Vs Much as As much as indicates equality whereas, much as indicates “though” E.g. Much as we might dislike the aggressive and obsessive nature of … 25. Words Commonly Misused Clichés means formulas (plural) Cliché means formula (singular)
Embarrass is to humiliate, make uncomfortable, etc Embrace is to hold/hug/hold in arms, etc 26. Quick Tip E.g. I ended on a small farm that kept cows. Error: ended up is the correct usage; I ended up on a small farm that kept cows E.g. As none of the parents had caught up, each girl was sent to different farm for the day and returned at night Error: to a different farm is correct; As none of the parents had caught up, each girl was sent to a different farm for the day and returned at night E.g. The No.4 reactor had surged abruptly to 100 times full power and blew up. Error: had…blew…is incorrect, use had blown – similar to had ran being wrong and had run being correct; The No.4 reactor had surged abruptly to 100 times its full power and blown up E.g. A team of detectives was working to track a brutal criminal. Error: track down is the correct usage; A team of detectives was working on to track down a brutal criminal. 27. Raise Vs Rise Raise is a verb and Rise is a noun 28. That Vs Because That is a conjunction of consequence whereas because is a conjunction of reason. Note: To say “the reason is because…” is considered ungrammatical, instead use “the reason is that…” E.g. The reason many high schools use metal detectors is that some children bring weapons to school (or) many high schools use metal detectors because some children bring weapons to school. Comparing that and which, that is more specific.... which is used while mentioning in general 29. Quick Tip E.g. Neither the runner-up nor her sponsors are prepared to question the decision, mainly because they know the… Error: <no error> Are is a correct usage in the above sentence. The noun that is nearer to the verb are is a plural, we need to modify the verb to plural form. Students give the exam Students take the exam Teachers take the exam Teachers give the exam To become bald To go bald Associated to … incorrect correct incorrect correct incorrect correct incorrect
22 Associated with … correct
23 30. Universal truth A universal truth always takes a verb in present tense. E.g. Galileo said, “Earth revolved round the sun” – incorrect Galileo said, “Earth revolved round the sun” – correct 31. Not…but… Vs Rather than Pucci is not a dog but a cat correct Pucci is a dog rather than a cat incorrect I want a dog rather than a cat correct; as it expresses a preference 32. Childish Vs Childlike Childish implies silly whereas childlike implies innocent. E.g. I don't like his childish behaviour. Gandhiji always put on childlike smile on his lips. 33. Double possessiveness Do we say "a friend of my uncle" or "a friend of my uncle's"? In spite of the fact that "a friend of my uncle's" seems to overwork the notion of possessiveness, that is usually what we say and write. The double possessive construction is sometimes called the "post-genitive" or "of followed by a possessive case or an absolute possessive pronoun" (from the Oxford English Dictionary, which likes to show off). The double possessive has been around since the fifteenth century, and is widely accepted. It's extremely helpful, for instance, in distinguishing between "a picture of my father" (in which we see the old man) and "a picture of my father's" (which he owns). Native speakers will note how much more natural it is to say "He's a fan of hers" than "he's a fan of her." Generally, what follows the "of" in a double possessive will be definite and human, not otherwise, so we would say "a friend of my uncle's" but not "a friend of the museum's [museum, instead]." What precedes the "of" is usually indefinite (a friend, not the best friend), unless it's preceded by the demonstratives this or that, as in "this friend of my father's." Ref: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/possessives.htm 34. Due to Due to can be used only as a replacement of caused by and certainly not because The game was postponed due to rain incorrect The game was postponed because of rain correct The game’s postponement was due to(caused by) rain correct 35. So as so <adjective> as <verb> So as cannot be together. He exercises everyday so as to build his stamina. He exercises everyday in an effort to build his stamina Her debts are extreme so as to threaten the future of the company Her debts are so extreme as to threaten the future of the company
incorrect correct incorrect correct
24 36. Like Vs As Like is used to compare people/nouns/things E.g. Jack and Jill, like Humpty Dumpty, are extremely stupid As is used to compare clauses. A clause is any phrase that includes a verb. E.g. Just as jogging is a good exercise, swimming is a great one too. Strictly speaking, the word like is a preposition, not a conjunction. It can, therefore, be used to introduce a prepositional phrase ("My brother is tall like my father"), but it should not be used to introduce a clause ("My brother can't play the piano like as he did before the accident" or "It looks like as if basketball is quickly overtaking baseball as America's national sport."). To introduce a clause, it's a good idea to use as, as though, or as if, instead.
• • •
Like As I told you earlier, the lecture has been postponed. It looks like as if it's going to snow this afternoon. Johnson kept looking out the window like as though he had someone waiting for him.
