ENGLISHTables of Important Words

EXPRESSIONS: WHAT & THAT; FORMER, LATTER & LATER, ETC. 

IMPORTANT WORDS & EXPRESSIONS

List of expressions in this post 

1. Former, Latter & Later 9. In & Into 17. According to 25. But
2. What & That 10. In & Within 18. Till/Until & To 26. Else
3. During & For 11. Between & Among 19. To & Towards 27. Ability
4. Afraid & Frightened 12.Round, Around & About 20. Doubtful about/for 28. Back
5. Neither & Either 13. Many & Much 21. In spite of & Despite 29. Bed
6. Or & Nor 14. Too-to & So -that 22. Although & Though 30. In, At & On
7. Age & Aged 15. Abroad 23. Good, Well & Bad, Ill 31. On time & In time
8. Across & Through 16. Enough 24. And

1. Former, Latter & Later

A) Former/Latter (as adjectives)

We use FORMER or LATTER for two persons/things, not more than two. For the first person/thing we use FORMER and for the second we use LATTER (not LATER). We must use the article THE with both, means say THE FORMER/THE LATTER; e.g.

i) The latter half of the play was more interesting.
ii) Rohan and Rohit are friends, but the former is more intelligent than the latter.
iii) Of these two dresses, I prefer the former.
iv) The former was rejected in favour of the latter.

B) Latter & Later

LATTER is used to tell ORDER and LATER is used for TIME; e.g.

INCORRECT: Reena came latter than Richi.
CORRECT: Reena came later than Richi.

INCORRECT: The later half of the play was more interesting.
CORRECT: The latter half of the play was more interesting.

2. What & That

Use of WHAT and THAT is quite confusing; it’s so hard to choose between WHAT and THAT as they are so similar in meaning. When there is a noun after a clause we use THAT, when there is no noun at the end of a clause we use WHAT; e.g.

a) Did you see the message that she wrote? (MESSAGE is a noun, so our choice will be THAT, not WHAT.)
b) Did you see what she wrote? (SEE is not a noun, so our choice will be WHAT, not THAT.)

NOTE: But if both the clauses are independent clauses we connect them by using THAT, not WHAT. An independent clause is one that can be used alone without being connected by another clause; e.g.

I didn’t know that you play the guitar so well.

(This sentence has two clauses namely I DIDN’T KNOW and YOU PLAY THE GUITAR SO WELL. We see that if we write the clause I DIDN’T KNOW alone it’s making a proper sense; likewise the clause YOU PLAY THE GUITAR SO WELL is also making a proper sense if written alone, so both are independent clauses.  As both are independent clauses you can’t connect them by using WHAT, you’ll have to use THAT rather.)

3. During & For

We use DURING to say when something happens. We use FOR to say how long something continues; e.g.

i) We went to Mumbai during the winter.
ii) It rained during the night for three hours.
iii) The first world war took place during 1914 and 1918.
iv) Dr Jain will be here during Thursday and Friday.
v) I had to stay at hospital for five weeks.
vi) I fell ill for a couple of days, but was fine after that.

4. Afraid & Frightened

A) We use BE AFRAID/FRIGHTENED + TO V1 when we feel fear because we think something bad will happen; e.g.

i) She was afraid to go out in case it rained.
ii) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
iii) Many a victim is afraid to go to the police.
iv) She was frightened to drive a bike lest she should meet with an accident.
v) If you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask. vi) Don’t be afraid to say what you think.

NOTE: We use AFRAID alone after linking verbs such as BE, SEEM, BECOME and FEEL. We don’t use it before a noun. For example, don’t say ‘an afraid boy’. However, you can say ‘a frightened boy‘; e.g.

INCORRECT: He was acting like an afraid kid.
CORRECT: He was acting like a frightened kid.

B) We use ‘BE AFRAID OF + ING FORM’ when we are worried or anxious about something which might happen, we don’t use FRIGHTENED in this meaning; e.g.

i) Most criminals are afraid of being caught.
ii) He says that he is afraid of losing his job.
iii) She was afraid of being late for school.
iv) She’s afraid of being attacked if she walks across the park.

NOTE: In this sense we can also use a THAT CLAUSE after AFRAID; e.g.

i) She was afraid (that) I might be beaten by the parents for being late.
ii) She was afraid (that) he might be upset if she told him.

5. Neither & Either

NEITHER = not either of two things or people++++++++++
EITHER = any one of two

i) Neither

We use NEITHER or NEITHER OF to make a negative statement about two people or things. There is no difference in meaning. It takes a singular verb. For more than two we use NONE; e.g.

Neither parent went to the club.
= Neither of the parents went to the club.

NOTE: We don’t use BOTH to make a negative statement for two, we use NEITHER OF; e.g.

