‘Industry’ and ‘Industries’

Urbanisation supports economic development. Firstly, it is a supporting factor to increase industries.

OK so industry is one of those annoying words that can be countable and can be uncountable, depending on the context. If you’re being general then you need the uncountable form. Continue reading

Making people able with ‘enable’

Easy access to shops online makes buyers can visit many stores without leaving their homes.

This collocation – make (v) / can (modal) – is possible in Bahasa Indonesia, but not in English. These are your options in English:

  1. Easy access to shops online enables buyers to visit many stores without leaving their homes.
    [enable + s.o./s.th. + to + V1]
  2. Easy access to shops online makes it possible for buyers to visit many stores without leaving their homes.
    [make it possible for + s.o./s.th. + to + V1]
  3. Online shops are easy to access, and so buyers are able to visit many stores without leaving their homes.
    [to be + able + to + V1]


We could use the same language to talk about the benefits – or the enabling effects – of a wide range of technologies. Comments below!

‘Compared to’ instead of ‘rather than’

Cities offer larger salaries to people rather than small towns.

Here the comparison is between ‘salaries’ and ‘small towns’. The writer is saying that cities offer people large salaries and do not offer them small towns. Hmm. I would be quite happy if someone gave me a small town!

If we want to compare the salaries offered by cities with the salaries offered by small towns, then we need:

  • Cities offer larger salaries compared to small towns.
    (= salaries in cities vs. salaries in small towns)

And if you really must use rather than, then you could also write:

  • Cities offer larger salaries rather than smaller salaries.
    (= larger salaries vs. smaller salaries)

Most of the time instead of is synonymous with rather than:

  • Cities offer larger salaries instead of smaller salaries.

However, instead of is quite often a replacement for something that came before:

  • City companies now use electronic transfer instead of cash payment for salaries.

Next time make sure you’re comparing what you mean to compare!

The cook and the cooker

All my friends agree that I’m a good cooker!

This is a good try, but you are over-using the rule that says you can change a verb into a profession by adding ‘er’:

  • drive – driver
  • teach – teacher
  • write – writer
  • etc.

As with so many rules in English, there are exceptions. If you cook then you are a cook!

Cook or chef
A cook (or ‘chef’)
A kitchen ‘cooker’

If you really are – as your friends say – a cooker, then you are a domestic appliance used in many residential homes for heating food.

Good luck with that! 🙂

At the weekend I like watching

In my leisure time I like swimming, reading, and watching.

If you are contrasting doing an activity with simply watching then you don’t need to mention the activity:

Examiner: Do you do any sport?
Candidate: I like to watch.
(= I prefer watching than playing!)

Meanwhile if someone is showing you how to do something, you don’t need to mention the thing that they’re showing you:

Instructor: OK, now watch carefully!
Student: I’m watching.

However, if the thing you’re watching is something specific, then you need to mention that thing:

  • In my leisure time I love to swim and watch movies.
  • I don’t watch much TV now that we have YouTube.

This is especially important if the thing you are watching is TV or a movie, because watch collocates very strongly with these nouns.

Indonesian flag Indonesians translating ‘nonton‘ need to remember that if you don’t tell your listener what it is that you’re watching, then as far as your listener is concerned, you could by watching almost anything, like watching paint dry or watching grass grow!

Wrong because of ‘because’

People in my office know me as a person who knows about computer because my background study.

In my experience students usually get this wrong because of because of!

When you use cause effect signals, you need to think about how each signal behaves with either a cause or an effect. Because ‘behaves’ as follows: Continue reading

How ‘academic’ is your vocabulary?

Disclaimer: I didn’t create the Academic Word List. That distinction goes to a lady called Averil Coxhead. And I know there are other sites offering academic word highlighting, but I need my own app because I’m planning to integrate the AWL with other @guruEAP posts and pages in the near future.

So, you wanna know how ‘academic’ your vocab is?

Type or paste some text into the field below, then click ‘Check for academic words!’ Continue reading