Hard work is telling on your health

Tell on = The phrase ‘tell on’ in the context of the statement means ‘to have an effect that can be clearly seen, especially a bad effect’; to begin to show a negative effect that something is having on one:

She’s lately been under a lot of stress and it has begun to tell on her health.

Hours of stress, sleepless nights and the worry are really telling on Kim lately.

The increasing usage of mobile devices has begun to tell on public health.

The stress of working long hours is beginning to tell on Maria.

Now most women feel that husbands, followed closely by mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are telling on their marriage.


Telling = (Adj) means to have a striking or revealing effect; significant. Telling effect, impact, comment, example, detail, etc.:

She was coming on well fitness-wise, but that gluttony had a telling effect on her waistline.

The type of content being circulated on social media has a very telling effect on the minds of our children.


More example sentences

Since the share of total exports has fallen drastically, it has had a telling effect on all sectors of our economy.

They need to prove the cynics wrong; but if only implemented in letter and spirit, these measures can have a telling effect.

He is determined to continue with his fight in the court that has had a telling effect on his personal life.

She had become more confident after the split-up, and this had a telling effect on her career.

She condemned the world leaders in an emotional speech at UN and it had a telling effect on the audience.

The number of Coronavirus cases is not only alarming but it has a telling effect on the global economy.

Whose vs. Of which


Whose = Whose is the possessive form of both who and which. We use whose to refer to “animate antecedent.” “Animate” conveys living people and animals (but not plants):


Hot Dog whose dislike of Reggie Mantle is no secret to anyone is now coming to terms with him. 

Here “Hot Dog” is the antecedent of whose.

The plant whose roots had been submerged in water for a long time seems to be dying.  


So, when there’s a reference to an animal, the construction of of which seems to be weird. Then, we use ‘whose’:


Researchers claim that the female cheetah named Sarah, the speed of which has been timed at 100 meter dash in 5.95 seconds, is the world’s fastest land animal. (awkward)


Researchers claim that the female cheetah named Sarah, whose speed has been timed at 100 meter dash in 5.95 seconds, is the world’s fastest land animal.  


Some sticklers for perfection say that we use whose to refer to animate antecedents only, but Henry Watson Fowler — perhaps the most strict, and old-fashioned counsellor on English usage termed it as a “folk-belief”.


Nevertheless, if you really want to avoid using whose, you may rephrase the sentence as follows:

The car whose one of the headlights was burned out met with an accident on the National highway.

Since the car’s one of the headlights was burned out, it met with an accident on the National highway.


Of which = When a possessive form is necessitated by a statement, of which is the part of a relative clause. Which is the relative pronoun and of is a preposition that is positioned at the beginning of the relative clause, instead of at the end:


The car, the wheel of which got flat, crashed into a pole.

The room, the roof of which is leaking, needs elaborate repairs.

President said that Democrats are just focusing on impeachment, the purpose of which is to win an election.

I saw a scary movie about ghosts of which I’ve forgotten the name.


Be careful! If your report is full of of whiches, then it is going to do no good. Although, on some particular instances, you might be able to use of which, most of the time, your sentence will look clumsy and unnatural. Most grammar books agree that of which is not a perfect substitute for whose. So, in the end, you will settle with replacing of which with whose when you needed to show possession. It is therefore grammatically correct to write:


President said that Democrats are just focusing on impeachment, whose purpose is to win an election.


Again, this statement looks weird:

President may try to come up with a proposal for the second term the time of which has come. (extremely uncommon)

President may try to come up with a proposal for the second term whose time has come.


In any case, it may be suggested that unless you’re sure that your sentence doesn’t sound too awkward, just keep away from using of which.

Wonder about or Wonder at

Wonder about = If we wonder about something, we intend to do it in the future, either because we are interested in it and we want to know more about it, or because we are worried or suspicious about it:

I wonder about her attitude. She didn’t even raise a smile when I bumped into her at the market.

‘Where are you taking the kids this winter?’ ‘I’ve been wondering about going to the Golden State.’

But one must wonder about what would happen in the election.

He claimed to be walking 20 miles. Police have been wondering about him.

I think Mr. Wilson was wondering about the evidence at the trial.


More example sentences


When he started to nitpick at really silly things, then she couldn’t help but to wonder about his intentions.’

‘And I wonder about the people acquainted with Freddie who talk about how wonderful he is.’

She goes on to wonder about the rationale behind some of the things that he he’s been doing these days.’

If Jack can’t get basic stuff like this straight, we have to wonder about his reliability on other matters.’

We have to wonder about the company Frank keeps lately.

‘If Jack had stuck to a career in the movies, he would have been the bigger success, but I wonder about that.’

‘When her first promise doesn’t come through, it makes me wonder about her later promises.’

‘She began to wonder about Susan and then a photograph on the wall confirmed her worst fears.’

‘Here are the kinds of reports that make you wonder about the press these days.’

Police commissioner wondered about this as it began to seem more than mere accident.


Wonder at = If we wonder at something, we are very surprised about it or think about it in a very surprised way:


She walked off the party in a huff and wondered at all that had happened.

