Emphasis vs. Emphasize

How to use "emphasis" and "emphasize" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Emphasize is a transitive verb and thus does not need a preposition to take an object. The preposition on should only be used with the noun form emphasis:

program that emphasizes on practical skills

program that emphasizes practical skills
program with an emphasis on practical skills

Native speakers of Chinese learning English as a foreign language should pay special attention to this error, as my experience suggests that it’s quite common among such students.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.