past time: simple past

Forms Affirmative Question Negative I worked you worked he/she/it worked, etc did I work? did you work? did he/she/it work? etc I did not work you did not work he/she/it did not work, etc Meanings We use the simple past tense to talk about many kinds of past events: short, quickly finished actions and happenings,…

reported speech and direct speech

1. There are two ways of telling a person what somebody else said. a. direct speech – SUE: What did Bill say? – PETER: He said ‘I want to go home ‘. b. reported speech – SUE: What did Bill say? – PETER: He said that he wanted to go home. When we use ‘direct…

Holidays

Holiday (noun) We had a wonderful holiday in Egypt in 1996. I’m not working next week. I’m on holiday. Are you going on holiday this summer? Types of holidays We are going on a package holiday to Hong Kong, (everything is included, flights, hotel, etc.) We’re going to have a winter holiday this year, (often…

prepositions after particular words and expressions

(This is a list of expressions which often cause problems. For the use of of with determiners, ) ability at (NOT in) She shows great ability at mathematics. afraid of (not -by-) Are you afraid of spiders? agree with a person I entirely agree with you. agree about a subject of discussion We agree about…

comparison: using comparatives and superlatives

The difference between comparatives and superlatives We use the comparative to compare one person or thing with (an)other person(s) or thing(s). We use the superlative to compare one person or thing with his/her/its whole group. Compare: Mary’s taller than her three sisters. Mary’s the tallest of the four girls. Your accent is worse than mine….

articles: countable and uncountable nouns

A singular countable noun normally has an article or other determiner with it. We can say a cat, the cat, my cat, this cat, any cat, either cat or every cat, but not just cat. (There are one or two exceptions Plural and uncountable nouns can be used without an article or determiner, or with…

during and in

We use both during and in to say that something happens inside a particular period of time. We’ll be on holiday during/in August. I woke up during/in the night. We prefer during when we stress that we are talking about the whole of the period. The shop’s closed during the whole of August. (NOT ….

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 )…

both (of) with nouns and pronouns

We can put both (of) before nouns and pronouns. Before a noun with a determiner (for example: the, my, these), both and both of are both possible. Both (of) my parents like riding. She s eaten both (of) the chops. We can also use both without a determiner. She’s eaten both chops. (= … both…

able / capable

The difference between these words is extremely small – but usually we use able to describe current things someone can do, and capable to talk about someone’s future potential. It is not a strict rule, just a general tendency. She’s able to play a song perfectly after hearing it only once. (she can currently do…

take (time)

We can use take to say how much time we need to do something. Three constructions are possible. [person + take + time + infinitive] I took three hours to get home last night. She takes all day to wake up. [activity + take(+ person) + time] The journey took me three hours. Gardening takes…

inversion: whole verb before subject

here, there etc If we begin a sentence with here or there, we put the whole verb before the subject, if this is a noun. Here comes Mrs Foster (not I here Mrs Foster comes) There goes your brother. If the subject is a pronoun, it comes before the verb. Here she comes There he…

can with remember, understand, speak, play, see, hear, feel, taste and smell

remember, understand, speak, play These verbs usually mean the same with or without can. I (can) remember London during the war. She can speak Greek / She speaks Greek. I can’t/don’t understand. Can/Do you play the piano? see, hear, feel, smell, taste We do not use these verbs in progressive tenses when they refer to…

long and for a long time

Long is most common in questions and negative sentences, and after too and so. How long did you wait? I didn’t play for long. The concert was too long. In affirmative sentences, we usually use a long time. I waited (for) a long time (I waited long is possible, but not usual.) It takes a…

somebody and anybody, something and anything, etc

The difference between somebody and anybody, someone and anyone, somewhere and anywhere, something and anything is the same as the difference between some and any. Most important, we use somebody etc in affirmative clauses, and anybody etc usually in questions and negatives. There’s somebody at the door. Did anyone telephone? I don’t think anybody telephoned….

The hidden secrets that will help you learn English in a weekend

Since you can read English, you could strive to perfect it in one weekend. It will not be easy to learn everything there is to learn in a weekend but if you work hard enough, it can be done. However, implement what you learn is probably the hardest part. Speak English daily Do not slip up and…

Crime

Crimes, people who do them, and verbs: There was a burglary at the school last night. John West murdered his wife. There are a lot of muggings in the city centre. A robber robs a person or a place. That bank was robbed yesterday. My sister was robbed in the city centre. A thief steals…

ask

[ Ask for: ask somebody to give something Ask without for: ask somebody to tell something] Don’t ask me for money. (NOT -Don’t ask me money).Don’t ask me my name.(NOT Don’t ask me for my name)Ask for the menu. Ask the price. When there are two objects, the indirect object (the person) comes first, without…

Suffixes

Suffixes come at the end of words. They help you to understand the meaning of a new word. Here are some common suffixes. He’s a hard worker. He works 12 hours a day. Her tennis is much better now that she has a new instructor She’s a very good swimmer. She was in the Olympic…

although and though

1. Both these words can be used as conjunctions. They mean the same. Though is informal. (Al)though I don’t agree with him, I think he’s honest. She went on walking, (al)though she was terribly tired. I’ll talk to him, (although I don’t think it’ll do any good. We use even though to emphasize a contrast….

Formal and Informal English

Most English that you learn can be used in a wide range of situations. But you will also hear or see language that is formal or informal, and sometimes very formal or very informal. You need to be more careful with this language because it may not be suitable in certain situations. (They are marked…

so and not with hope, believe etc

We use so after several verbs instead of repeating a that-clause. ‘Do you think we II have good weather?’ I hope so.’ ( = I hope that we’ll have good weather.) The most common expressions like this are: hope so, expect so, believe so, imagine so, suppose so, guess so, reckon so, think so, be…

questions: basic rules

(Some spoken questions do not follow these rules.) Put an auxiliary verb before the subject. [auxiliary verb + subject + main verb]Have you received my letter of June 17?Why are you laughing? How much does the room cost? (NOT How much the room costs?) If there is no other auxiliary verb, use do or did….

possessive with determiners (a friend of mine, etc)

We cannot put a possessive together with another determiner before a noun. We can say my friend, Ann’s friend, a friend or that friend, but not a my friend or that Ann’s friend. [determiner + noun + of + possessive] That policeman is a friend of mine. Here’s that friend of yours I met another…

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…

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 ( ….

Hobbies

Hobbies are activities that we do in our spare time (= free time) Things people play Note: People join clubs (= become members of clubs) where they can play cards and chess. Things people collect Outdoor activities With these hobbies we can use two different verbs, go and do: We often go camping in the…

which, what and who: question words

Determiners We can use which and what before nouns to ask questions about people or things. Which teacher do you like best? Which colour do you want — green, red, yellow or brown? What writers do you like? What colour are your girl-friend’s eyes? We usually prefer which when we are choosing between a small…

reported speech: pronouns; ‘here and now’ words; tenses

BILL (on Saturday evening):! don’t like this party. I want to go home. PETER (on Sunday morning): Bill said he didn’t like the party, and he wanted to go home. Pronouns In reported speech, we use the same pronouns to talk about people that we use in other structures. Bill said he didn’t like the…

nationality words

For each country, you need to know four words: a. the adjective American civilization French perfume Danish bacon b. the singular noun (used for a person from the country) an American a Frenchman a Dane c. the plural expression the .. . (used for the nation) the Americans the French the Danes d. the name…