BAD: I would be grateful if you would send it to the address above-
GOOD: I would be grateful if you would send it to the above-mentioned address.
Above-mentioned comes before the noun: 'the above-mentioned person', 'the above-mentioned company'.
Note that above may be used before or after the noun: 'the above address', 'the address above'.
BAD: Whenever I doubt about the meaning of a word, I look in my dictionary.
GOOD: Whenever I am in doubt about the meaning of a word, I look in my dictionary.
BAD: If ever you have any kind of doubt, come and see me or one of the other teachers.
GOOD: If ever you are in any doubt about anything, come and see me or one of the other teachers.
(be) in doubt about sth (= feel unsure): 'Is anyone in doubt about what they're supposed to be doing?' 'If you're in any doubt about your child's safety, talk to your doctor.'
Note that this meaning is more commonly expressed by be unsure/uncertain (or not be sure/certain ): 'Whenever I'm not sure about the meaning of a word, I look in my dictionary.'
BAD: That is why we still doubt about beings existing in outer space.
GOOD: That is why we still have doubts about beings existing in outer space.
have (your) doubts about (doing ) sth = feel unsure whether something is true or the right thing to do: 'We have our doubts about sending Kevin to a boarding school.' 'Any doubts she'd had about marrying him soon disappeared.'
DUBIOUS: I doubt that she is telling the truth.
GOOD: I doubt whether she is telling the truth.
When doubt is used to express certainty or near certainty, it is usually followed by a that -clause: 'There's no doubt that he's innocent.' 'I've no doubt that he's innocent.' 'I'm in little doubt that he's innocent.' 'I don't doubt that he's innocent.' In this meaning, doubt is used with a negative word, e.g. not/no/little/not much.
When doubt means 'think that something is unlikely', it is usually followed by if/whether : 'I doubt whether he's innocent.' (= I think that he is probably guilty) 'She doubts whether she'll be able to come on Sunday.'
Note that some people may also say 'I doubt that he's innocent', but careful users regard this as incorrect.
DUBIOUS: There is no doubt that she doesn't want the job.
GOOD: She obviously doesn't want the job.
DUBIOUS: There is no doubt that most parents are willing to spend a lot of money on their child's education.
GOOD: Most parents are willing to spend a lot of money on their child's education.
There is no doubt that is usually used in formal styles when you want to persuade someone that what you are saying is true: 'There is no doubt that the present government has lost a great deal of support.'
This phrase is sometimes used when a 'lighter' expression (e.g. of course, obviously, clearly, certainly, needless to say ) or nothing at all would be more natural.
BAD: It is no doubt that the rich have a great advantage.
GOOD: There is no doubt that the rich have a great advantage.
there is no doubt that (NOT it is ... ): 'There is no doubt that the number of casualties would have escalated had it not been for UN intervention.'
BAD: Without doubt you're tired after your journey.
GOOD: No doubt you're tired after your journey.
BAD: The recovery of the Mary Rose is, no doubt, a great scientific achievement.
GOOD: The recovery of the Mary Rose is, without doubt, a great scientific achievement.
without doubt = 'I firmly believe this to be true': 'He is without doubt one of the greatest composers the world has ever known.'
no doubt = 'I expect' or 'I suppose': 'No doubt you could do with a drink.' 'They will no doubt be writing to us again.'
BAD: Another reason for getting married is without doubt to have children.
GOOD: Another reason for getting married of course is to have children.
Use without doubt with opinions and judgements: 'She is without doubt one of the kindest women you'll ever meet.'
When you mention a fact or something that is generally agreed, use of course : 'Mrs Thatcher is no longer in charge, of course.'
BAD: They don't have any money to spend on luxury things.
GOOD: They don't have any money to spend on luxuries.
luxuries (plural of luxury ), luxury goods, luxury items (but NOT luxury things ): 'Tax on luxury goods is bound to be increased.'
BAD: Some successful criminals enjoy a luxury life.
GOOD: Some successful criminals enjoy a life of luxury.
A life of luxury is a fixed phrase: 'His dream is to marry a princess and live a life of luxury.'
BAD: It's hard to tell which nation he comes from.
GOOD: It's hard to tell which country he comes from.
A person comes from, lives in, feels part of, etc 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.' 'Representatives from the world's leading industrial nations will meet next month in Geneva.'
