Predicting that X will probably change Y

The IA-CEPA is predicted to stabilise diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Predicting a change that does not take an object

If you want to say something will change, without mentioning the thing that will be affected by the change (the object of the change), then the writer of our opening example is using the right structure: Continue reading

Why these and not those?

These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. Those are popular because they can connect to the Internet.

OK so our writer is using those as a substitute for smartphones and tablets. However, it would have been better to use these: Continue reading

Referring to sources using substitution

It has been argued that expenditure needed for applying a circular economy tends to be high (Kirchher et al., 2017). However, their claim is easy to counter given the many economic benefits offered by a circular economy.

This writer has used their as a substitute for a source – Kircher et al. However, since the source is in brackets and has not yet appeared in the body of the text, we have to assume that the reader has not yet seen it! Only use a pronoun as a substitute if the noun you are substituting has already been mentioned in the body of the text: Continue reading

Quality or qualities?

Javorcik seems to be unaware of the ability of domestic companies to engage in improving their qualities.

Another countable / uncountable problem, folks! Let’s take a look at some examples of each and think about differences in meaning.

Quality uncountable

This might refer to a high or low standard or standards. For example in the featured image for this post we could evaluate the quality of the bicycle (professional quality).

  • If you pay a lot of money for a product, you expect high quality.
  • High grade components ensure professional audio quality.
  • The high definition picture quality is stunning.

Quality countable

This is more about characteristic features. These may be personal, as in the qualities of the cyclist in our featured image (competitive, determined).

  • The relationship displays antagonistic yet loving qualities.
  • The team are demonstrating great leadership qualities.
  • He has such wonderful qualities deep down.

Characteristic features may also be material, as in the hat worn by our cyclist (comfortable, protective) and the bicycle itself (light, fast).

  • Every object around us has magnetic qualities.
  • A unique quality of the spider’s web is its strength.
  • They do not know how to distinguish with their senses the various qualities of different substances.


I think our writer was talking about the former meaning, in other words quality (uncountable) with reference to a standard that can be either high or low:

  • Javorcik seems to be unaware of the ability of domestic companies to engage in improving their quality.

Value or values?

Foreign companies offer more added values to products or services.

Sorry folks, but this is another countable / uncountable problem.

Values (plural)

These are often readings taken from a measuring device and can be represented as a number.

  • The laser powers mentioned are typical values.
  • Values between 0 and 1 are reasonable.
  • This height estimation service returns real height values.

Otherwise they might be moral or social values.

  • A multiracial society creates common values between religions.
  • I still live by those values today.
  • We explore humanist values and train future leaders.

Value (uncountable)

This is used to measure the worth of a thing either with reference to its exchange value, represented in terms of money..

  • Paper currency is money without intrinsic value.
  • The estimated value is $27 million.

..or to its use value, represented in terms of its non-monetary use to us.

  • One early finding has immediate practical value.
  • Their life has not much value here.
  • Nothing of value is accomplished without effort.


I’m fairly sure that in our opening example the writer is talking about the exchange value of products and services, and so he or she needs the uncountable form of value:

  • Foreign companies offer more added value to products or services.

As he says that..

As Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

OK so there is a group of reporting verbs that may be followed by that (+ independent clause), while there are others that don’t work with that:

Reporting verbs with ‘that’

  • Henderson (2013) writes that the double quantum matrix is a myth.
  • In 2015 it was discovered by Smith that elephants are more afraid of snakes than mice.
  • The findings of Jones et al. (2017) suggest that music education can lead to more general improvements in academic ability.

Reporting verbs without ‘that’

  • Henderson (2013) describes the double quantum matrix as a myth.
  • In his 2015 study of elephants, Smith identified a discrepancy between fear of mice and fear of snakes.
  • Jones’ research (2017) highlighted improvements in academic ability following music study.

As + that (?!)

This third category simply does not exist! As does not belong with that, so in our opening example we need either:

  • Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.


  • As Ballard (2017) states, nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

Indonesian flag But NEVER:

  • As Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

Let’s discuss ‘discuss about’

A variety of arguments have been put forward to discuss about the difference between a linear economy and a circular economy.

Let’s see what has to say about discuss and talk:

talk about


As you can see, talk is often followed by about, but discuss is never followed by about!

  • Today I’m going to discuss about unemployment.
  • Today I’m going to talk about unemployment.
  • Today I’m going to discuss unemployment.

Hope that helps!