transitive and intransitive verbs

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in English

ESL Learners Can struggle with Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in English: But there Might Be a Way to Easily figure out the difference


Transitive and intransitive verbs can give ESL learners major headaches. Half the time, though, many don’t even  realize they are making a big mistake. But even  when they know they are making a mistake but they  don’t know the rule, it can be very frustrating.

It’s all about OBJECTS and knowing when you need them and when you don’t.

How do you know which verbs need an object and which verbs do not need an object in English? At first blush it is not easy to tell as there are no clear rules. English verbs that have more than one meaning can be especially tricky because sometimes the word/verb is transitive and sometimes it is intransitive. For example the verb “to fold.” This verb has about 13 different meanings! Some of the applications of this verb takes an object (which makes it transitive) and others do not.

Look at the following applications of the verb “to fold”

  1. I folded the laundry. (This is transitive – it needs object) What is the meaning? It means “I bent the clothes and fabrics that I washed.”

2.  He folded. (This is intransitive- does not need object) What is the meaning? It means “He gave up.”

Why do you need to know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs? Because not knowing the different between transitive and intransitive verbs results in grammatically incorrect sentences that either sound funny or just flat out makes no sense. For example, if you said “I sent.” This is supposed to be a sentence but it is incomplete and does not make perfect sense. Because the person listening does not know what you sent or who you sent.

But just so that you will be totally confused about transitive and intransitive verbs in English, the vast majority of verbs can be both transitive and intransitive depending on the context in which they are used (like the verb “to fold.”)

So what are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to figure this out?!

Well, there are a couple of tricks you can try though they are not foolproof.

1). First, accept that you will have to try to memorize quite a bit in this domain, and you will have to depend on your experience with the language over time to become used to which verbs need an object.

2). But there could be an even better way to figure it out. Ask yourself "who or what does the verb relate to?" Is it a noun? If there is an answer and it is a noun, the verb is TRANSITIVE. Example:  "Sam eats meat." Ask "who or what does Sam eat?" Sam eats meat. So "meat" is a noun and it therefore an object of the verb "eat." So in this example, the verb "eat" is TRANSITIVE (in this sentence - because note that in other sentences the verb "eat could be intransitive).

3). If you are still not sure if the verb is transitive or intransitive, ask yourself how or where is the verb? This will help you to confirm that there if there is an object or not. If there is an answer to  one of these two questions, the verb is INTRANSITIVE. 

Consider the following sentence: "Sam runs slowly." Ask "how does Sam run"? Sam runs slowly. 

Consider also the following sentence: "Sam is running in the park." Where is Sam running? He is running in the park. 
Who or what is Sam running? There is no answer. 
So the verb "run" is INTRANSITIVE (in this sentence), therefore, and does not need an object. 

3). Another way to tell if the verb needs an object or not is to use your ears. If it sounds funny, something is probably missing or wrong. 

4). Finally, the best option if you are not sure might be to simply check the dictionary which will usually indicate "T" for transitive or "I" for Intransitive next to the verb.


As a general rule, intransitive (often followed by prepositional phrases, adverbs, adjectives, or complements) do not need an object.

  • The woman behaved badly.
  • The woman looks nice.
  • The dog is happy.
  • The child plays in the puddle.


Consider the following sentences which are grammatically complete in English:

  1. I ate. I ate hungrily. (intransitive)
  2. I bathed. I bathed in milk.(intransitive)
  3. I believed. I believed nothing. (intransitive)
  4. I drank. I drank in the bar. (intransitive)
  5. I exploded. I exploded at him. (intransitive)
  6. I fell. I fell in the water. (intransitive)
  7. I worked. I worked for it. (intransitive)
  8. I stopped. I stopped laughing. (intransitive)
  9. I shopped. I shopped till I dropped. (intransitive)
  10. I swam. I swam in the river. (intransitive probably in every context)

In the sentences above, there is just a SUBJECT and a VERB in the first version. Even after adding a phrase or complement in the second version, there is still no object because there is not “who” or “what.”. It means that each of these verbs is INTRANSITIVE. In English, a verb that is  intransitive is a verb that is not followed by an object but yet, completes a sentence in a grammatically correct way.



By contrast, there are verbs in English that MUST BE FOLLOWED BY an object in order for the sentence to express a complete thought, and in order for the sentence to be grammatically correct and make sense.

Consider the 10 examples below:

  1. I sold. I sold it. It sold quickly.
  2. I kissed.  I kissed him. We kissed in the movie theatre.
  3. I sent. I sent her.
  4. I want. I want it.
  5. I carry. I carry a concealed weapon.
  6. I terminated. I terminated the interview.
  7. I opened. I opened the door.
  8. I hear. I hear music.
  9. I shamed. I shamed the clerk.
  10. I folded (?). I folded the laundry.
  11. I gave. I gave them food.
  12. I imagine (?). I imagine the worst.

In each of these examples, the first sentence is incomplete because the listener will be wondering what or whom you are talking about. For example, in English, you can’t just say (under normal circumstances) “I sold.” This is not a complete sentence. Something is missing. The person who is listening to you will ask, “sold what?” What did you sell? To whom did you sell it? This is because the verb “to sell” is TRANSITIVE. It is a verb in transition. It is not a complete idea without an OBJECT attached. The object will answer the questions “who,” “whom,” or “what.” In the second sentence, the questions “who” “whom” or “what” is answered.


At the same time, one could argue that the verb “to kiss” is sometimes intransitive, and the verb “to drink” can be transitive. Consider for example, “I drank rum.” Or, “we kissed.” No object is needed in the latter whereas “rum” (while not needed to form a complete thought) is the object in the former. So depending on the context, a verb can be be either transitive or intransitive.

Consider the verb “to give.” Is this verb transitive or intransitive? Arguably, it would normally be transitive. Something else needs to be said for it to make sense in most circumstances. If you say to someone “I gave” the natural response might be “gave what?” Or, “give who?” “Gave who?” “Gave what”? Something is missing and the sentence is incomplete because the verb “to give” is TRANSITIVE. It needs an object – probably always

Note: Transitive verbs are followed by nouns or noun clauses and not be prepositions or state verbs. So for example, in the sentence “I can hear the birds singing.” The subject is “I” and the verb is “can hear.” The object is “the birds” so the verb “to hear” is TRANSITIVE.

By contrast, consider the sentence “I swam in the lake.” Here, the subject is “I” and the verb is “swam.” The prepositional phrase “in the lake” is not an object. So the verb “to swim” is INTRANSITIVE. It does not need an object. The same is true for all the verbs on the first set of verbs on this page.



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In English, there are many different types of pronouns (this includes distributive pronouns like "all, "negative pronouns like "no one" and impersonal pronouns like "someone") but in fact these can be re-categorized into larger groups as there are 8 major categories of English pronouns.

What are pronouns? English Pronouns replace nouns in a sentence. Virtually any noun can be replaced by a pronoun in English. But it does matter which pronoun you use. You cannot just employ any pronoun you want. The placement of the pronoun in the sentence and the function it serves will determine which pronoun is appropriate.


Subject pronouns replace nouns which are subjects in the sentence. So nouns that function as the subject can be replaced by a subject pronoun. The subject pronouns are:

I……………………..  I have a toothache.

You……………….  You don’t have a toothache, do you?

He……………….  He had a toothache while the president of France was visiting him.

She…………… She has never had a toothache

It…………….  It does not have teeth.

We…………. we took him to the dentist because he had a missing tooth.

They………. They have never been to the dentist and thus they have no teeth.


The object pronoun is an object of the verb or preposition it precedes or follows.  (Direct objects usually follow the verb and indirect objects usually follow the preposition).

Me……….. Hervé gave me the job.

you …………….Did she tell you about the job requirements?

her……………. You should tell her to audition for the job.

him……………Would you hire him for this job if he were the only candidate?

it…………. The interviewer showed it to me and said, “this is why this job is so tricky.”

us……… The recruiter sent emails to us and said the President’s entire cabinet had quit and that he desperately needed to hire new staff.

them……. The president gave them the option to resign.


You use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object are the same. (Note that reflexive pronouns are distinct from  intensive pronouns. For example, “I, myself, sewed these curtains” is intensive, not reflective. Why? Because “myself” is used only to “intensify” the subject “I.” It is not integral to the sentence. On the other hand, reflexive pronouns are integral to the sentence and if removed, the meaning of the sentence is lost.

myself………I love myself.

Yourself……….You should love yourself enough not to take drugs.

Herself………..It is incredible that she did that to herself.

Himself…………….He loves himself too much; he is a narcissist.

Itself………….Look! It bathes itself with its tongue.

Ourselves………….We have to protect ourselves.

Themselves…………….They are the culprits and can only blame themselves for this.


The relative pronoun is used to add additional information about the noun in the sentence (subject or object)

That………… This is the girl that won the lottery.

Who……………The man  who won the lottery, whose jackpot was one billion dollars, was homeless.

Which…………….. The house, which is white, sold for two million dollars.

Whom……….. The man whom you despise is a billionaire.

Whose……..The boy whose bike was stolen is the grandson of Vladimir Putin.


Interrogative pronouns are used exclusively to ask questions about nouns in the sentence. Interrogative pronouns are also relative pronouns. All are “WH” words. But not every “WH” word is an interrogative pronoun. And not all relative pronouns are interrogative pronouns either. Some are adverbs. There are 5 interrogative pronouns in English.  They are: who, whom, whose, what, and which.

Who is that?!

Whose shoes are you wearing?

To whom should I address my complaints?

Which way should I turn to reach your place?

What in the name of Chanel is wrong with you?!

Why are you so cantankerous? (adverb)

Where is Leonardo? (adverb)

When can you come for a visit? (adverb)

How does this thing work? (adverb)

POSSESIVE PRONOUNS (and possessive adjective pronouns)

It is easy to identify possessive pronouns.  These words refer to ownership. They are used to identify when something belongs to someone. They are strongly related to possessive adjectives.  The possessive pronouns are: Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, (possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, their)

  1. It’s mine.
  2. It’s not yours.
  3. Is it hers?
  4. No, I think it’s his but I could be wrong.
  5. This is its collar. Do you want it?
  6. Can we eat ours?
  7. Pass theirs to them.
  8. My hand itches.
  9. Does your hand ever itch?
  10. He told me that his toes itch all the time but his hand never itches.
  11. Her nose is itching but she is afraid to scratch it.
  12. It uses its tail to soothe the itch.
  13. They took our seats; this makes me itch with rage!
  14. I declined their invitation because I am afflicted with jock itch and preferred to stay home.



There are four demonstrative pronouns. They are: this, that, these, those. Demonstrative pronouns are used to specify a thing or person or place (nouns). This and that are singular. These and those are plural. For example:

This is demented.

That is so typical of Donald Trump.

These people are not well; they need to get their heads checked.

Those people might as well resign from the administration.


Indefinite pronouns refer to nouns however they are used when the noun (person, place, or thing) is not specified.

  1. Someone called the cops.
  2. Anyone is allowed to enter.
  3. No one believed her.
  4. Everyone laughed at her.
  5. All aboard!
  6. Some like it hot.
  7. She doesn’t like any, sorry.
  8. Mom doesn’t like either.
  9. Dad says neither can go.
  10. Let’s join the others.
  11. I don’t need so many.
  12. There were several.
  13. That’s enough.
  14. He was better than most and that’s why he won.
  15. Both are wrong.
  16. Nothing comes from nothing.
  17. Something is fishy about that.
  18. Everything is marvelous.
  19. Nobody should have to go though that.
  20. Somebody should enlighten her.
  21. Everybody has two sides.

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E,glish vocabulary for contracts

English Vocabulary for Contracts Drafting

English Vocabulary for Contracts Drafting

English Vocabulary for Contracts Drafting
Drafting Contracts in English Requires Knowledge of Contracts Vocabulary.

English Vocabulary for Contracts Drafting is specialized and practitioners who are not native English speakers (and even those who are) often will have to spend a lot of time memorizing new expressions, words and terms. That is to say that Contract Law is a universe onto itself and it has its own vocabulary and linguistic pedigree. For those who are English language learners, learning the language of Contracts is an additional challenge to be added to learning the English language itself. Oye! Well, never fret. Today, I am going to give you a series of words and terms that are unique to the practice of Contracts and Business Law. In some cases I have tried to add a comprehensive explanation based on what I remember from law school.


Without further ado, a list of English Vocabulary for Contracts Drafting:

Acceptance – An acceptance is when the offeree learns of a commitment/promise/offer and agrees to the terms thus forming a binding contract with the offeror. For UCC contracts, acceptance is the same for bilateral and unilateral contracts. Either promise or performance is good acceptance under the UCC.  In the case of acceptance by performance, the offeree must give notice to the offeror that performance is in the process.

For bilateral offers, the acceptance can be express or by conduct. That is, the offeree makes a commitment that is definite in language or conduct such that a “reasonable person” would interpret a contractual relationship had been formed between the two parties. Circumstances matter. Even if there is an expression of acceptance, the circumstances can alter the way the situation is interpreted by the Court. Acceptance must be “speedy” and “legally identical” to the way the offer came. So if the offer was made by email, you have to accept by email and this is probably “speedy” enough. You cannot accept an offer orally if that offer was made in writing – as a general rule.

For unilateral offers (promise for performance), the offeree must perform the action that was offered by the offeror in order to accept the offer.  The offeree must give the offeror notice if the offer requires notice, (or if the offeror would have no other way of knowing the performance had been completed) and this becomes a part of the acceptance.

Silence and use of the goods could also be viewed as acceptance. But only the offeree’s silence can be treated as acceptance (if the offeree suggests that his or her silence means acceptance.)

In some cases, acceptance sticks even if the offeror does not receive it. In other words, an acceptance is effective when dispatched, in effect. This is called the mailbox rule.  The mailbox rule only applies to bilateral offers, not unilateral offers. There are however exceptions to the mailbox rule (when the offer says you cannot use dispatch as the test; when you have an option contract; when you have an offeree who keeps changing his or her mind and then sends an rejection letter to change his or her mind; if the offeree rejects first then accepts, then whichever is received first by the offeror will prevail.)

Ambiguity – This is a term in the contract that could have more than one meaning. This could cause the contract to be unenforceable if the ambiguity pertains to a “material term” in the contract. This is an unenforceable contract or provision.

Assignment – Assignment occurs when an original party to all rights and duties of a contract transfers the rights, duties and obligations under the contract to a third party. The person who assigns a right in a contract is called an assignor and the person who receives the right is the assignee. Most but not all contract rights can be assigned. For example, if assignment is prohibited in the terms of the contract it cannot be assigned (but this is tricky because you can still assign and the assignee has a bonafide contract with the other party but this creates a breach issue that entitles the other party to damages potentially). If the right is for personal services the rights cannot be assigned as a general rule if the assignment changes the nature of the performance.

Battle of the forms rules – New and different terms are part of the contract unless the original offer prohibited new terms; or the new terms “materially” change and alter the contract.

Bilateral Contract – A contract is formed with mutual promises – a promise for a promise – the performances are “executory” that means they are not yet executed.

Black Letter Law of Contracts – This term refers to the well-established Law of Contracts that are widely accepted and not subject to dispute – the fundamental principles upon which Contracts law is based and understood by most people (this term is not limited to Contracts, btw).

Breach – Breach occurs when one or both parties fail to perform their duties or obligations under the Contract. The breach could occur because of action of the party who is suing for breach. Breach can be “material”, “minor”, “fundamental” or anticipatory. Usually, breach results in damages to the aggrieved party but on occasion, a material or fundamental breach could be subject to specific performance.

Capacity – Capacity refers to the mental ability of the party to enter into the contract. Anyone under the age of 18 is presumptively not of sufficient mental abilities to enter into most contracts; however they are considered to have capacity for “necessaries.” And a contract with a minor is not necessarily void. It is only voidable if the minor derived no benefit from the contract. Other parties lack capacity to enter into contracts. A person who has been adjudicated “mentally incompetent” cannot enter into an enforceable contract. This type of contract is more than voidable. It is void, ab initio. Other types of incapacity involve drugs, alcohol and other material that could render a person incapable of understanding the commitment he or she is making (if the other party knows or should have known about the incapacity.) This is a voidable obligation. The contract can later be “affirmed” if the incapacitated party gains capacity.

CISG – United Nations Convention for the International Sale of Goods

Collateral Debts – There is an existing obligation to pay the debt and the obligation is not that of the person who promises to pay the debt, and this third party gains no benefit from paying the debt. Collateral debts have to be in writing to be enforceable according to the Statute of Frauds.

Commitment – in the context of a contract, a commitment is an agreement to enter into a contract.

Common Law Contracts – The term common law contracts generally refers to those contracts that do not involve the sale of movable goods, vis a vis UCC contracts (and on the international level CISG contracts) which are limited to the sale of goods.

Conditions of a contract – Each contract has general conditions and special conditions. These are just the terms and conditions that set the rights and duties of the parties in a contract. Boilerplate provisions outline the general conditions and the special conditions are usually the result of negotiation between the parties.

Conforming Goods – Conforming goods are goods that meet the specifications contracted for in the contract vis a vis non-conforming goods which do not meet the specifications of the contract.

Consideration – Every contract requires consideration. Gifts, moral convictions and prior acts are not contracts because they do not have a bargained for exchange. The consideration is the part of the transaction that makes the contract enforceable. The promises must both have consideration for a contract to be enforceable. Both the offeror and the offeree makes promises in a contract. For there to be consideration, the promise must have induced performance from the promisee. Was there detriment? Was there a bargained for exchange?  Is the promise real? Or illusory?

Counter Offer – This is a rejection of the original offer and the proferring of new terms and conditions. Under Common Law Contracts law, the words of acceptance must be the mirror image of the offer. The offeree cannot impose new terms and rules at his or her whim. The UCC is not so strict. To have a counteroffer under the Code, it is necessary that the seller ships nonconforming goods as an “accomodations.” In other situations, if the buyer accepts under conditional language and conditions his or her acceptance on new terms, then this is a counteroffer and the original offeror must accept these new conditions in order for there to be a contract. Under the UCC the goods can be conforming or nonconforming. If the goods are noncoforming, this creates a breach but it is an acceptance and thus a contract is formed. The offeror can obtain remedies for the non-conforming goods (but not if the offeree tells the offeror that the goods are an “accommodation” or “counteroffer.”)

Defenses to a contract – The defenses of a contract include incapacity, Statute of Frauds, Operation of Law, illegality, impossibility, duress (personal and economic), impracticability, unconscionability, force majeure, ambiguity

Delegation of Duties – This implies transferring obligations and duties in a contract to a third party but not necessarily the entire contract as in the case of an assignment of rights.

Firm offer – Merchants can make a firm offer. That means that the person who makes this offer is someone who is in business. These types of offers have to be in writing. Under the UCC (American Law) this is not valid if it is not in writing. With these offer, the merchant promises to keep the offer open. These offers are not revocable for a reasonable time. So whereas most other offers can be revoked at will, firm offers must be kept open by the merchant for at least three months. If the offeree paid consideration to the merchant, then the merchant has to keep the firm offer open for longer than three months under the UCC.

Forbearance – Forbearance to abstain from doing something you would normally not be required from abstaining from. This is good consideration in a contract.

Formation – This concept applies to all the preliminary and necessary steps that precede and include the “commitment” to enter into a contract.

Fraud in the execution – This occurs when a party is deceived into entering into a contract. They did not even know this was a contractual situation. (Another name for fraud in the execution is fraud in the factum.)

Fraud in the inducement – Fraud in the inducement occurs when one party is misled through coercion or deceit to enter into a contract he or she otherwise would not have entered into.

Good – According to the UCC, § 2-105. Definitions: Transferability; “Goods”; “Future” Goods; “Lot”; “Commercial Unit” see,

(1) “Goods” means all things (including specially manufactured goods) which are movable at the time of identification to the contract for sale other than the money in which the price is to be paid, investment securities (Article 8) and things in action. “Goods” also includes the unborn young of animals and growing crops and other identified things attached to realty as described in the section on goods to be severed from realty (Section 2-107).

(2) Goods must be both existing and identified before any interest in them can pass. Goods which are not both existing and identified are “future” goods. A purported present sale of future goods or of any interest therein operates as a contract to sell.

(3) There may be a sale of a part interest in existing identified goods.

(4) An undivided share in an identified bulk of fungible goods is sufficiently identified to be sold although the quantity of the bulk is not determined. Any agreed proportion of such a bulk or any quantity thereof agreed upon by number, weight or other measure may to the extent of the seller’s interest in the bulk be sold to the buyer who then becomes an owner in common.

(5) “Lot” means a parcel or a single article which is the subject matter of a separate sale or delivery, whether or not it is sufficient to perform the contract.

(6) “Commercial unit” means such a unit of goods as by commercial usage is a single whole for purposes of  sale and division of which materially impairs its character or value on the market or in use. A commercial unit may be a single article (as a machine) or a set of articles (as a suite of furniture or an assortment of sizes) or a quantity (as a bale, gross, or carload) or any other unit treated in use or in the relevant market as a single whole.

Lapse – This occurs if a party takes too long to accept an offer. No contract is formed in this case. The deal is considered to be off.

Mail Box Rule – The mail box rule refers to how acceptances are made on the date the acceptance is dropped into the mail by the offeree. Rejections are not subject to the mailbox rule. Those are effective when received. Acceptances are effective when they are dropped or post-marked into the mailbox.

Merchant – Pursuant to Article 2 Sec. 104 of the UCC a merchant is defined as follows: “Merchant” means a person who deals in goods of the kind or otherwise by his occupation holds himself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to the practices or goods involved in the transaction or to whom such knowledge or skill may be attributed by his employment of an agent or broker or other intermediary who by his occupation holds himself out as having such knowledge or skill.”

Mirror image rule – in common law contracts, the acceptance must mirror the offer or it is considered a counteroffer. The rule is different under the UCC and under the CISG in some occasion

Mutual Mistake – This occurs where both parties to a contract made a fundamental mistake as to the subject matter of the contract where the subject matter does not exist.

Offer – Whether a statement is considered an offer is a “reasonable person” test – an objective test. An offer must contain definite terms which are “material” to the subject matter of the contract. Would a reasonable person believe that the speaker intended to form a contract with the listener or offeree?  Circumstances matter. Words are not enough for a valid offer to have been made. Was this serious or was the speaker joking, for example? Horsing around does not create a valid offer if the reasonable person should have known that the speaker was horsing around. So it is language and it is circumstances that will determine if there has been an offer made. (Advertising is not an offer it is an invitation to enter into a contract but it is not an offer or commitment – as a general rule.)

Offeree – In a contract this person must be identifiable and definite and it is someone who has actual knowledge that an offer has been made. THEY MUST KNOW THE OFFER WAS MADE OTHERWISE THERE IS NO CONTRACT. This is the person who receives the offer from the offeror.

Option Contract – An offeree creates this contract by paying consideration to the offeror to keep an offer open for a specific time. The offeror cannot revoke this at will, only within a reasonable time.

Promissory Estoppel – The concept here is that if you make some promises you are estopped from revoking them freely. Promissory estoppel is considered to be a “consideration substitute.” So if the offeree relies on your promise and takes action based on this promise to their detriment, the promise is treated as if consideration was given for that promise.

Rejection – The offeree is the only party who can reject an offer. Rejection can be express or by conduct. To reject an offer means that the  offeree does not make a commitment to enter into a contractual relationship with the offeror.

Revocation – The offeror revokes a contract. This can occur expressly or by conduct. Revocation is not always at will. For example, in the case of merchants whwo make “firm offers” these are not revocable at will. For unilateral contracts which involve a promise for a performance, revocation is not at will when there is partial performance.

Statute of Frauds – This is a defense to the enforcement of a contract. Some kinds of contracts are protected by SoF defenses including contracts for the sale of land, real estate contracts, marital agreements, and contracts for paying the “collateral debts” of a third party are protected if there is o written agreement. In this case, collateral means there is a debt in existence. Third party had no obligation to pay the debt in the first place but he or she promises to pay the debt. This has to be in writing.

Subject Matter of the Contract – The purpose/main “material” material of the contract. For example for the sale of goods the subject matter if the quantity and the price. In an employment contract the subject matter is the duration or term of the employment.

Termination – To end a contractual agreement; revoke an offer; reject an offer (express or conduct); or by operation of law

Third Party Beneficiaries – These parties appear in the contract when it is formed. They are technically a non-party in that they have no duties and obligations but they receive the benefit of the contract and this is evident at the time of formation of the contract. Beneficiaries are intended or incidental. Intended third party beneficiaries are identified in the promise made in the contract and the benefit of the performance goes to this beneficiary. The promisee and the beneficiary must be related in order for the third party to be considered an intended beneficiary. Only intended beneficiaries have rights under the contract! Donee beneficiaries (gift beneficiaries) v. creditor beneficiary (the promise has an obligation to the third party beneficiary)

UCC – The UCC stands for Uniform Commercial Code.

Unconscionability – A term in a contract that is unfair on its face at the time of formation of the contract.

UNIDROIT – INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE UNIFICATION OF PRIVATE LAW. “Its purpose is to study needs and methods for modernising, harmonising and co-ordinating private and in particular commercial law as between States and groups of States and to formulate uniform law instruments, principles and rules to achieve those objectives.”

Unilateral Contract – a unilateral contract is formed with a promise for a “fully executed performance.” The other party has to complete the performance in order for the contract to come into force. This cannot be freely revoked by the offeror. Partial performance matters. So that even if you do not have full performance as offeror you have to give the offeree a reasonable time to perform.

Unilateral Mistake – This occurs where one party to the contract is mistaken about the subject matter of the contract. This is a defense to enforcement of the contract if the other party knew the mistaken party was making a mistake when the contract was formed.


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In English, when you have two or more verbs in a sentence that are related to one another in that sentence, the form of the second verb can either be in gerund form “ing” (making it more like a noun than a verb, example “taking”)) or it can be in the infinitive form (example, “to take”). But how can you tell which is correct between the ING or infinitive?

For example, if you need to tell your child to take a shower you would say:

“You need to take a shower now. ”

Notice that the two verbs in that sentence are are “need” and “take.”

The first verb is conjugated normally. But the second verb is not conjugated. It stays in the infinitive.

In that sentence, you COULD NOT say “you need taking a shower now.” Not only because it sounds funny, which it does, but also because it is just grammatically not correct in English to follow the verb “to need” with the ING FORM.

Why? Because the first verb “need” is almost always followed by the infinitive in English. It is never followed by the gerund “ing” form of the verb.


ING or INFINITIVE? The General rules are as follows:

  • Some verbs MUST be followed by the infinitive form and others MUST be followed by a gerund.
  • Yet other verbs can be followed by either the gerund or the infinitive.
  • Sometimes, the form that follows can change the meaning of the second verb completely and the sense of the sentence completely.

Examples: “I remembered to give him the files.” vs “I remembered giving him the files.”

  • Sometimes an object comes between the first verb and the second verb (usually the infinitive form).

Examples: “I allowed John to take more cherries.”

  • *Note that phrasal verbs also follow this rule. Example: “She gave up expecting him to change.”
  • *Note also that certain nouns can also be followed by the infinitive form. Example: “He had the desire to slice off her nose.”



  1. Admit (example: I admit taking the car this morning)
  2. Appreciate (example: Did you appreciate seeing your brother?)
  3. Avoid
  4. Can’t help
  5. Can’t resist
  6. Can’t stand
  7. Carry on
  8. Consider
  9. Delay
  10. Deny
  11. Dislike
  12. Enjoy
  13. Excuse
  14. Fancy
  15. Finish
  16. Give up
  17. Given up
  18. Help, resist, face & Stand (with couldn’t and can’t)
  19. Imagine
  20. Involves
  21. Justify
  22. Keep, keep on, carry on
  23. Make
  24. Mention
  25. Mind
  26. Mind (negatives and questions in particular)
  27. Permits
  28. Postpone
  29. Practice
  30. Propose
  31. Put off
  32. Recommend
  33. Risk
  34. Spend time with
  35. Suggest
  36. Tolerate
  37. Worth




  1. Begin
  2. Bother
  3. Continue
  4. Forget
  5. Go on
  6. Hate
  7. Intend
  8. Like
  9. Love
  10. Mean
  11. Need
  12. Permits
  13. Prefer
  14. Propose
  15. Regret
  16. Remember * (this could sometimes take the ING form)
  17. Stand
  18. Start
  19. Stop
  20. Try




  1. Want
  2. Help
  3. Ask
  4. Decide
  5. Hope
  6. Choose To
  7. Demand
  8. Need
  9. Agree
  10. Arrange
  11. Refuse
  12. Expect
  13. Require
  14. Allow
  15. Offer
  16. Seem
  17. Appear
  18. Tend
  19. Manage
  20. Fail


  1. Agreement (example: We had an agreement to manufacture crystals)
  2. Arrangement
  3. Decision
  4. Demand
  5. Desire
  6. Failure
  7. Offer
  8. Plan
  9. Promise
  10. Refusal
  11. Tendancy
  12. Threat

Verbs that usually can take an object before the second verb:


  1. advise (example: “I advise you to toss him out of the car.”)
  2. allow (example: Mom allowed me to put a perm in my hair when I was thirty.)
  3. ask
  4. beg
  5. cause
  6. enable
  7. encourage
  8. expect
  9. force
  10. help
  11. intend
  12. invite
  13. mean
  14. order
  15. recommend
  16. remind
  17. take
  18. teach
  19. tell
  20. warn



English Verb Tenses: How to choose the right verb tense in English

English Verb Tenses can be a minefield for English learners

English verb tenses can present a sink hole of options for English learners and native speakers alike and it can be a very frustrating thing picking the right one. The thing with English verb tenses and the difference between native speakers and learners is that most native speakers hardly if ever think about these various options. They simply speak the language without thinking too analytically about the tense. You will know you are a native speaker when you stop obsessing about the correct tense. For now, as you try to improve your proficiency you want to know all you can about tenses and which one is correct in which context. In the post below, 12 English verb tenses will be examined.

  1. Simple Present
  2. Present Continuous
  3. Simple Past
  4. Past Continuous
  5. Past perfect
  6. Past perfect Continuous
  7. Present perfect
  8. Present perfect continous
  9. Future
  10. Future Continuous
  11. Future Perfect
  12. Future Perfect Continuous


32 Ways to conjugate a verb

You may wonder how many tenses there are to start with. Answer: It depends on who you ask. Some experts claim that there are really only two verb tenses in English: past and present. But others would argue differently. One expert makes the argument that there are really 32 English tenses! This is how he demonstrated his point by using the verb “To take” and conjugating it 32 different ways:

takes, is taking, has taken, has been taking,
took, was taking, had taken, had been taking,
will take, will be taking, will have taken, will have been taking,
would take, would be taking, would have taken, would have been taking,
is taken, is being taken, has been taken, has been being taken,
was taken, was being taken, had been taken, had been being taken,
will be taken, will be being taken, will have been taken, will have been being taken,
would be taken, would be being taken, would have been taken, would have been being taken (for more go here:

The 12 Basic English tenses

The present tense is a basic building block of the English language. Use this tense when you are talking about events that are happening in the moment; or that happen habitually or repetitively. It is also used to give opinions, orders or imperatives and to talk about established facts. (Words like “always” “constantly” and “usually” are often used with the present tense.)


  • Succeed! (imperative)
  • Let’s succeed or die trying! (imperative)
  • The meetings starts now. (happening in the moment)
  • I succeed at everything I do. (habit)
  • I succeed because I never give up. (habit)
  • Hard workers always succeed. (opinion)


The present continuous is used with the verb “to be” (am/is/are + present participle + ing) and it expresses action that is in the process of happening right now; or is expected to happen in the near future when the time is scheduled. Generally, it is used to express a continuing action that is not yet completed. It has nothing to do with “habit” per se which differentiates it from the purely present tense. (Like the simple present tense, words like “always” “constantly” and “usually” are often used with the present continuous tense.)


  • We are succeeding!
  • The meeting is starting now.
  • The earth is constantly moving around the sun.
  • I am succeeding even when it looks like I am failing.
  • I always adopt the mindset that I am constantly succeeding; thoughts of failure do not exist in my mind.



So for example, you can’t say: “I am knowing how to dance.” or I am believing you right now. These verbs, as well as, NORMALLY ARE NOT put in the continuous tense but in some cases it could be a question:

  • understand
  • remember
  • forget
  • want
  • believe
  • feel (?)
  • think (?)
  • hate (?)
  • cost
  • mean

cannot generally take the progressive form.

The present perfect tense uses the auxiliary verb have + the past participle to express an action that occurred in the past but also has present conséquences; or bears a relation to the present even though it started in the past. The emphasis is on repetition on the past action.  You cannot use the present perfect if there is a specific date in question that conjures duration. Even though it seems like a present tense it is really a past tense. Adverbs like “since” and “for” are commonly used with the present perfect.


  • I have succeeded against the odds.
  • I have succeeded many times when others expected me to fail.
  • I have lived here for ten years
  • I have lived here since 1993


BUT you can’t say:

  • I have succeeded at obtaining a college degree in 1993. (This is incorrect because of the specific time.  Here you cannot use the present perfect but would use the simple past and say “I succeeded at obtaining a college degree in 1993.”

The present perfect continuous is formed with the two auxiliary verbs “have” and “been” + present participle “ing.”You use the present perfect continuous tense to convey action that has just stopped; or action that started in the past at a specific time but that continues in the now. Usually the action is indicated in a certain time frame. So usually the words “since” or “for” are used to convey this specific time frame. This action is ongoing and progressive. It has not stopped.


  • I have been succeeding at business since I was fifteen years old.
  • Paris Hilton has been succeeding with various entertainment platforms for five years.
  • He has been succeeding in this industry since 1993.
  • I have been eating a lot of ice cream lately but I have decided to stop.
  • She has been succeeding with that.

The simple past tense is one of the basic building blocks of the English language. It is used to convey action that has already occurred and is completed. It is not a continuing action like the present perfect which started in the past but has a relation to the present. This action is finished. It is “dead in Vegas” and stays there.


  • He succeeded.
  • She succeeded in spite of the attempted sabotage.
  • Josh succeeded while others failed.

The past continuous tense uses the verb “to be” (was/were) + the present participle “ing” to convey action that started in the past but that was interrupted by another action in the past and thus is no longer happening in the present even though it may have implications in the present. With the past continuous, the main action is in the more distant past and the interrupting action occurred after, but is likewise in the past. You also use the past continuous to express two contemporaneous actions. You can use the words “always” and “constantly” and “usually” with the past continuous with this tense. With the past continuous tense, both actions are “dead in Vegas.” 


  • Jenny was succeeding before the boss turned on her.
  • While Anna was succeeding, her rival was flunking all over the place.
  • Jason was constantly succeeding to the vexation of his naysayers.
  • I was eating when you called.
  • The phone was ringing while the baby was crying.

The past perfect is used with the auxiliary verb  “had” + the past participle. It is used to convey action that occurred in the past because of some other action, or before that action. Key words are “already” and “before.”Example:

  • They had succeeded at outsourcing the fabrics before other players entered the market.
  • Before the technology boom, entrepreneurs had not succeeded at retailing PCs.
  • John had succeeded before his father became the CEO; he did not succeed because of his father.

This tense uses auxiliaries “had” + “been” + the present participle “ing”. It conveys action that began in the distant past but has an impact on the not so distant past. It is used with “before” or “because” to show the relationship between the two past actions.Example:

  • Jen had been succeeding in her career before she met Brad.
  • Both Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian had been succeeding in their careers before their sex tapes hit the Internet.
  • I had been working there for two years before my new boss arrived and decided to terminate my position.

The future tense is a basic building block of the English language used to convey action that is to happen at a later time than the present.


  • We will succeed no matter what.
  • Do you believe we will succeed?
  • How can you be so sure you will succeed?
  • The boss is going to go to Vienna in March.
  • The meeting is going to take place at 6 pm.

Use this tense to express action in the future at a particular moment in the future. The action commences at that moment in the future but it does not necessarily end at that moment.Example:

  • Tories will be succeeding long after you and I stop following politics.
  • This time tomorrow night, Betty will be succeeding with taking the exam while you will be looking like a fool.

Use the future perfect tense to express action that will happen in the future before another action happens. It is formed with the auxiliaries “will” + “have” plus the past participle. It can also be formed with “are” + “going to have” + past participle.Example

  • Americans will have succeeded at flying to the sun long before the Chinese.
  • The Chinese will have succeeded at out-pacing American GDP by 2019.

This is formed with “will have been” + the present participle “ing”. Use this to express duration in the future up to a particular point in the future.


  • Americans will have been succeeding at flying to the sun ten years before the Chinese get there.
  • The Chinese will have been succeeding at out-pacing American GNP well before the 2119 projected date.




That vs Which

That vs Which

I cannot think of two more maddening words (or relative pronouns, if you will) in the English language than « that » or « which ».  I always fear being asked to explain their correct usage. The truth is, no matter how many times I memorize the rules for “that” and “which,” within six months I go back to breaking them and using “that” and “which” interchangeably. And why? Because that is pretty much what the vast majority of people do with “that” or “which.” We don’t typically distinguish between them in the U.S. and thus interchangeability is increasingly becoming the rule and really, most people don’t give a fig that they are breaking grammar history.

Indeed, I would argue that as many as 95% of Americans use “that” and “which” interchangeably in both formal and informal spoken and written English. Only a handful of people (among them “purists”, “grammarians” and “linguists”) readily know the traditional rules for “that” and “which”; fewer still care to enforce their usage. And so, when English language learners ask for an explanation I am tempted to say to forget the rules and just use either one according to your preference since that is what most people do.

This may be a cop out, however. Because there are clearly times when “that” is correct and other times when “which” is correct. To conflate the two is to, in some instances, commit linguistic heresy; and in some extreme cases, it could even lead to liability if a contract drafter uses a non-restrictive pronoun (which) when he or she meant to be restrictive (that) or vice versa.

So, what are the rules?

After an exhaustive troll online to get everyone’s take on this, I think I will explain the rules as follows:

Use “that” when a descriptive or explanatory clause (in this case a “restrictive relative clause”) is meant to restrict or exclude other possibilities. In other words, use “that” when the clause is essential to the meaning, understanding and intentions of the sentence.

For example: “The parties agree to use crude oil that is commonly used in the industry.”

If this sentence appeared in a contract, it is clear that the drafter is doing a bunch of important things. First, he or she is excluding any and all other types of crude oil except for the type “that is commonly used in the industry.” Second, the drafter is specifying the exact “agreement” between the parties. The agreement is not just to “use crude oil.” It is more specific. It is describing exactly what type of crude oil the parties intended to be used. It is telling the reader that only the crude oil “that is commonly used in the industry” was agreed to. Thus if one party used a different type of crude oil, we could be looking at a breach of contract situation here.

By the way, the sentence could have stopped at “The parties agree to use crude oil.” If it had, but the client had clearly wanted to specify what type of crude oil he or she meant, the lawyer could have possibly gotten into trouble with the client because the contract left out an essential clause. Essential clauses start with “that.” Essential clauses are also “restrictive” clauses and they begin with the restrictive, relative pronoun, “that.”

As for the non-restrictive relative pronoun “which”: It is more general and includes a larger pool of possibilities. That is, “which” introduces a clause that is not necessarily essential to the meaning of the sentence.

So for example: “The parties agree to use crude oil, which is commonly used in the industry.”

Even though this sentence seems identical to the one above, it is not identical. It is infinitely more nuanced in fact. In this sentence, the parties are agreeing simply to use “crude oil.” This oil may or may not be commonly used in the industry. The only agreement is to use crude oil. Industry standards are totally irrelevant to the agreement here and in this sentence this clause serves only as a parenthetical statement by the writer. In fact, if you chopped this sentence off and simply said, “the parties agree to use crude oil,” you would not be changing the meaning or intentions of the parties, even though at the end of the sentence, the writer seems to have had an extra burst of creativity and wanted to say, “oh, and by the way, crude oil is commonly used in the industry so of course that is what we will use.” Yes, but nobody agreed to be bound by industry standards in this scenario!

Thus, the clause “which is commonly used in the industry” is non-essential to the sentence and is not restrictive in any way, only adding non-essential information.


BTW, one would typically separate a non-essential clause with a comma. So, “which” is usually preceded by a comma whereas “that” is hardly ever preceded by a comma since one does not separate an essential clause from the main clause in a sentence.


English punctuation marks

English Punctuation Marks: Vocabulary for English language learners


English punctuation marks
English punctuation mark

English is loaded with punctuation. But, of course, so are other languages. Whether you are interested in Legal English or Business English, Academic English or General English (or English for children!) you might be interested to know the English terms for common English punctuation marks. This compendium, by the way, is just a starter list. There are so many others where these came from.

Here are some of the most common English punctuation marks:

1. Full-stop/Period ( . )

The “period” is the small dot at the end of your sentence (the expression of a “complete thought”). Example: I took English for Lawyers with ELG Consulting.  You can also call it a “full-stop.”

2. Comma ( , )

The comma is a  small curved symbol used to indicate a pause in written communication, separate independent or dependent clauses in a sentence, separate transition words from the main clause or phrase, and/or to indicate a list of items in a set.

Example 1: After the earthquake, life in Haiti never went back to normal.

Example 2 Life in Haiti never went back to normal after the earthquake, but it wasn’t due to a lack of international financial aid.

Example 3 After the earthquake, hurricane, outbreak of malaria, and other problems, life in Haiti got even more depressing.

3. Question Mark ( ? )

This is the end mark used to indicate a question/interrogative.

Example: Are these all the relevant documents? Using more than one question mark signifies that the user is in disbelief.

Example: These are all the documents? Are you serious??? (No more than one question mark should be used in formal written English, however.)

4. Quotation Mark ( ” )

This is used to indicate what someone said, verbatim; it could also be used to suggest that the writer is not persuaded that the word and:or its connotation is warranted.  Example 1: He said “I do not negotiate with terrorists.”

Example 2: He refused to negotiate with “terrorists.”  

5. Apostrophe ( ‘ )

This is used to show possession. Example: The captain’s daughter.

6. Dash ( – )

A dash is used to clarify a word, phrase or term that immediately precedes the dash. The dash functions as a type of parenthetical.

Example 1: When negotiating the terms of a distributor contract – or any type of agreement – it is necessary to consider all eventualities before signing on the dotted line.

Example 2: Legal English–meaning English for lawyers–is very technical.

7. Ampersand ( & )

The ampersand is used to express a very close collaboration, an essential partnership. It is also used to express “and” indicating that something (or someone) goes with something else.

Example 1: Porky & Bess are TV characters.

Example 2: Bonnie & Clyde used to rob banks.

Example 3: The CEO & his assistant were accused of misconduct. In formal writing, it is better to spell out “and” and use the ampersand only when referring to actual partnerships rather than just an association. So example 3 is unlikely to appear in formal written English.

8. Asterisk/Star ( * )

The star symbol or asterisk is used to highlight something for further review or for special attention usually in the footnotes. Putting a star/asterisk next to a sentence signals to the reader that there will be further information or comment pertaining to that sentence; and this is usually of an explanatory nature and will appear at the bottom of the report or document.  Example: Microsoft will lay off 200 people from its Paris office in 2014*  The reader of this sentence expects the writer to explain further about this lay off or perhaps more specifically about the year 2014 as it relates to the lay offs.

9. Slash ( / )

The slash, otherwise known as the forward slash  is often used to mean “and, or.” Example 1: The plaintiffs/injured parties must file a claim within one year or risk exceeding the statute of limitations. Example 2: The juxtaposition of light/space was breathtaking.  Example 3: This male/female gender classification is ridiculous. Example 4: The North/South divide is purely semantic.

10. Brackets/parentheses ( [] ( ) {} )

Brackets are often used to provide non-essential but clarifying information in a sentence. For example: The best ranked law firms in America (and everyone know there are a lot of law firms in America) are the ones where associates are encouraged to have a strong life/work balance.

So that is it for English punctuation marks. As noted above, there are many, many more English punctuation marks than just these. Maybe a second post on English punctuation marks will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

NEXT: English Abstract Nouns: Examples of Common Abstract Nouns in English

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english modal verbs

10 English Modal Verbs to Improve Your English Communication Skills

English Modal verbs are basically helping verbs or auxiliary verbs. English Modal verbs are needed not only in standard English but also in Legal English such as with Contracts, Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration scenarios to express duties, obligations, expectations, ability, permission and intention. The importance of modal verbs in the English language cannot be over-stated. Below are 10 important English modal verbs and their meaning/connotation:


01. Canpossibility, permission; ability

Example: 1. Can that really happen? (Is that really possible?)

Example 2: Yes you can; but be sure to return by midnight. (You have permission)

Example 3: Can you do the Harlem Shake? (Do you have the ability to do the Harlem Shake?)


02. Couldpast of can; possibility; permission; possible circumstance

Example 1. Could past generations use the computer?

Example 2: Mom said I could.

Example 3: This could tip negotiations in our favor.


03. WillFuture intention; strong future probability; future certainty

Example 1: I will marry you next year.

Example 2: We will get married next year.

Example 3: We will marry next year.


04. Wouldpast of will; conditional action

Example 1: Would you have married him if you knew then what you know now?

Example 2: I would if you helped me with my own situation.


05. Oughtduty

Example 1: You ought to go to your sister’s wedding.


06. MayPermission; possibility

Example 1: Yes you may.

Example 2: It may rain tomorrow.


07. Mightprobability; past of may

Example 1: It might not work out.

Example 2: He might have caved if you had quit while you were ahead.


08. Shallobligation; order; command

Example 1: The defendant shall file his answer to the complaint 30 days after service of process.

Example 2: All parties shall stand.

Example 3: You shall do as you are told!


09. Shouldprobable duty; conditional choice; expectation; circumstantial requirement

Example 1: You should consider going to the party

Example 2: They should probably not negotiate with him.

Example 3: I should have known you would breach the contract.

Example 4: All members of the class action should have a choice to opt in or out.


10. Mustnecessity; requirement

Example 1: This computer must carry defective warranty otherwise I don’t want it.

Example 2: You must fill in all the blank spaces and sign the document before your return it to the proctor.


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Make or do: Different English learners from different geographic and linguistic regions have particular trouble with these two verbs.  French people, for example, seem to have trouble deciding when to use “make” and when to use “do” in their English communication. At first blush, this can be incomprehensible for an English mother tongue speaker. Why is it not intuitively clear, we may wonder, since to us, the choice is so obvious. But after thinking about it for a few seconds, one will quickly understand the difficulty. It  is not so bizarre as it would appear.

You see, the French have one verb that means “to make” and “to do.” That verb is “Faire.” Faire in french means “to make” and it also means “to do.” So to the French brain, these words are interchangeable. Not so with the English brain. “To make” is decidedly different from “to do.” And therein lies a pot of trouble.

One ultra cute French lawyer once said to me “I have to make the researches.” I looked at him blankly for a few seconds. What did he mean he has to “make” the “researches?” How does a person make a research or make researches? Are “researches” like a cake? One can “make” a cake; can one likewise “make” a research?  Closer scrutiny revealed two problems with his working brain on this particular issue. First, he had an issue with “countable nouns” which is beyond the scope of this post; but he also had an issue with when to use “make” and when to use “do.”


So, make or do?

In English, one uses the verb to make when one is referring to the act of constructing something. “To make” means to construct, design, create, form. Clearly, one cannot “construct,” “design” or “create” or “form” “researches.”  (By the way, one can use the word “make” as a noun, for example, the make of the car was Audi which is another way of saying the brand of the car was Audi)

So for example, one can say, “The children made a circle.” This could either mean they drew or designed or created a circle with crayons or something such as that. But it could also mean they physically “formed” a circle by holding hands.

Another example: My brother made this house. This means he constructed the house. In some contexts it might even mean he designed the house. It would never mean he “formed” the house, though. One cannot “form” a house except perhaps with play dough or something like that.


  • make noise
  • make friends
  • make a mistake
  • make an effort
  • make an excuse
  • make an agreement
  • make a complaint
  • make a choice
  • make a comment
  • make a difference
  • make a point
  • make a presentation
  • make a photo copy
  • make fun of
  • make an apology
  • make a suggestion
  • make a speech
  • make love
  • Make nice
  • make do
  • make a fortune*
  • make progress


When does one use “do?”

One uses the verb “to do” when one is referring to an action that connotes responsibility, “I must do the research before I can advise you,” for example.  In this sense it means I must physically carry out or produce research. The verb “to do” is usually used to refer to perform, to execute, to carry out, to produce.



  • Do a favor (perform)
  • Do an exam (execute)
  • Do damage (to produce)
  • Do well (perform)
  • Do your best (perform)
  • Do nothing (don’t execute)
  • Do Research (to produce or to carry out)
  • Do something (to execute, to perform)
  • Do housework (to perform)
  • Do your nails (to execute)
  • Do your hair (to execute)
  • Do an exam (to perform)
  • Do exercise (perform) (Note that it is “play” sports not “do sports”!)
  • Do some sightseeing
  • do good
  • do harm
  • do no harm
  • do some travelling
  • do the shopping
  • do business with
  • do the photocopying
  • do the dirty work


CHALLENGE: Both “make” and “do” are action words and thus are both verbs. But the type of action, the way in which the action is performed, is different. “Do” is slightly more abstract than “make.” You cannot always see this verb being performed. For example: I must do my best.” But then again, “this makes sense,” is also abstract. You cannot see it being performed…Maybe French people have a point. Maybe deciding between “make” or “do” is not so simple after all?


Can you think of any other examples when you would use make and when you would use do? Talk it over with a partner.









ENGLISH VOCABULARY FOR INTERNET USERS is definitely a specialized vocabulary. It is necessary  to learn it because the Internet speaks English and knowing the English vocabulary specific to the Internet is the first step to being a successful business person today. Globalization is here to stay and one of the great things about it is the Internet which levels the playing field and allows the entire world access to information and communication. Of course, understanding the  modalities and functionalities and vocabularies of the Internet is a whole other matter. Since English is increasingly the language of business and commerce and since so much international business takes place on the Internet, it made intuitive sense to include an Internet glossary in our archives.

English vocabulary for Internet users should be useful to more than just a few people because most people will surf the web at one point or another in their lives. It does not matter how remote your location. You could live on a small, relatively uninhabited island off the coast of India or on the Channel Islands off the Coast of California (all by yourself!) and chances are you can still access the Internet in some capacity and so you still need to be up on the vocabulary. The fact is that everybody uses the internet in some capacity and everybody needs to know the language of the Internet.

Of course this curated list of English vocabulary for Internet users  is not exhaustive. But it contains 35 key terms that you might like to memorize – for starters.

So here you go. English vocabulary for Internet Users:

1.      At

This is the symbol @ which is used in email addresses. Example:


2.      Attachment

An attachment is a file which is electronically annexed to an email. It can take various forms such as word, PDF, JPEG and so forth.


3.      Back button

A button on the toolbar that allow the user to return to the previous webpage.


4.      Blog

A website maintained by a “blogger” that has content generated by the blogger and user comments and sometimes advertising such as Google AdSense ads.


5.      Bold

This is a feature that allows the writer to highlight text by making it darker. In English this is usually designated as “B” whereas in French it is “G”


6.      Browser

The browser is the lens through which you view the Internet. There are many different browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Mozilla


7.      Click

When you click it means you point your mouse on a hyperlink and press on the mouse to access the information behind the link.


8.      Compose

When you compose an email it means you write an email.


9.      Cookie

In Internet parlance, a “cookie” is a piece of information about a person’s Internet using history that a computer stores based on that individual’s activity on a particular computer, including your searches, passwords, registration information, log-ins, email user names, among other things. This personal history is then potentially used by advertisers and websites like Google and Facebook as well as hackers.

English for Internet Users

10.   Crash

When the word crash is used in the context of the web or Internet it usually means that either a hard drive has malfunctioned or an entire network or intranet reseau has been compromised. Typically if there has been a crash users of that computer or network cannot access the Internet until the situation is fixed by technicians. Sometimes crashes are caused by virus or hackers.


11.   Cyberspace

Cyberspace is another word used for the Internet, computer networks or World Wide Web.


12.   Dot

The dot is designated as ( . )

It is used in website addresses and email addresses. So the website would be read as www dot elgconsulting dot fr.

Likewise, the email would be read as contact@elgconsulting dot fr


13. Dot-com

This usually refers to an Internet-based business that has a URL that ends in .com. But what about other extensions such as dot net, dot gov or dot fr as in Some people argue that dot com includes all extensions while other argue that only URLs that end in .com can be considered dotcoms.


14. download

Opposite of upload. It means transfer data from one computer to another.


15. Email

An electronic mail or electronic correspondenc/ letter sent via cyberspace  from a real person via an electronic virtual “mail person” from  a virtual “mail station.” (Or you may have a better definition on this one. )


16. Italics

This is a formatting option that allows the author of a document to place emphasis on a word or series of words.


17. JPEG

This is a format type used to file or save  image files.


18. Log-in

The log-in is usually box a code, name or characters which are inputted into a dialog box to allow a user to gain access to a website. It is both a verb and a noun. For example, you can “log in” or you can enter your log in information.


19. mailing list

A mailing list is a compilation of names and email addresses that an individual or business sends communications to.


20. netiquette

Netiquette refers to proper conduct or etiquette for Internet use.


21.   password

A password is a code or series of characters that include letters numbers and punctuation marks that allows access to an email or website. 


22.   PDF

PDF is the acronym for PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT. It refers to the “format” a file will take. Files can take on a dizzying array of formats including Word File, PDF, JPEG, Gif, zip. Check this link for all the various existing file formats.


23.   Reply all

This term is used with emails to send an email to all recipients in specified group.


24.   Save

To “save” a file on the Internet means to give it a name and file it on the computer’s hard drive or on a removable disk.

25.   Search engine

A search engine is an Internet-based mechanism used to search, find and index information on the Internet. This includes Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and Altavista.


26.   Spam

Spam is unsolicited, unwanted, annoying contact or email. It is both a noun and a verb; that is to say spam is a thing as well as an act.


27.   Spy-ware

Spy-ware refers to programs and software that allows Internet users to “spy” on each other on the Internet via computers. The software is hidden and it collects information surreptitiously.


28.   Toolbar

A Row of buttons on the computer screen that gives the user access to various applications and functions on their computer.


29.   Upload

To upload a document means to transfer documents from the computer you are using to another computer. The document can be text, image, audio or any format that the receiving computer can accommodate.


30.   URL

See Website Address.


31.   User name

The user-name is the personal identification of an individual on a particular website on the Internet.


32.   Virus

A computer virus is a malicious or mischievous element that is surreptitiously injected into the computer’s hard drive or software.


33.   Website

A website is an Internet-based space where one finds information of a specified sort under the same URL. The information which is typically spread over numerous web pages potentially includes pictures, videos, text, advertising, HTML codes, audio and more.


34. Website address

This is the URL for a website; the name to type into the browser in order to access the website. Thus, is the website address for ELG CONSULTING.


35.   www

This is the abbreviation for World Wide Web


So that would be all for this list of English vocabulary for Internet users. We will be back with a new list very soon.