Follow a Course that Uses All These Principles to Maximize Your Speed of Progress

“A good teacher knows how to bring out the best in his or her students.” – Charles KuraltEnglish can be best learned alone. Especially if you are at higher levels of the language. However, it can be very effective to follow an appropriate English course. But such courses are rare. Any course you follow should…

Number, quantity, degree and intensity

Number and quantity Number is used for countable nouns, amount for uncountables. Scale of adjectives useful for expressing number and quantity: – Add just a tiny amount of chilli pepper, or else it may get too hot. – A considerable number of people failed to get tickets, [formal] – Vast amounts of money have been…

Let for Rent and Hired out for Hire – Hire

Let for Rent and Hired out for Hire – Hire Don’t Say:I hired out a surf board when I was in America. Say:I hired a surf board when I was in America. Note:To hire something is to pay to use it, usually for a short time, with one single payment a suit, a bicycle, a…

Omission of the word or between numbers

Omission of the word or between numbers Don’t Say:I’ve only two, three friends. Say:I’ve only two or three friends. Note:We must always insert the conjunction or between numbers like this two or three men, five or six pages, eight or ten days.

The relative clause misplaced

The relative clause misplaced Don’t Say:A girl has a pony who is in our class. Say:A girl who is in our class has a pony. Note:Enclose a relative clause that may be omitted between commas. My brother George, who is in another class, has a new bicycle, A relative da use that can’t be omitted…

most (of): determiner

We use most before uncountable or plural nouns. [ most + noun ] I hate most pop music. ( NOT: most of pop music. ) Most people disagree with me. ( NOT: Most of people. NOT: The most people. ) Before another determiner (for example the, my, this), we use most of. We also use…

Scissors, etc + plural verb

Scissors, etc + plural verb Don’t Say:The scissor is lying on the table. Say:The scissors are lying on the table. Note:All names of things consisting of two parts (like scissors, trousers, spectacles, shears, pliers) take a plural verb We can s^y: a pair of iscissors, etc.) is …

Animals and pets

Farm Animals: Pets: These animals are often pets. Parrots and budgies are birds. You take your dog for a walk but you don’t usually take your cat for a walk.

angry / upset

If someone is upset, it means they are in an agitated mental or emotional state. If somebody is angry, it means they are NOT happy, they are hostile. Being angry is stronger than being upset. If somebody accidentally spilled coffee all over your new clothes, you would probably be upset (because it is inconvenient to…

In the Countryside

The countryside and the country both mean ‘not the city’. Country can also mean a nation (e.g. France, China). Things we can see in the countryside Living and working in the countryside In the countryside, people usually live in a small town (e.g. 6,000 people) or village (e.g. 700 people). A farmer lives on a…

In the town

The town centre: You can get a train at the railway station. You can change money at the bank. You can read books and newspapers at the library. You can park your car in/at the car park. Streets and roads: People in the town: Signs:

The past participle misplaced

The past participle misplaced Don’t Say:The ordered goods haven’t arrived. Say:The goods ordered haven’t arrived. Note:The goods ordered is a shortened form of The goods which have been ordered.

Using the past continuous for a habitual action, instead of the simple past tense

Using the past continuous for a habitual action, instead of the simple past tense Don’t Say:Last year I was walking to school every day. Say:Last year I walked to school every day. Note:Use the past continuous tense to describe events in the past happening at the time another action took place: I was walking to…

Scarcely for Rarely

Scarcely for Rarely Don’t Say:Zoe scarcely comes to see me now. Say:Zoe rarely comes to see me now. Note:Scarcely isn’t synonymous with rarely Rarely means not often, scarcely, means not quite: I had scarcely finished when he came.

take

Take has three main meanings. The opposite of give She took my plate and gave me a clean one. Who’s taken my bicycle? ‘Could I speak to Andrew?’ ‘I’m sorry, he’s not here just now. Can I take a message?’ We take something from/out of/off a place, and from a person. Could you take some…

punctuation: quotation marks

Quotation marks (‘ . . . ‘ “… “) can also be called ‘inverted commas’. We can use quotation marks when we say what name something has. . . . can be called ‘inverted commas’. And quotation marks are often used when we mention titles. His next book was ‘Heart of Darkness’. We can use…

can / could / able to

“Can” and “able to” are the same in the present tense: Can you take on this project? Yes, I can take on this project. Are you able to take on this project? Yes, I’m able to take on this project. The negative forms are can’t and not able to – or unable to: Sorry, I…

may and might: probability

Chances We use may and might to say that there is a chance of something: perhaps it is true, or perhaps it will happen. We may go climbing in the Alps next summer. (= Perhaps we’ll go.) ‘Where’s Emma?’ I don’t know. She maybe shopping, I suppose.’ Peter might phone. If he does, could you…

then / than

Although these words are spelled differently and have different meanings, in fast spoken English they often sound the same: then and than. Than is used in comparatives: I’m older than my brother. A car is faster than a bicycle. I learned more from my parents than I learned from my teachers. Then is used in…

Clothes

At this level you probably already know most of the everyday words for clothes. Here are some items of clothing or parts of them which are perhaps less familiar. Notice that most items of clothing covering the legs are plural words only and, if you wish count them, you need to say, e.g. ‘Six pairs…

Show a film, not play a film

Show a film, not play a film Don’t Say:This film will be played shortly. Say:This film will be shown shortly.

see

When see means ‘use one’s eyes’, it is not usually used in progressive tenses. We often use a structure with can instead. I can see a rabbit over there. (NOT I’m seeing. . .) See can also mean ‘understand’. We do not use progessive tenses. ‘We’ve got a problem.’ I see (NOT I’m seeing )…

Words and gender

In this unit we look at the problems of using words in a way that is not offensive to either gender. In English, a lot of words are marked as masculine or feminine by suffixes, but many other words have ‘female’ or ‘male’ associations and should be used carefully. Suffixes marking gender -er(-or)/-ess: traditionally used…

Bureaucracy

What is it? Bureaucracy refers to the official rules and procedures used by officials (= bureaucrats) to control an organisation or country. For many people it is a negative word as it often means unnecessary rules, long waits, and lots of documents and forms. Documents: When you need to obtain (= get) or show documents,…

Towns

Look at this description of Cork, one of Ireland’s main towns. Underline any words or phrases that might be useful for describing your own or any other town. Cork city is the major metropolis of the south; indeed with a population of about 135,000 it is the second largest city in the Republic. The main…

Tell (= say to)

Tell (= say to) Don’t Say:I told to him to come at once. Say:I told him to come at once.

Partitives

There are many different words used to describe a particular quantity of something. Usually the word is joined to the noun it describes with ‘of’. Containers (e.g. a bag) and contents (e.g. of shopping): With uncountable nouns: When we use uncountable nouns (e.g. advice), we sometimes want to talk about one of something. We cannot…

bring / take

Bring shows movement TO the speaker; take shows movement AWAY FROM the speaker: Could you bring me a fork from the kitchen? Could you take the mail to the post office? or take the mail from here to the post office

His and Her – Her

His and Her – Her Don’t Say:Ann visits his uncle every Sunday. Say:Ann visits her uncle every Sunday. Note:In English, possessive adjectives (and pronouns) agree with the person who possesses, and not with the person or thing possessed When the possess is masculine, use his, and when the possesso.” is feminine, use her.

house / home

A house is a specific type of building. It is different from an apartment. A house is a physical thing – we can talk about a big house, a small house, a blue house, etc. You can also talk about doing work on your house – painting your house, remodeling your house, building a house,…