The family

Paul is Anne’s husband and Sarah and Jack’s father. Anne is Paul’s wife and Sarah and Jack’s mother. Anne and Paul are Sarah and Jack’s parents. Sarah is Anne and Paul’s daughter. Jack is their son. Sarah is Jack’s sister. Jack is Sarah’s brother. Henry is Sarah and Jack’s grandfather. Diana is their grandmother. Henry…

Shapes, Colours and Patterns

Shapes: a square box, a round table, a pointed end, a rectangular field, an oval shape. Note: We can also form adjectives to describe shapes in this way: The ball was egg-shaped; a heart-shaped wedding cake; a diamond-shaped bag. Colours: You will already know most of the common colours. Here are some that are less…

ought

Forms Ought is a ‘modal auxiliary verb’. The third person singular has no -s. She ought to understand. We usually make questions and negatives without do. Ought we to go now? (NOT Do we ought . . . ?) It oughtn’t to rain today.After ought, we use the infinitive with to. (This makes ought different…

non-progressive verbs

Some verbs are never used in progressive forms. I like this music. (NOT I’m liking this music.) Other verbs are not used in progressive forms when they have certain meanings. Compare: I see what you mean.(NOT I’m seeing what you mean.) I’m seeing the doctor at ten o clock. Many of these ‘non-progressive’ verbs refer…

reported speech: orders, requests, advice etc

We usually use an infinitive structure to report orders, requests, advice and suggestions. [verb + object + infinitive] I told Andrew to be careful. The lady downstairs has asked us to be quiet after nine o’clock. I advise you to think again before you decide which one to buy. The policeman told me not to…

participles: ‘present’ and ‘past’ participles (-ing and -ed)

‘Present’ participles: breaking going drinking making beginning opening working stopping For rules of spelling,. When -ing forms are used like nouns, they are often called gerunds. ‘Past’ participles: broken gone drunk made begun opened worked stopped The names ‘present’ and ‘past’ participle are not very good (although they are used in most grammars). Both kinds…

come and go

We use come for movements to the place where the speaker or hearer is. We use go for movements to other places. ‘Maria, would you come here, please?’ ‘i’m coming ‘ (NOT. . . I’m going.’) When did you come to live here? Can / come and sit on your lap? I want to go…

else

Else means ‘other’. If you can’t help me I’ll ask somebody else( = some other person.) We use else after: somebody someone, something, somewhere; anybody, anyone etc; everybody everyone etc; nobody, no-one etc; who, what, where, how, why; little and (not) much. Would you like anything else? ‘Harry gave me some perfume for Christmas.’ ‘Oh,…

feel

Feel has several meanings. to touch something. – Feel the car seat. It’s wet. – Progressive tenses are possible. – ‘ What are you doing?’ I’m feeling the shirts to see if they are dry.’ to receive physical sensations. – I suddenly felt something on my leg. – We do not use progressive tenses, but…

Numbers

Cardinal numbers: Note: There is no plural ‘s’ after hundred, thousand, million and billion when they are part of a number. On their own, they can be plural, e.g. thousands of people; millions of insects. Ordinal numbers and dates: One of the problems with dates is that we write them and say them in a…

if only

We can use If only … I to say that we would like things to be different. It means the same as I wish , but is more emphatic. We use the same tenses after if only as after I wish: a. past to talk about the present If only I knew more people! If…

enough

Enough comes after adjectives (without nouns) and adverbs. [adjective/adverb + enough] Is it warm enough for you? (NOT . . . enough warm . . .) You’re not driving fast enough. Enough comes before nouns. [enough (+ adjective) + noun] Have you got enough milk? (NOT . .. enough of milk.) There isn’t enough blue…

both… and…

[both + adjective + and + adjective both + noun + and + noun both + clause + and + clause] We usually put the same kind of words after both and and. She’s both pretty and clever (adjectives) I spoke to both the Director and his secretary (nouns) (NOT I both spoke to the…

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…

Cinema

Types of films: Do you like westerns? No, I like science fiction films best. The best action film I’ve seen was Goldfinger with James Bond. If I see a horror film, I can’t sleep. People in films: Zelda Glitzberg is a film star. She lives in Hollywood. She is in the new James Bond film….

prepositions and adverb particles

Words like down, in are not always prepositions. Compare: I ran down the road. He’s in his office. Please sit down You can go in In the expressions down the road and in his office, down and in are prepositions: they have objects (the road, his office). In Please sit down and You can go…

prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs

Many English verbs have two parts: a ‘base’ verb like bring, come, sit, break and another small word like in, down, up. Couid you bring in the coffee? Come in and sit down. He broke up a piece of bread and threw the bits to the birds. The second part of the verb is sometimes…

infinitive without to

We usually put to before the infinitive (for example I want to go; It’s nice to see you). But we use the infinitive without to in the following cases: Modal auxiliary verbs After the modal auxiliary verbs will, shall, would, should, can, could, may, might and must, and after had better, we use the infinitive…

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,…

Talking

Say (say/said/said) We use say when we report someone’s words. She said ‘This is horrible!’ He said that he wanted a drink. We use say when we ask about language. A: How do you say ‘book’ in Spanish? B: ‘Libro’. We say hello / goodbye please / thank you Happy Birthday / Merry Christmas /…

have: introduction

We can use have in several different ways. a. auxiliary verb Have you heard about Peter and Corinne? b. to talk about possession, relationships, and other states: I’ve got a new car. Have you got any brothers or sisters? Do you often have headaches? c. to talk about actions: I’m going to have a bath….

slow(ly)

In an informal style, we sometimes use slow as an adverb instead of slowly. Drive slow — I think we ‘re nearly there. Can you go slow for a minute? Slow is used in road signs. SLOW— DANGEROUS BEND

too

We can use an infinitive structure after too. [too + adjective/adverb + infinitive] He’s too old to work. It’s too cold to play tennis. We arrived too late to have dinner. We can also use a structure with for + object + infinitive. [too + adjective/adverb + for + object + infinitive] It’s too late…

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…

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…

all and every

1. All and every have similar meanings. (Every means ‘all without exception’.) They are used in different structures: [all + plural] All children need love. All cities are noisy. [every + singular] Every child needs love. Every city is noisy. 2. We can use all, but not every, before a determiner (for example the, my,…

Birth, marriage and death

Birth: Diana had a baby yesterday. It was born at 1.15 yesterday morning. It weighed 3 kilograms. They are going to call him John – after John, his grandfather. Grandfather John’s birthday is June 16th too – but he was born in 1945! The baby’s parents were born in 1974. Marriage: If you do not…

-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…

articles: introduction

The correct use of the articles (a/an and the) is one of the most difficult points in English grammar. Fortunately, most article mistakes do not matter too much. Even if we leave all the articles out of a sentence, it is usually possible to understand it. Please can you lend me pound of butter till…

all, everybody and everything

We do not usually use all alone to mean ‘everybody’. Compare: All the people stood up. Everybody stood up. (NOT All stood up.) All can mean everything, but usually only in the structure all + relative clause ( = all (that) . . .). Compare: All (that) I have is yours (OR Everything ) Everything…