Fix Your Bad English


Hi. James, from EngVid. Today's video is on, well, "The Book of Bad English". There are

mistakes that native speakers make that ESL people pick up -- and "ESL" is "English as

a Second Language". People learning English, they pick up because native speakers don't

even know they're making this mistake. So I want to teach you six common ones that come

regularly or happen regularly in conversation. And I want you to learn them and make your

English perfect. Let's go to the board. Now, let's start with No. 1, one of my favorite

ones: "amount" and "number". "Amount" is, sort of, like, "how much". A "number" is,

you know, "thing". When we look at "amount", you can think of you can't count it, all right?

A lot of times, when we say "amount" -- like, "I have a large amount of water in my house"

-- you can't count water. But you can count a number, so: "The number of people who come

to the city is in the thousands", so you can count them. Here's an example. Tell me if

this is right or wrong. "The amount of students who are late is growing every day" or "the

number of students who are late is growing every day." You should say "number" because

you can count students. You can't count amount. That rhymes. Maybe that'll help, right? You

can't count amount. You can't count amount. So when we want to talk about a number of

something or a body of something, "amount" is for things you cannot count, and "number"

is for things you can count. English people make this mistake a lot.

Next: "among" and "between". When I used to teach "among" and "between", I would say,

"'Among' is 'with'. So there're five chairs, and you're 'with' another. And 'between' is

you're in the middle." That's it. Because I was so smart. And then I found out it's

just this: two. More than two. That's it. Nothing special. When you talk about "between",

except -- and this is a major exception -- when you're talking about differences. Differences

you have to use "between". But generally speaking, "among" is more than two. "I was sitting among

my friends at the bar." You can know there're probably four or five, not two. But "let's

keep this between you and me"? A lot of times, Canadians say, "Let's keep this among us."

And it's like, "Among who?" "The rest of those guys, you know. The Americans. They don't

need to know this." Okay. So "between us" -- usually two, right? It could be two groups.

"There was a fight between this country and that country." Right? Because it's two groups.

But "among" is for more than two, cool? All right. So "among" -- more than two; "between"

-- two. What about "bring" and "take"? This is something

that a lot of students make a mistake on. So you say, "Bring this to me" or "take this

to him." It's very easy. "Bring" is "to the speaker", okay? And "take" is "away from the

speaker". Now, if you're born in England, that's easy because they always talk about

"I want takeaway." Takeaway. Because they take the food away from the restaurant, right?

So one of my favorite sayings that we say in England -- not England -- that we say here

is, like -- watch every space movie: "Take me to your leader." You'll never see a space

movie, unless it's made by me -- and it would say, "Bring me to your leader." We don't do

that. You say, "Take them to the leader" because you're taking them away from this spot where

the speaker is to a new location or spot. So "take" and "bring" are easy because it's

"bring -- come towards". Here's a mistake -- not Canadians -- English speakers make

that you should be aware of. They'll say something like, "Don't forget to bring your bag with

you" instead of, "Don't forget to take your bag." Do you know what the difference is?

Well, you're leaving, right? So you need to take it away. Remember I said "away from"?

Take the bag away from you. When you say, "Bring the bag with you", the speaker's speaking,

you're still moving away from the speaker, right? So you've got to use this. But Canadians

and Americans and Brits say it a lot. They'll say, "Bring it with you." No. "Take" it with

you. You know the difference now because you're smart. And you're studying from The Book of

Bad English. Good for you. There's a worm in that book. Watch it.

Okay. "Fewer" or "less". I'm going to make a statement, and think which one is correct.

"'Fewer' than a million people have watched the videos on EngVid. 'Less' than a million

people have watched the videos on EngVid." Which one would be correct? Yeah. If you said

"less than", no. "Less" is similar to "amount". You say "fewer" for things you can count.

"Fewer than five people did the job or worked on the job", not "less than". "Fewer" is for

numbers you can count. "Less" is like "amount". It's uncountable, right? "There is less water

here than there." Try and say, "There is fewer water here than there." They're, like, "What?"

That's right, son. That's why you don't say it. Proper grammar. "There is less this than

that." We commonly -- this is such a common mistake it's not even funny, right? But, once

again, you're reading from The Book of Bad English. So you know lesson No. 4. Don't do

it. All right? Mr. E is smiling because he's, like, "Damn! I didn't know that?" It's like,

"Nor did I until about five hours ago." But now you and I both know. All right? Because

I used to make this mistake until now. So you won't -- I'll be making this mistake fewer

times than before but less and less. See? That's different. I'm saying it differently

there. Less and less. So I'm reducing, and that's what we're talking about.

