punctuation: apostrophe

We use apostrophes (‘) in two important ways. a. To show where we have left letters out of a contracted form. can’t ( = cannot) she’s ( = she Is) I’d ( = I would) b. In possessive forms of nouns. the girl’s father Charles’s wife three miles’ walk We do not use apostrophes in…

no and not a/not any

No is a determiner . We use no before singular (countable and uncountable) nouns and plural nouns. No means the same as not a or not any, but we use no: (a) at the beginning of a sentence (b) when we want to make the negative idea emphatic. a. No cigarette is completely harmless. No…

home

We do not use to before home. I think I il go home. She came home late. In American English, home is often used to mean at home. Is anybody home?

it: preparatory object

We sometimes use it as a preparatory object. This happens most often in the structures make it clear that . . . and find/make it easy/difficult to .. . George made it clear that he wasn’t interested. I found it easy to talk to her. You make it difficult to refuse

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…

adjectives: order

Before a noun, we put adjectives in a fixed order. The exact rules are very complicated (and not very well understood). Here are the most important rules: Adjectives of colour, origin (where something comes from), material (what it is made of) and purpose (what it is for) go in that order. colour origin material purpose…

Shops and shopping

Kinds of shops: These words are also for people’s jobs. We often add s and say: I’m going to the newsagent’s to get a paper. Do you want anything from the butcher’s? Department store: A department store is a large shop which sells a lot of different things – clothes, cosmetics, toys and so on….

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…

a / an / one

Use one when the number is important; when you want to emphasize that it is only one (and not two or three or more): One of these eggs is rotten, but the others are OK. I wanted to buy three CDs, but I didn’t have enough money, so I bought only one. In all other…

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….

excuse me, pardon and sorry

1. We usually say excuse me before we interrupt or disturb somebody; we say sorry after we disturb or trouble somebody. Compare: – Excuse me, could I get past? … Oh, sorry, did I step on your foot? – Excuse me, could you tell me the way to the station? – I beg your pardon…

tall and high

We use tall for things which are this shape: We can talk about tall people, trees, and sometimes buildings. How tall are you? There are some beautiful tall trees at the end of our garden. We do not use tall for things which are this shape: We use high. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain…

Talking about Language

Language words: This book uses some grammar words in English. The language of the exercises in this book:

ache / pain / hurt

An ache is discomfort that continues for some time. It is usually associated with a specific part of the body, such as a headache, a stomachache, a toothache, and an earache. After you exercise, the next day your muscles will probably ache. An ache is usually not extremely strong, so you can try to ignore…

suggest

We do not use suggest with object + infinitive. My uncle suggested that I should get a job in a bank. My uncle suggested getting a job in a bank. (NOT My uncle suggested me to get . . .)

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:

ago

1. Position [ expression of time + ago] – I met her six weeks ago (NOT . . . ago six weeks.) – It all happened a long time ago. – How long ago did you arrive? 2. Ago is used with a past tense, not the present perfect. – She phoned a few minutes…

say and tell

Tell means inform’ or ‘order’. After tell, we usually say who is told: a personal object is necessary. [tell + person] She told me that she would be late. (NOT -She tohithat she . . .) I told the children to go away. Say is usually used without a personal object. She said that she…

Do did done

Do as auxiliary What are you doing? Do as a general verb What do you do to relax? I listen to music. Don’t do that, Tommy. What are the people in the picture doing? They’re dancing. What do you do? What do you do? (= What is your job?) I’m a student, or I’m a…

Bring Brought Brought

Bring and take take = from here to there bring = from there to here Are you going to school? Take your books, (from here to the school) Are you going to the kitchen? Can you bring me a glass? (from the kitchen to here) Bring somebody something Bring something back It’s raining. You can…

when and if

We use if to say that we are not sure whether something will happen. I’ll see you in August, if I come to New York. (Perhaps I’ll come to New York; perhaps I won’t.) We use when to say that we are sure that something will happen. I’ll see you in August, when I come…

Some Quick Steps to Learn English Grammar

Grammar can be pesky and annoying. It is not easy to learn because there are so many rules that simply do not make sense. For example, the pronunciations of ‘cat’ as ‘kat’ and ‘price’ as ‘prise’, does not make sense. Grammar can be defined as a set of notions about the correct use of a…

Newspapers

Background In Britain, most newspapers are daily (= they come out / are published every day); a few only come out on Sundays. Magazines are usually weekly (= they come out every week), or monthly (= published every month). Some newspapers are tabloids (= small in size) e.g. The Mirror; others are called broadsheets (=…

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,…

next and the next

Next week, next month etc is the week or month just after this one. If I am speaking in July, next month is August; if I am speaking in 1985, next year is 1986. (Note that prepositions are not used before these time-expressions.) Goodbye! See you next week! I’m spending next Christmas with my family….

Air Travel

Departures: This is the usual sequence of activities when you get to the airport. First you go to the check-in desk where they weigh your luggage. Usually you are permitted 20 kilos, but if your bags weigh more, you may have to pay excess baggage (= you pay extra). The airline representative checks your ticket…

-ing form or infinitive?

Some verbs and adjectives can be followed by an infinitive or by an -ing form, often with a difference of meaning. remember and forget We remember or forget doing things in the past — things that we did. Forget . . . -ing is used especially in the structure I’ll never forget . . ….

exclamations

With how (rather formal) [how+ adjective] Strawberries! How nice![ how + adjective/adverb + subject + verb] How cold it is!(NOT How it is cold!) How beautifully tou sing!(NOT Hoe you sing beautifully) [ how+ subject + verb] How you’ve grown! With what [what a/an (+ adjective) + singular countable noun] What a rude man!(NOT What…

short answers

When we answer yes/no questions, we often repeat the subject and auxiliary verb of the question. Can he swim?’ ‘Yes, he can. ‘ Has It stopped raining?’ ‘No, it hasn’t. ‘ Be and have can be used in short answers. Are you happy?’ ‘Yes, I am.’ Have you a light?’ ‘Yes, I have. ‘ We…

real(ly)

In informal English (especially American English), real is often used as an adverb instead of realty before adverbs and adjectives. That was real nice. She cooks real well. Some people consider this ‘incorrect’.