Language tip of the week: desire

Posted by on February 06, 2013

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English which learners often find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week some advice about the noun desire:

When the noun desire is followed by a verb, use the infinitive (not the pattern ‘desire of doing something’):
✗ A child without a ‘real’ father might have a desire of knowing who his father was.
✓ A child without a ‘real’ father might have a desire to know who his father was.
✗ Our parents and grandparents had the desire of creating a better world for future generations.
✓ Our parents and grandparents had the desire to create a better world for future generations.

When the noun desire is followed by another noun, use the pattern desire for something (not ‘desire of something’):
✗ It’s not money itself that causes evil, it’s the desire of money.
✓ It’s not money itself that causes evil, it’s the desire for money.
✗ Hatred and the desire of revenge brought one man to kill his brother.
✓ Hatred and the desire for revenge brought one man to kill his brother.

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