Continuing with my earlier article “Improve Your English Grammar – Quick Guide – Part 1”, in this article I have tried to capture some more words used interchangeably by a lot of people, but in the wrong context, albeit inadvertently.
1. A lot
A lot are two words and not a single word.
Examples of using “ a lot”
2. Weather vs Whether
“Weather” is the word used in relation to temperature, precipitation etc.
“Whether” is used to mean a condition. It introduces two alternatives.
Try replacing “whether” in your sentence with “if”. If it makes sense then use whether else, use weather.
Examples of using “whether”
Examples of using “weather”
3. Continual/ Continuous
‘Continual” indicates something continues over a period of time, with intervals of interruption. To put simply, it means start and stop.
‘Continuous” indicates duration without interruption, never ending.
‘Continual’ things come and go, like rains and arguments. It is chronic like a cough that comes and goes.
‘Continuous’ things never stop, like a circle.
Examples of using “continual”
Examples of using “continuous”
4. Lay vs Lie
“Lay” requires a direct object. It means to put or set something down, so if the subject is acting on an object. The past tense of ‘lay’ is laid.
“Lie” is defined to mean “to be, to stay or to assume rest”. Lie doesn’t require an object, so the subject is the one doing the lying. The past tense of lie is lay.
Examples of using “Lay”
In both the above examples ‘You’, the subject set down the book/pillow, the object
Examples of using “Lie”
The rocks lie near the river/ The rocks lay near the water;
5.That vs Who
Use “That” when you are talking about something/objects.
Use “Who” when you are talking about someone or a group of people.
Examples of using “That”
Examples of using “Who”
6. That vs Which
“That” should be used to introduce a restrictive clause.
“Which” should be used to introduce a non-restrictive clause. Think of it as adding more information.
A “restrictive clause” is essential to the meaning of a sentence – if its removed the meaning of the sentence will change, whereas a “non-restrictive” clause can be left out without changing the meaning of the sentence.
Examples of using “That”
Examples of using “Which”
7. Compliment vs Complement
“Compliment” is what you pay to someone or something. It’s defined as “an expression of esteem, affection, admiration etc”.
“Complement” refers to something going well with or enhancing something else. It is defined to mean “something complete”.
Examples of using “Compliment”
Examples of using “Complement”
8. Nor vs Or
“Nor” is negative.
“Or” is used to connect different possibilities.
Always use ‘nor’ with neither and ‘o’r with either.
Examples of using “Nor”
Examples of using “Or”
9. Comprise vs Compose
“Comprise” refers to what something contains. The word is used at the beginning of the sentence.
“Compose” means ‘to combine, to put something in order or to make up’. The word is used at the end of the sentence.
Examples of using “Comprise”
Examples of using “Compose”
I hope you would have find them useful. You can also look at my previous article “How To Correct Your English Grammar – Part 1” to read more of such words.
Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who’s passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.
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