General English questions and answers for competitive exams : Freshers

Here we have listed all tricky and important questions asked in general written exams.We hopw you will get lots of information after reading these concepts.These questions will help to clear many competitive exams and companies english written sections.

A lot or Alot?

A lot should be written as two words. Although a lot is used informally to mean “a large number” or “many,” avoid using a lot in formal writing. Example: The crook had many [not a lot of] chances to rob the stranger.

A or An?

“Use a before a consonant sound; use an before a vowel sound. Before a letter or an acronym or before numerals, choose a or an according to the way the letter or numeral is pronounced: an FDA directive, a U.N. resolution, a $5.00 bill” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage). Please note: This is the basic rule. For a more thorough presentation of the complexities of using a or an, see the source cited here.

Accept or Except?

Accept is a verb meaning “to receive” or “to approve.”
Example: “I accept your offer of the book.”
Except is a preposition meaning “excluding” or “leaving out.”
Example: “He liked everything on the plate except the liver.”
Except can also be a verb meaning “to leave out” or “to exclude.”
Example: “He excepted all Corvettes from his list of favorite cars.”

Affect or Effect?

“Affect is a verb meaning ‘to influence.’ Effect is a noun meaning a result.’ More rarely, effect is a verb meaning ‘to cause something to happen.’
[Examples:] CFCs may affect the deterioration of the ozone layer. The effect of that deterioration on global warming is uncertain.
Lawmakers need to effect changes in public attitudes toward our environment” (Anson, Schwegler, and Muth, The Longman Writer’s Companion 475).

All Ready or Already?

All ready means “fully prepared.”
Example: “The scouts were all ready for the test.”
Already means “previously.”
Example: “The children were already in the pool when the guests arrived.”

Allusion or Illusion?

“An allusion is an indirect reference.
[Example:] Did you catch my allusion to Shakespeare?
An illusion is a misconception or false impression.
[Example:] Mirrors give the room an illusion of depth” (Hacker, A Writer’s Reference 124).

Among or Amongst?

Both are correct and mean the same, but among is more common.

Among or Between?

“When only two are involved, the answer is easy: between.
[Example:] Miss Bennet sensed a barrier between her and Mr. Darcy.
With three or more, you have a choice. Use between if you’re thinking of the individuals and their relations with one another.
[Example:] There were several embarrassing exchanges between Lydia, Kitty, and Jane.
Use among if you’re thinking of the group.
[Example:] Darcy’s arrival created a stir among the guests” (O’Connor, Woe Is I).

Amount or Number?

Amount should be used to refer to quantities that cannot be counted or cannot be expressed in terms of a single number.
Example: “Repairing the Edsel took a great amount of work.”
Number is used for quantities that can be counted.
Example: “A large number of deer ate the corn.”

As per…?

“We find as per used in two ways. It is still in use in business correspondence and in straightforward but somewhat stiff prose [. . . .] Your decision to use as per or not would seem to be a matter of personal choice and taste; the tonal needs of a particular passage may make it useful at times even if you avoid it ordinarily” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage).

Assume or Presume?

“They’re not identical. Assume is closer to support, or ‘take for granted’; the much stronger presume is closer to believe, dare, or ‘take too much for granted.’
[Example:] I can only assume you are joking when you presume to call yourself a plumber!” (O’Connor, Woe Is I 91).

Bad or Badly?

We use bad (an adjective) with linking verbs such as is, seems, feels, looks, or appears.
Example: “I feel bad that I missed the concern.”
We use the adverb badly with action verbs.
Example: “He smells badly.” This sentence means he can’t detect the smell of his girlfriend’s perfume, but “He smells bad” means he needs to shower and use deodorant.

Between you and I or Between you and me?

“Because the pronouns following between are objects of the preposition, the correct phrase is between you and me. Yet the phrasing between you and I is appallingly common” (Garner, The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style).

Bring and Take?

“Use bring when an object is being transported toward you, take when it is being moved away.
[Examples:] ‘Please bring me a glass of water. Please take these flowers to Mr. Scott'” (Hacker, A Writer’s Reference 126).

Can I or May I?

“Can implies ability; may implies permission or uncertainty.
[Example:] “Bart can drive now, but his parents may not lend him their new car'” (Anson, Schwegler, Muth, The Longman Writer’s Companion 477).

Cannot or Can Not?

“Both spellings are acceptable, but cannot is more frequent in current use” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage).

Cite or Site?

Cite is a verb meaning “to quote for purposes of , authority, or proof.”
Example: “He cites many experts in his article.”
Site is usually used as a noun meaning “place or scene.”
Example: “Check the AARP website,” and “We erected the wall on the site of our future home.”


“Nothing is ever ‘comprised of’ something. To comprise means ‘to contain or to embrace’:
       The jury comprises seven women and five men.

All of the following mean the same thing:
     The jury is composed of seven women and five men.
     The jury is made up of seven women and five men.
     Seven women and five men constitute the jury.
     Seven women and five men make up the jury.

Even when used correctly, in my humble opinion, comprise and constitute tend to sound stilted. Some form of is made up of sounds better in most cases.” (Walsh, Lapsing into a Comma 122-123).

Continually or Continuously?

“Yes, there is a slight difference, although most people (and even many dictionaries) treat them the same. Continually means repeatedly, with breaks in between. Continuously means without interruption, in an unbroken stream. Heidi has to wind the cuckoo clock continually to keep it running continuously. (If it’s important to emphasize the distinction, it’s probably better to use periodically or intermittently instead of continually to describe something that starts and stops.) The same distinction, by the way, applies to continual and continuous, the adjective forms” (O’Conner, Woe Is I 95-96).

Data or Datum?

“In much informal writing, data is considered a collective singular noun. In formal scientific and scholarly writing, however, data is generally used as a plural, with datum as the singular form. Base your decision on whether your readers should consider the data as a single collection or as a group of individual facts. Whatever you decide, be sure that your pronouns and verbs agree in number with the selected usage” (Alred, Brusaw, and Oliu, The Writer’s Companion 290-291).

Different From or Different Than?

“Different from is preferred to different than. I remember this by remembering that different has two f’s and only one t, so the best choice between than and from is the one that starts with an f” (Fogarty, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips 22).

Disinterested or Uninterested?

“They’re not the same. Disinterested means impartial or neutral; uninterested means bored or lacking interest. A good umpire should be disinterested, said Casey, but certainly not uninterested” (O’Conner, Woe Is I 98).

Done or Finished?

“Today both done and finished are Standard, and you may use whichever one meets the style requirements of your speech or writing” (Wilson, The Columbia Guide to Standard American English).

Drank or Drunk?

“When in doubt about the standard English forms of irregular verbs, [. . .] look up the base form of the verb in the dictionary, which also lists any irregular forms. (If no additional forms are listed in the dictionary, the verb is regular, not irregular. [. . .]
Base Form: drink
Past Tense: drank
Past Participle: drunk” (Hacker, The Bedford Handbook 312-313).

Due to or Owing to?

“Due to is as impeccable grammatically as owing to, which is frequently recommended as a substitute for it. There has never been a grammatical ground for objection [. . . .] There is no solid reason to avoid using due to” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage).

Each is or Each are?

“When each is used as a subject, it takes a singular verb or pronoun.
[Example:] Each of the reports is to be submitted ten weeks after it is assigned.
When each occurs after a plural subject with which it is in apposition, it takes a plural verb or pronoun.
[Example:] The reports each have white embossed titles on their covers.” (Alred, Brusaw, and Oliu, The Technical Writer’s Companion 291).

earth or Earth?

When you mean dirt, it’s earth. When you mean the third planet from the sun, it’s Earth.

Everybody and Everyone?

Everybody and everyone are interchangeable.
Anyone and anybody are also interchangeable.

Everyone/Everybody is/are happy?

“What’s wrong with saying, Are everybody happy? After all, when you use the word everybody, you’re thinking of a crowd, right? Then why do we say, Is everybody happy? In other words, just how many people do we mean when we say everybody or everyone?

The answer is one. Odd as it may seem, these pronouns are singular. We often use them when talking about whole gangs of people, but we treat them grammatically as individual gang members. The result is that each takes a singular verb: Everybody loves a lover, but not everybody is one” (O’Conner, Who Is I 15).

Farther or Further?

Use farther to refer to physical distances.
Example: Indiana is farther than I thought.
Further refers to quantity, time, or degree.
Example: They progressed further on their research.

Fewer or Less?

Fewer is an adjective used to refer to people or items that can be counted.
Example: Because fewer cars showed up for the show, we required fewer categories.
Less is used to refer to amounts that cannot be counted.
Example: The small dogs required less space and less food than the large dogs.

Good or Well?

“Good is the adjective; well is the adverb. You do something well, but you give someone something good. The exception is verbs of sensation in phrases such as “the pie smells good’ or ‘I feel good.’ Despite the arguments of nigglers, this is standard usage. Saying ‘the pie smells well’ would imply that the pastry in question had a nose. Similarly, ‘I feel well’ is also acceptable, especially when discussing health; but it is not the only correct usage” (Brians, Common Errors in English Usage).

