One family

I have one wife, one child, one cat and one dog.

In the IELTS speaking test candidates often mention their families when talking about their homes. Sometimes they do this to justify only having a small home, or maybe they want to explain why they chose live in a particular area.

But in any situation when you offer information about your family, your listener will make certain assumptions, in particular about numbers, and if the number is one then this is often best communicated without using the word ‘one’. Continue reading

A problem has arisen

The involvement of government in indigenous governance has arisen a variety of arguments.

Here there is a vocabulary problem AND a grammar problem!

First the grammar problem..

In other languages (Indonesian flag ‘memunculkan’) the verb ‘arise’ can be transitive (can take an object), but in English it cannot. However, there do exist alternatives that allow you to keep the object (obj – ‘a variety of arguments’): Continue reading

Market(s) and ‘the market’

It is important to test products on animals before releasing them commercially to markets.

The problem here is that there are two kinds of market – physical and virtual – and in this example, markets (plural) suggests more than one physical market, while releasing them commercially suggests more than one virtual market. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Physical market(s)

  • The crowd around the market were given free water.
  • The town centre markets were also discussed briefly.
  • A big favourite at local farmers’ markets.

These are the places you go early in the morning to buy cheap vegetables. Often this kind of market is outdoor:

Outdoor market
If it’s an indoor market then it’s usually inside a large hall:

Indoor market

Virtual market(s)

The featured image for this post shows people buying and selling things on the virtual market. They’re not buying anything inside that building, rather they are investing in things that are located elsewhere so that they can hopefully receive some of the profits from the sale of those things.

A particular virtual market or set of virtual markets may be mentioned explicitly:

  • Funding costs rose amid renewed volatility in financial markets.

Sometimes more than one virtual market is implied:

  • New products are constantly appearing on the market. (different products sold in different locations)

And sometimes a specific virtual market is implied but not mentioned explicitly:

  • The property hit the market last week. (= the housing market)

Market(s) and collocation

If the name of a virtual market is not given, certain phrases can suggest that you’re talking about a virtual rather than a physical market.

  • We put our house on the market last week.
  • Anybody from anywhere can buy our house!
  • The 1990 model is no longer on the market.
  • It’s no longer available anywhere.
  • The property hit the market last week.
  • The property did not physically ‘hit’ a physical market building, rather it became available for purchase.

If it’s on the market (one or more virtual markets), it’s not at the market (a single physical market).

Conclusion

Our opening example implies a set of virtual markets that are not explicitly mentioned, and so we need:

  • It is important to test products on animals before releasing them commercially to the market.
  • More than one virtual market is implied (e.g. cosmetics, medicines, food products) but not mentioned explicitly!