- SIMPLE PRESENT
- TO DO and TO MAKE
- PRESENT PERFECT
- I WOULD LIKE, I'D LIKE, etc.
- TO HAVE
- THERE IS and THERE ARE
- INTERROGATIVES and QUESTION WORDS
- SIMPLE PRESENT
- CONTINUOUS PRESENT
- PASSIVE and ACTIVE
- SIMPLE PAST and PRESENT PERFECT
- RELATIVE PRONOUNS
- USED TO
- REPORTED SPEECH
- PAST CONDITIONAL
- COMPARATIVE and SUPERLATIVE FORMS of adjectives
The verb ‘to be’ is irregular and has three forms: am, is, are I am – he is – she is – it is – we are – you are – they are
The third person singular or plural can of course be a noun.
- My friend is from London.
- My friends are from London.
The short (or ‘contracted’) forms are: I’m – he’s – she’s – it’s – we’re – you’re – they’re
The short form 's can also be used with nouns.
- My friend’s from London.
The negative of ‘to be’ is formed by adding ‘not’: I am not – he is not – she is not – it is not – we are not – you are not – they are not
Short forms: I’m not – he isn’t – she isn’t – it isn’t – we aren’t – you aren’t – they aren’t
For the interrogative form, the verb goes before the noun or pronoun.
- Are you from Prague?
- Is your friend from London?
- Are they Italian?
- Is Catherine English?
- Are Peter and his wife and children happy?
The modal auxiliary verbs (can, could, must, may, might, shall, should, will, would) have only one form.
There are also short affirmative forms for ‘shall’ ('ll) ‘will’ ('ll) and ‘would’ ('d)
- I’ll go tomorrow.
- They’ll be here later.
- She’d come if she could.
The negative is formed by adding ‘not’: ‘can not’ is written as one word: cannot
The rest are could not, must not, etc.
Short forms: can’t – couldn’t – mustn’t – mightn’t – shan’t – shouldn’t – won’t – wouldn’t
There isn’t a short form for ‘may not’.
For the interrogative form, the verb goes before the noun or pronoun.
- Can you speak English?
- Will John and his wife and friends come?
- May I come in?
All other verbs have two affirmative forms:
- The same as the Infinitive without ‘to’. This is used with the First and Second Person Singular, and the First, Second and Third Person Plural.
- The same form as the infinitive, plus ‘s’ or ‘es’. This form is used in the Third Person Singular
- I live, you live, we live, they live, John and Mary live.
- He lives, John lives, she lives, Mary lives, it lives, this animal lives in Africa.
The negative is formed with the auxiliary DO or DOES (Third Person Singular) and NOT, before the infinitive form of the verb.
- I do not live in London.
- You do not live in London.
- He/she/it does not live in London.
- We do not live in London.
- They do not live in London.
The short forms are DON’T and DOESN’T.
- I don’t live in London.
- You don’t live in London.
- He/she/it doesn’t live in London.
- We don’t live in London.
- They don’t live in London.
DO and DOES are also used for the interrogative. The structure is invariable:
DO/DOES + SUBJECT + INFINITIVE (without ‘to’)
- Do you live here?
- What do you want?
- Where do you and your family live?
- Why do so many people all over the world drink CocaCola?
- Does she like music?
- What does Peter want?
- Where does John live?
- Where does your other brother Paul live?
- What does your friend from Italy think?
It is easy to give orders or instructions in English, because there is only one form of addressing people – YOU. It doesn’t matter whether you are speaking to one person or more than one person. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking to a young person, an old person, a friend or a person you don’t know. For the affirmative imperative, simply use the infinitive (without ‘to’).
- Sit down.
- Come here.
- Listen everybody.
- Tell me your name.
- Open the window.
- Help me!
If you want to be more polite, you can say ‘please’, or use a different construction like ‘Will you sit, please?’ or ‘Could you open the window, please?’ or ‘Would you mind sitting down, please?’ For the negative imperative, simply use DON’T before the infinitive (without ‘to’).
- Don’t sit down.
- Don’t open the window.
- Don’t do that.
- Don’t worry!
In general, TO MAKE means to create something, and TO DO means to perform an action, but sometimes you just need to learn the expression. Here are a few common examples:
- make a phonecall
- make an appointment
- make arrangements
- make a photocopy
- make a cup of tea or coffee
- make a change
- make a mistake
- make a noise
- make a promise
- make a plan
- make money
- do a job
- do the washing
- do the washing up
- do the dishes
- do the shopping
- do a favour
- do an exercise
- do the housework
- do a course
- do a lot of sport
- do justice
The Present Perfect describes a situation in the present. It cannot be used to refer to an action at a specific point in the past.
For example the sentence ‘I have finished the report’ is CORRECT.
This simply means that the report is finished. There is no indication of when I finished it.
