English as a Second Language/Different


QUESTION: Dear Shannon,

Which sentence is correct and why?
- I want to be a doctor in the future.
- I want to become a doctor in the future.

Suppose I am a still student, I do not have a job, and I take my pocket money from my father. So can I say "My father spends on me". Is this sentence correct?

"Pigeons have sometimes bee used to smuggle diamonds illegally out of South Africa". I read it in the book "English for Starters 10" but I think the word "illegally" is redundant because "smuggle" means "to take things or people to or from a place secretly and often illegally". Please enlighten me.

Thanks for your guidelines.

Best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

ANSWER: 1. Both are correct and interchangeable.

2. It's correct, although typically we would say, "My father gives me an allowance" to be more clear.

3. It is redundant.  However in colloquial English, we often find redundancies such as this.  It is best not to use redundant words.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Shannon
Thank you very much indeed for your guidelines.
Just for "be" and "become", although they are interchangeable (as you say) but I think it is good to say "he is studying to be a doctor" and when he finishes his studies, to say "he has become a doctor". What is your point of view?
fond regards,

That is true because in those cases, you are using a little more context.  In those particular examples, you can certainly think of "be" as the linking verb in making a simple description (such as, "He is a doctor.")  If we contrast this to "become," we see the focus is on the process: He has been a doctor for eight years vs. He graduated last year and has become a doctor.

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

Past/Present Clients
I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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