Have got or Have gotten?

“When we say, Fabio has got three Armani suits, we mean he has them. When we say, Fabio has gotten three Armani suits, we mean he’s acquired or obtained them. It’s a useful distinction” (O’Conner, Who Is I 191).

If or Whether?

“It’s good practice to distinguish between these words. Use if for a conditional idea, whether for an alternative or possibility. Thus, Let me know if you’ll be coming means that I want to hear from you only if you’re coming. But Let me know whether you’ll be coming means that I want to hear from you about your plans one way or the other” (Garner, The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style).

Imply or Infer?

“If you imply something, you hint or suggest it.
[Example:] Her email implied that the project would be delayed.
If you infer something, you reach a conclusion on the basis of evidence.
[Example:] The manager inferred from the email that the project would be delayed” (Alred, Brusaw, and Oliu, The Technical Writer’s Companion 294).

In regard(s) to?

“The use of the plural regards in the phrases in regards to and with regards to is incorrect. Since each phrase shows its speaker regarding just one issue, the regard is singular: in regard to and with regard to.
[Examples:] I am calling in regard to your memo.
                   With regard to our meeting, I cannot attend.” (Strumpf and Douglas, The Grammar Bible 220).

Intensifiers? really, really tough?

“People are always looking for ways to emphasize how really, really special the subject under discussion is. (The use of ‘really’ is one of the weakest and least effective of these.) A host of words have been worn down in this service to near-meaninglessness. It is good to remember the etymological roots of such words to avoid such absurdities as ‘fantastically realistic,’ ‘absolutely relative,’ and ‘incredibly convincing.’ When you are tempted to use one of these vague intensifiers consider rewriting your prose to explain more precisely and vividly what you mean: ‘Fred’s cooking was incredibly bad’ could be changed to ‘When I tasted Fred’s cooking I almost thought I was back in the middle-school cafeteria'” (Brians, Common Errors in English Usage).

Into or In to?

“Into is a preposition that has many definitions, but they all generally relate to direction. On the other hand, in by itself can be an adverb, preposition, or adjective (and to by itself is a preposition or an adverb). Sometimes in and to just end up next to each other.

Maybe examples will help! 
     He walked into the room.
     (Which direction was he going?  Into the room.)

      We broke in to the room. 
      (‘Broke in’ is a phrasal verb. What did you break in to? The room.)

(Fogarty, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips 34-35).

It is I or It is me?

“Instead of the old choice between right and wrong we are now choosing a style; it is a choice that is much closer to the reality of usage than the old one way. [. . .] Clearly, both the it is I and it’s me patterns are in reputable use and have been for a considerable time. It is I tends to be used in more formal or more stuffy situations; it’s me predominates in real and fictional speech and in a more relaxed writing style” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage).

It’s her or It’s she?

“In all but the most formal circumstances, it’s OK to use It is me, That’s him, It’s her, and similar constructions, instead of the technically correct but stuffier It is I, That’s he, and It’s she” (O’Conner, Woe Is I 186).

Its or It’s?

This one is simple if you remember that it’s is a contraction of it is or it has.
Example: It’s a beautiful morning; however, it’s been an ugly season.
Its is the possessive form of it.
Example: It appeared the squirrel couldn’t make up its mind whether or not to run across the street.

Lie or Lay ?

The verb lay means to place or to set down. It always takes a direct object, the thing that is placed or set down.
Examples: Lay the magazine on the table. 
                I have laid the bike under the tree.
The verb lie means to recline. It does not take a direct object.
Examples: I will lie down around noon.
                 Let’s go lie out on the grass.

Like or Such as?

“Writers whom we respect disagree on whether there is any significant difference between like and such as. Wilson Follett and Theodore Bernstein say no. James J. Kilpatrick says yes. We come down gingerly on the side of Kilpatrick. His argument seems valid: ‘When we are talking of large, indefinite fields of similarity, like properly may be used. . . . When we are talking about specifically named persons [places or things] . . . included in a small field, we ought to use such as.’ In ‘Books like this one can help you write better,’ like means similar to. In ‘Cities such as Atlanta and Birmingham are important to the economy of the Southeast,’ the intent is to specify those cities as examples, not merely to put them into a broad category of cities that are important to the economy of the Southeast” (Lederer and Dowis, Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay 79).

Littler and Littlest?

