Common mistakes in English – Confused words (Part 3)

              Adverbs often confused

455. Very and Too

(a) Very

Don’t say: It’s too hot in Rome in the summer.

√ Say: It’s very hot in Rome in the summer.

(b) Too

Don’t say: It’s now very hot to play football.

√ Say: It’s now too hot to play football.

Very simply makes the adjective or adverbs stronger.

Too means more than enough, or so much that something else happens as a result.

456. Very and Much

(a) Very

Don’t say: He’s a much strong man.

                    It’s a much interesting book.

√ Say: He’s a very strong man.

             It’s a very interesting book.

(b) Much

Don’t say: He’s very stronger than I am.

√ Say: He’s much stronger than I am.

Use very with adjectives and adverbs in the positive, and with present participles used as adjectives like interesting. Use much with comparative.

457. Too much for Very much

Don’t say: She likes the cinema too much.

                   He’s too much stronger than I am.

√ Say: She likes the cinema very much.

            He’s very much stronger than I am.

Use very much instead of much for greater emphasis

Too much denotes an excessive quantity or degree –> She ate too much, and felt ill.

458. Before for Ago

Don’t say: I saw your friend before two weeks.

√ Say: I saw your friend two weeks ago.

We use ago in counting from the time of speaking to a point in the past: half an hour ago, three days ago, four months ago, five years ago, a long time ago. We use before in counting from a distant to a nearer point in the past –> Napoleon died in 1821, he had lost the battle of Waterloo six years before.

Note: When we use ago the verb is always in the simple past tense –> He came five minutes ago.

459. Hardly for Hard

Don’t say: She rubbed her eyes hardly.

√ Say: She rubbed her eyes hard.

Hard means severely.

Hardly means not quite or scarcely. –> The baby can hardly walk.

460. No so for Not very

Don’t say: I hear that he’s not so rich.

√ Say: I hear that he’s not very rich.

We can’t use not so in the sense of not very. The expression “He’s not so rich.” implies a comparison “He’s not so rich as you are.”

461. Just now for Presently, etc.

Don’t say: The messenger will arrive just now.

√ Say: The messenger will arrive presently.

If we are speaking of a near and immediate future time, we must use presently, immediately, in a minute, or soon.

Just now refers to present or past time, and net lo future time –> He’s not at home just now (= at this moment). He left just now (= a little time ago)

462. Presently for At present

Don’t say: His uncle is in London presently.

✓ Say: His uncle is in London at present.

At present and presently are not synonymous.

At present means now but presently means soon –> She will come back presently (= soon).

463. Scarcely for Rarely

Don’t say: Zoe scarcely comes to see me now.

✓ Say: Zoe rarely comes to see me now.

Scarcely isn’t synonymous with rarely.

Rarely means not often, scarcely means not quite –> I had scarcely finished when he came.

464. Lately for Late

Don’t say: Last night I went to bed lately.

✓ Say. Last night I went to bed late.

The opposite of early is late, not lately.

Lately means in recent time –> I haven’t been there lately.

Common mistakes in English – Confused words (Part 3)
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