Complete with ‘with’

Mobile phones are completed by advanced features.

Completed by

OK let’s look at some examples of ‘completed by’:

  • The questionnaires are completed by women aged 15–49.
  • A complete site overhaul was completed by our editorial staff.
  • The detailed project report has been completed by the consultants.

In all three examples we have to be + completed by + agent (the person doing the completing). In our opening example that would make ‘advanced features’ the agent, which is of course impossible. Continue reading

Giving to people for a purpose

In recent times, the obligation of developed nations to give aid for developing nations has been widely discussed.

This grammar item is handled differently by different languages. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Several highly independent intelligence operations were given to him.
  • Eventually they gave the house to their eldest son.
  • Don’t give it to them! They’ll waste it.
  • In these examples, give..to is followed by a person or group. (Indonesian flag kepada)

So, ‘to’ + person or people. What about ‘for’?

  • Cool, huh?! My parents gave it to me for my birthday.
  • I normally give a tip for good service, but this time I was disappointed.
  • Here give..for is followed by a purpose. (Indonesian flag untuk)

Now try this practice activity. Continue reading

With or without ‘with’

It could be argued that a patient who doubts with modern medicines will take longer to heal.

Indonesian flag Bahasa Indonesia often features with after certain verbs where it would not be used in English. In English the opening example would simply read:

  • It could be argued that a patient who doubts modern medicines will take longer to heal.

Other examples of the redundant with include:

  • In addition, patients do not fully believe with the capability of the doctor.
  • I like with dangdut music.
  • Please promise with your mother that you will meet her after work.

So that’s four verbs – doubt, believe, like, promise – that are not followed by with in English, but are followed by with in at least one other language. I’ll add more examples when I think of them. Meanwhile, if you can think of any other examples, please add comments below.

I will tag this post with the Indonesian word dengan – please come back another time and see if the list has grown!

Ask the menu!

I’ll ask the menu!

menu couple

Non-native speakers having dinner!

Indonesian flag This is a common mistake made by Indonesians translating ‘tanya‘ instead of ‘minta‘.

The options in English are (take a deep breath!):

  1. I’ll ask the waiter. (ask someone)
  2. I’ll ask the waiter to bring us the menu. (ask someone to do something)
  3. I’ll ask the waiter about the menu. (ask someone about something/someone)
  4. I’ll ask the waiter for the menu. (ask someone for something)
  5. I’ll ask for the menu. (ask for something/someone)

Most native speakers would probably use Number 5.

Notice that ask something is not in this list. The picture below shows what might happen if you ask the menu!

talking menu

Most menus cannot answer questions!

Indonesian flag Possibly there are different ways to translate the correct forms into Indonesian. I know that I’m never confident when using tanya and minta in Indonesian. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments box below!

Reaching a peak in IELTS Task 1

In general, the 6pm news reached its peak for almost 5 million viewers per day in the first month.

This is actually quite communicative and in IELTS this sentence might give you a satisfactory score for TA. However, the language problems would leave you with a much lower score for GRA and for CC.

  1. It doesn’t make sense to signal this statement ‘In general‘, because it’s not general. It features data values taken from the x and y axes of the graph. Better to put this information in the detail section of your essay and signal it “In detail,“.
  2. You need to treat ‘reach a peak‘ as a phrasal verb. If you want to change the tense – and the tense will most likely be past simple tense – then you can modify ‘reach‘ (past: ‘reached a peak‘). Otherwise don’t mess with ‘a‘ and don’t mess with ‘peak‘.
  3. The preposition ‘for‘ is not right.

So, if you really are making a general statement, do this:

  • In general, the popularity of the 6pm news reached a peak in the first month.

If you want to mention detail, then do this:

  • In detail, the 6pm news reached a peak of almost 5 million viewers per day in the first month.

Pay careful attention to this pattern:

something + reached a peak (+ of + value x) (+ time expression)

If you don’t believe me, check out these examples!

And whatever you do, don’t write ‘reached the peak‘! That applies to climbers only, where ‘the‘ refers to the mountain that they happen to be climbing at the time!

The tunnel passed by the sperm?!

The fallopian tube is a tunnel which will be passed by the sperm on its way to the egg.

This  might be possible if all the sperm does is pass by the entrance to the tunnel without actually entering it. But then it won’t be on its way to the egg, it will be on its way somewhere else!

If you want to say that the sperm enters the tunnel, travels along it and then meets the egg, you need to use a preposition that carries that meaning:

  • The fallopian tube is a tunnel which the sperm passes through on its way to the egg.

Compare these situations:

tunnel

  • A > B: The sperm passes through the tunnel.
  • C > D: The tunnel is passed by the sperm.
  • D > E: The tunnel is passed by the sperm.

Indonesian flag Indonesians take care when you’re translating melalui, melintasi, menyebrangi, and melewati.