In formal, academic text, it's a good idea to reserve the use of like for situations in which similarities are being pointed out:
This community college is like a two-year liberal arts college.
However, when you are listing things that have similarities, such as is more suitable:. E.g. The college has several highly regarded neighbors, like such as the Mark Twain House, St. Francis Hospital, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the UConn Law School Like cannot be used to cite examples. In such usages, such as should be used Deductions from certain items like interest may be made - incorrect Deductions from certain items such as interest may - correct be made 37. Each other Vs One another When two persons are involved, use each other. Where more than two persons are involved, use one another. E.g. Ross and Rachel love each other The three brothers love one another 38. As long as… Vs So long as… As long as deals with physical comparison, like time, length, etc.
25 So long as deals with conditions. (Provided that…) E.g. The baseball bat was as long as the club. So long as you maintain your cool, the meeting should be fine. 39. Will Vs Would Will – used for future/certainty Would – used for wish/possibility 40. Quick Tip E.g. If the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius, water can freeze. Error: It’s not correct to use can after if (in the context of what we have been talking about); If the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius, water will freeze E.g. I f all of the three major networks broadcast the same statement, television can be superficial. Error: can be should be replaced with will be 41. Concerned for Vs Concerned with Concerned for – worried or anxious Concerned with – related to E.g. He’s concerned for investor relations He’s concerned with investor relations
42. Skill – countable or non countable? Skill can be a count noun as well as a non count noun. It all depends on the context. Harry knows a few driving skills Countable How much skill do you have in driving a car, Harry? Non-countable
26 43. Avail oneself Avail normally is followed by myself, himself, them, etc. E.g. So I decided to avail of the opportunity incorrect So I decided to avail myself the opportunity correct 44. Usage of years E.g. There is, at last, an answer to the question, which has been fogging the governments at the centre and states since the 1990’s Error: 1990’s; instead use 1990s E.g. During the first half of 20th century… Error: the 20th century… <Definite article required> 45. In an effort In an effort <to do something> is correct whereas in an effort <at doing something> is wrong. 46. Proper nouns and the definite article Proper nouns that name geographical features require the definite article (the) E.g. … to the ecology of Silicon Valley incorrect … to the ecology of the Silicon Valley correct 47. Quick Tip Fruits vendors Fruit vendors According to my opinion, he is right In my opinion, he is right wrong correct incorrect correct
48. Possessive form and Non Living things Possessive form cannot be used with things without life. E.g. His room’s window is open wrong The window of his room is open correct 49. At the end Vs In the end At the end means at the farthest point. In the end means finally or at last E.g. There is a holiday at the end of this month In the end, they reached the city 50. The country Vs A country The country refers to the part of country consisting of fields, forests and mountains. A country refers to a place like India, England, etc.
27 51. Quick Tip One can always tell/speak the truth and not say the truth. Students take examination and teachers give examination. To be busy is correct usage and not having work E.g. I have much work this morning I was busy this morning I have a lot of work to do this morning Ride a bicycle is wrong, mount/get on to a bicycle is correct E.g. He rode his bicycle and went home He got on his bicycle and rode home They got off their bicycles They came down from the horse They dismounted (or got off) from the horse What do you call this in English? How do you call this in English? incorrect correct correct incorrect correct correct incorrect correct Correct Incorrect
52. Run-on Sentences E.g. Nietzsche moved to Basel in 1869, he planned to teach classical philology Error: Run-on sentences (like the one above) where two different clauses/sentences are separated by a comma are not acceptable. The sentence can be corrected as follows. 1. Make two separate sentences Nietzsche moved to Basel in 1869. He planned to teach classical philology. 2. Change the comma to a semicolon Nietzsche moved to Basel in 1869; he planned to teach classical philology. 3. Join the clauses with a semicolon and a transition word such as however or therefore Nietzsche planned to teach classical philology; therefore, he moved to Basel in 1869. Some common transition words are: also consequently however nevertheless then thus besides furthermore hence otherwise moreover still therefore 4. Join the two sentences with a coordinating conjunction Nietzsche moved to Basel in 1869, and he planned to teach classical philology.
28 The coordinating conjunctions are: and or for but nor yet 5. You can join the sentences with a subordinating conjunction (if appropriate) Because Nietzsche planned to teach classical philology, he moved to Basel in 1869. There are many subordinating conjunctions. Here are some of the most common ones: although if though where so after since unless while therefore because than until thereby before 6. You can use relative clauses Relative clauses usually begin with who, that, or which, and they relate the information in one clause to the subject of the other clause Nietzsche, who planned to teach classical philology, moved to Basel in 1869 52. Sentence Fragments Every sentence must contain at least one complete independent clause. If there is no independent clause at all, or if what’s supposed to be the independent clause is incomplete, you’ve got a sentence fragment. E.g. While many people, who have worked hard for many years, have not managed to save any money, although they are trying to be more frugal now. – incorrect
This sentence fragment consists of nothing but subordinate clauses. One of the subordinate clauses must be made into an independent clause. Given below are some correct usages of the above sentence. Most people, who have worked hard for many years, have not managed to save any money, although they are trying to be more frugal now. While most people, who have worked hard for many years, have not managed to save any money, they are trying to be more frugal now 53. Quick Tip Curfew is a singular noun, and therefore requires the determiner the.
