Phrasal verbs | Sunday Observer

Phrasal verbs

22 January, 2023

This is a guide to help learners to communicate easily in both speech and writing through a better understanding of the English language.

Groin / groyne

The groin is the fold in the body where the thigh joins the abdomen. It is also an alternative but less used spelling for ‘groyne’ which is a small jetty built into the sea or river bank to prevent erosion.

Guarantee / guarantor

A guarantee is a formal promise to repair or replace a product if it breaks within a specific period of time.

Some companies offer a one- year guarantee on all their electrical goods.

A guarantor is someone who promises to pay a debt if the person who should pay it does not do so.

Guerrilla / gorilla

A guerrilla is a member of a small unofficial military group that fights in small groups.

The Army was fighting a guerrilla war.

A gorilla is a very large African monkey that is the largest of the apes. It also means a man who is very large and who looks as if he might become violent.

Habitable / inhabitable

‘Habitable’ means ‘good enough for people to live in.’

It would cost a large sum of money to make the dry land habitable.

Although both words mean ‘able to be lived in,’ ‘inhabitable’ generally refers to much larger areas.

Desert regions are not usually inhabitable.

Hang / hanged / hung

‘Hang’ means ‘to put something so that the top part is fixed or supported and the bottom part is free to move and does not touch the ground.’

Fiona hung the picture on the wall.

‘Hang’ also means ‘to kill someone dropping them with a rope around their neck, or die in this way especially as a punishment for a serious crime.’

The prisoner was hanged for murder.

Happen / occur

When something happens, there is an event especially one that is not planned.

When did the accident happen?

‘Occur’ has the same meaning but it is used especially when talking about events that have not been planned.

The incident occurred outside the bank.

Harangue / tirade

‘Harangue’ means ‘to speak in a loud and angry way, often for a long time in order to criticise someone or to persuade them that you are right.’

A harangue is usually delivered before an audience.

We were compelled to listen to his lengthy harangue.

A tirade is a denunciation and may be intended for a single person only.

The teacher’s tirade reduced the girl to tears.

Harbour / port

A harbour is an area of water next to the land where the water is calm, so that ships are safe when they are inside it.

A port is a place where ships can be loaded and unloaded.

The ferry was about to leave the port.

It also means a town or city with a harbour where ships can be loaded or unloaded.

Hard / hardly

‘Hard’ is an adjective meaning ‘firm, stiff and difficult to press down, break or cut.’

John sat on a hard wooden chair.

‘Hard’ also means ‘difficult to do or understand.’

I had to make some hard decisions.

As an adverb, ‘hard’ means ‘using a lot of effort, energy or attention.’

I have worked hard all my life.

‘Hardly’ is an adverb meaning ‘almost not.’

My father died when I was two and I hardly knew him.

Harmony / melody

‘Harmony’ means ‘notes of music combined together in a pleasant way.’

The choir was singing in perfect harmony.

A melody is a song or tune.

Harriet played some lovely melodies.

In music ‘melody’ means ‘the arrangement of musical notes in a way that is pleasant.’

Although ‘harmony’ and ‘melody’ are used to mean a combination of sounds from voices or musical instruments, there is a difference between them. The harmony is a simultaneous combination of notes, but the melody is the combination of successive sounds to make up a tune.

Healthy / healthful

‘Healthy’ means ‘physically strong and not likely to become ill or weak.

Anuradha has always been a healthy girl.

‘Healthful’ means ‘likely to make you healthy.’

You should take a healthful diet.

Heritage / inheritance

‘Heritage’ means ‘the traditional beliefs, values, or customs of a family, country or society.

We should preserve the national heritage.

‘Inheritance’ means ‘the money or property that you receive from somebody who has died.

Sometimes children fight for their inheritance when their parents die.

Hesitation / hesitancy

We use ‘hesitance’ when someone is uncertain or slow in doing or saying something.

We use ‘hesitation’ when someone hesitates to do or say something.

After some hesitation, one of them began to sing.