Answers and Explanations
1. She recommended
me that I take a few days off from work.
We need to use the subjunctive in this example. An excellent explanation of the English subjunctive can be found here. The subjunctive form in this example is the infinitive without “to” (go, eat, do, run, etc.).
Common expressions followed by the subjunctive:
They demanded that we lower the price.
They demanded us that we lower the price.
They demanded that we lowered the price.
My boss requested that I use my vacation days before the end of the year.
My boss requested me that I use my vacation days before the end of the year.
My boss requested that I used my vacation days before the end of the year.
For practice, try these subjunctive exercises.
2. I tried to explain
him the problem the problem to him, but he had difficulty understanding me.
Some verbs can be followed by the indirect object and then the direct object. For example, we can say I gave John the book. John is the indirect object and book is the direct object. However, not all verbs follow this pattern. Recommend, explain, and describe are three common verbs that take the following form:
recommend/explain/describe + what + to whom
We explained the situation to the client.
We explained the client the situation.
Could you describe the problem to our IT manager?
Could you describe our IT manager the problem?
3. I don’t know why you didn’t go. If I were you, I
should would have gone.
To talk about a hypothetical past, we can use would/might/could + have + participle. We do not use should to talk about a hypothetical past. We use should to criticize past actions or express regret.
4. Kate claims that if she
got had gotten an MBA after finishing her bachelor’s degree, she might have been considered for the position.
To talk about a hypothetical past, we need to use the past perfect in the if clause. For more information on conditionals, see this conditionals guide.
What would you have said if you had been there?
What would you have said if you were there?
5. Kevin says he stopped
to travel traveling internationally because of his family.
We can use the verb stop with both the gerund and the infinitive. When we use stop with the gerund, it means that someone was doing something and then stopped. When we use stop with the infinitive, it means that someone stopped an action in order to start doing something else.
Kevin stopped working at 6 p.m. last night.
Kevin stopped to work at 6 p.m. last night.At 10 AM, Lucy and Fernando always stop to take a coffee break.
At 10 AM, Lucy and Fernando always stop taking a coffee break.
For more verbs that can be used with both the infinitive and the gerund, see this page.
6. We regret
informing to inform you that your application has been denied.
Regret is normally used with the gerund. However, to communicate bad news (usually in writing) we use regret + infinitive. For more verbs that can be used with both the infinitive and the gerund, see this page.
7. The interview was broadcast
ed live over the internet.
Broadcast is an irregular verbs. It doesn’t change in the simple past and participle form, just like the verbs let, bet, set, put, cut, and shut.
8. I’m so glad that he spoke
in on my behalf because I felt awful that I couldn’t make it to the event.
This is a collocation with on that students typically have difficulty with. We say speak on someone’s behalf. For practice, try this in vs. on collocations exercise.
9. At first I studied engineering in college, but I ended up getting a marketing degree.
We use end up instead of end to talk about something that eventually happened after other things happened first.
We couldn’t decide on where to go for dinner, so we ended up eating at home.
We couldn’t decide on where to go for dinner, so we ended eating at home.
10. It was a frustrating situation because we were
unincapable of helping.
Overusing the prefix “un” is a common mistake. See this page for a more complete explanation of how to correctly use negative prefixes.
11. When the check came, I tried to pay but John told me to put away my wallet and insisted that he
paid pay for dinner.
See explanation to number 1.
12. They had managed a few
crisises crises in the past, so they were able to handle this situation fairly well.
Many words that end in “is” have an irregular plural form that ends with “es.” The plural form rhymes with the word “cheese.”
crisis – crises
diagnosis – diagnoses
hypothesis – hypotheses
analysis – analyses
For more irregular plurals, see this page.
13. If you
would’ve had told me, I would have given you my honest advice.
To talk about a hypothetical past, the if clauses takes the past perfect. We use would/might/could + have + participle in the result clause.
What would you have done if you had been there?
What would you have done if you would have been there?
If I had known the weather was going to be so bad, I might have chosen a different day for the party.
If I would have known the weather was going to be so bad, I might have chosen a different day for the party.
Note that we could also use the inverted form of the third conditional here (Had you told me, I would have given you my honest advice).
14. The four participants discussed it
between among themselves.
We need to use among here because we are talking about more than two things that are not distinct items. For a good explanation on when to use between and when to use among, see this page.
Note that amongst would also be correct, but it is not as commonly used as among.
15. We thought we were going to expand this year, but we actually have
less fewer people now than we did two years ago.
Although using less before count nouns (cars, people, resources, etc.) is becoming more acceptable, the rule is that we use fewer before count nouns and less before non-count nouns (time, patience, determination, etc.).
We have fewer candidates for this position than we expected.
We have less candidates for this position than we expected.
Carl has less stress now that he has started working out after work.
Carl has fewer stress now that he has started working out after work.
16. She’s trying to concentrate
herself on finishing her degree.
We don’t use reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself, etc.) after the verb concentrate.
We need to concentrate on the task at hand.
We need to concentrate ourselves on the task at hand.
17. Unfortunately, the species has
gotten become/gone extinct due to human activity.
We can often use get to communicate that something has changed or transformed (get angry, get depressed, get scared, get excited, etc.). However, we can’t always use get (
get famous, , get available, for example). See this page to learn about using turn, become, get, and go to talk about changes and transformations.
18. I’m a little afraid to do this
by on my own (or by myself).
We have the expressions by myself and on my own.
By my own does not exist.
19. He told me that he had never been
in to that restaurant before.
We say been to, not
been in to communicate places that we have visited (countries, cities, towns, restaurants, stores, etc.). Note that If we are talking about a specific room, we would use in.
Have you been to Italy?
Have you been in Italy?
I can’t believe you’ve lived in Paris for 10 years but haven’t been to the Louvre.
I can’t believe you’ve lived in Paris for 10 years but haven’t been in the Louvre.
I’ve been to his house, but I’ve never been in the basement. (specific room = in)
I’ve been to his house, but I”ve never been to the basement.
20. Never before
I had had I seen something quite like that.
We use subject-verb inversion when we start a sentence with a negative adverb (never, hardly, seldom, etc.). For more examples of when to use subject-verb inversion, see this page.
For more error correction exercises, see: