Updated 3rd March 2017
Word groups by CEFR level could be very useful for checking words in the same group as the one you have in mind, e.g. colour ➝ colourful
sight vocabularysee, look, watch, gaze, glimpse, glance, gawp, stare, peek, peep, peer.
Commonly misspelled words: science, scientific, psychological, physical, hypothetical, different, studying, granddaughter, welcome, customer
Commonly confused words, due to similar spelling: there, their, they're; your, you're; weather, whether; hear, here; this, these; by, buy; addition, addiction
False friends with Portuguese: correct [the correct way to do something; the correct answer], infantile, reunion, comprehensive, pretend, assist. Also: inhabitant: someone who lives in a town/country.
Uncountable Nouns: transport, information, research, damage, advice
American/British spelling: theater/theatre, center/centre, story/storey, tire/tyre, curb/kerb
American/British words that are often confusing: sidewalk/pavement, pavement/road(way)
Words derived from Ancient Greek are spelt with "ph" rather than "f" and "y" rather than "i": philosophy, photography, physical
Also words starting /s/ derived from Ancient Greekpsychological, psychiatrist
traveltravel broadens the mind; to travel by train/plane. Note that travel is almost always uncountable.
journeyusually a noun: have a pleasant journey; sometimes a verb: to journey to the ends of the earth
triptrip = journey; perhaps slightly less formal
refer / mentionYou refer to something that has already been mentioned.


as far as X is concerned
a tendency to + infin
"the"Certain countriesthe Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States.
Groups of islandsthe Caribbean, the Seychelles, the British Isles, the West Indies, the Bahamas.
Geographical featuresthe Alps, the Andes, the Atlantic (Ocean), the Pacific (Ocean), the North Sea, the north pole, the ozone layer.
Unique itemsthe moon, the world, the earth, the solar system (our particular one), the Internet.
Reference to something already mentioned, or specific to the situationthe cat [which belongs to the person speaking], the office [where I work]; There were several buildings in the [specific town, already mentioned in a previous sentence/paragraph] town centre, a church, a café, a shop and the [there can only be one] town hall. The [already mentioned] church was the oldest of them all.
with or without the?How to use the firework = this particular firework.
How to use fireworks = all fireworks; general rule.
no article: in generalPortuguese wine is excellent. [ie ALL Portuguese wine]
You cannot just say the Portuguese wine; you must continue with some sort of relative clause, for example: The (Portuguese) wine from [put your favourite region here] is the best we have tasted. Or: The wine we had tonight was excellent.
In both cases, we are talking about a specific wine, or an occasion.
influenceto have an influence on, to influence.
an interest inShe has developed an interest in computer games.
describing lists...a variety of zz, ranging from x to y.
the former / the latterUse these to refer to items in a previous sentence or paragraph: "The Middle Ages preceded the renaissance. The former was a time of knights and chivalry; the latter saw a blossoming of arts throughout Europe."
invest inThe company should invest in fantasy games.
decadesin the 1800s, in the 90s. [No apostrophe, as you are not leaving anything out: merely adding an -s for plural.]
Expressions with -ingit's worth seeing, it needs doing, I look/am looking forward to hearing from you.
wortheither say: it's worth seeing/doing/drinking...
or it is worthwhile.
take [sth] into considerationTaking into consideration that there are.....
We must take that into consideration.
let/allowDo not allow children to play with fireworks.
Do not let children play with fireworks.
Genitive (indicates possession){women's health, children's books} These examples are irregular plural nouns, adding the regular 's.
words like {hospital bed, bus stop, student magazine, swimming lessons, karate lessons, sports activity} are compound nouns in English, not a genitive + noun.
Present Perfect for experienceIf you have never used fireworks (before), you should read this leaflet.
Uncountable nounsadvice, information, software
Try this
Remember too, that things that are not individual items are usually uncountable. eg some water, some cheese, some money.
These can be used as countables in specific situations, eg I'd like two beers, please. This is really elliptical (short) for: two glasses of beer.
buyWe bought/purchased new equipment. It was a good buy (idiomatic). The purchase of new equipment is necessary.
contractionsReflect speech, so are only appropriate in informal writing. ALL formal documents should contain NO contractions.
such/soEinstein was so intelligent. He was such an intelligent person. We need such a person today.
phrases with prepositionstake sth into consideration
right to do sth; the right to legal representation
Words ending: -tial & -tion (e.g. essential, demonstration)These words, stemming from Latin roots, use a t in English. Their similarity with the Portuguese equivalent make them easy to misspell.
agea 19-year-old boy; he was 19 years old.
difficulty in + ingHe had difficulty in solving the problem.
this [singular] those [plural]this person, these people
Present Perfect for action started in the past, and still going on.How long have you been learning English?
Nationality: adjectives, language, people & country ALL capital in English.Go to Portugal to meet Portuguese, drink and eat Portuguese wine and food and learn to speak Portuguese.
Embedded questionsI couldn't help wondering how a simple football game could gather such a unique audience.
Constructions starting: It....
These are less common in English than in Portuguese.
Indeed simplicity is the key to this success. [not: It is indeed....]