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English Grammar and Writing Tips:
     Using "Occur", "Happen", and "Take place", Correctly

Grammar <<< English Grammar and Writing Tips <<< Using "Occur", "Happen", and "Take place" Correctly

:: we use the verb "occur" to say that something is found; occur = appear:

The Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) occurs over the Earth's north geomagnetic pole. (correct!)
In this part of the world, tornadoes occur several times a year. (correct!)

:: we use the verb "occur" to say that something "came to our mind"; when you suddenly start to think about an idea or a thought it "occurs to you":

Suddenly, a fantastic idea occurred to me. (correct!)
It never occurred to Ann to doubt her husband. (correct!)
It suddenly occurs to me that maybe she's afraid to stay with him. (correct!)

:: we use the verb "occur" to say that an event "occurs":

We were walking down the street when the car accident occurred. (correct!)
In 2012 a big earthquake occurred in our city. (correct!)
The explosion occurs just in front of my eyes. (correct!)

Note: You need to know that "occur" is a formal word. In conversation, we usually say that an event "happens".

Did you know what happened yesterday in our school? (correct!)
Nothing of the kind has happened, however. (correct!)

:: when we talk about planned events we say that they "take place":

The conference will take place on May 25 and 26 in London. (correct!)
The dancing lessons take place every Friday. (correct!)

:: we do not use "occur to" to say that someone is affected by an event:

This incident happened to me yesterday. (correct!)
I thought you should know what happened to Mike. (correct!)

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