Aim: Many Hong Kong students use 'lack' and 'lack of' wrongly. This
exercise is to show the difference and to help you understand which one to use in which
'Lack' is both a verb and a noun. For example, using 'lack' as a verb you can say 'Someone
lacks something.', and as a noun 'There is a lack of something.'
||Part of Speech
singular noun + lacks
uncountable noun + lacks
- They lack the necessary family support or any other channels where they can seek
- Deprived and disadvantaged families lack both knowledge and self-confidence.
- A child without parents usually lacks a sense of security.
- The government overall lacks dynamism.
- It was so interesting to see how Western thinking lacks creativity and is not geared to
- Financial backing for the programme is still lacking.
- It was a solidly built vessel but lacking in navigating instruments. (A vessel is a boat
(Grammatical structure: 'lacking in' + noun phrase.)
||'_ing' form (present participle)
- Lacking any filial piety, Prince Richard rebelled against his father. ('filial piety'
means 'respect for parents')
Sentence structure: 'Lacking + noun phrase + comma + clause
(reduced relative clause: the relative pronoun e.g. 'who' and the verb are missing)
- Students lacking a dictionary can use an online dictionary.
(Meaning: Students who are lacking a dictionary can use an online one.)
||verb - perfect and past tenses
- His leadership has lacked imagination and aggression.
- He said that Hongkong lacked "a long-term authority that monitors
- Social workers blame the Government for the severe lack of residential places.
- There's been a lack of awareness about what young people like.
- Most landslips are caused not by design deficiencies on slopes, but by a lack of
supervision and control.
Choose the correct word from the drop-down list: