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August 11, 2016

Common Errors in English Usage with Explanations - Part 58

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  • There are many a books you can chose from. (wrong)
  • There is many a book you can chose from. (correct)
    • Explanation : 'Many a book' takes a singular verb, although it is equivalent in sense to 'many books'. This phrase is now rather old-fashioned.
  • Every Sunday evening we go to theatre. (wrong)
  • Every Sunday evening we go to the theatre. (correct)
    • Explanation : One must use the definite article before 'concert','cinema', 'circus', 'show' etc.
  • Aeroplane has conquered time and space.  (wrong)
  • The aeroplane has conquered time and space. (correct)
    • Explanation : Here 'the aeroplane' stands for the aeroplane as a category; it is a generic use. Similarly, the owl, the dog, the radio, the tape recorder, etc.stand for different groups of entities.
  • One must learn to distinguish good from bad. (wrong)
  • One must learn to distinguish the good from the bad. (correct)
    • Explanation : When adjectives are used as nouns to mean a whole class of things or persons, we must use the definite article.
  • Don't make noise. (wrong)
  • Don't make a noise. (correct)
    • Explanation : Similarly, say 'make an effort', 'make a mistake'.
  • I am certain that he is in right. (wrong)
  • I am certain that he is in the right. (correct)
    • Explanation : The correct phrases are 'in the wrong', 'in the right', 'in the negative', 'in the positive'. 
  • Is this an Oxford or Cambridge publication ? (wrong)
  • Is this an Oxford or a Cambridge publication ? (correct)
    • Explanation : This refers to two entities, one of them (Oxford) begins with a vowel and the other a consonant sound. 
  • What to speak of English, he cannot even talk in Hindustani. (wrong)
  • He cannot even talk in Hindustani, not to speak of English. (correct)
  • What to do ?(wrong)
  • What can be done ? Or, What's to be done ?  (correct)
    • Explanation : Between what and the infinite 'to do' we need a finite verb (e.g., is).  
  • The old widower could not make his both ends meet. (wrong)
  • The old widower could not make both ends meet.  (correct)
    • Explanation : No insertion is permitted in a frozen idiom.
  • I enquired of his health.  (wrong)
  • I enquired about (or after) his health.  (correct)
    • Explanation : We enquire about something or of someone. To enquire after means to ask about someone's health or wellbeing.
Shared by Bhargav Gupta Yechuri
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