The sentence ‘I have finished the report yesterday’ is NOT correct because ‘yesterday’ refers to a specific moment in the past, so we must use the Simple Past: ‘I finished the report yesterday.’
‘I WOULD LIKE’ (or ‘I’D LIKE’) is the conditional form of the verb ‘to like’. Be careful not to confuse this with the simple form.
- Would you like fish? – I am asking if you want fish now.
- Do you like fish? – I am asking if in general you like fish.
- I, you, we, they have or 've
- he, she, it has or 's
- I, you, we, they have not or haven’t
- he, she, it has not or hasn’t
- Have I, you, we, they?
- Has he, she, it?
- I, you, we, they had or 'd
- he, she, it had or 'd
- I, you, we, they had not or hadn’t
- he, she, it had not or hadn’t
- Had I, you, we, they?
- Had he, she, it?
HAVE is used in three different ways:
- as an auxiliary in the Present Perfect and Past Perfect
- to indicate possession
- to refer to other actions which are not exactly possession, for example:
- I’ve finished.
- Have you finished?
- I haven’t finished.
- He’s finished.
- Has he finished?
- He hasn’t finished.
- They’ve arrived.
- John and Mary have arrived.
- I had already arrived before John came.
- I’d already arrived before John came.
- I told him I had not finished.
- I told him I hadn’t finished.
- HAVE can be used without the auxiliaries DO/DOES/DON’T/DOESN’T.
- I have an appointment.
- Have you an appointment?
- He has a big car.
- Has he a problem?
- We haven’t time.
- She hasn’t time.
- This ‘simple’ form is often reinforced with ‘got’ (the past participle
of ‘get’). In this case of course we are technically using a Present Perfect of ‘get’ with ‘have’ as the auxiliary as in point 1) above, so the auxiliaries DO/DOES/DON’T/DOESN’T are not needed.
- I have an appointment. – I’ve got an appointment.
- Have you an appointment? – Have you got an appointment?
- He has a big car. – He’s got a big car.
- Has he a problem? – Has he got a problem?
- We haven’t time. – We haven’t got time.
- She hasn’t time. – She hasn’t got time.
In a familiar style, the ‘have’ is often omitted, especially in questions with ‘you’:
- Sorry. (I’ve) Got to go.
- (Have you) Got any money?
- HAVE for possession can also be used like an ordinary verb, with the
- I have an appointment.
- Do you have an appointment?
- He has a big car.
- Does he have a problem?
- We don’t have time.
- She doesn’t have time.
This usage has generally been considered American English but is spreading increasingly to other parts of the English-speaking world, especially in the Simple Past:
- I had an appointment.
- Did you have an appointment?
- I didn’t have time.
- have a baby
- have a bath
- have a shower
- have fun
- have a good trip
- have an accident
- have a look
- have a break
- have breakfast
- have lunch
- have dinner
- have a drink
- have a cup of tea
- have a good time
Also the ‘causative’ use, i.e. asking or telling somebody to do something for you: They’re going to have their house painted. When was the last time you had the oil changed?
In all these cases HAVE is always used like an ordinary verb with the auxiliaries DO/DOES/DON’T/DOESN’T/DID/DIDN’T:
- When did she have the baby?
- What did you have for breakfast?
- Did you have a good trip?
- Did you have your computer fixed?
- What time do you usually have dinner?
- I don’t normally have lunch at home.
- We didn’t have a very good time.
- He doesn’t have his hair cut very often.
THERE IS (singular) and THERE ARE (plural)
THERE IS, and also the short form THERE’S
THERE ARE has no written short form.
- There’s a tree in the garden.
- There are two trees in the garden.
Note: In a list, the use of singular or plural depends on the first item.
- There’s a book, a pen and a telephone on the table.
- There are two books, a pen and a telephone on the table.
Singular: THERE IS NOT or THERE ISN’T
Plural: THERE ARE NOT or THERE AREN’T
- There isn’t any bread on the table.
- There aren’t any rooms free.
Note: Instead of NOT + ANY you can also use the affirmative with the zero quantifier NO.
- There’s no bread on the table.
- There are no rooms free.
Singular: IS THERE ..?
Plural: ARE THERE ..?
- Is there any bread on the table?
- Are there any rooms free?
|100||one hundred||one hundredth|
|101||one hundred and one||one hundred and first|
|1000||one thousand||one thousandth|
|1001||one thousand and one||one thousand and first|
|1237||one thousand two hundred and thirty-seven||one thousand two hundred and thirty-seventh|
|1000000||one million||one millionth|
- one hundred, one thousand, one million can also be expressed as a hundred, a thousand, a million.
- hundred, thousand and million are invariable, for example ‘two hundred euros’, ‘three thousand cars’, ‘six million inhabitants’. They only take the plural ‘s’ when used as nouns; for example ‘hundreds of people’, ‘thousands of cars’, ‘millions of euros’.
