Category Archives: Uncategorized

“To lie” and “to lay”

The verb “to lie” can mean two things: to deliberately tell untruths – e.g. Don’t lie to me! to be in a horizontal recumbent position – e.g. Lie down and relax. Confusion arises – also among many native speakers of … Continue reading

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How to use the phrase “a number of…”

WRONG There is a number of possible solutions that we can discuss. RIGHT There are a number of possible solutions that we can discuss. WRONG A number of protesters was seen outside the premises. RIGHT A number of protesters were … Continue reading

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Overuse of linking phrases and discourse markers

There seems to be a tendency among non-native speakers of English to use more linking phrases in their writing than is necessary. There are numerous examples of such phrases. Many of them use the passive voice and can be very … Continue reading

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The difference between “in possession of” and “in the possession of”

Somebody is in possession of something. Something is in the possession of somebody. So for example: The passenger was in possession of a very large dog. A very large dog was in the possession of the passenger. Mistakes can sound … Continue reading

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How to use “worth”

WRONG It might not work, but I think that in our current circumstances it is worth to try. Using the structure “worth to do something” is a very common mistake. It is ALWAYS WRONG. RIGHT It might not work, but … Continue reading

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Whether (or not)

WRONG We must decide by the end of the month whether or not we’re going to do it. This is an example of a very common mistake. In this sentence “or not” is unnecessary. RIGHT We must decide by the … Continue reading

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Pairing adverbs and adjectives

Have a look at this sentence: I have noticed that paragraphs 81 and 82 are virtually similar to paragraphs 5 and 6. “Virtually similar” is incorrect because “virtually” is a non-grading adverb and “similar” is a gradable adjective. “Very similar” … Continue reading

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The difference between “currently” and “presently”

Many people – native English speakers included – are confused by the word “presently”. In UK English it has traditionally been a formal, literary word which means “in a short time”, “soon” or “before long” – in contrast to “currently”, … Continue reading

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The difference between “practice” and “practise”

In British English – like “licence/license” and “advice/advise” – “practice” is a NOUN and “practise” is a VERB: NOUN Safeguarding clients’ personal data should be standard practice in the company. He has been a lawyer for many years, but he … Continue reading

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The difference between “licence” and “license”

“Licence” is the British English NOUN – The bar has received a licence to sell alcohol. “License” is the British English VERB – We are now licensed to sell alcohol. You can remember this because it is the same as … Continue reading

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