much, many, a lot etc

In an informal style, we use much and many mostly in negative sentences and questions, and after so, as and too. In affirmative sentences (except after so, as and too), we use other words and expressions. Compare: How much money have you got? I’ve got plenty. (NOT I’ve got much.) I haven’t got many pop…

farther and further

We use both farther and further to talk about distance. There is no difference of meaning. Edinbwgh is farther/further away than York. (Only farther is used in this sense in American English.) We can use further (but not farther) to mean ‘extra’, ‘more advanced’, ‘additional’. For further information, . College of Further Education.

every and every one

We use every before a singular noun. [every + singular noun] I see her every day. (NOT . . . every days ) Every room is being used. We use everyone of before a pronoun or determiner (for example the, my, these). The pronoun or noun is plural. [every one of us/you/them every one of…

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…

present tenses: present progressive

Forms Affirmative Question Negative I am working you are working he/she/it is working etc am I working? are you working? is he/she/it working? etc I am not working you are not working he/she/it is not working, etc ‘Around now’ We use the present progressive to talk about actions and situations that are going on ‘around…

be + infinitive

[I am to… you are to… etc] We use this structure in a formal style to talk about plans and arrangements, especially when they are official. The President is to visit Nigeria next month. We are to get a 10 per cent wage rise in June. We also use the structure to give orders. Parents…

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…

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…

other and others

When other is an adjective, it has no plural. Where are the other photos? (NOT . . . the others photos?) Have you got any other colours? When other is used alone, without a noun, it can have a plural. Some grammars are easier to understand than others I’ll be late. Can you tell the…

inversion: auxiliary verb before subject

[ auxiliary verb + subject + main verb ] We put an auxiliary verb before the subject of a clause in several different structures. Questions Have your father and mother arrived? Where is the concert taking place? Spoken questions do not always have this word order You’re coming tomorrow? Reported questions do not usually have…

fairly, quite, rather and pretty

not fairly quite rather/pretty very •-•-•-•-• nice nice nice nice nice Fairly modifies adjectives and adverbs. It is not very strong: if you say that somebody is ‘fairly nice’ or ‘fairly clever’, she will not be very pleased. ‘How was the film?’ Fairly good. Not the best one I’ve seen this year. ‘ I speak…

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…

do + -ing

We often use do with -ing to talk about activities that take some time, or that are repeated. There is usually a ‘determiner’ before the ing form — for example the, my, some, much. I do my shopping at weekends. Have you done the washing up? I did a lot of running when I was…

requests

We usually ask people to do things for us by making yes/no questions. (This is because a yes/no question leaves people free to say ‘No’ if they want to.) Common structures used in polite requests: Could you possibly help me for a few minutes? (very polite) I wonder if you could help me for a…

it: preparatory subject

When the subject of a sentence is an infinitive or a clause, this does not usually come at the beginning. We prefer to start the sentence with the ‘preparatory subject’ it. It’s nice to be with you. {To be with you is nice is possible, but unusual.) It s probable that we’ll be a little…

(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…

Music, art and literature

Forms and people Music Classical music: e.g Beethoven’s piano concertos, Schubert’s symphonies. Beethoven and Schubert are both composers (= people who write classical music) and most of their music is played by an orchestra (= large group of musicians including violins, cellos, etc.) which is led by a conductor, e.g. Georg Solti or Loren Maazel,…

bring and take

We use bring for movements to the place where the speaker or hearer is. We use take for movements to other places. Compare: This is a nice restaur;:: – s ‘or bringing me here. Lets have another dnnt. and then I’ll take you home. (NOT . . . and then I’ll bring you home-:) (on…

questions: reply questions

We often answer people with short ‘questions’. Their structure is [auxiliary verb + personal pronoun ] ‘It was a terrible party.’ Was it? ‘Yes, These ‘reply questions’ do not ask for information. They just show that we are listening and interested. More examples: We had a lovely holiday.’ Did you? ‘Yes. We went I’ve got…

Common uncountable words

What is countable? Can I have three apples and some sugar, please? Are these shoes yours? Is this luggage yours? Everyday uncountable words: Food: A lot of uncountable nouns are kinds of food and drink. Note: When we want to say how much we want, we say, three loaves of bread, two litres of milk,…

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…

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:

both with verbs

Both can go with a verb, in ‘mid-position’, like some adverbs. [auxiliary verb + both am/are/is/was/were + both] We can both swim. They have both finished. We are both tired. [ both + other verb] My parents both like travelling. You both look tired.

Words you may confuse

This unit looks at words which are easy to mix up. Similar sounds: lose/loose A: Why do I always lose my keys! B: Here they are. A: Oh, thank you! If you lose something, you do not know where it is / you can’t find it. These trousers are very loose, (because they are too…

get + noun, adjective, adverb particle or preposition

Get is a very common word in spoken English. It is usually informal, and structures with get are not so common in writing. Get has different meanings — it depends what kind of word comes after it. get + noun/pronoun Before a noun or pronoun, get usually means ‘receive’, ‘fetch’, ‘obtain’ or something similar. I…

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…

Abbreviations and Abbreviated Words

Letters or words? Some abbreviations are read as individual letters: Written forms only: Some abbreviations are written forms only; they are still pronounced as full words. Abbreviations as part of the language: Some abbreviations (from Latin) are used as part of the language. Note: This is also how we say them in spoken English; we…

articles: the difference between a/an and the

Very simply: a/an just means ‘one of a class’ the means ‘you know exactly which one’. Compare: A doctor must like people. ( = any doctor, any one of that profession) My brother’s a doctor. ( = one of that profession) I’m going to see the doctor. ( = you know which one: my doctor)…

unless and if not

Very often, we can use unless to mean if .. . not. Come tomorrow if I don’t phone / unless I phone. I ‘II take the job if the pay’s not too low/ unless the pay’s too low. We cannot always use unless instead of if not. It depends on the sense. a. The sentence…

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…