Language tip of the week: beginning

Posted by on September 20, 2011

In this weekly microblog, we’ll bring to English language learners useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, etc) which learners often find difficult.

This week’s language tip is about beginnings …

Don’t confuse these two phrases:
▪  at the beginning
▪  in the beginning
At the beginning is used to refer to the start or first part of something. It is usually followed by of.
In the beginning means ‘at first’, and it usually suggests a contrast with a later situation. It is not usually followed by of.
✗ Children are still in the beginning of their lives.
✓ Children are still at the beginning of their lives.
In the beginning of the last century, thousands of people left Sweden in search of a new life.
At the beginning of the last century, thousands of people left Sweden in search of a new life.
At the beginning, computers were only used for the organization of information.
In the beginning, computers were only used for the organization of information.
At the beginning, human beings had a very primitive way of life, living in caves.
In the beginning, human beings had a very primitive way of life, living in caves.
Note that the correct spelling is beginning: it has a double ‘n’ and only one ‘g’:
✗ In the begining the main energy source was wood.
✓ In the beginning the main energy source was wood.

More language tips

Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

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