When do we use the present continuous tense (present progressive tense)?
*In stating things that are happening right now
Ex. I am eating my dinner right now.
*In stating things that will happen in the future (you must add a future word/expression)
Ex. She is going to Thailand next month.
How is the present continuous tense made?
subject + auxiliary verb + main verb
We are surfing the Net. (“We” is the subject, “are” is the auxiliary verb and “surfing” is the main verb)
Often, we just add “ing” to the main verb. However, in some cases, we repeat the last consonant of the verb before we add “ing. Below are some examples:
When do we use the present continuous tense (present progressive tense)?
When do we use the future perfect tense?
In stating an action that will have been finished before some point in the future
Ex. How many children will you have had before you turn forty years old?
to show something that will continue up until another action in the future
Ex. By December of this year, I will have already toured at least three countries.
How do we make the Future Perfect?
In positive sentences=subject + auxiliary verb + auxiliary verb + past participle
Ex. They will have graduated from UP by March 2008.
In questions=auxiliary verb + subject + auxiliary verb + past participle
Ex. Will I have gone to South Korea by the end of the year?
In negative sentences=subject + auxiliary verb + auxiliary verb + past participle
Ex. I won't have gone to Australia by the end of the month.
When do we use the past perfect tense?
In stating a completed action before another action in the past
Ex. I had finished my breakfast when he arrived.
Ex. Dave said he had gone to the Philippines three years ago.
It’s also used in expressions like “I wish”, “I’d rather”, “as if”, “as though” and “if only”.
Ex. If only I had been there, she could’ve been saved.
How do we make the Past Perfect?
In positive sentences=subject + auxiliary verb + past participle
Ex. By the time I had finished bathing, he woke up.
In negative sentences=subject + auxiliary verb + not + past participle
Ex. I hadn’t talked to Keith before I went back to the countryside.
In questions=verb auxiliary + subject + past participle
Ex. Had she told you her feelings before she fainted?
Note: At times, you’ll notice that many native speakers of English do not use the Past Perfect Tense. It’s because when they use the words “after” or “before”, the listener would already understand which action has taken place earlier.
When do we use the present perfect tense?
In stating actions that began in the past and continues in the present
Ex. I have waited for more than four hours now.
In stating actions that happened at an indefinite time before now
Ex. I have sung him a song.
In stating actions in the past that has an effect on the present time
Ex. Meat prices have recently gone up.
Note: You can’t use the Present Perfect tense with specific time expressions like yesterday, one year ago, when I was a baby, when I was in Holland, at that time, that moment, etc. However, you can use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as ever, never, once, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.
How do we make/form the Present Perfect?
In positive sentences=subject + auxiliary verb + past participle
Ex. He has sent me roses.
In negative sentences=subject+ auxiliary verb + not + past participle
Ex. Debbie has not seen her new car yet.
In questions=auxiliary verb + subject + past participle
Ex. Has he apologized to you?
We often use “going to” and “will” interchangeably when we express future action. However, did you know that there’s actually a difference in the meaning of those two expressions?^^ What’s the difference? Let’s find out.
WILL is used for:
Stating promises (I will always be there for you.)
A voluntary action (I will drop by your place tomorrow.)
GOING TO is used for:
In expressing plans (I am going to America next year.)
Both “will” and “going to” are used to express a prediction.
The year 2008 will be a lucky year for people born in the year of the sheep.
The year 2008 is going to be a lucky year for people born in the year of the sheep.
How to make the simple future?
FORM WILL=subject + will + verb
I will swim.
FORM BE GOING TO=am/is/are + going to + verb
I am going to marry you.
Note: You CAN’T use the simple future in clauses starting with when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, unless, if, etc.
When you will get here, I will cook for you.---WRONG
When you get here, I will cook for you.---------CORRECT
This post is all about the simple past tense, when it's used and how it's formed.
When do we use this tense?
In stating completed action in the past
Ex. I saw Larry yesterday.
In stating a series of completed actions
Ex. I went home, ate my dinner and watched television.
In stating a longer action that starts and stops in the past; time expressions usually go with it
Ex. I lived in Canada for six months.
In stating habits which stopped in the past
Ex. I studied Japanese when I was in high school.