29 54. Quick Tip The greatest change in my life was when I immigrated to the US The greatest change in my life occurred/happened when I immigrated to the US This is similar to E.g. This pen is a bargain because it is only ten cents. Error: Pen and ten cents are not same. <correct> The change was good for me. The change was a good one for me. The change was an important step for me in my life. <incorrect> The change was when I came to the US. 55. May Vs Might The visiting doctors concluded that the present amalgam is probably as good as or better than, any other system that might be devised for the patients. - correct Can we replace might with may in the above sentence? What is the difference? In general, may has more of a concrete meaning, so should be used more in statements of fact, whereas might is a bit less tangible, and tends to be used more in expressions of things that don't yet exist (hypothetical situations). Also, a bit more simply, since might is the past tense form of may, we use might more in the past tense. However, we often use them interchangeably in many constructions--there is a lot of overlap between may and might. 56. Preposition + Noun After every preposition, we must have a noun, and only a noun; never can we have a verb after a preposition. Prepositions can also be subordinating conjunctions. In other words, they can be followed by a noun or by a sentence, depending on the meaning. E.g. After lunch, I felt sleepy. In this sentence, After is a preposition and is therefore followed by only one noun, lunch (no verb here!!). E.g. After I worked twelve hours, I felt tired. In this sentence, After is a subordinating conjunction and is followed by a sentence, I worked twelve hours. E.g. I worked until midnight Here, until is a preposition and is followed by a noun, midnight. E.g. I worked until I felt tired In this sentence, until is a subordinating conjunction and is followed by a sentence, I felt tired
30 57. List of prepositions
aboard about above absent according to across after (can also be a subordinating conjunction) against ahead of all over along alongside amid or amidst among around as(Sub) as of as to as + ADVERB OF TIME + as as early as as late as as often as as much as as many as, etc. aside astride at away from bar barring because of before (sub) behind below beneath beside besides between beyond but by by the time of circa close by close to concerning considering despite down due to during except except for excepting excluding failing for(sub) for all (this means despite) from given in in between in front of in keeping with in place of in spite of in view of including inside instead of into less like minus near near to next to notwithstanding of off on on top of onto opposite other than out out of outside over past pending per plus regarding respecting round save saving similar to since(sub) without than thanks to (this means because of) through throughout till to toward or towards (both forms are correct, but toward is considered lightly more formal) under underneath unlike until(sub) unto up upon up to versus via wanting with within
31 58. Quick Tip a) credit with…- to give or assign responsibility E.g. Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb. credit to… - give money E.g. The bank credited $1 million to trebla's account. credit for…- money received for in exchange of something E.g. The customer received a $20 credit for the interruption in service. b) Data is the plural of datum Crises is the plural of crisis c) Hopefully, the crisis ends… - is not accepted by most people I hope that the crisis ends…. -Accepted However, the following sentence is accepted. Mercifully, the game ended before… d) (Less preferred) being < since < because e) During + <time> - incorrect During two hours, I felt sleepy. - incorrect During the last two hours, I have felt sleepy. - correct f) Both of them did not go to school Neither of them went to school John has not come also John has not come either - incorrect - correct - incorrect - correct
59. Negative sentences and conjunctions If a negative word is used in a sentence, the conjunction should be or and not and He did not speak loudly and clearly - incorrect He did not speak loudly or clearly - correct However, if the subjects are different, and can be used E.g. He did not write and I did not feel at rest. 60. More Tips To cut one’s hair - incorrect Have one’s haircut - correct Today morning, today afternoon, this night, yesterday afternoon This morning, this afternoon, tonight, last afternoon Search a lost thing - incorrect Search for a lost thing - correct Wish a thing - incorrect Wish for a thing - correct Dispose a thing - incorrect Dispose of a thing - correct
32 61. Taller than I/me? E.g. He is taller than I/me? He is taller than I(am)
- correct; am silent
We also want to be careful in a sentence such as "I like him better than she/her." The "she" would mean that you like this person better than she likes him; the "her" would mean that you like this male person better than you like that female person. (To avoid ambiguity and the slippery use of than, we could write "I like him better than she does" or "I like him better than I like her.") 62. Comprised of E.g. The team then, comprised of 12 members. The team then, comprised 12 members. -incorrect -correct
Comprised of, can be used only in passive sentences. 63. Quick Tip Mobile subscribers base has recorded a rapid growth last year Mobile subscriber base has recorded a rapid growth last year -incorrect - correct
Subscribers base is incorrect as subscriber here refers to an adjective, which cannot be plural. 64. Murder Vs Assassinate Murder is to kill a person. Assassinate is to kill a person for money or political reasons. E.g. He was paid $100000 to assassinate the president. Who assassinated Kennedy? 65. Salary Vs Wage Salary is the fixed sum of money, that you earn every month. Whereas wage is the sum that you earn per hour. E.g. He has a salary of $3000 a month. In Burger King you earn a wage of $6 an hour. 66. Injury Vs Wound Injury is damage to the body. Wound is damage to the body as a result of clash/conflict. E.g. He was injured in the car crash. - correct The soldier was wound. - correct He was wounded in the car crash. - incorrect 67. Quick Tip E.g. They serve meals on many of the buses that run from Santiago to Antofagasta. Error: Ambiguity: Who are they?
33 Meals are served on many of the buses that run from Santiago to Antofagasta. - correct It seldom rains in Death Valley - correct and accepted 67. One and You When we give advice to others or make general statements, we often use the pronouns one and you. “You should brush your teeth every day.” “One never knows what to do in a situation like that.” It is never acceptable to mix one and you, or one and yours, or you and one’s in a sentence together. E.g. One shouldn’t eat a high-fat diet and avoid exercise, and then be surprised when you gain weight. - incorrect One shouldn’t eat a high-fat diet and avoid exercise, and then be surprised when one gains weight. - correct You shouldn’t eat a high-fat diet and avoid exercise, and then be surprised when you gain weight. - correct
Never use one or one’s to refer back to any antecedent except one. E.g. A person should leave a light on in an empty house if one wants to give the impression that someone is at home. - incorrect A person should leave a light on in an empty house if he or she wants to give the impression that someone is at home.- correct One should leave a light on in an empty house if one wants to give the impression that someone is at home. - correct One should leave a light on in an empty house if he or she wants to give the impression that someone is at home. - correct 68. Verbs and Verbals A verb is a word that expresses an action or a state of being. A verbal is a word that is formed from a verb but is not functioning as a verb. There are three kinds of verbals, 1. Participle 2. Gerund 3. Infinitive Note: It is important to realize that a verbal is not a verb, because a sentence must contain a verb, just having a verbal without a verb won’t do. A group of words containing a verbal but lacking a verb is not a sentence. Participle Usually ends in -ing or -ed. It is used as an adjective in a sentence. E.g. Let sleeping dogs lie. It is difficult to calm a frightened child. Peering into his microscope, Robert Koch saw the tuberculosis bacilli.
34 Gerund Always ends in –ing. It is used in a sentence as a noun. Note that a gerund can also be the subject of a sentence or clause. E.g. Skiing can be dangerous. I was surprised at his acting like such a coward. Note from the second sentence that a noun or pronoun that comes before a gerund is in the possessive form: his, not him Infinitive The basic form of a verb, generally preceded by to. It is usually used as a noun, but may be used as an adjective or an adverb. E.g. Winston Churchill liked to paint (Infinitive used as a noun) E.g. The will to conquer is crucial (Infinitive used as an adjective—modifies the will) E.g. Students in imperial China studied the Confucian classics to excel on civil service exams (Infinitive used as an adverb —modifies studied) E.g. To lose ten pounds is a sensible goal for a dieter. (Note that an infinitive used as a noun can be the subject of a sentence.) 69. Quick Tip …it means multiple identity - wrong …t means multiple identities - correct (multiple – plural) The clerk directed Raj to the concerned officer The clerk directed Raj to the officer concerned - wrong - correct
Pawan’s financial position has taken the knock after he switched to the new business - wrong Pawan’s financial position has taken a knock after he switched to the new business - correct to work shoulder with shoulder to work shoulder to shoulder consideration by consideration from by the way of by way of - wrong - correct - wrong - correct - wrong - correct; and it means “by means of
70. Parallelism and Verbs When a sentence has two or more verbs in it, you should always check to see whether the tenses of those verbs correctly indicate the order in which things happened. As a general rule, if two things happened at the same time, the verbs should be in the same tense.
