Common mistakes with phrasal verbs

by Liz Walter

Dave and Les Jacobs/Blend Images/Getty
Dave and Les Jacobs/Blend Images/Getty

Phrasal verbs are never easy, but this post will explain some very common mistakes and show you how to avoid making them.

One thing that often causes problems is using another verb after a phrasal verb. Just as with one-word verbs, you need to know the pattern of the verb that follows. Probably the most common mistakes are with phrasal verbs that need an -ing verb after them:

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

I’m looking forward to see you soon. Continue reading “Common mistakes with phrasal verbs”

Avoiding common errors with the word enough.

by Liz Walter

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

Enough is a very common word, but it is easy to make mistakes with it. You need to be careful about its position in a sentence, and the prepositions or verb patterns that come after it.

I’ll start with the position of enough in the sentence.

When we use it with a noun, it goes before the noun:

We have enough time to complete the work.

Do we have enough pens for everyone?

We have time enough to complete the work.

When we use enough with an adjective or an adverb, it goes after the adjective or adverb:

Is this coat big enough for Tom?

Can you get there quickly enough?

Is this coat enough big for Tom? Continue reading “Avoiding common errors with the word enough.”

There, their and they’re – which one should you use?

by Liz Walter

thereIf you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular newspaper, to see plentiful examples of errors with these words. This post is a brief guide to using them correctly. Continue reading “There, their and they’re – which one should you use?”

Agree with and wait for: common mistakes with verbs and their prepositions

by Liz Walter

waitSeveral readers have asked for more help with prepositions, so this post concentrates on prepositions you need to use with verbs. These often cause problems for learners, particularly because verbs with similar meanings may use different prepositions or may not need prepositions at all. For instance, we arrive at or in a place, get to a place, but simply reach a place – no wonder people get confused! (see In London but at the station: prepositions for talking about travel for a fuller discussion of prepositions connected with travel.)

Continue reading “Agree with and wait for: common mistakes with verbs and their prepositions”

Since, for and ago: talking about periods of time

by Liz Walter
since for ago
It often seems that small, common words cause the most mistakes, and I certainly hear my students making errors with words like since, for and ago. This post therefore looks at some common errors connected with talking about periods of time and explains how to avoid them.

First, let’s look at the difference between since and for. They are both used to say how long something has been happening, but while since is followed by a precise time or a date, for is followed by a length of time: Continue reading “Since, for and ago: talking about periods of time”