last and the last

Last week, last month etc is the week or month just before this one.
If I am speaking in July, last month was June.
If I speaking in 1985, last year was 1984.
(Note that prepositions are not used before these time-expressions)

  • I had a cold last week. Were you at the meeting last Tuesday?
  • We bought this house last year.

The last week, the last month etc is the period of seven days, thirty days etc up to the moment of speaking.
On July 15th, 1985, the last month is the period from June 15th to July 15th.

  • I’ve had a cold for the last week
    (=for the seven days up to today)
  • We’ve lived here for the last year
    (= since twelve months ago)

long and for a long time

Long is most common in questions and negative sentences, and after too and so.

  • How long did you wait? I didn’t play for long.
  • The concert was too long.

In affirmative sentences, we usually use a long time.

  • I waited (for) a long time. ( I waited long is possible, but not usual.)
  • It takes a long time to get to her house.

borrow and lend

borrow something from somebody

lend something to somebody
lend somebody something

Borrow is like take. You borrow something from somebody

  • I borrowed a pound from my son.
  • Can I borrow your bicycle?

Lend is like give. You lend something to somebody, or lend somebody something.
(the meaning is the same)

  • I lent my coat to a friend of my brother’s and  I never saw it again.
  • Lend me your comb for a minute, will you?

as and like

I. Similarity

We can use like or as to say that things are similar

  1. Like is preposition. We use like before a noun or pronoun

like + noun/ pronoun

  • You look like your sister (not .. as your sister)
  • He ran like the wind .
  • It’s like a dream
  • She’s dressed just like me

We use like to give examples

  • He’s good at some subjects, like mathematics
    (not mathematics)
  • In mountainous countries, like Switzerland…

2. As is a conjunction. We use as before a clause,
an expression beginning with a preposition

as + clause

as + preposition phrase

  • Nobody knows her as I do
  • We often drink tea with the meal, as they do in China
  • In 1939, as in 1914, everybody wanted war
  • On Friday, as on Tuesday, the meeting will bee at 6.30

In formal English like is often used instead of as.
This is very common in American English

  • Nobody loves you like I do

II. Function

  1. We use as, not like to say what function a person or things has-
    what jobs people do, what things are used for, etc.
  • He worked as a waiter for two years (not … like a waiter)
  • Please don’t use your plate as an ashtray

look (at), watch and see

1. See is the ordinary word to say something ‘comes to our eyes’

  • Suddenly I saw something strange. Can you see me?
  • Did you see the article about the strike in today’s paper?

See in not used in progressive tenses with this meaning.
When we want to say that we see something at the moment of speaking, we often use can see.

  • I can see an plane. (NOT I am seeing….)

2. We use look (at) to talk about concentrating, paying attention, trying to see as well as possible.


  • I looked at the photo, but I didn’t see anybody I knew.
  • Do you see the man in the raincoat? Yes .
    Look again. Good heaves! It’s Moriaty!

We use look when there is no object, and look at before an object.


  • Look! (NOT look at)
  • Look at me! (NOT look me)