INCORRECT: Both of these shirts aren’t dry yet.
CORRECT: Neither of these shirts is dry yet.

ii) Either

We use EITHER or ‘EITHER OF’ to make a choice between two possibilities. You use EITHER before a singular countable noun, and EITHER OF before a plural pronoun or before a plural countable noun having an adjective. There is no difference in meaning. It takes a singular verb; e.g.

You can take either watch.
= You can take either of the watches.

They didn’t want either child to know about this.
= They didn’t want either of the children to know about this.

I don’t know either of them.

INCORRECT: I don’t like either pens.
CORRECT: I don’t like either pen. OR I don’t like either of the pens.

NOTE-I: ONE OF & EITHER OF

When we talk about two or more people or things and there is no idea of a choice, we use ONE OF (not EITHER OF); e.g.

INCORRECT: Either of your parents has beaten him.
CORRECT: One of your parents has beaten him.

INCORRECT: Either of their daughters has just had a baby.
CORRECT: One of their daughters has just had a baby.

NOTE-II: EITHER cannot be the subject of a negative verb. However, it can be subject or object of an affirmative or interrogative verb; e.g.

INCORRECT: Either will not serve well.
CORRECT: Neither will serve well.

6. Or & Nor

i) OR

A) When you use OR to join two verbs, both verbs should be in the same form; e.g.

INCORRECT: In the morning we used to go for a morning walk or did exercise at home earlier.
CORRECT: In the morning we used to go for a morning walk or do exercise at home earlier.

(GO is V1, so it will be DO, not DID).

COMPARE
a) We used to go to the cinema or watch the television.
b) We went to the cinema or watched the television.

B) We use OR (not AND), after the negative form of a verb; e.g.

INCORRECT: There were no books, pens and pencils with him.
CORRECT: There were no books, pens or pencils with him.

INCORRECT: I do not like coffee and tea.
CORRECT: I do not like coffee or tea.

COMPARE
a) I like tea and coffee. (I like both tea and coffee.)
b) I don’t like tea or coffee. (I don’t like tea and I don’t like coffee.)

C) For emphasis, we can use EITHER – OR instead of OR; e.g.

Bring me either tea or coffee.
= Bring me tea or coffee.

ii) NOR

A) We use NOR with NEITHER or A NEGATIVE CLAUSE to make a negative statement about two people or things; e.g.

i) Neither Ritu nor Ruchi was there.
ii) The sheets were never washed, nor the towels, nor his shirts.
iii) No one knows his address, nor his phone number.
iv) I can’t make head nor tail of these instructions on the packet.

B) When a verb is negated by NOT or NEVER, and is followed by a negative verb phrase (but not an entire clause), we can use any of OR and NOR; e.g.

He will not permit the change nor even consider it.
= He will not permit the change or even consider it.

C) NOR in replies

We can reply to a negative statement using NOR. We do this to show that what has just been said also applies to another person or thing. We can also use NEITHER in the same way with the same meaning; e.g.

I don’t like him. – Nor does she.
= I don’t like him. – Neither does she.

7. Age & Aged

A) After the verb BE, say ‘BE + NUMBER’ or ‘BE + NUMBER + YEARS OLD’; e.g.

Rohit is almost twelve.
= Rohit is almost twelve years old.

INCORRECT: I’m at the age of 22.
CORRECT: I’m 22. OR I’m 22 years old.

NOTE-I: Do not use AGE and YEARS OLD together. The usual way of mentioning someone’s age is BE + NUMBER; e.g. She’ll be sixteen next August.

INCORRECT: His age is about fifty-five years old.
CORRECT: He’s about fifty-five. OR He’s about fifty-five years old.

NOTE-II: Say ‘BE MY/YOUR ETC AGE’ or ‘BE THE SAME AGE (AS SB)’

i) When I was your age, I was already in a sort of job.
ii) Most of my friends are the same age as me.

INCORRECT: Soon you’ll be of my age.
CORRECT: Soon you’ll be my age.

INCORRECT: I think we are at the same age.
CORRECT: I think we are the same age.

B) Phrases with AGE as their main word usually begin with AT (not IN); e.g.

INCORRECT: In the age of 18, you are allowed to drive a car.
CORRECT: At the age of 18, you are allowed to drive a car.

INCORRECT: My father left school at aged fourteen.
CORRECT: My father left school at fourteen. OR My father left school at the age of fourteen.

C) When you mention two ages after a noun, use the following:

Aged + Number + And + Number         or        Number + And + Number + Years of Age

INCORRECT: They have two children in the age of 8 and 12 years.
CORRECT: They have two children aged 8 and 12. OR They have two children, 8 and 12 years of age.

