Words confused

March 30, 2012

Recent and modern Recent is used to talk about things which happened a short while ago. Modern means ‘of the present or recent times’. Modern writers prefer prose to poetry. It was the worst cyclone in recent times. Recollect and remember To recollect is to call something to mind with some effort. To remember is […]

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The least and the fewest

March 29, 2012

The least is used before uncountable nouns. It is the superlative of little. He does the least work in this office. The least can be used without a noun if the meaning is clear from the context. Jane does the most work in this office. Jack does the least. The expression ‘least of’ can be […]

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Special uses of some adverbs

October 25, 2011

Short and shortly Short is used as an adverb in expressions like stop short (= stop suddenly) and cut short (= interrupt) Shortly means ‘soon’. You will hear from us shortly. Slow and slowly Slow is an adjective; slowly is an adverb. However, slow can be used as an adverb after verbs like go and […]

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Using next and nearest

October 6, 2011

Nearest is used for place. It is used to refer to people or things which are most near in space. Excuse me. Where is the nearest hospital? (NOT Where is the next hospital?) The nearest railway station is two kilometers away. Next is used to talk about time or position in a series. It means […]

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Using afraid

September 2, 2011

Afraid and fear Be afraid is the normal expression for talking about fear. He is afraid of the dark. Don’t be afraid. (NOT Don’t fear.) (NOT Don’t afraid.) Are you afraid of spiders? There is nothing to be afraid of. She is afraid that you might get angry. Difference between afraid of and afraid to […]

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Soon, Early and Quickly

July 19, 2011

Soon means ‘a short time after now’. Get well soon. (NOT Get well early.) We will launch a new edition of this book sometime soon. Soon can also mean ‘a short time after then’. It was difficult in the beginning, but I soon got used to it. (NOT It was difficult in the beginning, but […]

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Come and Go

July 14, 2011

We use come to talk about movements to the place where the speaker or the listener is. ‘John, will you come here.’ ‘I’m coming.’ (NOT I am going.) (Here we are talking about movement to the place where the speaker / listener is.) We came to live here in 1990. (NOT We went to live […]

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Until and Till

July 2, 2011

These two words mean exactly the same. They can be used both as prepositions and conjunctions. Till is more common in an informal style. Note that in American English, the preferred informal spelling of till is ’til. I waited until 6 o’clock and then I went home. OR I waited till 6 o’clock and then […]

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Difference between below and under

June 6, 2011

Both below and under can mean ‘lower than’. The knives are in the cupboard under the sink. OR The knives are in the cupboard below the sink. Below is preferred when one thing is not directly under another. The sun disappeared below the horizon. (NOT The sun disappeared under the horizon.) The climbers stopped several […]

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Speak and Talk: Difference

May 27, 2011

There is not much difference between speak and talk. They are usually both possible in most situations. Formality Talk is less formal than speak. In fact, talk is the usual word to refer to informal communication. I want to talk to you. I think you should talk to him. I don’t know why she has […]

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