adjective: eligible

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Last week I was teaching this adjective to some students, so I would like to write about it today. The adjective is “eligible”. It is used when we want to talk about people who are able to receive something because they meet a certain condition. For example:

Employees who have worked here for five years or more are eligible for a 10 day paid vacation.

I’m eligible for a tax cut because I made less than $30,000 last year.

I’m not eligible for pension benefits until I’m 65 years old.

A: Is my company eligible for a discount at this store?

B: You’re eligible for a discount of 10% if you place an order worth more than $200.

We can also use “eligible” to talk about a person who is available and desirable for something. For example:

Mark is the most eligible bachelor in this town. All the girls want to marry him.

William Trenton is the most eligible candidate for mayor. None of the other candidates even come close to him.

The actress Rachel Simon is one of the most eligible candidates for the role of Princess Diana in a new movie about her.

So, with the first meaning of “eligible”, we always follow it with the preposition “for”. Please note that with this meaning of the word, there must be a condition. If there is no special condition, we cannot use the word “eligible”.

With the second meaning, we often use it to talk about “eligible bachelors”. This is quite a common expression in English. This means men who are unmarried but who are considered to be attractive. We usually don’t use this word to talk about attractive unmarried women though.

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