the correct word type
An error found in some
students' writing is the use of the wrong "type" of word,
that is, confusion between verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs etc. For
The important of the discovery cannot be denied. (should be
This type of revenue is very importance. (should be "important")
If you do make this kind of mistake, which usually happens if your native
tongue is very different to English (eg. Chinese), there are two basic
pieces of advice:
You need to become sensitive
to the different types of word endings, to know, for example, that the
ending "-tion" is very often for a noun; that "-ly"
very often signifies an adverb. Make yourself some lists, and make sure
you know when the different types of words are used. An adjective, for
example, is associated with a noun (an object, a person, an idea etc);
an adverb with a verb.
Buy yourself a good
dictionary and learn to use it effectively. The Collins Cobuild English
Language dictionary, for example, has a column telling you the type
of word and gives practical examples of the words in use. Be very careful
with the use of electronic dictionaries and small monolingual dictionaries,
as these could be misleading.
These are the main word types which
may cause confusion:
Nouns are words which refer to people, things or ideas. For example,
girl, door, hunger.
They are often preceded by some kind of determiner or article, such
as this, those, my; a/an, the, or by an adjective describing
the word. Associated verbs almost always come after the noun.
Nouns can be countable (made into
a plural), for example book, tutor, or uncountable (cannot
be made into a plural), for example literature, staff.
Nouns are often used as if they were adjectives:
a Sunday newspaper
the staff restaurant
And verbs can become nouns by adding –ing:
walking is good for you
talking is not allowed
Note that nouns can often be used
to paper the bedroom (=put wallpaper up)
to chair a meeting
to screen applicants for a job
Verbs are used with nouns to express what that noun “does”
or what happens to it:
Doris studies Spanish in the evening.
The door was repaired last week.
Verb forms in English are very simple. A regular verb has just four
forms: look, looks, looked and looking. Meaning is often expressed
through an associated modal auxiliary verb such as can, should,
or might: in this case the main verb is always in the base (infinitive)
It might rain tonight.
You should write around 2000 words.
Alternatively, forms of the verbs be and have are used with the main
It is becoming cheaper to fly.
They have started work on their project.
These are words which “describe” or tell you more about
a noun: red, expensive, difficult.
They always come before the associated noun: the red balloon.
Adjectives never ‘agree’ with the noun, i.e. they don’t
need an –s if the noun is plural:
the expensive book or the expensive books.
Adjectives usually can’t be made into nouns. You can’t say
I’d like the green. Instead, you need to say the green
one or the green tie. One exception is when some colours are made plural
to describe, for example, a football team (Birmingham City are The Blues),
although this is rare.
In standard English, adjectives cannot be used as adverbs; you can’t
say he sang really good, but instead he sang really well.
See the note above about nouns acting as adjectives.
Adverbs add information about an action, event or situation. They tell
us when, how or where something happens. For example: sometimes,
Words ending in –ly will very often be adverbs, but there are
many adverbs which do not end in –ly. There are also some adjectives
which end in –ly (eg. friendly); these cannot be made into an
adverb, but instead you would say, for example, in a friendly way.
Find the errors and correct them.
1 The problem is to find the people
who are response for the situation.
2 People may be temporary out of a job.
3 This essay will analyse the important of the shadow economy.
4 They claim they are unemployed, but in fact they are in a well situation.
5 Some of the gains from tax evasion will flow to the consume as well.
6 GDP shows how much the economy in that country has growth.
7 The government has found it necessarily to raise interest rates.
8 The teacher usually reliant on one book.
9 The information provided will be treated confidential by the researchers.
10 To avoid unstable in sales, companies tend to diversify.
to further resources on word types