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.

Simple Past tense vs. Past perfect tense


When two actions take place in the past, we use both past simple and past perfect tenses in one sentence. However, we use past perfect tense to talk about the action that happened first and the simple past tense for the action that happened last:


When I reached the station, the train left.             (In this sentence, you’d wonder whether I reached the station before the train left or after it did).


Now study this sentence:

When I reached the station, the train had left.      (things now clear: the train had already left before I reached the station).


The past perfect tense is formed with had + past participle of the given verb.

Now we put it another way:


I had reached the station before the train left. (here, you can make out that I was not late and was able to catch the train)


Notice that the past perfect tense is used for the action which takes place first in the past and the simple past tense for the action that happened next.


Remember that we use the time expressions – for, since, already and yet in the past perfect simple in the same way as in the present perfect simple.


We also use after, as soon as, the moment that, until before using the past perfect simple:


After she had boarded the plane for Istanbul, I found her handbag in the hallway. (I didn’t find her handbag until she had boarded the plane).


We use before, when, by the time before the past simple:


Before he could understand anything, police had taken him into custody and handcuffed him.


Now it is clear that we use the past perfect tense to show that one action happened before the other in the same sentence that is described by verb in the simple past tense.


When using the Past Perfect is not desirable


We don’t use the past perfect when we don’t have to convey some sequence of events. If somebody asks you what you did after you found the wallet and your answer might confuse them if you said:


I had deposited it with the police.


One would likely be wondering what happened next because using the past perfect entails that your action of depositing the wallet happened before something else happened, but you don’t clear what that ‘something else’ was. Though this ‘something else’ doesn’t always have to be mentioned, the context required to make it clear. Here, there’s seemingly no context, so the past perfect is undesirable.


Some more examples:


When she stopped storytelling, everyone fell asleep. (= everyone fell asleep after she stopped storytelling)

When she stopped storytelling, everyone had fallen asleep. (= everyone fell asleep before she stopped storytelling)

She got up when the maid knocked at the door. (= the maid knocked at the door and then she got up)

She had gone out to buy groceries when the maid knocked at the door. (= She went out to buy groceries and then the maid knocked at the door)

After Jane had finished reading novel, she switched off the light.



We also use past perfect when we say the things didn’t happen the way we wanted them to:

I had wanted to see this movie before it was pulled from cinemas, but I had an important assignment.

Would vs. Used to


Would = we use ‘would’ to describe actions or situations that have been repeated again and again and again…


Used to = we use ‘used to’ for any extended action or situation in the past. Used to is more common in informal English.


So, both used to and would are used to talk about things in the past which we don’t do now or they don’t happen anymore.


Would and used to can often be used interchangeably:

When she was free, she would/ used to hum a cheerful tune.

When he was at college, he would/ used to perform in major concerts.

Bob would/ used to pay for his drinks when he was broke.

Whenever there was rain, we used to/ would tie the new saplings to a stake.


All these sentences show actions or situations in the past, which have got over now: humming a cheerful tune, performing in concerts, paying for his drinks, going to work by train – these are all finished now.


However, there are instances when would and used to cannot always be used interchangeably. When we talk about past states that have changed, we use used to and not would:


He used to live in Chicago but moved to Indianapolis.

He would live in Chicago but moved to Indianapolis. ✗  (would cannot replace used to)

Our office used to be in the New York City Center.        (not would be in the …)

She used to live in Durban Central, but moved to Durban North last month. (not would live…, because living in Durban Central wasn’t repeated again and again)

Jane used to grumble to co-workers round the water cooler until she got a good raise.

There didn’t use to be a metro station here. When was it built?


The most important difference between used to and would is that would is not used with stative verbs such as love, be, understand, and feel:

When she was a kid, she used to love co-sleeping in her mom’s bed. (natural and grammatical)

When she was a kid, she would love co-sleeping in her mom’s bed. (awkward and ungrammatical)


Be careful when you are unsure about using would or used to, use used to.


Some more examples of used to:

He used to go to work by train until he had a car of his own.

We used to grow vegetables in our backyard.


We do not use ‘used to’ for events which happened suddenly or just for a moment: I used to have a fantastic idea when I sat around the camp fire.


Here are some more examples of would:

When she was at hostel, she would lie in until 10 o’ clock at the weekends.

She would always forget her keys at home, until Mother threatened to punish her.

When Jane talked to her friends, Mother would eavesdrop on her phone calls.

Wake and Awake; Waken and Awaken


Wake and awake; waken and awaken are perhaps the most vexing words that confuse most writers and speakers. All these four have almost similar meaning, though some are used in the way others cannot be. Now let’s start with each of them:


Wake = Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep; stop sleeping; (Present: wake, wakes, woke, Past participle: waked (or woken). Waked is more common in US English while UK English prefers woken.

