Friday, September 30, 2011


Pattern = (1) a form or model proposed for imitation: ‘The American constitution has provided a pattern for many republics.’ (2) a customary way of operation or behavior: ‘She changed her dietary pattern.’ (3) an artistic, musical, literary, or mechanical design or form: ‘The dishes have a floral pattern around the rim.’

To refer to the things that you do every day, usually in the same order, use routine: ‘The trip to Oslo was quite exhausting, but at least it provided an escape from the same old routine.’

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Participate in sth = (formal) take part in: ‘Our students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities.’

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Party= (1) an occasion on which people can assemble for social interaction and entertainment: ‘He planned a party to celebrate his birthday.’

Have/hold/throw a party (NOT make/celebrate): ‘Let’s have a party and invite all our friends.’

Celebrate the Christmas, the New Year, someone’s birthday, retirement, promotion etc.: ‘Next month we’re having a party to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary.’

A party is held somewhere (NOT made/celebrated): ‘Where is the garden party being held?’

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Paper = (1) a scholarly article describing new results, analysis or hypotheses: ‘He has written many scientific papers.’ (2) when it refers to the material that you write on or a medium for written communication, paper is an uncountable noun: ‘The printer has run out of paper.’ ‘On the back of the piece of paper she had written her address.’ (3) an essay (especially one written as an assignment): ‘She got A grade on her paper.’ (4) a daily or weekly publication on folded sheets; contains news and articles and advertisements: ‘He used to read paper at breakfast.’

Monday, September 26, 2011


Package = a collection of things wrapped or sealed together; a small parcel, usually sent by post: ‘Sending both packages by airmail will be very expensive.’

Packet = a box, container etc. with a number of things or an amount of something inside, especially one that is sold in shops: ‘A packet of cigarettes/biscuits/envelopes/balloons’. Another word for packet is pack, especially in American English: ‘A pack of cigarettes’. ‘I bought six eggs and a packet of tea.’

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Overnight= (1) lasting or operating through the whole night: ‘An overnight journey’

Overnight is used as an adverb and adjective (NOT as a noun): ‘I missed the connecting flight and had to stay at the airport overnight.’ ‘If we travel overnight, we’ll be there in time.’ ‘The overnight coach arrives in London at six in the morning.’

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Overall (adv) = (1) including everything: ‘How much will the holiday cost, overall?’ (2) generally: ‘Overall, the weather in this area is good.’

Overall (adj.) = including everything: ‘We’re concerned about the overall effect of this film on viewers.’

Overall may be used as an adjective or adverb (NOT as a noun after in/on): ‘The examination counts for 60 percent of your overall grade.’ ‘You would have done better overall if you hadn’t spent so long on the essay question.’

Above all = most importantly: ‘Get plenty of sleep, eat properly, and above all try to relax.’ ‘The sort of person we are looking for must be well-qualified, experienced, easy to get on with, and above all able to work independently.’

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Other = (1) not the same; different: ‘Any other color would have been better.’ (2) additional: ‘The bus conductor and two other passengers were died in the accident.’

When used before a noun, other never has an s: ‘Do you have any other shoes besides the brown ones?’ Compare: ‘Besides the brown shoes, do you have any others?’

Do not use and others at the end of a list of examples. In some styles, it is possible to use etc. for this purpose, but in formal styles, use such as (or such … as): ‘Candidates’ performance in the test was influenced by several factors such as age, sex, attitude, and language.’

Otherwise = unlike or, otherwise is an adverb (NOT a conjunction): ‘I’m glad that you informed me about the show being canceled. Otherwise I’d have travelled all the way to Glasgow for nothing.’

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Or = (as conjunction) (1) used to connect words, phrases or clauses introducing alternatives: ‘We used to go to the cinema or watch the television.’ (2) used in correlatives when the first is preceded by either or whether: ‘Whether you come or not I will go there.’ (3) otherwise; or else: ‘Be in the station on time, or you will miss the train.’

When each of the nouns joined by or is singular, the verb is usually singular: ‘It is important to understand what one’s son or daughter expects out of life.’

Monday, September 19, 2011


Oppose = be against; express opposition to or resist strongly: ‘Most people oppose capital punishment.’ ‘The board opposed his new ideas.’

Oppose sth (WITHOUT to): = think that something is wrong and try to stop it from happening or being accepted: ‘Many leading scientists vigorously opposed Darwin’s ideas.’

Be opposed to sth = feel strongly that something is wrong: ‘Many people are opposed to the use of fur by the clothing industry.’

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Opinion = (1) a personal belief or judgment about something or somebody: ‘He asked my opinion about the new project.’ (2) the beliefs or views of a group of people: ‘There is a difference of opinion on death penalty.’ (3) a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people: ‘He asked for a poll of public opinion.’

