hear and listen (to)

1. Hear is the ordinary word to say that something ‘comes to our ears’. Suddenly I heard a strange noise. Can you hear me? Did you hear the Queen’s speech yesterday? Hear ts not used in progressive tenses. When we want to say that we hear something at the moment of speaking, we often use…

broad and wide

Wide is used for the physical distance from one side of something to the other. We live in a very wide street. The car’s too wide for the garage. Broad is mostly used in abstract expressions. Some examples: broad agreement ( = agreement on most points) broad-minded ( = tolerant) broad daylight ( = full,…

taste

We can use taste in three ways. 1. Taste can be a ‘copula verb’. We can describe the taste of food etc by using [taste + adjective] or [taste of + noun]. Progressive tenses are not used. [taste + adjective] This tastes nice What’s in it? (NOT This is tasting . . .) The wine…

surely

Surely does not mean the same as certainly. Compare: That’s certainly a mouse. (= I know that’s a mouse.) Surely that’s a mouse? (= That seems to be a mouse. How surprising!) Surely ex presses surprise. We can use surely not to show that we do not want to believe something, or find it difficult…

adjectives ending in -ly

Many adverbs end in -ly for example happily, nicely. But some words that end in -ly are adjectives, not adverbs. – The most important are friendly, lovely, lonely, ugly, silly, cowardly, likely, unlikely. – She gave me a friendly smile. Her singing was lovely There are no adverbs friendly or friendlily, lovely or lovelily, etc….

some: special uses

We can use some (with the strong pronunciation /said/) to make a contrast with others, all or enough. Some people like the sea; others prefer the mountains. Some of us were late, but we were all there by ten o’clock. I’ve got some money, but not enough. We can use some (/saiti/) with a singular…

possessives: my and mine, etc

My, your, his, her, its, one’s, our and their are determiners. In grammars and dictionaries they are often called ‘possessive adjectives’. That’s my watch. We cannot use my, youretc together with other determiners (for example a, the, this). You cannot say a my friend or the my car or this my house. (For the structure…

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…

imperative

When we say Have a drink, Come here or Sleep well, we are using imperative verb forms: have, come and sleep. Imperatives have exactly the same form as the infinitive without to. We use them, for example, for telling people what to do, making suggestions, giving advice, giving instructions, encouraging people, and offering things. Look…

eventual(ly)

Eventual and eventually mean ‘final(ly)’, ‘in the end’. We use them when we say that something happened after a long time, or a lot of work. The chess game lasted for three days. Androv was the eventual winner. The car didn’t want to start, but eventually I got it going. Eventual(ly) is a ‘false friend’…

British and American English

These two kinds of English are very similar. There are a few differences of grammar and spelling, and rather more differences of vocabulary. Pronunciation is sometimes very different, but most British and American speakers can understand each other. Grammar US He just went home. Do you have a problem? I’ve never really gotten to know…

except

[except + infinitive without to except + me/him etc] When we put a verb after except, we usually use the infinitive without to. We can’t do anything except wait. He does nothing except eat all day. After except, we put object pronouns (me, him etc), not subject pronouns. Everybody understands except me. We’re all ready…

if: special tenses

We use ‘special’ tenses with //when we are talking about ‘unreal’ situations — things that will probably not happen, present or future situations that we are imagining, or things that did not happen. (For example, we can use past tenses to talk about the future.) Present and future situations To talk about ‘unreal’ or improbable…

spelling: hyphens

A hyphen is the short line (-) that we put between two words in an expression like book-shop or ex-husband. The rules about hyphens are complicated and not very clear. If you are not sure, look in the dictionary, or write an expression as two separate words. Note: a. We usually put a hyphen in…

Simplify Grammar – How to Eat Grammar Books for Breakfast

“Whenever you correct someone’s grammar just remember that nobody likes you.” – Jim Gaffigan Ok, the very first thing I have to say is that grammar is not as important as most teachers and students think it is. What I mean is, of course that grammar is important – it’s how we make sentences – but…

How to Feel Great & Start Winning at English Right Now

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Michael Jordan Our brains are hardwired to move towards pleasure. We do things that feel good to us. We do them effortlessly and for long periods of time without wanting to stop. So one important thing when learning English is to make it feel really good very quickly….

neither, nor and not… either

We use neither and nor to mean ‘also not’. They mean the same. Neither and nor come at the beginning of a clause, and are followed by auxiliary verb + subject. [neither/nor + auxiliary verb + subject] I can’t swim. ‘ Neither can I. ‘(NOT I also can’t.) I don’t like opera.’ Nor do I….

participles used as adjectives

We can often use participles as adjectives. It was a very tiring meeting. There are broken toys ail over the floor. I thought the film was pretty boring. You look terribly frightened. Don’t confuse pairs of words like tiring and tired, interesting and interested, boring and bored, exciting and excited. The present participle ( ….

each: grammar

We use each before a singular noun. [each + singular noun] Each new day is different. We use each of before a pronoun or a determiner (for example the, my, these). The pronoun or noun is plural. [each of us/you/them each of + determiner + plural noun] She bought a different present for each of…

subject and object forms

Six English words have one form when they are used as subjects, and a different form when they are used as objects. subject object I me he him she her we us they them who whom Compare: / like dogs. We went to see her. Dogs don’t like me. She came to see us. This…

names and titles

We can use names and titles when we talk about people, and when we talk to them. There are differences. Talking about people When we talk about people, we can name them in four ways. a. First name. This is informal. We use first names mostly to talk about friends and children. Where’s Peter? He…

Use Pareto 80 -20 Efficiency – Stop Wasting Time on Words That Matter Less!

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss You don’t need to learn all the words of English before you can start to speak it. Remember all we’ve discussed about building your confidence by learning to speak actual English sentences quickly. One key to this is to first learn the words that matter…

quite

Quite has two meanings. Compare: It’s quite good. It’s quite impossible. Good is a ‘gradable’ adjective: things can be more or less good. Impossible is not ‘gradable’. Things cannot be more or less impossible; they are impossible or they are not. With gradable adjectives, quite means something like ‘fairly’ or ‘rather’. ‘How’s your steak?’ Quite…

borrow and lend

[borrow something from somebody lend something to somebody lend somebody something] Borrow is like take. You borrow something from somebody. I borrowed a pound from my son. Can I borrow your bicycle? Lend is like give. You lend something to somebody, or lend somebody something (the meaning is the same). I lent my coat to…

Common Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners

English is a confusing language; there is no doubt about that. There are a lot of mistakes even native speakers make. Focusing on Grammar This is the most common mistake new learners make. If you focus on correcting your grammar, your English would sound extremely weird to a native speaker. Grammar actually hurts your ability to speak English….

(be) used to + noun or… -ing

After be used to, we use a noun or an -ing form. The meaning is quite different from [used to + infinitive] If you say that you are used to something, you mean that you know it well. You have experienced it so much that it is no longer strange to you. [be used to…

-ing form (‘gerund’)

Gerund or participle Words like smoking, walking are verbs. But we can also use them as adjectives or nouns. Compare: You ‘re smoking too much these days, (part of a verb) There was a smoking cigarette end in the ashtray, (adjective) Smoking is bad for you. (noun: subject of sentence) When -ing forms are used…

conjunctions

[clause + conjunction + clause conjunction + clause, + clause] A conjunction joins two clauses. I’m tired and I want to go to bed. I tried hard but I couldn’t understand. His father died, so he had to stop his studies. I know that you don’t like her. I’II sell it to you cheap because…

do: auxiliary verb

The auxiliary verb do is used in a lot of ways. We use do to make questions with ordinary verbs, but not with auxiliary verbs. Compare: Do you like I Can you / We use do to make negative sentences with ordinary verbs, but not with auxiliary verbs. Compare: I don’t like football. I can’t…

punctuation: colon

We often use colons (:) before explanations. We decided not to go on holiday: we had too little money. Mother may have to go into hospital: she’s got kidney trouble. We also use colons before quotations. In the words of Murphy’s Law: ‘Anything that can go wrong will go wrong’.