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‘listen (to)’ or ‘hear’?

We use hear to say that something that comes to our ears. Example: I can hear a strange noise upstairs. BUT We use listen (to) when we talk about paying attention to sounds that are going on, in progress. It stresses on the idea of concentrating, trying to hear as well as possible. Example: Listen … Continue reading

How to end a casual conversation?

How do you end a casual conversation, especially at work? More than once, I’ve come across responses as unintentionally curt as ‘Okay bye.’ So I thought of posting some phrases you could use. ‘Well, I have to get back to my desk../my break is over…let’s catch up soon again’ ‘I’m sorry, I have to go/leave/get … Continue reading

‘except’ or ‘except for’?

We use except for before noun phrases. Example: The classroom was empty except for a little boy at the back of the room. We also often use except (for) after generalizing words like all, any, every, no, everything, anybody, nowhere, nobody, whole.  Example: He ate everything on his plate except (for) the spinach. Nobody came … Continue reading

‘still not’ or ‘not yet’?

When we use still not, there is a sense of looking back to the past. But not yet has the sense of looking toward the future. Example: She still hasn’t got a job. (looking back: she hasn’t had a job since January and the situation is continuing.) She hasn’t got a job yet. (looking forward: … Continue reading

‘fictional’ or ‘fictitious’?

Fictional means occurring in fiction, i.e in a piece of literature, whereas fictitious means invented, not genuine. So, Harry Potter is a fictional name when it refers to the character in the Harry Potter series but fictitious when someone uses it as a false or assumed name instead of their own.

‘compared to’ or ‘compared with’?

We use compare to to point out or imply resemblances between objects regarded as essentially of a different order. Example: Authors have often compared life to a drama. But compare with is mainly to point out differences between objects regarded as essentially of the same order. Example: It would be interesting to compare London with … Continue reading

‘riding it out’ or ‘sailing through’?

What’s the difference between riding it out and sailing through? Compare: 1. I lost my job and don’t have much money saved. I’ve to ride it out until I get a new job. 2. She sailed through the entrance test and the interview and is now awaiting her appointment letter. So ride it out (1) means … Continue reading

‘disinterested’ or ‘uninterested’?

Disinterested and uninterested are NOT the same. Disinterested means impartial or neutral or not taking sides whereas uninterested means bored or lacking interest. A jury must be disinterested; an umpire needs to be disinterested. But they definitely can not be uninterested if they wish to do their job properly.

‘but’ or ‘however’?

But and however are both used with a contrasting ‘unexpected’ clause. Example: I don’t like him, but I agree that he is a good manager. I don’t like him. However, I agree that he is a good manager. Note the difference now. But is a conjunction. It joins two clauses, and comes at the beginning … Continue reading

‘amiable’ or ‘amicable’?

Amiable means agreeable or friendly. Example: They were engaged in an amiable conversation. Amicable means marked by goodwill or peaceable. Example: We were relieved when they reached an amicable agreement.

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