Non-native English speakers (and some native English speakers) frequently make some easily avoidable mistakes. Even if you have excellent English there are sometimes words that get lost among misused prepositions. Here are some tips to help applicants improve their use of two words that are commonly misused: leverage and comprise.
Rule: Do not use a preposition with the word “leverage.”
“Leverage” is most often used to indicate that you made use of one thing to obtain another. Most applicants understand what leverage is; the mistake only comes in how they phrase it. The correct way is without a preposition.
Correct usage: I leveraged my knowledge of marketing to champion my idea throughout the department.
Incorrect usage: My leverage on brand loyalty made me eager to pursue a job at Nike.
Remember, you can leverage credibility, loyalty, knowledge, and even debt, but the key is to do it alone, don’t use a preposition (like the frequent error “leverage on”).
Everyone knows this word, but for many people for whom English is a second language – even those who spent their entire lives studying in English in school – this term comes with another prepositional complication.
“Comprised” can be used in two ways:
1. A team can be “comprised of” certain members.
2. Certain members can “comprise” the team.
Applicants frequently make mistakes when using the preposition "of" – either adding it when it isn't necessary or dropping it when it is needed. So remember, when team members comprise a team, they do it alone – without a preposition.
If you keep getting confused, maybe write those two sample sentences out on a sticky note to put on your computer screen.
These words come up all the time, especially in leadership and teamwork admission essays.
Contact an Accepted consultant to guide you through these and other subtle English issues and make sure that your qualifications are not buried under prepositions!
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays, a free guide
• 10 Tips for Better Essay Writing
• 5-Step Checklist Before Submitting Your Applications
This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.
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