I wondered at his ability never to be the slightest upset in front of the traffic police.

We can only wonder at such a blunder at the bank.

Susan rather wondered at the choice of Liberty State Park; why had Frank changed his mind about Statue of Liberty?

There being…


In formal English, we use a clause with there being to introduce a reason for something. There being basically denotes something like ‘because there is’:


There being no evidence against him, Frank is unlikely to be convicted (= Because there is no evidence against him…)

There being no compelling documentary evidence of the human rights abuses, the country was let off lightly by the United Nations Security Council.

There being no alternative, Adams agreed to mortgage the 20-acre family farm in Cashel.

There being only one train every alternate day to the Balkans, he decided to fly.

There being a slowdown in auto sales, companies were forced to either shut down or axe shifts.

There being no strong objections to the proposal, they went ahead with approving the project.

There being no opposition from local residents, they are all set to organise the music festival in the neighbourhood park.

There being a complete shutdown of the factory, it is thought it will render many a worker jobless.

I’m good vs. I’m well


I’m good = According to Cambridge Dictionary, ‘good’ means ‘healthy or well’: She didn’t go to the concert because she wasn’t feeling too good.How’s your father?“He’s good, thanks.” So, ‘I’m good’ is an informal way to give a general reply when someone greets you: “How are you?” “I’m good, thanks.”


I’m well = We commonly use ‘well’ as an adverb when something is done to a good standard or in a good way: She sings very well. He drives very well at night. We also use well as an adjective, normally after a linking verb such as be, look or get, to mean ‘in good health’:


A: How are you?

B: I’m very well, thanks. And you?

What’s the matter? You don’t look very well.


In American English, good is more common and casual than well in this context. Most authorities and grammar books say that Well and good have similar meaning, but we generally use good as an adjective and not as an adverb particularly in the context of a reply to enquiring about a person’s wellbeing.


If we have to draw a parallel between ‘I’m good’ and ‘I’m well’, we would say that if someone is clearly enquiring about your health, “I’m well,” can be the normal response. If you are confident about your good health, your responses can go either way; though ‘well’ can be reserved for more formal situations.


Here the difference can briefly be summarized:


I feel well.                            (excepting specifically referring to a prior illness)

I feel good.                 


I am feeling well.                 (excepting specifically referring to a prior illness)

I am feeling good.       

I am well.                           (excepting specifically referring to a prior illness)

I am good.                           (Here, am is a linking verb that takes an adjectival         predicate and good is that adjective.

I am doing well.         


I feel differently.             (excepting feeling things with one’s hands; differently from the way in which one used to feel by touching)

I feel different.                     (In the adjective form, one can be bad/different/etc. while in the adverb form, the manner of feeling can be bad/different/etc.)


Hence, good and well are not as tricky as you might think and the whole dispute revolved around understanding how linking verbs differ from action verbs. An action verb is a verb that describes an action, like come, go, jump, eat, kick, think, cry or smile: Emily is going to college. The action verb is going.  It describes what Emily is doing.


A linking verb is a verb that links the subject of the sentence to information about that subject. Linking verbs do not represent action: to be (is/ am/ are, was/ were, has been/ have been, is being/ are being, was being/ will have been, etc.)  to become (become(s)/ became, has/ have/ had become, will become, will have become, etc.)  to seem (seems/ seemed, has/ have/ had seemed, is/ are seeming, was/ were seeming, will seem etc.): The rose is pink. Here, ‘is‘ is a linking verb that connects the subject, rose, to information about that subject (that it is pink). The teacher is intelligent. Here ‘is‘ is a linking verb that connects the subject, teacher, to information about that subject (that he is intelligent).


Notice that we also use ‘I’m good’ to reject and to ridicule an offered good or service by feigning satiation when ‘No thank you’ will just not do.

A: Would you like to go out for a ride? The weather is so lovely!

B: ‘No, I’m good.’

Scarcely had he gone out than a client came to meet him – incorrect


The adverbials hardly, scarcely, barely and no sooner are often used to emphasise that one event quickly followed another. If hardly, scarcely, barely and no sooner are in the initial position, the subject and auxiliary are inverted.  We usually use the past perfect tense for the verb describing the earlier event. We don’t use Hardly, scarcely, and rarely with negative constructions. Thus, it is wrong to say I couldn’t hardly speak to him but correct to say I could hardly speak to him:


Notice that hardly, scarcely and barely are followed by when, while no sooner is followed by than.


Hardly… when

Hardly had I finished the long divisions when the examiner took my answer sheet away.

Scarcely had he boarded the train when the whistle sounded and the train gave a bump.

Barely had he arrived home when his wife began to whine about how hard she had been forced to do household chores.

Hardly had the party begun when the police raided the pub.


No sooner… than

No sooner had his new novel come into the market than it flew off the shelves.

No sooner had the referee’s whistle come than the celebrations began at the stalls.

No sooner had she realized that she had made a mistake than she apologised.

No sooner had he taken the meal out of the oven than someone knocked at the door.

