Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Alike vs. Like

Alike is an adjective and an adverb meaning similar, like each other or in a similar way.
Use alike after nouns. Alike is not often used before nouns.
  • Adults and children alike enjoy video games.
  • Children and adults alike celebrate halloween in United States.
Alike can also follow other kind of words.
  • No two thumb prints are exactly alike.
  • My sister and I are alike in looks, but not in personality.
Like is a preposition meaning similar to
Use like before a noun or a pronoun to talk about similarity.
like + noun/ pronoun
  • My sister talks like me.
  • His daughter looks like him.
  • he is a fantastic manager like his boss.
For like vs. as click on the link below:
Like vs. As

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hanged vs. Hung

Hanged and hung both are past participles and past tenses of the verb to hang but they are used in different contexts.

Hanged is restricted to the sense of hang that means to suspend by the neck until dead, or to put to death by hanging.
  • He was hanged for murder.
  • She hanged herself moments after the result was announced.
  • A few hours after he was hanged, the terrorist's body was buried at the central jail.
In all other senses of the word hang, hung is the preferred form as past tense and past participle.
  • They hung the picture on the wall by the door.
  • A towel hung from the the rail.
  • I hung my daughter's picture above my working desk.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Flammable, Inflammable and Nonflammable

Flammable and inflammable are synonyms. 
Both mean easily set on fire; burning easily; burnable; easily ignited and capable of burning rapidly.
  • Children toys and clothes should not be made of flammable/ inflammable material.
  • Never ignite a fire near a flammable/ inflammable substance.
  • Because gasoline is one of the most flammable/ inflammable liquids, fire is a serious threat in any vehicle service area.
Nonflammable is the antonym/ opposite of flammable.
It means not flammable; incapable of burning or not easily set on fire.
  • Carbon Dioxide is a nonflammable gas that extinguishes fire.
  • Candles should always be placed in sturdy holders made of nonflammable material.
  • It is always advisable to use nonflammable, quick bonding adhesives for bonding metals, wood and plastic materials.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Criteria vs. Criterion

Criterion means a standard on the basis of which something or someone is judged or evaluated.

Criterion is the singular form whereas Criteria is the plural form.
  • The committee identified five important criteria for their business plan. (plural form)
  • The customer feedback is the most important criterion for us. (singular form)
  • The team must satisfy all the criteria for entrance to the competition or they will be rejected. (plural form)
  • Safety should be the number one criterion when one buys a car. (singular form) 
  • Merit should be the sole criterion for judging students. (singular form)
Note: Phrases such as a criteria, single criteria, one criteria, or this criteria should be avoided. 

Canvas vs. Canvass

Canvas is a strong coarse unbleached cloth made from hemp, flax, or a similar yarn, used to make items such as sails and tents and as a surface for oil painting.
  • In modern world, canvas is the most common form of oil painting.
  • Canvas began to outdistance wood panels as the preferred medium for painters in northern Europe around the 17th century.
  • One can enlarge pictures on canvas to look like paintings.
  • The nomadic tribes dwell in large tents made of canvas or yak wool.
Canvass is to get political support from voters.  
Canvass as a verb means to examine carefully, discuss thoroughly; scrutinise; to solicit voters, orders or opinions.
  • All aspects of canvass were open to public inspection.
  • As always, Sam opted to canvass in his own society first.
  • The issues related to child labor are thoroughly canvassed in the upcoming report.
  • The local leader spent the whole month canvassing for votes.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Continual vs. Continuous

Continual and continuous are not interchangeable.

Continual means frequently repeated or recurring. It is generally used for things that happen repeatedly, often irritatingly.

  • Tired of continual interruptions, he switched off his mobile.
  • Her math teacher's continual remarks has impacted her learning process.
  • The minister received continual complaints from the public for the government's handling of the street protests.
  • A successful project is followed by continual review and embracing change.
  • I can't work with these continual interruptions.
Continuous means continuing without stopping, happening or existing without a break or interruption.
  • The power backup provides enough power for unto six hours of continuous use.
  • It was at Frogmore that the world's first machine for making continuous roll of paper was built.
  • The continuous noise from the factory nearby kept him awake all night.
  • Additional leave without pay may be requested up to a continuous period of forty eight weeks.
  • There has been continuous fighting on the border for last 24 hours.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Lose vs. Loose

Lose and loose are liable to be confused.

