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Verbs of Knowledge and Opinion

Aim: This exercise is to help you to avoid common confusions between the uses of the verbs know, learn, understand, think and believe.

  1. know
    1. This is used to describe a state of knowledge as in:
          'I know that your organisation is heavily involved in China.'
      However, be careful! If you mention the source of your knowledge, you should use 'understand' as in:
          'From your annual report, I understand that you intend to enter the China market.'
       
    2. Students often make the mistake of using 'know' inappropriately in the past tense, as in:
          '...From the activity I knew how to...' or, 'I knew about this job from the SAO at the university.'
      This is WRONG. You should use 'learned' instead. In the second example you could also use 'heard'.
        
    3. Students often make the mistake of using 'know' inappropriately in the past tense when talking about people, as in:
          'During my placement, I knew many people involved in the Social Services.'
      This is WRONG. You should use 'met' or 'got to know'.
       
  2. think, believe
    1. These are used to express opinions and are used in the present tense, as in:
          I believe/think that I have all the necessary qualifications for the post.'
       
    2. 'Believe' can also be used in the sense of 'know', as is i. a. above (the only difference is that it is slightly less definite).

Exercise
Choose the correct word from the drop-down list:

  1. I was on the Editorial Board of the Student's Union monthly magazine in my second year. From the work, I    the importance of team work and logical thinking.

     

    Answer:
    I was on the Editorial Board of the Student's Union monthly magazine in my second year. From the work, I learned the importance of team work and logical thinking.

    Explanation:
    See i.b. above. Understood is wrong because the second year takes a long time, and learning the importance of team work and logical thinking is a process. In addition, work is not a source.
     

  2. In the summer of my second year, I took a two-month training course at Zenith Investment Company, when I many clients personally.

     

    Answer:
    In the summer of my second year, I took a two-month training course at Zenith Investment Company, when I got to know many clients personally.

    Explanation:
    See i.c. above. Two months is a long time, and you can get to know people well.
     

  3. From this study, I that some of our sales personnel lack proper communication skills.

     

    Answer:
    From this study, I learned that some of our sales personnel lack proper communication skills.

    Explanation:
    See i.b. above. A study takes time, and when you study something, you learn things. If the example was 'From this report on your study', you could use 'understood', but a study is not the same as a report on a study.
     

  4. I am an active member of the Social Services Group and regularly organise and render various services for the needy. From the work I have done, I to be patient and sympathetic, which will be useful for this job.

     

    Answer:
    I am an active member of the Social Services Group and regularly organise and render various services for the needy. From the work I have done, I have learned to be patient and sympathetic, which will be useful for this job.

    Explanation:
    See i.b. above. The work is not a source.
     

  5. I I am patient and hardworking and...

     

    Answer:
    I believe/think I am patient and hardworking and...

    Explanation:
    See ii above. This is your opinion.
     

  6. From your brochure, I  that you sell a large range of small scale hardware.

     

    Answer:
    From your brochure, I understand that you sell a large range of small scale hardware.

    Explanation:
    See i.a. above. The brochure is the source of the information.
      

Your total score is:

 

Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012