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).


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!

Not ‘easy to be found’!

News from online media is easy to be found.

With easy and difficult you need active verbs:

  • News from online media is easy to find.
  • It is more difficult to find news from traditional sources.

..and with a different verb:

  • News online still has a negative side because it is not always easy to be verified.
  • News online still has a negative side because it is not always easy to verify.

So, that was easy to fix! (NOT ‘to be fixed’!)

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

Fall down over

When demand is low, prices usually fall down.

This is a common error when describing trends in graphs in IELTS task 1 writing. It makes sense, intuitively – if something ‘falls’ then it falls down and not up! However, ‘fall’ and ‘fall down’ can have quite different meanings depending on the context.

Take a look at these examples.


  • Real incomes actually fell in many places.
  • The deer fell immediately and never moved again.
  • The squad fired and both men fell.
  • Just about anything or anyone can fall, either accidentally or predictably. This is a good word to use when describing trends in IELTS Task 1 Writing! In fact, this is what we need with our opening example:
  • When demand is low, prices usually fall.

Fall down

  • He fell down from his horse and died immediately.
  • It’s better to wear a belt so that your trousers don’t fall down.
  • Both of these examples highlight ‘accidents’ in which someone or something falls down from a higher position to a lower position.

fall down

fall down

Fall over

  • Houses rocked and cracked; furniture fell over.
  • I actually fell over the bed when entering the room.
  • These are also ‘accidents’, but this time a person or thing falls over from its normal standing position into an abnormal position on the floor or on the ground.

fall over

fall over

Throw food (away)

Since there are many starving people in the world, it is better not to throw food.

The featured image for this post shows a man retrieving a pizza from a roof. This is how it got there:

Throwing pizza

Obviously the man doesn’t want to eat the pizza. However, most people in that situation would either give it someone else or throw it away:

Pizza in bin

So that’s two different ways to get rid of a pizza in English, each using a slightly different verb:

  1. If I throw food I send it flying through the air, often without too much thought for where it’s going to land.
  2. A straightforward verb – throw (Indonesian flag lempar).
  1. If I throw food away, I dispose of it in a place designed for waste collection – a dustbin, for example.
  2. A phrasal verb that includes a preposition – throw away (Indonesian flag buang). As with many phrasal verbs, the preposition can move, and so I can throw away food, or I can throw food away

If you’re talking about people starving in the world, it’s more normal to use the second of these meanings!

  • Since there are many starving people in the world, it is better not to throw away food.