Monday, March 21, 2011

Correct Use of English Verbs

Correct use of English Verbs
1.         The subject of the sentence should not be left without a verb The following sentence is incorrect -:
       He who has suffered most in the cause, let him speak. Recast as shown below:
       Let him who has suffered most in the cause speak.
       [Or] He who has suffered most in the cause should speak.
A verb should agree with its subject, arid not with the comple­ment:
       What is wanted is (not are’) not large houses  but small                                     cottages.

       The details are a matter for future consideration.
    Our followers are but a handful.
2.         In a compound sentence a single verb can be made to do duty for two subjects, only when the form of the verb is such as to permit of it
       Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note. [was heard]
3.         Two auxiliaries can be used with one principal verb, only when the form of the principal verb is appropriate to both the auxilia­ries:
       I never have hurt anybody, and never will.
       No state can or will adopt this drastic measure.
But the following sentence is incorrect :
       He never has, and never will, take such strong measures.
Rewrite it as follows:
       He never has taken, and never will take, such strong measures.
4.         When there is only one auxiliary to two principal verbs, it should be such that it may be correctly associated with both:
       Ten rioters have been sentenced, and five acquitted.
But the following sentence is incorrect:
       Ten new members have been enrolled, and seven resigned.
Rewrite it as follows:
       Ten new members have been enrolled and seven have                          resigned.
5.         Carefully distinguish between the verbs lay and lie. The verb lay is transitive and is always followed by an object; the verb lie is intransitive and cannot have an object.
                     Lay the child down to sleep.
                     I laid the book on the table.
                     Let me lie here.
                     He lay under the tree.
6.         A common blunder is to leave the Participle without proper agreement or with no agreement at all:
            Sitting on the gate, a scorpion stung him.
We should therefore recast it as shown below:
            Sitting on the gat, he was stung by a scorpion. Or
            While he was sitting on the gate, a scorpion stung him.
            Now read the following sentence where the participle is left with no agreement at all:
                        Being a very hot day, I remained in my tent.
            Here the sentence contains no word to which the participle can possibly refer. We should therefore write:
                        As it was a very hot day, I remained in my tent.
7.         A present participle should not be used to express an action which is not contemporaneous with the action of the principal verb. The following sentence is therefore incorrect:
                        He flew New York on Sunday, arriving there on Monday.
            Rewrite it as follows:
                        He flew to New York on Sunday, and arrived there on   Monday.
8.         The verb make is followed by noun/pronoun + plain infinitive (= infinitive without to). Many students wrongly use it with the to infinitive.
                        She made the boy do the whole work. (not to do the whole        work)
9.         When used in the passive, make is followed by the to infinitive.
                        The boy was made to do the whole work.
10.        The following verbs are often wrongly used with the to infinitive: enjoy, avoid, miss, postpone, suggest. They should be used with the gerund.
                        He enjoys swimming. (Not: to swim)
                        She avoids meeting people. (Not: to meet)
                        We missed seeing the Prime Minister. (Not: to see)
11.        The verb tell is followed by an indirect object (me, him, her, etc.) without to:
                        Wrong:             She told she wouldn’t come.
                        Right:               She told me she wouldn’t come.
                                                She said she wouldn’t come.
            When used with a that – clause, tell takes an indirect object, while say does not.
                        Wrong:             I want that you should meet him.
                        Right:               I want you to meet him.
            The verb want should not be used with a that – clause. It is used with the to – infinitive.
            The verb suggest should be used with a that – clause. It cannot be used with the to-infinitive.
11.        The verbs discuss, describe, order and request are transitive verbs. Student often wrongly use these verbs with a preposition
                        Wrong:             We discus about the matter yesterday.
                        Right:               We discussed the matter yesterday.
                        Wrong:             He described about the scenery.
                        Right:               He described the scenery.
                        Wrong:             I have ordered for three cups of coffee.
                        Right:               I have ordered three cups of coffee.
                        Wrong:             She requested for my help.
                        Right:               She requested my help.

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