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‡Common mistakes with verbs and adjectives

Study the following sentences. They
contain some of the most common
mistakes of ESL students.
Incorrect: Don’t angry me.
Correct: Don’t make me angry.
Incorrect: Please happy me.
Correct: Please make me happy.
Different verbs and adjectives are
followed by different structures. You
can upset a person, but you can’t
angry him or her.
Go riding
Incorrect: Let’s go for riding.
Correct: Let’s go riding.
Correct: Let’s go for a ride.
Note the structures:
Go for a ride / go for a walk / go for a
swim / go for a drive
Go riding / go walking / go swimming /
go driving
Incorrect: I pity on her.
Correct: I pity her.
We don’t use a preposition between
the verb pity and its object.
Incorrect: If you search the keys, you
will find them.
Correct: If you search for the keys, you
will find them.
Incorrect: They searched the boy, but
couldn’t find him.
Correct: They searched for the boy, but
couldn’t find him.
To search the boy is to examine him
physically. To search for the boy is to
try to find him.
Ask and ask for
Incorrect: He asked a raise.
Correct: He asked for a raise.
To ask someone to tell us something,
we use ask without for.
To ask someone to give us something,
we use ask with for.
Incorrect: I shall inform them this.
Correct: I shall inform them of this.
Inform takes the preposition of
between the indirect and direct
By and on
Incorrect: He walked ten miles by foot.
Correct: He walked ten miles on foot.
We can go by a car or a bus, but we
walk on foot.

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