Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

 
You are in: Home > Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation
Learn it
An archive of answers to your questions about the English Language

PLEASE NOTE:
This page is no longer being updated. For an up to date list of our archive questions please go to:
Ask about English >>


 
Confusing words and expressions Prefixes, suffixes, spelling and pronunciation
Determiners, nouns and pronouns Adjectives and adverbs
Verbs and tenses Modals and conditionals
Conjunctions and clauses Prepositions and phrases
Learning and exam skills
 
CONFUSING WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
 
  Situation / Position / Condition
 
  Animal idioms
 
  no = not / not any
 
  seem, appear and look
 
  Learning and using synonyms
 
  Mother tongue, honeymoon and a small amount of gold
 
  Colour idioms
 
  afraid/scared/terrifying
 
  take care / take a look: verb + noun collocations with take
 
  faults, flaws, weaknesses and drawbacks
 
  Idiomatic pairs
 
  Teacher/trainer/instructor/lecturer
 
  Discourse markers
 
  British measures: feet, inches,
 
  kinds / types / sorts / varieties (of music)
 
  See and Watch
 
  Numbers
 
  'well off' and 'better off'?
 
  'lend' or 'borrow'?
 
  'say' or 'tell'?
 
  'make' or 'do'?
 
  'approve' or 'approve of'?
 
  'hire' or 'rent'? 'rise' or 'raise'?'drive' or 'ride'?
 
  'efficient'or'effective'?
 
  'lie' or 'lay'?
 
  'lack' as a verb and a noun
 
  'house' or 'home'?
 
  'sport' or 'game'?
 
  'partner' or 'boyfriend'?
 
  'effect' or 'affect'?
 
  'say' or 'tell'?
 
  'hope' and 'wish'
 
  'equipment', 'utensil', 'tool'and 'apparatus'
 
  'solicitor', 'lawyer', 'attorney','barrister', 'counsellor'
 
  'nail bombs'
 
  judging something 'on its merits'
 
  greetings and farewells
 
  'get' and 'become'
 
  same or different? 'used to/get used to'?
 
  'adjective-noun collocations'
 
  rather and better?
 
  wedding or marriage?
 
  'either', 'neither' and 'too'
 
  head,feet,legs,brain,mind
 
  health and illness idioms
 
  'skin' and 'bones' idioms
 
  '-ed' and '-ing' adjectives
 
  confusing pairs
 
  'come' or 'go'? 'bring' or 'take'?
 
  confusing road signs
 
  'hot dog' and 'hat trick'
 
  idioms involving 'clouds' or 'sky'
 
  verbs + adverbial particles
 
  'let' or 'leave'
 
  do/did/done
 
  suppose / supposed to
 
  horrible / horrific
 
  entertainment idioms
 
  melt, thaw and antonyms
 
  synonyms for 'I (don't) understand
 
  slang, idiomatic expressions and euphemisms
 
  'switch' and 'change'
 
  job applications and 'cover'
 
  job title suffixes
 
  neck and nose idioms
 
  miss, missing, missed
 
  /wound/hurt/harm/damage as verbs/adjectives/nouns
 
  countable or uncountable?
 
  parts of the body
 
  'Meetings'/etc...
 
  remind-remember/recall/recollect
 
  'travel/trips/journeys/etc'
 
  Idioms based on food and drink
 
  Kinship Idioms
 
  ensure, assure, insure
 
  emotions idioms - anger
 
  'dress, wear, put on'
 
  relations and relationships
 
  rise, arise and raise
 
  Told or asked?
 
  last/take
 
  'take' - expressions
 
  look forward to / agree to / object to
 
  expressing views and opinions
 
  'calling' and 'kidding'
 
  'hold or keep'
 
 
 
PREFIXES, SUFFIXES, SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION
 
  possessives or compound nouns?
 