Father got woken at 4 am by the sudden lightning strokes of thunderstorms.

I woke up on Monday morning at 8 am and was half an hour late for office.

Jack was woken by some frightened screams that echoed some houses away.

Martha was still asleep so I decided to watch the television until she woke up.

I woke up Nancy who was sleeping at the time and left for office.

I was afraid that Mrs Joseph’s snoring would wake the children.

Notice that wake shows the expressions like waking and sleeping or every waking moment. Also, wake comes together with up to form a complement verb. Others don’t. However, pairing with up is not always necessary and it all depends on context:

She waked (or woke) up.


Awake = Stop sleeping; wake from sleep; (Present: awake, awakes, Past: awoke/awaked, Past participle: awoken/awaked); both forms of the past tense – awoke and awaked as well as both participial forms – awoken and awaked are acceptable. However, awoke is more common than awaked. Awake and awoken are also rather literary words. In informal UK English, the adjective awake is more common than waking.

Awake is used in two ways. When it is used as an adjective, it describes a person or animal’s state. It can only be used as a predicate adjective, in the predicate of a clause, not as an attributive adjective before a noun:

 Martha is awake and is getting ready to go to work.

When it is used as a verb, it is used as intransitive taking no object and means ‘to become awake (adj)’:

I awake at 5 o’ clock in the morning in summers.

Oh my gosh! You awoke at 12 o’clock this morning.

How often have you awoken/awakened early in these days?


Waken = To (cause to) wake from sleep; (Present: waken, wakens, Past: wakened; Past participle: wakened); waken is a regular verb and you can use it like any other common verb. It is both transitive and intransitive:

She stayed up late and had not wakened until 10 am.

The loud noise in the street wakened me.

The ticket collector shook him but he didn’t waken.

The news wakened the captain to his crew’s treachery. (to cause to be aware; alert or enlighten)

In literary style, we can use waken instead of wake up.


Awaken = To stop sleeping or to make someone stop sleeping; (Present: awaken, awakens

Past: awakened, Past participle: awakened). Awaken is also a regular verb; it is the verb that sounds perfectly natural in almost all situations:

All men at the regiment were unwilling to get out of bed when they were awakened.

The child had just been awakened from a deep slumber.

The train had just pulled into the station and he was abruptly awakened from sleep in the waiting room.

Mr. Wilson was awakened from his sleep by a loud knock at the door.

A lot of people in the US believe the 9/11 attacks have finally awakened America to the effects of terrorism.

The princess was awakened with a kiss.

Some grammar experts insist that waken is used only as a transitive verb (the lightening wakened him) while awaken is used only as an intransitive verb (he awakened with the sound of water flowing from the tap).

Each of the boys is or are


Each of + determiner + plural noun = Each can be followed by a determiner (A, an, the, my, his, etc.) and a plural noun; refers to only one of a set or collection; or to a set or collection among others; hence, each takes a singular verb (‘is’) which is also a traditional choice:


Each of these pies is crispy.

Each of these kids has a talent for acting at an early age.

Each of the candidates has considerable expertise in the construction of dams.

Each of the guides has a story to tell while taking us up into the mountains.

Each of the employees in this organisation plans to take retirement before the age of 50.

She gives each of her students homework before they go for vacations.

Each of the cities has its own mayor.                        


Also, the words each, each one, everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, nobody, somebody, someone, no one, either and neither are singular and take a singular verb.

Everyone has their (his or her) own ideas about how to raise funds for the poverty-stricken immigrants.


Be careful! Don’t use each in negative clauses:

Each of the documents was not credible to convince the judge.                  

None of the documents was credible to convince the judge.                       


Notice that when we speak informally, we often use a plural verb:

Each of the students have to sign the register before they leave.     (Informal)


Each of + pronoun (you/us/them)


We use the pronouns you, us, them after each of:

 Each of us wishes for good fortune.

Father gave each of us a small booklet at the end of the sermon.

Jessica decided to give each of them a good clean.

Each of you needs some rest before tonight’s journey.

The verb following each of + pronoun must be in the singular form.


Each (as a pronoun)

 Each can be used as a pronoun (without a noun):

When the delegates entered the hall, each was given a translator. (Each = each of the delegates)

When the delegates entered the hall, each one was given a translator. (It is more common to use each one instead of each by itself).


Note: Some usage guides disagree on the usage of the pronoun [each] when it is followed by the phrase containing a plural noun or pronoun; they say the verb should be plural:

Each of the students have (or has) spoken for or against the motion.


Notice that we use they, their and them when we don’t want to be gender-specific to refer to the phrases such as ‘each candidate’, ‘each participant’, etc:

Each candidate complained that the community centre where they (he or she) were put up had the worst facilities.

Majority – Singular or Plural


Majority = Can be either singular or plural; however, it all depends on the context. If we use the word ‘majority’ to describe a collection of individuals, we treat it as plural:
Although the majority likes his suggestions in general, it doesn’t agree with him on every issue.