Have to vs. Have got to


Have to and have got to mean almost the same and imply ‘to be obliged or find it necessary to do the specified thing.’ Have got to is more common in informal situations. Have (got) to comes before the main verb and it is often contracted in speaking:


I have to go home.                  (a simple statement)

I have got to go home.            (emphasis on ‘got’; shows more urgency


You have to try on these shoes. They are so trendy.

You don’t have to pay for your travelling. You’re going on a freebie.

There’s not much time left for you to do all you have to do. You’ve to be serious.

They’ve got to be extra cautious with animals in the zoo. Few of them have died of severe winter.

You’ve got to do your homework by yourself because your private tutor has left the job.

You’ve got to push the elevator button a bit more forcefully.

You’ve got to fill in this form to enrol in evening classes at the community college.   

Frank cancelled our little dinner plans for tonight. He’s (got) to work late.

You can’t enter this country. You have (got) to get your documents.


Notice that have (got) to cannot be followed by a modal verb:

They’ve to walk the dog before they go to bed.                    √     

They’ve to must walk the dog before they go to bed.            


We also use Have (got) to without main verb when the main verb and any complement of the verb is definite:

Does he have to run for office this year? Yes, he has (got) to.


Notice that we form the negative of have got to by adding not after have. We never use don’t, doesn’t, didn’t:

You haven’t got to require proof of identity to register at the library.            

You don’t have got to require proof of identity to register at the library.        


When we form questions with have to, we use do, does, did before the subject:

 Do we have to ask the waiters which menu items are vegetarian?


Be careful! The subject and have change positions to form questions with have got to:

 Have we got to ask the waiters which menu items are vegetarian?


We also use Have (got) to to make deductions or draw conclusions. However, in this context, must is more common:

You parted company with Freddie with a degree of sadness. This must be a tough time for you.

You parted company with Freddie with a degree of sadness. This has got to be a tough time for you.

Emily threw party for the senior class yesterday but Sharon didn’t show up. There’s got to be a reason.


Notice that Have got to can be used in the present tense only while Have to can be used in a variety of forms:

You’ve got to show your support by signing your name on this sheet.

Not: You’d got to show your support by signing your name on this sheet.  


In British English, the past participle of the verb get is got while American speakers say gotten.

You could have got struck by lightning just walking out of your house.       (British English)

You could have gotten struck by lightning just walking out of your house.  (American English)

She’s gotten rather plump lately.

Have you got any sugar? (but NOT Have you gotten …)


Be careful! Have got to is NOT common in the negative form in US English. Use don’t and doesn’t with have to:

Sunday they don’t have to get me up at the crack of dawn.

I don’t have to be at the party until 10pm tomorrow.

She doesn’t have to start her new gym classes until August 19th.


Notice that in questions, don’t use ‘do’ or ‘does’. Instead, change the word order in the same way as the verb ‘to be’ and modal auxiliaries:

They have got a luxurious villa on the west bank of the River Euphrates. = Have they got…?

He has got a farmhouse in the Norwegian countryside. = Has he got…?

You have got room for Emily in the car. = Have you got…?


Avoid have got and have got to (meaning must), if you could do with have and have to:

I have (got) some here.            

They haven’t (got) any more.   

I have (got) to go to the office. 


It’s me or it’s I


Generally we use both ‘it is I’ and ‘it’s me’ to introduce ourselves. The only difference is that ‘it’s me’ is more common and casual whereas ‘it is I’ is just formal, and will sound outdated. We are hearing ‘it’s me’ more often in our day-to-day conversations. Some people are of the opinion that in academic sense, ‘it is me’ is not grammatically correct, but is spoken frequently by most English speakers.

Most grammar style books suggest that when a pronoun follows a linking verb, such as ‘is,’ the pronoun should be in the subject case. It’s also called the ‘nominative.’ Now it is correct to say, ‘It is I:


Who called Nancy? It was she.

Who told you about the accident? It was I.

Who settled the bitter argument between the passengers? It must have been they.

Who takes care of the lawn? It is we.


Now you might be wondering if all these statements are grammatically correct. Yes, they are! That’s traditional grammar and these rules are being followed for ages. During the course of the eighteenth century, the rule relating to pronouns was that – a pronoun in the nominative case (subject pronoun) must follow a form of to be:

It is I.

It is we.

It is they.


Basically, this rule is based on Latin grammar. However, the rule does not get in the way of most native English speakers who are quite comfortable speaking ‘it’s me.’

It is me.          (colloquial)

It is I.               (literary)


Notice that it’s me’ is also idiomatic English whereas ‘it is I’ is not.

In her book ‘Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English,’ Patricia O’Connor writes that almost everyone says, ‘It is me,’ and that the ‘It is I’ construction just seems to be extinct:

According to Oxford Dictionary, traditional grammar teaches that it is correct to say ‘between you and me’ and incorrect to say ‘between you and I.’

In telephonic conversation, when someone asks, ‘Is Frank there?’ Frank’s response might be, ‘This is he.’ However, in a face-to-face interaction, Frank is much more likely to say’ ‘it’s me.’

Do not assume that the usage of to be followed by a nominative pronoun (I, you, he, she, we, they) has completely vanished from our conversations or is destined to be. It’s just passing out of use in the modern language.

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 example sentences

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.  

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