  Colons and semi-colons, dashes and brackets
 
  Flammable/inflammable & prefixes
 
  -ive, -ous, -ful, -ic, -able, -al, -y, -ible
 
  suffixes: -less, -free
 
  possessive apostrophes
 
  apostrophe 's with plural nouns
 
  'its' and 'it's'
 
  hyphenated nouns; adjectives and prefixes
 
  hyphenated adjectives; '-ise' and '-ize'
 
  using commas, semi-colons and colons
 
  spelling quiz: 'aging' or 'ageing'?
 
  spelling and pronunciation
 
  negative auxilliary verbs: contracted forms; pronunciation
 
  parts of the body
 
  a/an and the: pronunciation
 
  spelling and pronunciation / silent letters
 
  tag questions
 
  punctuation and pausing
 
 
 
DETERMINERS, NOUNS AND PRONOUNS
 
  noun-verb agreement
 
  no = not a / not any
 
  article or no article?
 
  this/that - these/those - here/there
 
  different uses of 'any'
 
  'the', 'a' and 'an'
 
  indefinite and zero articles
 
  using articles with geographical names
 
  articles, possessives and demonstratives
 
  apostrophes: 'its' and 'it's';'ones' and 'one's'
 
  'so do I.'/ 'me too'
 
  'such' and 'so'
 
  'much', 'many', 'lots of' and subject-verb agreement
 
  subject-verb agreement with countable nouns
 
  double negatives
 
  relative pronouns: 'who' or 'whom'?
 
  using 'the' correctly
 
  reflexive pronouns
 
  'each' and 'every'
 
  'either'/'neither'/'too'
 
  'any' and 'no'
 
  subject/verb agreement
 
  'amount', 'quantity', 'number'
 
  it/this/that
 
  it to identify people
 
  compound nouns
 
  plural nouns
 
  'what or which'
 
  job title suffixes
 
  'there' and 'is' as preparatory subjects
 
  'the' or zero article?
 
  a/an and the: pronunciation
 
  too much/many, fewer/less, little, as much as
 
  nouns+prepositions
 
  what or that? and noun-verb collocations
 
  noun + to- infinitive clause
 
  noun suffixes
 
  possessive 's or of + noun?
 
  'that' and 'then'
 
  the definite article: context-specific and with abstract nouns
 
  uncountable nouns
 
  fewer or less
 
  you and me / you and I
 
  every/all
 
  countable and uncountable nouns with different meanings
 
  'The' with place names: rules and exceptions
 
 
 
ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS
 
  'Before' and 'ago'
 
  Participles as adjectives
 
  enough / sufficient / adequate
 
  Adverb and adjective collocations
 
  'incredible' and 'unbelievable'
 
  'efficient' or 'effective'
 
  'busy with' or 'busy about'?
 
  adjectival prefixes: un-, in- or im-?
 
  adjectival suffixes: -ive, -ous or -ful?
 
  adjectival suffixes: -less or -free?
 
  'good' or 'well'?
 
  using 'as well'
 
  using 'besides'
 
  'for example' and 'for instance'
 
  using 'so'
 
  inversion after negative expressions and 'only'
 
  'how long?', 'how often?' and 'how many times?'
 
  using 'ever'
 
  'formation and use of adjectives' just or only
 
  adjectives: appropriate/suitable and adequate/sufficient/enough
 
  'hardly', 'hardly ever', hardly any'
 
  'even if', 'even though'
 
  'ed' and '-ing' as adjectives
 
  time expressions with 'next', 'last' and 'on'
 
  adjectives: position
 
  'yet': adverb or conjunction
 
  though / as though / like
 
  comparative and superlative forms
 
  emphasizing adverbs
 
  as....as
 
  expressing possibility: maybe, perhaps, may and might
 
  plural nouns
 
  hardly/scarcely, neither/nor, so/too
 
  quite
 
  concern/concerned/concerning
 
  on / off
 
  future forms: comparatives and superlatives
 
  being
 
  position of adverbs
 
  too much/many, fewer/less, little, as much as
 
  however/nevertheless/moreover
 
  irregular adjectives and adverbs
 
  -ed adjectives
 
  compound adjectives
 
  time expressions, adjectives and adverbs
 
  'Always' and 'ever'
 
