English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Choice of Words

Choice of words is important in effective writing because you would like to say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Appropriate words and phrases can make a great difference in the quality as well as the effectiveness of your writing.

Selecting words with the right connotation and denotation

Denotation is the precise meaning of a word; connotation is the association of a word, which can be positive, negative, or neutral.

e.g. slender with a positive connotation, suggesting “tall” and “thin”

e.g. thin with a neutral connotation

e.g. skinny with a negative connotation of being “too thin”

Using words in their right parts of speech

e.g. occupational hazard NOT occupation hazard (using noun for an adjective)

e.g. sleep well NOT sleep good (using an adjective for an adverb)

Well, not good, is generally used in a compound word to form a compound adjective:

e.g. A person who behaves well is well-behaved.

e.g. A person with good intentions is well-intentioned.

e.g. A person who speaks well is well-spoken.

BUT “a person with good looks is good-looking.” (NOT well-looking, possibly because well-looking may suggest “looking healthy”.

Using correct idioms

Idioms are accepted expressions in the English language. They add elegance to your writing. But incorrect idioms can make your writing look sloppy. The following are examples of incorrect use of idioms:

e.g. according to NOT according with

e.g. aptitude for NOT aptitude toward

e.g. capable of doing NOT capable to do

e.g. complain to NOT complain with

e.g. comply with NOT comply to

e.g. conclude by saying NOT conclude in saying

e.g. conform to or with NOT conform in

e.g. die of NOT die from

e.g. different from NOT different to or different than

e.g. every now and then NOT ever now and then

e.g. except for NOT excepting for

e.g. identical with NOT identical to

e.g. in accordance with NOT in accordance to

e.g. incapable of doing NOT incapable to do

e.g. in my opinion, NOT to my opinion

e.g. in search of NOT in search for

e.g. in sight into NOT in sight of

e.g. intend to do NOT intend on doing

e.g. in the year 2010 NOT in the year of 2010

e.g. on the whole NOT on a whole

e.g. outlook on life NOT outlook of life

e.g. plan to do NOT plan on doing

e.g. prior to NOT prior than

e.g. regardless of NOT regardless to

e.g. relate to NOT relate with

e.g. similar to NOT similar with

e.g. super to NOT superior than

e.g. try to see NOT try and see

e.g. type of NOT type of a

e.g. what to do about this NOT what to do with this

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Know Their Differences

Point of view / view

Point of view: a spot on which one stands to look at something; view: what one sees.

e.g. What would be your point of view if you were the President of the United States?

e.g. We would like to hear your views on this matter.

Dutiable / Dutiful

Dutiable: subject to imported tax; dutiful: showing respect and obedience.

e.g. Tobacco is often dutiable in most countries.

e.g. He is my dutiful son.

Loud / Loudly

Loud: an adverb referring to the note or volume of sound; loudly: an adverb referring to shouting and screaming.

e.g. You played that note too loud.

e.g. Don't talk so loud.

e.g. The protestors were shouting loudly

Altogether / All together

Altogether: completely; all together: suggesting more than one, or as a group.

e.g. The books were all together in a box, But going through all these books is altogether a waste of time.

e.g. We will work this out all together

Ineffective / Ineffectual

Ineffective: not showing any result; ineffectual: unsuccessful.

e.g. The proposition was ineffective, and, as a result, the whole project was ineffectual.

Overall / Total

Overall: describing a measurement between two extremities, from one end to the other; total: complete;

e.g.  What is the overall length of the bridge?

e.g. The project was a total success

Approve / Approve of


Cover in has the force of an adjective; covered with is used as a participle; covered by means hidden, and the word following the preposition is the agent or  cause.

e.g. My shoes are covered in snow.

e.g. The bed was covered with a beautiful blanket.

e.g. The bottle was completely covered by the box.

Approve: give consent to; approve of: think well of.

e.g.  I do not think the committee will approve your plan.

e.g. I do not approve of my daughter's marriage to that young man.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau