Grammar: the rules

1. the noun group 3. the verb group 4. sentence structure
1.1.the plural of nouns 3.1. to be and to have 4.1. sentence structure
1.2.articles 3.2. the present tenses 4.2. question words
1.3.count and uncount nouns 3.3. present simple vs. pr.contin. 4.3. question tags
1.4.pronouns 3.4. past simple of regular verbs 4.4. negative sentences
1.5.possessive -'s 3.5. past simple of irregular verbs 4.5. short answers
1.6.some, any and no 3.6. present perfect simple 4.6. transitivity
1.7.most, all, none, and some 3.7. present perfect vs. past simple 4.7. reported speech
1.8.this, that, these and those 3.8. past continuous 4.8. conjunctions
1.9.quantifiers:a lot, a few, much... 3.9. past simple vs. past contin. 4.9. relative clauses
1.10.either, neither, both 3.10. present perfect continuous 4.10. infinitive of purpose
1.11.adjectives 3.11.past perfect 5. additional notes
1.12.comparisons 3.12. the future 5.1. make, do, have or get?
2. adverbials 3.13. conditionals 5.2. to say or to tell?
2.1. types 3.14. the imperative 5.3. I like or I would like?
2.2. position 3.15. modal auxiliary verbs 5.4. used to
2.3. adverbs 3.16. phrasal verbs 5.5. I had better do something
2.4. prepositions 3.17. verb patterns 5.6. to have something done
  3.18. the passive 5.7. hypothesising


1. The noun group

1.1. the plural of nouns


1.1.1. Most nouns: + 's': boy - boys, girl - girls, parent - parents

1.1.2. Nouns ending in consonant + y:  'ies': family - families, country - countries, secretary - secretaries

1.1.3. Nouns ending in -ch, -sh, -s or -x: + 'es': address - addresses; watch - watches

1.1.4. irregular: child - children; man - men; woman - women; penny - pence; life - lives; leaf - leaves; foot - feet; tooth - teeth; mouse - mice; potato - potatoes; hero - heroes, tomato - tomatoes, sheep - sheep, fish - fish
(and so on...)

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1.2. articles

General rule:

Do you mind if I open the window? (the listener knows which window)
We've got a cat and a dog. The dog's name is Pete. (we know which dog because of the sentence before)
I would like to have a dog (='it doesn't matter which one')
She lives in a small flat somewhere in Paris (=I don't know which flat)
I am a student
He goes to the cinema once a week.

1.2.1. 'A' and 'An'

a. You only use 'a' or 'an' with singular count nouns. 'A' and 'an' are called the indefinite article.
I got a postcard from Susan
He was eating an apple.

Notes:- you use 'a' in front of a word that begins with a consonant sound:
a piece, a camera, a university, a European language
- you use 'an' in front of a word that begins with a vowel sound
an exercise, an idea, an honest man, …

b. You use 'a' or 'an' when you are talking about a person or thing for the first time.
She picked up a book.
A colleague and I got some money to do research on rats.

Note that the second time you refer to the same person or thing, you use 'the':
She picked up a book …… The book was very interesting.

c. After the verb 'be' or another link verb, you can use 'a' or 'an' with an adjective and a noun to give more information about something or someone: It was a really beautiful house.

d. You use 'a' or 'an' after the verb 'be' when you're saying what someone is or what job they have.
He became a school teacher. I am a nurse

e. You can use 'a' or 'an' to mean 'one' with some numbers. You can use 'a' or 'an' with nouns that refer to whole numbers, fractions, money, weights or measures.
A hundred, a quarter, a pound, a kilo, a thousand, a half, a dollar, …

f. You do not use 'a' or 'an' with uncount nouns or plural nouns: I love dogs. Many adults don't listen to children. Do you want tea or coffee?
Note: if you do not use a determiner with a plural count noun, you are often making a general statement about people or things of that type. For example if you say "I love dogs" you mean all dogs.( However, if you say "There are eggs in the kitchen" you mean there are some eggs).

1.2.2. Main uses of 'the'

a. 'The' is called the definite article, and is the most common determiner. You use 'the' when the person you're talking to knows which person or thing you mean. You can use 'the' in front of any noun, whether it is a singular count noun, an uncount noun, or a plural count noun.
She dropped the can
The girls were not at home.

b. You use 'the' with a noun, when you are referring back to someone or something that has already been mentioned: I called for a waiter … The waiter with a moustache came.
I've bought a house in Wales…. The house is in an agricultural area

c. You use 'the' with a noun and a qualifier, such as a prepositional phrase or a relative clause, when you are specifying which person or thing you're talking about: The book that I bought cost £3

d. You use 'the' with a noun when you are referring to something of which there is only one in the world: They all sat in the sun.
The Queen of England arrived early this morning at Deli airport.

You also use 'the' when you are referring to something of which there is only one in a particular place.
Mrs Robertson told him that the church had been bombed.
He decided to put some words on the blackboard.

e. You can use 'the' with a singular count noun when you want to make a general statement about all things of that type. For example, if you say The whale is the largest mammal in the world, you mean all whales, not one particular whale.

f. You can use 'the' with a singular count noun when you are referring to a system or service. For example, you can use 'the phone' to refer to a telephone system, and 'the bus' to refer to a bus service.
How long does it take on the train?

g. You can use 'the' with the name of a musical instrument when you're talking about someone's ability to play the instrument: You play the guitar, I see. Geoff plays the piano very well.

1.2.3. Other uses of 'the':

a. Proper nouns: You do not normally use 'the' with proper nouns that are people's names. However, if you're talking about a family, you can say 'the Browns'.
You use 'the' with the names of some organisations, buildings, newspapers, and works of arts: the United Nations, the Taj Mahal, the Times, the Mona Lisa …

b. geographical places
1. You use 'the' with some proper nouns referring to geographical places, especially areas of water:
the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean …
Exceptions: names of lakes, such as Lake Tahoe, Lake Geneva, …
2. You use 'the' with countries whose names include words such as 'kingdom', 'republic', 'union, or 'state:
the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union…
You use 'the' with countries that have plural nouns as their names:
the Netherlands, the Philippines …
Note: you do not use 'the' with countries that have singular nouns as their names, such as 'China', 'Turkey', or 'Italy'.
3. you use 'the' with names of mountain ranges and groups of islands:
the Himalayas, the Canaries …
Note: you do not use 'the' with names of individual mountains such as Everest, or the names of individual islands such as Sicily
4. You use 'the' with regions of the world, or regions of a country that include 'north', 'south', 'east' or 'west':
the Middle East, the north of England
Exceptions: North America, South-East Asia, East Anglia, …
Note: you do not use 'the' with 'northern', 'southern', 'eastern' or 'western' and a singular name:
northern England, western Africa
5. You do not use 'the' with continents, cities, streets or addresses:
Asia, London, Oxford Street…

c. with adjectives:
You use 'the' with adjectives such as 'rich', 'poor', 'young', 'old' and 'unemployed' to talk about a general group of people
Only the rich could afford this firm's products
In the cities the poor are as badly off as they were in the villages.

d. with superlatives:
he was the youngest
It was the most exciting summer of my life.

1.2.4. Expressions without articles:

If you are speaking in general, you can leave the definite article out in front of…
1. nouns in the plural form: Dogs are very good at pulling sledges
2. abstract nouns: Time passes quickly
3. names of languages: We learn English at school
4. stuff names: Wood and glass are used to make windows
5. names of meals: I'll see you after dinner
6. names of colours: Red does not go with pink
7. names of seasons: Winter is the best time for reading
8. names of feasts: I hope to see you at Christmas
Note: when a noun is used in a particular, limited meaning, you must use the article:
The summer of last year was warm
The dogs of my neighbours are very dangerous
Note also the following expressions, which don't take the article either: at home, to go home, in bed, at school, at work,...

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1.3.count and uncount nouns

Count nouns
- Count nouns are the name of things we can count: a car, one problem, two trees, three hundred pounds...
- We can use a/an with count nouns.
- Count nouns have plurals
Examples: Would you like a sandwich?
I like those books.

Uncount nouns
- Uncount nouns are the name of things you can't count: milk, air, water, coffee, salt, music, money, furniture, news, information, advice, hair, bread, weather, English, medicine...
- Uncount nouns cannot be used with a/an. We often use some or any.
- they have no plural
Would you like some milk?
I like that music.
There is a lot of money in that drawer.
Here is the news.
Could you give me some information?
We're having terrible weather.
I'm going to give you some advice .
I'm going to give you a piece of advice

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1.4. pronouns

subject pronouns

objects pronouns

possessive adjectives

possessive pronouns



He likes me, but I don't like him.
They had invited us to a party
Could you give me some water?
That's my bicycle over there!
Ann and her husband live in Stroke.
John and his wife both play tennis.
Whose are these shoes? Are they yours?
Is this your coat? No, It's not mine.
Ask John, I think it's his

reflexive pronouns:


We use "myself", "yourself" etc. to refer to the subject:
Jenny made herself a cup of coffee (=Jenny made a cup of coffee for herself)
Be careful. You might hurt yourself.
They enjoyed themselves at the concert.

We also use a reflexive pronoun to emphasise that the subject did the action, not another person
He built the whole house himself. (=He built it alone, nobody helped him...)

We use "each other" like this:
Tom and Sue were talking to each other. (=Tom was talking to Sue, and Sue was talking to Tom)
We like each other (=I like him and he likes me)

Compare "themselves" and "each other"
Alan and Ruth took these photographs themselves. (= They took them, not another person)
Alan and Ruth took these photographs of each other. (= Alan took a photograph of Ruth, and Ruth took one of Alan)

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1.5. possessive -'s

Singular: + 's.
Plural: + s'
Sam is Judy's boyfriend
That's my parents' house
Jane is Bill and Dick's sister.

Note: If the noun is in the plural form but doesn't end in –s, we also add 's
The children's room

1.5.2. use
a) In general, you use the possessive 's with names of people, groups and institutions
my brother's room; my parents' attitude, the cat's milk; the party's doctrine; America's 650,000 Indians, the world's future; ...
BUT: the door of the car
b). You can also use the possessive 's in a certain number of expressions related to a date, a duration or a distance: a ten minutes' walk; two weeks' delay; yesterday's meeting; today's newspapers

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1.6. some, any and no.

1.6.1. General rule: we use some in affirmative sentences, and any in questions and negative sentences

Affirmative Question Negative

There's some bread on the table
I've got some eggs.

Is there any bread on the table?
Have you got any eggs?

There isn't any bread on the table = There's no bread on the table
I haven't got any eggs.

1.6.2. Some in questions: when we offer things or ask for things, we usually use some in question:
Would you like some coffee?
Could you give me some sugar?

1.6.3. No = not any:
I'm sorry, there's no more wine = I'm sorry, there isn't any more wine
Note: . "No" and "not" any are negatives, but "any" is not negative:
I've got no friends = I haven't got any friends

1.6.4. Somebody, anything, etc.




somebody / someone
anybody / anyone
everybody / everyone
nobody / no one



Somebody telephoned when you were out.
Would you like something to drink?
Have you got anything to read?
Have you seen my glasses anywhere?
I didn't understand anything.
'What are you doing?' 'Nothing
1° "No" and "not any" are negatives, but any is not negative:
I've got no friends= I haven't got any friends
There is nothing to add =There isn't anything to add

2° "Everybody", "everything", "nobody" and "nothing" are singular
Everybody was late
Is everything all right?
Nothing was ready when I arrived.

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1.7. Most, all, none, some...

1.7.1. We use 'some/all/most... + noun' to talk about things in general:
She thinks that all sports are boring (=She thinks that every sport is boring)
Most cities have a lot of shops (=Almost every city has a lot of shops)
In some countries, life is very hard
Note: we can also use all with 'morning', 'week', 'afternoon', 'year' ...
They've been working all day
I waited for the call all morning

1.7.2. We use 'all/most/none/some +of + the/my/her...+noun' to talk about particular things or people:
He spent all of his money in Las Vegas.
Most of my friends are interested in sports.
I knew some of the people at the party.
None of the shops were open.
Note: we can leave "of" after "all", but not after "some", "none" or "mos"t.
He spent all his money

1.7.3. We can use 'all/most/some/none + of + it/them' when we have already mentioned the noun that it or them refers to:
It was delicious food, but I couldn't eat all of it. (it=the food)
I phoned a number of hotels but most of them were full. (them = the hotels)
That cake looks nice. Can I have some of it? (it = the cake)

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1.8. this, that, these and those.

  singular plural
close this these
far that those

This cheese is terrible
These tomatoes are very nice
How much is that sweater over there?
I like those ear-rings that she's wearing.

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1.9.. Quantifiers: much, many, enough, more, a lot, a little, a few...

With uncountable nouns With plurals
(not) much
how much?
too much
a lot of
a little
(not) many
how many?
too many
a lot of
a few

There isn't much rain in the summer
Are there many hotels in the town?
How much money do you want?
How many States are there in the USA?
I've got too much work.
You've given me too many chips
Could I have a little more bread?

I'm afraid there are no more potatoes
Have you got enough bread?
There aren't enough buses from our village.
There is a lot of money in that drawer.
She's got a lot of problems
I have a little money, not much.
Can you wait for a few minutes, John?

Note: we can also use much, more, enough, a lot ... with a verb:
You should work more, if you want to succeed.
I've had enough! Get out!
You look tired. I think you work too much

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1.10. either, neither, both.

1. We use "both", "either" and" neither" to talk about two things or people:
- This black T-shirt is nice / This white T-shirt is nice: Both the black (T-shirt) and the white T-shirt are nice.
or: Both T-shirts are nice
- Jeff would like to visit India / Jeff would like to visit Australia: Jeff would like to visit either India or Australia. Or: Jeff would like to visit either country
Note: we can also use a negative verb with either: Jeff hasn't been to either country
- The black jacket didn't fit her / The white jacket didn't fit her: Neither the black (jacket) nor the white jacket fitted her. or: Neither jacket fitted her

2. we can also use "both", "neither" and "either" like this:
- both of them
- either of my houses
- neither of these
Both of these suitcases are heavy
I haven't seen either of the films
Neither of his sisters was/were there
He has two cars, but neither of them works.

3. We can use 'either... or' with 2 clauses: Either you come in, or you stay out!

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1.11. Adjectives

1.11.1. Characteristics of adjectives: never put an adjective into a plural form
Mary's eyes are green
You've got big ears !

There are two types of adjectives: the attributive adjective, and the predicative adjective (see 'position of the adjective')

1.11.3. Position of adjectives:
- When used as an attribute, the adjective is placed before nouns:
Mary has got green eyes.
London is a very big city

- The predicative adjective is placed after "be", "become" ...
Jane is pretty.
My daughters are very tall.

Order of different adjectives:

deter-miner value size age shape colour origin material compound noun
two lovely       black   leather   boots
a priceless   19th century     Impressionist     painting
their   huge   circular       swimming pool
my           Swedish wooden salad bowl
the dirty   old       metal garden seat
one   tiny   L-shaped       utility room
his charming       white Tudor     cottage

1.11.4. Adjective + preposition

a) When you use an adjective after a link verb, you can often use the adjective on its own or followed by a prepositional phrase:
He was afraid.
He was afraid of his enemies.

b) Some adjectives cannot be used alone after a link verb. They must be followed by a particular preposition:
I'm used to warm weather.
He's always been terribly fond of you.
I was unaware of that awful situation

c) Some adjectives can be used alone or used with different prepositions:
It was rude of him to leave so suddenly.
She was rude to him for no reason.
She was still angry about his answer (to specify a thing)
They're getting pretty angry with him. (to specify a person)

Here follow some examples of adjectives + preposition
- What are you so angry about?
- I'm not ashamed of what I did. In fact, I'm quite proud of it.
- I'm terribly scared of bats.
- 'Did you know they were married?' 'No, I wasn't aware of that.
- You get bored (fed up) with doing the same thing every day.
- I'm sure you are (in)capable of passing your exams.
- The city centre was crowded with people
- The film was quite different from (to) what I expected.
- Were you disappointed with your results?
- Are you excited about going on holiday next week?
- The Italian city of Florence is famous for its paintings.
- Mary is very fond of animals. She has three cats and four dogs.
- The letter I wrote was full of mistakes.
- They were furious with me for not inviting them to the party.
- I'm not very good at repairing things.(+ better at...)
- I'm really hopeless at singing.
- I wasn't impressed by / with the film.
- Are you interested in architecture?
- Why are you always so jealous of other people?
- We stayed at home because Ann wasn't very keen on going out in the rain.
- Linda is married / engaged to an American.
- He's always been very nice to my grand-mother. (same construction with kind, generous, mean,, rude...)
- Thank you. It was very nice of you to help me. (same construction with kind, generous, mean, intelligent, stupid, clever, rude, sensible ....)
- Who was responsible for all that noise last night?
- 'Are you afraid of dogs?' 'Yes, I'm terrified of them.
- I'm a bit short of money. Can you lend me some?
- Your writing is similar to mine.
- I'm sorry about the noise last night.
- I'm sorry for shouting at you yesterday.
- I feel sorry for George. He has lost all his friends.
- Everybody was surprised at / by the news.
- He didn't trust me. He was suspicious of my intention.
- Come on, let's go! I'm tired of waiting
- Are you worried about him?

1.11.5. Cardinal and ordinal numbers.

Cardinal numbers
Ordinal numbers


a hundred
two hundred
a hundred and one
two hundred and ten
a thousand
three thousand
a million







13th June: 'the thirteenth of June'
1997: Nineteen ninety-seven.
You write … Tuesday, 23rd March 1985
You say…Tuesday, the twenty-third of March, nineteen eighty-five.

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1.12. Comparison

1.12.1. Comparative of superiority and superlative adjectives:

a) if the adjective is made of one syllable:
- comparative: adjective + er.
Examples: My list is shorter than yours.
Ann is taller than Suzy
- superlative: adjectibe + est. Example: John is the youngest student in the class.
1°/ if the adjective ens in -e, you add -r / -st. Example: This is the finest day of the month.
2° if the adjective ends in "consonant + vowel + consonant", you double the last consonant.
Examples: That book seems bigger than the last one we had to read.
Yesterday was the hottest day of the year.

3°/ some adjectives have got irregular comparative and superlative forms:

good - better - the best
bad - worse - the worst
far - farther / further - the farthest / the furthest
a little - less - the least
a lot/much/many- more - the most

b) if the adjective is made of more than one syllable:
- comparative: more + adjective.
Examples: That exercise seems more complete than the first one.
More expensive hotels are usually more comfortable than cheaper ones.
- superlative: the most + adjective. Examples: Judy is the most intelligent girl of that group.
That was the most boring film I've ever seen.
1°/If the adjective ends in "-y", we remove the "y" and add "-ier".
Example: This exam was easier than I expected.
Those were the happiest years of my life.

2°/ Note the structure 'the ... the ...' (with two comparatives) to say that one thing depends on another thing:
Examples: The warmer the weather, the better I feel.
The earlier we leave, the sooner we arrive.
The more you have, the more you want.
The more electricity you use, the higher your bill will be.

1.12.2. Comparison: as ... as…

a) We use" as + adjective + as" to say that two things or people are the same in some way:
You're as old as me. (= We are the same age)
The chair is as expensive as the table.
Jim didn't do as well in his exam as he had hoped.
Let's walk. It's just as quick as taking the bus.
1°. We say 'the same (...) as':
Ann's salary is the same as mine.
2°. After 'than' and 'as', it is more usual to say me/him/her/them ... when there' s no verb:
You are taller than I am  You are taller than me.
I can run as fast as he can  I can run as fast as him.

1.12.3. Comparison: less, fewer, …

We use 'less' before an adjective to stress the inferiority of something compared to something else
Life is less expensive in England than in the USA
But the structure 'not so/as … as' is also often used:
It's not so cold as yesterday
I don't walk as fast as you.
Note: Before a singular noun, we use 'less'; before a plural, 'fewer'
I've got fewer friends than my sister
He earns less money than he used to

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2. adverbials


2.1. main point

Adverbials are usually adverbs, adverb phrases, noun phrases or prepositional phrases.
Sit there quietly, and listen to this music. (adverb)
He did not play well enough to win. (adverb phrase)
The children are playing in the park. (prepositional phrase)
Come and see me next week. (noun phrase)

2.2. types of adverbials

- You use an adverbial of manner to describe the way in which something happens or is done:
They looked angrily at each other.
She listened with great patience as she told his story.

- You use an adverbial of place to say where something happens:
She lives in London.
Nobody can come near a crime scene.

- You use an adverbial of time to say when something happens:
He was born on 3rd April 1925.
She’ll be here soon.

