He, not I, am or is …subject-verb agreement


When two subjects are contrasted in a sentence, the verb agrees with the affirmative subject:

He, not I, am responsible for this terrible mess.        

He, not I, is responsible for this terrible mess.           


She, not you, always complain about the stench coming from the drains.  

She, not you, always complains about the stench coming from the drains. 


They, not he, was first to report on the scandal.                   

They, not he, were first to report on the scandal.                  


I, not he, has suffered the most since mother’s death.         

I, not he, have suffered the most since mother’s death.      

Begin vs. Start


Begin and start both refer to the beginning of an action which is going to be performed. Begin is an irregular verb (Present begin, Past began & Participle begun) whereas start is regular and has its past and participle started.


Most etymologists and grammar books suggest that begin and start are interchangeable and there is no real difference in meaning and it all depends on the context where one word may differ with other. However, if we exhaustively analyse both words, there are some striking differences between them – one form (or the other) can be used in some particular situations.


To make life easier, we must affirm that in some particular situations, one specific word is to be used.


Begin: shows that the subject is carrying out the first or earliest part of an action which will be going on for a while. Begin is followed by a noun, a verb in the –ing form or a verb in the infinitive. In formal writing, begin is more desirable than start:


In the latest India New Zealand match, India had just begun playing their match when rain god played spoilsport.


Notice that with begin, the action is very often quite formal:

The President has begun to congratulate the winning teams.


Start: less formal than begin. Start is also followed by a noun, a verb + ing, or an infinitive, in the same conditions as begin. Start is also used in some particular ways – to come into movement, into being in operation, for a machine:


Can you start the generator while I start cleaning the stable?

Jeff Bezos started his company Amazon from his own garage.

He started his consulting business in 1980, after working in the Capital Development Office of the Department of Commerce.


Be careful! After an -ing form, do not use begin/ start+ a second verb in the -ing form.  Instead, use the infinitive form.


Frank is beginning driving very quickly and well now.          

Frank is beginning to drive very quickly and well now.         


Some more examples:

When did she begin/start learning French?

The matinee show didn’t begin/start until 2 pm.


Jane is having trouble beginning the printer.                                     

Jane is having trouble starting the printer (means it doesn’t work)   


They began their family business, a mining company, and it’s been going really well.   

They started their family business, a mining company, and it’s been going really well.  

Brothers should live in harmony. They should never fall …..


(A) off

(B) out

(C) apart

(D) away


Fall out: ‘have an argument, to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them’:

After a long standoff, Emily had fallen out with her family.

Sales of these products have fallen off in recent months.


Fall off: ‘to become detached and drop to the ground, to drop unintentionally to the ground from (a high object, bicycle, etc), especially after losing one’s balance’:

The plaster of his bedroom has now come away from the wall and fallen off.

The handle of my suitcase just fell off suddenly.


Fall apart: ‘break up, come apart, or disintegrate’:

Their marriage was likely to fall apart when she discovered his husband had been seeing another woman.

These shoes weren’t the best quality and fell apart very easily.


To break owing to long use or poor construction:

Don’t push the door forcefully, the latch may come apart.

The chassis of the old car is falling apart.


To become disorganized and ineffective:

Since you have no intention to continue, this project will finally fall apart.


Go to pieces:

The dryer finally broke. The old bed finally fell apart completely.


Fall away: ‘fall away(in sport) play less well’:

When he got out, the whole team fell away.

By early in the second half the whole team was exhausted and fell away.

Ans: (B) Out.


Adverbs, Types of Adverbs, Rules of Adverbs, Adjective or Adverb? Spot the Error


What is an Adverb?

An adverb is a word that modifies or describes a verb (they played nicely), an adjective (very good), another adverb (treat so badly), or even a whole sentence (Unfortunately, they lost the game). Adverbs often end in -ly, but some appear to be exactly the same as the adjectives. Here are some examples of adverbs (in bold):

  • Emily sang beautifully.
  • The match ended too
  • Fortunately, we made it to the meeting in time.
  • They will seriously consider his proposal.
  • Darren sings loudly in the bathroom.
  • The dog impatiently waited for his food.

The adverbs in each of the sentences above answer the question in what manner? How did Emily sing? Beautifully. How did the match end? Too quickly. How did we make it to the meeting? Fortunately in time. Adverbs can also tell us when (They arrived early) and where (Turn right).

