Miscellaneous examples


 

Using and in a negative sentence instead of or.
 Don’t say: I don’t like red and orange. I want the blue one.
Say: 1 don’t like red or orange. I want the blue one.
The meaning of the first sentence is that you don’t like the two colours together. The intended meaning is that you don’t like either of them, even separately.
Note: If we join clauses with different subjects we use and even after a negative: He didn’t write to me and I was worried.

Using till instead of before or when.
Don’t say:  I’d reached the school till the rain started.
Say: I’d reached the school before the rain started.
Or: I’d reached the school when the rain started.
Before or when introduces a clause of time, if the verb of the main clause denotes an action completed before that of the time clause.

Using both in a negative sentence instead of neither.
Don’t say:  Both of them  didn’t go to school today.
Say:  Neither of them went to school today.
Remember: Change both into neither in a negative sentence and use a    positive verb.

Using also or too in a negative sentence instead of  either.
Don’t say: Joe hasn’t come  also  (or too).
Say: Joe  hasn’t  come either.
Remember: Change also or too into either in a negative sentence.

Using likes me instead of I like.
Don’t say: The cinema likes me very much.
Say: I like the cinema very much.
Note: The cinema appeals to me is correct, and means I like the cinema very much.

Using  neither  …or instead  of neither  …  nor.
Don’t say:  Sara  speaks neither English or French.
Say:  Sara speaks neither English nor French.
Remember: Neither must be followed by nor and not by or. Either is followed by or: She drinks either orange juice or apple juice.

Using if instead of whether.
Don’t say: I asked Paul if he was going.
Say: I asked Paul whether he was going.
Where or not is implied, use whether, not if. Unlike whether, if does not expect a Yes or No reply: I shall speak to him if he comes.

Using any for two, instead of either.
 Don’t say: Any of these two books is good.
Say: Either of these two books is good.
Either means one or the other of two; any means one of three or more: Any of these books will do.

Using the reason is  because instead of the reason is that.
Don’t say: The reason is because I believe it.
Say: The reason is that I believe it.
The word reason denotes cause, therefore the reason is because is repetition. The correct idiom is the reason is that …

Using  a  country  instead of the country.
 Don’t say: I spend my holidays in a country.
 Say: I spend my holidays in the country.
A country is a place like France, India, or Egypt.
The country is a rural area where there are no towns or cities.

Using under the rain instead of in the rain.
Don’t say: They  played football under the rain.
Say: They played  football in the  rain.
Note: Also in the sun and in the shade: He was sitting in the sun
(or in the   shade).
Have another look at  …
Negatives
Express the negative in the present + past simple in one of two ways:
1.  By putting not (n’t) after the verb. Use this method with the following twenty-one verbs.
am,  is,  are,  was,  were; have,  has,  had; shall, should; will,  would;  can,  could;  may,  might;  must;  need;  dare;
ought…  to;  used  …  to.
Examples:  I’m not ready. You  mustn’t do that. He can’t write well. He oughtn’t to go.
In conversation, not is often shortened to n’t. We say don’t  for  do  not,  doesn’t for  does  not,  didn’t  for  did  not, hadn’t  for  had  not,  wouldn’t  for  would  not,  etc.  (But  we say  shan’t  for  shall  not,  won’t  for  will  not,  can’t for
cannot.)
2.  Use do,  does,  did,  with  not and  the  present infinitive (without to). Use this method with all verbs except those  twenty-one given above.
The  word order is:
SUBJECT + do (does, did) + not + INFINITIVE
Examples:  I  don’t go there very often. He doesn’t teach English. They didn’t see  the game.
3. Use other words of negative meaning to express negatives:  no,  nobody,  no  one,  nothing,  nowhere. Example: They know  nothing
or They  do  not  (don’t)  know  anything.

Using at the end instead of in the end.
 Don’t say: At the  end they reached the city.
Say: In the end they reached the city.
In the end means finally or at last  at the end means at the farthest point or part: There’s an index at the end of this book  There’s a holiday at the end of this month.

Using according to my opinion instead of   in my opinion.
Don’t say: According to my opinion, she’s right.
Say: In my opinion, she’s right.
Note: Avoid using the phrase as I think instead of I think.

Using  as  usually instead of as usual
 Don’t say: As usually, he left his pen at home.
Say: As usual, he left     his pen at home.

Using one and a half, instead of half past one, etc.
Don’t say:  Lessons begin  at eight and a half.
Say: Lessons  begin  at  half past eight.
In telling time, say half past one half, past two, half past three, etc.

Using the other day instead of the next day, etc.
Don’t say: David slept well  and  was better the other  day.
Say:  David slept well and  was better the next day (or on the following day).
Note: The other day is an idiom meaning a few days ago: I met an old friend the other day.

Using a day, etc., instead of one day, etc.
  Don’t say:  A day they went sight-seeing in Florence.
Say:  One  day  they  went  sight-seeing  in  Florence.
Use one (not a or an) with day, night, morning, afternoon and evening, when the one means on a certain ….

Using  one  time  or  two times instead of once or twice.
Don’t say: I was absent one time or two times.
 Say: I was absent once or twice.
Use once and twice instead of one time and two times.

Using a double negative.
Don’t say:  She  says  she’s not afraid of nobody.
Say: She says she’s not afraid of anybody.
Or: She says she’s afraid of nobody.
In English, two negatives are equal to an affirmative statement. You should avoid using two negative words in the same clause: when not is used, none changes to any, nothing to anything, nobody to anybody, no one to anyone, nowhere to anywhere, neither … nor to either … or.

Yes or No in answer to negative questions.
Question:  Didn’t you  see  the  game?
Answer:
Yes,  –  that is, I saw it.
No, – that is, I didn’t see it.
In answering negative questions, say Yes if the answer is an affirmation, and No if it’s a negative. That is, answer without any regard to the negative form of   the question.

Misuse of the gerund to express purpose.
Don’t say:  I come  here  for learning English.
Say: I  come here to learn English.
Express purpose by using the infinitive, not the gerund.

 The question phrase isn’t it? misused.
Don’t say: He played well yesterday, isn’t it?
Say: He played well yesterday, didn’t he?
Use the question phrase isn’t it only when the preceding statement contains the word is: It is a hot day, isn’t it?
Note. In this form of question, use the same tense and person as in the preceding statement and use the correct auxiliary. If, however, the preceding statement is in the negative form, the question phrase omits not. We say:
1. They are on holiday, aren’t they? They aren’t on holiday, are they?
2. You speak English, don’t you? You don’t speak French; do you?

The unrelated participle.
Don’t say: Being in a hurry, the door was left open.
Say: Being in a hurry, he left the door open.
Take care to provide the logical subject relating to the participle phrase. In the sentence given, the logical subject to being in haste is he and not the door.

Wrong sequence of moods.
Don’t say: If you would/’d do me this favour, I will/’ll be  very grateful  to  you.
Say: If you would/’d do me this favour, I would/’d be very  grateful  to you.
Or: If you will/’ll do me this favour, I will/’d be very grateful  to  you.

Mixing up one form of the verb with another.
Don’t say:  It’s   better  to  enjoy yourself when you’re young rather than wasting time worrying about the  future.
Say:  It’s   better to  enjoy yourself when  you’re young than to waste time worrying about the future.
Don’t mix one form of the verb with another. If the first verb in a comparison is in the infinitive, the second must also be in the infinitive.

Using an intransitive verb in the passive form.
Don’t say:  She  was  disappeared from  the  house.
Say:  She  disappeared from the house.
As a rule, don’t use intransitive verbs, like appear, seem, become, consist, in the passive form. Intransitive verbs don’t have an object.

Using the passive infinitive (to be + past participle) instead of the active (to + infinitive).
Don’t say:  English  isn’t  easy to be learned.
Say:  English isn’t easy to learn.
The adjectives easy, difficult, hard, heavy, good, etc.,  are generally followed by the active  infinitive.

Using from instead of one of or among.
Don’t say: She is from  the nicest girls I know.
Say: She is one of the nicest girls I know.
Avoid  using  from  in the sense of one of or among.

Using home instead of at home.
Don’t say: In the afternoon I stay home.
Say:  In the afternoon I stay at home.
Use  the  phrase at home to mean  in  the house. With  such verbs  as come or go no  preposition  is  necessary:  He  wants  to  go  home.

Using more good or more  bad instead of better or worse.
Don’t say: This one looks more good than that.
Say: This  one looks better than that.
The adjectives good  and bad  have irregular forms of  comparison:  good, better, best and  bad, worse, worst.

Using the more instead of most.
Don’t say: The more people will agree with me.
Say: Most people will agree with me.
Use  most (not  the  more)  when  you  mean  the  majority of.
Note:  Use  the  more  in  sentences  like:  The more I complain,   the more laugh.   The  more  we  write,   the  happier  our  tutor  becomes.

 Using the comparative instead of the superlative.
Don’t say: Cairo is the larger city in Africa.
Say: Cairo is the largest city in Africa.
Use the superlative when  more than two persons or things are compared.

Using from  after the comparative instead of than.
Don’t say: Amy is taller from her brother.
Say: Amy is taller than her brother.
Adjectives (or adverbs) in the comparative are followed by than and not by from

Using one other instead of another.
Don’t say: Please give me one  other book.
Say: Please give me another book.
Another is formed from  an  and  other,  but instead of  being written an other it’s written as one word  another.

 

Using the superlative instead of the comparative.
Don’t say: John is the tallest of the two boys.
Say: John is the taller of the two boys.
Use the comparative when two people or things are compared.

Using  who?  or what?  instead  of which?
Don’t say: Who of the two boys is the taller?
Say: Which of the two boys is the taller?
Use the interrogative pronoun which? for both people and things, asks for one out of a definite number.
Note: The interrogative pronoun what? doesn’t imply choice: What’s your telephone number? It’s also used to ask for a person’s profession. What’s your father? – He’s a lawyer.
I saw the woman (who) you said lived next door. We rarely use whom in modern English. We still use it after prepositions to, by, with, after, on etc. For example, The girl to whom you were speaking is Nigerian. We prefer to avoid this nowadays by changing the order of the sentence: The girl you were speaking to is Nigerian. You can also use that in place of who: The girl that you were speaking to is Nigerian.

