Real English vs. Grammar-Book English (Part 4)

Sound Natural and Understand More – Lesson 4

Enterprise vs. Company

“Enterprise” referring to a place of work or your place of work is quite rare in English.  We understand it, but I don’t often (if ever) hear native speakers using this except perhaps in specialized contexts.  “Company” is the usually choice for both formal and informal conversation.

Principle vs. Main

We use both, but have a very strong preference for “main”: main idea, main character, main problem, main point…

Research vs. Investigate

To gather or get more information could be either of these two options, but be careful.  “Research” is used for science (positive connotation) and “Investigate” is used for crimes (negative connotation).  The part of our companies that looks for new ideas is “Research and Development” not “investigation.  When the CEO (president of the company) puts a million dollars of company money into a private Swiss bank account we “investigate”.

Doubt vs. Question

Please stop saying “I have a doubt”.  To begin with it sounds strange.  In addition to this it can be viewed as a little unfriendly.  “I have a question” simple means I don’t understand (maybe the speakers fault).  “Doubt” in English implies suspicion.  If you doubt someone you likely don’t trust them.  “I have a doubt” might mean, “I don’t trust or believe your explanation.  In the end the phrases are quite different.

Transmit vs. Communicate

Electrical signals are transmitted, emotions and ideas are communicated.  Unless you are talking about a robot, don’t say “She transmitted anger”.

Focused vs. Concentrated

“Focused” is often to be thinking exclusively about one thing.  “Concentrated” is a term often applied to density.  The population of Bangladesh is concentrated; my new laundry soap is “extra concentrated”, but a person is “focused”

Competence vs. Competition

“Competence” is general not part of everyday conversations.  It means to be physically or mentally qualified.  “His competence in mathematics allowed him to transition from the marketing department to the financial department. “  To be honest, the sentence doesn’t sound completely natural – we just don’t use this word much.  “Competition” describes your rival, the people you want to beat.  For Ex: Burger  King is the competition of McDonalds.


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