Note the alternative: 'I couldn't tell his nationality.'
BAD: The fire caused a lot of damages.
GOOD: The fire caused a lot of damage.
BAD: The car crashed into a tree and suffered a severe damage.
GOOD: The car crashed into a tree and suffered severe damage.
In its usual meaning, damage is an uncountable noun: 'The insurance company will pay for any damage.' 'The ceiling had suffered a great deal of damage.'
damages (plural noun) = a sum of money that someone is awarded in a court of law: 'She was awarded $3000 in damages.' 'She claimed damages of £2000 for wrongful dismissal.'
BAD: The floods made a lot of damage.
GOOD: The floods did/caused a lot of damage.
BAD: Most of the damage has been produced by acid rain.
GOOD: Most of the damage has been caused by acid rain.
do/cause damage (NOT make or produce ): 'According to local farmers, the rabbits do a lot of damage to the crops.' 'It's the gas from fridges that causes most of the damage.'
DO · HAVE · MAKE · TAKE
Many phrases begin with a very common very such as do, make, have, or take : ‘I felt very nervous about taking the test but, after having a long talk with Mrs Fisher, I decided I would just do my best and try not to make too many silly mistakes .’ These verbs can be combined with some nouns but not with others and since they do not have a clear meaning of their own, choosing the right combination can be a problem. Phrases which tend to cause difficulty are shown below.
have a bath (or esp. AmE take ) ‘She’s probably upstairs having a bath.’
Have (your) breakfast ‘We usually have breakfast in the kitchen.’
Have (your) dinner ‘We had dinner and then went for a walk.’
Have a drink ‘I’ll collapse if I don’t have a drink soon.’
Have (an) experience ‘He has no experience of running a large company.’
Have fun ‘You can’t stop people from having fun.’
Have a holiday ‘It’s almost a year since we had a real holiday.’
Have an interview ‘I’ve had six interviews but no one has offered me a job.’
Have a lesson ‘Every morning we have three fifty-minute lessons.’
Have (your) lunch ‘Isn’t it about time we had lunch?’
Have an operation ‘Before I had the operation I could hardly walk.’
Have a party ‘On Saturday we’re having a party.’
Have a picnic ‘If it’s sunny we could have a picnic.’
Have a shower (or esp. AmE take) ‘It only takes me a minute to have a shower.’
Take/do an examination ‘Why do we have to take so many tests?’
Take (your) medicine ‘Don’t forget to take your medicine.’
Take a pill ‘He refuses to take sleeping pills.’
Take/do a test ‘The last test I took was a disaster.’
Make an effort ‘I had to make a big effort not to laugh.’
Make a journey ‘It was the first journey he’d made all on his own.’
Make a mistake ‘He has made a serious mistake.’
Make a noise ‘How can one small child make so much noise?’
Make progress ‘I made very little progress at the start of the course.’
Do your best ‘Don’t worry, Tim. Just do your best.’
Do (or cause) damage ‘The storm did a lot of damage to the crops.’
Do an exercise ‘Have you done your exercises today?’
Do an experiment ‘To do this experiment, you’ll need two eggs.’
Do (sb) good ‘The holiday has done him a lot of good.’
Do harm ‘A scandal would do his reputation a lot of harm.’
Do your homework ‘Have you done your homework yet?’
Do a job ‘I’ve got one or two jobs to do this evening.’
Do the/some shopping ‘Jake has gone into town to do some shopping.’
Do research ‘We need to do a lot more research.’
Do things ‘We’ve done lots of different things today.’
Do your training ‘Where did you do your training?’
Note also: do something/anything etc: ‘I can’t come now – I’m doing something.’ ‘He hasn’t done anything wrong.'
BAD: The bomb caused extensive damage of the surrounding buildings.
GOOD: The bomb caused extensive damage to the surrounding buildings.
BAD: We all know about the damage that smoking can do in our health.
GOOD: We all know about the damage that smoking can do to our health.
(cause/do) damage to sth : 'Lack of oxygen can cause serious damage to the brain.' 'The scandal did a great deal of damage to his reputation.'
BAD: The driver was very lucky and was only slightly damaged.
GOOD: The driver was very lucky and was only slightly hurt.
BAD: During the protests, some students were killed and others were seriously damaged.
