Determiners, articles and possessives

January 16, 2014

You will definitely have noticed those little words that precede and modify nouns. They are of three types: determiners, articles and quantifiers. Articles will tell the reader whether we are referring to a general or specific thing. A teacher needs patience. (General) I would like to talk to the head teacher. (Specific) Quantifiers tell us […]

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Faulty parallelism

January 14, 2014

Correlative conjunctions should be followed by grammatical structures of the same kind. Correlative conjunctions have two parts. Examples are: both…and…, not…but…, not only…but also…, either…or, neither…nor… etc. Incorrect:  It was both a long journey and tedious. Correct: The journey was both long and tedious. Incorrect: Either you must confess your involvement or prove your innocence. […]

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How to write complex sentences

January 12, 2014

A complex sentence consists of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses joined together with the help of subordinating conjunction(s). Two clauses connected by relative pronouns or relative adverbs are also examples of complex sentences. Writing a complex sentence is easy if you have a basic understanding of conjunctions and relative pronouns. Study […]

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Kinds of determiners

January 8, 2014

There are different kinds of determiners. Articles – a, an, the Possessive pronouns – his, yours, theirs, ours, whose etc. Numbers – one, two, three etc. Indefinite pronouns – few, more, each, every, either, all, both, some, any etc. Demonstrative pronouns – this, that, these, those, such Some Notes on Quantifiers Just like articles, quantifiers […]

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Using semicolon with transitional adverbs

January 3, 2014

A transitional adverb (e.g. however, therefore, consequently, nevertheless) usually starts a new sentence. However, sometimes writers separate the two clauses with a semicolon to enable a smoother transition. He had lost his appetite and was steadily losing weight. Therefore, he decided to consult a doctor. Here the sentence beginning with the transitional adverb is separated […]

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Inversion in conditional clauses

December 31, 2013

Had it not rained Contracted negative forms are not possible when we use an inverted word order to talk about an unreal or impossible situation in the past. Had she not helped me I would have been in bad trouble. (NOT Hadn’t she helped me I would have been in bad trouble.) This is actually […]

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Duplicate subjects

December 25, 2013

Duplicate subject is a common mistake made by ESL students. They sometimes use a pronoun as a duplicate subject in a clause that already has a noun as a subject. Remember that each clause can have only one subject. If you have already mentioned the subject by name, it is wrong to use a pronoun […]

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Describing a problem

December 24, 2013

You will have to describe the problem while asking somebody for help. Use There is … to say what the problem is. There is a cat under the bed. There is a problem with my laptop. There is a smell of gas in the kitchen. There are mice in the storeroom. If you don’t have […]

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Common linking words

December 23, 2013

Here is an overview of common linking words in English. To give examples To give examples we can use the following linking expressions: for instance, for example, in particular People often behave stupidly when they are frightened. Take Alice, for instance, … We are not at all happy with the way you handled the situation. […]

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Connecting words: adding information

December 21, 2013

ESL students often fail to connect their sentences and ideas with appropriate connecting words. Although this doesn’t necessarily make their prose grammatically incorrect, it affects the flow of ideas. Good writers use a large number of words and phrases to show relationships between ideas and information. In grammars these linking words are called transitional adverbs […]

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