“Although occasionally used, both these forms [littler, littlest] are regarded as dialectical or perhaps as juvenile. When size is involved, the better forms are smaller and smallest; when quantity or importance is involved, the better forms are less (sometimes lesser) and least” (Bernstein, The Careful Writer).

Majority is or are?

“Many words that mean a group of things — total, majority, and number, for example — can be singular or plural. Sometimes they mean the group acting as a whole, sometimes the members of a group.

“As with the other two-faced words, ask yourself whether you are thinking of the whole or the parts. A little hint: The before the word (the total, the majority) is usually a tip-off that it’s singular; while a (a total, a number), especially when of comes after, usually indicates a plural.

[Examples:] The majority is in charge. Still, a majority of voters are unhappy” (O’Conner, Woe Is I 26).

May or Might?

“These words occupy different places on a continuum of possibility. May expresses likelihood {we may go to the party}, while might expresses a stronger sense of doubt {we might be able to go if our appointment is cancelled} or a contrary-to-fact hypothetical {we might have been able to go if George hadn’t gotten held up} (Garner, The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style).

Me, Myself, or I?

“In the old days when people studied traditional grammar, we could simply say, “The first person singular pronoun is I when it’s a subject and me when it’s an object,’ but now few people know what that means. [. . .] The misuse of I and myself for me is caused by nervousness about me. [. . .] But the notion that there is something wrong with me leads people to overcorrect and avoid it where it is perfectly appropriate. People will say, ‘The document had to be signed by both Susan and I’ when the correct statement would be, ‘The document had to be signed by both Susan and me.’

Trying even harder to avoid the lowly me, many people will substitute myself as in ‘The suspect uttered epithets at Officer O’Leary and myself.’ Myself is no better than I as an object. Myself is not a sort of all-purpose intensive form of me or I . Use myself only when you have used I earlier in the same sentence: ‘I am not particularly fond of goat cheese myself'” (Brians, Common Errors in English Usage).

Mid- or just Mid?

“In forming compounds, mid- is normally joined to the following word or element without a space or hyphen: midpoint. However, if the second element begins with a capital letter, it is separated with a hyphen: mid-May. It is always acceptable to separate the elements with a hyphen to prevent possible confusion with another form, as, for example, to distinguish mid-den (the middle of a den) from the word midden. The adjective mid is a separate word, and as is the case with any adjective, it may be joined to another word with a hyphen when used as a unit modifier: in the mid Pacific but a mid-Pacific Island” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).


“Ms. is widely used in business and public life to address or refer to a woman, especially if her marital status is either unknown or irrelevant to the context. More traditionally, Miss is used to refer to an unmarried woman, and Mrs. is used to refer to a married woman. Some women may indicate a preference for Ms., Miss, or Mrs., which you should honor. If a woman has an academic or professional title, use the appropriate form of address (Doctor, Professor, Captain) instead of Ms., Miss, or Mrs.” (Alred, Brusaw, and Oliu, The Technical Writer’s Companion 297).

None is or None are?

“None has been both singular and plural since Old English and still is. [. . .] If in context it seems like a singular to you, use a singular verb; if it seems like a plural, use a plural verb. Both are acceptable beyond serious criticism” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage).

OK or Okay?

Both OK and okay are acceptable in informal writing; however, avoid them in formal writing.

On or Upon?/In or Into?

On/upon and in/into are equally interchangeable according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage.

Set or Sit?

Set is a verb meaning “to put” or “to place.”
Example: He set the urn on the table.
Sit is a verb meaning “to be seated.”
Example: He sat on the couch next to the dog.

Shall or Will?

“Will has almost entirely replaced shall in American English except in legal documents and in questions like “Shall we have red wine with the duck?'” (Brians, Common Errors in English Usage)

Try and or Try to?

“The phrase try and is colloquial for try to. [. . .]
[Example:] Please try and finish the report on time.” (Alred, Brusaw, and Oliu, The Business Writer’s Handbook).

Unique or More unique?

“The primary meaning of unique is ‘one of a kind’; it’s an absolute, so something can’t be more unique than something else.” (Fogarty, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips 66).

Who or Whom?

“The words who and whom are both pronouns [, . . . and] you use who when you are referring to the subject of a clause and whom when you are referring to the object of a clause. [. . . A] simple memory trick — we’ll call it the ‘him-lich’ maneuver. It’s as easy as testing your sentence with the word him: if you can hypothetically answer your question with the word him, you need a whom.” (Fogarty, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips 50-51).
[Example:] Who/Whom do you love? You love him. Whom do you love? (51)

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