BAD: When they saw that I couldn't move myself, they called an ambulance.
GOOD: When they saw that I couldn't move, they called an ambulance.
BAD: Although the film has its advantages, it also has a serious flaw.
GOOD: Although the film has its merits/good points, it also has a serious flaw.
advantage = something that puts you in a better position than other people: 'A healthier lifestyle is just one of the advantages of living in the country.' 'The main advantage of using word processors is the amount of time you save.'
merit = a good quality; a strength: 'The merits of the new health programme are gradually being recognized.' 'We should judge each application on its own merits.'
BAD: Television provides many advantages.
GOOD: Television provides many benefits.
benefit = a good result which improves your life or situation: 'Belonging to a union has a number of important benefits.' 'It's over a month since I got back from holiday, but I still feel the benefit.'
BAD: What are the advantages in studying in the United States?
GOOD: What are the advantages of studying in the United States?
BAD: There are many advantages of having your own computer.
GOOD: There are many advantages to/in having your own computer.
the advantage/s of (doing/having) sth: 'He described the advantages of living in the countryside.' 'The advantages of independence soon became clear.'
there are (several/many etc) advantages to (doing/having) sth: 'There are advantages to working in a supermarket.' 'There are clear advantages to such an approach.' 'Are there any advantages in appointing coordinators?'
BAD: He hadn't taken any warm clothes with him so that he felt cold.
GOOD: He hadn't taken any warm clothes with him so he felt cold.
So that is used to express the purpose of an action: 'We took our umbrellas so that we wouldn't get wet.'
So is used to express the result of an action: 'I'd forgotten to take my umbrella so I got wet.'
BAD: Most of these drugs come from the so-called Golden Triangle.
BAD: During the so-called denitrification process, bacteria convert fixed nitrogen into molecular nitrogen.
GOOD: During what is known as the denitrification process, bacteria convert fixed nitrogen into molecular nitrogen.
Use so-called when you want to suggest that the name that has been given to something is incorrect or not suitable: 'I went to see the playwright's so-called masterpiece and was very disappointed by it.'
To introduce the name by which something is generally known, use be known as, be referred to as or be called : 'The distance that light travels in a year is called a light year.' 'Zaire was formerly known as the Congo.'
BAD: Since it's his birthday on Monday, so he's having a party.
GOOD: Since it's his birthday on Monday, he's having a party.
GOOD: It's his birthday on Monday, so he's having a party.
BAD: If you're a naughty boy, so the big crocodile will come and eat you.
GOOD: If you're a naughty boy, the big crocodile will come and eat you.
See also BUT (↑but)
See THAT 3 (↑that)
BAD: During the summer all the hotels are so busy.
GOOD: During the summer all the hotels are very busy.
Use so + adjective (1) to mean 'to such a high degree or great extent':
'I was so tired that I fell asleep on the train.' 'I didn't expect the hotels to be so busy.'
(2) to express strong personal emotion: 'It was very kind of you to help me. I'm so grateful.'
Otherwise, use very/extremely + adjective: 'She was very tired and found it difficult to stay awake.'
BAD: My English is so poor so my wife has to translate everything.
GOOD: My English is so poor that my wife has to translate everything.
so + adjective/adverb + that clause: 'She was so clever that all the universities wanted her.' 'The pianist played so badly that the audience walked out.'
Compare: 'My English is very poor so my wife has to translate everything.'
BAD: We were not prepared for so cold weather.
GOOD: We were not prepared for such cold weather.
BAD: I was annoyed with myself for being so fool.
GOOD: I was annoyed with myself for being such a fool.
A phrase that ends with a noun ('weather', 'fool') usually begins with such (NOT so ): 'We hadn't expected such a warm welcome.' 'You're lucky to have such delightful children.'
Compare: 'Why is it always so cold in here?' 'The food was so bad that nobody could eat it.'
BAD: We were surprised by their peculiar behaviours.
GOOD: We were surprised by their peculiar behaviour.
BAD: Such a behaviour can easily cause offence.
GOOD: Such behaviour can easily cause offence.
Behaviour is an uncountable noun.
BAD: Sometimes Juan has a very strange behaviour.
GOOD: Sometimes Juan behaves very strangely.
GOOD: Sometimes Juan's behaviour is very strange.
BAD: There are very few people having such a behaviour.
GOOD: Very few people behave in such a way.
Instead of using have + behaviour , use behaviour + be or use the verb behave + adverb: 'His behaviour is atrocious.' 'He behaves atrociously.'
BAD: As mayor of this town, it gives me a great pleasure to welcome you.
GOOD: As mayor of this town, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you.
it gives sb great pleasure to do sth (WITHOUT a ): 'It gives me great pleasure to introduce today's guest speaker.'
Compare: 'It is a great pleasure for me to introduce ...'
BAD: A lot of people work for their pleasure, not because of financial obligations.
GOOD: A lot of people work for pleasure, not because of financial obligations.
do sth for pleasure (WITHOUT his/our/their etc ): 'She used to be in the national team but now she swims just for pleasure.'
