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Time to clear some things up. When do we add that pesky preposition? When do we use “to” after a verb?

Let’s see: to tell

  • I told him not to come (correct)
  • I told to him not to come (incorrect)

Let’s see: to say

  • Here’s what I said to him… (correct)
  • Here’s what I said him…. (incorrect)

Golden Rule: to tell someone, no "to". And it's to say something to someone, always a "to" there. That’s important, y’all.

Bonus: To explain something TO someone

            To recommend something TO someone

           To recommend THAT someone do something

          To recommend DOING something

         To advise someone TO do something

 

PUNCTUATION!.;,

Our Romanian commas are crazy. Commas everywhere! English commas have certain rules, though, like:

DETAILS

Russia, one of the largest countries on Earth, has a complicated history.

Silvia, the girl I befriended, is a citizen of Puerto Rico.

These two examples should always include commas between the parts in bold.

THE OXFORD COMMA

The final comma in a list of things:

I bought sausages, quesadilla, apples, and vinegar.

They ran, shouted, waved their arms, and fell to the ground.

AMBIGUITY

Make sure the comma is in the right place, or else the meaning might change:

  • I dislike salesmen, like you: I think they’re all thieves.
  • I dislike salesmen like you: I think they’re all thieves.

Number 1) means we both dislike salesmen, whereas the second sentence means I dislike you for being a salesman. So watch it!

1

It is expected that our Mother Tongue (MT) might interfere with language learning/language acquisition, and linguistic problems differ from one nation to another.

In the case of Romanians (or other speakers of a Romance language), there is a tendency to omit the subject in a sentence. Compare, for example:

I like Starbucks, even though is expensive.

To the Romanian Îmi place Starbucks, chiar dacă e scump.

A cursory glance is all you need; it’s obvious why the speaker keeps making that mistake. There is no actual need for repeated use of the subject in our Romanian subordinate clauses. It might sound forced. English, however, is radically different from our MT.

How do we correct that sample sentence?

Add the subject. Always -

I like Starbucks, even though it is expensive.

English sentences cannot function without it – that’s why you always have to use it if you want to continue talking about something and you decide against using the word again in its entirety. Same goes for human beings:

I like John…is a good friend!

Ouch, that sounded wrong. How do we correct it? Yes, always add the subject. In this case, a pronoun:

I like John…he is a good friend!

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