December 23rd, 2009 in Common Mistakes
Incorrect: He wondered how was it made.
Correct: He wondered how it was made.
In a direct question we put the auxiliary verb before the subject. In an indirect question we put the auxiliary verb after the subject. Note that we do not use the question mark after an indirect question.
I wonder why she doesn’t listen to me. (Indirect question)
Why doesn’t she listen to me? (Direct question)
I can’t figure out what she means. (Indirect question)
What does she mean? (Direct question)
Incorrect: He asked if I am coming.
Correct: He asked if I was coming.
Incorrect: The teacher asked the students if they have learned their lessons.
Correct: The teacher asked the students if they had learned their lessons.
When the principal clause is in the past tense, the subordinate clause also must be in the past tense.
Incorrect: He choosed a book.
Correct: He chose a book.
The past tense of choose is chose, and not choosed.
Incorrect: He loosed his keys.
Correct: He lost his keys.
The past tense of lose is lost, and not loosed.
Incorrect: She is very much beautiful.
Correct: She is very beautiful.
Incorrect: He is very much sorry.
Correct: He is very sorry.
Much can be used after very, but we do not use very much before an adjective.
I love her very much.
Thank you very much.
I am very happy. (BUT NOT I am very much happy.)
Incorrect: He was very kind enough to help me.
Correct: He was kind enough to help me.
Correct: He was so kind to help me.
Incorrect: The story is too interesting.
Correct: The story is very interesting.
Too means ‘more than it ought to be’. It is usually followed by a to-infinitive.
It is too hot to go out.
She is too tired to walk.
Incorrect: He behaved cowardly.
Correct: He behaved in a cowardly manner.
Correct: He behaved like a coward.
Cowardly is an adjective. Adjectives are not used to modify verbs. There is no adverb for this meaning. Therefore, we use an adverb phrase like ‘in a cowardly manner’.
Incorrect: They live miserly.
Correct: They live in a miserly way.
Not all words ending in –ly are adverbs. Miserly, for example, is an adjective.