BAD: It's the first time that I've had the pleasure to meet her.
GOOD: It's the first time that I've had the pleasure of meeting her.
be pleased to do sth BUT have the pleasure of doing sth : 'In Java I had the pleasure of attending a traditional wedding ceremony.'
BAD: I was just about to enter the station when someone grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me to the floor.
GOOD: I was just about to enter the station when someone grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me to the ground.
FLOOR · GROUND · GROUNDS · LAND · TERRITORY · SOIL
The floor is the surface that you walk on when you are indoors: ‘Our cat likes to sit on the floor under my desk.’ ‘It’s about time someone cleaned the kitchen floor.’
The ground is the surface that you walk on when you are outdoors: ‘The ground was covered with snow.’ ‘In the middle of the forest was a bare patch of marshy ground.’
Grounds refers to the area surrounding and belonging to a school, hospital, hotel, stately home, etc, usually enclosed by a wall or fence: ‘Parking within the hospital grounds is strictly prohibited.’
Land refers to (1) an area of ground that is owned or used by someone, or that is controlled by a particular country: ‘All the land from here to the stream belongs to the Pattersons.’‘Disagreements about land have led to many wars.’
(2) (also the land ) the part of the Earth’s surface that is not covered by water: ‘After three days at sea, I was looking forward to being on land again.’
Territory is the area that is controlled by a particular country, army or power: ‘One of the results of losing the war was that the country had to give up almost half its territory.’ ‘They had wandered by mistake into enemy territory.’
Soil is the material in which plants and trees grow: ‘This plant needs rich soil to grow well.’
BAD: The fire started at the seventh floor.
GOOD: The fire started on the seventh floor.
BAD: Room 229 was in the second floor.
GOOD: Room 229 was on the second floor.
on the ground/first/second etc floor (NOT in/at ): 'The canteen is downstairs, on the ground floor.'
BAD: The coat has a leather belt and three brown wood buttons.
GOOD: The coat has a leather belt and three brown wooden buttons.
The adjective meaning 'made of wood' is usually wooden (NOT wood ): 'Stir the mixture gently with a wooden spoon.'
BAD: I wonder if you would be so kind to send me further details and an application form.
GOOD: I wonder if you would be so kind as to send me further details and an application form.
be kind enough to do sth : 'Would you be kind enough to forward the enclosed documents to Mr Tomkin's new address?'
be so kind as to do sth : 'I wonder if you'd be so kind as to inform your colleagues of the new arrangements.'
BAD: All the people he met were very kind with him.
GOOD: All the people he met were very kind to him.
kind to a person or animal (NOT with ): 'She's always been kind to people less fortunate than herself.'
BAD: There are many kind of job for people with qualifications.
GOOD: There are many kinds of job for people with qualifications.
GOOD: I enjoy all kind of sport.
GOOD: I enjoy all kinds of sport.
Kind, sort and type are countable nouns. After many, all, these and other plural meanings, use kinds/sorts/types (WITH-s ): 'These kinds of fruit do not grow in cold climates.'
BAD: Imprisonment is not a good way of reducing this kind of crimes.
GOOD: Imprisonment is not a good way of reducing this kind of crime.
GOOD: Imprisonment is not a good way of reducing these kinds of crime/s.
kind/sort/type of + singular form: 'this kind of envelope'
kinds/sorts/types of + singular or plural form: 'these kinds of envelope/s'
Note that after kinds/sorts/types of a plural form can sometimes sound awkward and careful users generally prefer a singular form.
BAD: Switzerland produces goods with a very high quality.
GOOD: Switzerland produces goods of a very high quality.
of (a) high/low/poor quality (NOT with ): 'Japanese electrical products tend to be of much higher quality.'
BAD: If I would live in the countryside, I would be much healthier.
GOOD: If I lived in the countryside, I would be much healthier.
When you are talking about the present or the future and you imagine something that is untrue or unlikely, use the past tense ('lived') in the if clause (NOT would ): 'If I knew her address, I'd send her a postcard.' 'If I won a lot of money, I'd buy a new car.'
BAD: If you would have caught the earlier train, we could have travelled together.
GOOD: If you had caught the earlier train, we could have travelled together.
When you are talking about the past and you imagine something that is impossible, use the past perfect tense ('had caught') in the if clause (NOT would have ): 'If he hadn't got on the plane, he would still be alive.'
BAD: If you would have any more questions, I'll do my best to answer them.
GOOD: If you should have any more questions, I'll do my best to answer them.
When you are talking about the present or the future and you imagine something that is possible but unlikely, use if ... should (NOT if ... would ): 'If anyone should need me, I'll be back in half an hour.'
BAD: Manufacturers should dispense with all unnecessary wrapping.
