fewer and less

Fewer is the comparative of few (used before plural nouns). Less is the comparative of little (used before uncountable nouns, which are singular). few problems fewer problems little money less money I’ve got fewer problems than I used to have. I earn less money than a postman. In informal English, some people use less with…

(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…

fast

Fast can be an adjective or an adverb. I’ve got a fast car. (adjective) It goes fast. (adverb)

explain

After explain, we use to before an indirect object. I explained my problem to her (NOT I explained her my problem.) Can you explain (to me) how to get to your house?

expect, hope, look forward, wait, want and wish

Meaning expect Expecting is a kind of thinking: it is not an emotion. If I expect something, I have good reason to think that it will happen. We expect to leave here in three years. I’m expecting a phone call from John today. hope Hoping is more emotional. If I hope for something, I want…

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…

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…

ever

Ever means ‘at any time’. Compare: Do you ever go to Ireland on holiday? ( = ‘at any time’) We always go to Ireland on holiday. ( = ‘every time’) We never have holidays in England. ( = ‘at no time’) Ever is used mostly in questions. We also use ever in affirmative sentences after…

even

We can use even to talk about surprising extremes — when people ‘go too far’, or do more than we expect, for example. Even usually goes in ‘mid-position’. [auxiliary verb + even be+ even] She has lost half her clothes. She has even lost two pairs of shoes. (NOT . . . Even she has…

enjoy

[enjoy + noun enjoy + pronoun enjoy… -ing] Enjoy always has an object. When we talk about having a good time, we can use enjoy myself/yourself etc. ‘Did you enjoy the party? 1 Yes. I enjoyed it very much.’ I really enjoyed myself when I went to Rome. Enjoy can be followed by . ….

emphatic structures with it and what

We can use structures with it and what to ‘point out’ or emphasize particular ideas. [It is/was … that.. ] Compare: My secretary sent the bill to Mr Harding yesterday. It was my secretary that sent the bill to Mr Harding yesterday. (not somebody else) It was the bill that my secretary sent to Mr…

emphasis

We can emphasize an idea (make it seem more important) in several ways. We can pronounce some words louder and with a higher intonation. In writing, we can show this by using CAPITAL LETTERS or by underlining. In printing, italics or bold type are used. Mary, I’m IN LOVE1. PltM dfh’-t til! This is the…

either… or…

We use either … or .. . to talk about a choice between two possibilities (and sometimes more than two). You can either have tea or coffee. I don’t speak either French or German. You can either come with me now or walk home. Either you leave this house or I’ll call the police. If…

either: determiner

We use either before a singular noun to mean ‘one or the other’. [either + singular noun] Come on Tuesday or Thursday. Either day is OK. Sometimes either can mean ‘both’ (especially before side and end). The noun is singular. There are roses on either side of the door. We use either of before a…

each other and one another

Each other and one another mean the same. Mary and I write to each other/one another every day. They sat without looking at each other/one another. There is a possessive each other’s/one another’s. We often borrow each other’s clothes. They stood looking into one another’s eyes. Each other/one another are not used as subjects. We…

each and every

We use each to talk about two or more people or things. We use every to talk about three or more. (Instead of ‘every two’ we say both). We say each when we are thinking of people or things separately, one at a time. We say every when we are thinking of people or things…

during and for

During says when something happens; for says how long it lasts. Compare: My father was in hospital during the summer. My father was in hospital for six weeks.(NOT . .. during six weeks.) It rained during the night for two or three hours. I’ll call in and see you for a few minutes during the…

do and make

These words are very similar, but there are some differences. We use do when we do not say exactly what activity we are talking about — for example with something, nothing, anything, everything, what. Do something! I like doing nothing. What shall we do? Then he did a very strange thing. We use do when…

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…

discourse markers

Discourse means ‘pieces of language longer than a sentence’. Some words and expressions are used to show how discourse is constructed. They can show the connection between something we have said and something we are going to say; or they can show the connection between what somebody else has said and what we are saying;…

dates

Writing A common way to write the day’s date is like this: 30 March 1983 27 July 1984 There are other possibilities: 30th March, 1983 March 30(th) 1983 March 30(th), 1983 30.3.83 British and American people write ‘all-figure’ dates differently: British people put the day first, Americans put the month first. 6.4.77 = 6 April…

country

Country (countable) = ‘nation’, ‘land’. Scotland is a cold country. France is the country I know best. How many countries are there in Europe? The country (uncountable) = ‘open land without many buildings’ (the opposite of the town). With this meaning, we cannot say a country or countries. My parents live in the country near…

countable and uncountable nouns

Countable nouns are the names of separate objects, people, ideas etc which we can count. We can use numbers and a/an with countable nouns; they have plurals. a cat three cats a newspaper two newspapers Uncountable nouns are the names of materials, liquids, and other things which we do not see as separate objects. We…

comparison: comparative and superlative adverbs

Most comparative and superlative adverbs are made with more and most. Could you talk more quietly? (NOT. . . quietlier?) A few adverbs have comparatives and superlatives with -erand -est. The most common are: fast, soon, early, late, hard, long, well {better, best), far (farther/further, farthest/furthest,), near; and in informal English slow, loud and quick….

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….

comparison: comparative and superlative adjectives

Short adjectives (adjectives with one syllable; adjectives with two syllables ending in -y) ADJECTIVE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE old older oldest Most adjectives: tall taller tallest + -er, -est. cheap cheaper cheapest late later latest Adjectives ending nice nicer nicest in -e: + -r, -st. fat fatter fattest One vowel + big bigger biggest one consonant: thin…

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…

can: permission, offers, requests and orders

Permission We use can to ask for and give permission. Can I ask you something?’ ‘Yes, of course you can.’ Can I have some more tea? You can go now if you want to. We also use could to ask tor permission. This is more polite or formal. Could I ask you something, if you’re…

can: possibility and probability

Possibility We use canto say that situations and events are possible. Scotland can be very warm in September. ‘Who can join the club?’ ‘Anybody who wants to.: There are three possibilities: we can go to the police, we can talk to a lawyer, or we can forget all about it. ‘There’s the doorbell.”Who can it…

by: time

By can mean ‘not later than’. I’ll be home by five o’clock. ( = at or before five) ‘Can I borrow your car?’‘Yes, but I must have it back by tonight.’ ( = tonight or before) I ‘II send you the price list by Thursday.