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs provide a description of a verb in a sentence. There are five basic types of adverbs in the English language, namely:  Adverb of Time, Adverb of Place, Adverb of Manner, Adverb of Frequency and Adverb of Degree.

Here is a brief explanation of each of the adverbs, along with examples:

Adverbs of Time

An adverb of time gives information about when a verb takes place. They are placed usually at the beginning or end of a sentence. We put it at the beginning of a sentence when we want to emphasise to express the moment something happened. Examples of adverbs of time: Never, lately, just, always, recently, during, yet, soon, sometimes, usually, so far, etc.

  • So far, we have not found any ambiguities in his statement.
  • She hasn’t been walking her dog lately.
  • They have recently bought a new car.

Adverbs of Place

An Adverb of place shows where the verb is happening. It’s usually placed after the main verb or object, or at the end of the sentence. Examples of adverbs of place are:

Here, there, nowhere, everywhere, out, in, above, below, inside, outside, into, etc.

  • She went to the zoo, and saw the animals everywhere!
  • He lost his way and didn’t know where he was heading.
  • We can’t get these CDs at this store, let’s look somewhere else.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner are used to express the way or how something is done. An adverb can be added to a verb to modify its meaning. “He plays football.” – An adverb of manner can be added to the verb (play) to modify its meaning and give us more information on how he plays football.

He plays football superbly. He plays football beautifully. He plays football badly.

Notice that most of adverbs of manner end in –ly. Examples of them are:

Neatly, slowly, quickly, sadly, calmly, politely, loudly, kindly, lazily, etc.

  • Joe gathered his toys and put them in the filing cabinet.
  • He politely opened the door for us as we entered their house.
  • Their pet dog rested lazily on the garden sofa.

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree express the level or intensity of a verb, adjective, or even another adverb.

Example of adverbs of degree include: almost, quite, nearly, too, enough, just, hardly, simply, so, etc.

  • Can I accompany you to the movies, too?
  • Is she in a hurry? She is leaving so quickly.
  • He’s so excited to join his new employer.

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency are used to show routine or repeated activities; hence they are often used with the present simple tense. If a sentence has only one verb, place the adverb of frequency in the middle of the sentence so that it is positioned after the subject but before the verb. Examples of adverbs of frequency are:

Never, always, rarely, sometimes, normally, seldom, usually, again, etc.

  • He rarely goes to movies these days.
  • Wilson usually goes for a walk after dinner.
  • He has always been partying all night on weekends.

Rules of Adverbs

The following rules for using adverb can be very useful for finding errors in a sentence.

Rule 1

To form an adverb, -ly can be added to its adjective form. Some examples are:

She sings sweet/ sweetly. How does she sing? Sweetly.

Mr. Wilson is a slow/ slowly walker. Slow is an adjective describing walker, so no -ly is attached.

She runs fast/fastly. Fast answers the question how, so it is an adverb. But fast never has -ly attached to it. He performed bad/badly in the exams. Badly describes how he performed, so -ly is added.

Rule 2

No -ly is attached with linking verbs such as taste, smell, look, feel, which pertain to the senses. Adverbs are often misplaced in such sentences, which require adjectives instead. Examples:

Mangoes smell sweet/sweetly.

Do the mangoes actively smell with noses? No! in this case, smell is a linking verb—which requires an adjective to modify mangoes — hence, ‘sweet’.

Mother looked angry/angrily. Since we are describing mother’s appearance (she appeared angry), not angrily.

Mother looked angry/angrily at Sarah.

Here, mother actively looked (used her eyes), so angrily is correct.

They feel bad/badly about the incident. (‘Bad’ is correct as they are not feeling in a physical manner)

Rule 3

Good’ is an adjective, whose adverb equivalent is ‘well’.

He’s done a good job. (Good describes the job)

He’s done the job well. (Well answers how)

A ripe mango smells sweet. (Not sweetly)

Rule 4

Good and well while referring to health

Pamela looks good today. (What type of person is she?)

Pamela looks well today. (How is Pamela? – She may have been ill, but now she is fit again.)

Grandpa does not look well today. Grandma doesn’t feel well, either.

Rule 5

In formal usage, do not drop the -ly from an adverb when using the comparative form.

He went away quicker than she did.          

He went away more quickly than she did.  

Speak quieter, please!               

Speak more quietly, please!       

Rule 6

Adverb ‘too much’ is used with nouns and adverb ‘much too’ with adjective:

His injuries give him too much pain. (Here pain is a noun)

He is much too vindictive.  (Here vindictive is adjective)

Rule 7

Adverb ‘fairly’ is usually used with positive sense while ‘rather’ with negative or unfavourable sense:

Emily is fairly tall.

This is rather tedious maths problem.

Rule 8

Enough’ should be preceded by an adjective

Jack is now enough strong to lift this box.   

Jack is now strong enough to lift this box.   

Joe is enough intelligent to qualify this interview.   

Joe is intelligent enough to qualify this interview.   

Rule 9

Adverb ‘very’ is used in positive degree; ‘much’ is used in comparative degree

Joe is very intelligent.

Aeroplanes are much faster than trains.

Rule 10

Late’ shows period of time and ‘lately’ shows recently.

She always comes lately.        

She always comes late.         

Sharon late had picked a quarrel with her friend.       

Sharon lately had picked a quarrel with her friend.   

Rule 11:

If the sentence begins with hardly, never, seldom, scarcely, rarely, no sooner etc. then the verb is in inverted form.

No sooner they had reached the cinema than the movie started.   

No sooner had they reached the cinema than the movies started.   

Hardly she helps with household chores.         

Hardly does she help with household chores.    


Elementary Exercises


  1. The novel is __________ interesting. (quite/ too)
  2. She __________ goes out. (rare/ rarely )
  3. I would like to go to cinema_________, if you will let me come. (too/ also)
  4. He _____________ has dinner at 9, then he goes for a walk. (usual/ usually)
  5. He has __________ been to Switzerland in his life. (not/ never)
  6. My colleagues in office are ____________ Chinese. (mostly/ most)
  7. Father was __________ impressed with Joe’s performance in the exam. (very/ too)
  8. I ______________ watch Hollywood films. (occasionally/ occasion)
  9. I live___________ to the City Centre. (closely/ close)
  10. Although they don’t have very much themselves, they ___________share with those who are in need. (Cheerful/ cheerfully)
  11. Emily drove so fast that she was __________ injured. (bad/ badly)
  12. Father is __________ upset about crashing his car. (terrible/ terribly)
  13. She speaks so __________; I can’t make it out. (fast/ fastly)
  14. Don’t speak so __________. I can’t hear you. (quiet/ quietly)
  15. Sharon looks __________. What’s the matter with her? (sad/ sadly)


Answers Elementary Exercises


  1. Quite and very are used in affirmative while too is used when something is in excess, such as temperature, difficulty, etc.; for example, “too hot“, “too challenging“, or “too soft“.
  2. Rarely is an adverb while rare is an adjective.
  3. Too is used at the end of the statement.
  4. Usually
  5. Never
  6. Mostly
  7. Very
  8. Occasionally
  9. Close
  10. Cheerfully
  11. Badly
  12. Terribly
  13. Fast
  14. Quietly
  15. Sad


Comprehensive Advanced Exercises I


Read the sentence to find out whether there is any error in it. The error, if any, will be in one part of the sentence. The number of that part is the answer. If there is no error, the answer is (e). Ignore errors of punctuation, if any.


  1. The teacher scarcely went out (a)/ than (b)/ she started talking. (c)/ No error (d)
  2. Not only (a)/ she bought the groceries from market, (b)/ but also did the usual household chores. (c)/ No error (d)
  3. Scarcely (a)/ he left the meeting (b)/ before (c)/ there were murmurs of dissent from his colleagues. /No error (d)
  4. He has failed (a)/ in the exams. (b)/ He has not worked very hard lately. (c)/ No error (d)
  5. What’s wrong (a)/ with this take-away meal? (b)/ It looks well to me. (c)/ No error (d)
  6. The kitchen floor (a)/ was so dirty. (b)/ The maid wiped it cleanly. (c)/ No error (d)
  7. Mother grew calmly (a)/ after she heard (b)/ the good news. (c)/ No error (d)
  8. Even after (a)/ three months of lessons, (b)/ Tom drives the car bad. (c)/ No error (d)
  9. She careless (a)/ put the vase on the table. (b)/ It fell to the floor. (c)/ No error (d)
  10. Sharon is going (a)/ to throw a party on Saturday. (b)/ She has final got a job. (c)/ No error (d)
  11. She’s always in a hurry. (a)/ I can’t understand (b)/ why she walks so quick. (c)/ No error (d)
  12. She prefers (a)/ praying (b)/ in a lone place. (c)/ It’s always quiet. /No error (d)
  13. Jack half-hearted (a)/ took the assistant job. (b)/ He had been looking for a higher position (c)/ all these days. /No error (d)
  14. Sharon danced beautiful. (a)/ She’s been taking Scottish dance classes (b)/ since she was eleven. (c)/ No error (d)
  15. She speaks French (a)/ very good. (b)/ She has lived in France (c)/ for ten years. /No error (d)
  16. Emily always plays (a)/ loudly music on weekends. (b)/ It’s so annoying. (c)/ No error (d)
  17. Please walk in the hallway (a)/ careful. (b)/ The walls have just been painted. (c)/ No error (d)
  18. Harris is very smart, (a)/ but (b)/ he is not very well at studies. (c)/ No error (d)
  19. He reacted angry (a)/ to the news of his detention. (b)/ I had never seen him so upset. (c)/ No error (d)
  20. He didn’t complete understand (a)/ the teacher’s instructions; (b)/ though most of them finished their assignments. (c) /No error (d)


Answers Comprehensive Advanced Exercises I


  1. (b) Replace ‘than’ with ‘before’.
  2. (b) There should be inversion with negative verbs; hence not only did she buy
  3. (b) Scarcely did he leave the meeting before….inversion of verb.
  4. (c) Replace ‘very’ with ‘too’.
  5. (c) Replace ‘well’ with ‘fine’.
  6. (c) Replace ‘cleanly’ with ‘clean’.
  7. (a) Replace ‘calmly’ with ‘calm’.
  8. (c) Replace ‘bad’ with ‘badly’.
  9. (a) Replace adjective ‘careless’ with the adverb ‘carelessly’.
  10. (c) Replace ‘final’ with ‘finally’.
  11. (c) Replace ‘quick’ with ‘quickly’.
  12. (c) Replace ‘lone’ with ‘lonely’.
  13. (a) Replace ‘half-hearted’ with ‘half-heartedly’.
  14. (a) Replace ‘beautiful’ with ‘beautifully’.
  15. (b) Replace ‘good’ with ‘well’.
  16. (b) Replace ‘loudly’ with ‘loud’.
  17. (b) Replace ‘careful’ with ‘carefully’.
  18. (c) Replace ‘well’ with ‘good’.
  19. (a) Replace ‘angry’ with ‘angrily’.
  20. (a) Replace ‘complete’ with ‘completely’.


Comprehensive Advanced Exercises II


  1. Moose doesn’t know (a)/ even (b)/ basic calculations; (c)/ he is extreme stupid. (d)/ No error (e)
  2. This egg (a)/ has become (b)/ stale; (c)/ it tastes awfully. (d)/ No error (e)
  3. That iron rod (a)/ is too hot. (b)/ You have to be carefully (c)/ with it. (d)/ No error (e)
  4. She comes often (a)/ to Canada (b)/ and (c)/ meets my family. (d)/ No error (e)
  5. It was much cold (a)/ today (b)/ and we put some more wood (c)/ on the fire. (d)/ No error (e)
  6. She has not seldom (a)/ drunk coffee (b)/ since (c)/ she left Switzerland. (d)/ No error (e)
  7. Although (a)/ he was (b)/ in Egypt last month, (c)/ he never saw the Giza Pyramids. (d)/ No error (e)
  8. He struggled (a)/ manly (b)/ with some of the worst (c)/ situations in life. (d)/ No error (e)
  9. He didn’t know hardly (a)/ anyone (b)/ in the city (c)/ and so felt insecure. (d)/ No error (e)
  10. I never remember (a)/ to have met (b)/ such a slow and dumb man (c)/ in my life. (d)/ No error (e)
  11. He eats his breakfast (a)/ very quicker (b)/ than his sister (c)/ does. (d)/ No error (e)
  12. He told his employer (a)/ as blunt as he could (b)/ but (c)/ he seemed the least convinced. (d)/ No error (e)
  13. They have no time (a)/ to play volleyball (b)/ and no desire (c)/ neither. (d)/ No error (e)
  14. The grandmother feels well (a)/ now (b)/ because she soundly slept (c)/ last night. (d)/ No error (e)
  15. Have you got distinction (a)/ in Physics? (b)/ Yes, (c)/ I haven’t. (d)/ No error (e)
  16. What to talk of (a)/ getting good grades, (b)/ he didn’t qualify (c)/ even the exam. (d)/ No error (e)
  17. Never in the history of America, (a)/ there has been (b)/ as good a statesman (c)/ as George Washington. (d)/ No error (e)
  18. Yes, Jack has acted nobler (a)/ than most of his classmates (b)/ and you have no choice (c)/ but to accept him. (d)/ No error (e)
  19. He is being paid (a)/ handsome salary (b)/ and he’s earning (c)/ fifty thousand dollars monthly. (d)/ No error (e)
  20. The beggar on the pavement (a)/ had barely nothing (b)/ to cover (c)/ when we met him a while ago. (d)/ No error (e)

