Consider, Discuss and Research – Do They Need “About”?


I received an email from a colleague abroad. In the email my colleague made a few requests. Let me read it. “Please consider about how we can use an alternative messaging system instead of email. Meanwhile we will also research about the best options and prices. We’ll plan to discuss about this in next week’s meeting.

What do you think? Well the email is clear enough, but did you notice a three mistakes?

I’m Paul Durant and this is three minute English – a podcast in English, about English for English learners.

I’m not surprised if you didn’t notice those three mistakes. In fact, these are common errors for English learners. In fact, I often hear advanced learners make these mistakes.

Maybe you noticed I said the word “about” a lot! If you noticed this, you have found the problem! In the email the writer asked me to consider about how to use alternative messaging. He also said his group would research about the options so we can discuss about it next week.

The problem is simply that these three words do not require the preposition “about”. I can see why it is confusing. If I say “think” instead of “consider”, I need “about”. We have to say think about. But consider doesn’t mean think… it means “think about”. “About” is included in the word consider. The word think can take many prepositions that slightly change its meaning or usage. For example “think of”, “think over”, or “think out”, in addition to think about. These different prepositions change how we use the verb think, and they might even change the meaning slightly. But we don’t add prepositions to the verb consider, because the preposition “about” is already included. Therefore we can’t say consider on, consider over… etc.

The same is true for the word discuss. We can “talk about” something but the verb “discuss” includes “about” so we don’t need to add it. Finally the verb “research” is the same. We research options, not research about them, because the verb includes “about”.

Be careful with the word research, though. If you use it as a verb you should not include “about” but if you use it as a noun it can take about or other prepositions. For example “I need the research about product sales.” Or “please do some research on price comparisons.” As you can see when “research” is used as a noun it often needs a preposition.

So how could we improve that email? Just take out all those “abouts” Here we go: Please consider how we can use an alternative messaging system instead of email. Meanwhile we will also research the best options and prices. We’ll plan to discuss this in next week’s meeting.

Sounds a lot better. So remember, when using the verbs consider, discuss and research throw away those “abouts!” Your English is going to sound better.

I’m Paul Durant. Remember you can contact me anytime in the comments section or send me an email with any question I can answer. Also remember you can now go to the website and check the transcript for each episode. Thanks for listening to Three Minute English.

#32 Consider, Discuss and Research – Do They Need “About”?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144These three verbs are often followed by the preposition “about”. But is that correct? We’ll look at the usage of these three verbs in this episode.

See the transcript here

#31 As Far As, or As Long As – transcript

I think I am pretty lucky because my doctor is a very smart man. Every trip to his office is like going to medical school. He explains everything to me – the blips on the CT scan or the blops on the X-ray. He does all this in English, even though he is not a native speaker. But sometimes I get a little confused. For example, in a check up this week he mentioned “As long as I can see, you are healthy.

I’m Paul Durant From Venture English, this is 3 Minute English – a podcast in English about English for English learners.

Well that was good news, but it left me confused. You see, We use “as long as” as an idiom to mean “provided that,” or “on the condition of.” So my doctor was telling me that provided he could see, I was healthy. I knew something wasn’t quite right about that.

So, After giving it a bit of thought, I realized that my doctor meant to say “As far as I can see FROM the data you are fine.” Do you remember what he actually said? He said “As long as I can seeyou are fine. Almost the same right? So what’s the big deal?

Well, these two expressions do sound similar, but, in fact, have very different meanings. “As far as I can see” – refers to the distance I can see. As far as… the full amount, distance or extent of the subject. It implies that if there are any issues or problems, they must be far away, because they are not visible to the speaker. We use it in phrases like “as far as I know, it won’t rain today,” or “as far as I can tell, the car is running fine.” It means based on everything I know it won’t rain or the car is running fine.

So how can I use these two idioms correctly? Well just remember “as far as” means the full amount of or extent of something, As in “as far as I know”. “As long as” means “provided that” or “on the condition of.” For example “As long as we agree on the details, we can start the project.” This means provided that we agree, we can start work.

It’s easy enough to confuse these two similar idioms. But try to use them in the correct context. Your English is going to sound better.

If you have any questions I can answer on 3 Minute English, please go to our comments and questions page at venture, and leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for listening. I’m Paul Durant. This has been 3 Minute English.

#31 As Far As, or As Long As?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144These two idioms sound a lot alike, and they may be seem to mean the same thing. But they are not interchangeable. In this podcast we talk about the difference between “as far as” and “as long as.”


See the transcript here!

