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Fixed sentence patterns

The sentence structure following certain verbs (and other words and phrases) is often fixed, and if you change these structures, your writing can sound unnatural.

When you learn a word in English, it is important that you learn how this word is used in a sentence, i.e. which sentence patterns the word is connected with. For instance, we say interested in doing something and not e.g. *interested for doing or *interested to do

A dictionary, like Cambridge , Oxford , or Merriam-Webster , will show you which sentence pattern to use for a particular word. For some words, there is more than one correct sentence pattern, with slightly different meanings.

Examples (1–5) represent some common mistakes with sentence structure:

Incorrect:

(1a) The group succeeded to solve the problem.

Correct:

(1b) The group succeeded in solving the problem.

Incorrect:

(2a) The lecturer asked questions to the audience.

Correct:

(2b) The lecturer asked the audience questions.

Incorrect:

(3a) All the students in the group must be capable to carry out the tasks.

Correct:

(3b) All the students in the group must be capable of carrying out the tasks.

Incorrect:

(4a) The course emphasises on practical applications of theoretical concepts.

Correct:

(4b) The course emphasises practical applications of theoretical concepts.

(4c) The course places emphasis on practical applications of theoretical concepts.

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Innehållsansvarig:Susanna Zeitler Lyne
Tillhör: Institutionen för lärande
Senast ändrad: 2023-06-14