Archive for March 22, 2011

grammatical word: ruin


Today, I have a verb for you which is very useful, but which many of my students don’t know about; the word is “ruin”. It is used when we want to talk about someone damaging a situation so much that it cannot be fixed. For example:

I added salt instead of sugar to the cake, so I ruined it.

Bruce got completely drunk and ruined my party! I’m so angry at him! I’ll never speak to him again!

Vicky spilled ink all over my shirt. That stain will never come out! My shirt is ruined! (passive voice)

I had an opportunity to get a promotion but I ruined it by being lazy at work. I’ll never do that again.

So we can use this word with physical things like clothes or food or we can use it with non-physical things such as parties or opportunities. We don’t use it when talking about machines or fragile objects though. In those cases, we use the word “break”.

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