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Words and word forms (Basic)

English

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Frequently confused words

There are many words in the English language that may be confused with other words because they have similar spellings and/or meanings. For example: 
accept, except 
advice, advise
then, than
bear, bare

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Incorrectly Used Words

Many words have similar spellings and are therefore used incorrectly. Care must be taken to ensure the right spelling of the word is used and that the word fits the context in which it is used in the text.
For example: 
He holds no delusions to the past. -incorrect
He holds no allusions to the past. -correct

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Begin vs Start

Both 'begin' and 'start' indicate the initial or commencing point of something. However, they are not entirely interchangeable.
 'Begin' is more formal than 'start'. When we talk about machines or the opening of a new business, we use 'start', not 'begin'.
In general, we use 'start' (but not 'begin') when we wish to denote the setting out from a particular point after inaction, while 'begin' is used to show that it is the first step in doing something or coming into existence. 

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All vs Both

We use 'both' to refer to two things or people together. 'All' is used to refer to every individual or member of a group, with no exceptions.
For example:
All the children left early. 
Both the children left early.  

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Complete the sentence with the correct word

It is important to identify which word best fits the sentence.
For example, in the given sentence:
I _____ her to visit me. (insisted, requested)
Here, 'insisted' should have been followed by 'that'. Hence, the right word that fits the sentence is 'requested'.    

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Abbreviations and their Types

Abbreviations are words that are shortened.
There are three ways of abbreviating words:
1) Abbreviations can be formed from the first letters of the word or phrase. In such cases, we normally say them by spelling out each letter:
  • Personal Computer = PC
  • World Health Organization = WHO
2) For some written abbreviations, individual letters or sounds from the word are used, although the word is always said in full:
  • Doctor = Dr 
  • Mister = Mr
3) Abbreviations are also formed by omitting one or more syllables from a word. This is sometimes called clipping because we keep the beginning of the word and clip the rest of the word.
  • Examination = Exam
  • Photograph = photo
Here's a cool fact, we can make our own abbreviations, but everyone may not be able to understand them. 
For example, I can abbreviate a name: John Dwayne to JD.

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"It's time" Expressions

We can use the expression its time + subject + past verb form to refer to the present moment. To understand this let us look at:

Example 1

"Gosh! Its almost midnight. Its time we went home."


'Its time' with a verb in the to-infinitive form can refer to the speaker and the listener together.

Example 2

"Come on. It's time to start packing. We have to leave in two hours." (or "It's time we started packing.")

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Usage of Different Word Forms

Words often take different forms such as nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Let's take a look at the given sentences:
Example 1: "Respect your parents and teachers." (respect - verb)
Example 2: "Be respectful to your parents and teachers." (respectful - adjective)
Example 3: "Show respect to your parents and teachers." (respect - noun)

We have used different forms of the word 'respect'. You can see that with the addition of the suffix -ful, the noun (respect) changes to an adjective. Depending on the role the word plays in the sentence, we can classify it into the different parts of speech.