Language tip of the week: worth

Posted by on November 15, 2012

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 which learners often find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week some advice about the patterns that can follow the adjective worth:

The adjective worth is never followed by an infinitive. Use the pattern worth doing something:
✗ Is it really worth to spend five years of your life studying?
✓ Is it really worth spending five years of your life studying?
✗ The ban on smoking in restaurants is worth to discuss.
✓ The ban on smoking in restaurants is worth discussing.

Note also that the active form of the verb is always used, whether the meaning is active or passive. You can say ‘this is worth thinking about’ or ‘it is worth thinking about this’:
✗ History is a subject well worth being taught.
✓ History is a subject well worth teaching.

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