According to sb: ‘According to Peter, deforestation is a very serious problem.’

In sb’s opinion (NOT according to … opinion): ‘In Peter’s opinion, deforestation is a very serious problem.’

Express/give your opinion (NOT say): ‘The newspapers express a wide range of political opinions.’ ‘Her opinions appeared frequently on the editorial page.’

Friday, September 16, 2011


Only = (1) being the only one; single: ‘She is the only child of her parents.’ (2) without any others being included or involved: ‘This job is assigned to him only.’ (3) exclusive of anyone or anything else: ‘I want to buy this dress and this dress only.’ (4) as recently as: ‘I spoke to him only half an hour ago.’

To avoid confusion in written English, only is usually placed as near as possible to the word or phrase that it modifies. Compare: ‘Alison only posted the letter to Mr. Jones.’ (=she didn’t write it) ‘Alison posted only the letter to Mr. Jones.’ (=she didn’t post the other letters)

In spoken English, the position of only is less important because the speaker uses stress to make the meaning clear.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


On is used to indicate or show (1) the position in contact with and supported by the top surface of: ‘The book is lying on the table.’ (2) a source of attachment or support: ‘Hang your shirt on that hook.’ ‘Clock on the wall’ (3) a means of transport or conveyance: ‘I came to office on my bike.’ (4) a day or date or timeframe during which something takes place: ‘I will meet you sometime on Tuesday.’ (5) about something/somebody; on the topic of : ‘He wrote a book on History.’ (6) the location of something: ‘There is a coconut tree on the left side of our house.’ (7) continuity, persistence or concentration: ‘Shall I read on?’

You see a report, advertisement, photograph, etc in a newspaper or magazine (NOT on): ‘I came across the article in this month’s edition of Woman’s World.’

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Offer to do sth = express willingness to do something: ‘She’s offered to help me.’

Invite sb to (do) sth = ask someone if they would like to come to a party, wedding etc., or join you in a social activity: ‘Have you invited Mark and Valerie to the party?’

The usual pattern is offer sb sth (offer + indirect object + direct object): ‘He offered me a job.’ ‘They’ve offered Maria a place on the intermediate course.’

Use offer something to someone only when the direct object is a pronoun or is much shorter than the indirect object: ‘She offered the book to George but he didn’t want it.’ ‘I offered the apple to the first child that could answer my question.’

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Off = (1) from a particular thing, place, or position: ‘They drove off’. (2) at a distance in space or time: ‘The party is still two weeks off.’ (3) not in operation or operational: ‘The lights are off.’

Turn off/on (or switch off/on) a light, television, electric kettle etc.: ‘Let’s turn on the radio and listen to the news.’

Off + sb/sth (WITHOUT of): ‘I wish he’d wipe that silly smile off his face.’

Monday, September 12, 2011


Occur = (1) to take place: ‘The event is scheduled to occur at noon tomorrow.’ (2) to come to mind; happen: ‘This idea never occurred to me.’ (3) to be found to exist or appear: ‘Precious stones occur in a large area in Brazil.’

Occur is usually used in connection with unplanned events: ‘Many of the serious accidents that occur are caused by human error.’ ‘Tornadoes occur when a warm weather front meets a body of very cold air.’

For planned events, use take place: ‘The wedding will take place at St. Andrew’s church.’

Occur is used mainly in formal styles: ‘These violent incidents frequently occur without any warning.’

The usual word is happen: ‘The incident happened just outside my house.’

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Obtain = come into possession of; gain by planned action: ‘I obtained the copy of the original letter.’

When you are talking about something that takes a long time and a great amount of work or effort, use achieve (NOT obtain): ‘By the end of the course you really feel that you have achieved something.’ ‘The company intends to achieve these goals within the next five years.’ ‘Her only purpose in life was to achieve stardom.’

Obtain is mainly used in formal styles: ‘Information about visas and passports can be obtained from your local library.’

The usual word for this meaning is get: ‘How long does it take to get a visa?’

Friday, September 9, 2011


Number = (1) a concept of quantity involving zero and units: ‘Every number has a unique position in the sequence.’ (2) a short theatrical performance that is part of a longer program: ‘It was one of the best numbers he ever did.’ (3) an indefinite usually large total: ‘A number of students are absent today.’

The number of… + singular verb: ‘The number of smokers is increasing.’

A number of.. + Plural verb: ‘A number of viewers have complained about the excessive violence of the film.’

A large/ considerable number (NOT big): ‘A large number of fatal accidents are caused by drunken drivers.’

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Neither (adverb) = used after a negative statement to indicate that the next statement is similarly negative: ‘I was not happy and neither were they.’

Neither (adjective) = not either; not one or the other: ‘Neither shoe feels comfortable.’

Neither (pronoun) = not one nor the other, not either: ‘Do you like milk or sugar? Neither.’