GOOD: During the protests, some students were killed and others were seriously injured/wounded.
Damaged is used in connection with things or parts of your body (NOT people): 'The engine was too badly damaged to be repaired.' 'The cause of the oil leak was a damaged pipeline.'
People are hurt or injured (badly hurt) in an accident, earthquake, hurricane etc: 'The scaffolding collapsed, killing one of the construction workers and injuring two passers-by.'
Someone who is injured by a weapon, such as a gun or knife, is wounded : 'He is accused of wounding a fellow prisoner.' 'The wounded soldiers were sent home for medical treatment.'
BAD: I tried hardly to remember where I had parked the car.
GOOD: I tried hard to remember where I had parked the car.
BAD: It was raining hardly and we all got wet.
GOOD: It was raining hard and we all got wet.
BAD: Society shouldn't punish these people too hardly.
GOOD: Society shouldn't punish these people too hard/severely.
hardly = scarcely; almost not: 'It was hardly raining at all.' 'I could hardly believe my eyes.'
hard = (1) with a lot of effort: 'If you work hard, you're bound to pass.' (2) heavily or severely: 'The authorities are coming down hard on tax evasion.' Before a past participle, use severely for this meaning: 'If they are caught, they will be severely punished.'
BAD: It was so dark that we hardly could see.
GOOD: It was so dark that we could hardly see.
BAD: There were hardly no trees left, just bare rocky land.
GOOD: There were hardly any trees left, just bare rocky land.
BAD: When we arrived at the hotel, we couldn't hardly believe our eyes.
GOOD: When we arrived at the hotel, we could hardly believe our eyes.
BAD: These machines are destroying our ability of thinking.
GOOD: These machines are destroying our ability to think.
ability to do sth (NOT of doing): 'Nobody doubts his ability to get the job done quickly.' 'We need someone with the ability to work under intense pressure.'
BAD: I want to improve my ability of reading.
GOOD: I want to improve my reading ability.
reading/writing/teaching/acting ability: 'Her acting ability was recognized at a very early age.'
BAD: I want to improve my ability of English.
GOOD: I want to improve my ability in English.
ability in a language or subject: 'Sarah has demonstrated considerable ability in both maths and chemistry.'
BAD: As usually, he arrived five minutes late.
GOOD: As usual, he arrived five minutes late.
BAD: The food wasn't the same as usually.
GOOD: The food wasn't the same as usual.
as usual (NOT as usually ): 'John's late as usual.' 'As usual, everyone was out in the garden when I arrived.'
the same as usual (NOT ... as usually ): 'Apart from his hair, he looked the same as usual.'
BAD: Despite the train was empty, he came and sat in front of me.
GOOD: Although the train was empty, he came and sat in front of me.
GOOD: Despite the train being empty, he came and sat in front of me.
Despite and in spite of are prepositions (NOT conjunctions). Unlike although (a conjunction), they cannot introduce a clause that has a finite verb ('was'). Compare: 'In spite of/Despite owning two cars, he can't drive.' 'Although he owns two cars, he can't drive.'
BAD: Despite of my qualifications, I couldn't get a job.
GOOD: Despite my qualifications, I couldn't get a job.
GOOD: In spite of my qualifications, I couldn't get a job.
despite sth (WITHOUT of ): 'Despite the heat, she wouldn't take her coat off.'
in spite of sth (WITH of ): 'In spite of the heat, she wouldn't take her coat off.'
BAD: The belief that Spanish is easy to learn is wrong.
GOOD: The belief that Spanish is easy to learn is mistaken.
To describe a belief or idea that is wrong although people do not know it is wrong, use mistaken : 'Some people have the mistaken idea that cats need to drink milk.' 'I'm afraid you must be mistaken.'
BAD: As a conclusion, I'd like to say that everyone should be able to work if they want to.
GOOD: In conclusion, I'd like to say that everyone should be able to work if they want to.
BAD: To come to the conclusion, I would like to say that everyone should read the book.
GOOD: To conclude, I would like to say that everyone should read the book.
To introduce a concluding statement, use in conclusion, by way of conclusion, or to conclude : 'By way of conclusion, I'd just like to add that the answers to the questions I have raised would still appear to be a long way off.'
BAD: On a beautiful day like today it's no use staying at home.
