arrive / come / get / reach

Come is a general word used for entering a current place. It can be used for coming from short distances or long distances. My sister lives in London, but next week she’s coming to visit me in Atlanta. Our neighbors are coming over for dinner tonight. Come here – I want to show you something….

apologize / sorry

Both of these words express regret for some problem or something you did wrong. I’m sorry is less formal, and “I apologize” is more formal. There are a few different ways to continue the sentence. You can say: I’m sorry (that) I yelled at you. I’m sorry for yelling at you. I apologize for yelling…

another / other / others

The word other is an adjective. It refers to something different. The teacher held a textbook in one hand and a pencil in the other hand. The word “other” is often used with “the.” It can be used with singular or plural nouns: We crossed to the other side of the street. I liked the…

among / between

It is often taught that “between” is used for 2 items and “among” for 3 or more – but this is not completely accurate. The more accurate difference is this: Between is used when naming distinct, individual items (can be 2, 3, or more) Among is used when the items are part of a group,…

all of / each of

We use each to talk about objects individually, and all to talk about objects as a group: The teacher gave a different task to each student. (“each” emphasizes the individuality of the members of the group) The teacher gave tests to all the students. (“all” emphasizes the students as a group) In a similar way,…

would rather

Would rather means ‘would prefer to’. It is followed by the infinitive without to. We often use the contraction’d rather: this means ‘would rather’, not ‘had rather’. [ would rather + infinitive without to] Would you rather stay here or go home? ‘How about a drink?’ I’d rather have something to eat.’ We can use…

there is

When we tell people that something exists (or does not exist), we usually begin the sentence with there is, there are etc, and put the subject after the verb. There’s a hole in my sock. (NOT A hole is in my sock) We use this structure with ‘indefinite subjects’ — for example, nouns with a/an,…

tenses in subordinate clauses

In subordinate clauses (after conjunctions), we often use tenses in a special way. In particular, we use present tenses with a future meaning, and past tenses with a conditional meaning. This happens after if; after conjunctions of time like when, until, after, before, as soon as; after as, than, whether, where; after relative pronouns; and…

spelling: ie and ei

The sound IV.I (as in believe) is often written ie, but not usually ei. However, we write ei after c. English children learn a rhyme: ‘I’before e except after c.’ believe chief field grief ceiling deceive receive receipt

spelling: ch and tch, k and ck

After one vowel, at the end of a word, we usually write -c/cand -tch tor the sounds /k/ and /tj/. back neck sick lock stuck catch fetch stitch botch hutch Exceptions: rich which such much After a consonant or two vowels, we write -k and -ch. bank work talk march bench break book week peach…

smell

There are three ways to use smell. As a ‘copula verb’ , to say what sort of smell something has. Progressive tenses are not used. [subject + smell + adjective] That smells funny. What’s in it?(NOT -That is smelling Those roses smell beautiful. (NOT . . [subject + smell of + noun] The railway carriage…

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…

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…

relative pronouns: whose

Whose is a possessive relative word. It does two things: a. it joins clauses together b. it is a ‘determiner’ like his, her, its or their. Compare: I saw a girl. Her hair came down to her waist. I saw a girl whose hair came down to her waist. This is Felicity. You met her…

past time: past progressive

Forms Affirmative Question Negative I was working you were working, etc was I working? were you working? etc I was not working you were not working, etc Meaning We use the past progressive to say that something was going on around a particular past time. What were you doing at eight o’clock yesterday evening? I___…

passive structures: introduction

They built [this house] in 1486. (active)This house was built in 1486. (passive) Channel Islanders speak [French] and English, (active) [French] is spoken in France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Channel Islands, . . . (passive) A friend of ours is repairing [the roof].(active) [The roof] is being repaired by a friend of ours, (passive) This book…

participle clauses

We can use a participle rather like a conjunction, to introduce a ‘participle clause’. Who’s the fat man sitting in the comer? Do you know the number of people employed by the government? Jumping into a small red sports car, she drove off. Participle clauses can have different uses. Some of them are ‘adjectival’: they…

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…

next and nearest

Nearest is used for place — it means ‘most near in space’. Excuse me. Where’s the nearest tube station? (NOT … the next tube station?) If you want to find Alan, just look in the nearest pub. Next is usually used for time — it means ‘nearest in the future’. We get off at the…

marry and divorce

Marry and divorce are used without a preposition. She married a builder. (NOT She married with a builder.) Will you marry me? Andrew’s going to divorce Carola. When there is no direct object, we usually prefer the expressions get married and get divorced, especially in an informal style. Lulu and Joe got married last week….

let’s

Let’s + infinitive without to is often used to make suggestions. It is rather like a first-person plural imperative. Let’s have a drink. ( = I think we should have a drink.) Let’s go home, shall we? There are two possible negatives, with Let’s not . . . and Don’t let’s . . . Let’s…

help

We can use[ object + infinitive ] after help. Can you help me to find my ring? In an informal style, we often use the infinitive without to. Can you help me find my ring? Help me get him to bed. We can also use [help + infinitive] without an object. Would you like to…

have: actions

We often use have + object to talk about actions. (For example: have a drink; have a rest.) In these expressions, have can mean ‘eat’, ‘drink’, ‘take’, ‘do’, ‘enjoy’, ‘experience’ or other things — it depends on the noun. Common expressions: have breakfast/lunch/tea/dinner/a meal/a drink/coffee/a beer/a glass of wine have a bath/a wash/a shave/a shower/a…

get and go: movement

Get is used for the end of a movement — the arrival. Go is used for the whole movement. Compare: I go to work by car and Lucy goes by train. I usually get there first. I went to Bristol yesterday. I got to Bristol at about eight o’clock. We often use get when there…

get (+ object) + verb form

After get, we can use an object with an infinitive or -ing form. [get+ object + infinitive] I can’t get the car to start get + object + -ing form Don’t get him talking about his illnesses, please. We often use the structure with the infinitive to talk about persuading somebody to do something. Get…

future: shall and will (interpersonal uses)

We can use shall and will to express our intentions and attitudes towards other people. Decisions We use will at the moment of making a decision. ‘The phone s ringing.’ I’ll answer it. ‘ (NOT I’m going to answer it.) ‘I’m going out for a drink. ‘ ‘Wait a moment and I’ll come with you….

future: shall/will (predictions)

Forms [ I shall/will you will he/she/it will we shall/will they will] – + infinitive without to questions: shall/will I; will you, will he/she/it, etc. negatives: I will/shall not you will not, etc. contractions: I’ll, you’ll, he’lletc; shan’t, won’t. In modern English, I shall and I will, we shall and we will are used with…

future: present progressive and going to

We use these two present tenses to talk about future actions and events which are already decided now; they are planned, or they are starting to happen: we can see them coming. Present progressive We often say that something is happening in the future. We talk like this about actions that are already planned; we…

future: introduction

There are several ways to talk about the future in English. Present tenses When we talk about future events which are already decided now, or which we can see now ‘are on the way’, we often use present tenses. There are two possibilities: the present progressive , I am… -ing and a structure with the…

(a) few and (a) little

We use few with plural nouns, and little with singular (uncountable) nouns. Compare: Few politicians are really honest. I have little interest in politics. There is a difference between a few and few, and between a little and little. Few and little are rather negative: they mean ‘not much/many’. A few and a little are…