2.3. position and order of adverbials:

- you normally put adverbials of manner, place, and time after the main verb.
She sang beautifully
The car broke down two days ago.

If the verb has an object, you put the adverbial after the object:
Thomas made his decision immediately.
He took the glasses to the kitchen.

- If you are using more than one of these adverbials in a clause, the usual order is manner, then place, then time.
They were sitting quite happily in the car. (manner, place)
She spoke at the village hall last night. (place, time)
- You usually put adverbials of frequency, probability and duration in front of the main verb. A few adverbs of degree also come in front of the main verb:
She occasionally comes to my house. (frequency)
You have very probably heard the news by now. (probability)
She really enjoyed the party. (adverb of degree)

2.4. Adverbs

2.4.1. Adjectives and adverbs

We use adjectives before nouns and after the verb ‘to be’.
We use adverbs to give more information about verbs and adjectives.
You’ve got a nice face (adj.), and You sing nicely. (adv.)
It’s terrible. (adj.), and It’s terribly cold. (adv.)

2.4.2. Spelling of -ly adverbs:


Most words: + ly
careful, extreme, kind
carefully, extremely, kindly
Adjectives ending in -y: -ily
happy, angry
happily, angrily
Adjectives ending in -ble: -bly

2.4.3. Position of adverbs:

Don’t put adverbs between the verb and the object.
She speaks English well.
I opened the letter carefully.
I never read science fiction

2.4.4. Frequency adverbs: use and position

How often do you go to the cinema?
Do you ever go to the opera?

I always come here on Sunday mornings.
(very) often; (quite) often; usually; sometimes; occasionally; hardly ever; seldom; rarely; never

NOTE: These adverbs come after am / are / is / was / were / will / can.... E.g.: I am often late.

I come here... every day / every three days / once a day / twice a week / three times a year.

2.4.5. Adverbs of degree

I’m not at all tired; not very tired; a bit; quite; very; extremely

2. 4.6. Comparative and superlative adverbs

We usually make comparative and superlative adverbs with "more" and "most":
Could you speak more slowly, please?
She sings most beautifully.

Exceptions: fast / faster / fastest: She can run faster than me.
well / better / best: I speak English better than my father.

2.5. Prepositions


2.5.1. Talking about place:

It’s on the table. It’s under your chair. It’s in the fridge. It’s near the door
in the living room; in a small flat; on the second floor; at 53 Park Street
in Park Street; in London; in England
He lived in Cambridge
He studied at Cambridge university
‘Where are you from?’ ‘I’m from Ireland’
He arrived in London. He arrived at the station. He’s at the supermarket
at the doctor’s; at the bus stop; at work; at school; at lunch
in bed; on his way to work
It’s next to the bar / opposite the station
He’s standing in front of the cinema
The dog is behind the tree.
The umbrella is between the sofa and the piano.
Go straight on for 400 metres and it’s on the right.
He gets into his car and leaves.
She got out of the car and went into the bank

No preposition: I want to go home

2.5.2. Talking about time

I’ll see you at ten o’clock
on Thursday
on June 22nd
at the weekend
in the morning
I’ll see you in 3 days (=3 days from now)
We go skiing every year for two weeks. I’ve been here for six weeks
since Christmas.
I work from Monday to Friday.
She only studies before exams.
I’m free after six o’clock..
It’s half past nine.
It’s five to ten.

No preposition:What time do you usually get up?
I’ll see you this afternoon
I’ll see you next week.

2. 5.3. Other uses of prepositions:

Here is a letter for you. the man with a beard.
My sister looks like me. We are all young except Joe.
It’s the highest mountain in the world. We went to Spain on holiday
We go to school by bus / car / train / plane... Did you pay by cheque or (in) cash?
BUT: I always go to school on foot Look! That house is on fire.
Have you ever been in love with anyone? What did you have for lunch ?
In my opinion the film wasn’t very good.
Have you read any books by Agatha Christie?
We hadn’t arranged to meet. we met by chance / accident
I’ve never met her, but I’ve spoken to her on the phone.
I didn’t watch the match on television. I listened to it on the radio.
I’ve put on a lot of weight. I’ll have to go on a diet.
There are no trains today. The railway workers are on strike.
Tom was away at the moment. He was on holiday.
She always goes for a walk with her dog in the morning.


3. The verb group

3.1. special verbs: "to be" and "to have"

3.1.1. to be

Present tense

I          am        (I'm)
You     are       (you're)
He       is         (he's)
She      is         (she's)
It         is         (it's)
We      are       (we're)
You     are       (you're)
They    are       (they're)

Am      I?
Are      you?
Is         he?
Is         she?
Is         it?
Are      we?
Are      you?
Are      they?

I          am       not       (I’m not)
You     are       not       (you aren’t)
He       is         not       (he isn't)
She      is         not       (she isn't)
It         is         not       (it isn't)
We      are       not       (we aren't)
You     are       not       (you aren't)
They    are       not       (they aren't)

I'm sixteen
'Are you English?'  'Yes, I am'
Her name's Anne
Is Susan an engineer?   Yes, she is.
Are John and his father doctors?
'You're Canadian, aren't you?'   'Yes, that's right'

Past tense

I                      was
You                 were
he / it / she /    was
we                   were
you                  were
they                 were

was      I?
were    you?
was      she/he/it?
were    we?
were    you?
were    they?

I                      was not           (wasn't)
you                  were not          (weren't)
he/she/it          was not           (wasn't)
we                   were not          (weren't)
you                  were not          (weren't)
they                 were not          (weren't)

'When you were a small child, were you happy?'
'Yes, I was'.    'No, I wasn't.'   'I was quite happy'
'Were your parents poor?'
'We weren't poor, but we weren't rich.'
'Life wasn't hard, but white people were not always kind to me.'

Note: There is / there are

present simple

there is (there's)
there are ( -- )

is there?
are there?

there is not (isn't)
there are not (aren't)

past simple

there was
there were

was there?
were there?

there was not (wasn't)
there were not (weren't)

There's a big table in my kitchen
Is there any milk in the fridge?
Yes, there is. / No, there isn't.
Are there any oranges?
Yes, there are./ No, there aren't. / Yes, there's one.
There was some coffee on the table.
There wasn't any ice in her glass.
There are two chairs in the hall.
There aren't enough eggs.
There weren't enough potatoes.

3.1.2. to have

Present simple

I          have
You     have
He       has
She      has
It         has
We      have
You     have
They    have

do        I          have?
do        you      have?
does    he        have?
does    she       have?
does    it          have?
do        we       have?
do        you      have?
do        they     have?

I          do not  (don't)            have
you      do not  (don't)            have
he        does not (doesn't)       have
she       does not (doesn’t)      have
it          does not (doesn’t)      have
we       do not  (don't)            have
you      do not  (don't)            have
they     do not  (don't)            have

Past simple

I          had
You     had
He       had
She      had
It         had
We      had
You     had
They    had

Did      I          have?
Did      you      have?
Did      he        have?
Did      she       have?
Did      it          have?
Did      we       have?
Did      you      have?
Did      they     have?

I          did not (didn't)           have
You     did not (didn't)           have
He       did not (didn't)           have
She      did not (didn’t)          have
It         did not (didn’t)          have
We      did not (didn't)           have
You     did not (didn't)           have
They    did not (didn't)           have

When she was young, she had long fair hair.
We didn't have  a car when I was a child.
We had a wonderful holiday last summer.
What time did you have breakfast this morning?

The tables above are only correct if the verb "to have" has the meaning "possess" or "take". If "have" is an auxiliary, it has the same negative and interrogative form as "have got", in the table below.

‘have got’ is used to talk about possession and relationships.

I          have got (I’ve got)
You     have got (You’ve got)
He       has got (He's got)
She      has got (She’s got)
It         has got (It’s got)
We      have got (We’ve got)
You     have got (You’ve got)
They    have got (They’ve got)

Have   I          got?
Have   you      got?
Has      he        got?
Has      she       got?
Has      he        got?
Have   we       got?
Have   you      got?
Have   they     got?

I          have not(haven't)        got
You     have not (haven't)       got
He       has not (hasn't)           got
She      has not (hasn’t)           got
It         has not (hasn’t)           got
We      have not (haven't)       got
You     have not (haven't)       got
They    have not (haven't)       got

You've got beautiful eyes.
'Have you got any sisters or brothers?'
'Yes, I have. I've got two sisters.'      'No, I haven't.'
'Has your mother  got  any sisters?' 'Yes, she has. She's got two.'   No, she hasn't.'
We've got a new car.'
I haven't got any money.

the past tense of ‘have got’ is not so often used.

3.1.3. to have or to be?

When Lucy is hungry, she has bread and cheese.
When I'm thirsty, I have a glass of orange juice.
When I'm dirty, I have a bath.
What colour is your car?
What size are your shoes?

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3.2. The present tenses

3.2.1. present simple

I live
You live
He / she / it lives
We live
You live
They live
Do I live?
Do you live?
Does he / she / it live?
Do we live?
Do you live?
Do they live?
I do not (don’t) live
You do not (don’t) live
He / she / it does not(doesn’t) live
We do not (don’t) live
You do not (don’t) live
They do not (don’t) live

'I live in Curzon Street.' 'Oh? I do, too.' / ‘So do I’
He loves her.
'Do you like orange juice?' 'Yes, I do.'
'What time does Karen get up? ' 'Half past seven'
'Does she go to work by car?' 'Yes, she does.' / 'No, she doesn't.'
'Do Sam and Virginia live near you?' 'No, they don't'

Spelling of he / she / it forms

1. Most verbs +s: get  gets, play  plays, live  lives

2. with verbs ending in consonant + '-y', the ending becomes 'ies': try  tries, marry  marries

3. If the verb ends in -ch, -sh, or -s, you add "es": watch  watches, wash  washes, pass  passes

4. Irregular: have  has, do  does, go  goes

3.2. 2. Present continuous

I am (I'm) eating
You are (you're) eating
He is (he's) eating
She is (she’s) eating
It is (it’s) eating
We are (we're) eating
You are (you're) eating
They are (they're) eating
Am I eating?
Are you eating?
Is he eating?
Is she eating?
Is it eating?
Are we eating?
Are you eating?
Are they eating?
I am not (I’m not) eating
you are not (you aren't) eating
he is not (isn't) eating
She is not (isn’t) eating
It is not (isn’t) eating
we are not (we aren't) eating
you are not (you aren't) eating
they are not (aren't) eating

I 'm looking for a blue sweater.
Some people are dancing.
What is the woman in the red dress doing?
'Are George and Tom wearing their blue jackets?'
'Yes, they are' / 'No, they aren't.'
I 'm not working today.'