In stating past facts or generalizations
Ex. I didn’t eat cucumber before.
How is the simple past made?
Positive sentence ----Subject + verb+ ed or irregular form
Ex. I waited. (subject is “I” and verb + ed is “waited”)
I hid. (subject is “I” and irregular verb is “hid”)
Questions--------------Auxilliary verb + subject +verb
Ex. Did she go out? (“did” is the auxiliary verb + “she” which is the subject and “go” the verb)
Negative sentence-----Subject +auxiliary verb + verb
Ex. I didn’t watch it. (“I” is the subject, “did” is the auxiliary and “watch” is the verb)
The uses of the different tenses in the English language create much confusion to some people at times. In order to help you understand English tenses better, I thought of coming up with posts about them. Here’s the first one---Present Simple Tense.^^
When do we use this tense?
In stating facts and generalizations
Ex. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world.
In stating habitual action
Ex. He plays tennis every other day.
In stating permanent situations
Ex. The moon revolves around the earth.
How is the simple present tense made?
SUBJECT + AUXILLIARY VERB + MAIN VERB
Ex. I do (not) eat (seafood.)
However, there are exceptions to this pattern.
Auxilliary verbs are not normally used for positive sentences.
Ex. I like seafood.
“I” is the subject and the main verb is “like”. There was no need for the word “do”.
When third person singular is used (he, she, it), “s” or “es” is added to the main verb and “es” to the auxiliary.
Ex. She likes seafood. (s is added to the word like)
Does she like seafood? (es is added to the auxiliary)
For the verb “to be” , auxiliary is not used, even for questions and negatives.
Ex. I am sick.
One of the blog articles I've submitted (about Organization of Ideas) has been chosen to be included in the first issue of the Carnival of Online Education. I'm sooo happy! Thank you Sagar Satapathy!^^ To further help blog readers get more educational online articles that would be useful for them, I would like to invite everyone to see this site about online education
Labels: notes from the author
There are four kinds of sentences according to form. These are the following:
Simple Sentence-It contains one independent clause.
Example: He wants to write a song for his wife.
Compound Sentence-It contains two or more independent clauses
Example: The guys are playing basketball and the girls are playing tennis.
Complex Sentence-It contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
Example: Although she is not very pretty, she is smart.
Compound-Complex Sentence-It contains two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
Example: I like the guy that I met recently, but he already has a girlfriend.
In my next posts, I will discuss about the different tenses and their uses.^^
There are 4 types of sentences according to use. These are the following:
Declarative Sentence-It states a fact and ends with a period.
Example: He can draw very well.
Imperative Sentence-It gives a command or a request.
Example: Please take care of her for me.
Interrogative Sentence-It asks a question.
Example: What are you looking for?
Exclamatory Sentence-It denotes a very strong feeling.
Example: Watch out!
The following are the basic punctuation rules we need to know:
It is used to end a complete sentence. A sentence is a group of words having a subject and predicate.
Ex. He writes poems very well.
Commas have different uses in English. Commas are used to:
-One of the most common uses of a comma is separating a list of items.
Ex. I like painting, singing, dancing, and eating with my friends.
-It separates phrases and clauses. It is usually placed after a beginning dependent clause or a long prepositional phrase.
Ex. Although he wanted to go abroad, he wasn't able to pass the visa interview..
-It also separates two independent clauses that are connected by a conjunction such as 'but'.
Ex. They wanted to buy a bigger a house, but they had to pay for the car first.
-A comma is also used to introduce a direct quote (as opposed to indirect speech i.e. He said he wanted to come ...).
Ex. Ken said, "I will always be here for you."
-It separates appositives or non-defining relative clauses. (Appositive--A word, phrase or clause that means the same thing as (i.e., synonym) or further explains another noun (pronoun).
Ex. Kim Tae Hee, one of the most famous actresses in South Korea, studies in Seoul University.
It is used to separate two independent clauses. Usually, one or both of the clauses are short and the ideas expressed are usually very much alike.
Ex. He loves singing; He is a born musician.
-It is also used to separate groups of words that are themselves separated by commas.
Ex. They plan to study English, for their trips abroad; computer graphics, for their work; and tennis, for their own enjoyment.