D) When you mention an age range after a noun, use the following:

Aged + Number + to + Number        or        Between the Ages of + Number + And + Number

INCORRECT: These books are for children at the age of from 4 to 6 years.
CORRECT: These books are for children aged 4 to 6. OR These books are for children between the ages of 4 and 6.

8. Across & Through

ACROSS is used for the following two meanings:

A) from one side to the other side of something which has sides or limits such as a city, road or river
B) opposite side of something

THROUGH is used for movements from one side to another while surrounded by something; e.g.

i) Can you swim across this river? (means from one side to the another)
ii) See those birds flying across the sky. (means from one side to the another)
iii) Across the house, I can see some old friends. (means opposite side of the house)
iv) She is waiting for me across the road. (means opposite side of the room)
v) The teacher drew a diagram showing how the blood flows through the heart.

INCORRECT: We walked across a number of villages yesterday.
CORRECT: We walked through a number of villages yesterday. (Of course the path on which we walked was surrounded by villages.)

INCORRECT: While going to Shimla our train passed across some tunnels.
CORRECT: While going to Shimla our train passed through some tunnels. (A tunnel is always surrounded by walls, etc.)

NOTE-I: When we move from one side to another ‘in something’ such as long grass or a forest, we use THROUGH (not ACROSS); e.g.

INCORRECT: I love walking across the forest.
CORRECT: I love walking through the forest.

NOTE-II: ACROSS/ON
When we talk about something extending or moving from one side to another, we use ACROSS, not ON.

INCORRECT: The papers were spread on the table.
CORRECT: The papers were spread across the table.

9. In & Into

We use IN to show position, whereas we use INTO for movements toward the inside of something; e.g.

COMPARE:
a) She was in the house. (static position)
b) She went into the house. (movement)

a) They are sitting in the bus.
b) They climbed into the bus.

a) The pencils are in the box.
b) I’m going to put these pencils into the box

i) She was walking in the garden. Then she walked into the house.
ii) Stop running around and get into bed.
iii) I can’t get into these trousers any more. They’re far too small for me.
iv) They climbed into the truck and drove away.
v) The door opened and a nurse came into the room.
vi) Crack three eggs into a bowl and mix them together.
vii) He thrust his hands into his pockets.

10. In & Within

A) Time

i) IN is used before a noun denoting a period of time referring to AT THE END OF
ii) WITHIN is used before a noun denoting of time referring to BEFORE THE END OF

a) I’ll leave home in two hours. (means after the period of two hours has ended)
b) I’ll leave home within two hours. (means before the period of two hours has ended)
c) I’ve booked train tickets on the Internet. They should arrive within three days. (means no later than three days from now)
d) I’ve noticed her change within a very short time.

B) Space

WITHIN = not further than a particular area or space. WITHIN does not mean the same as IN. Within stresses that something is not further than a particular area or space; e.g.

a) People who live within the city pay higher local taxes than people who live just outside the city. (= the people who live no further than the city boundary or limits)

b) We’ve always lived within ten miles of the coast. We love the sea. (We’ve always lived no further than ten miles from the coast.)

INCORRECT: Your shirt is within the drawer.
CORRECT: Your shirt is in the drawer.

11. Between & Among

A) We use BETWEEN for two things which are clearly separated. We use AMONG for things which are not clearly separated because they are part of a group or crowd or mass of objects. AMONG and AMONGST are the same thing; e.g.

i) Our house is between the park and the market. (the park is on one side and the market on the other, means clearly separated)
ii) The hut was hidden among the trees. (surrounded by trees, means not clearly separated)

NOTE-I: However if we see things individually/separately we use BETWEEN even when the number of people/things is more than two; e.g.

i) Switzerland lies between France, Germany, America and Italy. [More than two things, but you can’t use AMONG here as all these four countries are being seen individually; not as a part of group.]
ii) He stood among all his friends in the room. [You can’t use BETWEEN here as FRIENDS are not being seen individually.]
iii) There is a treaty between these four countries.

NOTE-II: We do not use AMONG even if the number of people/things is more than two, when the preceding verb/noun/adjective requires a different preposition. In such a case we use that preposition (not AMONG); e.g.

INCORRECT: There is much fear among the children.
CORRECT: There is much fear in the children.

INCORRECT: He is very popular among the people of Delhi.
CORRECT: He is very popular with the people of Delhi.

NOTE-III: To introduce a prepositional phrase which contains two singular or plural noun phrases, we use BETWEEN (not AMONG) even when the number of people/things is more than two; e.g.

I didn’t see any difference between the real rings and the artificial rings.

B) To talk about something done to, or done by a group/groups of people/things, we use either BETWEEN or AMONG, e.g.

The money is to be divided between the towns in the area.
= The money is to be divided among the towns in the area.

The prize will be shared between the first six finishers in the race.
= The prize will be shared among the first six finishers in the race.

NOTE: But, when we specify the individual members of the group using singular nouns we use BETWEEN; not AMONG; e.g.

The money is to be divided between Ram, Mohan and Sohan. (You can’t use AMONG here.)

12. Round, Around, About

A) When we talk about a movement in many different directions (from one place to another), we can use any of AROUND, ROUND and ABOUT; e.g.

We spent a very pleasant day walking around the village.
= We spent a very pleasant day walking round the village.
= We spent a very pleasant day walking about the village.

B) When a movement is in circles or when one thing surrounds another we can use either of AROUND and ROUND (not ABOUT); e.g.

The earth moves around the sun.
= The earth moves round the sun.

She had a towel wrapped around his head.
= She had a towel wrapped round his head.

C) When we talk about something being generally present or available, we use either of AROUND and ABOUT (not ROUND); e.g.

We have a lot of good football players around at the moment.
= We have a lot of good football players about at the moment.

13. Many & Much

A) MANY is used for plural countable nouns and MUCH is used for uncountable nouns.

i) I have many books.
ii) I don’t have much money.
iii) Is this going to make much difference?
iv) I haven’t had much sleep.

NOTE-I: You don’t usually use MUCH as an object pronoun in positive sentences. Instead you use VERY MUCH; e.g.

INCORRECT: I learn much from him.
CORRECT: I learn very much from him.

NOTE-II: MANY A

MANY A’ is used with a singular noun and a singular verb to mean A LARGE NUMBER OF; e.g.

Many a good student has passed the exam.
= Many students have passed the exam.

B) MUCH TOO

We use MUCH TOO before adjectives, we don’t use it before nouns. Before nouns we use TOO MUCH or TOO MANY. We use MUCH TOO in front of an unpleasant adjective to say that something cannot be done or achieved because someone or something has too much of a quality; e.g.

INCORRECT: Madhu is too much rude.
CORRECT: Madhu is much too rude. (RUDE is an adjective.)

INCORRECT: I’m feeling much too pain in my leg.
CORRECT: I’m feeling too much pain in my leg. (PAIN is a noun.)

NOTE: In sentences like these you put MUCH in front of TOO, not after it. So, it’s wrong to say: The bags are too much heavy.

14. ‘Too – To’ and ‘So – That’

‘TOO — TO’ is used when the meaning of the sentence is negative. ‘TOO – TO’ construction can be changed into the ‘SO – THAT’ construction. In this construction we use SO with the adjective/adverb and after it we use THAT-CLAUSE. In the THAT-CLAUSE the verb is always negative; e.g.

She is too weak to climb a tree.
= She is so weak that she cannot climb a tree.

He spoke too quickly to be understood.
= He spoke so quickly that it couldn’t be understood.

NOTE-I: If the subject of TO-V1 is different from the first subject it is generally mentioned before TO-V1 or TO-V1 is converted into the passive voice [see sentence (ii) just above].

NOTE-II: For positive contexts we use VERY – TO, not TOO — TO; e.g.

INCORRECT: She is too happy to meet me.
CORRECT: She is very happy to meet me.

NOTE-III: TOO is not normally used before adjective + noun.

INCORRECT: She doesn’t like too short men.
CORRECT: She doesn’t like men who are too short.

INCORRECT: I couldn’t solve the too difficult problem.
CORRECT: I couldn’t solve the problem – it was too difficult.

15. Abroad

We do not use any preposition like TO, AT, IN, ETC. before ABROAD; e.g.

INCORRECT: Since my childhood, I’ve always wanted to go to abroad.
CORRECT: Since my childhood, I’ve always wanted to go abroad.

INCORRECT: I would like to continue my studies in abroad.
CORRECT: I would like to continue my studies abroad.

NOTE: The only preposition that is used before ABROAD is FROM; e.g. She came back from abroad last Sunday.

16. Enough

We use ENOUGH to mean ‘as much as we need or want’ or ‘more than is wanted’.
As adjective you can use ENOUGH in front of a noun, not after. If the noun is countable, it must be in the plural. As adverb you use ENOUGH after an adjective or adverb, not before; e.g.

i) There aren’t enough bedrooms for the family here in this house. (adjective)
ii) I haven’t had enough exercise yet. (adjective)
iii) This room is big enough for her. (adverb)
iv) We have a long enough list for sending invitations. (adverb)

INCORRECT: Is this box enough big for all those books?
CORRECT: Is this box big enough for all those books?

NOTE-I: The degree of the adjective/adverb must be positive (not COMPARATIVE or SUPERLATIVE); e.g.

INCORRECT: This room is bigger/biggest enough for her.
CORRECT: This room is big enough for her.

NOTE-II: Don’t use ENOUGH, or ‘ENOUGH + NOUN’, as the subject of a negative sentence, you use NOT ENOUGH; e.g.