Answers Comprehensive Advanced Exercises II


  1. (d) Extremely
  2. (d) Awful
  3. (c) Careful
  4. (a) Put ‘often’ before ‘comes’.
  5. (a) Replace ‘much’ with ‘very’.
  6. (a) Remove ‘not’ before ‘seldom’.
  7. (d) Replace ‘never saw’ with ‘didn’t see’.
  8. (b) Replace ‘manly’ with ‘manfully’.
  9. (a) Replace ‘didn’t know’ with ‘knew’.
  10. (a) Replace ‘never remember’ with ‘don’t remember’.
  11. (b) Replace ‘very quicker’ with ‘more quickly’.
  12. (b) Replace ‘blunt’ with ‘bluntly’.
  13. (d) Replace ‘neither’ with ‘either’.
  14. (c) Change ‘soundly slept’ to ‘slept soundly’.
  15. (c) Replace ‘yes’ with ‘no’.
  16. (a) Replace ‘what’ with ‘not’.
  17. (b) Invert the sentence as ‘has there been’.
  18. (a) Replace ‘nobler’ with ‘more nobly’.
  19. (d) Replace ‘monthly’ with ‘a month’.
  20. (b) Replace ‘nothing’ with ‘anything’.






Underneath vs. Beneath vs. Under vs. Below


Underneath, beneath, under and below’ are all similar in meaning and can mean ‘in a lower place or position; covered by something else.’ The difference between them is very subtle. So, it would be helpful to know what each word signifies:

Underneath = below the surface of; directly beneath; situated below or under something else; lower. We can prefer ‘underneath’ to ‘under’ to explain the location of something with a little more emphasis. ‘Underneath’ is also a little bit more emotional and exciting than ‘under’:

He wore khaki underwear underneath his pants.

Where did you find your keys? What? Underneath the doormat!


More examples:

His flat is right underneath mine.

There’s another pair of sandals underneath the cot.

This metrorail goes right underneath the city.

The enforcement agencies checked his car underneath with vehicle inspection mirror.

When Jane was about to reveal a secret, Jack gave her a soft kick underneath the table.

When father came inside, Jack hid himself underneath the pool table.

In exams, she used to pass notes with friends underneath the table.

When Janet came from work, she found the invitation card underneath the matting.

Underneath that shy air, Sarah is a warm and open young woman.

She’s got to appear calm in front of the magistrate even if she’s terrified underneath.


Beneath = underneath so as to be hidden, covered, or protected; at a lower level or layer than; lower in grade or rank than. ‘Beneath’ is more formal than ‘under’ and is common in formal writing. We don’t use ‘beneath’ often in spoken English; in informal speaking, ‘under’ and ‘below’ are much more common:

He’s been smuggling cigarettes hidden beneath his jacket into the country. 

Her teeth were chattering, and she lay back beneath her blankets.

There was a hidden locker beneath the fireplace, but it was capable of being seen by any detective agency.

He’s so self-centred that he acts like everybody else is beneath him.

Beneath is more common when we talk about the ground or surface directly under the feet:

They could feel the tremor because the ground beneath their feet was moving.


More examples:

She went beneath the covers trying to get warm.

People who talk of gender equality often consider women as beneath them.

He was isolated and made to do demeaning tasks well beneath his abilities.

He accepted every assignment that came his way, never considering any job to be beneath him.

He refused to work for her as he found the offer to be beneath his status.

To raise a family and make a living, he accepted even lowpaying jobs he would consider beneath him at home.

When we talk about someone’s actions or decisions, we use ‘beneath’ to refer to the true emotions that a person is hiding:

Beneath his rugged exterior there was a soft-hearted and loving father.

 Be careful! Beneath is not used with numbers:

They bought this old car for just beneath 2000 dollars.         

They bought this old car for just under 2000 dollars.             


Under = below (something covering or protecting); we use under to say that one thing is at a lower level than another, and that the other thing is directly above it. In most situations, we can prefer under to any of them. So, under is the default choice. If you are ever unsure which one to use, choose under.

Notice that when it comes to making a choice between below and under, under is more frequently used to refer to three-dimensional objects:

The cat hid under the bed.

