Grammar

Word Choice Errors

Below is a list of word choice errors the Virtual Writing Tutor can detect and correct. The list is not exhaustive. Instead, it will give you a sense of the kinds of errors that I consider a word choice error and I have been working to correct. Transfer errors Word choice errors are often due

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Intransitive Verb Errors

Intransitive!  Not allowed.Source: Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland INCORRECT:  Recent studies have risen a number of key questions regarding the impact of CCTV on crime. CORRECT:    Recent studies have raised a number of key questions regarding the impact of CCTV on crime. RULE:   The verb  have risen is intransitive, and therefore it cannot have an object like a number

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50 Common Errors

    Here are 50 common errors that my college ESL students commonly make in their writing and speaking. Errors are shown in context, with an incorrect sentence, its correct version, and a rule to explain what the problem is. In time, I will add links to online practice activities for each one. Until then,

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Unnecessary Words

Some words should be removed from sentences. They are either implied (and therefore redundant)  or express a meaning that can be said in fewer words.  Here are a few examples: I have had this problem since when I was young.I like to play ski.After leaving school, he joined a music band.He said the fact that

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Free Online Grammar Practice Activities

Here are some links to online grammar practice activities. They are organized under headings.  I have more, and I will post more links when I have time. In the meantime, share them far and wide if you find them useful. Grammar Practice Activities        Adjectives Comparative Adjectives — Matching ActivityComparative Adjectives — Fill

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Conjugations of the verb”to go”

VERB FORM: go/goes RULE: For events that always repeat, use the Simple Present. To go (Present Simple) PERSON SINGULAR PLURAL 1st person I go We go 2nd person You go You go 3rd person He goes, she goes, it goes They go VERB FORM: am/is/are going RULE: To talk about an event in progress, use

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Visual Guide to English Prepositions: in, on, at, from, to

Do you have difficulty with English prepositions? Prepositions can be difficult to learn, especially when they are used differently in your first language. For example, the preposition “at” works and sounds like the preposition “à” in French sentences like this: Je suis à l’école. In English, we would say, “I am at school.” Translation: Je suis

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How to Use the Past Perfect Simple

Download a lesson on the past perfect for Business English. You are free to photocopy it for classroom purposes. Understanding-the-Past-Perfect-SimpleDownload When we talk about a past event that happened before another past event, we use the Past Perfect Simple. Use the Past Perfect Simple when you name a later event before an earlier event. Key

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What’s the Difference Between Much, Many, Little, and A Lot?

RULE:  “Many” is used with countable plural nouns like “children” and “students.” “Much,” on the other hand, can only be used with uncountable nouns like “money” or “homework.” “A lot” can be used with both.          Many RULE: Use “many” with plurals. INCORRECT: There were much people waiting in line. CORRECT: There were many

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Learn Grammar and Vocabulary through Music Videos

A fun way to  learn English is by listening to and singing songs. Pop songs deal with personal and dramatic themes that people are drawn to. They also employ advanced grammar and vocabulary.  Check out this selection of music videos on the Virtual Writing Tutor. Listen to the song and fill in the blanks or

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