Sunday 14 January 2007

Common Problems

Advice / Advise

Advice is a noun; Advise is a verb.
The counsellor advised me to take a writing course; I will follow her advice.

As far as / Until

As far as refers to distance; Until refers to time.
She walked as far as the corner and then turned back. She said she could stay only until ten o'clock.

Beat / Win

One beats teams or opponents; One wins games.
Tracey won the tennis match by beating Sandra in three sets.

Do / Make

The differences between these verbs are idiomatic. Both have the meaning to accomplish or to perform. Note these uses:
This morning I made the bad and then made breakfast. Afterwards, I did the dishes. I always do the housework before I do my exercises.
I made a phone call, but I made a mistake when I dialled.

In / Into

In suggests position within a certain space; Into suggests action toward a certain point.
I made sure there was water in the pool before I dived into it.

Rob / Steal

One steals an object; One robs a person or thing.
They robbed the bank and then stole a car to get away.

Beside / Besides

Beside means next to; Besides means in addition to.
Besides me, three others went on the trip. I sat beside Bart on the bus.

Few / Less

Few is used only with plural countable nouns.
Less is used only with no countable nouns.

few books less time
few pencils less sugar

Few / A few ; Little / A little

Few and little have a negative force and suggest the absence of some quantity or thing.
A few and A little have a positive force and suggest the presence of a quantity or thing, although in small amount.

He has many enemies and few friends.
He is not completely alone. He still has a few friends.

Forget / Leave

One can leave something in a particular place, but one cannot forget something in a particular place.
I have forgotten my book. I left it at home.
( Not: I have forgotten my book at home).

No / Not

No is an adjective used to modify nouns.
Not is an adverb used to modify verbs and before
much, many, any, enough, and any article or numeral modifying a noun.
She has no money and does not speak their language.
Not many people came; there were probably not even 50 there.

Too / Very

Very means much or to a large degree.
Too always suggest something that we need or can use. Too is often followed by an infinitive construction.
This book is very big, but it will go into my pocket.
This book is too big to go into my pocket.

Borrow / Lend

One borrow something from someone or something;
One lends something to someone or something. ( Loan is a synonym for lend ).

Lend me your pen, please; I only want to borrow it for a minute.


jirka said...

Great post, all the common mistakes people (and me) make are now clear.

jirka said...

i meant,
(since you are british)