Author Archives: barnabyharward

The difference between “prescribe” and “proscribe”

The verbs “prescribe” and “proscribe” are very close in spelling and pronunciation but almost opposites in meaning. Don’t get them confused! “Prescribe” means “stipulate” or “order”. Perhaps the most common usage is in the field of medicine – where a … Continue reading

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How to translate “przedsiębiorca”

“Przedsiębiorca” is usually translated as “entrepreneur”. Although this is one of several possible translations, 99% of the time it is the wrong word. First of all, look at a Polish definition of “przedsiębiorca”: Zgodnie z definicją  zawartą w art. 431 kodeksu … Continue reading

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The difference between “commitment” and “commission” (and “committee” and “committal”)

The verb “commit” has numerous related noun forms: commitment, commission, committal and committee. Many people – native English speakers included – do not know all the differences between them. A criminal “commits a crime”. But we cannot talk about the … Continue reading

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Common mistakes with the Present Perfect tense

The Present Perfect tense is made up of have/has and the past participle of a verb: He has eaten all the chocolates. I have included your amendments in the draft agreement. It is perhaps the most difficult of all verb … Continue reading

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When to use “a” and when to use “an”

We say “an old man” but “a young child”. What is the rule for using “a” and “an”? The rule is that we use “a” before a consonant sound and “an” before a vowel sound. Note that it’s the sound … Continue reading

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How to translate “nie później niż w ciągu”

I often see the literal translation of this phrase – not later than within. This is always wrong. Here’s an example: POLISH Płatności należy dokonać nie później niż w ciągu pięciu dni od daty otrzymania niniejszego pisma. WRONG The payment … Continue reading

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How to write dates

There is a difference between how dates are written in British and American English. In British English dates are usually written in the day-month-year format, for example: 6 October 2017 In American English dates are usually written in the month-day-year … Continue reading

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