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Tag «常見錯誤»

Common mistake – “There have a 7-11”

Very often, I hear HK Chinese IELTS candidates say “There have”.  For example: “There have a supermarket below my place”. The correct way is “There is a supermarket below my place”. In spoken English, this often shortened to “There’s a supermarket below my place”. I guess the reason for the error is that in Chinese, …

“How to spell?” or “How do you spell it?”

Students often use the wrong grammar when asking direct “how” questions: WRONG RIGHT PRONUNCIATION Use the weak (schwa) sound Ə for “do you” and “it” How to pronounce? How do you pronounce it? HOW dƏ yƏ prƏNOUNCE Ət? click to listen How to say? How do you say it? HOW dƏ yƏ SAY Ət? click …

Have it done, or do it yourself?

A common grammar mistake made by students is to say things like: Sorry I couldn’t answer your phone call. I was doing acupuncture. (針灸) Assuming that the doctor was performing the procedure, you could say: Sorry I couldn’t answer your phone call. I was having acupuncture done. The second way means that the doctor was performing acupuncture on …

常見錯誤 Do you like dog or dogs?

If you like to eat the meat from dogs, then you like dog. If you like to play with/take care of/pat them, then you like dogs. This is the same for other animals which are countable (have a plural form), such as cats, rabbits, chickens, lambs (baby sheep), etc. For example: Whale isn’t sold in most countries because whales are an …

常見錯誤 Common mistake: a fifty dollars note

A simple but common error is to use a number and the plural form of a noun to form a compound adjective: We took a two weeks holiday. ✗ Let’s take a ten minutes break. ✗ I found a fifty dollars note. ✗ These must use the singular forms of the nouns (week, minute, dollar): We took a two-week holiday. ✓ Let’s take a ten-minute break. ✓ I found a fifty-dollar note. ✓ Note: hyphens (-) are needed.

Learn one simple rule to cover three grammar structures

By upper intermediate level, students have normally learnt the following three grammar structures involving past participle verbs (eaten, given, seen, known, taken, …): “present perfect” – e.g. I have seen that movie already. “past perfect” – e.g. Before I moved to Japan, I had studied Japanese for 2 years. “3rd conditional” – e.g. If you had told me it …

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