Archivo mensual: enero 2014

English Grammar – Question Tags

Good morning everyone!

If we want to ask for information we usually use the standard question form. However, sometimes we just want to keep a conversation going, or confirm information. In this case, question tags are often used to solicit input or confirmation to what we are saying. Using question tags well also promotes a understanding of the use of various auxiliary verbs. There are five ways in which we normally use question tags and they are easily explained here.

1. Positive/negative

If the main part of the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative.

Example: “He’s a doctor, isn’t he?”

Example: “You work in a bank, don’t you?” ( Note that if there is not an auxiliary use do, does, or didn’t at the end of the sentence)

If the main part of the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive.

Example: “You haven’t met him, have you?”

Example: “She isn’t coming, is she?”

2. With auxiliary verbs

The question tag uses the same verb as the main part of the sentence. If this is an auxiliary verb (‘have’, ‘be’) then the question tag is made with the auxiliary verb.

Example: “They’ve gone away for a few days, haven’t they?”

Example: “They weren’t here, were they?”

Example: “He had met him before, hadn’t he?”

Example: “This isn’t working, is it?”

3. Without auxiliary verbs

If the main part of the sentence doesn’t have an auxiliary verb, the question tag uses an appropriate form of ‘do’.

Example: “I said that, didn’t I?”

Example: “You don’t recognise me, do you?”

Example: “She eats meat, doesn’t she?”

4. With modal verbs

If there is a modal verb in the main part of the sentence the question tag uses the same modal verb.

Example: “They couldn’t hear me, could they?”

Example: “You won’t tell anyone, will you?”

5. With ‘I am’

Be careful with question tags with sentences that start ‘I am’. The question tag for ‘I am’ is ‘aren’t I?’

Example: “I’m the fastest, aren’t I?”

or in a negative form we use the same “am” form at the end as in the positive form of the sentence.

Example: “I’m not fat , am I?”

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Articles, Plurals and Nouns

Grammar for Beginners – Articles, Plurals and Nouns

Hey there,

How are you today? We are simply happy you’re here.

So what’s today’s grammar lessons about? It’s a beginner’s class on articles, plurals and nouns.

Articles A, AN and THE

The good news is that there are only three articles in English: “a”, “an” and “the”. These articles are separated into two groups: definite and indefinite.

“The” is the only definite article and we use it to speak about specific nouns. We use it for all nouns, both singular and plural.

So how do we use it?

Examples:

The dog”, “the dogs”.

The chair”, “the chairs”.

We are talking of a particular dog or a particular chair.

Ok, now let’s look at the indefinite articles for singular nouns: “a” and “an”. We use them when we are talking of nouns in a general sense.

Examples:

A girl”

An elephant”

Notice that “a” is used before nouns that begin with a  consonant and “an” is used before words that start with a vowel.

Some and Any

They can be used with plural and uncountable nouns. Usually we use “some” in affirmative sentences and “any” in negative sentences and questions.

Examples:

Some girls”

Some elephants”

Any girls?”

Any elephants?”

“Not any girls”

“Not any elephants”

Plurals

A plural is a noun that tells you that there is more than one of something. So “one cat”, “two cats“. See?

Most plurals are formed by just adding an “S” to the singular. But it is not always like this since we have regular and irregular plural. We say a plural is regular when it follows some rules.

Regular Plurals

Rule 1: When a noun ends in -S/-SH/-CH/-X, we add -ES.

Examples:

“Bus – buses

“Watch – watches

“Brush – brushes

Rule 2: The second rule is that when a noun ends in a consonant + Y, we take away the “Y” and add “-IES”.

Examples:

“Factory – factories

“Strawberry – strawberries

Rule 3: When a noun ends in “-F” or “-FE”, we take away the “-F” or “-FE” and add “-VES”.

Examples:

“Knife – knives

“Shelf – shelves

Irregular Plurals

Ok, now we have understood regular plurals, let’s have a look at irregular plurals. Ready? What you need to know about irregular plurals is that they are exceptions, so it is harder to remember. That’s why it is so important to practice them!

Examples:

“Man – men”

“Woman – women”

“Child – children”

“Person – people”

“Foot – feet”

“Tooth – teeth”

“Mouse – mice”

“Sheep – sheep”

Why not try to remember one every day?

Plural Nouns

We also have only plural nouns. What are these? They are nouns that have no singular form. So we don’t use “is”, we always use “are”.

Examples: 

“the trousers”

“the glasses”

We can also use “a pair” instead of “the”. This way we can use them as singular nouns.

Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable nouns are easy to remember because they are things we can count, like “horses”, “beds”, “dollars”. Easy, right?

Uncountable nouns are also easy. Why? Because they cannot be counted as separate things. For example: “water”, “sand” or “milk”.

All we have to remember is that countable nouns have singular and plural forms. Uncountable nouns just have a singular form.

We can use “some” with both countable and uncountable nouns.

Now, watch Ben’s video class with subtitles as many times as you need until you are able to understand it all without the subtitles!

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Unit 4 - articlesWell done! You have learned all about articles, plurals, countable and uncountable nouns.

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Useful expressions listening

Practice your accent with this videos

useful expressions

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25 Most Useful Phrasal verbs

25 Most Useful Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are not students favourite topic, are they? There are so many in the English language and each one has many different meanings.

This is why it’s important to begin memorising the most important ones. Are you ready? Excellent!

It might seem like a lot, but these 25 phrasal verbs will improve not only your written communication, but also your ability to understand conversations. Native speakers use phrasal verbs all the time in conversation!

Most of these phrasal verbs have several meanings, make sure you remember them all!

1. Add up

a- To be added together and equal the expected or correct total.
Example: “We added up the apples: there were 12″

b-To make sense : to seem to be logical or true.
Example: “Her story didn’t add up, I think she was lying, it didn’t make sense”

2. Blow up

a- To fill (something) with air or gas
Example: “Please could you blow up those balloons?”

b- To explode or to cause (something, such as a bomb) to explode.
Example: “The building was blown up by a bomb”

c- To become very angry.
Example: “When I said I couldn’t go to her party, she blew up”

3. Bring up

a- To take care of and teach (a child who is growing up).
Example: “Their grandparents brought them up because their parents were always travelling”

b- To mention (something) when talking : to start to talk about (something).
Example: “Don’t bring up the fight again, please!”

4. Call off

a- To stop doing or planning to do (something) .
Example: “Maria called off the wedding, she decided she didn’t love him”

b- To cause or tell (a person or animal) to stop attacking, chasing, etc.
Example: “Call off your dog! He’s attacking my cat”

5. Carry on

a- To continue to do what you have been doing
Example: “Sorry I interrupted, carry on talking!”

b- To behave or speak in an excited or foolish way.
Example: “The little boy was carrying on: shouting and kicking all day long”

6. Come across

a- To seem to have a particular quality or character : to make a particular impression.
Example: “Julia came across as a bit bossy”

b- To be expressed to someone.
Example: “I tried to sound happy but it came across as over-excited”

c- To meet or find (something or someone) by chance.
Example: “Luis was leaving the fruit shop and he came across Tom, what a coincidence”

7. Come up with

a- To get or think of (something that is needed or wanted).
Example: “We finally came up with a solution to the problem!”

8. Fall apart

a- To break into parts in usually a sudden and unexpected way,
Example: “My cake fell apart when I tried to cut it”

b- To become unable to live in a normal way because you are experiencing a lot of confusion or emotional pain
Example: “After the divorce, she fell apart”

9. Get along

a- To be or remain friendly
Example: “We’re not together anymore, but we get along great”

b- To make progress while doing something.
Example: “How are you getting along at playing the guitar?”

c- To leave a place
Example: “It was lovely to see you, but my friend has to get along, she has class”

d- To become old.
Example: “Her grandma is getting along; she’s almost 99″

10. Get away

a- To go away from a place.
Example: “I can0t wait to get away from the city”

b- To avoid being caught : to escape
Example: “The thieves managed to get away in a stolen car”

c- To not be criticized or punished for (something).
Example: “Yvonne is always lying, I can’t understand how she gets away with it”

11. Get over

a- To stop being controlled or bothered by (something, such as a problem or feeling).
Example: “I got over my fear of flying”

b- To stop feeling unhappy about (something).
Example: “Finally, Kylie got over her ex-boyfriend”

c- To become healthy again after (an illness).
Example: “Have you heard? Dave has gotten over the flu”

12. Give up –

a- To stop an activity or effort : to admit that you cannot do something and stop trying
Example: ”We all gave up smoking on January 1st”

13. Go on –

a- To continue.
Example: “They landed in Paris and then went on to Montpellier”

b- To go or travel to a place before another person or group that is with you.
Example: “You go on to the restaurant, I’ll come in 10 minutes”

c- To happen
Example: “What’s going on? What’s happening?”

d- Used in speech to urge someone to do something
Example: “Go on! Try it, it’s delicious”

14. Hold on

a- To have or keep your hand, arms, etc., tightly around something.
Example: “Hold on to the railing, that way you won’t fall”

b- To succeed in keeping a position, condition, etc.
Example: “I will hold on to my job until May”

15. Look after –

a- To take care of (someone or something).
Example: “The nurse looked after the patient for months, until he was better”

16. Look forward to

a- To expect (something) with pleasure.
Example: “William is really looking forward to going on holiday”

17. Look up

a- Improve.
Example: “The economy is finally looking up”

b- To search for (something) in a reference book, on the Internet, etc.
Example: “Let’s look up his number in the yellow pages”

18. Make out –

a- To write down the required information on (something, such as a check).
Example: “Who shall I make the check out to?”

b- To hear and understand (something)
Example: “I can’t make out what you’re saying, can you speak louder?”

c- To kiss and touch for a long time in a sexual way.
Example: “We made out in the back of his car”

19. Pass out

a- To fall asleep or become unconscious.
Example: “Lisa was so tired, she got home and passed out on the sofa”

b- to give (something) to several or many people.
Example: “I passed out leaflets with information on our course”

20. Pull over –

a- To move a vehicle to the side of the road and stop.
Example: “That looks like a lovely restaurant, can you pull the car over and park?”

21. Put down

a- To place (someone or something that you have been holding or carrying) on a table, on the floor, etc.
Example: “You can put the suitcases down in the bedroom”

b- To write (something) : to record (something) in writing
Example: “He put down his memories to write a book when he was older”

c- To give (an amount of money) as a first payment when you are buying something that costs a lot of money
Example: “My husband and I are going to put down some money to buy that house in the centre of town”

d- To kill (an animal) in a way that causes it little pain usually because it is injured or sick
Example: “Jessica had to have her rabbit put down; it was very sick”

22. Put off

a- To decide that (something) will happen at a later time : postpone.
Example: “Graham was so tired he put the shoppin off until next week”

b- To cause (someone) to dislike someone or something
Example: “You’re putting me off my food, stop talking about insects!”

23. Put up with

a- To allow (someone or something unpleasant or annoying) to exist or happen.
Example: “My mother won’t put up with my sisters or I swearing”

24. Turn up

a- To be found usually unexpectedly.
Example: “Oh! My phone turned up in my bed!”

b- To arrive at a place
Example: “As always, Julian turned up late”

c- To increase the volume, temperature, etc., of something by pressing a button, moving a switch, etc.
Example: “Please turn the music up, I love this song!”

25. Watch out

a- To be aware of something dangerous.
Example: “Watch out in the mountain, there are bears there!”

 

Are there any phrasal verbs you think should also be on the list?

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Prepositions

A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.

Prepositions work with other words in prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase usually indicates where (by showing direction or location), how (in what way or by what means), or when (at what time or how long) the action in the sentence took place.

Prepositions are hard for most students. Why? Because there are hardly any rules as to when to use which preposition. The only way to learn prepositions is looking them up in a dictionary, reading a lot in English and memorizing useful phrases.

Ready? Let’s start!

Prepositions That Express Time And Place

The following are a few examples of using in, at, and on to show time and place:

Time:

• In a month or a year
Example:  ”I moved here in 2007 in September”

• In a specific period of time
Example: “She will be in Rome in a few days (seconds, months, etc.)”

• In a specific period of the day
Example: We are going to the park in the afternoon (morning, evening exception: at night)”

• On a specific day
Example: “The party is on Saturday, on your birthday”

• At a specific time or specific period of time
Example: “We will eat at 3:00 at noon (at night at dawn at lunch)”

Place:

• In a location surrounded by something else
Example: ” I live in the state of Nevada (in the livingroom in my apartment in the closet in the tub in downtown New York)”

• At a specified location
Example: “Let’s meet at my house (at the store at the corner of Main St.)”

• On a surface
Example: “The poem is on page 32 (on Broadway on street level on the third floor)”
Exceptions: in the attic or in the basement.

Using Prepositions in Common Expressions

There are many expressions in English which include prepositions. This is a list of a few you may often use when writing:

ability in – different from – involved with [someone]

access to – faith in – knowledge of

accustomed to – familiar with – made of

afraid of – famous for – married to

angry with or at – frightened by – opposed to

authority on – happy with – patient with

aware of – in charge of – proud of

based on – independent of – reason for

capable of – in favor of – related to

certain of – influence on or over – suspicious of

confidence in – interested in – time for

dependent on – involved in [something] – tired of

Prepositions in Verb Phrases

Verb phrases are two-word or three-word verbs that combine with prepositions to deliver their meaning. In some verb phrases the verb and the preposition should not be separated by other words: Look at the sky (not Look the sky at). However, there are verb phrases where the verb and preposition can be separated: I threw away the trash is as correct as I threw the trash away. The following is a list of common verb phrases. The ones that cannot be separated are marked with an asterisk(*).

Common Verb Phrases

ask out – get along with* – look into

break down – get back – look out for

bring about – get off* – look over

call back – get over* – make up

drop off – hand in – run across*

figure out – keep up with* – speak to*

fill out – leave out – speak with*

fill up – look after* – throw away

find out – look around – throw out

Many of these verb phrases are informal and are used more in speaking than in writing.

To practice the pronunciation of the most popular prepositions, just watch the video below.

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The auxiliary verb “DO”

Here you have an English lesson grammar about the auxiliary “DO” and its uses

abbalesson 2

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Conditional lesson

Good morning everyone!

Today’s class is by Ella. She wants to teach you about the conditional. Just click on the video and learn some English!

abbalesson

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