  -ed and -ing adjectives
 
  actually/in fact/well
 
  yet/still/already
 
  especially/specially & continuously/continually
 
  adjectives with -er/-est, more/most, less/least in comparative/superlative
 
  so, such and so on
 
  'worth/worthwhile'
 
  likely to
 
  adverbials
 
  inversion
 
 
 
VERBS AND TENSES
 
  unreal uses of past forms
 
  'say' and 'tell' in reported speech
 
  have had / had had
 
  wouldn't/would & won't/will for refusals and insistence
 
  planned future actions
 
  the passive with modals, future and infinitive forms
 
  short answers and question tags
 
  doubling final consonants
 
  we are to / we are not to
 
  have / have got
 
  present perfect with 'for' and 'since'
 
  forming questions with do/does and is/are
 
  see / feel / like & love in progressive form
 
  Choosing the right tense in indirect speech
 
  Phrasal verbs: five different structures
 
  do as auxiliary verb
 
  primary auxiliary verbs: 'do' and 'have'
 
  'up' and 'down' in phrasal verbs
 
  'to do' and 'to have done'
 
  lots to do with 'do'
 
  'happen' and 'happen to'
 
  tenses of 'lie' or 'lay'
 
  past simple and past perfect: 'have' and 'had'
 
  past tense endings
 
  'used to' or past simple?
 
  present perfect simple and continuous
 
  will/shall/would/should
 
  'been' or 'gone'?
 
  inverted word order in questions and statements
 
  reported/indirect speech
 
  'must', 'need' and 'used to' in reported speech
 
  the passive
 
  prepositional and phrasal verbs
 
  'to' or '-ing'?
 
  contractions: 'aren't', 'haven't', 'isn't'
 
  'will', 'shall', 'would' and 'should'
 
  'don't' and 'do not'
 
  'present perfect and past simple'
 
  reporting verbs
 
  be able + infinitive
 
  be to + infinitive
 
  the subjunctive
 
  participial or relative clause
 
  verb + two objects
 
  have+object+infinitive/-ing
 
  question tags+imperative
 
  the passive
 
  stative verbs
 
  American/British verbs
 
  subject/verb agreement
 
  'would' in conversation
 
  'get, plus past
 
  verbs + adverbial particles
 
  'let' or 'leave'
 
  'like' as verb and preposition
 
  reporting questions, suggestions, advice and instructions
 
  expressing possibility: perhaps, maybe, may and might
 
  'gonna', 'wanna', 'gotta' and 'dunno'
 
  present perfect
 
  change of time/tense in reported speech
 
  concern/concerned/concerning
 
  auxiliary verbs; contracted forms: pronunciation
 
  past tenses
 
  future forms: comparatives and superlatives
 
  could, was able to and managed to
 
  being
 
  suggest, recommend, insist, demand
 
  subject-verb inversion in questions
 
  past simple and past perfect
 
  The future
 
  Hear, see, make, let, allow + object + verb form
 
  present perfect with just, already, ever and yet
 
  what or that? and noun-verb collocations
 
  Bare infinitive
 
  Verbs and tenses
 
  past simple and present perfect
 
  intransitive and transitive verbs
 
  have to do and to have done
 
  reporting the future
 
  get (for transport) + preposition or adverb particle
 
  get + preposition or adverb particle
 
  ever and in time expressions
 
  time expressions and tenses
 
  dare and need - auxiliary verbs
 
  'be to'
 
  for + verb-ing'
 
  'used to' or 'would'
 
  expressing wishes in the past, present and future
 
 
 
