Common mistakes in IELTS – Un-English expressions (Part 3)

211. Set a watch by, not put a watch with

Don’t say: I put my watch with the radio news.

✓ Say: I set my watch by the radio news.

212. A watch is slow or fast, not goes behind or in front

Don’t say: My watch goes two minutes behind.

✓ Say: My watch is two minutes slow.

Note: We can also say –> My watch loses or gains.

213. Show a film, not play a film

Don’t say: This film will be played shortly.

✓ Say: This film will be shown shortly.

214. Have one’s hair cut, not cut one’s hair

Don’t say: I’m going to cut my hair.

✓ Say: I’m going to have my hair cut.

Note: Avoid I’ll make a pair of shoes (or a suit of clothes). Say instead –>  I’ll have a pair of shoes (or a suit of clothes) made.

215. Learn by heart, not learn from out

Don’t say: We have a poem to learn from out.

✓ Say: We have a poem to learn by heart.

216. Put on weight, not put weight

Don’t say: I’ve put at least three kilos.

✓ Say: I’ve put on at least three kilos.

Note: The opposite of to put on weight is to lose weight –> She has lost five kilos.

217. It works miracles, not it makes miracles

Don’t say: That medicine makes miracles.

✓ Say: That medicine works miracles.

218. Getting on with, not going with

Don’t say: How is Susan going with her work?

✓ Say: How is Susan getting on with her work?

219. This morning, etc., not today morning, etc.

Don’t say: I haven’t seen him today morning.

✓ Say: I haven’t seen him this morning.

Note: Avoid today morning, today afternoon, today evening, yesterday night, this night. Say: this morning, this afternoon, this evening, last night, tonight.

220. Quietly, not slowly, slowly

Don’t say: The boy came in slowly, slowly.

✓ Say: The boy came in quietly.

221. What’s the matter not What have you?

Don’t say: What have you today?

✓ Say: What’s the matter with you today?

Note: What’s wrong (with you)?, What’s the trouble (with you)? and What’s the problem? are also correct.

222. What do you call…? not How do you call…?

Don’t say: How do you call this in English?

✓ Say: What do you call this in English?

Note: If the question isn’t about a thing, but about some expression, we’d say “How do you say this in English?”

Common mistakes in IELTS – Un-English expressions (Part 3)
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