The doctor put the thermometer under my tongue.

He stood under a tree (= below its branches) to take shelter from the hot sun.

He put the one dollar bill under the plate and turned around to find the waiter in his face.

Mr. Wilson held an umbrella under his arm (= between his upper arm and the side of his body).

On hearing the news about avalanche on television, Jane jumped out from under the covers.

Janet scrubbed a bowl and dunked it under the hot water.

More examples:

Emily was under the covers now to protect herself from the bitterly cold.

The beggar jumped out from under the covers and grabbed the coins thrown at by a passer-by.

Sharon had hidden the phone under her pillow.

Jane put her signature to the agreement under her picture.

Wow! There’s something sparkling under the water.

She was wearing a white tank top under her coat.

Under his arm, he carried a blue umbrella.

The wooden overbridge collapsed under the weight of the swelling crowd.

The school will be under new administration starting in April.


Below = at a lower level or layer than; lower in grade or rank than; extending underneath. We normally use it to refer to one thing being at a much lower level than another. We prefer below to under to say the level of something on a flat plane. For example, if we’re talking about two articles that hang on a wall, we can say that one is below the other. We normally use below for things of a similar grouping:

She hung the silver artefact below the gold one.

Having read the document carefully, he signed below the dotted line.

We can also refer below to identify someone of a lower rank or with less power than someone else:

UK ranks below Jamaica, Latvia and Ghana for press freedom – global study

Like beneath, below can refer to people or things that are not worthy in some way or of a lower social ranking:

Though she is in love with Freddie, she doesn’t seem to be marrying below her family.

More examples:

No one under the age of eighteen years shall be permitted to vote in any election in the US. (To refer to age)

Temperatures in Alberta’s Columbia Icefields fell to 10 below zero last week.

She lives in the apartment below mine. (in or to a lower position especially in the same building, hill, part of the body etc.)

He filled out his son’s admission form and signed it below the dotted line.

Finally vs. At last vs. Lastly vs. In the end


Finally, at last, lastly and in the end all these adverbs denote ‘after a period of time’. However, we use them in different ways. There can be subtle differences, in certain contexts where one sounds better than another. A lot depends on the context.



Finally = we use finally to refer to something that happened after a long time or after considerable delay and usually after some difficulties. In this context, finally normally appears in the mid position for adverbs, between the subject and the main verb, after the modal verb or the first auxiliary verb, or after be as the main verb:

She got caught in the rain and finally got home at midnight.

We finally found a decent playschool nearby for Emma.

After three unsuccessful attempts, she finally passed her learner’s test.

After the usual hiccups that come with any business, the new project finally took off.


More examples:

So Sarah and Frank finally got married, did they?

The project has finally been approved by the president.

He finally apologized, but didn’t seem to be very graceful about it.

After months of working, the overbridge has finally been built.

And finally, I’d like to thank you all for your support and cooperation.


We also use finally when we talk about the last in a series of actions:

He zigzagged along the road, had a brush with a couple of cars and finally bumped into a lorry.

After a lot of interrogation, Freddie gave in to the pressure and finally admitted he had stolen the car.



At last = we use at last when something good happens after we have waited for it for a long time:

Sharon has finished her thesis at last!

Jane has at last come round to the idea of going by train.


More examples:

They have at last sanctioned the leave for the number of days I applied for.

I’m really happy that Kim has made it to the ‘The X Factor’ at last.

At long last the headmaster is starting to listen to students’ problems.

At last I’ve discovered how to connect my cellphone to television!

They have won the match at last! There were so many refereeing mistakes.

At last the operator connected me to the power company who had put me on hold for 15 minutes.

The authorities have at last given him permission to see his son only once but not allowed to talk to him.



Lastly = we use lastly to refer to an event that is the final one in a series. We also use lastly when the events are not similar that we are talking about:

We need soaps, towels, toothbrushes, talcum powder and, lastly, we mustn’t forget pain relievers for grandma.


We also put lastly at the beginning of a clause:

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for the interest that you have shown in this endeavour.

Lastly, Mr. President, I would like to ask you about your future plans on immigration.

Lastly, could I ask you all to keep away from strangers in this village.

Now lastly, before you go to appear for the final test, I want to mention some tips for sure success.

Lastly, the course helps students think logically.

Firstly it’s too fragile, secondly it’s rather overpriced, and lastly we don’t have a place to put it.


