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Vocabulary

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‘probable’ or ‘possible’?

Possible means having the potential. Probable means likely. Probable refers to what is likely to be done, to occur, or to be true; possible refers to what can be done, to occur, or to be true. If you say something is probable, you are expressing more confidence about it than if you say that it is possible. Compare: Where is Danny? He’s probably … Continue reading

‘continuous’ or ‘continual’?

Many learners use continuous and continual interchangeably. But actually they are different in meaning. Continuous indicates duration without interruption. Example: Continuous monitoring of the patient’s condition proved crucial in his treatment. Continual indicates duration that continues over a long period of time, but with intervals of interruption. Example:  The continual street repairs disrupted traffic for nearly two … Continue reading

words to describe smells

Words to describe pleasant smells: scented (especially from flowers, plants, or fruits, artificially scented candles, or essence oil) aromatic (especially from food or coffee) fragrant sweet-smelling For unpleasant smells: smelly stinking (especially from decaying objects, like fish) musty (especially books, rooms, or clothes; old and not fresh; especially because they have not been used or … Continue reading

‘last’ or ‘latest’?

We use latest to talk about something new, and last to mean the one before. Example: Her latest book deals with corruption. Reviewers say its much better than her last one.

‘economic’ or ‘economical’?

The dictionary defines the word economic as ‘relating to economics’ <economic theories> and ‘of, relating to, or based on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services’ <economic growth>. The word economical means ‘marked by careful, efficient, prudent use of resources,’ as in, an economical car. So, ‘we are looking for a more economic way … Continue reading

‘before’ and ‘ago’

Before means at some unknown time before now. It does not indicate when. We generally use the present perfect tense with before. Example: I have never seen him before. Ago means at a certain time before now. Ago tells us how long before the present time something happened. It tells us when and gives us a … Continue reading

Are you ‘wailing’ or ‘bawling’ or ‘sniffling’? Synonyms for ‘crying.’

To sob means to cry noisily, taking sudden, sharp breaths. To wail means to cry in a loud high voice. To whimper means to cry making low, weak noises. To weep means to cry quietly for a long time. To bawl means to cry loudly, especially used for young children and for people for whom … Continue reading

‘replacement of’ or ‘replacement for’

Should you say ‘replacement of’ or ‘replacement for’? There are two commonly used meanings of the word ‘replacement’: 1. a person or a thing that replaces another; a substitute. 2. The action or an act of replacing something. When used in the first sense, use ‘for’. Example: We need a replacement for Mr Seth, who … Continue reading

‘historic’ and ‘historical’

Historic is used especially for historically important places, remains, customs etc, and for moments which ‘make history.’ Example: The two countries are about to make a historic agreement.’ Or ‘It was a historic win for Spain.’ Historical means connected to the study of history or really existing in history.  Example: I like to read historical … Continue reading

‘still not’ and ‘not yet’

When we use still not, there’s 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: she … Continue reading

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