Note: some verbs are not usually used in the progressive form: believe, understand, know, want, need, prefer, like, love, hate, belong, see, hear, realise, suppose, mean, remember, forget, seem, have (when the meaning is ‘possess’) and think (when the meaning is ‘believe’)
Do you believe in ghosts?
He doesn’t understand
What do you think Tom will do?
(= what do you believe he will do?)
BUT What are you thinking about?
I have a car (=I possess a car)
BUT: I can’t answer the phone for the moment, I’m having a bath.

Spelling of -ing forms

1. Most verbs: + ing. singsinging, eateating

2. Verbs ending in -e: makemaking, writewriting

3. Short verbs ending in 'consonant + vowel + consonant': you must double the last consonant.
stopstopping, sitsitting, runrunning

4. Verbs ending in -ie: lielying, diedying

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3.3. present simple or present continuous?

a). We use the simple present to talk about:
- things that are true all the time: The earth goes round the sun
Water boils at 100° Celsius.
- things that happen repeatedly (often, sometimes, usually...): I usually study from five to seven o'clock

b). we use the present continuous to talk about:
- things that are happening now, these days, ...: The water is boiling: I'll make coffee.
Look, Helen 's wearing a lovely red dress.
- plans for the future: We 're going to Ann and Peter's for Christmas.
What are you doing tomorrow?

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3.4. simple past of regular verbs:

I worked
You worked
He worked
She worked
It worked
We worked
You worked
They worked
Did I work?
Did you work?
Did he work?
Did she work?
Did it work?
Did we work?
Did you work?
Did they work?
I did not (didn’t) work
You did not (didn’t) work
He did not (didn’t) work
She did not (didn’t) work
It did not(didn’t) work
We did not (didn’t) work
You did not (didn’t) work
They did not (didn’t) work

When Angela was younger, she hated school.
‘Did your family have a television when you were a child?’ ‘No, we didn’t.’
‘Did you like school when you were a child?’ ‘Yes, I did.’
I didn’t like cheese when I was a child, but I do now.

2.4.2. Spelling of regular past tenses:

- Most regular verbs: + ed.
work  worked, start  started, play  played

- Verbs ending in - e: + d.
hate  hated, love  loved

- one syllable verbs ending in cons.+ vowel + cons.: we double the last consonant
stop  stopped, rob  robbed

- more than one syllable verb: if the stress falls on the last syllable, we double the last consonant:
permit  permitted, prefer  preferred

- Verbs ending in consonant + y :- ied
study  studied, carry  carried, hurry  hurried

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3.5. simple past of irregular verbs:

Download the list of irregular verbs:


3.6. The Present Perfect Simple:

‘have’ + past participle
I have (I've) worked
You have (you've) worked
He has (he's) worked
She has (she’s) worked
It has (it’s) worked
We have (we've) worked
You have (you've) worked
They have (they've) worked
Have I worked?
Have you worked?
Has he worked?
Has she worked?
Has it worked?
Have we worked?
Have you worked?
Have they worked?
I have not (haven't) worked
You have not (haven't) worked
He has not (hasn't) worked
She has not (hasn't) worked
It has not (hasn't) worked
We have not (haven't) worked
You have not (haven't) worked
They have not (haven't) worked

We use the Present Perfect...:
1°. to express experience: Have you ever been to Russia?
2°. to express unfinished past I've lived here for three years (= I still live here)
3°. to express present results: I've lost my wallet. I've changed my job three times this year

'Have you ever been to Africa?' 'Yes, I've visited Africa twice'. (= he isn't in Africa anymore)
'Where is Tom?' 'He's on holiday. He has gone to Canada' (= he is still in Canada)
How long have you lived in this town?
I haven't finished this work yet.
'Do you want something to eat?' 'No, thanks. I've already eaten.'
'Could I speak to Jane, please?' 'I'm afraid she has just left.'
It's the first time he has driven a car. He has never driven a car before.

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3.7. The present perfect or the past simple?

Past Simple

Present Perfect

a) We use the Past Simple to talk about something that happened at a particular time in the past:
I met John at 4 o'clock
'When did Jane go to India?' 'Last June'
Martin bought a new car last week

We use the Present Perfect to talk about the past, but not about when things happened.
I've met John's girlfriend. She's nice.
'Have you ever been to India?
I have never bought a new car

b) We use the Past Simple for situations or actions during a period of time that ended in the past (for instance with ago, yesterday, last week, then, when...)
I worked there for two years. I left last year.
We lived in that house for a long time, then we moved to this one.
Our company opened two new shops last summer.
Did you go to Africa last summer?
I changed my job last week.

We use the Present Perfect for situations or actions during a period of time from the past to now (for instance with ever, never, before, since, ...)
He has worked here for two years. (he still works here)
We've lived in this flat since we got married (We still live there)
We opened two shops last summer. Since then, we've opened two more.
Have you ever been to Africa?
I've changed my job twice this year
. (the year isn't finished yet)

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3.8. The past continuous:

I was trying
You were trying
He was trying
She was trying
It was trying
We were trying
You were trying
They were trying
Was I trying?
Were you trying?
Was he trying?
Was she trying?
Was it trying?
Were we trying?
Were you trying?
Were they trying?
I was not (wasn't) trying
You were not (weren't) trying
He was not (wasn't) trying
She was not (wasn’t) trying
It was not (wasn’t) trying
We were not (weren't) trying
You were not (weren’t) trying
They were not (weren’t) trying

I was having a bath when the phone rang.
‘What were you doing yesterday at eleven o’clock?’   ‘I suppose I was sleeping !’

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3.9. Past simple or past continuous?

We use the Past Progressive for 'background' events - for an action or situation that was in progress at a particular time, or at the moment when something happened. We use the Simple Past for a shorter event which came in the middle of the 'background' event, or which interrupted it.

Just when I was trying to finish some work, Janet turned up.
The TV broke down while we were watching the news.
'What were you doing yesterday at 7 o'clock?'   'I was driving home from work.'
I met her while we were working for the same company.
When I met her, we were working for the same company.

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3.10. The present perfect continuous:

I have (I've) been working
You have (you've) been working
He has (he's) been working
She has (she’s) been working
It has (it’s) been working
We have (we’ve) been working
You have (you’ve) been working
They have (they’ve) been working
Have I been working?
Have you been working?
Has he been working?
Has she been working?
Has it been working?
Have we been working?
Have you been working?
Have they been working?
I have not (haven't) been working
you have not (haven't) been working
he has not (hasn't) been working
she has not (hasn’t) been working
it has not (hasn’t) been working
we have not (haven’t) been working
you have not (haven’t) been working
they have not (haven’t) been working

1. Sometimes there is little or no difference in meaning between the Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous:
How long have you worked here?
How long have you been working here?

2. Verbs that have the idea of a long time (e.g. wait, work, learn, travel, play...) can be found in the Present Perfect Continuous:
I've been waiting for you for 3 hours !
Verbs that don't have the idea of a long time (e.g. find, buy, start, die, lose, stop, break...) are usually found in the Present Perfect Simple:
I've bought a new dress
My radio has broken

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3.11. The past perfect:

I had (I'd) seen
You had (you'd) seen
He had (He’d) seen
Had I seen?
Had you seen?
Has he seen?
I had not (hadn't) seen
You had not (hadn't) seen
He had not (hadn’t) seen

We use the Past Perfect for something that happened before something else in the past. We use the Past Perfect for the thing that happened first, and the Simple Past for the thing that happened later.
Jane had gone home when I phoned her at the office. (= First, Jane went home. Later, I phoned her)
When we had finished our homework, we went outside and played. (= First, we finished our homework. Later, we went outside and we played)

Note also this example with 'by the time':
By the time he was thirty-five, he had earned a million pounds.

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3.12. The future

3.12.1. Will

I/you/he/we... will (‘ll) go Will I go?
Will you go?
Will he go?
I will not (won’t) go.
he will not (won’t) go
we will not (won’t) go

- ‘Will’ is used to express future time: I’ll be thirty in a few days

- It can also express a prediction: It’ll be cold and wet tomorrow

- As a modal auxiliary, it expresses a quick decision (taken at the moment of speaking), an intention, or willingness (offer and request):
I’ll have some steak, please. (decision)
She’ll come to see you tonight. (intention)
Will you help me? (request)
I’ll drive you into town. (offer)
I think Manchester will beat Liverpool 2-0
If you don’t eat, you’ll die.
Are you sure you’ll be all right?

- There will be + noun: There will be snow.
There will be a meeting at eight o’clock this evening.

- It will be + adjective: It will be cold
It won’t be very interesting.

3.12.2. Be going + infinitive

‘Be going to’ is used ...:
- to express an intention that has already been planned or decided before the moment of speaking:
We’re saving up because we’re going to buy a house.
- to predict a future event for which there is some evidence now.
I think I’m going to faint.
It looks as though it is going to rain.

3.12.3. Present Continuous

The Present Continuous is used to talk about a future event which is already arranged.:
Are you doing anything this evening?
I’m working on Thursday.
We’re leaving on Monday.
He’s meeting Jane at the theatre tomorrow night.

3.12.4. The differences:

we use both the present progressive and going to to talk about plans, intentions. (We don’t use will for plans!). We use the present progressive especially when times and places are mentioned:
I’m going to travel round the world
I’m travelling to France next week.

We use both going to and will to predict (to say what will happen in the future) We prefer going to when it is almost certain, when it is very clear that it is going to happen:
Look! It’s going to rain !
Perhaps it will snow tomorrow.
She’s going to have a baby.
Do you think the baby will have blue eyes?

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3.12.5. Future Progressive / Continuous:

I will (I’ll) be working
you will (you’ll) be working
will I be working...?
will you be working...?
I will not (won’t) be working
you will (won’t) be working

The future continuous is used for the situation at a particular future moment:
At eight o’clock tomorrow morning, I’ll be brushing my teeth.
What will you be doing this time tomorrow?

3.12.6. Future Perfect:

I will (I’ll) have worked
you will (you’ll) have worked...
Will I have worked?
Will you have worked?
I will not (won’t) have worked
you will not (won’t) have worked

The future perfect is used to say what will be finished or completed at a particular future time:
In a couple of years, she will have got married and settled down.
By next summer I expect I’ll have passed all my exams.
Ten years from now, will you have forgotten me?

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3.13. Conditionals


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