The difference between last and lastly is – for example, if we say ‘Emma gave the apple candy to Liam last’, we usually mean that Emma had given apple candy to several kids and that Liam was the last to get it. If we say ‘Lastly Emma gave the apple candy to Liam’, we mean that Emma had done several things and that the last thing she did was to give apple candy to Liam.



In the end = eventually; ultimately; we use in the end to refer to a conclusion after a long process, after a lot of changes or after a lot of discussions:

Sarah did the cleaning, then cooking, and in the end the washing-up and laundry.

And then, in the end, after weeks of deliberations they proposed a variety of other immigration security measures.


More examples:

In the end, we decided that the best thing to do was to take an alternative flight with another airline to Edinburgh.

In this typical love story, everything will turn out well in the end.

The Wilsons were planning to go to Austria, but in the end they decided to go to Birmingham.

But in the end, this turned out to be a tragedy with the protagonist ending up in jail.

She broke up with him and the stress of life as a single mother in the end pushed her to the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Due to vs. Owing to


Due to = caused by or ascribable to; because of; owing to.

Owing to = because of or on account of.


We use the expressions ‘due to’ and ‘owing to’ by presenting the reason for something. Both ‘due to’ and ‘owing to’ are adverbial.


Many modern English writers have widely used ‘due to’ as a compound preposition like ‘owing to,’ but some insist that due should be used only as an adjective. So, according to their view, it is wrong to say ‘the train was delayed due to bad weather, but acceptable to say ‘the delay of the train was due to bad weather,’ where due continues to act as an adjective modifying delay.


Anyway, now ‘due to’ is being accepted as a full-fledged preposition. Most grammar experts agree that English speakers can get along just fine by using both these expressions interchangeably. And there’s no point in making distinction between them.


Some people also say that we should not begin a sentence with ‘due to’ (= caused by) because there is no sense in that construction. But this notion has also not been authenticated and even educated native speakers of English have begun their sentences with ‘due to:’

Due to computer problems, the checks will be late. (Cambridge dictionary)


Simply put, use ‘due to’ when you can interchange it with ‘caused by:’ the accident seems to occur due to driver’s negligence. And use ‘owing to’ when you can interchange it with ‘because of:’ the school is out owing to (not due to) the headmaster’s illness.



His death was due to excessive drinking.                          

His death was owing to excessive drinking.             

His good grades were owing to hard work.               

His success in business was due to the fortune his father left for him.       

His success in business was owing to the fortune his father left for him.    


More examples:

The show was cancelled due to bad weather.

Her loneliness, stress, and anxiety were due to isolation.

The project could not be started due to lack of funds.

The delay in arrival of ambulance was due to heavy traffic on highways.

The government stepped in when news came that the project was under threat due to apathy by the local administration.

He felt grumpy and foggy in the morning due to lack of sleep.

Jack went to great pains to prove that the accident was due to the negligence of the driver.

The population bomb is ticking in this country due in large part to immigration by poor countries.

The minister admitted that overall inflation had been higher than expected, due mainly to

rising fuel prices.


‘Owing to’ is rather more often used in British English.


Owing to bad weather, the train has been cancelled.

He avoided speaking to people at the annual reunion owing to a stammer.

There was an interruption in her studies owing to her mother’s death.

The show, being a political satire, has been suspended indefinitely owing to political reasons.

The whole project had been put on hold owing to difficult market conditions at that time.

The prices of white goods decreased owing to reduced demand in the market.

Some of the railway coaches yesterday night, owing to engine trouble, got derailed near Richmond station.

Owing to an accident on route number 11, there could be higher levels of traffic than usual.

We couldn’t catch the 5.30 train owing to the heavy traffic on way to the station.

Misinformation vs. Disinformation


Misinformation = False or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.


Disinformation = False information which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media.


Both misinformation and disinformation denote the information that is incorrect or misleading. Misinformation is unintentionally false whereas disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate which is spread deliberately. Disinformation much more strongly suggests that the information is made so and spread in order to deceive people.


So, misinformation is the wrong information, or the fact that can be given negligently, or carelessly:


There’s so much misinformation about the polio vaccine in the village that health workers were driven away at first sight.

You’d better have your facts straight as they are based on misinformation.

The minister said that most of his rival’s information and propaganda is based on misinformation.

Anybody spreading misinformation and making insulting and derogatory remarks about any group will be barred from joining the club.

It is a sad thing you have allowed your competitors coming out on false pricing comparisons and now you are struggling to fight back this misinformation.

