- Название: English Grammar Reference Book: Grammar and Error Correction Guide and Phrasal Verb Book
- Автор: Jacqueline Melvin
To Be or Not to Be
Adjectives Associated With The Senses
Present Simple V. Present Continuous
Third Person Singular V. Third Person Plural
Subject before Verb in the Affirmative
Double Subject Error
Omission of subject
Pronouns and Possessive Pronouns
When not to use a subject pronoun
Subject before Verb in Questions
Omission of Auxiliary Verb in Questions
Subject and Object Pronoun Confusion
Subject Question Error
Like v. Would like
Infinitive Of Purpose
Adverbs of Frequency
Adjective or Adverb
Adverbs Of Manner
Adverbs Of Place
Adverbs Of Time
Adverbs Of Degree
To Have or Not To Have
Errors When Forming Past Simple Negatives
Past Simple Versus Past Progressive
Non Existent Plural Adjectives
Plural nouns standard and irregular
Used to- Be used to- Get used to
Be Used To Versus Get Used To
Think and Hope Errors
Countable or Uncountable
Too - Too Much - Too Many
Fewer versus Less
Enough + Noun versus Adjective + Enough
Both- Either- Neither
Each Other Versus One Another
Errors when using Modal Auxiliary Verbs
May versus Can and Could
Shall and May
Supposed to - Meant to - Should
The Perfect Errors
Present Perfect (1)
A time in your life before now
Present Perfect (2)
Past to present
Present Perfect (3)
Before now or right now
Present Perfect Continuous (1)
In Progress From Past To Present
Present Perfect Continuous (2)
Past Perfect Errors
Past Perfect Continuous (1)
Past Perfect Continuous (2)
Second Conditional Errors
Third Conditional Errors
The Mixed Conditional
Even though versus Even if
Any longer versus Anymore and No longer
Anymore Versus Any more
No Future In English
To Be Going To + Infinitive
Will Versus Going To
Common Errors when using ‘will’
The Future Continuous
The Future Perfect
Future Perfect Continuous
Direct and indirect object errors
Verbs With More Than One Preposition
Wrong Verb Usage
Wrong Adjective/Adverb Usage
Verbs Of Feeling
Wrong Usage of ‘Spend’
Non Personalized Usage
Infinitive or Gerund
Terms Of Confusion
Expressing Your Opinion
Verb + Particle
The Nightmare Of “Get”
The Nightmare Of Make And Do
How To Increase Your Vocabulary
Summary of The Main Tenses
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GRAMMAR REFERENCE FOR ESL STUDENTS
This book is a three in one - grammar reference guide, error correction and phrasal verb
book. It deals with the most common problematic areas amongst students of English as a
Second Language. It starts off with basic errors common when using the present simple, past
simple, present continuous and past continuous structures and gives a clear in depth
explanation on how they are used. It then moves on to more complex tenses.
Good clear examples and explanations are illustrated throughout the book. It looks at the
present perfect with ‘for’ and ‘since’ as well as clarifying when to use the present perfect
when referring to a moment before the present. It also explains clearly the use of the present
perfect continuous with ‘for’ and ‘since’ and how to use it for an action in progress which
recently finished. Clear distinction has been made on when and how to use the past perfect
and the past perfect continuous. In addition, all the conditionals are clearly explained. There
is a guide on how to use the prepositions, when and how to use ‘reported speech’. Learn
how to use adjectives and adverbs correctly. How and when do we use transitive and
intransitive verbs? You will find everything you need to know all in one book. Detailed
explanations are given on how to use all the future forms. If the modal auxiliary verbs are
causing you confusion, then this is the book for you. Are you unsure about how to use
‘connectors?’ Are the phrasal verbs driving you mad?
A section of the book is dedicated to some of the most commonly used phrasal verbs in the
English language. Test your phrasal verb knowledge - in context. Answers are given. ... All
this and much more ....
Please note: This book is based on standard British English.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacqueline Melvin has been a teacher of English as a foreign language for over 18 years.
Born in the North East of Scotland, she has spent most of her adult life abroad, teaching
students of various nationalities how to speak English effectively.
Throughout her teaching career she has gained enormous insight into the most common errors
made by students learning English as a second language. This book has been put together to
clarify the correct usage of the tense system.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
I have 32
I am 32.
Many languages use the verb ‘have’ to express age. In English we use the auxiliary verb
We don’t say: ‘I am 32 years’.
We say: ‘I’m 32’ or ‘I am 32 years old’.
I have cold.
I am cold.
I am cold = I feel cold
I have thirsty.
I am thirsty.
I am thirsty = I need something to drink.
You have wrong.
You are wrong.
In English we frequently use the auxiliary verb ‘be’ with adjectives.
It is cold today.
It was hot yesterday.
She is sad today.
ADJECTIVES ASSOCIATED WITH THE S ENSES
It is common to use the verbs associated with the senses with adjectives. Those verbs are as
I feel terrible today (something you feel inside)
You sound tired (this is my opinion - I detect tiredness in your voice)
She didn’t sound Italian (again, this is my opinion going by her voice)
You look fabulous today (this is my opinion when I look at you)
He doesn’t look very happy today (again my opinion. What my eyes tell me)
This milk tastes funny.
*The adjective ‘funny’ has two meanings. It means something that makes you laugh or
something strange. In the above example it means ‘strange’.
Adjective + verb
We normally use an infinitive after an adjective.
It was really great to see you again.
For adjectives followed by a preposition, then we use the gerund.
He is fed up with cleaning every day.
She is tired of working so many hours.
PRESENT SIMPLE V. P RESENT CONTINUOUS
Hans is German.
He’s coming from Berlin.
He comes from Berlin.
He’s coming from Berlin = an action in progress at the time of speaking.
He comes from Berlin = an actual fact
Q) When do we use the present simple?
A) When we speak about habits, facts/general truths and timetables .It is called ‘simple’ as
its basic form consists of one word only.
I have a shower every morning. (Habit)
I live in London. (Fact)
The train leaves at 7pm. This is a fixed timetable where the present simple is used to
indicate a future event.
We can also say: We leave for Berlin tomorrow at 7pm, as the speaker sees this as a fixed
event similar to a timetable.
Normally we use state verbs for a fact. Some state verbs are as follows:
Of course some action verbs used for habits can also be seen as a state or a general truth.
I play tennis. (State/fact/general truth)
I play tennis every week. (Habit)
We can never use state verbs for habit.
I know John (State/fact/general truth)
I know John every week cannot be said.
We can also use the present simple tense when narrating a story; even if the story is in the
We also use the present simple with the zero conditional, which means something which is
If you drop an egg, it breaks. (Every time)
If we get up early, we always go jogging. (Every time we get up early)
Q) When do we use the present continuous?
A) We use the present continuous to speak about actions in progress at the moment of
The boy and his father are watching TV
The Affirmative (long form)
I am watching the movie.
You are watching the movie.
He, she, it is watching the movie.
We are watching the movie.
They are watching the movie.
Am I watching the movie?
Are you watching the movie?
Is he, she, it watching the movie?
Are we watching the movie?
Are they watching the movie?
I am not watching the movie.
You are not watching the movie.
He, she, it is not watching the movie.
We are not watching the movie.
They are not watching the movie.
Affirmative (short forms)
I’m watching the movie.
You’re watching the movie.
He’s watching the movie.
She’s watching the movie.
It’s watching the movie. (The dog)
We’re watching the movie.
They’re watching the movie.
The negative (short form)
I’m not watching the movie.
You’re not watching the movie.
He’s not watching the movie.
She’s not watching the movie.
It’s not watching the movie.
We’re not watching the movie.
They’re not watching the movie.
There is a variant to the above.
We can abbreviate the negative ‘not’ instead of the auxiliary with the only exception of first
You aren’t watching the movie.
He isn’t watching the movie.
She isn’t watching the movie.
It isn’t watching the movie.
We aren’t watching the movie.
You aren’t watching the movie.
There is no contraction (short form) with the question form. The only exception is in third
person singular when using a question word.
Where is he going? Where’s he going?
What is she doing? What’s she doing?
THIRD P ERSON SINGULAR V. THIRD PERSON P LURAL
He live in Paris.
He lives in Paris.
Unfortunately many ‘non native’ speakers of English continue to omit the ‘s’ when using third
person singular. We only need to remember the‘s’ when using the present simple affirmative.
One of the least tolerable errors in the English language is ‘subject and verb’ disagreement.
Not only is it incorrect but it sounds bad.
Other examples of third person singular and third person plural errors are as follows:
A person lives or people live. We say ‘one person’, but ‘two people’.
Everyone = each single person. It does not refer to a group but separate individuals,
therefore falls into the category of ‘third person’ singular.
One of my students have gone to England.
One of my students has gone to England.
This error is due to incorrect verb conjugation. The verb should be conjugated with ‘one of’
and not ‘students’.
Other examples which take on the verb in third person singular are:
No-one/nobody has someone/somebody has anyone/anybody has
S UBJECT BEFORE VERB IN THE AFFIRMATIVE
Arrived John at the station.
John arrived at the station.
Extremely common for non native speakers to forget that in English the subject comes before
the verb in affirmations.
DOUBLE SUBJECT ERROR
My brother hespeaks English .
My brother speaks English.
My country it is very beautiful.
My country is beautiful.
This my car cost me a lot of money.
My car cost a lot of money.
These are classical errors. In the above examples, the speaker has used two subjects instead
of only one.
OMISSION OF SUBJECT
I think is going to rain.
I think it is going to rain.
In the first example, there is no subject before ‘is’. We always need a subject before the
verb. When we talk about the weather, time, speed, distance or things, we use the subject
Here is another example of this kind of error:
Is alright to meet at 4 instead of at 5?
Is it alright to meet at 4 instead of at 5?
In the first example (the one which is incorrect) we do not know ‘what’ is alright. There is
no subject. In the second example, we have ‘it’ as the subject so this sentence is correct.
P RONOUNS AND POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS
Pronouns designate the person we are speaking about/referring to. The subject pronouns – I,
you, he, she, it, we, you (pl) and they, can be substituted with pronouns, nouns or possessive
He is ready or John is ready. The subject pronoun ‘he’, substitutes the noun ‘John.’
The book is on the table – it is on the table. The book is a noun therefore the (subject
pronoun) of the sentence. Instead of repeating the noun ‘book’ we can substitute it with ‘it’.
A sentence always consists of at least two parts, – a subject and a predicate (verb).
There are long sentences and there are short ones. A sentence, whether short or long,
expresses a complete idea.
A complete sentence must consist of an independent clause – that is, a subject and verb that
make a complete thought. Independent clauses are called independent because they make
sense when they stand on their own.
The wind blows.
We cannot say for example ‘I go’ as this has no meaning on its own. It does not express a
complete idea. It is a dependent clause – (fragmented). The listener expects to hear more
information from the speaker.
I go (where?) I go to the cinema every week.
Compound subject (two subjects related to the same verb):
James and his colleagues collaborate.
We can make the sentences above longer by adding more information.
I refuse to eat that awful food. (Here we state ‘what’ I refuse to do).
The wind blows (where? when? why?) in the north. (Here we state ‘where’ the wind
The wind blows at night. (Here we state ‘when’ it blows)
Electricity costs a lot. (Here we state ‘how much’ it costs)
Dogs bark when they are hungry, happy or angry. (Here we state ‘why or when’ they bark)
Bees sting people. (Here we state ‘who’ they sting)
Cats meow when they want attention or when they want to eat. (Here we state ‘when’ they
They meow because they want attention. (Here we state ‘why’ they meow.
James and his colleagues collaborate on the project. (Here we state ‘what’ they collaborate
We can elaborate more on a sentence and add adjectives for description.
Good friends are loyal people.
Adjective ‘good’ + subject (noun) ‘friends’ + verb ‘be’ (are) + adjective ‘loyal’ + noun
In the above sentence we have used adjectives to describe the noun.
“What kind of friends?” Good friends.
“What kind of people?” Loyal people.
We can make sentences even longer by adding more information.
Electricity costs a lot during the day in most countries.
Here we have added the answer to three questions. How much? When? and Where?
How much? A lot – When? During the day – Where? In most countries.
We can give more details and add an adjective and an adverb. As mentioned before, the
adjective describes the noun whereas adverbs describe the verb.
Solar powered electricity rarely costs much during the day.
Here we use solar and powered – two adjectives to describe the noun ‘electricity’, ‘What
kind of electricity?’ we ask. We used ‘rarely’ which is an adverb of frequency, to describe
the verb ‘cost’ and we also used * ‘much’ (another adverb) to describe the verb ‘cost’.
*(Be careful with ‘much’ as it has many functions other than that of an adverb).
For more on adverbs of frequency and the position they take in a sentence please go to
Chapter three - Adverbs of Frequency.
So, to create sentences we must ask ourselves questions - Why? When? Where? How? etc...
When we use the possessive pronouns - My, your, his, her, its, their, your and our, they refer
to whom something belongs.
His car or John’s car. NOT the car of John.
Her book or Mary’s book.
Compound subject (two subjects related to the same verb).
Michael and Paul’s cars are in the garage or their cars are in the garage.
(See more on the possessives in Chapter four ‘the genitive/possessive)
So, when forming sentences in English, always ask yourself questions.
Take a look at the variations below for relatively simple sentence constructions.
WHEN NOT TO USE A SUBJECT PRONOUN
Open you the window.
Open the window.
When we use the imperative, there is no subject. We use the infinitive without ‘to’.
Turn off the light before you leave
Go to bed
Q) How do we form the negative when we use the imperative?
A) You just put don’t before the infinitive.
Don’t open the window.
Don’t turn off the light before you go out.
Q) When do we use the imperative?
A) We use the imperative to give orders/commands, exclamations and general instructions.
The following example can be seen on the label of a jumper.
Wash all woollen garments in lukewarm water.
Do not smoke in the airport.
Do not leave your luggage unattended.
(No contractions in formal announcements or on notices)
S UBJECT BEFORE VERB IN QUESTIONS
Where does work Mary?
Where does Mary work?
It’s important to remember that the subject comes after the auxiliary verb when forming a
Do you speak English?
Do is the auxiliary verb - you is the subject, and speak is the infinitive. This type of question
requires no question word and begins with the auxiliary. With this kind of question, you
usually answer with what is known as the ‘short answer’ - that is, Yes I do/No I don’t.
Questions which start with a question word have a full answer.
A) Where do you live?
B) I live in London.
OMISSION OF AUXILIARY VERB IN QUESTIONS
He likes me?
Does he like me?
Do you understand?
You speak English?
Do you speak English?
Many learners of English forget to use an auxiliary verb when forming questions thus
rendering the intended ‘question’ an ‘affirmation.’
If the question begins with a question word, then remember QASI, that is, question word,
auxiliary verb, subject and infinitive of the verb.
If the question has no question word and begins with an auxiliary, then remember ASI, that
is, auxiliary verb, subject and infinitive of the verb.
When there is no verb in the question, we use the auxiliary verb be instead of do or does
It is important to remember that we do not use ‘do’ or ‘does’ with ‘be’. This is because two
auxiliary verbs cannot be used together. When using ‘be’, we invert the subject with the verb
when we want to ask a question.
Q) How do we make the negative of be?
A) Just add ‘not’ after the verb.
See the following chart.
The auxiliary verb ‘be’ is used in the absence of other verbs in the present and past simple
tenses. ‘Understand’ is a verb so that is why we need ‘do’ and ‘does’ to help the verb to
become a question. The same applies to ‘speak’. It is a verb so we need to use ‘do’ to form
the question or ‘does’ to form the question in third person singular. The same applies to all
the verbs in English apart from the verb ‘be’. As already mentioned, we use ‘do not’ when
forming the negative, or ‘does not’ when forming the negative in third person, contracted to
‘don’t’ and ‘doesn’t’ in spoken language or informal written English.
I do not understand. Contracted - I don’t understand.
In third person:
My father does not understand me. Contracted - My father doesn’t understand me.
S UBJECT AND OBJECT P RONOUN CONFUSION
I saw she.
I saw her.
It is important to remember that the subject pronoun comes before the verb and the object
pronoun comes after it.
I saw you and Jane last night or I saw you (pl).
He saw you and me or he saw us.
S UBJECT QUESTION ERROR
Q) Are there any other types of questions in English?
A) Yes, there is the ‘subject question’, where the subject is in the question. In fact it is
common for students who are learning English as a second language to make the following
type of error.
What did happen last night?
What happened last night?
This is a different type of question from the normal ones. The subject is already in the
question so we do not use an auxiliary verb. When we use a subject question in the past
simple tense, the verb needs to be used in the past tense too. This is because the auxiliary
verb ‘did’, the past tense of ‘do’, is absent.
LIKE V. WOULD LIKE
Do you like to see my photographs?
Would you like to see my photographs?
The intended meaning of the speaker was to ask the polite form of ‘Do you want?’
‘Would like’ + infinite is a kinder way of asking this question.
This first sentence is incorrect. We expect the speaker to say ‘when’ Remember that ‘like +
infinitive’ means only on a specific occasion.
I like to look at my photograph album before I go to bed. (On this occasion)
I like looking at my photographs (generally, we do not need to state ‘when’)
Q. How do we make the negative and affirmative of ‘would like?’
A. To form the negative we add ‘not’ between ‘would’ and ‘like’.
I would like to go to New York this summer. Contracted: I’d like to go ...
I would not like to live in a hot country. Contracted: I wouldn’t like to live ...
INFINITIVE OF PURPOSE
I went to the supermarket for to buy some bread.
I went to the supermarket to buy bread.
In English we use what is known as the ‘infinitive of purpose’. This states the reason we do
something or go somewhere. ‘Why did you go to the supermarket?’ We do not put the
preposition ‘for’ before the infinitive. We use ‘for’ with a noun.
More examples are:
A) Why are you going to London?
B) To see the Queen.
A) Why did you switch on the TV?
B) To watch the news.
We can also say, ‘because I wanted to watch the news but this phrase is rather long. We tend
to cut out ‘because I wanted to’ and simply say, ‘to watch the news’. Sometimes we cannot
use the infinitive of purpose;
A) Why did you eat the biscuits?
B) Because I was hungry.
This is because there is no verb to put into the infinitive. ‘Hungry’ is an adjective.
Adjectives are often preceded by the verb ‘to be’, as previously mentioned.
ADVERBS OF F REQUENCY
We go usually to the cinema on Sundays.
We usually go to the cinema on Sundays.
The adverbs of frequency come before the main verb but always after the auxiliary verb
‘be’. They are used mainly with the present simple tense.
I am never late for work.
I always have lunch at one ‘o’ clock.
I hardly ever have breakfast. = I rarely have breakfast
He is never on time = He is always late
ADJECTIVE OR ADVERB
I speak a good English.
I speak good English.
I speak English good.
I speak English well.
It is incorrect to say ‘a good English’ as the noun ‘English’ is not quantifiable. ‘I speak
English good’ is also incorrect as we need to use an adverb when describing a verb.
‘Good’ is an adjective used to describe a noun. ‘Well’ is the adverb derived from ‘good’
and describes how you speak English.
Here are some more common errors of the same type:
I did good in the English exam.
I did well in the English exam.
I work hardly.
I work hard.
He drives fastly.
He drives fast.
Many adverbs end in ‘ly’ but as you can see, there are some irregular ones which need to be
memorized. ‘Fast’ is one of them. The adjective and the adverb are the same. A Ferrari is a
fast car. He drives fast. ‘Hard’ is another irregular adverb. If we say ‘I work hardly’, it
could impede understanding. The listener may think you mean ‘I hardly work’ which has the
opposite meaning. ‘Hardly (ever)’ is a frequency adverb and means very rarely.
It is important to note that the verbs of the senses, ‘feel, taste, look, sound, smell and also
seem, are described by an adjective and not an adverb. Remember, English is full of
exceptions to the general rule.
You look good.
Yes, I’ve had my hair cut.
She sounds English. (an opinion going by her voice)
She isn’t English, she’s Italian.( a fact)
You look good
You look well.
In the two examples given above, both are right. Not only is ‘well’ an adverb, but it is also
an adjective. Its opposite adjective is ‘ill’, while the opposite of ‘good’ is ‘bad’.
When we say, ‘You look good,’ we are referring to the person’s physical appearance. If on
the other hand we say, ‘You look well’, we are referring to the health or wellbeing of the
Other examples of adjective/adverb being the same are:
I get up early every day. (Adverb of time)
He is an early bird. (Adjective)
*an early bird is an idiomatic expression in English which we use to describe a person who
is always up bright and early in the morning.
He is always late. (Adverb of time)
I want to watch the late night movie before I go to bed. (Adjective)
Late and early are opposite adjective/adverbs.
When learning new adjectives, adverbs and verbs, it is always a good idea to learn their
opposites. Write them down in a context so as to remember them and revise them whenever
Learners of English often get confused between ‘late’ and ‘lately’.
Late, as mentioned before, is both an adjective and an adverb. Lately, on the other hand is
only an adverb (of time) and means ‘recently’.
He’s always late for work. (Never on time)
I have been working a lot lately. (In this recent period of time)
Sorry for the late.
Sorry I’m late.
We use ‘to be’ late. ‘
Idiomatic expression with ‘early’.
Early to bed, early to rise
makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
This means that if you go to bed early, you get enough sleep to wake up early in the morning
and have enough hours in the day to work and make money. So you stay in good health and
have wealth (money) to buy what you need for your life.
The early bird catches the worm.
This means that the person who is up early in the morning, is the one who makes money. If
you stay in bed all morning you do not earn any money and could fall into poverty.
ADVERBS OF MANNER
There are different categories of adverbs in English. They typically express manner, time,
place, frequency, level of certainty, to which degree etc. Adverbs of manner tell us how
something happens or how someone does something. Adverbs of manner are very often
formed from adjectives by addling – ly:
She is a beautiful singer. She sings beautifully.
Beautiful is an adjective. It describes the noun – singer.
Beautifully is an adverb. It describes the verb ‘sing’.
How does she sing? She sings beautifully.
He is a slow walker. (‘Slow’ is the adjective which describes the noun ‘walker’) He walks
slowly. How does he walk? Slowly
They are enthusiastic students. They work enthusiastically. How do they work?
The boy is a careful driver. He drives carefully. How does the boy drive? Carefully
The children are happy when they are playing. They play happily. How do the children
play? They play happily.
Some more adverbs formed from the adjective with – ly endings.
ADVERBS OF PLACE
These adverbs tell us where things are. They tell us about the location of the action (verb).
They can refer to a direction: up, down, across, north, south, east, west. They can also refer
to distance: far away, near, nearby. They also tell us the relation of one object to another:
behind, inside, outside, next to, between, over, above, below, under, underneath. through,
round, back etc.
The house is situated north of the city. Where is the house situated? North – so north tells us
The book is underneath the newspaper. Where is the book. Underneath – tells us where the
The man is behind the boy. Behind identifies the location of the man in relation to the boy.
Here, there, everywhere, somewhere and anywhere are also adverbs of place.
I put my book (where) there. Where did I put my book? I put my book there.
I looked everywhere for my book. Where did I look? Everywhere – so this is an adverb of
place. I looked in every place I could think of.
Is there anywhere to sit down? Yes, you can sit down over there.
John is outside in the garden. Where is he? (outside)
Adverbs of place can also have words which end in – ward or wards. This indicates
movement: homeward, backward, forward, onwards – are some examples.
We headed eastwards. This indicates movement and the direction.
You should always go forward in life.
ADVERBS OF TIME
Adverbs of time tell us when something happens. Late and early, as mentioned previously,
are two commonly used adverbs of time.
Here are some more examples:
I’m going to the cinema tomorrow. When are you going? Tomorrow
She left yesterday. When did she leave? Yesterday
We are eating now. When are we eating? Now
ADVERBS OF DEGREE
Adverbs of degree can be placed before an adjective, verb or other adverb.
He undoubtedly stole the money. (Strong degree of certainty)
He is definitely coming to the party. He promised me. (Certainty)
It’s absolutely freezing outside. (Strong degree of intensity)
She is extremely sorry for her bad behaviour. (Strong degree of intensity)
I really love reading good books. (Strong degree of intensity)
She’s completely mad. (Strong degree of intensity)
I quite like Indian food. (Medium degree of intensity)
My camera was pretty expensive. (Medium degree of intensity)
It’s fairly cold outside. (Medium degree of intensity)
slightly, a bit,
Nota bene: we only use ‘strong’ degree of intensity adverbs with extreme adjectives; for
normal adjectives we use low/medium degrees of intensity.
Examples of the most common ones:
small (normal) – tiny (extreme)
big (normal) – enormous (extreme)
cold (normal) – freezing (extreme)
hot (normal) – boiling (extreme)
sad (normal) – devastated (extreme)
happy (normal) – delighted (extreme)
TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE
Another frequent error is to make the verb ‘have’ become the negative in the present simple
tense. We need to always remember that the present simple negative is ‘do not’ (don’t) or in
third person singular, ‘does not’ (doesn’t) as already mentioned above.
I haven’t a dog.
I don’t have a dog.
I don’t have a dog. ‘Have’ is an auxiliary verb as well as a verb. If we say, ‘I haven’t a
dog’, we are using ‘have’ as an auxiliary and not as a verb, and so in this case, the verb is
absent. We can also say ‘I haven’t got a dog’. In this case, ‘got’ is the verb and ‘have’ is the
auxiliary verb but the question changes.
Have you got a dog?
Yes I have/no I haven’t.
Do you have a dog?
Yes I do/no I don’t.
We can never use ‘have got’ interchangeably with ‘have’ when ‘have’ is used as a
I have a shower every morning.
I’ve got a shower.
Both are correct but have different meanings.
In the first example, you get in the shower and wash yourself.
In the second example, you own/possess a shower.
Other examples of verb collocation are:
Have a bath - I have a bath before I go to bed - I’ve got a bath (I own one)
Note the following collocations with ‘have’.
Have a coffee
Have a snack
Have a picnic
Have a good time
Have a drink
Have a holiday
There are often problems when using the past simple negative and question forms.
I hadn’t a car.
I didn’t have a car.
Just as in the present simple negative, we need an auxiliary verb when using the past simple
negative. In the example above, that is, the one which is wrong, ‘have’ is again used as an
auxiliary verb, so in this case the verb is absent.
Had you a car when you lived in London?
Did you have a car when you lived in London?
Again, in the first example, the one which is wrong, ‘have’ or rather its past tense ‘had’, has
been used as an auxiliary verb so once again the verb is absent.
ERRORS WHEN FORMING PAST SIMPLE NEGATIVES
I didn’t went to work yesterday.
I didn’t go to work yesterday.
When we use the ‘past simple negative’ or the ‘past simple question’, the ‘do’ and the ‘does’
which we use in the present simple, become ‘did’ for the question, and ‘did not’ + infinitive
of verb, for the negative or ‘ didn’t + infinitive’ when contracted. However, we must
remember to use the past tense of the verb in affirmative sentences.
I didn’t go to school today.
I went to school today.
I didn’t understand the teacher.
I understood the teacher.
I didn’t speak English to him.
I spoke English to him.
P AST SIMPLE VERSUS PAST PROGRESSIVE
I cleaned my house when the doorbell rang.
I was cleaning the house when the door bell rang.
The action of cleaning was in progress and was interrupted by a past event. Some languages,
such as Hungarian and Polish, do not have the past progressive tense hence this common
Take a look at the example illustrated below:
Why didn’t you answer the phone yesterday?
I was sleeping when you called.
You called when the sleeping was in progress.
To form the question, just invert the subject with the verb.
Were you sleeping when I called?
To make it negative just add ‘not’ between the auxiliary verb ‘be’ and the gerund.
I was not sleeping when you called. Contracted: I wasn’t sleeping ...
NON EXISTENT P LURAL ADJECTIVES
Roses are reds.
Roses are red.
A ten years old boy.
A ten year old boy.
In many languages, especially languages deriving from Latin, adjectives become plural when
they are used to describe plural nouns. However in English, adjectives are never plural.
A blue pen
Two blue pens
As you can see, the plural form always goes on the noun and never on the adjective.
P LURAL NOUNS STANDARD AND IRREGULAR
The normal procedure to make nouns plural is to add an ‘s’ at the end of the noun.
One boy/two boys
One girl/two girls
One pen/two pens
One pencil/two pencils
If the noun ends in ‘s’ or ‘x’ or ‘z’ or ‘e’ or with a cluster of consonants, such as, ‘sh’, ‘ch’,
or ‘tch’ as in ‘watch’, we add ‘es’ to render them plural.
One watch/two watches
One witch/two witches
One prize/two prizes
One price/two prices
One box/two boxes
One bus/two buses
One kiss/two kisses
When the noun ends in a ‘Y’ and is preceded by a consonant we change the ‘Y’ into ‘I’ and
One butterfly two butterflies
There are some nouns which are irregular. These need to be memorized.
Here are the most common ones:
With some nouns which end in ‘fe’ we add ‘ves’. Below is a list of the most common ones.
We also have some nouns which remain the same in singular and plural.
Remember! Uncountable nouns cannot be made plural
Rice - butter - milk
To quantify them we need to use a unit of measure, such as, one kilogram of rice.
A bottle of milk or a litre of milk.
There are also nouns that maintain their Latin or Greek form in the plural.
The plural of index is indices (indexes is acceptable)
The plural of appendix is appendices (appendixes is acceptable)
The plural of fungus is fungi
The plural of criterion is criteria
The plural of nucleus is nuclei
The plural of syllabus is syllabi
The plural of focus is foci
The plural of cactus is cacti (cactuses is acceptable)
The plural of thesis is theses
The plural of crisis is crises (the pronunciation changes. We put the stress on the first
syllable of the singular ‘crisis’ and on the second syllable of the plural ‘crises’.
The plural of phenomenon is phenomena
Are you teacher?
Are you a teacher?
In some languages you don’t need the article for this question. In English we use the
indefinite articles ‘a’ and ‘an’ enquire about someone’s profession in general.
Are you an Engineer?
Are you a doctor?
We need to use the definite article ‘the’, if we specify.
Are you the Engineer from the Gas Company?’
We use ‘the’ because we are defining which Engineer.
I went to the bed at 8pm.
I went to bed at 8pm.
We don’t use the definite article ‘the’ as ‘go to bed’ is general. We only use it when we want
to specify a particular bed.
I slept in the spare bed last night.
Here we specify ‘which’ bed.
Be careful with the indefinite articles “A” and “An”
It is a honour to meet you
It is an honour to meet you
We normally use the indefinite article “a” before consonants, and the indefinite article “an”
before vowels, that is, the letters A E I O U.
Since the “H” in the word “honour” is silent, then we need to use the indefinite article “an”
because the vowel sound that follows has the “O” sound - an (h) onour. It is important to pay
attention to the initial sound of the word.
Other examples are:
An honourable gentleman
An honest man
An unbelievable experience
A university this has the ‘j’ sound
A European citizen this has the ‘j’ sound
A one off chance of a life time this has the ‘w’ sound
I had breakfast with cereal and milk.
I had cereal and milk for breakfast
The first sentence, the one which is incorrect, is a common error. It implies that you and the
cereal and milk had breakfast together. You can have breakfast with your husband, or your
wife, or your family but not with cereal and milk.
What did you have for breakfast?
Subject - Verb - Object
milk and coffee (for breakfast)
Another similar error is:
I go to work with my car.
I go to work by car.
In the first sentence, it implies that you and your car go to work together. You can go to work
with a person, but when you speak about the means of transport that you use to get there, you
need to say; by car, by bus, by train, or on foot.
We were in two at the restaurant last night.
There were two of us at the restaurant last night.
This is a common error with students who speak languages deriving from Latin. Once again,
this is a case of ‘mother tongue interference’.
My sister has got my same eyes.
My sister has got the same eyes as me.
I met the sister of John.
I met John’s sister.
If we use the possessive we need to be careful about where we put the apostrophe.
The boy’s ball = the ball belongs to one boy.
The boys’ ball = the ball belongs to more than one boy.
It is important to remember that some irregular nouns have no ‘s’ in the plural.
The children’s toys.
The noun, ‘children’ is already plural (the plural of ‘child’) so the apostrophe comes before
Other examples are:
The men’s cars (the cars of more than one man)
The women’s friends (the friends of more than one woman)
We use the possessive with people and not things. We cannot say ‘the table’s legs’. In this
case, we need to say, ‘the legs of the table’.
We can also use more than one ‘possessive’.
My sister’s boyfriend’s brother.
This means: The brother of the boyfriend of my sister.
We can also make it longer by saying; my sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s friend.
This means: The friend of the brother of the boyfriend of my sister.
Nowadays journalists have started using the possessive when they speak about countries.
This has become acceptable so as to avoid ‘wordiness’, which means the use of ‘too many’
words. English is not a ‘wordy’ language. It is more concise than many other languages,
which means ‘less’ is better
When writing news articles, journalists tend to reduce the number of words they use.
However the rule for objects/things has not changed. We must say ‘the door of the house’
and not the ‘house’s door.
We can also use an adjective form to describe something.
An adjective form is a noun which takes on the function of an adjective. Since adjectives are
never plural, we must never add an ‘s’.
The bedroom door
The bathroom floor
A red floor
A hard floor or
A kitchen floor
So ‘kitchen’, which is really a noun, takes on the function of an adjective by describing the
Note: English is full of exceptions to the general rule. We can say the following:
A day’s work
A week’s holiday
Six month’s leave (from my job)
This applies also to other measures of time.
We do not need to repeat the nouns if the meaning is clear.
John’s car is bigger than Paul’s. (Paul’s car)
We ate at Gino’s yesterday. (Gino’s restaurant)
Whose pen is this? It’s Tom’s. (Tom’s pen)
I had dinner at Grandma’s. (Grandma’s house)
I had a coffee at Jane’s today. (Jane’s house)
Anne’s house is more big of mine.
Jane’s house is bigger than mine.
With one syllable adjectives we add ‘er’ and double the final consonant if preceded by one
Big - bigger
Thin - thinner
Fat - fatter
Slim - slimmer
The final consonant is not doubled if it is preceded by two vowels or another consonant.
Weak - weaker
Strong - stronger
Large - larger
Small - smaller
If the adjective ends in an ‘e’ then you only need to add ‘r’, as in the case of ‘large’.
With the comparatives we use ‘than’ and not ‘of’. With the longer adjectives we use ‘more’
before the adjective.
A Rolex watch is more expensive than a Swatch watch.
My house is less big than yours.
My house is smaller than yours.
My house is not as big as yours.
Your house is less small than mine.
Your house is not as small as mine.
When forming the comparative we do not use ‘more’ or its opposite ‘less’, with one syllable
Be careful with adjectives which end in ‘Y’.
Noisy- busy- early- lazy
Although they sound as though they have two syllables, the ‘Y’ does not count as a syllable.
We remove the ‘Y’ when forming the comparative, and add ‘ier’.
We can use ‘not as + adjective + as’ to compare two things or two people. This means that A
is less than B.
The houses in Madrid are not as expensive as the ones in London.
The houses in London are not as cheap as the ones in Madrid
We use ‘not as cheap as’ because ‘less cheap’ is not used in English. We use ‘as +
adjective+ as’ to say that ‘A + B’ are the same.
The houses in Madrid are as expensive as the ones in London. (= they are both the same).
It is also common to hear many learners of English uttering the following:
The country is safer respect to the city.
The country is safer than the city.
USED TO- BE USED TO- GET USED TO
I, in the past got up early when I lived in London.
I used to get up early when I lived in London.
When we speak about past habit or past fact, we use, ‘used to’ + infinitive.
Many learners of English think that the past simple is the past tense of the present simple. It
We use ‘used to + infinitive’, for past habits or general truths and facts.
I get up early every day. (Present simple for habitual actions)
I used to get up late every day.( Habitual actions in the past).
Q) How do we make the question and negative of ‘used to?’
A) The same way we do for the past simple. That is, by using ‘did’ for the question and ‘did
not’ for the negative.
Did you use to live in Manchester?
I didn’t use to like coffee. (Now I like it)
She didn’t use to go to the gym every day. (Now she goes)
Be careful to remove the ‘d’ from ‘used to’ when forming questions and negatives as the
auxiliary verb ‘did’ takes the past tense. The pronunciation stays the same, with the ‘d’ or
BE USED TO VERSUS GET USED TO
Some students get confused when using ‘used to’ - ‘be used to’ - and - ‘get used to’.
We have looked at ‘used to + infinitive’ so now let us look at the other two.
When we use ‘to be used to + gerund of the verb’ it means that you are accustomed to
I am used to getting up at 7 every morning. It is something I am accustomed to now (in this
period of my life). There is no past reference.
Q) How do we form the negative of ‘to be used to + gerund?’
A) After the auxiliary verb ‘be’, as always, add ‘not’.
I am not used to living in the city. All the noise and confusion irritates me.
Contracted - I’m not used to living in the city.
To form the question we invert the subject with the auxiliary verb ‘be’.
Are you used to driving in the city?
Q) When do we use ‘to get used to + gerund?’
A) It is used different from ‘to be used to’. The ‘get’ means ‘become’.
I am getting used to living in the city = I am becoming accustomed to this life.
Often we use to get used to + gerund’ with ‘could’ and ‘cannot’.
I can’t get used to working so many hours. I am so tired. (I am finding it impossible to
become accustomed to this).
I could quite easily get used to doing nothing all day. (This is something that I could find
easy to do). Here ‘could’ is used hypothetically.
THINK AND HOPE ERRORS
I think not/ I think yes
I think so/ I don’t think so
I hope yes/ I hope no.
I hope so/ I hope not.
When somebody asks you a question, for example:
Is John at home?
‘I think so or I don’t think so’.
The same applies to the verb ‘hope’. Here are a couple of examples:
Is it raining?
‘I don’t know but I hope not.’
‘Have we won?’
‘I don’t know but I hope so.’
I’m agree/I’m not agree.
I agree/ I don’t agree or I disagree.
Since ‘agree’ is a verb, it follows the same rules as all the other verbs.
My family is composed of four people.
In my family there are four people.
There are four people in my family.
There are four of us in my family.