35 E.g. Just as the sun rose, the rooster crows. Error: Rose is past tense and crows is present tense, but the words just as indicate that both things happened at the same time. The verbs should be in the same tense; Just as the sun rose, the rooster crowed. Just as the sun rises, the rooster crows. – correct E.g. Being a French colony, Senegal is a Francophone nation. Error: We imply (wrongly, in this case) that Senegal is now a French colony. To make it clear that Senegal used to be a French colony and that that’s why its citizens speak French, we say: Having been a French colony, Senegal is a Francophone nation. 71. Mood Mood is the form of a verb that reflects the way the action of a condition is conveyed by the verb, as is thought by the speaker. There are three types of moods. 1. Indicative Represents something as fact. Verbs in the indicative simply make statements. E.g. Robert Burns wrote To a Fieldmouse. 2. Imperative Conveys a command—the subject is understood to be you. E.g. Remember the Alamo! 3. Subjunctive Represents something not as factual but as merely existing in the mind of the writer as a wish, probability, thought, or condition contrary-to-fact E.g. Many conservative Republicans wish that Ronald Reagan were still president. Subjunctive verb forms are used in two ways. a) The subjunctive form were is used in statements that express a wish or situations that are contrary-to-fact. E.g. I wish I were a rich man. (But I’m not.) If I were you, I wouldn’t do that. (But I’m not you.) b) The subjunctive of requirement is used after verbs such as ask, demand, insist, and suggest—or after expressions of requirement, suggestion, or demand. A subjunctive verb of requirement is in the base form of the verb: the infinitive without to. E.g. Airlines insist that each passenger pass through a metal detector. E.g. Most doctors would recommend that a patient stop smoking. E.g. It’s extremely important that silicon chips be made in a dust-free environment. 72. Omission of Articles Some common types of nouns that don't take an article are, Names of languages and nationalities: Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian, etc Names of sports : volleyball, hockey, baseball Names of academic subjects : mathematics, biology, history
36 73. Correlative Conjunctions There is a group of words in English which are called correlative conjunctions. They are used to relate two ideas in some way. Here’s a list of them: both . . . and either . . . or neither . . . nor not only . . . but (also) You should always be careful to place correlative conjunctions immediately before the terms they’re coordinating. E.g. Wrong: Isaac Newton not only studied physics but also theology. Correct: Isaac Newton studied not only physics but also theology. The problem here is that the author intends to coordinate the two nouns physics and theology, but makes the mistake of putting the verb of the sentence (studied) after the first element of the construction (not only), and in so doing destroys the parallelism. Note that the solution to an error like this is usually to move one of the conjunctions. 74. Parallelism and Infinitives Wrong: To drive while intoxicated is risking grave injury and criminal charges. Correct: To drive while intoxicated is to risk grave injury and criminal charges. When an infinitive is the subject of to be, don’t use a gerund after the verb and vice versa. Pair infinitives with infinitives and gerunds with gerunds. Note that we wouldn’t change both words to gerunds in this sentence because it wouldn’t sound idiomatic. Wrong: Calling someone long distance is an expensive way to communicate; to write a letter is much cheaper. When two clauses express parallel thoughts the way these do, don’t use an infinitive to begin one and a gerund to begin the other. Use two infinitives or two gerunds, whichever is idiomatic. Correct: Calling someone long distance is an expensive way to communicate; writing a letter is much cheaper. Correct: To call someone long distance is an expensive way to communicate; to write a letter is much cheaper. 75. Quick Tip Don’t put one clause of a sentence in the active voice and one in the passive if there’s any way to avoid it. Poor: Richard Strauss wrote Salome, and then Elektra was composed by him. Better: Richard Strauss wrote Salome, and then composed Elektra.
37 76. Comparisons To be considered correct, a sentence that makes a comparison must do two things. First, it must be clear about what is being compared, and second, it must compare things that logically can be compared. A sentence that makes an unclear or illogical comparison is grammatically unacceptable. There are quite a few expressions that are used to make comparisons. as . . . as like more . . . than unlike less . . . than as similar to different from These expressions, and other comparative expressions, should remind you that you must ask yourself two questions about the comparison in the sentence: Is it clear? Is it logical? E.g. Wrong: Byron admired Dryden more than Wordsworth. There are two ways to interpret this sentence: that Dryden meant more to Byron than Wordsworth did, or that Byron thought more highly of Dryden than Wordsworth did.Whichever meaning you choose, the problem can be cleared up by adding more words to the sentence. Correct: Byron admired Dryden more than he did Wordsworth. Correct: Byron admired Dryden more than Wordsworth did. Wrong: The peaches here are riper than any other fruit stand. This sentence is comparing peaches to fruit stands, even though that’s clearly not the intention of the author. We can correct it so that we’re comparing peaches to peaches by inserting the phrase those at. Correct: The peaches here are riper than those at any other fruit stand. Now the pronoun those is standing in for peaches, so the sentence is accurately comparing things that can be reasonably compared: the peaches here and some other peaches. Incomplete comparisons like this one are normally corrected by inserting a phrase like those of, those in, those at, that of, that in, and that at. Incomplete comparisons can also be corrected by use of the possessive. E.g. Wrong: Many critics considered Enrico Caruso’s voice better than any other tenor. (This is comparing a voice to a person.) Correct: Many critics considered Enrico Caruso’s voice better than any other tenor’s.