- ZERO can also be expressed as NOUGHT. For example: 0.05 can be pronounced ‘zero point zero five’ or ‘nought point nought five’.
- in telephone numbers each digit is pronounced separately and the letter O is often used instead of ZERO: for example 349609 is three four nine six oh nine.
- in football results NIL is used for ZERO, for example 4-0 is four nil.
- in tennis LOVE is used instead of ZERO: 6-0 is ‘six love’.
- ORDINAL numbers: abbreviated written forms: first – 1st, second – 2nd, third – 3rd, and all others with ‘th’, for example fifteenth – 15th, ninety-sixth – 96th.
- ORDINAL numbers are also used for fractions other than ‘half’ and ‘quarter’, for example ‘two thirds’, ‘three fifths’, and for dates, for example 1st January – ‘the first of January’ or January 1st – ‘January the first’.
- Up to the year 2000, years are pronounced as two separate numbers, for example 1492 – fourteen ninety two, 1941 – nineteen forty-one. 1600, 1700 etc. are pronounced as sixteen hundred, nineteen hundred etc., but for 2000 we say ‘two thousand’ and for 2001, 2002 etc we say ‘two thousand and one, two thousand and two’ etc.
In the English-speaking world most people do not use the 24-hour clock, and prefer to use a.m. and p.m. You can tell the time in either ‘digital’ or ‘traditional’ fashion:
|4 a.m.||It’s four a.m.||It’s four o’clock.|
|4.05||It’s four oh five.||It’s five past four.|
|5.10||It’s five ten.||It’s ten past five.|
|6.15||It’s six fifteen.||It’s quarter past six.|
|7.20||It’s seven twenty.||It’s twenty past seven.|
|8.25||It’s eight twenty-five.||It’s twenty-five past eight.|
|9.30||It’s nine thirty.||It’s half past nine.|
|10.35||It’s ten thirty-five.||It’s twenty-five to eleven.|
|11.40||It’s eleven forty.||It’s twenty to twelve.|
|12.45||It’s twelve forty-five.||It’s quarter to one.|
|13.50||It’s one fifty p.m.||It’s ten to two.|
|14.55||It’s two fifty-five p.m.||It’s five to three.|
|15.00||It’s three p.m.||It’s three o’clock.|
A sentence in which WHO or WHAT or WHICH is the subject of the verb is structurally affirmative and therefore no auxiliary is required.
- He lives here.
- She lives here.
- John lives here.
- Who lives here?
Structurally all these sentences are affirmative, but ’Who lives here?’ is a question because WHO itself is a question word.
- Who did you see? (‘you’ is the subject)
- Who saw you? (‘who’ is the subject)
SHOULD and the negative SHOULDN’T are invariable and are used to indicate moral obligation, advice, or strong recommendations. It is less categorical than MUST. Be careful NOT to pronounce the letter ‘L’.
The Simple Present is used for: Permanent states, repeated actions, daily routines, general truths, timetables (trains, planes etc.) and programmes.
- He works in a bank.
- I go swimming every Friday.
- Mary usually gets up at 8 o’clock.
- The sun rises in the east.
- What time does the flight leave?
- We arrive in London next Friday and leave on Sunday.
The continuous Present is used for: Actions taking place now, actions and intentions that are already planned for the future, and with ‘always’ to indicate irritation at things which happen too often.
- He’s working in Scotland at the moment.
- I’m going swimming tomorrow.
- What time are you leaving tomorrow morning?
- You’re always complaining.
The ACTIVE VOICE is where the subject of a verb carries out the action.
- The judge sent him to prison.
Here ‘the judge’ is the subject and ‘him’ is the DIRECT OBJECT of the verb.
In the PASSIVE VOICE the subject of the verb suffers or receives the action.
- He was sent to prison.
Here ‘he’ is the subject of the verb but is the recipient of the action.
The Passive in English has this structure:
Subject – Correct form of ‘TO BE’ – Past participle – (Agent)
If it is necessary or useful, the ‘agent’ can be mentioned, using ‘by’.
- He was sent to prison by the judge.
An INDIRECT OBJECT can also become the subject of a passive.
- Somebody gave me a book. – I was given a book.
In this case, ‘me’ is the indirect object and becomes the subject. The direct object, ‘a book’, does not become the subject in this case.
We use the Simple Past when we speak about a single or repeated action at a particular time in the past. We use the Present Perfect to speak about a present situation or result of past actions.
For example: ‘He has come’ simply means ‘He is here’. It is impossible to say ‘He has come yesterday’ because ‘yesterday’ refers to the past. So we must say ‘He came yesterday’.
WHO, WHICH, THAT and WHAT can be used as RELATIVE PRONOUNS.
WHO is used only for persons. WHICH is used only for things. THAT can be used for persons and for things.
WHO, WHICH and THAT can be omitted when they are the Object of the relative clause.
- That’s the book (which/that) I read last summer.
- I spoke to a man (who/whom/that) I knew.
Note: The object form ‘WHOM’ is not used much in modern English.
WHAT means ‘the thing which’, ‘that thing which’ or ‘the things which’ etc.
WHOSE is used to replace possessive adjectives.
- He’s a composer whose music is famous everywhere.
The form USED TO describes a repeated action IN THE PAST, which does not happen now, or a past state which does not exist now.
Affirmative: used to
- Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia.
Negative: didn’t use to
- Poland didn’t use to be part of the EU.
Interrogative: did .. use to ..?
- What did people use to do before TV was invented?
Note: Do not confuse USED TO with BE USED TO (be accustomed to) or GET USED TO (become accustomed to), and do not confuse it with the verb TO USE (to employ or utilise).
Direct Speech is the exact words that somebody used when they were speaking. In direct Speech we use quotation marks (“ ”).
- Jack said “I’m English”.
Reported or indirect speech is used when we report somebody’s words. In this case quotation marks are not used. It is always correct to use the conjunction THAT after the verb ‘say’, ‘tell’, etc., but if the sentence is not long and complicated it can be omitted.
- Jack said (that) he was English.
Note: After the verb ‘tell’ you must use an indirect object. If you want to use an indirect object after ‘say’ you must use ‘to’.
- Jack said (that) he was English.
- Jack said to me (that) he was English.
- Jack told me (that) he was English.
The word order in Reported Speech remains the same as in direct speech, but it is often necessary to change the verb form and verb tense, pronouns, possessives, and time expressions in.
- Direct: Jack said: “I’m going to Italy with my boss next week.”
- Indirect: Jack said (that) he was going to Italy with his boss the following week.
- Direct: Mary said to me: “I saw your sister yesterday.”
- Indirect: Mary told me (that) she had seen my sister the day before.
If Reported Speech is used to report a direct question, the result is a statement, not a question, so interrogative word order and the auxiliaries DO, DOES, DID are not used. If the direct question does not begin with a question word like WHO, WHERE, WHAT, WHEN etc., the indirect or reported question begins with IF or WHETHER.
- Direct: They asked me: “What’s your name?”
- Indirect: They asked me what my name was.
- Direct: She said: “Do you understand?”
- Indirect: She asked me if (whether) I understood.
- Direct: “Where do you want to go?” he asked.
- Indirect: He asked me where I wanted to go.
There is no gender in English (masculine, feminine, neuter) so the articles are always the same.
The Indefinite Articles are: ‘A’, before a consonant, for example ‘a book’ and ‘AN’ before a vowel, for example ‘an apple’ or ‘an old book’.
The Definite Article is ‘THE’. It is also the same for singular and plural.
Use ‘A’ or ‘AN’ the first time you talk about something.
- I saw a man with a dog.
Use ‘THE’ if you talk about the same thing again.
- The man was blind but the dog wasn’t.
Use ‘THE’ if there is only one example of something.
- The moon goes round the Earth.
- The River Thames goes through London.
Use ‘THE’ with superlative adjectives.
- The River Danube is the longest river in Europe.
DO NOT USE ‘THE’ if you are talking about something in general.
- Do you like fish?
- Do they use assistive technology?
- Trees are green.
Use ‘THE’ if you are talking about a specific case.
- Do you like the fish in this restaurant?
- Do they use the assistive technology that we installed?
- The trees in my garden are beautiful.
The Past Conditional (or Third conditional) is formed with ‘WOULD HAVE’ or ‘WOULDN’T HAVE’ and a Past Participle, and describes an unreal or imaginary situation in the past.
- I would have accepted the job.
- I wouldn’t have done that.
In the same sentence that contains ‘WOULD HAVE’, you can use ‘IF’ and a verb in the Past Perfect form.
- I would have accepted the job IF THEY HAD OFFERED IT TO ME.
- IF THEY HAD OFFERED ME THE JOB, I would have accepted it.
- Short adjectives: +ER (Comparative) or +EST (Superlative)
- SMALL – SMALLER – SMALLEST
If the short adjective ends in ‘E’: +R or +ST
- NICE – NICER – NICEST
If the short adjective has a short vowel, the final consonant is doubled.
- HOT – HOTTER – HOTTEST
- Short adjectives ending in ‘Y’: ‘Y’ changes to ‘I’, + ER or +EST
- HAPPY – HAPPIER – HAPPIEST
- Long adjectives: MORE + adjective or MOST + adjective
- POPULAR – MORE POPULAR – MOST POPULAR
- Irregular: GOOD – BETTER – BEST; BAD – WORSE – WORST