What about "further" and "farther"? I feel really bad because anyone who I taught over

the past eight years, these are the mistakes I made, and I'm teaching them now, and they're,

like, "But James, you told me this!" And I went, "I didn't know it at the time. I went

by standard grammar or standard speak." And standard speak, which, you know, we all do,

doesn't mean it's correct. So I'm giving you something that's, you know, the correct grammar.

Now, colloquial is what we call -- "colloquial" is the common people speak. We didn't care.

People say it; no one's going to correct you because most of them don't know. All right?

But then, you're here to learn, so I'm here to teach.

How about, "further" and "farther"? Well, this one's easy to think of, all right? Because

they sound almost the same, and that's part of the problem, right? It's a major part of

the problem. So what we want to look at is the word "distance". When somebody says, "We

need to investigate this further" or "we need to investigate farther" it's because they

really don't know. They sound the same. They almost look the same, except one sounds like

something from Star Wars. "Luke. I am your father." "Father", get it? Because there's

a distance between us. The mother and -- you don't? Forget it. Anyway. Distance. This is

an E by the way because I know there're some of you guys who are, like, just -- it's a

small E, but it's an E. I just fixed it, okay? So "farther" -- you know when you say "far

away", "The house is far away" or "my house is five miles farther" -- sorry. "My house

is five kilometers further -- farther than yours." See? I almost said "further" because

we, in English, do that a lot. But you say, "I live farther than you do." That means far

-- more far away, right? "Further" means "more" or "longer". So "We need to discuss this further",

which means we need a longer time to speak or more time to speak. So this is more about

"more" or "longer", but not distance longer, all right? So if you want to study further,

you might have to travel farther to another library to do so. You like that? I don't.

My head is spinning. But we're learning bad English. It should be, like -- it's going

to come up here -- the "effect" this is having on me, not the "affect". I mean it is "affecting"

me and changing the way I look at things, but the "effects" it has actually had are

changing or influencing my thoughts since I've learned the six, and I did all that production

to introduce to you No. 6. I have notes on the board for a reason, because

I would be a liar to say I've never made these mistakes. Most Canadians and -- I say "Canadians",

sorry -- English. Because I was born in England, been to America -- just English-speaking people

make this mistake incredibly. The only time we ever get it right is "special effects,

effects, effects, effects!" Because we know the result of the special effect in a movie

is [boom] Superman flies. Other than that, when we talk about it, a lot of the time we

get confused because "affect", "effect" -- so similar in sound. Nobody notices. So today,

you won't make that mistake. Usually, when we talk about "effects", we talk about results.

"What was the net effect? What happened? What was the change?" Keyword here because the

verb means "to cause a change". The noun is "What was the final change. What was the net

effect or what was the final effect?" The next one is easy to remember because think

about influence and emotion. This could be for things, you might say; this would be for

people. It's not exact. It's not a science. It's 80 percent. But I'm trying to make it

easy for you to remember these. "Affect" is almost about being human. When I say to you,

you know, the affect -- "How did it affect you?" -- we're talking about emotion, the

emotional feeling that you have, right? And then we talk about "influence". We "influence"

by changing" -- but this is different -- changing the way you think, how were you influenced.

"How is this affecting the people in your family?" Not "effecting". That would be different.

"How is it changing? How is it influenced? How were you influenced by it?" So if you

can remember this one -- this is more of a human emotion thing, and this is more of an

action thing -- you'll be okay. And you won't make the mistake I'm probably going go to

make in about five seconds when I explain it again to you, okay? That's the effect it's

having on me. Did I say "affect" or "effect"? I'm not sure.

Okay, so let's go back over this quickly because I don't know how much time I've got left,

but I don't want to affect the lesson, right? So when we look at "amount" or "number", you

can't count amounts. Sugar, salt, water. Numbers, you can. People, all right? Next "among" and

"between". If you have two, you'd say "between". If you have more than two, say "among". "Bring"

and take": If it's moving away, if it's coming to the speaker, say "bring". If it's moving

away from the speaker, say "take". Okay? "Fewer" or "less": If you have something you can count,

say "fewer" -- "fewer than five". "Less than" is for uncountables, and it follows the similar

words here, these words. "Further" and "farther" -- don't forget, "Luke I am your father,"

-- talk about distance and relationships, all right? But this is just for distance -- kilometers,

inches, centimeters -- while the other one means "more" or "longer". And finally, let's

look at the "affect" or the "effect" if we're talking about emotion or result. Good?

Got to go, so let's go to, where "eng" stands for "English" and "vid"

stands for "video", where "me and the worm" will be studying from The Book of Bad English.

Have a good one. I hope that gets to more than just a few people.

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