38 Note that this is a shortened version of: Many critics considered Enrico Caruso’s voice better than any other tenor’s voice. Wrong: Astaire danced better than any man in the world This is wrong because he couldn’t have danced better than himself. Correct: Astaire danced better than any other man in the world.
77. Comparative form The comparative form is used when comparing only two members of a class, and the superlative for three or more. Loretta’s grass grows more vigorously than Jim’s. Loretta’s grass grows the most vigorously of any in the neighborhood. Of Buchanan and Lincoln, the latter was taller. Of McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft, the last was heaviest. Comparisons usually involve terms such as like, unlike, similar to, and in contrast to. Basically, they mark a particular type or parallelism and, as such, require parallel structures in the objects, people, or whatever that are being compared. They deserve special consideration because comparisons demand more precise parallels, even with respect to content, and because they're tested so frequently that you should be familiar with their oddities. You'll notice that the terms of comparisons often begin modifying phrases; all the grammar that you'll review in this section ultimately works together. 78. Prepositions usage and conjunctions Wrong: Ezra Pound was interested but not very knowledgeable about economics. This is wrong because the preposition that’s needed after the word interested (in) is not the same as the preposition that follows the word knowledgeable (about). Correct: Ezra Pound was interested in but not very knowledgeable about economics. Wrong: London always has and always will be the capital of the United Kingdom. This is wrong because the verb form that’s needed after has is not the same as the one that’s needed after will, so both must be included. Correct: London always has been and always will be the capital of the United Kingdom. 79. Double negatives I don’t want no help’’ is unacceptable. Double negatives are not accepted in standard written English The obviously negative words are: neither nobody nor nowhere never none
39 not no one nothing The following words are also grammatically negative: barely rarely without hardly seldom scarcely There were no threats. There were no bombing campaigns. There were neither threats nor bombing campaigns. There were no threats or bombing campaigns. There were no threats and no bombing campaigns. There were no threats, nor were there bombing campaigns. These are the most common idiomatic ways to join two negative ideas. If you can remember these patterns, you can probably eliminate many wrong answers, because they in some way violate these idiomatic patterns. 80. Redundancy Using two words or phrases that have exactly the same meaning when one would be sufficient to get the point across is called redundancy. E.g. Wrong: The school was established and founded by Quakers in 1906. Established and founded both have the same meaning in this sentence: set up, created. One or the other is acceptable—using both results in redundancy. Correct: The school was established by Quakers in 1906. Correct: The school was founded by Quakers in 1906. E.g. Wrong: If temperatures drop during the night and the roads become icy, it is probable that the schools may be closed tomorrow. Both the phrase it is probable and the verb may indicate the possibility of closing the schools—using both is redundant. Correct: If temperatures drop during the night and the roads become icy, it is probable that the schools will be closed tomorrow. Correct: If temperatures drop during the night and the roads become icy, the schools may be closed tomorrow. 81. Wordiness More often than not, having extra words in a sentence isn’t downright repetitious, but is still a problem because the thought could be expressed more concisely. Versions of Sentence Correction questions can be unacceptable partly or entirely because they’re too wordy: choose shorter versions as long as no essential words have been left out of the sentence.
40 E.g. Wordy: The supply of musical instruments that are antique is limited, so they become more valuable each year. Better: The supply of antique musical instruments is limited, so they become more valuable each year. Wordy: Barbara Johnson and Alice Walker are in agreement with each other that Zora Neale Hurston was a major writer. Better: Barbara Johnson and Alice Walker agree that Zora Neale Hurston was a major writer.
82. Quick Tip Regard as is the correct idiom and regard to be is wrong. E.g. I regard you as (NOT to be) a close friend. Can as an auxiliary verb means to be able to May as an auxiliary verb means to be permitted to Incorrect: Can we talk? (Well, if you can say it, you are able to talk!) Correct: May we talk? Correct: We may talk if you can listen to my side. We use native to for plants and animals, and natives of for people. E.g. Wolverines are native to North America 83. When/Where and definitions Do not use when or where in a definition, or where that would be more appropriate. E.g. A convention is a meeting of people with something in common (NOT a convention is where a number of people,etcetera). E.g. A diagram is a sketch that illustrates (NOT is when a sketch is made to illustrate) the parts of something. E.g. I read that (NOT where) you had to leave town. 84. Lay Vs Lie Lay means "to place something down." It is something you do to something else. It is a transitive verb. Incorrect: Lie the book on the table. Correct: Lay the book on the table. (It is being done to something else.) Lie means "to recline" or "be placed." It does not act on anything or anyone else. It is an intransitive verb. Incorrect: Lay down on the couch. Correct: Lie down on the couch. (It is not being done to anything else.) The reason lay and lie are confusing is their past tenses. The past tense of lay is laid and the past tense of lie is lay. Incorrect: I lay it down here yesterday. Correct: I laid it down here yesterday. (It is being done to something else.) Incorrect: Last night I laid awake in bed. Correct: Last night I lay awake in bed. (It is not being done to anything else.) The past participle of lie is lain. The past participle of lay is like the past tense, laid. E.g. I could have lain in bed all day.