INCORRECT: Enough people didn’t come.
CORRECT: Not enough people came.

NOTE-III: We don’t use ENOUGH immediately before a noun phrase beginning with an adjective (the, my, etc), or before a pronoun (us, them, etc). Instead we use ENOUGH OF; e.g.

INCORRECT: You haven’t eaten enough your dinner, Ranjan.
CORRECT: You haven’t eaten enough of your dinner, Ranjan.

INCORRECT: There weren’t enough them.
CORRECT: There weren’t enough of them.

NOTE-IV: We don’t use a THAT-CLAUSE after ENOUGH when we say what is needed for something to be possible; e.g.

INCORRECT: She is intelligent enough that she can solve this question.
CORRECT: She is intelligent enough to solve this question.

17. According to

ACCORDING TO means ‘as reported by’ or ‘as stated by’. We only use ACCORDING TO when we refer to an opinion from someone else. When we talk about our own opinion, we use phrases such as ‘in my opinion’ or ‘in our view’ etc. e.g.

i) According to Anuj, the film starts at 9.30.
ii) According to the instructions, you must not write your name anywhere on the answer sheet.
iii) The government, according to an opinion poll taken last week, may lose the election.

INCORRECT: According to me they are very polite.
CORRECT: In my opinion, they are very polite.

18. Till/Until & To

TO = We use TO for both time and place; TO can be used of time in ‘FROM — TO’ construction only, otherwise TO is never used of time.

TILL/UNTIL = We use TILL/UNTIL for time only, TILL and UNTIL mean same thing.

INCORRECT: She sleeps to 7 o’clock.
CORRECT: She sleeps till/until 7 0’clock.

INCORRECT: I’ll accompany you till the end of the street.
CORRECT: I’ll accompany you to the end of the street.

19. To & Towards

A) TO is used for destinations
B) TOWARDS is used to show direction

COMPARE
i) Karun is going to the station.
ii) Karun is going towards the station.

[In sentence ‘i’ we mean that Karun will go to the station itself, whereas in sentence ‘ii’ we do not know where Karun is going, the station itself or anywhere else.]

INCORRECT: You can walk towards the bus stand in ten minutes.
CORRECT: You can walk to the bus stand in ten minutes.

INCORRECT: I went towards her and started talking.
CORRECT: I went to her and started talking.

INCORRECT: He leaned to his wife and said, “Can we go home soon?”
CORRECT: He leaned towards his wife and said, “Can we go home soon?”

INCORRECT: The country seems to be drifting to war.
CORRECT: The country seems to be drifting towards war.

NOTE-I: TOWARDS and TOWARD are the same thing, TOWARDS is used in British English, but TOWARD is used in the American English. In exams British English is taken as correct, so we must not use the word TOWARD.

NOTE-II: Some verbs take FOR (not TO) for showing a destination; e.g.

INCORRECT: I’m following to the bus stop.
CORRECT: I’m following for the bus stand.

INCORRECT: This train is to Patna only.
CORRECT: This train is for Patna only.

INCORRECT: They were running to the bus.
CORRECT: They were running for the bus.

NOTE-III: With the verb HEAD we can use either of TOWARDS and FOR; e.g.

They were heading towards the police station.
= They were heading for the police station.

20. Doubtful about/for

A) For people

If a person is uncertain about something, we can use DOUBTFUL ABOUT/OF or DOUBTFUL. If there is a noun after DOUBTFUL we use DOUBTFUL ABOUT, if there is noun we use DOUBTFUL; e.g.

i) We were doubtful about/of the product’s usefulness from the start.
ii) I’m a bit doubtful about/of whether to take on the job, as the hours are pretty unsociable.
iii) Why did he sound so doubtful? (There is no noun after DOUBTFUL, so we haven’t the preposition ABOUT here.

B) Not for people

If a SITUATION is doubtful, it is unlikely to happen, or it is unlikely to be successful, e.g.

i) It is doubtful that/ whether/if they ever reached the summit before they died.
ii) It was doubtful that/ whether/if the money would ever be found.
iii) It is doubtful that/ whether/if the government will ever agree to their demands.
iv) It now looks doubtful that/ whether/if the building work will be completed on time.

NOTE-I: It was formerly considered correct to use whether after doubtful, but now if and that are also acceptable

NOTE-II: If there is a clause after DOUBTFUL we use THAT, WHETHER or IF, if there is no clause we use only DOUBTFUL; e.g.

a) It was doubtful that/ whether/if the money would ever be found (There is a clause (if the money would ever be found) after DOUBTFUL)
b) Already the whole project was looking (There is no clause after DOUBTFUL)

C) Doubtful for

If a sports player is DOUBTFUL FOR a match or event, he or she seems unlikely to play, usually because of injury, e.g.

i) Rohit Sharma is doubtful for tonight’s match.
ii) He is injured and is doubtful for the game tomorrow.

