Incorrect verb forms

December 18, 2013

ESL students often find it difficult to use the correct verb form when combining with another verb. In English, the auxiliaries has, have and had are always used with past participle forms. Do, does and did are always used with infinitives. The primary auxiliary be (is, am, are, was and were) can be used with […]

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Commonly confused time expressions

December 15, 2013

These time expressions are often confused. We use during to say when something happens. We use for to say how long something lasts. I was ill for two weeks during May. Here during shows when the event occurred and for shows how long it lasted. I have been working for this company for five years. […]

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Using during

December 14, 2013

We use during to talk about something that happens at a certain point within a period of time. I met Charles during my stay in France. (It happened at one point within the period of time indicated by the phrase ‘my stay in France’.) During can also be used to talk about an action or […]

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Confusing time expressions

December 11, 2013

Time expressions show whether an action happened in the past or the present. For example, when you use the phrase ‘two years ago’, you are obviously referring to the past. On the other hand, if you say ‘next week’, the reference is to the future. You have to use a past tense with a time […]

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Grammar structures used to express disappointment

December 10, 2013

In English, we can express our disappointment in very many ways. Of course, the phrases we use in any given context largely depend upon the relationship we have with the listener. For example, some phrases that are considered quite acceptable while speaking with your friends are not exactly appropriate for the workplace. This is something […]

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Simple future and going to

December 4, 2013

We use many different tense forms to talk about future. In many cases, nearly all of these forms are possible with very similar meanings. However, in some cases, there is a difference of meaning. Let me explain. Study the example given below. I will send the payment tomorrow. (Simple future) I am sending the payment […]

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Common discourse markers

December 2, 2013

Discourse markers are essentially linking words. They show how one piece of conversation is connected to another piece of conversation. While some discourse markers are only used in informal language, others are very formal and fit for academic contexts. There are quite a few discourse markers in English. Here, you will find some of the […]

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Reporting yes/no questions

December 1, 2013

Yes/no questions expect yes or no as the answer. We use if or whether to report yes/no questions. Direct: ‘Will you do this?’ Indirect: She asked me if I would do that. Direct: ‘Are you going to the market?’ Indirect: She asked me if I was going to the market. Direct: Will you help me? […]

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Using as…as

November 22, 2013

The structure as…as is used to compare things that are of similar proportion. In this case the first as acts as an adverb modifying the adjective or adverb that goes after it. The second as can act as a preposition or conjunction. If it is used as a preposition, it will be followed by a […]

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Yet, but, so, and hence

November 21, 2013

Yet and but can both be used as conjunctions. In this case, they have very similar meanings. Note that yet leaves a greater impact on the reader/listener because it indicates surprise. Compare: She was angry, yet she said nothing. She was angry, but she said nothing. Here the first statement suggests that the speaker was […]

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