41 They have laid an average of 500 feet of sewer line a day. Layed is a misspelling and does not exist. Use laid. 85. Words Commonly Misused accept/except to accept is to willingly receive; to except is to omit or exclude. A student may be accepted by a college because, if you except a failing grade in one or two courses, his academic record is excellent. (Note: except is usually used as a preposition meaning “with the exception of.” In many states, stores are open every day except Sunday.) adapt/adopt to adapt is to change something to make it suitable for a certain purpose; to adopt is to make something one’s own. Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not was adapted for the movies by William Faulkner. Edgar Poe was adopted as a child by the Allan family. affect/effect as verbs, to affect is to influence or change; to effect is to cause or to make (something) happen. A lack of rainfall usually affects the size of a harvest. Penicillin effects a rapid recovery in most patients with bacterial infections. (Note: effect is usually used as a noun meaning “influence.” Illegible signs on a road have a bad effect on safety.) allusion/delusion/illusion allusion is an indirect reference; a delusion is something that is falsely believed; an illusion is a false, misleading, or deceptive appearance. Someone who fills his talk with allusions to literature and art, to create the illusion that he is very learned, may have delusions of grandeur. among/between in most cases, you should use between for two items and among for more than two. There are exceptions, however; among tends to be used for less definite or exact relationships. The competition between Clinton and Perot grew intense. He is always at his best among strangers. But: Plant the trees in the area between the road, the wall, and the fence. amount/number amount should be used to refer to a singular or noncountable word, number to refer to a plural or countable word. The amount of money he carried in his pocket would feed a substantial number of people. another/the other another refers to any other; the other is more specific; it refers to one particular other. Put another log on the fire (any one). Put the other log on the fire (the last one).
42 as/like like is a preposition. It introduces a phrase; as, when functioning as a conjunction, introduces a subordinate clause. Jenny Lind was said to sing like a nightingale. Jenny Lind was said to sing as a nightingale sings assure/ensure/insure to ensure is to make certain, safe, or secure; to insure is to provide for financial payment in case of loss; to assure is to inform positively. He assured his children that he had insured his life to ensure that they would not suffer poverty if he died. beside/besides beside means “next to” something; besides means “in addition to.” The president sat beside the Japanese Prime Minister at the banquet. Besides the team, there are often reporters in a locker room. each other/one another In English, each other is used to refer to two things, and one another is used for three or more. Those two theories contradict each other. Those three theories contradict one another. had/would have contrary-to-fact and improbable conditional sentences use the helping verb would in the then clause, but never in the if clause. If Cleopatra’s nose had been (NOT would have been) shorter, the face of the world would have changed. ingenious/ingenuous ingenious means “intelligent, clever, or resourceful”; ingenuous means “innocent, naive, or simple.” The thief entered the bank vault by means of an ingenious magnetic device. Alice is so ingenuous that she refuses to believe that anyone would deliberately do harm. imply/infer to imply is to state or indicate indirectly; to infer is to deduce or conclude. Pete sarcastically implied that he was angry. Joe inferred from Mary’s dejected look that she had failed the exam. appraise/apprise apprise means to inform or tell appraise means to assess the value practice/pracise practice is a noun practise is a verb 86. Quick Tip “Easy said than done” incorrect
43 “Easier said than done” “Convinced in” “Convinced of” “Show one’s true colour’ “Show one’s true colours’ “Can be rest assured…” “Can rest assured…” correct incorrect correct incorrect correct incorrect correct
“about” is used for physical dimensions whereas “around” is used for time. 87. Agree to Vs Agree with Agree to a proposal but agree with a person. That is, agree to is used with inanimate things and agree with is used with animate ones. 88. Usual Vs Is usual When something is compared to a subgroup to which it belongs, is usual should be used. When something is compared to itself, usual is fine E.g. He feels better than usual. correct
A Mercedes is more expensive than usual for a car incorrect A Mercedes is more expensive than is usual for a car correct He is faster than is usual for any human being correct
89. Who Vs Whom
If the answer is he/she, use who. If the answer is him/her, use whom. E.g. Who broke the glass (He broke the glass) By whom was the class taken? (by her)
90. Quick Tip no sooner … than… is the correct usage
He had no sooner sat in the bathroom that the phone began to ring He had no sooner sat in the bathroom than the phone began to ring incorrect correct