(In British English, we usually use a plural verb in this meaning).
The majority are upset about the government’s new economic policies.


When the word ‘majority’ refers to a collective group, it should be singular:
A 65% majority is in favour, 30% against, and the rest is undecided.


In case we are uncertain whether it is a collection of individuals or a collective group, we use whatever form sounds best to us.
He interviews several candidates every day and the majority are women.


Be careful! ‘Majority’ should be used with countable nouns and not with uncountable nouns:
He has finished the majority of the lessons. (Here, lessons are countable)
He has finished the majority of the lesson.    (One lesson consisting of several pages is not countable)
Instead we say: He has finished the most of the lesson.


Majority of:
When we use ‘majority of ’in a sentence and it is followed by a noun, we use a plural verb:
The majority of voters in this constituency are women.


When ‘majority’ indicates a particular number of votes, we use a singular verb:
President’s majority has grown by 20 percent over the past five years.

When ‘majority’ specifies a group of persons or things that are in the majority, we can use either a singular or plural verb; however, it depends on whether the group is taken as a whole or as a set of people considered individually:
The majority don’t like the Prime Minister and they have voted him out.
The majority doesn’t like the Prime Minister and it has voted him out.   


Be careful! Majority is often preceded by great (but not by greater) when we want to express the sense of “most of” beyond doubt:

The great majority went in for the classical music.
The ‘greater majority’ is OK only when there are two majorities:

Jack beat out Mark by a greater majority in this election than in the previous one.

Be concerned about vs. Be concerned with


Be concerned about sth/sb = Used after a linking verb such as be; If you are concerned about something, you are worried about it.


Be concerned with sth/sb = To be related to a particular thing or person; if a piece of information, statement or speech is concerned with a subject, it deals with it.


Grandma has been concerned about Jack lately.

The Prime Minister was concerned about the level of corruption in the country.

Mr Harry has always been concerned about the welfare of his employees.

Mother is getting concerned about Susan because she has been busy on her computer all day.

I’m sure everything will go as planned — don’t be so concerned about it.

This statement of the minister is concerned with recent walk-outs by the opposition.

This exercise is concerned with grammar.

We would like to have the opinion of all concerned before embarking on this new business venture.


Be Careful! Do not say that a piece of information, statement or speech is concerned about a subject.

This statement of the minister is concerned about recent walk-outs by the opposition.    


Be careful! When the adjective ‘concerned’ is used before a noun, its meaning changes. Here, it is used to refer to people or things involved in a situation that we have just mentioned.

Sally has already begun working on the projects concerned.


We also use ‘concerned’ with the pronouns all, everyone, and everybody:

It is hereby informed to all concerned.

There was manifest relief among all the concerned at the decision not to shut down the unit.


Also, concerned is used where the sense is so far as that goes; as or so far as that is concerned.

Take no chances where human safety is concerned.

In spite of vs. Despite


In spite of = Regardless of; without being affected or prevented by something mentioned; despite

Despite    = Regardless of; in defiance of

We use in spite of when we mention some fact that makes another fact surprising.


Notice that it is in spite of (spelling-wise), and not ‘inspite of.


In spite of her injury, Martina will play in Sunday’s match.              

In spite of his best efforts, he couldn’t save their marriage of 12 years.

In spite of its election promises, the ruling party is still deeply distrusted on key employment and corruption issues.

She had deceived him before, but Jim still loves her in spite of everything.

Brave Jane managed to get hold of her gold chain and, in spite of once losing her grip, pushed the robber over.

In spite of the new dispensation, the country was still faced with the daunting task of curbing terrorism.

In spite of the enormity of floods, the relief workers struggled on with full enthusiasm.

Anyhow, he made it to the final, in spite of the early hiccups.

Jack knew it would be a good idea to hire a chauffeur in spite of what Father said.


Be Careful! Do not use ‘in spite of’ to say that something is not affected by any circumstances:


This quiz contest is open to all, in spite of age.               

This quiz contest is open to all, regardless of age.           


Also, do not use ‘in spite of’ as a conjunction.

The teachers took their answer sheets away in spite of students objected.            

Although students objected, the teachers took their answer sheets away.              


More examples:

Despite her ill health, she is always lively and cheerful.

He loves playing and spending time with street children despite not having much free time.

I’m still tired despite my going to bed early, although my sleep was disturbed.

The Vaughan City Councillor said that despite the recent avalanche, all the roads are clear.

Cameron is likely to be chosen the Secretary of the association, despite opposition from some quarters.

The ambience was calm and serene despite all the hullabaloo for the new academic year.

Despite the difference in their ages, they are happily married.

The old Compton street alcohol shop is going to be reopened despite protests from local womenfolks.

Be Careful! Never say ‘despite of’.

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