At times, I have heard: “I’ve been working here from 2015.”
Actually it should be: “I’ve been working here since 2015.”
Or one can say: “I’ve been working here for two years.”
Here is how since and for are used:
since + point in time (since 1906)
for + period of time (for 10 years)
We do use from with time expressions, but in a different sense. Here are some examples:
The conference starts from tomorrow.
The shop is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
And yes, by now you know why the ad is correct: Trusted since 1906.
In fact, from now on, you know the difference between since and for.
On a chilly winter evening in New Delhi, I saw this sign blazing in the dark. ‘Fruit’ is an uncountable noun. And if the owner wished to be grammatically correct, the sign should have read “Shakti Fruit.’
But what are uncountable nouns? Uncountable nouns are nouns that cannot be counted. They can be either abstract nouns (love, peace) or concrete nouns (sugar, furniture).
Here are the main points you need to keep in mind:
a. With an uncountable noun, we do not use an ‘s’. And so we cannot have ‘fruits’.
b. Also, we cannot use indefinite articles (a,an) with uncountable nouns. We should not say: a fruit.
Let’s look at some common errors made with uncountable nouns:
- “Can I ask for an advice?”
This is incorrect. Advice is uncountable. You can say: “Can I ask for some advice?”
2. The ten equipments are in the storeroom.
Equipment is uncountable. Instead, we can say: The ten pieces of equipment are in the storeroom.
3. She knows a lot about Japanese business etiquettes.
You guessed it… Etiquette is an uncountable noun. The sentence should read: She knows a lot about Japanese business etiquette.
And now, I’m sure that you can identify the grammatical error in this photo:
This message is from my local gym. What caught my eye was the unnecessary apostrophe in ‘Saturdays’.
Apostrophes are terrible easy to use. And yet, there are often misused. As in most things in life, you just have to be clear as to how to use them. Here are three common uses:
- To show possession
girl’s (singular) girls’ (plural)
2. After time expressions
One week’s time
Two weeks’ time (note that the apostrophe in this case comes after the ‘s’)
3. For informal speech
do not becomes don’t
I am becomes I’m
you are becomes you’re
Pay attention when you see: it’s
It’s can be ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. It depends on the context. Look at these two examples:
a. It’s raining! (It is)
b. It’s been nice speaking with you. (It has)
If you wish to write anything in its plural form, such as protein shakes, push-ups, and Saturdays, there is no need to add an apostrophe. Don’t do it.
And yes, there are exceptions. We use apostrophes when we talk of minding your P’s and Q’s. But, I think you knew that already…
The photo is of a bridge near my home. If you can peer through the Delhi smog, you’ll spot some writing: Qasim love Shasli.
I wish Qasim well. But, I would like to point out a grammatical error. It should read: Qasim loves Shasli.
This type of grammatical error happens when the subject and verb do not agree. The absence of subject-verb agreement is a very common error.
Let’s look at the verb: to love. Here are its different forms in the present tense:
He loves / She loves
Qasim loves / Shasli loves
Other verbs receive the same treatment. I like becomes Rahul likes. And I meet becomes she meets.
The next time you hear someone speak, keep your ears peeled for subject-verb agreement. You may be surprised to hear how many times the subject and verb just don’t agree!
People ask me for advice on where to go to improve their language skills. I understand that there are a lot of websites out there. Here are 3 websites I always recommend:
1. British Council
This site covers a lot of ground, from vocabulary to business English. Spend some time here.
2. BBC Learning English
This site has good videos and articles on current affairs. Great place to improve your grammar and vocabulary.
3. About Education
This site is by Richard Nordquist, an American professor. He does an excellent job explaining language points. One of my favorite sites!