It is more common in English to use ‘composed’ when we talk about music.
COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE
There is two people in the room.
There are two people in the room.
As mentioned earlier, ’people’ is a countable noun. It is the irregular plural of ‘person’. In
some other languages it is uncountable - hence this common error. It can fool you because it
does not have the usual ‘s’ ending, which renders regular nouns plural. Many learners of
English forget it is plural. The noun ‘person’ also has another plural which is regular. That
is, ‘persons’, but this is only used in very formal English, such as on formal notices.
Your hair is very nice today?
Yes, I washed them last night.
Yes, I washed it last night.
This is another common error. Some nouns which are ‘uncountable’ in English, are
‘countable’ in other languages, hence this repeated error.
Note: Single hairs become countable. If there are two hairs on your jacket you can say
‘hairs’. The hair on your head is seen as a collective noun.
The teacher gave us many homeworks.
The teacher gave us a lot of homework.
Homework is another ‘uncountable noun’ so it cannot be made plural.
Can I have an information please?
Can I have some information please?
Here are some more examples of uncountable nouns which students get wrong.
The furnitures in my living room are old.
The furniture in my living room is old.
We can say a piece of furniture or an item of furniture.
Their behaviours are not good
Their behaviour is not good
Behaviour is uncountable
I am looking for an accommodation.
I am looking for accommodation.
We bought new camping equipments.
We bought new camping equipment.
Again, ‘accommodation’ and ‘equipment’ are both uncountable.
Can I have an advice please?
Can I have some advice please?
This is another error common to many. We can also say ‘a piece of advice’.
The police is looking into the matter
The police are looking into the matter.
The noun ‘police’ is uncountable. To make it countable we must say;
A police officer is going to look into the matter (look into = investigate)
Internet has given us an easier access to information
Internet has given us easier access to information
Access is an uncountable noun
My luggages haven’t arrived.
My luggage hasn’t arrived.
The noun ‘luggage’ is the collective name for suitcases and bags. We can also say ‘baggage’,
which is a synonym of luggage.
The news are good.
The news is good.
Even though ‘news’ ends in an ‘s’, it is uncountable. We need this ‘s’ because without it,
‘news’ would become ‘new’ which is an adjective.
The following nouns can be countable or uncountable.
My family is on holiday.
My family are on holiday.
The team is playing well.
The team are playing well.
If the family or the team are seen as individual members, then third person plural of the verb
is used. If, on the other hand, the speaker sees them as a group, then third person singular is
TOO - TOO MUCH - TOO MANY
It is too much big.
It is too big.
We use ‘too + adjective’ to mean ‘in excess’ (more than needed).
We use ‘too much’ with ‘uncountable nouns’ and ‘too many’ with ‘countable nouns’ to
indicate more than what is necessary/in .excess.
F EWER VERSUS LESS
I have fewer money than he has.
I have less money than he has.
I have less friends than Jill has.
I have fewer friends than Jill has.
We use ‘less’ with uncountable nouns and ‘fewer’ with countable nouns.
Other examples are:
On Sundays there is usually less traffic.
There are fewer cars today.
Nowadays fewer people read books.
ENOUGH + NOUN VERSUS ADJECTIVE + ENOUGH
These shoes are not enough big
These shoes are not big enough
It is important to remember that ‘enough’ comes ‘before’ the noun but ‘after’ the adjective.
I haven’t got enough money to go out.
He wasn’t old enough to vote.
BOTH- EITHER- NEITHER
Both of them can’t come.
Neither of them can come.
Person A can’t come and Person B can’t come.
Neither A nor B can come.
Neither of them can come.
Both of the letters didn’t arrive.
Neither of the letters arrived.
Letter A didn’t arrive and Letter B didn’t arrive.
Neither A nor B arrived.
Neither of the letters arrived.
Neither of them arrived.
Note: We do not use ‘both’ for negatives. Both = A + B.
Neither means not A and not B
She can neither read or write.
She can neither read nor write.
He can’t sing or dance.
He can neither sing nor dance.
Here are some examples:
Both John and Mark play football (John and also Mark)
Both of them play football (John and Mark)
Either John or Mark plays football (or John or Mark)
Either of them plays football (or John or Mark)
Neither John nor Mark plays football. (Not John and not Mark
Neither of them plays football. (Not John and not Mark)
I saw me on TV.
I saw myself on TV.
Reflexive pronouns: when the subject and the object of the verb are the same.
On Sunday evenings I relax myself in front of the TV.
On Sunday evenings I relax in front of the TV.
We do not use reflexive pronouns with the verb ‘relax’. Neither do we use them with
I concentrate myself when I am working.
I concentrate when I am working.
EACH OTHER VERSUS ONE ANOTHER
We phone ourselves every day.
We phone each other every day.
We phone ourselves is incorrect because it means that person A phones person A.
We phone each other every day means:
Person A phones person B every day and Person B phones person A every day.
These two sentences become one. They phone each other every day.
We use ‘one another’ to speak about the relationship between two or more people and two
or more groups. ‘Each other’, on the other hand, is only used between two people or two
They love each other. A loves B and B loves A.
They love one another. A loves B and B loves A but it also refers to more than two people.
It depends on the context. A loves B and C and D etc, and the love is reciprocal between
A good example comes from one of the Ten Commandments, which says; Love one another =
every person should love every other person. ‘Love each other’, only refers to two people
or two groups, although nowadays it seems that people are beginning to use them
interchangeably, resulting in breaking all the grammar rules. I, personally, would never use
‘each other’ for more than two people or two groups.
ERRORS WHEN USING MODAL AUXILIARY VERBS
A modal auxiliary verb is a verb modifier. It changes the meaning and/or the mood of the
speaker. The following mistakes are frequent with all the modal auxiliary verbs.
Do you can go?
Can you go?
He cans swim well.
He can swims well.
He can swim well.
She can to speak five languages.
She can speak five languages.
He will can go tomorrow
He can go tomorrow.
He will be able to go tomorrow
All modal auxiliary verbs are followed by the infinitive without ‘to’. A modal auxiliary verb
has the function of modifying the meaning of the verb. They can never be used with other
auxiliary verbs. There is no ‘s’ in third person either
MAY VERSUS CAN AND COULD
Can I open the window please?
Could I open the window please?
May I open the window please?
In the above example, can, could and may are all used to request ‘permission’.
Can is the least formal.
Could is formal.
May is the most formal of the three.
We also use ‘can’ for ability
I can speak three languages. (I have this ability)
He can swim very well. (He has this ability)
‘Could’ is also used for ability but as the past tense of ‘can’
He could speak three languages when he was four years old. (Past ability)
She couldn’t ski until she was a teenager. (Past ability)
S HALL AND MAY
We use ‘shall’ in first person or third person plural to make a suggestion.
Shall we go?
Shall I help you?
Please note: When ‘shall’ is used to make a suggestion or an offer, we only use it in the first
person singular or third person plural as seen in the above examples.
We also use ‘shall’ when writing contracts to indicate obligation. It is used as a politer form
We use ‘may’ and ‘might’ to express a 50/50 degree of possibility
I might go to the cinema this evening. (I haven’t decided yet)
I may go to bed early this evening. (I am still thinking about it)
May is regarded as more formal
Should is used for recommendation, polite obligation, advice and also to express
expectation or deduction.
Should for advice or recommendation
You should get a good map of London before you go. (I recommend this)
You shouldn’t smoke so much. (My advice)
Should for polite requests or obligations
Guests should vacate the hotel room by 10am on the morning of departure. (Polite
obligation) = Guests are requested to vacate the hotel room by 10am on the morning of
departure. (Polite obligation)
Guests should pay for their drinks upon departure. (Polite obligation)
Guests shouldn’t play loud music in their rooms at night. (Polite obligation)
In the above examples, ‘should’ is used as a politer form of ‘must’. We do not use ‘must’ in
this context as it could appear to be ‘too strong’ and could seem a little ‘offensive’.
Should for Expectation
She should be here by now. (This is what we expect or believe to happen)
However, if we use the negative of ‘should be’ (should not be) it implies prohibition or
She shouldn’t be here = maybe she made a mistake and came at the wrong time or on the
wrong day. It also implies mild prohibition. It all depends on the context.
- MEANT TO - SHOULD
We can also use ‘to be supposed to + infinitive’ in place of ‘should’ for something we expect
She is supposed to be here by now. (expected or required of her).
We can also say:
She is meant to be here by now. This also implies something that is expected or required.
He is meant to be here at ten.
He should be here at ten.
He is supposed to be here at ten (these examples have almost the same meaning). There is
such a subtle difference that they can all be used interchangeably when expressing
expectation or requirement.
In the negative form we normally do not use a future time expression like we do in the
He isn’t meant to be here. (Now)
He shouldn’t be here. (Now)
He isn’t supposed to be here. (Now)
All three of the examples above imply that he was obligated not to be here, or he came by
mistake, or there was no requirement for him to be there.
Not supposed to be also implies prohibition.
You are not supposed to drink and drive. (It is against the law)
You are not supposed to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. (It is forbidden)
To be supposed to + infinitive, is also used for general beliefs
He is supposed to be one of the best lawyers in town. (This is a general belief, what we
have heard people say about him)
Eating too much chocolate is supposed to make you fat, but I am still as thin as ever.
(General belief, what people say)
To be + meant + infinitive is used also for fate or destiny or anything mystical.
What is meant to be is meant to be = we cannot change destiny.
To mean to
We use ‘mean + infinitive’ without ‘be’ for a future intention when it is used in the present
simple tense, or ‘meant to + infinitive’ without ‘be’ to express a past intention.
I mean to phone her one of these days. (My intention)
I meant to phone you = it was my intention but I did not phone, I probably forgot.
I didn’t mean to hurt you = it was not my intention; I didn’t do it on purpose.
I was supposed to phone you (but I forgot) = this was expected of me or it was believed, or
it could also mean a mild obligation to do so.
He was meant to be here at ten. (He is late or maybe he isn’t coming. We expected him to be
here or there was some kind of obligation or requirement for him to come)
He should have been here at ten. (Again, something we expected or an obligation on his
I was supposed to go to the doctor yesterday. (I didn’t go; it was my intention or it was
expected of me or a mild obligation)
Should have + past participle has another meaning. It is also used for past recommendation
You should have taken an aspirin if you had such a bad headache yesterday. (My advice for
something that did not happen in the past)
THE PERFECT ERRORS
P RESENT PERFECT (1)
A TIME IN YOUR LIFE BEFORE NOW
I have seen Titanic on TV last night.
I saw Titanic on TV last night.
I’ve been to Prague when I was a little boy.
I went to Prague when I was a little boy.
If we use a ‘past time expression’, we must use the ‘past simple tense’. We use the ‘past
simple tense’ for anything that finished in the past. ‘I have seen Titanic’, is correct if we do
not use a ‘past time expression’. This is the ‘present perfect simple tense’. It is quite
difficult for learners of English to grasp it. When we say ‘I have seen Titanic’, we are giving
general information about something that happened anytime ‘before now’. The focus is on
the fact that ‘I saw Titanic’ and not on ‘when’ I saw it.
If the focus moves to ‘when’, then we cannot use the ‘present perfect’ anymore because the
attention shifts to ‘the time’.
The same applies to the second example:
I’ve been to Prague. (In my life)
I went to Prague when I was a little boy. (We say ‘when’)
There are other uses of the ‘present perfect tense’ which we will take a look at soon.
In this book I will refer to this version of the ‘present perfect’ as ‘present perfect one’
which refers to something that happened before now with no reference to time. It is
important to note the structure of the ‘present perfect simple tense’. We use ‘have’ not as a
verb but as an ‘auxiliary verb’. We looked at the use of ‘have’ as a verb in the ‘present
simple’ and ‘past simple tenses’. With the ‘present perfect’, ‘have’ is an ‘auxiliary verb’
with the verb in its ‘past participle form’.
To form the question, we invert the ‘subject’ with the ‘auxiliary’, just as we do with its
sister auxiliary ‘be’.
I have been - Have I been?
He has been - Has he been?
She has gone - Has she gone?
We usually contract ‘have’ when it is used as an auxiliary.
I haven’t been.
She hasn’t been
When used as an auxiliary verb ‘have’ cannot be contracted in the question form if the
question begins with the auxiliary.
Have you been to New York?
Has she been to France?
Where’ve you been?
Where’s she been?
What’ve they done?
Why’s he gone?
In the negative questions the contraction is on ‘not’
Why haven’t you eaten?
Why’ve you not eaten? *
Which of these books haven’t you read?
When ‘have’ is used as a ‘full verb’ it should not be contracted. ‘I’ve a cat’ is incorrect. We
say; ‘I have a cat’ or ‘I’ve got a cat’. In the latter case ‘got’ is the verb.
Please note that many native speakers contract ‘have’ when it is used as a full verb and
preceded with ‘no’.
I’ve no money left. I’ve got no money left is the best option.
It is also very common to hear native speakers say, ‘I haven’t a clue’ or ‘I’ve no idea’. Here
they go against all the grammar rules and contract ‘have’ where it shouldn’t be contracted.
These two examples I’ve given, are extremely widespread so ‘sound’ correct. However,
they would not be tolerated in formal written English.
Please note that ‘have got’ is not the ‘present perfect’. It may look like the ‘present perfect’
but has got nothing to do with it. It can only be used in the ‘present tense’. It is used
interchangeably with ‘have’, to indicate possession.
In formal written English, it is better to use ‘have’. In the spoken language, ‘have got’ is
more commonly used.
I’ve got a car - Have you got a car? - I haven’t got a car
I have a car - Do I have a car? - I don’t have a car
As you can see, the ‘have’ in ‘have got’ is an auxiliary verb so with the question and
negative we need to use that same auxiliary.
In the second example, that is where ‘have’ is used without ‘got’, ‘have’ is a full verb so we
need the ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ to form questions and negatives. Native speakers use ‘have got’
more frequently than ‘have’, probably because it is much easier to say. There is less mouth
movement involved. It just rolls off the tongue. Many say ‘avgot’, as you hardly even need to
open your mouth to say this.
Please note: If we say; ‘she has just got married’, then this is the present perfect tense,
something which happened before this present moment, but do not confuse it with ‘have
got’. To get married = to become married.
P RESENT PERFECT (2)
P AST TO PRESENT
It is three weeks that I am here.
I’ve been here for three weeks.
It’s many years I don’t do English lessons.
I haven’t done English for many years.
This is another error which is due to ‘mother tongue’ interference, when the speaker
translates literally from his or her own language. In English we use the ‘present perfect
simple’ with ‘for’ and ‘since’ when we speak about something that started in the past and is
true also now. ‘I have been here for three weeks’, (the duration) or ‘since’ (the exact point in
time) e.g. 1st June. There are the three uses of the ‘present perfect simple tense’. In chapter
eight we took a look at the first use of this tense (which we called ‘present perfect’ one). We
can refer to this one as ‘present perfect two’. Here is a good way to remember how to use
I came to London in 2010 (past simple sentence)
I still live in London (present simple meaning a present fact)
Sentence A + sentence B = sentence C.
I have lived in London since 2010.
So we are joining a ‘past event’ with a ‘present one’ to get a ‘past to present situation’,
which was true in the past and is still true now.
Another example is:
(A) I bought my car three years ago
(B) I have my car now. A + B = C)
(C)I have had my car for three years.
We use the auxiliary verb ‘have’ and take the verb from sentence (B) and put it into the ‘past
participle’ then add ‘for’ or ‘since’.
I met John two years ago. (Past)
I know John now. (Present)
I have known John for two years.
Remember that the past and the present join together to become one tense only - ‘the present
Remember we need to use ‘for’ or ‘since’ with present perfect 2. The ‘for’ and ‘since’ join
the past situation to a present one. We can also use ‘all my life’ or ‘all week’, ‘all day’ etc.
P RESENT PERFECT (3)
BEFORE NOW OR RIGHT NOW
I lost my key.
I’ve lost my key.
Why is the first sentence wrong? We are expecting the speaker to say ‘when’.
We can say ‘I lost my key’ but only if maybe someone asks you a question in the past simple
Why are you late?
I lost my key.
Otherwise if there is no question or no indication to the past, we say: ‘I’ve lost my key’.
This version of the present perfect is used differently to that of present perfect one which we
looked at earlier.
Present perfect one = in my life. It could be twenty years ago. We are not interested ‘when’.
But when we use ‘Present perfect three’, we refer to ‘now’ or ‘just before now’. As in
‘present perfect one’, we have no interest in ‘when’ the event or fact or action occurred. The
only difference is that ‘present perfect three’ can only mean not long ago.
Let’s take a look at some examples;
Would you like a coffee?
No, thanks, I’ve had one.
This refers to not long ago. We don’t say ‘when’ because the ‘time’ is of no importance
whatsoever, but we understand that the person had the coffee not so long ago.
Are you hungry?
No, I’ve had lunch.
We understand that it is before now but not long ago.
He’s taken the dog to the park.
Here we understand that he went to the park a short while ago.
Remember, with ‘present perfect one, two and three’, the time is never expressed. When the
time becomes more important than the fact or the event, we need to use the ‘past simple’.
I’ve had lunch.
(Present perfect three, meaning not long ago)
I had lunch an hour ago.
(Past simple referring to exactly ‘when’)
It is incorrect to say: ‘I’ve had lunch an hour ago’.
I’ve bought a new pair of shoes.
(Right now, before now or not long ago)
I bought a new pair of shoes yesterday.
(The ‘time’ is important to the speaker)
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS (1)
In Progress From Past To Present
It is raining from this morning.
It has been raining since this morning.
The present continuous tense has no reference to anytime before this moment. In some
languages this tense is used when referring to something in progress in the past which is still
in progress at the present moment. We use the present perfect continuous with ‘for’ and
‘since’ when we refer to an action in progress which started in ‘the past’ and continues ‘until
the present’ and possibly progresses into ‘the future’. The pictures which follow illustrate
the correct use of the ‘present perfect continuous’ when it is used with ‘for’ and ‘since’.
Q. What is the boy doing?
A. He is studying.
Q. What time did he begin to study? Look at the clock on the left of the boy.
A. He began to study at 11 o’ clock.
Q. What time is it now? Look at the clock on the right of the boy.
A. It’s 1 o’clock
Q. How long has he been studying?
A. He’s been studying for two hours or he has been studying since 11o’clock.
It is important to remember that we need to use action verbs or motion verbs, as they are
sometimes referred to, with the present perfect continuous; e.g. run, walk, talk, etc.
Unlike state verbs, these verbs are progressive.
The girl is holding an umbrella because it is raining.
It’s raining at the moment. It started to rain at 9 o’clock this morning.
It is now 11o’clock. How long has it been raining?
It has been raining for 2 hours ‘or’ It has been raining since 9 o’clock
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS (2)
We can also use the present perfect continuous without ‘for’ and ‘since’. However the
meaning changes to ‘until recently’ as opposed to ‘until now’.
My neighbours are angry because my dog has been barking.
The dog is not barking now. It was barking until a short time ago and now the consequence is
that the neighbours are not happy.
For this use of the ‘present perfect continuous’, the question changes.
We do not use ‘how long’.