#30 I Need It Yesterday! – transcript

We’re back after a long and unexpected break from the podcast. Thanks for waiting for us, and I hope you enjoy the new episodes of Three Minute English! Another feature is, we will now put the transcripts of the podcast on the website. That way you can read along while you listen. Or you can check the transcript later for some detail you might have forgotten. Don’t forget to email me if you have any questions I can answer, or leave a comment in the comments section of our website: the link is on our podcast page.

And now for this week’s return episode.

A client called up the other day with a tough project. She had a strict deadline. I had a look at the project, and I knew it would take a few days to complete. So I asked *When exactly do you need it?* Well maybe you can guess what she said. She said “I need it yesterday!”

I’m Paul Durant and this is three minute English – a podcast in English, about English for English learners.

“I need it yesterday?” What kind of answer is that? yesterday was yesterday. I can’t go back in time. Was it just a mistake? Maybe she forgot that it is already today?

Well not exactly a mistake. We often use the idiom “I need it yesterday” to mean it is very urgent – even an emergency.

But shouldn’t she have said “I needed it yesterday”? After all, that would be correct grammar. Yesterday is in the past, so we need a past tense verb, right?

Well, yes, of course that’s right, but the idiom doesn’t use the past tense. We use the present tense, “I need it yesterday,” because that creates an impossible situation. It stresses the importance of getting the project immediately. It sounds like yesterday is a possibility, even though it is, of course, impossible! Since I know I can’t deliver it yesterday, I understand that you need it as soon as possible.

So remember to say “I need it yesterday,” not “I needed it yesterday,” when you need something completed immediately. Try this idiom next time you have an urgent project for someone else to take care of. See if you get some surprised looks. They’ll know what you mean and your English is going to sound better.

I’m Paul Durant. Thanks for listening to Three Minute English. Remember to contact me in the comments section or send me an email with your questions. and remember to go to the website and check the transcript for each episode. I’m glad to be back for another season of Three Minute Engliish.

#30 I Need It Yesterday!

Welcome to season two of  “3 Minute English!” I hope you enjoy the new season of English tips. You might have heard someone tell you “I need this report yesterday!” Were they crazy, confused or just using bad English? Well maybe none of these. We’ll talk about this idiom today.

Find the written transcript here!

#29 Don’t Care OR Don’t Worry?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144The words “care” and “worry” seem like they should be interchangeable. But are they? In this episode we talk about the differences between these two words.

#28 How to Use the Verb “Seem”

3MinEngLogoRev144x144“Seem” is a tricky verb to use in a sentence because the object seems like the subject and the subject seems to be missing. What? Listen to this week’s podcast and I hope everything becomes a bit clearer!

#27 Can Pigs Really Fly?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144I don’t think there’s a flying pig, but in English we use the idea of flying to make quite a few idioms. In this episode we talk about “when Pigs Fly” and other idioms that come from flying.

#26 To Write Up or Write Down?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144These two phrasal verbs look very similar. But are their meanings also similar, or opposite?  When should you use each one? In this episode we look closely at these two phrasal verbs.

#25 Better Ways to Say “Cheap!”

3MinEngLogoRev144x144The word “cheap” has some real baggage attached to it. Besides meaning inexpensive price, “cheap” has the nuance of poor or  below standard quality. It’s not a good word to use in many situations. So what are some alternatives? We’ll discuss that in this week’ episode.

#24 Tips For English Negotiation

3MinEngLogoRev144x144What are some good phrases for negotiation? I’m often asked this question. We’ll go over a few of them here, and we’ll start talking about strategies for effective English negotiations.

#23 “Should Have” and “Was Supposed To” – What’s the Difference?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144These two phrases are often used in the same situations by native speakers. But is there a difference in meaning? There sure is, and it will help to know the differences when you decide which one to use.

#22 Detour or Shortcut?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Sometimes you may have to take an alternate route. But when you do is it a shortcut or a detour? These two words are useful in business and daily life, but are you using them correctly? We’ll talk about that in this episode.

#21 Stand-up!

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Have you been told to stand-up? Have you been stood-up? Are you a stand-up person? Have you stood-up for what you believe in? These are a few ways to use the phrasal verb stand-up. Do you know the meaning of all these phrases? This week we talk about standing up!

#20 How Many Ways Can You Use “Drop”?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144The little word “drop” has a lot of meaning! It can be used as a noun or verb, in formal speech or slang, and is often a part of idioms and set phrases. In this podcast we talk about 8 different meanings or usages of the word “drop.” But there are many more usages. In fact this podcast is just a drop in the ocean!

#19 Off the Grid

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Have you heard the idiom “off the grid” before? Lately it seems to come up a lot. But do you know what it means? In this episode we’ll talk about falling off the grid.

