How good is your English?
We’re going to test you today.
We’ve got some common mistakes and we’re going to fix them!
OK, let’s jump right in.
We’ll ask you some questions and you have to choose your answer before the clock stops
They’re all about mistakes that people often make when they're learning English.
Maybe you make them, or maybe you don’t.
Here’s your first question.
Imagine you’ve found a great book – it’s so good you can’t stop reading it.
You can’t put it down.
What would you say about it?
I’m very interested in this book.
I’m very interesting in this book.
‘Interesting’ and ‘interested’ are both adjectives.
We use ‘interested’ to say how we feel.
We use ‘interesting’ to describe the person or thing that causes the feeling.
It can sound funny if you make a mistake with this.
If you say 'I’m very interesting' it means you think YOU are very interesting.
‘I’m very interesting’ – it sounds conceited.
But you could say that a character in a book is interesting.
Yes, because then the character makes you feel interested.
This is a very interesting book.
And I’m very interesting in this book.
This is a book about me.
So -ed describes the feeling and -ing describes the thing that causes the feeling.
This is worth learning because there are lots of other adjectives that follow this pattern.
There’s a link here to a video we’ve made about it.
If you’re not sure, go study it!
Let’s have another question.
Your boss has given you a project to do and you’re negotiating the schedule.
She wants you to estimate the time it will take, so what does she ask?
Here are three questions.
Are any of them wrong?
How long do you need?
How long time do you need?
How much time do you need?
'How long time' is wrong.
A lot of students make this mistake.
The phrase ‘how long’ already includes the idea of time.
You could say ‘How much time?’
But normally we just say ‘how long’.
'How long do you need?'
So don’t say 'how long time'.
OK, we have another question about time now and it’s a missing word question.
What’s the missing verb here?
How long does it _____ for the moon to travel round the earth?
It takes twenty seven days, seven hours, forty three minutes and eleven point six seconds
for the moon to travel around the earth.
We use ‘take’ to talk about the time that’s needed to do something – the time that’s
So we often use 'take' to talk about journey times and jobs.
So what do you think of my proposal?
Um, I’d like to think about it for a while.
Take as long as you like.
So what do you think?
OK let’s have another question.
Imagine you’ve got a really bad cold and you want to go to the beach this weekend.
What are you thinking?
How long is this cold going to take?
How long is this cold going to last?
We’d say last here because we’re talking the about the time it continues.
It’s not the time that’s needed or required to get something done.
It’s about how long something goes on for – or how long it will exist for.
Here’s another example.
Do you want to play a game?
You take a sweet and I’ll take a sweet.
You mean candy.
No, no, no, stop.
We put them in our mouths at the same time.
The winner is the person who makes their sweet last the longest.
It’s not how fast I can eat it?
No, it’s the opposite.
So I need to make it last a long time?
Ready, set, go.
It’s tricky because we use the verbs 'take' and 'last' to talk about durations of time.
It’s no wonder students get them confused.
But we use ‘take’ more than we use ‘last’.
Yes, ‘take’ is more common.
If you want more help with ‘take’ and ‘last’, check out this playlist.
OK, this one’s about the verbs 'control' and 'check'.
Imagine you’re telling someone about a flight you took.
Which sentence is correct here?
They stopped us at immigration and controlled our passports.
They stopped us at immigration and checked our passports.
So they check your passports to make sure they're OK.
But when we go through immigration, there’s a sign saying 'passport control'.
It’s really confusing.
But at immigration they check your passport.
When we examine something to make sure it’s OK or correct, we check it.
Is something wrong?
Is this your car?
When was the last time you checked the air in these tires?
I can't remember.
So that’s checking, but controlling is different.
Controlling is about managing something, or directing it.
I’ll check the thermostat to see if it’s working.
The thermostat controls the temperature.
Are you cold, Jay?
No, I'm hot.
The thermostat controls the temperature – it manages it.
If you’d like more examples, click this link.
Let’s have an easy one now.
Imagine you want to know someone’s height.
What question are you going to ask?
How tall are you?
How high are you?
I’m taller than you.
No, you’re not.
Yes, I am.
How did you do that?
We generally use tall when we’re talking about long thin things.
Like people, trees and skyscrapers. And if things are wider than they’re tall,
we say high.
For example, a high wall, high waves in the ocean.
So if you say someone is tall, you’re talking about their height.
And if you say someone is high, it means something completely different.
It means they’re on drugs.
You don’t want to make that mistake!
If you want to know more, here’s a video with lots of examples.
OK, next question.
Imagine you’re in an English pub with a friend and you order a round.
A round is a drink for everyone in the group.
Your friend starts to pay the bill, but you want to pay instead.
What will you say?
I’ll pay the drinks.
I’ll pay for the drinks.
We pay FOR things that we buy.
But when we say the person we pay, there’s no preposition.
I paid the waiter for the drinks.
Twenty five dollars?
Yes, come and have some, Kathy.
Who bought it?
Well, I ordered it.
And I paid for it.
I paid $25.
I ordered extra toppings.
You know, I paid the pizza guy last week too.
Do you want us to contribute?
Oh there’s no need.
He’s already paid for it.
There are several different prepositions we use with pay – pay for, pay by, pay in …
And sometimes we just say pay with no preposition.
Check this video to learn more.
And I’ll put links to all the videos we’ve talked about in the description below.
Is that it for today?
How did you do on the quiz?
And was it useful?
If you enjoyed it and would like another quiz one day, tell us in the comments.
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See you next week everyone.