D) Of doubtful quality/value/reliability, etc.

If something is of doubtful quality, value, reliability, etc. we mean that it is of low quality, value or reliability, etc. Sometimes OF is not necessary; e.g.

i) These mangoes are of doubtful quality.
ii) They also seemed of very doubtful value.
iii) Information that he described is having doubtful reliability.

21. In spite of & Despite

IN SPITE OF and DESPITE are exactly equal in use. DESPITE does not take OF; neither is it preceded by IN. In spite of = Despite = Although

The construction is:

In Spite Of/Despite + Noun/Pronoun
OR
In Spite Of/Despite + Gerund (ing form)

IN SPITE OF my sickness I went to the office. (noun construction)
= DESPITE my sickness I went to the office.

IN SPITE OF being sick I went to the office. (gerund construction)
= DESPITE being sick I went to the office.

NOTE: IN SPITE OF/DESPITE are never followed by a clause; e.g.

INCORRECT: In spite of/Despite she fell midway through the race, she won.
CORRECT: In spite of/Despite falling midway through the race she won.

However, we can use a clause if IN SPITE OF/DESPITE are followed by THE FACT THAT; e.g.

IN SPITE OF/DESPITE the fact that she fell midway through the race, she won.

22. Although & Though

Both ALTHOUGH and THOUGH mean ‘in spite of something. Both are the same thing, and are replaceable with each other. For emphasis, we often use EVEN with THOUGH (but we can’t use EVEN with ALTHOUGH); e.g.

The match was beautiful although we lost it.
= The match was beautiful though we lost it.

INCORRECT: Even although she is very busy, she still found time to help me.
CORRECT: Even though she is very busy, she still found time to help me.

NOTE-I: When a sentence begins with ALTHOUGH or THOUGH, we don’t use BUT or YET before the main clause, we usually put a comma rather; e.g.

INCORRECT: Although he was late, yet he stopped to buy fruit.
CORRECT: Although he was late, he stopped to buy fruit.

NOTE-II: Don’t use ALTHOUGH or THOUGH in front of a noun phrase, you use IN SPITE OF or DESPITE instead in such a case; e.g.

INCORRECT: Although his hard work, he failed his exam.
CORRECT: In spite of his hard work, he failed his exam.

NOTE-III: THOUGH sometimes is an adverb. You use it when you are making a statement that contrasts with what you have just said. You usually put THOUGH after the first phrase in the sentence. ALTHOUGH is never used an adverb; e.g.

INCORRECT: Very nice although, this dress is too expensive.
CORRECT: Very nice though, this dress is too expensive.

23. Good, Well & Bed, Ill

i) Good & Well

GOOD is an adjective but WELL is both an adjective and adverb.

A) We use GOOD for people/things to say that they are very satisfactory, enjoyable,  pleasant, interesting, morally right, kind, helpful, able to do well or successful, whereas we use WELL as an adjective to tell one’s health condition; e.g.

i) Climate of this place is really good.
ii) My wife is very good with children
iii) He is not very well today.
iv) When she came home from school she really didn’t look well.

B)  WELL can be used as an adverb also. We use WELL to say that something is done to a high standard or to a great extent. We can’t use GOOD as an adverb; e.g.

INCORRECT: He speaks English good.
CORRECT: He speaks English well.

C) GOOD = large

Used to emphasize the large number, amount, or level of something; e.g.

i) I’ve run a good distance today.
ii) There is a good-sized crowd waiting for the minister.

ii) Bad & Ill

BAD is an adjective but ILL is both an adjective and adverb.

A) We use BAD for people/things to say that they are unpleasant and causing difficulties or harm, of low quality, not acceptable, whereas we use ILL as an adjective to tell one’s health condition. ILL (=sick) is usually used after a verb, before a noun use SICK; e.g.

i) I could not leave home because of bad weather.
ii) My father had a very bad night last night. (= did not sleep well)
iii) He’s been ill with dengue.
iv) My father is a very sick man.

INCORRECT: She is well trained to look after ill children.
CORRECT: She is well trained to look after sick children.

NOTE-I: Normally we don’t use ILL before a noun, but we can do so when we are also using an adverb such as seriously, chronically, or terminally; e.g. That ward is for chronically ill patients.

NOTE-II: We don’t use ILL or SICK to say that someone has received an injury. Say that they are injured or hurt; e.g.

INCORRECT: He was ill and taken to hospital after the accident.
CORRECT: He was injured and taken to hospital after the accident.