‘Why are the neighbours angry?’ (A present result of something which was in progress until
They are angry because ‘the dog has been barking’. (The barking was in progress until not
‘What have you been doing?’ Your face is all red
I’ve been running. (The red face is a consequence of something which was in progress until
recently). I am not running now. I was probably running until a few minutes ago.
P AST PERFECT ERRORS
When she got to the airport, she forgot her passport
When she got to the airport, she had forgotten her passport.
She arrived in the airport in a moment in the past. Before this past moment she forgot to take.
The moment she forgot to take her passport happened in an earlier moment.
She didn’t taste pasta before she went to Italy.
She had never tasted pasta before she went to Italy.
Forming the past perfect simple:
We use the past tense of the auxiliary ‘have’, that is, ‘had’ + ‘the past participle’ of the verb;
the third column of the verb list.
PAST P ERFECT CONTINUOUS (1)
He was waiting for 20 minutes when I arrived.
He had been waiting for 20 minutes when I arrived.
We can say: ‘He was waiting when I arrived’, without indicating any time duration before
that moment. The past continuous cannot be used to refer to time duration before a specific
moment in the past, as seen in Chapter 4.3. To indicate a progressive duration of time in the
past which was followed by a past action or event, we need to use the past perfect
continuous with ‘for’ or ‘since’.
He started to wait at 10.30 ............ I arrived at 10.50
It is ‘NOW’ and I say: When I arrived he had been waiting for 20 minutes.
We can also say: he had been waiting since 10.30. We use ‘since’ to indicate the precise
moment the action in progress began. We do not say: he had been waiting from 10.30. It is
important to use ‘for’ or ‘since’, or all day, all night, all week, all year etc.
We use the past perfect continuous with verbs which express an action in progress until a
moment in the past (when used with ‘for’ and ‘since’).
So ‘what is the difference between the past perfect continuous and the past perfect?’
With the past perfect, we use non progressive verbs.
When I switched on the TV, the film had ended. There is no progression here. The film ended
before you switched on the TV. It did not end and then end and then end again in
When I arrived at the train station, the train had left. There was no train when I arrived. It
left before I arrived. Once again, there is no progression here. The train did not leave and
then leave and then leave continuously over a period of time. It left before you arrived and
the leaving ended there.
When I phoned her, she had been studying for three hours. Here there is progression. The
studying progressed over a period of three hours and then I phoned.
PAST P ERFECT CONTINUOUS (2)
We can also use the past perfect continuous without ‘for’ and ‘since’, just like we do with
the present perfect continuous.
When I arrived, she had been sleeping. (She wasn’t sleeping when I arrived. The sleeping
was in progress until a short time before I arrived). Usually there is something to indicate
the action which was in progress and recently finished. Maybe her eyes looked tired, or
maybe she told me.
When I arrived, she had been sleeping for two hours. (In this example with ‘for’, it can mean
two things. The sleeping stopped when I arrived, or maybe it continued.
If I will see him, I will tell him.
If I see him, I will tell him.
We use the ‘if’ clause + the present simple tense.
This clause is the condition
We use the future simple tense, ‘will + infinitive’
to indicate the result of the condition
Q) When do I use the first conditional?
A) You use the first conditional to speak about a possible situation in the future.
If I win the lottery, I will buy a new house.
I think I have a possibility to win because perhaps I have bought many lottery tickets.
Q) How do I make the negative of the first conditional?
A) Just put the negative of the present simple on the ‘if’ clause and the negative of ‘will’ on
the result of the condition clause.
If I don’t go, I won’t see him.
If I don’t go, I won’t see him.
If he doesn’t arrive soon, we won’t have time to catch the 9.30 train.
We use the same structure with:
When -as soon as - before - after - in case - until - unless
I’ll see him, when I go to the airport.
I’ll call you, as soon as I arrive.
I’ll text you before I leave.
After she goes, I’ll start cooking.
I’ll take my phone in case I need to call you.
= You never know, I may need to call you.
I won’t know until I see him.
I won’t take an umbrella unless it rains
= I’ll take an umbrella only if it rains.
Q) Can we use other auxiliary verbs with the first conditional?
A) Yes, we can. We can use the following modal auxiliary verbs although the degree of
possibility varies according to which one we use. A modal auxiliary modifies the meaning
of the verb.
Modals are a nightmare for learners of English. This is because they are never ‘black’ and
‘white’. Their meanings come in many ‘shades of grey.’
Here is a list of the options:
must - can - could - may - might - should
Let’s take a look at some examples:
I will go if he calls me. ‘Will’ expresses a certainty
I must go if he calls me. ‘Must’ expresses a personal obligation from the speaker (in this
I can go if he calls me. ‘Can’ expresses either permission from a third party or the fact that
you are free from other commitments.
I might go if he calls me. ‘Might’ expresses a 50/50 possibility. You haven’t decided yet.
I may go if he calls me. ‘May’ is similar to might, the possibility is slightly less. It is also
more formal than ‘might’.
I should go if he calls me. I feel a mild obligation.
You should go if he calls you. Someone is recommending that you go or giving you his/her
Q. How do I form the negative and questions?
A. The same as with all auxiliaries. For the question we invert the subject with the modal
auxiliary. For the negative we add ‘not’.
Should I go, if he calls me?
You shouldn’t go if he calls you?
I might not go if he calls me. (We do not contract ‘might’ in the negative).
In the question ‘might’ is not very common. Might I go? (Nowadays it is rarely used. In old
English it was more common).
We use ‘may’ to ask questions but only for permission.
May I go if he calls me? (I am asking permission)
Must I go if he calls me? (This denotes the idea that you really do not want to go)
SECOND CONDITIONAL ERRORS
If I would go to London, I would visit Trafalgar Square.
If I went to London, I would visit Trafalgar Square.
After the ‘if’ clause (the condition) we use the past simple
We use ‘would + infinitive’ for the result of the condition.
Q) When do we use the second conditional?
A) We use the second conditional to speak about a hypothetical situation.
If I won the lottery, I would buy a new house.
I am dreaming of winning the lottery, I probably haven’t even bought a lottery ticket.
If I had a phone, I would phone you every day.
= I don’t have a phone so I cannot phone you every day.
If we had a camera, we could take photographs.
= We don’t have a camera so we can’t take photographs.
Q) How do we make the second conditional negative?
A) Just put the negative of the past simple after the ‘if’ clause and the negative of ‘would’ on
the result of the condition clause.
If I didn’t live in London, I wouldn’t speak English so well.
Q) How do I form the question?
A) Invert ‘would’ with the subject and put a question word before ‘would’.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Where would you go if you won the lottery?
If you could have dinner with a famous person, who would you choose?
THIRD CONDITIONAL ERRORS
If I would have been there, I would have helped you.
If I had been there, I would have helped you.
There are often errors in forming the third conditional. In the first example, that is, the one
which is wrong, there is double use of ‘would’. A good way to remember how to use the
third conditional, is to remember that after the ‘if’ clause, that is, the condition, we use the
past perfect, and on the result of condition clause, ‘would have + past participle’ of the
The third conditional is used for something which did not happen in the past.
I saw you yesterday but you didn’t see me.
If I had seen you I would have said hello.
Q) How do we form the negative?
A) By putting ‘not’ after the auxiliary verb ‘had’ and ‘not’ after the modal auxiliary ‘would’.
I was late for work yesterday because I overslept. (= sleep too much)
If I hadn’t overslept, I wouldn’t have been late for work.
To form the question we invert ‘would’ with the subject and add a question word where
Would you have come to the party if you had known about it?
What would you have done, if you had been me?
Where would you have gone, if you hadn’t come here?
THE MIXED CONDITIONAL
A very commonly used conditional that many grammar books tend to overlook is the ‘mixed
conditional. It is a cross between the third conditional and the second.
If I had studied more (the condition is in the past) I would be a doctor (the result of the
condition is in the present.
I wasn’t born in Italy (past)
I am not Italian (present)
If I had been born in Italy, I would be Italian (now)
He lost his job. (past)
He is unemployed. (present)
If he hadn’t lost his job, he wouldn’t be unemployed (now).
I wish I have more money
I wish I had more money
How to use “wish” (hypothetical)
For a present wish, we use the past simple
It is Monday today. I am not happy because I have to go to work.
You say: I wish it weren’t Monday. I wish I didn’t have to go to work.
We can also say I wish it wasn’t Monday but we normally use “were” in all persons. It is a
more elegant way of speaking.
It is raining outside and you would prefer it to be sunny.
You say: I wish it weren’t/wasn’t raining. I wish it were/was sunny.
John is fat. He wants to be thin:
You say: He wishes he weren’t/wasn’t fat. He wishes he were/was thin.
You can’t speak English but you would love to be able to speak the language.
You say: I wish I could speak English.
When we use “can”, we move it back a tense and it becomes “could”.
We can also say: I can’t speak English but I wish I could.
For past wishes we go back a tense from the past simple to the past perfect.
You overslept this morning. You forgot to set the alarm clock. Now you are late for work.
You say: I wish I hadn’t forgotten to set the alarm clock last night.
You left your keys on the kitchen table and went out. Now you are locked out of the house.
You say: I wish I hadn’t left my keys in the house.
Your wife is very disappointed because you forgot it was her birthday yesterday. This makes
You say: I wish I had remembered it was her birthday yesterday.
We can also say: I forgot her birthday. I wish I hadn’t.
Your friend bought some shoes yesterday. Now she regrets buying them. She doesn’t like
them. She bought them on impulse.
She says: I wish I hadn’t bought these shoes. I wish I had kept my money.
We can also say: I bought these shoes. I wish I hadn’t.
When someone does something that really annoys us we use “would”.
Your son is always leaving his clothes lying around the bedroom floor. This really irritates
You say: I wish he wouldn’t leave his clothes lying around. I wish he would pick them up
and put them away.
We can also say: He never puts his clothes away. I wish he would.
Your friend is always late when she has to meet you. This is very annoying for you.
You say: I wish she would arrive on time. I wish she weren’t/wasn’t late all the time.
We can also use ‘if only’ also in the same way we use ‘wish’.
I hate living in a cold climate. It would be my dream to live in a hot country.
If only I lived in a hot country.
I’ve got no money. I dream of being rich.
If only I were/was rich.
I can’t ski and we are going on a skiing holiday next week.
If only I could ski.
EVEN THOUGH VERSUS EVEN IF
Many people get confused between whether to use “even though” or “even if” Even some
native speakers get them wrong. Let’s take a look at the following examples which clarify
the exact meaning.
Even though it rained, we still went out.
Even if it rains, we will still go out.
In example number one, this is a fact. It rained and despite this fact, we went out.
In example number two, this is a hypothetical situation. We are thinking of a possibility.
More examples are as follows:
Even though I work a lot, I still never seem to have enough money to pay everything. A real
situation. (Despite the fact)
Even if I worked hard, I would still never have enough money to pay everything. An unreal
situation. (Whether or not I worked hard, I would not have enough money
ANY LONGER VERSUS ANYMORE AND NO LONGER
It is very important to use these correctly. The position of each one in a sentence differs.
Let’s take a look at some examples in order to clarify.
I don’t work for that company any longer.
I don’t eat meat anymore.
I no longer work for that company.
I no longer eat meat.
As you can see, when we use any longer or any more, we need to use ‘don’t’ or ‘doesn’t’ in
third person. It is important that any longer and any more are positioned at the end of the
When we use no longer, it comes between the subject and the verb.
It is completely wrong to say: He doesn’t work there no more. This is a typical slang
expression and is wrong because a double negative had been used. A double negative
automatically becomes a positive therefore making the meaning the exact opposite to what
ANYMORE VERSUS ANY MORE
What is the difference? Some people use them interchangeably but there is a difference.
I don’t live there anymore = I used to live there. Now I don’t
I don’t want any more pasta. I am full. I have eaten enough = no more pasta thanks.
NO FUTURE IN ENGLISH
Grammatically speaking, there are no future tenses in the English language. There are only
future aspects, that is, ways of seeing the future. It all depends on how the speaker sees the
situation which determines his or her choice of structure.
We can use the present simple for the future only when we are referring to timetables or a
The train leaves at 11am tomorrow morning.
The party begins at 8pm.
The biggest nightmare for learners of English is when to use ‘will’ + infinitive’ of the verb.
It is used in several different ways.
We use it when we predict something or we have reason to believe it.
She’ll be late. (We predict this, we have reason to believe it because she is nearly always
late or maybe we know that there is a lot of traffic today).
We also use ‘will + infinitive’ when we make promises.
I’ll definitely come to the party. You have my word.
“I’ll wash the dishes later”, promised the girl to her mother.
Will + infinitive is also used for a future fact
The Queen will be in Paris tomorrow.
We can use it when we decide to do something at the moment of speaking (unplanned
Person A: “There’s no milk left”.
Person B: “I’ll get some when I’m out then”,
Person A: “The TV isn’t working so you won’t be able to watch the football match”,
Person B. “I’ll just read a book instead then”.
We can also use ‘will + infinitive’ when we offer to do something.
Imagine you see your neighbour coming out of the supermarket carrying two very heavy
shopping bags. You offer to help her carry them.
You say: “I’ll help you, give me one of the bags and I’ll carry it for you”,
If your wife sees a diamond ring in the jeweller’s store, you may offer to buy her it.
You say: “I’ll buy you it?”
We can also use ‘shall’ in the question when making offers.
Shall I carry that bag for you?
Will I carry that bag for you?
It is also used for refusal in the negative
Wife to husband: “She won’t do her homework”. (That is, their daughter)
This means that she totally refuses.
In some languages the present simple is used for refusal.
As you can see there are several differences in the use of ‘will + infinite.’
I wouldn’t advise you to go crazy trying to remember them all. Just read graded readers for
students learning English. The more you see ‘will + infinitive’ used in different contexts, the
more you will begin to use it naturally. Read, read and read. Read newspaper articles on the
internet and see how many times you see this tense being used. Try to understand how it is
TO BE GOING TO + INFINITIVE
When we use ‘to be going to + infinite’ we are expressing something we intend to do.
Something we already know we want to do.
Some languages express this by using ‘want’.
English speaking children always use it when they speak about what they want to be when
they grow up.
When I grow up, I’m going to be a police officer.
In this moment, that is what I intend to be.
I’m going to wash my hair tonight. I have already decided that this is what I want to do
The structure is very similar to the present continuous, only we have the infinitive after
She’s going to make a cake for me tomorrow. This is her planned intention.
We can also use ‘to be going to’ + infinitive when something is sure to happen. We have the
evidence in front of us.
Look at those black clouds. It’s going to rain (we can see this)
Look at that woman’s belly. She’s going to have a baby. (This is evident)
Hurry up! We’re going to be late. (This is also evident)
WILL VERSUS GOING TO
To be going to + infinitive and ‘will + infinitive’ have similar meanings when used for
The weather forecast says that it is going to rain tomorrow.
The weather forecast says that it will rain tomorrow.
The two tenses have separate meanings but overlap when we speak about prediction.
Manchester United is going to win.
Manchester United will win.
When we use verbs such as, think, hope, or expect, it is more common to use ‘will +
I hope she’ll come.
We can also say: ‘I hope she’s going to come’.
COMMON ERRORS WHEN USING ‘WILL’
I will go on holiday tomorrow.
I am going on holiday tomorrow.
Many learners of English as a second language overuse ‘will’. Normally if someone goes on
holiday tomorrow, it is already planned. We use the ‘present continuous’ for a future
arrangement. In chapter 1.3 we looked at the ‘present continuous’ used to express an action
in progress at the moment of speaking.
We also use the ‘present continuous’ to express ‘future arrangements’. That is, arrangements
which have already been made; usually ‘human arrangements’. If you are going on holiday
tomorrow, it is implied that you have booked your flight or your train ticket. To book your
flight you need to make arrangements beforehand with the airline company. You may also
have booked a room in a hotel.
I am staying in the Ritz (this could mean now, or the future, when you arrive at your
I am flying to London next week. (Already arranged with the flight company)
She’s coming to visit me at Christmas. (You have both arranged this - arranged = organised
to do something or go somewhere)
We aren’t having lunch tomorrow with my parents. (Here the arrangement is to not have
lunch with them)
We cannot use the present continuous as follows:
I’m reading a book tomorrow.
I’m sleeping tomorrow.
There is no arrangement here. If there is no arrangement (with other human beings) and it is
your intention to do something, then we use ‘to be going to + infinitive’
I’m going to read a book tomorrow.
I’m going to sleep tomorrow.
He isn’t going to write.
The most common verbs used with the present continuous for a future arrangement are: meet
- play - come - go -see - fly -stay -have
I’m having a party on Saturday. (I’ve invited all the guests so it is already arranged)
I’m seeing the dentist tomorrow. (I’ve made an appointment so it is already arranged)
This tense is referred to as the ‘diary tense’. This is because usually it refers to things we
have already programmed so are written in our diaries.
Take a look at the diary below.
I’m seeing the dentist on Monday morning.
I’m having lunch with Michaela at 12.
On Tuesday at 10 am I am attending a meeting.
In the afternoon I am playing tennis.
THE FUTURE CONTINUOUS
The future continuous is used in three different ways.
To say that something will be in progress from a certain moment in the future.
To predict that something will be in progress at a certain moment in the future.
To predict that something will be in progress in this moment.
A. The captain on the aeroplane. “This is your captain speaking; the plane will be landing in
ten minutes time”. This means that it will begin to land progressively starting from ten
minutes from now.
B. In the department store. “Will customers please make their way to the cash desk as the
store will be closing in five minutes”. This means that in five minutes time, the store will
begin to close.
C. A letter from a friend. “Dear Jill, I have my flight ticket. I will be arriving in Milan on
Saturday. In this example, your friend Jill sees the future beginning from Saturday. She sees
the future starting from that moment. She can also say, “I’m arriving on Saturday”, but this
means that she sees the future from this moment and not from Saturday.
A. “Don’t phone Paul between 7 and 8 pm tonight. He’ll be having dinner”. We predict that
this will be in progress between these two times.
B. By the year 2025, people will be marrying less than ever before. This is also a future
prediction. We predict this to be in progress at a certain point in the future.
C. By the time we arrive home, they’ll be sleeping. Again we predict this action to be in
progress at that future point when we arrive home; we have reason to believe this.
A. “Don’t phone John now, he’ll be sleeping”. We predict this to be in progress now.
Let’s compare the present continuous tense for this moment with the future continuous tense
for this moment.
“Don’t phone her now, she’s eating”. In this example we know for sure.
“Don’t phone her now, she’ll be eating”. In this example it is a prediction. We believe this to
be the case. Remember, we need to use action verbs with all of the ‘continuous’ tenses.
THE FUTURE PERFECT
Will have + past participle of the verb
We use the future perfect to say that something will be completed by a certain moment in the
I came to London in June 2010
It is now May 2014
I say: “When it gets to June, I will have been in London for four years”.
You married your wife 10 years ago in the month of February.
It is now the month of January 10 years later.
You say: “It’s impossible to believe that by next month we will have been married for 10
We also used the future perfect for a present prediction of something we believe happened in
You are reading an instruction manual for your new computer. You are now reading page 24.
“You will have seen on page 18 how to set up the computer” This is a present prediction of
something that is believed to have happened in the past.
Your mother had a dental appointment at 10.30. It is now 11.30. You say to your father.
She’ll have left the dentist’s by now.
FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS
This is used similarly to the future perfect but can only be used with action verbs, that is,
verbs which can be in progress.
‘Will have been + gerund’
It is used for completed future facts.
You moved into your present house twenty years ago at Christmas.
It is almost Christmas now, twenty years later.
“We will have been living in this house for twenty years by Christmas”.
You arranged to meet your friend at 10 o’clock. It is now 11 o’clock.
You are very late. You say: By the time I get there, she’ll have been waiting for over an hour.
She said me she was late for the appointment yesterday.
She told me she was late for the appointment yesterday.
She said she was late for the appointment yesterday.
When we tell other people what someone else told us, we use what is called ‘reported
The most common ‘reporting verbs’ are say and tell: When we use ‘tell’ we need the direct
He told me - you - him - her - it - us - them.
We can change the direct object and use a person’s name.
‘He told Mark’ or he told him, but never both.
Although the basic grammar rule is to go back a tense when you report to another person
what someone says to you, in standard English it is common to keep the present simple the
present simple for a fact that is still true, the past simple the past simple and the past
continuous the past continuous.
Present simple tense: Direct speech: I live in Germany.
Reported Speech: He said he lives in Germany (still true)
He said he lived in Germany or he told me he lives/ lived.
Past simple tense: Direct speech: ‘I went to the supermarket this morning.
Reported speech: With the past tense, most people leave the verb in the past:
She said she went to the supermarket this morning, although the general rule is to move it
back a tense to the past perfect tense. She said she had been to the supermarket this morning
or she told me she had been to the supermarket this morning IS THE GENERAL RULE
although not used as much in spoken English as it is indeed quite clumsy.
Present continuous: Direct speech: I am writing a letter to my friend.
If she is writing the letter at the exact moment you report to another person, we must say:
She said she is writing a letter to her friend. (NOW)
She said she was writing a letter to her friend. (IN THAT MOMENT IN THE PAST)
She told me she is writing a letter or she told me she was writing a letter.
Past continuous: Direct speech. I was sleeping when you called.
Reported speech: She said she was sleeping when you called, is more frequently used than
she said she had been sleeping. Grammar Rules are Grammar rules but in real life things are
Present perfect: Direct speech. I’ve been to Paris four times.
Reported Speech: She said she has been to Paris four times or the general rule she had been
to Paris four times (before she met Tom) This is more natural.
She told them she has been/ had been to Paris four times.
Past perfect: Direct speech. When I switched on the TV, the film had ended.
Reported speech remains the same. There is no going back a tense as there is no other tense
beyond the past perfect.
He said the film had ended when he switched on the TV.
He told me the film had ended when he switched on the TV.
Past perfect continuous: Direct speech: When she finally arrived, I had been waiting for
over two hours.
Reported speech remains the same as there is no tense beyond the past perfect continuous.
He said he had been waiting for over two hours when she finally arrived or he told me he
had been waiting for over two hours when she finally arrived.
Future simple tense: Direct speech: I will call you tomorrow.
Reported speech - ‘will’ goes back a tense and becomes ‘would’. He said he would call me
tomorrow or he told me he would call me tomorrow.
‘Can’: Direct speech: I can swim.
Reported speech: - ‘can’ moves back a tense and becomes ‘could’. She said she could swim
or she told me she could swim.
‘Must’: Direct speech: I must go.
Reported speech - she said she had to go or she told me she had to go. ‘Must’ takes the same
past tense as ‘have to’.
If we use the modal auxiliary verbs - should, would, could, may and might, then direct
speech and reported speech are the same.
Direct speech: You should take an aspirin.
Reported speech: She said I should take an aspirin. She told me I should take an aspirin.
Direct speech: I would phone him if I had his number.
Reported speech: She said she would phone him if had his number. She told me she would
phone him if she had his number.
Direct speech: I could stay another day if you want.
Reported speech: She said she could stay another day if I wanted or she told me she could
stay another day if I wanted.
Direct speech: I might/may be late.
Reported speech: She said she might/may be late or she told me she might/may be late.
I told you to don’t do it.
I told you not to do it.
He said to not speak.
He said I wasn’t to speak.
Here is another example of a ‘reporting error’. Often students use ‘do not’ when they want to
use a negative after a reporting verb.
Here are some examples of ‘tell’ and ‘say’ in the negative, when they are used as reporting
Direct speech: Don’t go. (Imperative)
Reported speech: I told him not to go or he said I wasn’t to go.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT OBJECT ERRORS
Paul gave to Mary a present.
Paul gave Mary a present.
Paul gave a present to Mary.
There are some verbs in English which take two objects: The direct object and the indirect
object. These are known as transitive verbs. The direct object relates to the verb, and the
indirect object relates to the person who receives or benefits from the action as a result.
The most common ones are:
Give something to someone. Give someone (something).
He gave Mary a pen.
He gave a pen to Mary.
Some examples of transitive verbs are as follows:
She teaches the students mathematics.
She teaches mathematics to the students.
He offered to give Jill a lift to the station.
He offered Jilly a lift to the station.
He asked me to help him.
Note: When no direct object follows a verb, the verb is intransitive.
The dog slept.
Note: Some action verbs can be both transitive and intransitive. It depends on what follows
She eats before going to work. (No direct object - intransitive)
She eats bread and cheese before going to work. (Direct object-bread and cheese) transitive.
P REPOSITION ERRORS
I went in London last year.
I went to London last year.
This preposition error is common among ‘Non native’ speakers of English. When we use a
‘motion’ verb, we use the preposition of movement ‘to’. It is correct to say: ‘I went to
London last year’. The only exception to the rule in English is ‘go home’, otherwise we need
Walk to school
Run to the shops
Move to the left
Turn to the right
Swim to the shore
Drive to the country
Cycle to work
These are some examples of ‘motion’ verbs. The preposition of movement ‘to’ expresses
going from A to B. That is, from the departure point to the destination.
Of course we can use other prepositions of movement depending on what we wish to say.
Walk across the road
Run along the road
Cycle round the park
Drive over the bridge
Swim up and down the pool
I arrived to the airport late.
I arrived at the airport late.
Remember, we use ‘to’ with ‘motion’ verbs. ‘Arrive’ is a ‘static’ verb so we need to use the
preposition ‘at’, which indicates no movements.
Another example is with the verb ‘be’, which is another ‘static’ verb, and also ‘stay’.
I was to the cinema last night.
I was at the cinema last night.
I stayed to home last night.
I stayed at home last night.
Of course we can also use other prepositions with static verbs, again, depending on what we
I stayed in bed yesterday because I didn’t feel very well.
his is the key of my room.
This is the key to my room.
I saw it on the newspaper.
I read it in the newspaper.
I saw it in the TV.
I saw it on the TV.
I listened the radio last night
I listened to the radio last night.
I have one question for you.
I have a question to ask you.
I’ll explain you the problem.
I’ll explain the problem to you.
You explain (something) to (someone). This is another transitive verb which takes both a
direct and indirect object. The prepositions in English are a nightmare for learners of the
language. The only way to familiarise yourself with them is to have as much exposure to the
English language as you possibly can.
I’ll answer to the phone.
I’ll answer the phone.
I asked to him to buy some bread.
I asked him to buy some bread.
We do not use ‘to’ after the verbs ‘ask’ and ‘answer’.
Variations with ‘ask’.
We can also use ‘for’ after ‘ask’ but only if we are using a noun as opposed to a verb.
They asked me for a lift. (‘for’ + noun)
They asked me to give them a lift.
*a lift = to accompany someone to a place in your car.
He answered my email right away.
The doorbell rang and they answered the door.
I will do my homework during the weekend.
I will do my homework at the weekend.
I will do my homework over the weekend.
It is extremely uncommon to hear a native speaker say ‘during’ the weekend.
The Nile is the longest river of the world.
The Nile is the longest river in the world.
A common mistake is to use ‘of’ instead of ‘in’. We speak about countries and things in the
world, not of the world.
We had a lot of difficulty to learn English.
We had a lot of difficulty in learning English.
We say, ‘to have difficulty in + gerund’. It is essential to remember that when a verb is
followed by a preposition, the verb becomes the gerund.
I’ll wait you.
I’ll wait for you.
As opposed to some other languages, we use ‘wait for’ (something) or (someone). More
Wait for me. I’ll be back.
We waited half an hour for the bus.
She is going to marry with a lawyer.
She is going to marry a lawyer.
Tell me of your holiday.
Tell me about your holiday.
There’s two people in the room.
There are two people in the room
My brother is good in English.
My brother is good at English.
We use ‘to be good at’ (something) and ‘to be bad at’ (something).
Remember! Whenever there is a verb + preposition, the verb takes the gerund.
My brother is good at speaking English.
It depends from what he wants.
It depends on what he wants.
VERBS WITH MORE THAN ONE P REPOSITION
Both are possible but the meaning changes. When you ‘shout to’ someone, you raise your
voice as you call them to attract his/her attention.
If, on the other hand, you ‘shout at’ someone, you raise your voice because you are angry
If you throw something to someone, such as a ball, you intend for them to catch it.
She threw the ball to the dog. He caught it and ran away with it.
If you throw something at someone, you want to hit them with it. This could be because you
are angry with them, or maybe you do it with playful intentions.
She was so angry with her husband that she threw a plate at him. Luckily it missed him. (It
didn’t hit him).
He waved at me = he was saying hello or goodbye.
He waved to me = he was trying to attract my attention.
We can also say, ‘he waved goodbye’ without a preposition.
You can point ‘to’ or ‘at’ a person. You can also point ‘to’ or ‘at’ an object.
If I ‘point to’, I am indicating the location.
Look at the stars she said, pointing to the sky (in the direction of the sky)
If I ‘point at’ someone, it could be seen as rude and often accusatory.
You’re the one who stole my bag. She shouted, pointing at the thief. (he was directly in front
The thief ran away and she pointed to him to indicate him to the police officer who was
passing by in that moment. (Indicating the direction)
If you are arguing with someone, they may point their finger at you in anger whilst they are
shouting at you. (They are directly in front of you.
He pointed a gun at her head and said, ‘don’t move or I’ll shoot’.
If he pointed a gun to her head, it would be in the direction and not almost touching. (Similar
He pointed at his watch and said ‘I must go, it’s very late’.
WRONG VERB USAGE
I lost the bus.
I missed the bus.
I lost the bus, grammatically is not wrong. It is the usage that is wrong. If you have a toy bus
in your pocket, then it is possible to lose it.
Here the intended meaning is that you arrived too late and the bus had already gone. You
didn’t manage to get on it. We use ‘miss’ when you arrive too late. Look at the two sentences
below. Both are correct but the meaning changes.
I missed the football match.
I lost the football match.
In the first example, you arrived too late.
In the second example, you were one of the players and you lost the game. That is, you did
The verb ‘miss’ has another meaning as well. You can miss a person. That is, when you feel
the absence of that person.
I really missed you when I was on holiday.
Did you miss me? (Did you feel my absence?)
WRONG ADJECTIVE/ADVERB USAGE
Have you heard the last news?
Have you heard the latest news?
The ‘last news’ means ‘the final one’ but we need to add ‘which’ last news, (the last news
on TV is at midnight), otherwise it is a hanging sentence. A hanging sentence means an
incomplete sentence or phrase.
The ‘latest’ means the ‘most recent’.
He bought the latest mobile phone (the most recent on the market)
He bought the last mobile phone (The last one in the shop, there was only one left)
I have an important problem to solve.
I have a serious problem to solve.
We do not use the adjective ‘important’ to describe a problem.
He arrived soon.
He arrived early.
Many students get confused between ‘soon’ and ‘early’.
Early is an adjective. It is the opposite of ‘late’.
Soon, on the other hand, is an adverb of time.
When we say ‘I arrived early’, it means before the expected/due time. We use ‘soon’ for a
future time frame. It isn’t used in the past.
If we say, I will see you soon, it means ‘in a short time’, (the near future)
VERBS OF FEELING
I like watch
I like to watch
I like watching
There are some verbs in English which cause some confusion. Take for example ‘like +
gerund’, or ‘like + infinitive’. Both are possible but there is a subtle shift in meaning. If you
say ‘I like cleaning’, this means that ‘cleaning’ makes you happy. If, on the other hand, we
say ‘I like to clean’, we specify ‘when’. I like to clean on Saturday mornings’. This does not
mean that cleaning makes you happy. It just means that for you it is a good idea to clean on
Saturday morning, and then you are free for the rest of the day or weekend. Another example:
‘I like reading’ = ‘reading gives me pleasure’. ‘I like to read before going to sleep’ =
reading is relaxing for me in this moment. The same rule applies to the verb ‘love’. ‘I love
shopping’ (in general) or ‘I love to shop’ when I have money. As you can see, there is a
difference in meaning.
Another verb which has the same rule is ‘hate’. ‘I hate working’ = the action of working
makes me very unhappy. ‘I hate to work’ when I am tired’ = only when I am tired. These
verbs are known as ‘verbs of feelings’ in English.
I enjoy to play tennis.
I enjoy playing tennis.
Note: With ‘enjoy’ or ‘don’t mind’ (other verbs of feeling) we can only use the gerund.
Negative on the wrong verb
I think she doesn’t believe me.
I don’t think she believes me.
In English we put the negative on the main verb. That is, the verb closest to the subject.
Wrong position of ‘again’
I sent again my CV.
I sent my CV again.
Double negative error
I didn’t do nothing.
I didn’t do anything.
This error is common among both ‘native’ and ‘non native’ speakers of English. Two
negatives make a positive, so if we say, ‘I didn’t do nothing’, it means the opposite to what
is intended, that is, ‘I did everything.’
Mother tongue interference error
I forgot my book at home.
I forgot to bring my book.
I left my book at home.
The actual crisis is due to inflation
The current crisis is due to inflation
Actual is a false friend. That is a word which looks similar to words in other languages but
has a different meaning. ‘Actual’ means ‘true’. ‘current’ means ‘present, now’.
We had a bath in the hotel pool
We had a swim in the hotel pool
When you have a bath, you wash yourself in the bath at home in the bathroom. You can either
have a bath or have a shower.
Wrong verb error
Did you attend college?
Did you go to college/school/university?
We use ‘attend’ for a course.
The gym’s members are 120.
There are 120 members in the gym
The gym has 120 members.
To smoke is bad for your health.
Smoking is bad for your health.
When the subject is a verb, we use the gerund.
My parents stay well together.
My parents get on well.
When people have a good relationship, we say ‘they get on’ or ‘they get on well’. The
adverb ‘well’ adds emphasis, meaning ‘they have a very good relationship’.
This is one of many ‘phrasal verbs’ which cannot be translated literally.
It is so nice a house.
That house is so nice.
We use ‘so’ before an adjective
We use ‘such a’ before a noun or before an adjective + noun.
My room is such a mess.
This means that my room is terribly untidy.
She is such a sweetie.
This means she is a very sweet person.
It was so hot today that we had to stay indoors.
This means it was very hot.
It was such a hot day today that we stayed indoors.
This means that it was a really hot day.
I and my sister.
My sister and me.
My sister and I.
Me and my sister.
When we speak about ourselves first, we use ‘I’. When we speak about ourselves after we
speak about another person we use the object pronoun ‘me’.
WRONG USAGE OF ‘SPEND’
He has spent two hours to fix his car.
He has spent two hours fixing his car
When we use ‘spend time’ + another verb, the verb that follows is the gerund.
Spend time doing something.
I spend a lot of time reading.
Spend money on something.
He spends a lot of money on his car.
Other wrong usages of the verb ‘spend’ are as follows:
I spent 100 euro for my phone.
My phone cost (me) 100 euro.
I spent an hour to get to work this morning.
It took me an hour to get to work this morning.
It takes me 10 minutes to get dressed.
It takes you a long time to wake up.
It takes him (my father) a few minutes to have breakfast.
It takes her (my mother) 20 minutes to walk to work.
It takes it (the cat) two seconds to climb the tree.
It takes us (me and my flatmate) half an hour to clean the kitchen.
It takes them (the children) ages to finish their homework.
This is the most common way to speak about the amount of time you employ doing
There is also a variation:
You took a long time to get here. (Past tense)
He took ages to fix the door.
She takes hours to get ready in the morning.
We took our time because we left too early. (We did not hurry)
They took hours to finish the job.
This is not so common when using the future tense:
It is more common to say:
It’ll take us ages to get to the airport so it’s best if we leave early.
Here we use ‘will + infinitive’ because we predict this, maybe because we live very far
from the airport or maybe because we think there will be a lot of traffic.
NON PERSONALIZED USAGE
It takes 2 hours to get from Rome to London by plane.
It takes 6 hours to get from London to Glasgow by train.
It takes about an hour to get to the city centre by bus.
This is when the time is pre-established by some kind of program.
Notice we do not use the direct object anymore. This is general and not personalized.
Someone else is in control of the time employed.
The shelf was too high so I couldn’t arrive to it.
The shelf was too high so I couldn’t reach it.
You can never use the preposition ‘to’ with arrive since it is not a motion verb.
In the correct example above, ‘reach’ implies extending with some effort to get to something.
You stretch out your arm to try to get to the shelf.
There is confusion between whether to use ‘arrive’ or ‘reach’.
You can arrive at a destination and you can reach a destination.
In the example above they have the same basic meaning, that is, ‘to get to’.
However, ‘reach’ implies that there was some kind of effort made to get to the destination
whereas ‘arrive’ implies no effort being made.
There is also the fact that ‘reach’ is transitive when referring to a destination and therefore
always requires a ‘direct object’.
The boys arrived. (Intransitive)
The boys reached (what or where) the station, the top of the mountain. (Transitive)
Reach is used in many idioms and metaphors.
Reach a conclusion
Reach a verdict
Reach an agreement
Reach a decision
Reach boiling point = when you can no longer control your emotions because you are so
Reach a goal in life = after an effort was made, you finally got there. You achieved what you
wanted to achieve.
INFINITIVE OR GERUND
Many non native speakers continue to get confused as to whether or not they should use the
gerund or the infinitive after certain verbs.
Here is a list of the most common verbs we use with the infinitive when another verb
Verb + infinitive
Agree to go
Appear to go
Attempt to do (something)
Choose to go
Decide to go
Desire to go
Expect to go
Force (someone) to do (something)
Hope to go
Manage to go
Need to go
Plan to go
Refuse to go
Seem to go
Want to go
Would like to go
Wish to go
Verb + gerund
Verbs of feeling (as mentioned earlier)
Enjoy going (See chapter 12.3)
Mind going - in the pub (Do you mind watching my seat for me while I go to the bathroom) =
I hope this is not a problem for you.
I don’t mind cleaning = for me it is not a problem. .
Fancy going (Do you fancy going to a party at the weekend = are you in the mood to go or do
you desire to go)
Feel like going (I don’t feel like going = I don’t have the desire to go, I’m not in the mood to
go) I don’t feel like going to work tomorrow. I’m really tired.
I can’t stand going to work (I strongly dislike)
Verbs which take the gerund and the infinitive
Prefer - I prefer going out at weekends to staying at home. I prefer to go out at weekends.
Start - I’ve started to go to the gym twice a week or I’ve started going. (Same meaning)
Miss - I really miss having a car. (I don’t have a car now and I feel the absence of it
With the verbs ‘remember, forget, try and stop, we can use both the infinitive and the gerund
but the meaning changes.
Here are some examples in context to enable you to see the meaning clearly. Out of context
the meanings cannot be grasped.
I remembered to close the window = I didn’t forget
Remember + gerund (To recall in your mind)
Person A: You left the window open when you went out.
Person B: No I didn’t. I remember closing it. (This I clearly recall)
Boy to mother: That film on TV is a repeat. I remember seeing it a few months ago.
Mother to son: Yes, I remember seeing it as well. They are always putting repeats on TV
these days. Turn it over and see what’s on the other channel.
Husband to wife: Did you remember to iron my shirt? I need it to wear to work tomorrow.
Wife to husband: Oh sorry, I forgot to iron it. I’ll iron it after dinner.
I always remember to send birthday cards to my friends every year. (I never forget)
I forgot to close the window = (I didn’t remember ... this didn’t happen)
I forget closing the window = (I don’t remember this fact even though it happened)
Person A: I’ve been trying to call you all day but the line has always been engaged. (Attempt
to do something)
Person B: Try phoning me on the landline the next time. I sometimes switch my mobile phone
off when I’m working. (Try + gerund = the solution to the problem)
Patient to doctor: I’ve been having terrible headaches recently. They come and go all the
Doctor to patient: Try taking a pain reliever the next time and lie down in a dark room. (The
solution to the problem)
Patient to doctor: I can’t seem to get to sleep at night.
Doctor to patient: Have you tried counting sheep? (Solution to problem)
I stopped drinking = (I don’t drink anymore)
I stopped to drink = (I interrupted what I was doing to drink something)
Pay attention to the negatives
Ask (someone) to do (something) He asked me to help him.
Tell (someone) to do (something) He told me not to answer the phone.
Demand to go - He demanded to speak to the manager.
Offer to go - He offered to take me to the airport.
Persuade (someone) to do (something) He persuaded me to marry him.
She persuaded him not to go to the football match and to stay at home with her.
Promise (someone) to do (something) He promised to buy me a diamond ring.
Promise to do (something) for (someone) He promised to help me clean the windows.
Teach (someone) to do (something) He taught me (how) to speak English well.
Threaten to do (something) He threatened to report me to the police if I didn’t give him back
the money I had stolen from him.
Reported Verbs which take the gerund
Admit doing (something) He admitting cheating in the exam.
Avoid doing (something) He always tries to avoid doing his homework.
Consider doing (something) He is considering moving to London.
Delay doing (something). He delayed paying his phone bill.
Deny doing (something) He denied stealing the money.
Detest doing = to strongly dislike. She detests living in that horrible area.
Imagine doing (something). Imagine winning the lottery. It would be great.
Insist on doing (something) He insisted on giving me a lift to the station so I accepted. At
least I didn’t have to go up to the bus stop and wait for the bus.
Keep doing = continue - Keep talking (don’t stop)
Mention doing - She mentioned meeting him for a coffee.
Practice doing - She practices speaking English whenever she gets the chance.
Recommend doing - I recommend going to mountains in the summer. It really is too hot to
stay in Rome.
Resist doing - She resisted eating the whole bar of chocolate.
Suggest doing - They suggested staying at that five star hotel.
Verbs which take the infinitive without ‘to’
Let (someone) go
Please let me go to the party mum, said the girl. = Please give me the permission.
Make (someone) go Force someone to do something or go somewhere
My mother makes me study
Verbs of the senses take the infinitive without ‘to’ + the gerund with a slight difference in
He heard me shout
He heard me shouting
I saw her stand by the fire
I saw her standing by the fire
I felt him touch my arm
I felt him touching my arm
With the gerund the action is prolonged.
I heard the dog bark. Woof
I heard the dog barking. Woof, woof, woof, woof !!!
I heard the man scream for help. Help !!!
I heard the man screaming for help, Help, help, helpppp !!!
I saw him shoot. Bang.
I saw him shooting. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Below you will see a list of the most common connectors.
Sentence Connectors are a great way of improving your English. Why? Because we use them
to express relationships between ideas and to combine sentences.
When we begin learning a language, we speak in very basic sentences, a bit like children.
Example: “It was raining. I took an umbrella.”
As we learn more words and more complex sentence structures, we are able to start using
sentence connectors to make more sophisticated sentences.
It was raining so I took an umbrella.
I took an umbrella because it was raining.
It was raining. I didn’t take an umbrella
Although it was raining, I didn’t take an umbrella.
Even though it was raining, I didn’t take an umbrella.
In spite of it raining, I didn’t take an umbrella.
In spite of the fact it was raining, I didn’t take an umbrella.
The English language school offers discounted English language courses. There’s also a
library where you can study and borrow books.
The word also comes before the verb. If the verb is a form of to be, also is placed after the verb.
The English language school offers discounted English language courses. Moreover, there’s
a library where you can study and borrow books.
The English language school offers discounted courses in English. Additionally, there’s a
library where you can study and borrow books.
The English language school offers discounted English language courses. In addition, there’s
a library where you can study and borrow books.
The English language school offers discounted English language courses. Furthermore,
there’s a library where you can study and borrow books.
The English language school offers discounted English language courses. What’s more,
there’s a library where you can study and borrow books.
You can use my car provided that you are careful not to crash it.
She looks after her dog as though it were a baby.
AS IF (THE SAME AS “AS THOUGH”)
I didn’t go out this week so that I could study.
AS WELL AS
As well as French, I can speak Russian
NOT ONLY ... BUT ... ALSO
Not only can I speak French, but I can also speak Russian
My new flat is really nice. However, it is very expensive.
House prices have gone up this year. In contrast, car prices have gone down
I was so tired after working all day. Nevertheless, I still went out with my friends as usual.
I spent all week in bed ill. Nonetheless, I’m still alive.
I've told my son time and time again not to leave the kitchen in such a mess yet he still keeps
ON THE OTHER HAND
Italy is such a beautiful country and the people are very nice. On the other hand, the tax
system is so complicated.
Living in the country is so peaceful. By comparison, life in the city is chaotic.
ON THE CONTRARY
I don’t hate living in the city. On the contrary, I am happy to be in the midst of the confusion.
I don't think I will have any pasta tonight. I'll have some rice instead.
John is such a calm person, whereas his brother is so aggressive.
AS A RESULT
I’ve been working a lot lately. As a result, I’ve been able to buy that new car I’ve always
AS A CONSEQUENCE
She didn’t study at all this year. As a consequence, she’s failed all her exams
There’s going to be a terrible storm tonight, therefore it is best to stay at home and keep all
your windows closed.
Remember to start using them, it will greatly increase your conversation skills and you will
feel more confident when talking to a native speaker.
TERMS OF CONFUSION
The following words and expressions cause a lot of confusion. When used in the spoken
language we understand them by the context. However it is important to know how to use
them in the written language.
How much is it going to cost to renovate the house? Well, we have to pay the electrician, the
plumber, the builder and the floor layer so altogether I think it will cost in the region of
£30,000. = all in all, the total, complete/completely.
Altogether there are three people working on the project at the moment. = in total.
My family meet once a year at Christmas time. It is the only time of year when we are all
The team are all working together on the new project or they are working all together.
Already = before now
I’ve already been to London so this year I would like to visit another European capital.
Are we all ready to go out? = are we all prepared.
We use “alright” in the same way as we use “okay”
Mother to son: “You still haven’t tidied your room. You said you would do it today”.
Son to mother: “Alright, I’ll go and tidy it now”.
Son to mother: “Is it alright if I invite some friends round to watch the football tomorrow
Mother to son: “Alright, as long as you clean your room”.
This can be used as an alternative to “alright”, but “all right” also has another use.
It also means “ALL is RIGHT = EVERYTHING is RIGHT
“How are you?” “I’m alright”. I’m okay.
“Did the teacher mark your homework?” Yes, my answers were all right = none of them
were wrong. I got full marks.
The mountain rescue team worked hard all night in their search for the missing skiers. When
they found them they were all right = all of them were safe and unharmed.
We use “between” when we speak about two people or two things. “Among” is used for
more than two people or two things or for groups of people or things.
There are two pens on the table. “Which one would you like?” You can choose between the
two of them. You can have either the blue one or the black one.
My husband has another woman. He’s going to have to choose between me and her.
I spotted my neighbour among the crowd at the football match.
Boy to mother: “I can’t find my jeans. Have you seen them anywhere?”
Mother to boy: “You’ll find them among the dirty washing in the laundry bin.
Although they have the same pronunciation, they have different meanings.
You are not allowed to wear short skirts inside the Vatican. (This is an obligation)
She spoke aloud and woke the baby (In a raised voice)
EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION
There are many ways to express your opinion in English. Below I have included several of
In my opinion .....
In my view .....
In my experience .....
From my point of view .....
As I see it .....
Personally I believe .....
Personally I think .....
As far as I’m concerned .....
As far as I know .....
As far as I understand .....
As far as I can see .....
I tend to think that .....
I might/may be wrong but .....
I’d say that.....
I’d suggest that .....
If I’m not mistaken .....
I could be wrong but .....
What I mean is .....
I’m of mixed opinions .....
I have no opinion on the matter .....
Phrasal verbs are made up of verb + prep/particle. Some phrasal verbs have a particle and a
preposition. These are known as multi word verbs. One example is:
Slow down please. You’re going too fast. I can’t keep up with you.
Verb –keep +particle up + preposition with.
The plane took off an hour late. ('off' changes the meaning of the verb but is not linking
words or expressing direction, location, time or possession, which it would if it were acting
as a preposition. That is why words like this are referred to as particles in phrasal verbs.)
The particle is similar to a preposition but it is used more like an adverb and gives more
meaning to the verb. It usually comes after the main verb.
Some of the most common particles are:
on, off, in, into, out, up, down, away, back, through, over, etc. As you can see they resemble
the preposition. In fact they are identical to look at.
An example of a preposition and a particle.
I took the documents up to the order department.
Here I am using the verb ‘take’ and the ‘preposition ‘up’. Up implies movement. I went up to
the order department on a floor above the one where I work. This is the literal meaning of
My large table takes up too much room. I need to buy a smaller one. This is a phrasal verb
and ‘up’ is known as the particle as it adds a different meaning to what the preposition
If I am holding my cat. I can put it down. ‘Put + preposition as I make a movement to put the
cat down on the floor. This is the literal meaning of ‘Put down’. There are many other
hidden idiomatic meanings in phrasal verbs. If the vet puts my cat down – he gives it an
injection and it never wakes up again. Vets put animals down when they are too sick to
Now do the following exercises and test your knowledge. The answers are at the end of each
exercise. Most of the phrasal verbs used with the verb «BE». are inseparable.
The following phrasal verbs must be used with the verb «BE».
1. Hi Johnny, what a coincidence you phoning me. I was just ........ ........ call you. [An
intention to do something in the immediate future]
There is one preposition that fits the following sentences .2/4
2 The police are ........ a man who robbed a bank yesterday in Suffolk. [Searching for]
3 She keeps following me everywhere I’m sure she is ........ me. [To be attracted to a person
of the opposite sex. You desire to be their boyfriend or girlfriend].
4 He is being so nice to me these days. He’s definitely ........something. [To want something
The same preposition applies to sentences 5/7
5 After months of dieting I am now ........ ........ 8 stone. That’s 3 stone I’ve lost in weight.
[7stone] (my weight is down)
6 I am ........ ........ my last cigarette. I’m going out to get some more. I won’t be long. (I’ve
only got one left)
7 I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis although I keep fit and eat healthily. I guess it's
all ........ ........ genetics and childhood diet. (It all depends on)
8 I can’t go to work today because I am ........ ........ flu and fever. (I have flu and fever)
9 On the phone: “Can I speak to Molly please?” “I’m afraid she’s not ......... Who’s
calling?” (She isn’t at home)
10 Person A: I wasn’t ........ last night. I went to the cinema with a friend. (I wasn’t at
11 I’m really ........ the colour purple these days. I have a purple bag, purple shoes, a
purple jacket and I’ve painted my room purple. (I like it very much)
There is one preposition that fits the following three examples:
12 The worst is ........ he said. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief. (Ended/finished)
13 Every time I see Paul and Kate they are all ........ each other. It’s very embarrassing to be
in their company. (When two people, boyfriend and girlfriend continuously hug, touch and
kiss each other)
14 It is all ........ between us, he told his girlfriend as she sat on the sofa crying. Then, to
make matters worse, he told her he didn’t love her anymore and that he had found a new
There are two prepositions, which are the same for sentences 15/17
15 Sorry but the canteen is ........ ........ coffee at the moment. “Would you like a cup of tea
instead?” (There is no coffee left – it is finished)
16 Customer to shop assistant at the sales: “have you got these shoes in size 39?” “Sorry
you’re ........ ........ luck. We sold the last pair about an hour ago.”( It is unlucky for you)
17 I got home at 3 o’ clock this morning and my poor mother was ........ ........ her mind with
18/22 require the same preposition
18 My grandfather was high ........ in the Canadian government before he retired.
19 The price of gas is ........ again. (Higher in price)
8.20 Something is ......... I’ve got a strange feeling in my stomach. (Something strange is
21 John’s not ........ yet. He’s still sleeping. (Awake and out of bed)
22 I ’m ........ against a lot of competition these days. (I’m facing)
23 The flat above mine is ........ ........ sale. I wonder how much they are asking for it. (On
the market – more frequently used for buildings and cars)
The same two prepositions are necessary for sentences 24 – up to the first two
prepositions of 29
24 “I’m leaving the planning ........ ........ you” said my boss. (For you to decide)
25 “I am going to see what the children are ........ ........” They’ve been so quiet for the past
twenty minutes. (Implies they may be doing something that is wrong such as devising or
26 “What are you ........ ........?” “Nothing much!. I’m just relaxing on the sofa at the
moment”. (“What are you doing?”)
27 “Is that book you bought good?” “Yes, it isn’t half. It’s great. I’m already ........ ........
Chapter 18.” (Reached)
28 “We’ll have to sack him. He isn’t ........ ........ the job.” (Capable)
29 “What are you ........ ........ on Saturday night? If you’re free you could come to the theatre
with us. “(What are you doing) Great! I’m ........ ........ it. (I will be happy to go)
30 “What’s ........ ........ you today? You’re very quiet?” (“What’s the matter?”)
1. Hi Johnny, what a coincidence you phoning me. I was just about to call you. An
intention to do something in the immediate future] Insep.
2 The police are after a man who robbed a bank yesterday in Suffolk. [Searching for]
3 She keeps following me everywhere I’m sure she is after me. [To be attracted to a
person of the opposite sex. You desire to be their boyfriend or girlfriend]. To be after
(someone) or (something)
4 He is being so nice to me these days. He’s definitely after something. [To want
something from someone] To be after (someone) or (something
5 After months of dieting I am now down to 8 stone. That’s 3 stone I’ve lost in weight.
6 I am down to my last cigarette. I’m going out to get some more but I won’t be long.
7 I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis although I keep fit and eat healthily. I guess
it's all down to genetics and childhood diet. (It all depends on)
8 I can’t go to work today because I am down with flu and fever.
9 On the phone: Can I speak to Molly please? I’m afraid she’s not in. Who’s calling?
(She is not in the house)
10 Person A: I wasn’t in last night. I went to the cinema with a friend.
I’m really into the colour purple these days. I have a purple bag, purple shoes, a
purple jacket and I’ve painted my room purple.(I like it very much)
12 The worst is over he said. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief. (Ended/finished)
13 Every time I see Paul and Kate they are all over each other. It’s very embarrassing to
be in their company. (When two people, boyfriend and girlfriend continuously hug, touch
and kiss each other)
14 It is all over between us, he told his girlfriend as she sat on the sofa crying. Then, to
make matters worse, he told her he didn’t love her anymore and that he had found a new
15 Sorry but the canteen is out of coffee at the moment. Would you like a cup of tea
instead? (There is no coffee left – it is finished)
16 Customer to shop assistant at the sales: “have you got these shoes in size 39?”
“Sorry you’re out of luck. We sold the last pair about an hour ago.”
17 I got home at 3 o’ clock this morning and my poor mother was out of her mind with
18 My grandfather was high up in the Canadian government before he retired.
19 The price of gas is up again. (Higher in price)
20 Something is up. I’ve got a strange feeling in my stomach. (Something strange is
21 John’s not up yet. He’s still sleeping. (Awake and out of bed)
22 I ’m up against a lot of competition these days. (I am facing)
23 The flat above mine is up for sale. I wonder how much they are asking for it. (On the
market – more frequently used for buildings and cars)
“I’m leaving the planning up to you” said my boss. (For you to decide)
25 “I am going to see what the children are up to” They’ve been so quiet for the past
twenty minutes. (Implies they may be doing something that is wrong such as devising or
26 “What are you up to?” “Nothing much!. I’m just relaxing on the sofa at the moment”.
(“What are you doing?”)
27 “Is that book you bought good?” “Yes, it isn’t half. It’s great. I’m already up to
Chapter 18.” (Reached)
28 “We’ll have to sack him. He isn’t up to the job.” (Capable)
29 “What are you up to on Saturday night? If you’re free you could come to the theatre
with us. “(What are you doing) Great! I’m up for it. (I will be happy to go)
30 “What’s up with you today? You’re very quiet?” (“What’s the matter?”)
Phrasal Verbs with “break”
1. My car broke ......... on the motorway today. (Stopped functioning - or something
mechanical or electrical). I had to call a mechanic to come and fix it.
2. She broke ......... when she was told her cat had died. (Become emotionally upset and cry
a lot with sadness).
3. Have you heard the news? Sally and John have broken ......... (End a relationship).
4. Burglars broke ......... my house last night and stole all my jewellery. (Force entry with
intention to steal)
5. The police caught one of the burglars but after a struggle he managed to break.........
(Free himself from someone’s grasp)
6. The burglar was put in prison but he managed to break ......... (Escape by forcefully
breaking a window or door or any other escape routes).
7. Peace talks broke ......... after days of trying to negotiate. (Failure to reach an agreement)
8. The company broke ......... this year. (Complete with no loss or gain).
9. I can’t go to the party tonight. My face has broken ......... ......... spots. I look terrible. (To
appear suddenly from nowhere. Usually marks or spots or a rash on the skin).
10. An epidemic of flu has broken ......... (Begin suddenly)
1. My car broke down on the motorway today. (Stopped functioning - or something
mechanical or electrical). I had to call a mechanic to come and fix it.
2. She broke down. when she was told her cat had died. (Become emotionally upset and
cry a lot with sadness).
3. Have you heard the news? Sally and John have broken up (End a relationship).
4. Burglars broke into my house last night and stole all my jewellery. (Force entry with
intention to steal)
5. The police caught one of the burglars but after a struggle he managed to break away
(Free himself from someone’s grasp)
6. The burglar was put in prison but he managed to break out (Escape by forcefully
breaking a window or door or any other escape routes).
7. Peace talks broke down after days of trying to negotiate. (Failure to reach an
8. The company broke even this year. (Complete with no loss or gain).
9. I can’t go to the party tonight. My face has broken out in spots. I look terrible. (To
appear suddenly from nowhere. Usually marks or spots or a rash on the skin).
10. An epidemic of flu has broken out (Begin suddenly)
Phrasal Verbs with “come”
1. I came .......... that old watch of mine when I was cleaning out the drawers. (Find
2. She comes .......... as a really confident person but when you get to know her, she’s really
quite shy. (Gives the impression by the way she acts).
3. To get to my house you have to come .......... that old bridge. (The literal sense - move
from one end to another)
4. John has been spending a lot lately. He must have come .......... quite a bit of money. (To
acquire, usually by inheritance)
5. Great news! The new business deal has come .......... (To turn out to be successful)
6. I’m finding it difficult to come .......... .......... new ideas. (To produce in the mind)
7. In the process we’ve come .......... .......... several political and legal problems. (Meet
8. I don’t feel very well today. I think I’ve come .......... .......... the flu.( The beginning of an
9. Your father doesn’t want you to have a dog, but give him a day or two and I’m sure he’ll
come .......... (Change your mind and agree to something after a bit of persuasion)
10. I couldn’t remember her name but after a few minutes it came .......... .......... me. (Return
to mind, recall in your memory)
1. I came across that old watch of mine when I was cleaning out the drawers. (Find
2. She comes across as a really confident person but when you get to know her, she’s
really quite shy. (Gives the impression by the way she acts).
3. To get to my house you have to come across that old bridge. (The literal sense, move
from one end to another)
4. John has been spending a lot lately. He must have come into quite a bit of money. (To
acquire, usually by inheritance)
5. Great news! The new business deal has come off (To turn out to be successful)
6. I’m finding it difficult to come up with new ideas. (To produce in the mind)
7. In the process we’ve come up against several political and legal problems. (Meet
8. I don’t feel very well today. I think I’ve come down with the flu. ( The beginning of an
9. Your father doesn’t want you to have a dog, but give him a day or two and I’m sure
he’ll come round (Change your mind and agree to something after a bit of persuasion)
10. I couldn’t remember her name but after a few minutes it came back to me. (Return to
mind, recall in your memory)
Phrasal Verbs with “get”
1. He got .......... the car and drove off. (Enter the car)
2. He parked the car, got .......... of it and locked the door. (Exit the car)
3. When the bus or train arrives, the passengers all get .......... (Enter) and when it reaches
their destination they get .......... (Exit a train, a bus, a lorry or any other large vehicle)
4. I can’t seem to get .......... the death of my cat. I feel sadder as the days go by. (Recover
from an emotional shock or from an illness)
5. I can’t get .......... the way she spoke to me. She has got no manners whatsoever.(To find
something very hard to believe)
6. My husband and I are soul mates. We get .......... like a house on fire. (Have a really good
7. How are you getting .......... in your new job? Great thanks. I really love it. (To manage or
deal with a situation)
8. The police tried to catch the bank robbers but they managed to get .......... (Escape, usually
involving some degree of difficulty)
9. The criminal got .......... .......... the crime. There wasn’t enough evidence to convict him.
Now he is as free as a bird. (To succeed in avoiding punishment)
10. How can I get .......... .......... this mess I am in. (Free yourself from)
11. I still haven’t got .......... .......... fixing the broken shutter. I’m going to have to try to find
the time this weekend. (To do something that you have intended to do for a very long time)
12. What time did you get .......... last night? Really late. The party went on until the early
hours of the morning. (To return to a place where you were previously. Usually your own
13. I want to get rid .......... that old mattress. It is taking up valuable space. (Remove/throw
14. I can’t get .......... .......... Sally. The line has been busy all morning. (Connect by
15. It is difficult to get .......... .......... him. He never listens to a word you say. (Make
16. After winning the semi finals, we managed to get .......... .......... the finals. It was really
hard work but worth the effort. (To go forward to the next stage after successfully completing
the previous stage)
1. He got in the car and drove off.
2. He parked the car, got out of it and locked the door.
3. When the bus or train arrives, the passengers all get on and when it reaches their
destination they get off.
4. I can’t seem to get over the death of my cat. I feel sadder as the days go by.
5. I can’t get over the way she spoke to me. She has got no manners whatsoever.
6. My husband and I are soul mates. We get on like a house on fire.
7. How are you getting on in your new job? Great thanks. I really love it.
8. The police tried to catch the bank robbers but they managed to get away.
9. The criminal got away with the crime. There wasn’t enough evidence to convict him.
Now he is as free as a bird.
10. How can I get out of this mess I am in.
11. I still haven’t got around to fixing the broken shutter. I’m going to have to try to find
the time this weekend.
12. What time did you get back last night? Really late. The party went on until the early
hours of the morning.
13. I want to get rid of that old mattress. It is taking up valuable space.
14. I can’t get through to Sally. The line has been busy all morning.
15. It is difficult to get through to him. He never listens to a word you say.
16. After winning the semi finals, we managed to get through to the finals. It was really
hard work but worth the effort.
Phrasal Verbs with “Give”
1. He’s a generous man. He gives …….. half of his salary to charity.
2. In Britain and other countries, it is the custom for the father of the bride to give his
daughter …….. upon reaching the altar. (Present the bride to the groom)
3. Can you give me …….. that book I lent you? (Return something to someone)
4. Person A: Guess how much money I made this month? Person B: 1000 dollars? Person A:
No, try again. Person B: 1500 dollars? Person A: No. Person B: 2000 dollars?
Person A: No, do you give .…….. ? Person B: Yes, tell me then how much you made? (Stop
5. The floor gave …….. after the flood. (Collapse)
The following seven sentences are all examples of the same multi –word verb. There are
five examples in different contexts so as to illustrate clearly the meaning as this is a tricky
one to put into practice for most non natives.
6. Never give …….. …….. the pressures of life. Remember; a winner never quits and a
quitter never wins. (Surrender)
7. If anyone tries to overpower you, do not give …….. …….. their idle threats.
8. If you are on a diet, you should never give …….. …….. temptation. Never go to the
supermarket on an empty stomach or you could find yourself reaching for those forbidden
9. In these days of internet trolls, never give …….. …….. cyber blackmailing.
10. In this day and age, young girls give in to boys too easily. That is why many of them end
up pregnant. My advice to all those young girls is: never ever give …….. …….. him . If the
boy loves you he will respect you. After all you want someone who loves you for the person
you are and not someone who wants to enjoy himself for a night or two.
11. After a lot of persuasion, they finally gave .…….. and signed the contract. (Agree to do
something after having originally opposed to it).
12. Teacher to student: Can you give .…….. these books to the rest of the class please?
13. When I am on the bus, I rarely see anyone give .…….. their seats to the elderly.
14. The doctor has told me to give .…….. smoking because of my terrible cough. (Stop for
good - ‘for good’ = forever)
15. After searching for hours on end, the mountain rescue team finally gave. .…….. all hope
of finding the missing skiers. (Abandon all hope)
16. I’ve decided to give .…….. acting altogether. I need a break from it all.
17. Yesterday a drunk driver gave himself .…….. to the police just hours after he had
crashed into a wall and injuring a passerby. (Stop hiding and admit to the authorities that
what you did).
1. He’s a generous man. He gives away half of his salary to charity.
2. In Britain and other countries, it is the custom for the father of the bride to give his
daughter away upon reaching the altar. (Present the bride to the groom)
3. Can you give me back that book I lent you? (Return something to someone)
4. Person A: Guess how much money I made this month? Person B: 1000 dollars? Person
A: No, try again. Person B: 1500 dollars? Person A: No. Person B: 2000 dollars? Person
A: No, do you give .in? Person B: Yes, tell me then how much you made? (Stop
5. The floor gave in after the flood. (Collapse)
6. Never give in to the pressures of life. Remember; a winner never quits and a quitter
never wins. (Surrender)
7. If anyone tries to overpower you, do not give in to their idle threats.
8. If you are on a diet, you should never give in to temptation. Never go to the
supermarket on an empty stomach or you could find yourself reaching for those forbidden
9. In these days of internet trolls, never give in to cyber blackmailing.
10. In this day and age, young girls give in to boys too easily. That is why many of them
end up pregnant. My advice to all those young girls is: never ever give in. (GIVE IN TO
SOMEONE) If the boy loves you he will respect you. After all you want someone who
loves you for the person you are and not someone who wants to enjoy himself for a night
11. After a lot of persuasion, they finally gave in and signed the contract. (Agree to do
something after having originally opposed to it).
12. Teacher to student: Can you give out these books to the rest of the class please?
13. When I am on the bus, I rarely see anyone give up their seats to the elderly.
14. The doctor has told me to give up smoking because of my terrible cough. (Stop for
good - ‘for good’ = forever)
15. After searching for hours on end, the mountain rescue team finally gave .up all hope
of finding the missing skiers. (Abandon all hope)
16. I’ve decided to give up acting altogether. I need a break from it all.
17. Yesterday a drunk driver gave himself up to the police just hours after he had crashed
into a wall and injuring a passerby. (Stop hiding and admit to the authorities that what
Phrasal Verbs with “look”
1. The police are looking .......... the death of a young man found last night. (Investigate)
2. Can you look John’s phone number .......... for me please? (Find information in a book or
a list or a timetable)
3. I am looking .......... .......... seeing my family again after six months of living abroad. (To
feel pleased and excited about something that is going to happen)
4. Look .......... ! There’s a car coming. You’ll get run over if you’re not careful. (Attention,
5. Can you look .......... my cat when I go on holiday? (Take care of it)
6. My neighbours are real snobs. They look .......... .......... us. (They see us as inferior).
7. The crowd looked .......... as the firemen tried to put out the fire. (Observe as spectators
without taking part/without participating)
8. He carefully looked .......... the contract before signing it. (Examine)
9. She really looks .......... .......... her boss. He has taught her many things. (Admire and
10. Person A: Have you still got those old photographs you took of me when we were on
holiday in Spain years ago? Person B:I don’t remember exactly where I put them but I’ll
look them .......... for you. (Search among things and find)
1. The police are looking into the death of a young man found last night. (Investigate)
2. Can you look John’s phone number up for me please? (Find information in a book or a
list or a timetable)
3. I am looking forward to seeing my family again after six months of living abroad. (To
feel pleased and excited about something that is going to happen)
4. Look out! There’s a car coming. You’ll get run over if you’re not careful. (Attention, be
5. Can you look after my cat when I go on holiday? (Take care of it)
6. My neighbours are real snobs. They look down on us. (They see us as inferior).
7. The crowd looked on as the firemen tried to put out the fire. (Observe as spectators
without taking part/without participating)
8. He carefully looked over the contract before signing it. (Examine)
9. She really looks up to her boss. He has taught her many things. (Admire and respect)
10. Person A: Have you still got those old photographs you took of me when we were on
holiday in Spain years ago? Person B: I don’t remember exactly where I put them but I’ll
look them out for you. (Search among things in a bid to find)
Phrasal Verbs with “Pick and Put”
1. Can you pick the children ……. from school tomorrow? (Go and collect/get them and
accompany them home)
2. You’ve dropped your pen, do you want me to pick it …….?
3. I’ve picked ……. the flu, have you got an aspirin?
4. Mother to son: Can you pick ……. those clothes? You’re always leaving them on the
floor. Son to mother: I’m fed up, you’re always picking ……. me.
5. This mobile phone can’t seem to pick ……. 4G. (Receive a signal)
6. Can you put the cat ……. before going to the shops?
7. A. I’ll give you a lift to the airport. B. Don’t worry, I’ll get a taxi, don’t put yourself …….
8. The firemen arrived in time to put ……. the fire. (Extinguish)
9. Don’t worry about booking a hotel, I’ll put you ……. when you come to Rome. (Give
hospitality to = provide food and accommodation for somebody in your home)
10. He left his wife because he couldn’t put ……. ……. her any longer. (Tolerate) idiomatic
11. They want to move to a bigger house so they’ve put their house ……. for sale.
12. He works a lot. Sometimes he puts ……. twelve hours a day at the office. (Give your
13. We’ve got too much work to do today so we’ll have to put the meeting ……. until
tomorrow. (Postpone = change to a later date)
14. Don’t talk about spiders while I am eating or you will put me ……. my food.
15. I’ve been saving hard this year. I’ve put ……. enough money to buy a car. (Saved)
16. Caller to receptionist: Good morning. Could you put me ……. to the manager please.
(To connect by telephone)
17. My son has put me ……. so much in this period because of his drug addiction. (Cause
someone to experience pain and stress)
18. Customer to shop assistant: I haven’t got enough money with me today so could you put
this blouse ……. and I will pick it ……. tomorrow. (Reserve something for a customer to
19. Stop leaving all those books lying around. Can you put them …….?
20. She’s always putting him ……., especially in front of friends. (Make someone feel
21. I am so sad because we had to get our cat put …….. She was very ill. (When the vet
injects the animal so it can slip away peacefully into nature, if it is suffering too much in this
22. Put the cat ……. on the floor before he scratches you. (Literal meaning)
23. Her husband has been put ……. for life. Seemingly he was involved in the armed
robbery at the bank last month. (Put in prison) - Informal English.
24. He’s putting it ……. that I stole the money, but it isn’t true (Spread news).
25. You’ve put ……. a lot of weight since I last saw you. You used to be much thinner. (Gain
weight, become fatter)
26. Mother to child: Stop pretending to cry. I know you are putting it ……. . (This means “to
27. Telephone conversation: Hello, could I speak to John please? John’s mother: Hang on
and I’ll put him ……. (Connect to another phone)
28. Put ……. your coat today. It’s very cold outside. (Wear)
29. The Beatles really knew how to put ……. an excellent performance. They drove their
fans wild with excitement.
30. Many orders were placed when the latest I phone was put ……. the market
1 Pick the children up OR pick up the children. This phrasal verb can be divided or kept
together. It means to go and collect someone, usually by car and take them to their
2. Do you want me to pick it up? Pick the pencil up Or pick up the pencil. You can split
this phrasal verb or keep it together. When something falls onto the floor, you pick it up.
3. I’ve picked up the flu. This means you have caught the flu. Once again we can either
divided the phrasal verb from its particle or keep them together. It is more common to
keep the verb and particle together though.
4. Can you pick up those clothes or can you pick those clothes up. You’re always picking
on me. You cannot separate the verb from its particle. To pick on somebody = to
deliberately choose someone to harass all the time or to blame for everything.
5. A mobile phone picks up a signal when it receives it. A radio picks up signals. Usually
it is not common to spit the verb from its particle in this context. Pick a signal up is
6. Put the cat out = put it outside the house. This must be divided. It makes no sense in
this context if we say “put out the cat”.
7. Don’t put yourself out = I do not want you to inconvenience yourself on my behalf. (To
put (someone) out, in this context the verb and the particle have to be split.
8. Put out the fire OR put the fire out.
9. I’ll put you up. The verb has to be divided. We cannot say “put up a person”
10. He couldn’t put up with her any longer. He could no longer tolerate her. The
particles cannot be separated in this context.
11. They’ve put their house up for sale = to put it on the market. This verb cannot be
separated from its particle.
12. He puts in twelve hours a day. This cannot be separated.
13. Put the meeting off or put off the meeting. More common to divide the verb from its
particle. (put something off)
14. You’ll put me off my food. The verb has to be separated from the particle. Put
(somebody) off (something).
15. I’ve put enough money away/aside OR I’ve put away/aside enough money. The verb
can be separated from its particle and it can also stay connected to its particle in this
context. This means to save money for something.
16. Could you put me through to the manager please? This means that you will be
connected to another phone. In this case the secretary connects you from her phone to the
manager’s phone. (Put (somebody) through to (someone). We cannot say “put through the
17. My son has put me through so much. (To put (somebody) through (something). We
need to separate the verb from its particle, otherwise it makes no sense.
18. Could you put this blouse aside for me. (Keep it for me until I return later with the
money to pay for it). We need to separate the verb from its particle. Put (something) aside
19. Stop leaving all those books lying around. Can you put them away? Put the books in
their correct place. This verb has to be separated from its particle. Put (something) away.
20. She’s always putting him down. (Put (somebody) down. This verb must be separated
from its particle.
21. To get the cat put down Or the vet put the cat down.
22. Put the cat down on the floor. Here the verb needs to be separated from its particle
.Put (something or someone) down. Place down on the floor or the table or any other
23. Her husband has been put down for life. Cannot be divided or meaning changes.
(Sent to prison)
24. He’s putting it around that I stole the money. (Put (something) around. Needs to be
split from the particle. (Spread news or gossip)
25. You’ve put on a lot of weight Or you’ve put a lot of weight on. Here we can use both
ways. We can split the verb and the particle or we can keep them together without any
change to the meaning..
26. I know you are putting it on. The verb needs to be separated from its particle. To put
(something) on = to pretend/act.
27. Hang on and I’ll put him on. This is different from I’ll put him through. I’ll put him
on means that you will pass the phone to him. Put him through, on the other hand means
to connect to another phone in another room, usually in the work place. We need to keep
the verb separate from its particle in this context.
28. Put on your coat or put your coat on. This is the literal sense of the meaning.
29. Put on (a performance).
30. Put on (the market) Made available for purchase
Phrasal Verbs with “Run”
1. I ran .......... an old friend of mine yesterday while I was out shopping. It was a great
surprise to see her again. We hadn’t seen each other since we were at school together. (Meet
2. Oh gosh, we’ve run .......... .......... coffee again. Could you get some when you go out?
(Finish, not have any left)
3. He ran .......... a lot of debt on his credit card. He is so irresponsible. He spends more
than he earns.
4. Her husband ran .......... .......... his secretary. (When a married person leaves their
husband or wife and goes to live with their lover).
5. He’s still very upset after running .......... the cat. He didn’t see it in the dark. (Hit with
your car or another vehicle and injure or kill)
6. Okay, can I just run .......... the main points again? (Quickly explain)
7. She’s always running her mother in law .......... (Speak badly of, criticise)
8. He always runs .......... his mother whenever he’s in trouble. (Go to for help)
9. Those new cars run .......... electricity but they are so expensive to buy. (Use as a source
of power in order to function)
10. The company ran .......... .......... some problems initially but now things have taken a turn
for the better. (Encounter problems, difficulties, usually unexpectedly)
1. I ran into an old friend of mine yesterday while I was out shopping. It was a great
surprise to see her again. We hadn’t seen each other since we were at school together.
2. Oh gosh, we’ve run out of coffee again. Could you get some when you go out?
3. He ran up a lot of debt on his credit card. He is so irresponsible. He spends more than
Her husband ran away with his secretary.
He’s still very upset after running over the cat. He didn’t see it in the dark.
Okay, can I just run through the main points again?
She’s always running her mother in law down
He always runs to his mother whenever he’s in trouble.
9. Those new cars run on electricity but they are so expensive to buy.
10. The company ran up against some problems initially but now things have taken a turn
for the better.
Phrasal Verbs with “Take”
1... I’m thinking of taking .......... a new hobby. (Begin a sport, hobby or pastime)
2... I’m going to buy a smaller table. This one is too big. It takes .......... too much room.
(Occupy space or time)
3... He has really taken .......... her. He’s always buying her present. (Have a liking for)
4... My new trousers are too long for me. I’m going to have to take them .......... (Shorten
5... My skirt is too short. Tonight I’m going to take .......... the hem. (Make longer)
6... I’ve taken .......... an insurance policy on my house. I decided on third party insurance for
fire, theft and flooding. (Obtain by filling out the necessary forms and agreeing to the
7... I’ve taken .......... a bank loan to buy a car. (Obtain by filling out the necessary forms and
agreeing to the conditions)
8... The company has been taken .......... by a Spanish telecommunications company. (Take
9... You’ve just missed the plane. It took .......... a few minutes ago. (Left the ground)
10.. Take .......... your jacket. It’s hot in here. (Remove)
11.. He takes .......... his father. The two of them love playing tennis. (Be similar in character
as a relative)
12 .. My new mobile phone doesn’t work. I’m going to take it .......... tomorrow and ask for a
refund. (Return something to the shop where you bought it)
13 .. Business has really taken .......... this year. Last year profits were low so hopefully
we’ll make up for the loss this year. (Become successful)
14.. I’m really tired. I’m going to take a day .......... tomorrow. (Not go to work or school for
a day or more)
15.. I can’t do that translation for you. It will take .......... too much of my time. (Occupy)
16.. Why don’t you apply for a job at the new phone company. They are taking .......... new
17.. I’ve taken ......... too much work. How will I ever find the time to finish it all? (Accept
to do it)
18.. She’s a very kind person. She always takes ......... stray dogs that she finds in the street.
(Give a home to)
1... I’m thinking of taking up a new hobby. (Begin a sport, hobby or pastime)
2... I’m going to buy a smaller table. This one is too big. It takes up too much room.
(Occupy space or time)
3... He has really taken to her. He’s always buying her present. (Have a liking for)
4... My new trousers are too long for me. I’m going to have to take them up (Shorten them)
5... My skirt is too short. Tonight I’m going to take down the hem. (Make longer)
6... I’ve taken out an insurance policy on my house. I decided on third party insurance for
fire, theft and flooding. (Obtain by filling out the necessary forms and agreeing to the
7... I’ve taken out a bank loan to buy a car. (Obtain by filling out the necessary forms and
agreeing to the conditions)
8... The company has been taken over by a Spanish telecommunications company. (Take
9... You’ve just missed the plane. It took off a few minutes ago. (Left the ground)
10.. Take off your jacket. It’s hot in here. (Remove)
11.. He takes after his father. The two of them love playing tennis. (Be similar in character
as a relative)
12 .. My new mobile phone doesn’t work. I’m going to take it back tomorrow and ask for a
refund. (Return something to the shop where you bought it)
13 .. Business has really taken off this year. Last year profits were low so hopefully we’ll
make up for the loss this year. (Become successful)
14.. I’m really tired. I’m going to take a day off tomorrow. (Not go to work or school for a
day or more)
15.. I can’t do that translation for you. It will take up too much of my time. (Occupy)
16.. Why don’t you apply for a job at the new phone company. They are taking on new
17.. I’ve taken on too much work. How will I ever find the time to finish it all? (Accept to
18.. She’s a very kind person. She always takes in stray dogs that she finds in the street.
(Give a home to)
VERB + P ARTICLE
Put the correct particle in the gaps
1. I never remember a word unless I write it …………… (Pen to paper)
2. Can you make up your mind now or do you need time to think it ……………? (Reflect)
3. He’s late again. I wonder what excuse he’ll come …………… …………… this time.
4. When I think …………… my grandmother I remember the stories she used to tell me.
(Recall to your memory)
5. I need some space in my wardrobe so I’ll have to throw …………… some of my old
clothes. (Free yourself from by putting into the rubbish bin)
6. She won her first contest while she was still at school and went …………… to win the
Olympic medal when she was 20. (Progressed to become)
7. I’ve torn all my old letters …………… and put them in the bin.
8. I don’t think that new fashion will catch …………… It looks so silly. (Become
9. A: Did you get the job? B: No, they turned me …………… (Refusal)
10. She lived …………… …………… her reputation for being a model student and passed
all her exams with distinction.
11. Shall I stop now or would you like me to carry ……………? (Continue)
12. This weekend I’m going to get …………… …………… a few friends and go sailing.
13. Don’t forget to ask the shop assistant …………… a receipt.
14. When’s their next album coming …………… ?
15. I can’t hear the radio, can you turn it …………… ? (Increase the volume)
16. I’m finding it difficult to come …… ……. new ideas. (Think of)
17. I was disappointed with the film - it didn’t …………… …………. …………. my
expectations. (Meet my expectations)
18. Has the latest edition of Newsweek …………… …………… yet? (Be in circulation)
19. A: do you think this jacket suits me? B: I can’t tell unless you try it ………….
20. She ……………… ……………… playing the piano until the early hours of the
21. I’m sure I ………… his address ……………. on a piece of paper, but I can’t find it.
22. I’m ……………… ………….. getting a new car.(Have the idea in mind)
23. I’ll have to …………… …………… their invitation because I’m busy on Saturday.
24. I’m a bit nervous about …………… my boss ……………. a day off next week.
25. A: Has he said yes? B: Not yet, but he’s…………….it ……………..
1. I never remember a word unless I write it down.
2. Can you make up your mind now or do you need time to think it over?
3. He’s late again. I wonder what excuse he’ll come up with this time.
4. When I think about my grandmother I remember the stories she used to tell me.
5. I need some space in my wardrobe so I’ll have to throw out some of my old clothes.
6. She won her first contest while she was still at school and went on to win the Olympic
medal when she was 20.
7. I’ve torn all my old letters up and put them in the bin.
8. I don’t think that new fashion will catch on. It looks so silly.
9. A: Did you get the job? B: No, they turned me down
10. She lived up to her reputation for being a model student and passed all her exams
11. Shall I stop now or would you like me to carry on?
12. This weekend I’m going to get together with a few friends and go sailing.
13. Don’t forget to ask the shop assistant for a receipt.
14. When’s their next album coming out?
15. I can’t hear the radio, can you turn it up?
16. I’m finding it difficult to come up with new ideas
17. I was disappointed with the film - it didn’t live up to my expectations.
18. Has the latest edition of Newsweek come out yet?
19. A: do you think this jacket suits me? B: I can’t tell unless you try it on.
20. She insists on playing the piano until the early hours of the morning.
21. I’m sure I wrote his address down on a piece of paper, but I can’t find it.
22. I’m thinking of getting a new car.
23. I’ll have to turn down their invitation because I’m busy on Saturday.
24. I’m a bit nervous about asking my boss for a day off next week.
25. A: Has he said yes? B: Not yet, but he’s thinking it over.
THE NIGHTMARE OF “GET”
The verb “get” is a nightmare for every learner of the English language because of the many
meanings it has.
Look at the exercise below and decide on the meaning of “get”.
Fetch - obtain - understand - answer the phone - receive - hit - be - catch (hear and
understand) - earn - buy - win - secure - arrive/reach - to cause (someone or something to do
something) - open the door - succeed in obtaining
1. I get so many emails every day. I don’t have the time to reply to most of them.
2. I got top marks in my exams. I’m going out to celebrate this evening.
3. Excuse me. How do you get to the station from here?
4. I sold my car last week and I got a really good price for it.
5. Could you get me a glass of water when you go to the kitchen?
6. We managed to get an excellent deal.
7. He didn’t laugh at the joke because he didn’t get it.
8. I didn’t get the job because I didn’t have the right qualifications.
9. How much do you get per month in your new job?
10. Did you get these shoes from the new shoe shop in Piccadilly Circus?
11. She got a medal for coming in first in the swimming competition.
12. I can’t get the children to go to bed early. They always make such a fuss.
13. I finally got the computer to work again after it had crashed.
14. Can you get the phone please? My hands are wet.
15. I just don’t get it. He said he would definitely come. It’s unlike him not to show up.
16. Can you get the door? If it’s John, tell him to come in.
17. Sorry, I didn’t get your name?
18. I got really sick while I was on holiday but now I’m feeling a lot better.
19. He got arrested for robbing a bank.
20. The bullet got him in the head.
1. I get so many emails every day. I don’t have the time to reply to most of them. RECEIVE
2. I got top marks in my exams. I’m going out to celebrate this evening. OBTAINED
3. Excuse me. How do you get to the station from here? REACH/ARRIVE
4. I sold my car last week and I got a really good price for it. OBTAINED
5. Could you get me a glass of water when you go to the kitchen? FETCH
6. We managed to get an excellent deal. SECURE
7. He didn’t laugh at the joke because he didn’t get it. UNDERSTAND
8. I didn’t get the job because I didn’t have the right qualifications. SUCCEED IN
9. How much do you get per month in your new job? EARN
10. Did you get these shoes from the new shoe shop in Piccadilly Circus? BUY
11. She got a medal for coming in first in the swimming competition. WON/WAS
12.I can’t get the children to go to bed early. They always make such a fuss. CAUSE THEM
13. I finally got the computer to work again after it had crashed. CAUSED IT TO WORK
14. Can you get the phone please? My hands are wet. ANSWER THE PHONE
15. I just don’t get it. He said he would definitely come. It’s unlike him not to show up.
16. Can you get the door? If it’s John, tell him to come in. OPEN THE DOOR
17. Sorry, I didn’t get your name? CATCH/HEAR/UNDERSTAND
18. I got really sick while I was on holiday but now I’m feeling a lot better. BECAME
19. He got arrested for robbing a bank. (BE) WAS
20. The bullet got him in the head. HIT
THE NIGHTMARE OF MAKE AND DO
I did a mistake in my homework.
I made a mistake in my homework.
There is a lot of confusion with the verbs ‘make’ and ‘do’. In some languages there is only
one verb used for everything.
Collocations with ‘make’
Make a mistake (I made many mistakes in my English exam).
Make your bed after you get up in the morning
Make peace (After years of fighting, they decided to make peace)
Make a cake (My mother is going to make a chocolate cake tonight)
Make breakfast/lunch/dinner or a cup of coffee or tea
Make friends (I made friends with my new neighbours)
Make a choice
Make a comment
Make a noise (the neighbours make so much noise)
Make a speech (he made an excellent speech at his brother’s wedding)
Make a plan (have you made any plans for the summer yet?)
Make arrangements (I have made arrangements with the estate agency to sell my house)
Make a suggestion
Make a statement
Make a reservation (He phoned the restaurant and made a reservation for four) or He
booked a table for four or He asked the waiter to reserve a table for four
Make a promise (I made a promise not to tell anyone)
Make a mess (my husband makes such a mess of the kitchen when he is cooking)
Make an impression (on someone) He really made a good impression at the job interview
Make an excuse (He phoned his boss and made an excuse because he was too tired to go to
Make an offer (I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse)
Make an exception (This time I will make an exception and accept you even though you
don’t have any previous experience)
Make sense (This doesn’t make any sense to me. I find it hard to comprehend)
Make up your mind (this means to decide). Example: Have you made up your mind where
you are going on holiday this year = Have you decided where … I haven’t made up my mind
where I want to go. He hasn’t made up his mind yet.
Make a decision (to do something) I find it difficult to make decisions. I am a very
Make sure (make sure you turn off the gas before you go out)
Make a profit/a loss (the company made a profit last year, but his year they have made a
Make a complaint (The soup was cold so they called the waiter and made a complaint)
Make a fortune (I’m making a fortune in my new job. The salary is very high)
Make a discovery. (Christopher Columbus made an amazing discovery when he discovered
Make a difference. (It will make a big difference to the house if we paint all the rooms
Collocations with ‘do’
Do your homework.
Do the dishes.
Do the washing up. (Same meaning as ‘do the dishes’)
Do well in an exam.
Do badly in an exam.
Do someone a favour.
Do the cooking. (Cook for the family or for yourself)
Do the ironing. (Iron your clothes)
Do the dusting. (Dust the furniture)
Do the housework. (Do all that is needed to keep the house clean and tidy)
Do the shopping. (Buy what you need at the shops)
Do your hair. (Style your hair)
Do your face. (Put on makeup)
Collocations with take
Take a break
Take a walk
Take a taxi
Take the bus into town
Take an exam
Take (someone’s) temperature
Take a chance
Take a look
Take a seat
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR VOCABULARY
Vocabulary building is an excellent way to increase your vocabulary. It is a good idea to
write down the different forms of the base word. The verb, the adjective, the noun, the
adverb and also if there is a suffix or prefix which could be added. A suffix is added to the
end of the word. A prefix is added to the beginning and they change the meaning.
Add new words to your vocabulary building table as you learn them. Write sentences with
the words in context to remember them.
Below are some lists of some frequently used words in English.
SUMMARY OF THE MAIN TENSES
1. The Present Simple
Used to express habits, facts and timetables
Structure: Subject + base verb + object
Question: Use ‘do’ or ‘does’ for questions in third person singular
Negative: Use ‘do not’ (don’t) or ‘does not’ (doesn’t) in third person singular
I go to work every day
I don’t go out every evening
Do I have breakfast every morning?
The sun rises in the east (‘s’ on base verb in third person singular)
It doesn’t rise in the west
Does it rise in the east?
The train leaves at 9.30 tomorrow morning.
It doesn’t leave from platform 12.
Does the train for Milan leave at 9 tomorrow?
With the verb ‘be’
Affirmative: I am French
Question: Am I French?
Negative: I am not French
2. The Past Simple
Used to express finished actions. Normally used with a past time expression.
Structure: Subject + verb in the simple past
Affirmative: I went to the park yesterday.
Question: Did he wake up early yesterday morning?
Negative: I didn’t go to the supermarket this morning.
3. The Present Continuous
Used for something in progress at the moment of speaking - for something which is
happening in this period and also for expressing future arrangements - with certain verbs.
In this moment
Affirmative: John is sleeping at the moment. He can’t come to the phone.
Question: Is John sleeping?
Negative: Jack isn’t talking. He’s watching a movie.
In this period
Affirmative: The managers are working on the new project.
Question: Are you still reading that book?
Negative: We aren’t working on the project anymore.
Affirmative: We’re flying to Spain tomorrow
Question: Are you meeting Tom for lunch on Wednesday?
Negative: I’m not having the party on Saturday anymore.
4. The Past Continuous
Used for something in progress at a certain moment in the past - usually interrupted by a past
Structure: Subject + be + gerund - (I, he, she, it was) ( you, they, we were)
Affirmative: I was reading a book when she called.
Question: Were you cooking when I arrived?
Negative: I wasn’t sleeping when the phone rang
5. The Present Perfect
Used for something which began in the past and is still true now, when used with ‘for’ and
Structure: subject + auxiliary verb ‘have’ + past participle of the verb. Use ‘has’ for third
person singular - he, she, it.
Affirmative: I have lived in Italy for many years.
Affirmative third person: She has been in this room since 8 o’ clock.
Question: Have you been here since this morning?
Negative: We haven’t been in London for three weeks. We’ve been there for two weeks.
Used for something that happened before now but not time related (very recently - even one
Affirmative: I have lost my pen
Question: Have you seen my pen anywhere?
Negative: I haven’t seen your pen
Used for something that happened in your life before now (It could be a minute ago or twenty
years ago, we are not interested in the time)
Affirmative: I have been to London (could be last week or twenty years ago. It is irrelevant.
Question: Have you (ever) tried Indian food? (in your life)
Negative: She hasn’t flown before or she has never flown before
6. The Present Perfect Continuous
Used for something in progress from past to present when used with ‘for’ and ‘since’
Structure: Subject + auxiliary verb ‘have’ or ‘has’ in third person + been + gerund
Affirmative: I’ve been writing for over an hour. (I started over an hour ago and I am still
Question: How long have you been writing for?
Negative: I haven’t been living in Spain for three years. I’ve been living there for two.
Used for something in progress until very recently
Affirmative: I’ve been working a lot (that is why I am tired)
Question: Have you been shopping? (action in progress before now - present evidence - the
person is carrying shopping bags)
He hasn’t been sleeping a lot lately.
7. The Past Perfect
The past perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past.
It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.
Structure - past tense of auxiliary verb ‘have’ (had) + past participle of the verb. We
normally use it with ‘before’ or ‘when’ or ‘because’ or ‘until that moment, day, week etc. or
‘by the time.’
Affirmative: When I switched on the TV, the film had ended (before I switched on the TV)
I was sad to leave the house I had lived in for so many years.
I was sad when I left the house I had lived in for so many years.
Until this morning I had never been on a plane.
Question: Had you ever been on a tractor before starting work on the farm?
Negative: I had never eaten parmesan cheese before going to Italy.
I had never been on a rollercoaster before I went to the amusement park yesterday.
8. The Past Perfect Continuous
Used to express something in progress until a moment in the past (when used with ‘for’ or
‘since’ or prior to a past moment without the use of ‘for’ and ‘since’.
Structure: subject + past tense of auxiliary verb ‘have’ (had) + been + gerund
Affirmative: When I arrived at the bus stop, the other people who were standing in the
queue, had been waiting for nearly an hour.
Question: How long had they been waiting when you arrived at the bus stop?
Negative: They hadn’t been waiting for very long when the bus finally arrived.
When used without ‘for’ and ‘since’.
Affirmative: When I looked out the window this morning, I saw that it had been raining (in
progress until before I looked out. Usually there is some kind of evidence - the wet ground
When I arrived, she had been cooking. (Before I arrived this was in progress - the present
evidence is the lovely smell of cooking, or all the cooked food on the table).
Question: Had she really been waiting for over an hour when the bus finally arrived?
Structure: ‘will + infinitive - negative - will not /won’t - question - invert subject with
The Queen will be in Rome tomorrow.
I’ll definitely be there on time.
I’ll help you with that heavy suitcase.
She won’t do her homework.
She’ll be late (she always is)
A spontaneous decision
I’ll wash the dishes in the morning
10. To Be Going to + Infinitive
Structure: Be + going to + infinitive
A planned decision made beforehand or a prediction
I am going to wash my hair after dinner
She isn’t going to join the gym
It is going to rain tomorrow (prediction)
11. The Future Continuous
Structure: will + be + gerund
Something that will be in progress at a certain moment in the future (a fact).
A present or future prediction that will be in progress now or at a certain moment in the
Don’t phone her now. She’ll be sleeping (present prediction)
I’ll be flying to London between 10 and 12 tomorrow so don’t phone me until after that.(fact)
People will be marrying less by the year 2020. (a future prediction)
12. The Future Perfect
Structure: subject + will + auxiliary verb ‘have’ + past participle
To express a completed action in the future
By October we will have lived in the house for twenty years.(fact)
She won’t have been there for long by the time you get there (prediction)
To express something we predict happened before now
Instruction manual - page 20 - You will have read on page 10 that .....
13. Future Perfect Continuous
Structure: subject + will + auxiliary verb ‘have’ + been + gerund
Similar to the future perfect but expresses continuity.
She’ll have been waiting for nearly an hour by the time we arrive (prediction)
I’ll have been working for this company for ten years this November (an action in
continuation which will be completed at a point in the future)
Note from the author
This is the end of the book. I really hope it has been a help to you and I thank you so much
for purchasing it.