Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Common Mistakes/Common Mistakes 9


Academic English Structures - Common Mistakes.







The following are examples from students’ essays. Re-write them correctly. The number in brackets indicates how many mistakes or problem areas there are.



1) The design principles of all of the shops in their branch is displayed as below: (two)
Please write your answer here:[ANSWER]

2) A best approach to doing research on internet is described in the apendix. (three) [ANSWER]


3) People can easily obtained the information through means of using the handy reference. (two)
[ANSWER]



4) I enquired many people to find out does the lubricated blade give a good shave. (three)
[ANSWER]



5) Five women said they were uncomfortable with a four inch heel on their shoe. Following two were uncomfortable with a three inch heel. Besides one was uncomfortable with a two inch heel. (two) [ANSWER]




Do you need some hints and clues (pieces of helpful information)? Then scroll down...................







[ADVERT]








Hints and clues:





1) The design principles of all the shops in their branch is displayed as below: (two)
1) There is a problem with subject / verb agreement.
Also:
There is a problem with "as below". [ANSWER]



.

2) A best approach to doing research on internet is described in the apendix. (three)

2) There is a problem before the superlative adjective ("best").
Also:
The internet is quite "specific" and "unique", so what do we need to put before it?
Also

There is a spelling mistake. [ANSWER]





3) People can easily obtained the information through means of using the handy reference. (two)
3) Modal verbs such as "can" should be followed by a naked infinitive (without "to").
Also:
There is a problem with "through means of". [ANSWER]




4) I enquired many people to find out does the lubricated blade give a good shave. (two - needs three changes)
4) "Enquire" (also spelled "inquire") is rather formal, but if you do use it, you should follow it with "of" for people or "about" for information..... or use a less formal word.
Also:
"does the lubricated blade give" is in question form, but there is no question here. [ANSWER]







5) Five women said they were uncomfortable with a four inch heel on their shoe. Following two were uncomfortable with a three inch heel. Besides one was uncomfortable with a two inch heel. (two)
5) "following" is not a linking structure.
Also:
"besides" IS a linking structure, but too informal, followed by a comma, and it is usually used to introduce something different. (Example: "I can't go on holiday in June because I'm working. Besides, I haven't got enough money").[ANSWER]






When you've rewritten the sentences, check further down the page to see if they're the same as the suggested answers..............







[ADVERT]










Answers:





1) The design principles of all the shops in their branch is displayed as below: (two)
1) The design principles of all the shops in their branch are displayed below:

Note:
The subject of the sentence is plural ("principles") so the verb ("are") agrees with it. In fact it is far more likely that the student meant to put "branches" rather than "branch" in any case.




2) A best approach to doing research on internet is described in the apendix. (three)
2) The best approach to doing research on the internet is described in the appendix.

Note:
The definite article ("the") is needed for both superlatives and things of which there is only one (see separate exercise under "general grammar exercises").



3) People can easily obtained the information through means of using the handy reference. (two)
3) People can easily obtain the information by means of using the handy reference.

Or :
People can easily obtain the information by means of (-) the handy reference.





4) I enquired many people to find out does the lubricated blade give a good shave. (two - needs three changes)
4) I enquired of many people to find out whether the lubricated blade gives a good shave.
Note:
"whether" is a very useful word when you are talking about different possibilities. For example: "I can't decide whether to go out (or not)."




5) Five women said they were uncomfortable with a four inch heel on their shoe. Following two were uncomfortable with a three inch heel. Besides one was uncomfortable with a two inch heel. (two)
5) Five women said they were uncomfortable with a four inch heel on their shoe. A further two were uncomfortable with a three inch heel, and one was uncomfortable with a two inch heel.
Note:
There are various possibilities of this type, such as: "a further two / another two / an additional two / two more". They generally have to be written word for word. That means don't change any part of it. So "other two", would be wrong.... but a common mistake!











Photo Album:






Walking
is one of my favourite hobbies, and this had been a fantastic afternoon. After visiting the ice caves we had passed over the huge rock field (piece of land) and down by the stream (small river) of melt-water. Beyond the stream the upper surface was filthy (very dirty), and the melting ice had streaked (darkened in places) the white snow walls with black mud (fine pieces of earth). It's not often I go back to places I've visited, but I look forward to returning to this fabulous spot (place) one day.





Grammar Note

The four major uses of the "gerund":

1) As a noun:

Walking is one of my favourite hobbies,...
Smoking is bad for you.

2) Following prepositions (after, through, by, before, etc.):

After visiting the ice caves....
He was knocked over, because he crossed the road without looking.

3) As an adjective:

... and the melting ice had streaked the white snow walls...
Come back to me and mend my breaking heart!

4) After certain verbs:

I look forward to returning to this fabulous spot one day.
You should avoid using the infinitive after the verb "avoid".

Note 1

"Look forward to" is a phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs end in prepositions, so, if you follow them with a second verb, it will always be in the gerund. Well, I can think of one exception, so let's say "99.999999% of the time".

Note 2

If you follow a verb with another verb it can either be in the gerund:

> I dread going to the dentist.
(dread = have a great fear of)

or the full infinitive:
> I want to kiss her cherry-red lips.

or the naked infinitive (without "to"):
> You must change your haircut!





Photo: Icefield parkway in Canada. For more information see:
www.icefield parkway.ca/






Do you get it?




Vocabulary note



unfaithful - (in this context) seeing another man who is not your husband!

Saint Peter - the gatekeeper at the gates to heaven

pearly gates - the traditional description of the gates to heaven.


pearl - small, white, valuable, round object sometimes found inside an oyster (a type of shellfish)




A man was sure his wife was being unfaithful to him, so he went home early from the late night shift. He let himself into the block of flats where they lived, went upstairs to the fourth floor and let himself in. He rushed into the bedroom and there was his wife with the bed covers pulled up to her neck and a guilty look on her face.


"I know you've had a man in here with you!" shouted the husband. "Where is he?" And with that he threw back the covers. Finding nothing, he looked under the bed and in the wardrobe. Still finding nothing, he searched the living room and was about to start looking for the woman's lover in the kitchen, when suddenly he heard a noise outside. Throwing open the window he saw a handsome young man, obviously in a hurry, trying desperately to open the door of a car directly beneath him.

"Right," shouted the angry man, "I'll have you mate!" And with that, he pulled the fridge from the wall and threw it down, right on the man's head.

A very short time later, two men arrived at the gates of heaven where Saint Peter was waiting for them.

"Tell me, my son," said Saint Peter to the first man. "How did you die?"

"It was all very sudden," the first man told him. "You see, I lived on the ground floor of a block of flats. I had got up late, so I was in a hurry because I was late for work. I was just getting into my car, when a fridge landed on my head."

"Oh, dear," said the saint. "That's very unfortunate. In you go." And with that, he opened the pearly gates, and let the man into heaven. He then turned to the second man, and said, "And you, my son - how did you meet your end?"

Well," said the second man, "I had hidden myself inside this fridge....."





Grammar note

The past perfect tense is used for the first of two actions in the past. For example: First action "I had got up", and after that "I was late". First action "I had hidden myself in a fridge", and after that, "I died!".

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