B) ILL can be used as an adverb also. ILL as an adverb means BADLY, IMPERFECTLY, UNFAVOURABLY; e.g.

i) He treated me really ill.
ii) They were ill provided with weapons. (here ILL = insufficiently)

24. And

A) Do not use AND between two adjectives that come before a noun unless they describe similar qualities, e.g.

i) a red and green umbrella (two colours, means similar qualities)
ii) a gold and silver bracelet (two materials, means similar qualities)
iii) a hunting and fishing knife (two functions, means similar qualities)

INCORRECT: There is a beautiful and old temple in our colony.
CORRECT: There is a beautiful old temple in our colony.

(BEAUTIFUL and OLD are not similar qualities)

B) Do not use AND after MANY, means you should say ‘many + adjective + noun (without AND)’; e.g.

INCORRECT: I had never seen so many and bright stars in the sky.
CORRECT: I had never seen so many bright stars in the sky.

25. But

A) We use BUT to link contrasting items which are the same grammatical type.

i) I have bought a new car but I still haven’t sold the older one. (joining two clauses)
ii) The hotel was inexpensive but very comfortable. (joining two adjectives)
iii) Quickly but silently he ran out of the house. (joining two adverbs)

NOTE-I: We can’t use HOWEVER as a conjunction instead of BUT to connect words and phrases; e.g.

INCORRECT: This dress is expensive however beautiful.
CORRECT: This dress is expensive but beautiful.

NOTE-II: BUT & HOWEVER

We can also use HOWEVER in the meaning of BUT i.e. when you are adding a comment that contrast with what has just been said, but HOWEVER can’t be used as a conjunction when used like this. It then generally starts a new sentence or clause; e.g.

Some of the food crops failed. However, the cotton did quite well.

INCORRECT: Ravi always cooks dinner, however I usually wash up afterwards.
CORRECT: Ravi always cooks dinner. However, I usually wash up afterwards. (or Ravi always cooks dinner but I usually wash up afterwards.)

NOTE-III: We use objective pronouns (me, you, him, us, etc.) after BUT even in subject position; e.g.

a) Everybody but me has finished work.
b) No one but him would get a job like that.

B) But For

BUT FOR = Were it not for. BUT FOR is used to introduce the reason why something didn’t happen; e.g.

i) But for the traffic, I would have reached half an hour early. (The traffic was very heavy – if it was normal, I’d have reached here half an hour early.)
ii) I would have reached here on time but for the weather. (means I could not reach on time because of the weather)

C) All But

ALL BUT = almost completely; I had all but finished the letter when the computer crashed and I lost it all.

26. ELSE

 ELSE = other; different; extra

A) We use ELSE after the following words to mean other, another, different or additional:

Anyone Anywhere Everything Nobody Someone Somewhere What
Anybody Everyone Everywhere Nothing Somebody How Where
Anything Everybody No one Nowhere Something Who Why

i) Is there anything else with you?
ii) No seat is vacant here. Let’s go somewhere else.
iii) I had nothing else to do.
iv) What else do you need apart from new shoes?

NOTE-I: We don’t use ELSE after WHICH; e.g.

INCORRECT: Which else do you want apart from this red shirt?
CORRECT: Which other one do you want apart from this blue shirt?

B) Or Else
OR ELSE is a conjunction with a similar meaning to OR; e.g.

I’ll have to leave now, or else I’ll miss my train.

NOTE: Sometimes OR is dropped from OR ELSE, and we use only ELSE; e.g. My brother is poor,  and I want to look as much like him as I can, else he may feel distant from me

C) Preposition with ELSE
If needed we use prepositions such as BUT, EXCEPT, and BESIDES with ELSE (not THAN); e.g.

No  one else but Reema saw the accident.

INCORRECT: I have nobody else with me to play than Kanchan.
CORRECT: I have nobody else with me to play but Kanchan.

D) Possessive Pronouns with ELSE
When a possessive pronoun is needed with ELSE, the possessive form is generally written by putting ( ‘s ) with ELSE; e. g.

INCORRECT: That must be someone’s else book.
CORRECT: O  That must be someone else’s book.         P

NOTE: We do not use WHOSE ELSE’S, instead we say WHO ELSE’S or WHOSE ELSE; e.g.

INCORRECT: Whose else’s book could it have been?
CORRECT: Who else’s book could it have been? OR Whose else book could it have been?

27. Ability

We say ‘ABILITY TO DO SOMETHING’ (not OF DOING); e.g.

i) Nobody doubts his ability to get the project finished in time.
ii) Your ability to work under pressure is great.

INCORRECT: These machines are destroying our ability of thinking.
CORRECT: These machines are destroying our ability to think.

NOTE-I: We say ABILITY IN A LANGUAGE/SUBJECT (not OF A LANGUAGE/SUBJECT); e.g.

Ruchika has demonstrated considerable ability in Mathematics.

INCORRET: I want to improve my ability in English.