Require that…be… Normal English requires that “require that” be followed by a “be” Hoping’s is the correct usage for hoping is Pare away/down Pare up Mistake X for Y Mistake X as Y Mistake X to be Y Reason for… Reason of… Attribute x to y correct incorrect correct incorrect incorrect correct incorrect correct
44 Y is attributed to x correct Attribute X as the cause of y incorrect Prefer A to B correct Prefer A for B incorrect He is afflicted from common cold incorrect He is afflicted with common cold correct Patients should be warned about the potential risk of medicine. incorrect Patients should be warned of the potential risk of medicine. Correct Believe A as X incorrect Believe A to be X correct Care about correct usage. (E.g. Do not care about your problems) Contrast A With B correct usage( E.g. If you contrast my proposal with your’s, then you will find that there is not much similarity) Different than incorrect Different from correct Hardly never incorrect Hardly ever correct Ignorant to incorrect Ignorant of correct Concur with a decision incorrect Concur in a decision correct Worried over incorrect Worried about correct Neither (A or B), nor C !!! correct Not (A or B), nor C correct Integrate A into B correct Situation in which is better than situation where. 91. Quick Notes 1. Answer choices in which the word "being" is a verb are rarely correct. Pay special attention to where and how "being" is used at the end of the answer choices. This is a Kaplan takeaway strategy E.g. I'm afraid of being late. incorrect I'm afraid that I'll be late. correct Exceptions: In addition to being one of the finest restaurants… There are many reasons to get an MBA, with increased career prospects being the most important.. 2. "There" constructions are rarely correct. If you see “there" WITH a comma before it, it’s probably wrong 3. If you see "which" WITHOUT a comma before it, it’s probably wrong. 4. Consider, regard....as, think of......as: there is no as after consider, while
45 5. both regard and think of need the as. 6. In general, avoid the construction to be/being because they are usually passive. To be/being are commonly used in junk answer choices. 7. after when is WRONG 8. From x to Y - CORRECT, From x up to Y - INCORRECT 9. Rates for - CORRECT, Rates of – INCORRECT 10. If who is present it should refer to one before the comma. 11. so much.....as is preferred if it is preceded by a negative. Ex: She left 12. not so much as a trace. 13. Have + verb (-ed) + present participle (-ing) is WRONG ex: have elected retiring is wrong should be have elected to retire 14. A relative pronoun (which, that or who) refers to the word preceding it. If the meaning is unclear, the pronoun is in the wrong position. The word "which" introduces non-essential clauses and "that" introduces essential clauses. "Who" refers to individuals; "that" refers to a group of persons, class, type, or species. 15. Wrong: The line at the bank was very slow, which made me late. Right: I was late because of the line at the bank OR The line at the bank made me late. 16. "if" vs. "whether" vs "whether or not". if these are being tested in one sentence choose "whether" almost 100% of the time 92. Disinterested Vs Uninterested Disinterested: Neutral/unbiased E.g. The best judges are disinterested. Uninterested: Bored/Not interested E.g. Uninterested in his homework, Martin nodded off. 93. Quick Tip Wrong : A has half the chance than B has. Right : A has half the chance that B has. Broadcast is plural. 94. Equal Vs Equivalent Equal should be used only in its strict sense. E.g. 4+3 is equal to 5+2 Equivalent is preferable when we are saying that two thing s are not entirely identical, but are almost equal. E.g. Country X spent $xx on something, equivalent to the GDP of country Y. 95. Semi Colons Semi Colons are used to seperate different clauses in a statemet. This is something we are all aware of. Another use and eg. of semi colon. When the items in a series themselves contain commas, separate the items with semicolons. Incorrect: We visited Erie, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York, and Toronto, Ontario. (Confusing. Semicolons needed to make clear distinctions.)
46 Correct: We visited Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; and Toronto, Ontario. 100. Colons • Colons with lists - Use a colon before a list when the list is preceded by a complete independent clause. Eg. John has all the ingredients: minced clams, milk, potatoes, and onions • Colons introduce quotations that are formal or lengthy. Eg. Dickens wrote: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." • Colons may be used to separate independent clauses that are not separated by a conjunction or any other connecting word or phrase. • Semicolons may also be used in such cases. Eg. Grapes are not squeezed: The pulp is pressed. 101. During During used with time period without an intermediate mention of the timing of the period is wrong. Wrong: During two hours, I felt sleepy Right: During the last two hours, I felt sleepy 102. Quick Tip to include including - incorrect - correct
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