Here is a guide to using the verbs write, draw, sketch and paint which are commonly confused.
‘Almost’ is a tough adverb to use. It describes similarity or quantities. However, it is often confused with ‘almost all’ and ‘almost everyone’.
It should be simple to use ‘would like’ but this is taught and checked so badly that many students can’t use it accurately. In this post I’ll use the contracted form ”d like’ because this causes most of the errors I encounter.
In English, when you are not 100% sure of something, use ‘I don’t think’ rather than ‘I think ~ isn’t’.
I think it won’t rain.
I think he is not my type.
I think that when I get home my mother won’t be at home.
I think they can’t handle it.
I don’t think it will rain.
I don’t think he’s my type.
I don’t think that when I get home my mother will be at home.
I don’t think they can handle it.
These are some words that students often find confusing. I hope this post helps you to tell the difference. If you have any other ideas, leave a comment.
Hard / Hardly
Hard (adverb)Describes a high level of effort.
She studies hard all the time. She reads, writes,speaks and listens to English for five hours a day.
Hardly (adverb) – Describes a low frequency or low level.
He hardly studies at all. Look at his notebook! He’s hardly written anything.
Complex / Complicated
Complex – Describes a system that is difficult to understand or a thing that is very detailed and difficult to copy or understand the way of making it.
The Tokyo transport system is complex. You should pick up a map before you visit and find the stations you need to go to.
Complicated – Describes an action, thing or situation that is difficult to understand because it has many parts or steps.
Getting to my office is complicated. You have to take a few turns and cross three footbridges. I’ll meet you at the station.
A lot of false shortcuts are taught to English students. Lots of words and phrases are said to be “the same” because it is quicker to teach them to beginning and intermediate learners without explaining them. ‘Even if’ and ‘even though’ are not the same but teachers often say they are.
In this first example, ‘if’ causes a conditional; ‘though’ explains a reaction to an action.
Even if you come, you won’t enjoy it.
Even though you come, you don’t enjoy it.
In the second example, ‘if’ is a conditional, explaining an unlikely situation or just an idea; ‘though’ talks about an experience.
Even if you came, you wouldn’t enjoy it.
Even though you came, you didn’t enjoy it.
In the next example, ‘if’ comments on what didn’t happen; ‘though’ comments on what did happen.
Even if you had come, you wouldn’t have enjoyed it.
Even though you had come, you didn’t enjoy it.
In this final example, ‘if’ and ‘though’ have similar meanings but have different nuances. ‘If’ talks about a possible plan whereas ‘though’ talks about a definite plan.
Even if you are coming, you won’t enjoy it.
Even though you are coming, you won’t enjoy it.
This is a bit tricky but I hope you understand this better.
The words ‘see’, ‘look’ and ‘watch’ are often confused by students of English because they are so similar. Here are a few examples of each one to help you out.
Used for ‘meet’:
I’ll see you tomorrow.
Instead of ‘meet’ for animals:
I saw a nice dog on my walk.
Used to mean ‘watch’ but with a more casual feeling, indicating leisure:
I saw a great film yesterday.
Indicates action or change:
You have to watch the cake because it might burn in the oven.
Used for going to a location to observe something:
I’m going to watch the boats come in at the dock.
Like ‘look’ but with greater attention:
Watch this! I can juggle five balls.
Observe or read briefly:
I looked at the menu.
Make eye contact:
Please look at me when I’m talking to you.
She looks beautiful.