Language tip of the week: stop

Posted by on April 25, 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 find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week’s language tip gives advice on the verb stop:

When you want to say that someone is no longer doing what they were doing before, use the pattern stop doing something, not ‘stop to do something’:
✗ People have practically stopped to write letters to each other.
✓ People have practically stopped writing letters to each other.

Compare:
The pattern stop to do something means that someone stops what they are doing in order to do something else. It tells you the reason why someone has stopped.
He stopped to light a cigarette.
(= he stopped talking, walking, working etc, in order to light a cigarette)
He has stopped smoking.
(=he used to smoke, but he doesn’t smoke now)

More language tips

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