GOOD: Manufacturers should dispense with all unnecessary packaging.
wrapping (also wrappings ) = paper or paper-like material that is put round something: 'I wanted to tear off the wrapping and see what was inside.'
packaging = the container or material that something is placed in by a manufacturer, especially to protect it or make it look attractive: 'Packaging should be biodegradable and kept to a minimum.'
Note that both wrapping and packaging are used in connection with food: 'Somewhere on the packaging/wrapping there should be a date stamp.'
BAD: Our English teacher is called Mr John.
GOOD: Our English teacher is called Mr (John) Smith.
Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms (+ first name) + surname: 'Mrs Waters', 'Mr Clive Upton'
BAD: Dear Mr,
GOOD: Dear Sir,
BAD: Dear Mr/Mrs,
GOOD: Dear Sir/Madam,
When you are writing a formal letter and you know the surname of the addressee, begin Dear Mr Smith, Dear Mrs Jones, Dear Ms Simpson etc. When you do not know the person's surname, begin Dear Sir, Dear Madam or Dear Sir/Madam .
BAD: Dear Mr Alan Jones,
GOOD: Dear Mr Jones,
Dear is followed by Mr/Mrs/Ms + surname only (NOT first name + surname): 'Dear Mrs Jackson'
BAD: We all tried to convince her to sing.
GOOD: We all tried to persuade her to sing.
convince = make someone feel completely certain that something is true: 'Somehow the party will have to convince the voters that it is capable of governing the country.' 'She failed to convince the jury of her innocence.'
persuade = make someone agree to do something (or believe that something is true): 'Her parents have persuaded her to stop seeing him.' 'Despite our efforts to persuade them, they still haven't signed the contract.'
BAD: It took me half an hour to dress the kimono.
GOOD: It took me half an hour to put on the kimono.
GET DRESSED · DRESS ONESELF · PUT ON · TAKE OFF · DRESS · DRESS UP · WEAR · HAVE ON · BE + ADV · DRESSED
Get dressed When you get dressed you put on your clothes or a different set of clothes: ‘I had a shower, got dressed and went downstairs.’ ‘I was still getting dressed for the party when the taxi arrived.’
Dress oneself Dress oneself is not common. It is mainly used when you are thinking about the special skill or ability that is required to put on clothes: ‘Sally isn’t old enough to dress herself yet.’
Put on When you put on a piece of clothing or a watch, necklace etc, you put it into position on your body: ‘Wait a minute! I haven’t put my coat on yet.’ ‘Put your gloves on or your hands will get cold.’
Take off is the opposite of put on : ‘I can’t wait to take off these new shoes.’ ‘Why don’t you take your coat off and come and sit down?’
Dress up If you dress up you put on: (1) a special costume: ‘When the children were young, George used to dress up as Father Christmas.’
(2) formal or smart clothes: ‘We won’t be going to an expensive restaurant so there’s no need to dress up.’
Wear When you wear something, it is on a part of your body: ‘Did you notice the jacket she was wearing at Alan’s party?’ ‘He always wears smart clothes.’
Have on If you have something on , you are wearing it: ‘The trousers he had on were too big for him.’ ‘You won’t get cold as long as you have a coat on.’
Be dressed in/be in If you are dressed in or are in something, you are wearing it: ‘She arrived at the theatre dressed in a long white gown.’ ‘Everyone was in their best clothes, but Alex turned up in an old T-shirt and jeans.’
Be + adverb + dressed When you are talking about someone’s appearance, you can say that they are smartly/neatly/well etc dressed ‘Make sure you’re smartly dressed for the interview.’ ‘He’s always very well dressed – smart jackets, silk ties and so on.’
BAD: I had a shower and began to dress myself.
GOOD: I had a shower and began to get dressed.
See Language Note above
BAD: At work I have to dress a dark blue suit.
GOOD: At work I have to wear a dark blue suit.
See Language Note above
BAD: You should see the children's faces when we dress ourselves as clowns.
GOOD: You should see the children's faces when we dress up as clowns.
See Language Note above
BAD: She was dressed with a white blouse and blue skirt.
GOOD: She was dressed in a white blouse and blue skirt.
BAD: Everybody was dressed with their smartest clothes.
GOOD: Everybody was (dressed) in their smartest clothes.
See Language Note above
BAD: It was twenty past four o'clock when the train arrived.
GOOD: It was twenty past four when the train arrived.
BAD: They finished their dinner at about 7.30 o'clock.
GOOD: They finished their dinner at about 7.30.
Do not use o'clock for times that include minutes or parts of an hour. Compare: 'It's four o'clock.' 'It's ten past four.'
BAD: By seven o'clock p.m. the child had been found.
GOOD: By seven p.m. the child had been found.
GOOD: By seven o'clock (in the evening) the child had been found.
Use EITHER o'clock OR a.m./p.m. (NOT both).
BAD: I start work at 9.00 o'clock.
GOOD: I start work at 9 o'clock.
Do not use o'clock after 6.00, 7.00 etc. Compare: '8 a.m.', '8.00', '8.00 a.m.', '8 o'clock'.