English Alert


10 Common Errors

The teachers at EASI have put their minds together and come up with the 10 most common errors English students make.

See if you can correct the 10 errors in the letter below.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday we had the first meeting with the project manager and the production supervisors for talk (i) about the progress on ‘Elite Dea’ project. Overall, progress on the project is good but I suggest to meet (ii) in the next few days because there are two problems that we should follow closely:

a) Last week the software engineer has started (iii) the first part of the testing phase when unfortunately, he discovered a potential glitch in the programme. He contacted the manufacturer for some advices (iv) and actually (v) our engineer and the manufacturer are working to solve the problem. They think they’ll have the solution in the next few days.
b) The production of the prototype is going too much slow (vi); the production workers are already working on the prototype for three days (vii). So the supervisors discussed about (viii) this problem and to speed up the process the supervisors are thinking to start (ix) production around the clock.

As I said progress is good and everyone is feeling very positive about the project but I’d like to talk to you about these issues and I look forward to hear (x) your input.



i) we use to + verb to say ‘why’ we do something -> “we had the first meeting with the project manager and the production supervisors to talk about the progress..”

ii) It is always suggest + ing -> “I suggest meeting …”

iii) With past time expressions (yesterday; last week; on Thursday; in 2012 etc) we use the past simple -> “Last week the software engineer started the first part of the testing phase…”

iv) ‘Advice’ is uncountable; there is no plural form -> “He contacted the manufacturer for some advice…”

v) “Actually’ does not mean ‘attualmente’ -> the correct translation is currently or presently

vi) too + adjective -> “The production of the prototype is going too slow..”

vii) “..the production workers have already been working on the prototype for three days.” This means they started three days ago and their work is not finished; it is continuing
10 tips

viii) discuss + object -> “So the supervisors discussed this problem…”

ix) ‘think’ is followed by about/of + ing – “…the supervisors are thinking of starting production….”

x) ‘look forward to +ing ‘ -> “…I look forward to hearing your input.” Top tip: after a preposition, add +ing to the verb

p.s. This was written by Jane who is keeping track


Possibility vs Opportunity

The meanings of these two words overlap a little. But in English, we say “opportunity” when we’re talking about a situation which usually relates to a favourable or positive ‘prospect’. We say “possibility” when we’re talking about something that may happen, be done or be true.

Here are some examples of “possibility”:

  • “Have you considered the possibility that you may be wrong?”
  • “My first two ideas didn’t work, but I thought of a third possibility”

And….some examples of “opportunity”:

  • Business travel provides you with opportunities that you wouldn’t normally get if you stayed at your desk.
  • I was never given the opportunity of going to college.
  • Having a holiday is a great opportunity to relax.
  • I took advantage of the great opportunity of a lunch date with a possible employer.


Yesterday Evening vs Last night

In English, we don’t say “yesterday evening”. It’s too long. We say “last night”. I think this is because we have different ideas for “evening” and “night” than Italians (or Southern Europeans;). For the British, “evening” usually means “night”!! Night- time starts early for us…especially during the winter!! Which is very very loooong….

We can say “during the evening, we watched a film”, as a contrast to what we did “during the day”, when we’re describing a whole day’s activities (for example, describing what we did during the morning, afternoon…). But if we’re just referring to that one period of time, the time before bed, we say simply “last night” 😉

Some examples: “What did you learn at the seminar last night?”

  • I watched the last episode of my favourite programme last night.
  • I went to bed late last night.
  • I ate a whole pizza last night.

Compare: Last night, my best friend called me and we spent the whole evening on the phone.

p.s. These alerts are by Sarah who is on the ball

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