Advanced Mistakes (iii)


Source: Swan. M. 2005. Practical English Usage Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (2011).

Practical English Usage lists over a hundred common mistakes in the English language. Even advanced students of English make mistakes. Swan (2005) has listed a number of them.

“I’ll see you a few days later.” = I’ll see you in a few days.
(315) With a time expression, we generally use later to mean ‘after that time’, and in to mean ‘after now’.

“All along the centuries, there have been wars.” = All through the centuries, there have been wars.
(45) The preposition along is used with nouns like road, river, corridor, line: words that refer to a things with a long shape. To talk about periods or activities, we prefer through.

“I want a completely other colour.” = I want a completely different colour.
(54.5) Other is a determiner or a pronoun; it is not used exactly like an adjective. So it cannot normally have an adverb before it, or be used after a link verb.

“Let’s go and have coffee to Marcel’s.” = Let’s go and have coffee at Marcel’s.
(80.1-2) At and in are generally used for position; to is used for movement or direction. If we mention the purpose of a movement before we mention the destination, we usually use at/in before the place.

“That’s mine – I saw it at first!” = That’s mine – I saw it first.
(84) We use at first to talk about the beginning of a situation, to make a contrast with something different that happens/happened later. In other cases, we usually prefer first.

“Switzerland is among Germany, France, Austria and Italy.” = Switzerland is between Germany, France, Austria and Italy.
(105.2) We usually say that somebody or something is between several clearly separate people or things. We prefer among when somebody or something is in a group, a crowd or a mass of people or things which we do not see separately. Among is normal before a singular (uncountable) noun.

“According to me, it’s a bad film.” = In my opinion / I think it’s a bad film.
(8) According to X means ‘in X’s opinion, ‘if what X says is true’. We do not usually give our own opinions with according to.

“It was a too good party to miss.” = It was too good a party to miss.
(14/595.4) After as, how, so, too and this/that meaning so, adjectives go before a/an. This structure is common in a formal style.

“Whole Paris was celebrating.” = The whole of Paris was celebrating.
(40.5) Instead of whole we can generally use the whole of. Before proper nouns (names) and pronouns we always use the whole of, not the whole. All (of) is also possible.

See other: Notes On English Grammar

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