Who? and Whom?
(a) Who?
Don’t say: Whom do you think will be  chosen?
Say: Who do you think will be chosen?
(b) Whom?
Don’t say: Who do you think I saw yesterday?
Say: Whom do you think I saw yesterday?
In sentence (a) who is the subject of will be chosen, do you think is a parenthesis.
In sentence (b) whom is the object of I saw, do you think is a parenthesis.

Using who, whom,  or  which  after  the  superlative, instead  of that.
Don’t say: It’s the best which I’ve seen.
Say: It’s the best (that) I’ve seen.
Use the relative that (not who, whom, or which) after a superlative  It can, however, be omitted.

The same as/same that.
Don’t say: Amelia bought the same bag that me.
Say: Amelia bought the same bag as me.
After the same we use as unless it’s followed by a subordinate clause, in which case we use that, or omit it:
Mr. smith ordered the same meal (that) he ordered before.
Note: Sometimes we use that instead of who or which after same: He wore the same clothes that he wore on Sunday.

Using the relative pronoun which for persons.
Don’t say: I’ve a brother which is at school.
Say: I’ve a brother who is at school.
Only use which as a relative pronoun for animals or things. The right pronoun to use for people is who (whose, whom).

Using what or which after everything, etc.
Don’t say: 1 heard everything which {or what) he said.
Say: I heard everything (that) he said.
Don’t use the relative pronouns which and what after everything, all, something, anything, a lot, (not much), little, or nothing. We can use that after these words, or it can be omitted.

Who and whom.
Don’t say: I saw the woman whom you said lived next.
Say: I saw the women who you said lived next.

Misuse of -self forms.
Don’t say:  Michael and myself are here.
Say: Michael and I are here.
Use the s mole personal pronouns I, you, he , etc , if no emphasis is necessary.
Note:  Use the -self pronouns in  two  ways:
1)  for  emphasis: She  herself was hurt,
2)  reflexively: She   hurt   herself.

Using  his self or  their selves  instead  of himself  or themselves.
Don’t say:  They  fell  down and  hurt  their selves.
Say: They fell down and hurt themselves.
The reflexive pronouns, third person, are himself and themselves, and not his self and their selves.

 Misuse of noun/verb homonyms.
Don’t say: Becky played a good play of chess.
Say: Becky played a good game of chess.
Some verbs and nouns do have the same form and analogous meaning in English: The police fight a hard fight. Heather dreams long vivid dreams. If you lie the lie will catch you out!
The company danced an African dance. However, we seldom use the same word like this. Usually we try to avoid it in some way: She fought a long battle with them. if you lie you will be caught out. The company did an African dance.

 

Using the objective case after the conjunction than.
Don’t say: My sister is taller than me.
Say: My sister is taller than I (am).
The word than is a conjunction, and can only be followed by a pronoun in the nominative case. The verb coming after the pronoun is generally omitted.
Note:  Use the objective case in spoken English.  You’re much taller than me.

Using the subject pronoun after between
Don’t say: It’s a secret between you and I.
Say:  It’s a secret between you  and  me.
Between is a preposition, and all prepositions take the objective case after them.

Using an object pronoun before a gerund.
Don’t say: Him laughing at her was what made her angry.
Say:  His laughing at her was what made her angry.
When we use an -ing verb as a noun. the preceding noun or pronoun must be possessive.

Using an object pronoun in a double genitive.
Don’t say:  A friend of him  told us the  news,
Say: A friend of his  told  us the news.
We use the double genitive (of + name + ‘s, his, mine etc.)  when we won’t to emphasize the person, who possesses rather than the thing which he possesses. A friend of his is simply another way of saying one of his friends.

Confusion of gender.
Don’t say: The door is open, please shut her.
Say: The door is open, please shut it.
In English only names of people and animals have gender (masculine or feminine).  Inanimate things are neuter, and take the pronoun it in the singular.
Note:  It’s possible to use masculine or feminine pronouns when inanimate things are personified:  England is proud of her navy.

Using the possessive ‘s with inanimate objects.
Don’t say: Her room’s window is  open.
Say: The window of her room is open.
With  inanimate  objects we  usually  use  the  of  structure.  The door of the car. ‘The  leg of the  table.   The  surface  of the  water.  With the  names  of  places  and organizations we can  use either: London’s streets = The streets of London. Italy’s climate.  = The climate of Italy. The school’s main office = The main office of the school.
Note:  However, we do say: a day’s work, a night’s rest, a week’s holiday, a pound’s worth, etc., especially with similar measures of time.

Using the objective case after the verb to be.
Don’t say: It was him.
Say: It was he.
The pronoun coming after the verb to be must be in the nominative case, and not in the objective in written composition.  However, the objective case is now usually used in conversation: It’s me, it was him/her/them, etc.