#18 Ability, Capability, Skill and Competency

3MinEngLogoRev144x144These words are so close in meaning that often you can use them interchangeably. But what is the difference and what is the nuance of each word in a situation. We’ll discuss it on this episode. IT’s a little longer than three minutes… but I guess they all are! Enjoy the episode.

#17 Using “Shall”, “Will” and “Must”

3MinEngLogoRev144x144The verb “shall” is difficult to use. It’s a formal word, very good for some situations, but it has a strong nuance. When should you use it? And when should you use “will” or “must” instead? That’s what we’ll talk about in this episode.

#16 Nouns That Define Nouns

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Sometimes nouns work together to describe a thing or idea, such as peanut butter, or fruit cake. But what happens to these nouns when they are plural? Do we say peanuts butter or fruits cakes? In this episode we talk about this common and confusing situation. After listening you’ll be able to answer that question easily!

#15 Margin or Commission?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144The words margin and commission are often confused by non-native speakers. It’s no wonder, they have very similar meanings. But they are used in different types of situations. This week we talk about these two words and when to use them.

#14 Using What and How

3MinEngLogoRev144x144What” and “how” are both question starters, part of the 5 W’s and 1 H. But their meanings can sometimes seem very close, and it may be difficult to decide which word to use in a question. A common mistake is asking “how do you think?” instead of “what do you think?” In this episode we talk about when to use both of these words.

#13 Deadlines! – Using By, Until and Due

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Talking about deadlines can be a confusing business. But it’s important to get it right! In business we need to make sure our colleagues understand deadlines. We need to be clear in talking about deadlines. This week we talk about how to make deadlines more clear using by, until or due.

#12 “Except” or “Besides”? Part 2

3MinEngLogoRev144x144As we covered in last week’s podcast, whether to use the word “except” or “besides” is often confusing. This week we cover another situation where we have to consider which of these words to use. If you didn’t listen to last week’s episode, listen to that one first and then listen to this week’s part two. I hope that after listening to both episodes, using the words “except” or “besides” will become a little bit clearer for you.

#11 “Except” or “Besides”? Part 1

3MinEngLogoRev144x144It’s often difficult to know whether you should use “except” or “besides” in sentences. Sometimes either word is fine, but often one is preferred.. In Part 1 we look at a few situations where besides would work better than except.

#10 Avoiding Cost Down, Level Up and Other Up/Down Noun Phrases

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Often English words enter other languages. In the case of Japanese, the phrases cost up and level up are common phrases that come from English but are only used in Japanese. This week we look at natural English alternatives to express increase and decrease.

#9 To Treat, To Deal With, To Handle or To Take Care Of?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144These verbs and verb phrases have a similar meaning, but the nuance and feel can be quite different. Which one should you use and when. this episode introduces way to look at and understand these verbs.

#8 – Overwork and Overtime – What Is the Difference?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Many English learners use the words “overwork” and “overtime” to mean the same thing. Actually these words have very different meanings. In this episode we discuss the meaning and usage of these words.

#7 – Is It “I Think I Cannot” or “I Don’t Think I Can”?

3MinEngLogoRev144x144In positive sentences we can say “I think I can…” or “I think I will…” etc. But how about if the sentence is negative? Is it “I think I cannot” or “I don’t think I can”? This is a common usage question. Both are grammatical, but there is a different feel. Which one should you choose? The answer may surprise you.

#6 – Using the Verbs “Look”, “See”, and “Watch”

3MinEngLogoRev144x144Often the verbs “look”, “see”, and “watch” are confusing to English learners. When should you use each one? In this episode we give tips on how to decide quickly which word to use for a given situation.

#5 – Alternatives for the Phrase “Make Efforts”


What words can you use when the word “try” just isn’t enough? I hear people use “make efforts” often, but that phrase really isn’t idiomatic. Her are some good alternatives you can use to match the situation with the right nuance.

#4 – Using Alternative Words for the Word “Goods”


The word “goods” is a perfectly good word, but it is often overused among non-native speakers. In this podcast we’ll discuss some alternative words you can use that will make your speaking sound more natural.

#3 – Using “Cheer On” and “Cheer Up” Correctly


This week we look at common problems with the verb cheer, especially the phrasal verbs “cheer on” and “cheer up”. They sound very similar but their meanings can be quite different.

#2 – Using “From” When Describing Time Spans


When talking about time, the word “from” can be a common English mistake. It shouldn’t be used if we define the beginning but not the end of a time span. Here are some ways to improve your English by fixing this common English error.

#1 – Using the Word “Staff” Correctly


The word “staff” is often misused as a singular noun. It’s a very common mistake. But staff is actually a group noun that refers to many people. This week we start 3 Minute English with a discussion on how to use the word staff correctly.