MODALS AND CONDITIONALS
 
  Third conditional
 
  Mixed conditionals
 
  Inversion in conditional sentences
 
  'Needn't have' and 'didn't need to'
 
  'if-clauses' and containing 'will', 'will'
 
  'must' as deduction and obligation
 
  'must', 'need' and 'used to' in reported speech
 
  'first and second conditionals; 'should' instead of 'if'
 
  'using 'as long as'
 
  'will', 'shall', 'would' and 'should'
 
  'could have', 'would have' and 'should have'
 
  'if I was' and 'if I were'
 
  'hope' and 'wish'
 
  'must', 'have to', 'have got to'
 
  'would' in conversation
 
  general and future condition and 'have got to'
 
  should , would and could
 
  What if / suppose / supposing
 
  when and if & in case and if
 
 
 
CONJUNCTIONS AND CLAUSES
 
  though, even though and even so
 
  Omitting that
 
  Using 'What...like?' and 'How...?'
 
  Affirmative word order in questions
 
  Which or that
 
  'Since' as preposition, conjunction and adverb
 
  as / while / as long as
 
  'preposition + relative pronoun'
 
  'unless' and 'otherwise'
 
  'whenever', 'wherever and etc'
 
  'though' and 'although'; 'despite' and 'in spite of'
 
  'while' and 'whereas'
 
  'because', 'as', 'since' and 'for'
 
  'yet' and 'but', 'so' and 'hence'
 
  'as well as' and 'as long as'
 
  'as' and 'like'
 
  inversion after negative expressions
 
  participial or relative clause
 
  'even if', 'even though'
 
  'yet': adverb or conjunction
 
  though / as though / like
 
  'by' and 'from'
 
  'in order to' and 'so that'
 
  'wh'-questions
 
  cleft sentences
 
  as... as
 
  but as conjunction and preposition
 
  'for' and 'during'
 
  when or if? if or whether?
 
  being
 
  what or that? and noun-verb collocations
 
  What if / suppose / supposing
 
  subordinating and coordinating conjunctions
 
  when/while/meanwhile
 
  when and if & in case and if
 
  Linking adverbs
 
  alternatives to 'if'
 
  participle clauses
 
 
 
PREPOSITIONS AND PHRASES
 
  'at', 'on' and 'in'
 
  'good at' or 'good in'?
 
  'beside'/'besides' and 'toward'/'towards'
 
  'since' and 'for'
 
  'despite' and 'in spite of'
 
  'with regard to' and 'regarding'
 
  'due to', 'owing to', 'on account of' and 'because of'
 
  'as' and 'like'
 
  'busy with' or 'busy about'
 
  prepositional and phrasal verbs
 
  'on', 'in', or 'at' midnight?
 
  time expressions with 'next', 'last' and 'on'
 
  though / as though / like
 
  'like' as verb and preposition
 
  as... as
 
  but as conjunction and preposition
 
  'for' and 'during'
 
  prepositions in time expressions
 
  concern/concerned/concerning
 
  on / off
 
  in front of / before/ across
 
  prepositions for common nouns without articles
 
  time and place phrases with at, in and on
 
  during, for, by, until with time phrases with at, in and on
 
  for/to
 
 
 
LEARNING AND EXAM SKILLS
 
  choosing a dictionary
 
  extending your vocabulary
 
  improving your skills by reading
 
  vocabulary and reading skills
 
  classroom activity: activating vocabulary
 
  how can listening skills be improved?
 
  learning styles and preferences
 
  how can I improve my accent?
 
  how will I pass my English exam?
 
  CAE, CPE and FCE exams
 
  IELTS English tests
 
  the IELTS writing test
 
  answering long essay questions
 
  business letters
 
  job applications and 'cover'
 
  future forms: comparatives and superlatives; interlinked learning activities
 
  however/nevertheless/moreover
 
  spelling errors and typos
 
  netiquette
 
  reading comprehension
 
  preparing for a speaking test at an advanced level
 
  problems and troubles