Lose is a verb. it means not able to find, not have anymore, not win or to mislay.
  • Susan loses her pen at least once a week.
  • Our cricket team hasn't lost a game all year.
  • Sam is always losing his car keys.
  • She always loses one sock.
Loose is an adjective. It means not tight or not fastened.
  • My new shoes are loose.
  • His pants are loose
  • He has a loose tooth.
  • He was wearing a loose shirt.
Loose can also act like a verb meaning to undo as in loose the knot of the rope or set free as in loose the pack of dogs.
  • I always lose my handkerchief (correct) --> a lost handkerchief.
  • I always loose my handkerchief (incorrect) --> handkerchief is less tight 
  • I like my hair loose and flowing (correct) --> loosened hair.
  • I like my hair lose and flowing (incorrect) --> hair loss/ lost hair
  • I feel I am going to lose my job (correct) --> not have my job anymore.
  • I feel I am going to loose my job (incorrect) --> absurd meaning. How can I set free my job or unfasten it.
Note: Loose and loosen are related but not lose. 
Loosen means to make less tight as in Emily has put on weight and so she has had to loosen her belt.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Altogether vs. All together

Altogether (pronoun+adverb) means jointly; collectively at the same place or in the same time.

Usage note: All together is used only in sentences that can be rephrased so that all and together may be separated by other words.
  • The guests arrived all together.
  • All the guests arrived together.
  • The old newspapers lay all together in a heap. 
  • All the old newspapers lay together in a heap.
  • Sam was most happy when we were all together.
  • Sam was most happy when we all were together.
Altogether (adverb) means with everything included; entirely; with all counted; all told; on the whole; completely; totally; taking everything into consideration.
  • I stopped visiting her house altogether.
  • We collected altogether $1000.
  • Altogether it was great day.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Disinterested vs. Uninterested

Disinterested means impartial; free of bias and self-interest; without a stake in; not influenced by considerations of personal advantage.
  • Sam as a banker offered his disinterested advise to his client.
  • A judge is always under an obligation to give a disinterested judgement.
Uninterested means not interested; indifferent.
  • Since she discovered skating, she is uninterested in her schoolwork.
  • Sarah was always uninterested in the gossips involving the famous stars.
Usage Note: In traditional english usage, disinterested cannot be used in the same way as uninterested. But despite critical disapproval, disinterested has come to be widely used by many educated writers to mean uninterested. Despite its resuscitation, this usage is widely considered an error.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Imply vs. Infer

Imply means to suggest; to indicate indirectly; to involve by logical necessity; to hint at.

When a speaker or sentence implies something, it means that it is conveyed or suggested without being stated outright: When the minister said that he would not rule out a tax increase, he implied (not inferred) that some taxes might be raised.
  • Shania did not actually say that there was going to be a delay but she implied it
  • The size of Sam's house implies he is doing all right.
Infer is sometimes confused with imply

Infer means to deduce; to figure out; to conclude from evidence or premises; surmise; to lead to as a consequence; to reason from circumstance.

Inference is the activity performed by a reader or a interpreter in drawing conclusions that are not explicit in what is said: When the minister said that he would not rule out a tax increase, we inferred that he had been consulting with his new advisers, since his old advisers were in favour of tax reductions.
  • I inferred from Sam's terse reply that I had offended him.
  • From the annual financial reports economists inferred the company was about to go bankrupt.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What is a Noun?

A noun is a word used as a name.

It tells about what you are talking about.

Everything around us including me and you have a name. There are names for persons, places, things, animals, qualities, actions, and measures of time or quantity. 

A noun is a word that names something.


  • Persons:         student-friend-Neol-Phil-Englishman
  • Animals:        cat-dog-rat-rabbit-lion
  • Places:           England-home-office-hotel-camp
  • Things:          laptop-purse-table-pen-book
  • Substances:   wood-air-food-water-diamond
  • Qualities:       honesty-kindness-beauty-cleanliness-simplicity
  • Actions:         reading-singing-playing-cooking-climbing
  • Measures:      year-pound-second-inch-month
Underlined words in the sentences below are nouns.
  • Diamond is an expensive metal.  (Diamond is the name of a metal. Metal is the name of a substance)
  • The student is wearing his new uniform. (Student is the name given to the person who goes to school. Uniform is the name given to the clothes a student wears.)
  • Mango grows in India. (Mango is the name of a fruit. India is the name of a country located in Asia)
  • Honesty is the best policy. (Honesty is the name given to a quality. Policy is the guiding principle) Note: Honesty is not an adjective here.  
  • Swimming is a good exercise. (Swimming is the name of an action considered as an exercise. Exercise is name of an activity that requires physical exertion) Note: Swimming is not a verb here

Noun is a word used as a name of a person, place, thing, idea, or action.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Around vs. About

Around means encircling; in such a position as to encircle or surround.
About means approximately; nearly.

Do not use around when you mean approximately.
  • The chicken weighed around four pounds. (incorrect)
  • The chicken weighed about four pounds. (correct)
  • She tied a scarf about her neck. (incorrect)
  • She tied a scarf around her neck. (correct)

Idiom: Break Bread

Meaning and usage