NOTE-II: We say reading/writing/teaching/acting ability (not OF READING, ETC.); e.g. Her acting ability was recognized at a very early age.

INCORRECT: I want to improve my ability of reading.
CORRECT: I want to improve my reading ability.

28. Back

We do not say BACK SIDE, we say BACK; e.g.

INCORRECT: Paste your time table on the back side of the door of your room.
CORRECT: Paste your time table on the back of the door of your room.

INCORRECT: Sign on the back side of the prescription form.
CORRECT: Sign on the back of the prescription form.

29. Bed

A) GET UP = to get out of bed and start your day. So we don’t use the word BED with GET UP; e.g.

INCORRECT: Every morning I have to get up from my bed very early.
CORRECT: Every morning I have to get up very early.

B) We use the following expressions without an adjective (my, his, the, etc):

Stay in bed Go to bed Get out of bed Lie in bed Be in bed

INCORRECT: I decided to stay in my bed this morning.
CORRECT: I decided to stay in bed this morning.

INCORRECT: I never go to my bed before 11 p.m.
CORRECT: I never go to bed before 11 p.m.

COMPARE
“Who’s been sleeping in my bed?” asked my father.

[ Here MY before BED is correct as here the verb is SLEEP, not anyone of the one said above.]

30. IN, AT & ON (for places)

i) In & At

A) We use IN when we see a place as an area; we use AT when we see a place as a point.

i) I arrived AT New Delhi Station at 7.30. (place as a point)
ii) I’ll wait AT the far end of the room.
iii) We stayed IN Mumbai for five days. (here the city Mumbai means an area)
iv) My train stopped AT Mumbai on the way to Delhi. (place as a point; Mumbai = Mumbai Railway Station)
v) How long are you going to live IN this village? (place as an area)

NOTE: We use AT to talk about an event where there is a group of people and places we see them as a place of activity; e.g.

a) We last met AT the conference IN Delhi. (CONFERENCE = an event where there is a group of people. DELHI = a place as an area)
b) She always did well at school.
c) Buy me some biscuits AT baker’s. (BAKER’S means a shop that a baker runs.)

INCORRECT:  Did you see Sarla in the party?
CORRECT: Did you see Sarla AT the party?

INCORRECT:  There weren’t many people in the meeting.
CORRECT: There weren’t many people AT the meeting.

B) Workplaces when we see them as a physical location, we use IN (not AT). But if the workplace is a farm we use ON (not IN); e.g.

INCORRECT:  I work at a factory.
CORRECT: I work in a factory.

INCORRECT:  We sell garments at our shop.
CORRECT: We sell garments in our shop.

INCORRECT:  I want to work in a farm.
CORRECT: I want to work on a farm.

C) Before the names of streets we use IN and before a house-number we use AT; e.g.

i) He lives in Jawahar Street.
ii) He lives AT 45 Jawahar Street.

ii) On

A) For a position touching a surface; things we think of as a line such as a road, a river; sea or lake we use ON; e.g.

i) Put your bag on the floor. (position touching a surface)
ii) I have my house on a river. (river thought as a line)
iii) The train is going to arrive on platform two. (platform thought as a line)

B) When we talk about a floor in a building we use ON; e.g.

INCORRECT: She lives at the 3rd floor.
CORRECT: She lives on the 3rd floor.

31. On Time & In Time

i) On Time

ON TIME = at a fixed/planned time established (not before, not after); e.g.

i) My train is on time, so I’ll have to leave just now.
ii) The train arrived at 5.25 – exactly on time.

ii) In Time

IN TIME = not late; doing something ‘in time’ means doing it before a deadline; e.g.

i) I could not get admission because I didn’t submit my application in time.
ii) Make sure you arrive in time to see the beginning of the film.

INCORRECT: I had to rush to reach school in time.
CORRECT: I had to rush to reach school on time.

NOTE-I: If we want to convey that something happened with a comfortable margin (means well before of an event) we use ‘IN GOOD TIME’ or ‘IN PLENTY OF TIME’; e.g.

I reached the cinema hall in good time.

NOTE-II: We say ‘JUST IN TIME’ or ‘IN THE NICK OF TIME’ to emphasize that something happened immediately before the limit/deadline; e.g.

i) I could leave home a little late and arrived just in time to catch my bus.
ii) In movies, a bomb is disarmed in the nick of time, with just a few seconds left to explode.

NOTE-III: We do not use the word TIME after NOT LONG or NOT BE LONG; e.g.

INCORRECT: The dinner won’t take long time, it’ll be ready just in five minutes.
CORRECT: The dinner won’t take long, it’ll be ready just in five minutes.

For more chapters/topics on English Grammar read the following book authored by me.

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For English Practice Sets on various topics read the following book authored by me.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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