Adjectives and adverbs are describing words. For definitions of words, see here, or for examples, see this extensive list. They add details to other components of a sentence. They can be used in a variety of ways, and some uses have regional variations. Generally, however, the simplest way to think of them is that adjectives describe nouns (subjects, objects, things), whilst adverbs describe almost all other word types. The following rules should help you choose when you need to decide on an adjective or adverb: Continue reading “Adjectives and Adverbs: a brief guide”
Whenever I recommend just one English grammar book, I suggest Raymond Murphy’s English Grammar in Use. The English Grammar in Use series covers all areas, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced, though the one I find most useful is Intermediate. The large selection of grammar points in the Intermediate book is suitable for students of all levels above elementary, either to learn more or to review. Each point has easy-to-follow examples and exercises. It works as a useful accompaniment to test the lessons taught in The English Tenses.
Though it is excellent for self-study, I sometimes also use this book for teaching, as the grammar rules are clear and well-organised. Continue reading “Best English grammar book for learning and practice”
This book is not as well known in the UK as in America, so I discovered it quite late. But it summarises many of my personal views on good written English. In America, it is incredibly famous. It was labelled one of the All-Time 100 Nonfiction Books, the most influential books Written in English since 1923, by Time magazine. The Elements of Style, otherwise called the Strunk and White (after its authors), is a prescriptive language book – meaning it is forced upon students. With good reason. It is a writing style guide that will improve your writing skills if you take careful note of its simple and effective rules. Continue reading “Improve your English writing skills with this book”
Contractions are very common in colloquial English. They are formed by combining two words, using an apostrophe (‘) to join them. The apostrophe replaces any missing letters. For instance, I am becomes I’m. Contractions are essential if you want to sound fluent in spoken English, or in writing dialogue. They are not usually used for formal writing, but are common in writing online. Below is an alphabetical list of the contractions in English, followed by exercises to practice: Continue reading “Contractions in English, with exercises”
Let, get, have and make are what we call causative verbs. This is because they lead to results. You can let, have, make or get someone to do something. They vary in firmness – let is the least firm, make is the most firm.
Below is a simple demonstration of the different way each of these verbs is used, and how they are formed. Following that is an exercise to help you use each word, with answers and explanations. Continue reading “Different uses for verbs: Let get have make”
To understand English rules, it is important to know the names of the English words that make up the language. Every word, phrase or component of a sentence can be defined by names and grammatical terms. The following is a list of the most common technical names for English words that you are likely to need. The list has clickable links for quick navigation. For Russian learners of English there is a bonus of Russian translations for each term, as I first prepared this list whilst working in Moscow (thanks to Polina from Link&Share for helping me correct these): Continue reading “Names of English words for explaining grammar”
As explained in full in The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide, the perfect forms (including simple perfect and continuous perfect forms) can be used with a future meaning in English. The simple perfect tense with future meaning shows something has not been completed yet, but will be completed at a certain point in the future. I will have finished by tomorrow. The continuous perfect tense is used to tell us how long something has been occurring for at a certain point in the future. I have been living in Brighton for 8 years this summer. Continue reading “Using the perfect forms for future tenses”
Articles in English language, words used as determiners, are often one of the hardest things for students to master. They come before nouns, and tell us if the noun is known or unknown, the quantity, or the type of name it is. Choosing the correct determiner (indefinite article, the definite article or no article) depends on if the noun is a name, the type of object/place it names and if it is singular or plural. The following rules should help you choose: Continue reading “Definite articles and indefinite articles – determiners in English”
This post discusses correct use of since, after and for in English language. It is followed by a brief exercise to test your skills. Since, after and for are often confused in expressing time, these simple explanations should help you understand the differences.
Since refers to a duration of time between two points in time, and usually requires perfect tenses. It must have a starting point. Continue reading “Since, after and for”
First blog post!
This blog will one day contain many exciting things relating to English language learning, teaching and whatever other joys you may find about English in general. Hurrah!