GOOD: On a beautiful day like today there's no point in staying at home.
BAD: It's no use having lessons if you don't want to learn.
GOOD: There's no point in having lessons if you don't want to learn.
Use it's no use/good doing sth when you mean that a particular action will not help to deal with a need or difficulty: 'For spellings, it's no use looking in a grammar book. What you need is a dictionary.'
When you mean that something has no useful purpose, use there's no point in doing sth : 'There's no point in having a dictionary if you never use it.'
BAD: There's no use in waiting any longer.
GOOD: There's no point in waiting any longer.
it's no use ... (NOT there ): 'It's no use complaining.'
there's no point ... (NOT it ) 'There's no point in getting upset.'
BAD: The meals we use to eat are very simple.
GOOD: The meals we (usually) eat are very simple.
BAD: When I'm not busy, I use to play the guitar.
GOOD: When I'm not busy, I (usually) play the guitar.
When you are talking about a present habit, use the present simple tense (NOT use to do ): 'I (usually) have two cups of coffee at breakfast.'
BAD: In my previous job I use to travel a lot.
GOOD: In my previous job I used to travel a lot.
When you are talking about a past habit, use used to do sth (with silent d ): 'Before I had the accident I used to cycle to work.'
BAD: It took me a long time to get use to the local accent.
GOOD: It took me a long time to get used to the local accent.
be/get used to (doing) sth (with silent d ) = be in or get into the habit of doing/hearing/seeing etc something, so that it no longer seems strange or difficult: 'Being a city girl, she wasn't used to sitting on a horse.' 'I didn't like the taste of the water at first, but I'm getting used to it.'
BAD: Only the driver was wounded in the accident.
GOOD: Only the driver was injured/hurt in the accident.
See note at DAMAGE 1 (↑damage)
BAD: We had to request for more help.
GOOD: We had to request more help.
request sth (WITHOUT for ): 'The pilot requested permission to land, but this was refused.'
Compare: 'Our request for more help was turned down.' (noun + for )
BAD: It is two months now that I left Germany.
GOOD: It is two months now since I left Germany.
a week/two months etc + since something happened (NOT that ): 'It's almost two years since I started my PhD.'
BAD: I was shocked by the sight that I could hardly speak.
GOOD: I was so shocked by the sight that I could hardly speak.
so + adjective/adverb + that clause: 'I'm so tired that I can't keep awake.' 'He spoke so quickly that nobody could understand him.'
BAD: He closed the door quietly that nobody would hear him.
GOOD: He closed the door quietly so that nobody would hear him.
Use so that to express purpose (NOT that ): 'The burglars turned off all the lights so that they wouldn't be seen.'
BAD: Children are not as easy to please nowadays that they were in the past.
GOOD: Children are not as easy to please nowadays as they were in the past.
When making a comparison, use as/so ... as (NOT as/so ... that ): 'It's as hard to get into university today as it was ten years ago.'
BAD: It worried me that the letter had not arrived, especially that it had never happened before.
GOOD: It worried me that the letter had not arrived, especially since/as it had never happened before.
When giving a reason for something, use since or as (NOT that ): 'Instead of cooking, why don't we get a take-away, especially as it's so late.'
BAD: The weather has been very good, except for two days that it rained.
GOOD: The weather has been very good, except for two days when it rained.
When the meaning is 'at/on/in/during which' (referring to time), use when (NOT that ): 'These are the times when Dr Roberts will be able to see you.'
Compare: 'I shall always remember the two days that I spent in Paris.'
BAD: Sitting next to me was an old lady, that seemed to be sound asleep.
GOOD: Sitting next to me was an old lady, who seemed to be sound asleep.
That is used to introduce an identifying relative clause (one which identifies, defines, or restricts the preceding noun): 'The woman that is sitting behind us is Tom's music teacher.' 'The man that I marry will have lots of money.'
That is not used to introduce a non-identifying relative clause (one which simply adds more information about the noun).
BAD: If you haven't sent it yet, I'd be pleased if you would do that as soon as possible.
GOOD: If you haven't sent it yet, I'd be pleased if you would do so as soon as possible.
To make a precise reference to a previously mentioned action, use do so (NOT do that ): 'I asked him politely to take his feet off the seat but he refused to do so.'