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Language tip of the week: contact

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In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about using the noun contact:

When contact means ‘communication between people, countries, or organizations’, it is usually an uncountable noun, so
▪  it is hardly ever used in the plural
▪  it never comes after a or a number

✗ They live in an isolated place and have no contacts with the outside world.
✓ They live in an isolated place and have no contact with the outside world.
✗ You can only get a feel for the language by having a constant contact with native English speakers.
✓ You can only get a feel for the language by having constant contact with native English speakers.

Contact can also be a countable noun when it means ‘someone you know who can help you’:

She used to teach in Japan, and she has a lot of useful contacts in universities there.

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Liz Potter

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