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Common mistakes

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Look at that dog across the street!
Look at this dog across the street!

This is used to indicate something physically close to the speaker. In the case of abstract things we use this for things which are most immediately present. This is a lovely song! I'll help you do it this time. When we talk about more than one thing we use this for the closer or more immediate and that for the further away or more remote in time. If we're only talking about one thing we usually use that: What's that noise? That's a nice coat! Don't do that!

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Jack was wounded in a car accident.
Jack was injured in a car accident.

People are injured or hurt as a result of an accident or a fight, but people are wounded in wars and battles.

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He's been sick for over a year.
He's been ill for over a year.

To be ill means to be in bad health. To be sick means to vomit. We sometimes use sick idiomatically to mean feeling ill. The smell made me sick.

We can also use sick before certain nouns: The sick room, a sick note, sick leave. We use the plural noun the sick to mean ill people: Angela worked with the sick on the streets of Birmingham.

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Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens are both excellent writers, but I prefer the last.
Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens are both excellent writers, but I prefer the latter.

The latter means the second of two people or things which have been mentioned. The last refers to a series of more than two.

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Our teacher is very nervous today.
Our teacher is very angry today.

Nervous means to be easily frightened or upset and can be a temporary or permanent condition. Angry describes someone's mood at a given moment.

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