Though it could have been deliberate misinformation, the investigating agencies don’t want to take chances.


Disinformation, on the other hand, is spread with an act of deception and based on falsehood. For example – If a government presented its unemployment data with wrong information because the numbers were embarrassing, that would be disinformation. Disinformation is often exaggerated and is wartime propaganda reported by media:


Ahead of the election, there was so much malicious and continuous disinformation given by media to the people.

They have ruled the state all through these years with their sneaky methods, disinformation and manipulation of laws.

The whole report is full of misinformation, disinformation, and based on just plain lies.

A campaign of disinformation had been under way prior to the German invasion.

During a war, both sides brag about their military might and spread disinformation.

When you are a true follower, you cannot distinguish between information and disinformation.

The UNESCO’s theme for this year’s World Press Freedom day on May 3 is, “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”. 

Keep doing vs. Keep on doing


Keep doing = to continue or cause something to continue in a certain state, condition or position; do repeatedly.

Keep on doing = to keep continuing/trying to do or persist in doing something without any intention of stopping.


The meanings of ‘keep’ and ‘keep on’ are almost the same and both can be used in most of the situations interchangeably. However, there is a difference that governs whether or not to use ‘keep’ or ‘keep on.Keep on is a phrasal verb which is an intensive version of plain keep in this sense:


He keeps on asking for more gravy.

She kept on speaking at the concert despite many disruptions from the audience.

Freddie kept on walking, though his feet got really tired out and rough.

The poor beggar paid no attention to her shouting and kept on rummaging through the garbage for his daily survival.


When we use keep on in the above sense, it becomes an intensive version of ‘keep’ that means to continue in a state, condition or position, and the ‘on’ is meant for emphasis.


Children kept on interrupting the grandma, so she couldn’t finish the story. (Children continued to interrupt the grandma)

When he got home he spoke to his wife and she kept on talking about the girl next door.

The ice cream man kept on playing the music until the kids came from neighbourhood.

She was sitting by his side on the couch while he kept on watching reruns of an old show.


In another sense, if you keep on doing something, you are usually a bit more stubborn than someone who just keeps doing something:


The teacher kept advising him to work hard.

Mother kept on advising him not to mix with the wrong people in the vicinity.


Keep on’ is also used in idioms:

‘Keep on keeping on’ means keep trying; keep doing what you are doing.

Do your best. Just keep on keeping on.

Keep on keeping on, Tom, don’t give up. Just one bad grade in school isn’t the end of the world.

Have somebody do something vs. have somebody doing something


To have somebody do something = to get somebody to do something; a one-off action, something that’s not supposed to take very long.

To have somebody doing something = to cause someone to be occupied in doing something, usually a continuous activity; something that is going to be a long process.


Jane had Frank book her tickets for the show. (Jane got Frank to book her tickets for the show).

He had the gardener take care of his lawn.

I’ll have another gardener looking after these camellia bushes that are planted in the flower bed by the front porch.

The management will have another coach working (work) with the team in the next session.


Both expressions may sound similar, but to have someone do something is more appropriate for somebody giving orders, though to have someone doing something can also have this sense:

He had me letting (let) out small snores when mother came into the room.

Cousin Tom had me ignoring Sarah and Nancy all through these days.


We also have the construction to have + something (object) + done (past participle) by somebody to express the same:

Jane had her tickets booked by the agent. (Jane got the agent to book her tickets).


Notice that the agent (‘by somebody’) is often omitted:

Did you have your car wash (by the attendant)?

Did you get your car wash (by the attendant)?


Some more examples:

They should have someone check it out for them.

She can’t believe he did this to her! He had her doubt her fashion sense!

Mrs Joseph will have miss Sharon explain the midpoint formula to her niece. (a one-off action, something that’s going to take little time).

Mrs Joseph will have miss Sharon teaching her niece. (a more continuous action)


Some grammar experts say the second structure is not acceptable and even ungrammatical and the first one is correct. Anyway, both constructions are in use. Only problem with the second is that it is somewhat ambiguous and we should stick to the first one.


Some more examples:

She has the maid clean the house. (the maid cleans the house regularly for her)

She will have the maid cleaning the house. (the maid will clean the house in near future)

She is having the maid clean the house. (the maid will clean the house in near future)

He is going to have the actors of the movie photograph with us after the shooting.

Don’t be stupid! I’m not going to have anybody laugh at you.

She was a couple of hours late. It had me wondering if there was something wrong.

Latest Posts