To give additional details and explanation.
Ex. She had many reasons for studying Tae Kwon Do: to get in shape, to make new friends, to lose some weight, and to defend herself from bad guys.
-To introduce a direct quote (a comma can also be used in this situation).
Ex. She cried out: "I will never speak to you again!"
The question mark is used when asking questions.
Ex. Did you miss me?
The exclamation point is used at the end of a sentence to show surprise. Also, it is used for emphasis when making a point.
Ex. I can’t believe this is happening!
The following are examples of confusing past forms and past participles of verbs.
Now that you know the forms of these verbs, you won’t make a mistake of saying, “I hanged my shirt on the clothesline.” You wouldn’t want to kill your shirt now, would you?^^
Many times, I hear some people say “datas” and “criterias”. Sometimes, I’m itching to tell them that it’s not right to say that, but I just try to ignore it, so that they won’t get embarrassed. However, in this post, I would like to show you some nouns which have unfamiliar singulars, plurals and gender endings, for you to avoid making the same mistakes.
The singular form of the word “bacteria” is “bacterium”. The singular for “data” is “datum” and the singular for “dice” is “die”.
“Alumna” is singular and “alumnae” is its plural form. They both refer to females. “Alumnus” is singular and “alumni” is plural. Both refer to males. The plural form of the word “analysis” is “analyses”. “Crisis” is singular and “crises” is its plural form. “Strata” is the plural form of “stratum”.
An “aviator” refers to a guy, and an “aviatrix” is his female counterpart. A “gander” is male and a “goose” is a female. A “stag” is a male deer. An “abbot” is the male version of an “abbess”.
What are 'articles' and how are they used in the English language? Read this post to find out.
Is there a difference between “She is a girl” and “She is the girl”? If you hear two guys talking about this topic, and you’re the one they are referring to, you might prefer the latter sentence to the former. Why? “THE GIRL” means a specific girl whereas “A GIRL” simply denotes any girl at all. Indeed, there is a huge difference in meaning just because of using two different articles (the and a). What are articles anyway?
Articles are a type of determiner that indicate if the noun modified is specific or not. The adjectives a, an and the are articles. A and an are indefinite articles and the is a definite article. A is used when the word after it starts with a consonant sound. An on the other hand is used when the word that follows it has a vowel sound.
Bring me a book. (means any book)
Bring me the book. (means a specific book)
He is an honest man. (although “honest” starts with the consonant “H”, it has a vowel sound in this word).
He went to a university in Tokyo. (although university starts with “U”, it has the consonant sound ‘YU”, thus needs the artcle “a” instead of “an”)
Unnecessary repetition of words which is also known as redundancy is a common mistake made by both native and non-native speakers of English. What does redundancy mean exactly and what are some of its most common examples?
“Let me repeat again.” Is this line familiar to you? To me, it is. I hear this so often I feel quite sick of it.^^ However, this redundancy is just one of the many examples of unnecessary repetition of words. Below are some more examples of redundant phrases you have to avoid using:
*Minimum of at least
*Maximize as much as possible
*Small in size
*Red in color
*Now at the present time
*Surrounded on all sides
*Two different kinds
*Each and every
The following are some of the most common adverb rules:
I. An adverb is used to modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
ex. She cooks well. ('Well' is the adverb that modifies the verb 'cooks'.)
She is very pretty. ('Very' is the adverb that modifies the adjective 'pretty'.)
She is really very pretty. ('Really' is the adverb that modifies the adverb 'very'.)
II. “Surely” and “really” are used to modify a verb or an adjective.
III. Adverbs which have two or more syllables are compared by using the word
"more" to form the comparative and “most” for the superlative.
ex. Dianne dances more gracefully than Kelly.
Loreine sings most confidently among her classmates.
IV. When you’re only comparing two subjects, use the comparative form of the adverb.
V. When three or more subjects are compared, use the superlative form of the adverb.
VI. Do not use double comparatives such as “more faster”.
VII. Do not use double superlatives such as “most fastest”.
What are adverbs and what are they for? This post answers those questions and more.
Have you ever heard someone say, “He runs fastly!” or “ He came home lately, that’s why his wife got angry.” If you have, then you might either be confused with what that person wants to say or you just let out a smile. Some people are confused in using adverbs. To help you out a bit, let me give you a refresher about adverbs.
What is an Adverb?
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
She walks fast. (The adverb “fast” modifies the verb “walks.”)
She is really beautiful. (The adverb “really” modifies the adjective “beautiful”.)
She spoke too softly. (The adverb “too” modifies the adverb “softly”.)
Many adverbs end in “ly”. However, be warned that not all words ending in “ly” are adverbs. Some of them might be adjectives, such as the following:
Deadly---Shurikens are deadly.
Manly---His behavior is so manly.
Kindly---His kindly manners
Also, there are some adjectives that can be used as adverbs such as:
1. Using prepositions is not actually that hard, except they are part of an idiom. The following are some accepted idioms about prepositions.
*blame me for it
*in search of
2. What is the difference between “speak to” and “speak with”?
“Speak with” means the speaker wants the listener to reply, whereas when “speak to” is used, it means that the speaker does not expect or want the listener to reply.
3. Before we mention the days of the week, it is better to have a preposition before
This post is about the meaning of 'preposition', the kinds of prepositions and how important it is to use the correct preposition in order to be understood clearly.
It’s quite common for people to misuse prepositions. At times, I even hear some people say “I’ll get down the train in the Central Station”, when actually it should have been, “I’ll get off the train at the Central Station”. For non-native speakers, this thing about using the appropriate prepositions is a little bit difficult and confusing. However, I hope that this entry will be able to clear out some confusion about the subject.
What is a Preposition?
It’s a word that shows relationship between a noun or a pronoun and another word. It takes an object and connects that object with some other word in the sentence.
Kinds of Prepositions
I. Common Prepositions
about, above, after, among, at, against, before, from, for, except, behind, in, by, near, inside,
of, into, concerning, off, like , down, on, to , during, over, toward, under, up, with, within, without, from, like
II. Prepositional phrases
In the closet
For an hour
III. Phrasal Prepositions
apart from, as well as, along with, in spite of, in accordance with, in view of, in addition to, because of, in place of, on account of, back of, together with, with regard to, contrary to
What are figures of speech and how do they affect our understanding of the English language? Read this post to find out.
Some non-native speakers of English do not appreciate English songs, jokes and movies at times, because there are some parts there they couldn’t understand well. It’s not because they don’t know their grammar or vocabulary, but simply because there are underlying meanings in the sentences they have to uncover. In other words, sometimes figures of speech are used. Below are some examples of figures of speech.
Simile—it is likening one thing to another usually using the word “like” or “as”
Ex. She is like a rare jewel that I treasure.
Metaphor—it is comparing two objects, likening them without the use of the words “like” or “as”
Ex. You are the air that keeps me alive.
Hyperbole—it exaggerates something to emphasize a point
Ex. I have a mountain of laundry to do.
Irony-saying something which is the exact opposite of what you mean
Ex. Indeed you are a great leader! We would be nothing without you! (when what it actually means is that he is not a good leader, and he’s useless)
Meiosis—it is a phrase that makes one thing appear less to magnify another thing
Ex. I was nothing without you, but now I know I could do everything!
Euphemism—to rephrase a term with a less harsh or inoffensive term
Ex. He went to a much better place. (He died.)
Antithesis-two things in direct opposition
Ex. I looked for the light, but only darkness found me.
Personification—animating objects as if they were people
Ex. My heart cried in vain.
Break-a chance to succeed, a great opportunity
Ex. If only I would be given a break in this career, I’m sure to succeed.
Brush up on-to review
Ex. I need to brush up on my Japanese or else I might find it hard to understand the clients.
Chip off the old block- a child who looks so much like his/her parents
Ex. I knew right away that he’s Greg’s son. He’s a chip off the old block.
Come to terms-to have a conclusive agreement
Ex. After ten tiring months of negotiation, we’ve finally come to terms.
Crack a joke-to tell jokes
Ex. Some people think that Jack knows nothing but to crack jokes.
Cut it out-to stop doing or saying something annoying to the other person
Ex. Why do you keep on teasing me? Cut it out!
Doll up-to dress elegantly
Ex. She probably likes him very much, for her to doll up like this.
Get hitched-get married
Ex. Ken is already in his thirties. I wonder why he hasn’t thought of getting hitched yet.
Get it over with-to finish a rather unpleasant task
Ex. This task is rather boring. Let’s do it quickly and get it over with.
Go for-to prefer, to like
Ex. Keith is the kind of guy she goes for.
In deep water-in a serious trouble
Ex. He lost his job and he hasn’t finished paying for his car yet. He’s in deep water now.
Idiomatic Expressions and How they Affect our Understanding of the English Language
Around five years ago, I had a student who wasn’t that fluent in English yet. She was very nice and friendly, but one day we had a misunderstanding, which fortunately, was resolved right away. What was the cause of the misunderstanding? She was telling me a story which seemed unbelievable to me, and so I told her “Get out!” (which of course means I don’t believe her) She thought I wanted her to get out of the room though. She asked me why she had to get out. It was then that I realized that she didn’t understand what I meant and I explained it to her. So, in order to avoid such problems, it would really help if we familiarize ourselves with at least the most common English idiomatic expressions. Here are some of them:
Act your age—means one should behave in a more mature manner
Ex. You’re already thirty years old and you still rely on your parents to pay for your bills? When will you ever act your age?
All ears--to listen attentively
Ex. I was all ears when Diana told me her problem.
Answer back—to answer defiantly
Ex. My mother was very upset when my brother answered her back while she was scolding him.
Bag of bones—emanciated
Ex. He hasn’t eaten for three days in a row, that’s why he’s already a bag of bones.
Bank on-to depend on
Ex. Although my father is the breadwinner in the family, he is banking on my mother for emotional support.
Beat around the bush—to avoid the main topic of discussion
Ex. It’s too tiring to talk to him, because he beats around the bush too much.
Beat it—to go away, to scram
Ex. I won’t love nor like you whatever you do, so beat it!
Bed of roses—the good life, easy and luxurious life
Ex. After three years of marriage, she realized that marriage is not a bed of roses.
Behind you—providing support
Ex. Do not worry so much , because I’m right behind you.
Black sheep-someone who brings disgrace to a family or group
Ex. He always gives his parents problems unlike his siblings. He’s indeed the black sheep in their family.
Big shot—a very important person
Ex. He’s a big shot now, so I don’t think he’d want to become friends with us anymore.
(more idioms in the next blogs…if you know other useful English idioms, kindly share them using the comments feature..thanks!^^)
What are the most common problems in understanding and learning the English language? Below are the answers:
- The most common problem in learning another language is treating that language as if it were our native tongue. What I mean is that we usually construct our answers or messages in our own language first and then we just translate the message into English word for word. That could cause a lot of problems.
- For example, “Do you understand?” in Japanese is “Wakarimas ka?” which is literally “understand” (wakarimas) plus the syllable “ka” which denotes what has been said was a question (somewhat like “do you” or “are you” in English). Hence, if a Japanese would translate “Wakarimas ka?” in English, he would most probably say (it depends on his English level though) “Understand do?” which doesn’t make any sense at all, or perhaps, “Understand do you?” which would make him sound like Yoda in Starwars. This is due to the huge difference in the sentence structure of the English and Japanese language.
- Another problem is not being familiar with the idiomatic expressions and figures of speech in English. That’s why ever if someone already knows many words in English and knows his grammar, he might still find it hard to understand some jokes in English TV programs as well as the meaning of some English songs.
- Thus, in order to avoid making awkward sounding sentences and to understand and appreciate English movies, TV programs and songs, the key is to treat English as an entirely different language that has its own form, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.
- In order to help you overcome these translation and understanding problems, the next blogs (blogs this week) will focus on English idiomatic expressions, figures of speech and sentence structure. I hope you would find them useful.^^
How long should one's answers be? The length of one’s answers depends on the situation. If it’s just a conversation between friends, where you are telling someone a story which is very interesting for him/her, going into details and a long answer is okay. However, when one is in a job interview or an English examination, wherein the interviewer does not have much time to speak with you, you ought to give answers that are brief and detailed. Make sure you have already answered what has been asked, before moving on to elaborate on the details of your answer.