Neither (conjunction) = used before two (or more) alternatives to indicate that they did not happen or are not true (usually followed by nor, Not or): ‘Her hair was neither long nor short.’ ‘The sales assistant is neither helpful nor friendly.’

After neither and neither… nor…, the verb is affirmative (NOT negative): Neither applicant had the right qualification.

Neither should be placed immediately before the first of the connected items and nor immediately before the second: ‘I have studied neither the language nor the culture.’

After neither + singular noun, the verb is singular: ‘Neither officer wants a transfer.’

After neither of + plural noun, use a plural verb, especially in informal styles: ‘Neither of the officers wants a transfer.’

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Never = (1) at no time in the past or future; not ever: ‘I’ve never met his wife.’ ‘I shall never forget this day’ (2) not at all; certainly not; not in any circumstances: ‘Never in my whole life have I been so offended!’ ‘I will never shop at that store again.’

Ever = at any time: ‘Have you ever met his wife?’

Ever is often used after a superlative: ‘His wife is the kindest person I’ve ever met.’

Never or not usually go immediately in front of a to infinitive: ‘He’s promised never to do it again.’

Do is used with never for emphasis: ‘You never did tell me why you decided to leave your last job.’

After nobody/nothing/rarely and other words with a negative meaning, use ever (NOT never): ‘After she won the national championship, nothing was ever the same again.’

Nevertheless = unlike but, nevertheless is an adverb (NOT a conjuction): ‘The survey was conducted on a very small scale. Nevertheless, the information gathered is likely to prove very useful.’ ‘As you may have heard, the existing workforce is soon to be reduced by 40 percent. The management is nevertheless committed to maintain the present level of production.’

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Neglect = (1) leave undone or leave out: ‘How could I neglect that typo?’ (2) (formal) not do something; leave something undone especially something that you ought to do: ‘The public are demanding to know why the government neglected to warn them of the oil shortage.’ (3) fail to look after someone or something properly: ‘The garden has been badly neglected and will require a lot of attention.’ (4) give little or no attention to: ‘Neglect the errors.’

Negligent = failing to take proper care, especially in your job; careless: ‘The court decided that the pilot of the crashed aircraft had been negligent.’ ‘The fire was started by a negligent smoker.’

Negligible = (of an amount) so small as to be meaningless; insignificant; not worth considering: ‘The cost of maintaining the machine is negligible.’

Monday, September 5, 2011


Need= (1) must happen, have or exist previously or during (in order for stated thing to be happen or be the case): ‘This job needs a lot of patience and skill.’ (2) a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful: ‘We realize that there is still a need for further discussion.’ (3) have a requirement for: ‘I don’t feel the need to defend my decision.’

There is no need to do sth (NOT it is …): ‘There’s no need to start getting upset.’

A need for sth (NOT of): ‘The government is conscious of the need for more schools.’

Be in need of sth (= require): ‘The car is in need of a good clean.’ ‘Are you in need of any assistance?’

A need to do sth (NOT of/for doing): ‘I don’t understand their need to sell the house.’

In affirmative sentences, use need to do sth (WITH to): ‘I need to get to the airport by seven at the latest.’ In the negative forms (WITHOUT to): ‘She needn’t stay if she doesn’t want.’ In the question forms (WITH or WITHOUT to): ‘Does she need to stay any longer?’ ‘Need she stay any longer?’

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Near = (1) not far distant in time, space, degree, or circumstances:’ The sunset is drawing near.’

Near or near to (NOT near from): ‘The post office is near (to) the bank.’ ‘If we moved to Dallas, we would be nearer to my parents.’

To say that something is only a short distance from a place, use nearby: ‘I stopped at one of the nearby cottages and asked the way.’ ‘It’s very convenient having a supermarket nearby.’

Nearby is used as an adjective or adverb: ‘We flew from a nearby airport.’ ‘There is an airport nearby.’

When you need a preposition, use near: ‘The hotel is near the sea.’

Friday, September 2, 2011


Nation= a politically organized body of people under a single, usually independent government; a country: ‘The entire nation is celebrating the victory.’

A person comes from, lives in, or feels part of a particular country (NOT nation): ‘Some people in this country think that the leadership is too weak.’ ‘People living in former Soviet bloc countries are undergoing a difficult period of transition.’

Nation is less common than country and is mainly used when a country is considered as a political or economic structure: ‘Japan has become the richest nation in the world.’

Nationality = the status of belonging to a particular nation by birth or naturalization: ‘Immigrants of the same nationality often seek each other out.’ The usual way of referring to someone’s nationality is to use come from: ‘Most of the students in my class come from Oman or Bahrain.’

Nationality is used mainly in formal styles: ‘Visitors of Swedish nationality do not require a visa.’ ‘Despite being born in Germany, these children do not have an automatic right to German nationality.’