When we are writing it is very easy to get confused by 'it's' or 'its'. Here is an explanation that may help avoid confusion:
'It's' is short for 'it is' or 'it has' and this is the rule. If you can't expand 'it's' to 'it is' or 'it has' then you're using 'its' when you shouldn't and that is wrong.
It's been raining all week and now it's starting to snow. (it has – it is)
It's been a very difficult year for me. (It has)
Adjectives are words which give us more information about people, places and things.
A phrasal verb is a combination of two or more words, usually a verb and preposition, which acts as one word.
The meaning of the phrasal verb is different to the meaning of the words when separated. For example, to "get away" means to go on holiday, which is different from the meaning of the word "get"on its own.
Phrasal verbs are common in both spoken and written English, so we should practise them as often as possible.
There is often confusion over the words ‘effect’ and ‘affect’. In order to understand the difference it is important to remember that ‘effect’ is a noun whereas ‘affect’ is a verb.
Effect is a noun meaning outcome, consequence or appearance.
What effect did the economy have on your business?
Affect is a verb meaning 'to transform' or 'to change'.
Did the economy affect your business?
Two words which are often confused are can and may.
The word can is used to denote ability:
I can swim. ( I have the ability to swim)
She can play the piano. (She has the ability to play the piano)
Can he speak Japanese? (Does he have the ability to speak Japanese)
The word may is used to denote permission:
Sometimes beside and besides are confused especially with writing.
The word beside is a preposition. It means close to or next to.
Come and sit beside me.
He lives beside a Turkish take away.
There are many wonderful places to visit in Africa, this place is definitely one I would recommend.
Read the passage below and find the definitions of the words underlined from the list below.
Lesson by Jean, teacher at EC Cape Town English school
Advice and advise are normally confused. 'Advice' is a noun and it means 'a suggestion' or 'a beneficial course of action'. Advice is a non-count word so it has no plural and can't be used with the indefinite article:
Parents give good advice. NOT Parents give good advices.
He gave me a good piece of advice. NOT He gave me a good advice.
'Advise' is a verb and it means 'to give advice'
If you ask me, I'd advise you to take the job offer.
You are lucky if you have friends to advise you.
There is often confusion over the two words ‘accept’ and ‘except’. Although they sound similar the meanings are very different.
Accept is a verb that has quite a few meanings:
To believe something is true.
I accept your point and I have to agree with you there.
I accept that you may have been tired but it’s no excuse to fall asleep in front of our clients.
To receive something
I accept your invitation.
They do not accept dogs in that restaurant.
Linking words in English are words that are used to combine or link sentences, two statements presenting contrast, comparison, condition, supposition, purpose, etc. Here are some examples of some linking words.
You can take my car as long as/provided (that)/providing
you don't damage it.
(I will lend you my car on condition that you don't damage it.)