Double negatives

September 13th, 2011 in Improve English

In some languages, negative words like nobody, nothing and never have to be used with a negative verb. In English, these words are themselves enough to give a negative meaning, and we do not normally use not.

Negative questions

September 13th, 2011 in Improve English

Contracted and uncontracted negative questions have different word order.

Compare: 

Won’t you come? (contracted negative question)

Will you not come? (uncontracted negative question)

Don’t you understand? (contracted)

Punctuation Exercise

September 10th, 2011 in Improve English

Punctuate the following sentences.

1. Between ourselves I think she is a bit of a fool
2. Two minutes ago he was fast asleep now he is wide awake
3. The more information that comes in the more confused the picture is
4. I don’t like those shoes besides they are too expensive
5. It is a good idea let us hope that it is going to work
6. My mother who rarely gets angry really lost her temper.
7. I spent yesterday playing tennis listening to classical music and wondering about the meaning of life.
8. Mrs Parker who was sitting behind the table gave Mathews a big smile.
9. Looking straight at her he said There is no way we can help him
10. I had a long talk with Mary explaining why I didn’t want the kids to play together

Grammar Terms

September 10th, 2011 in Improve English

Gerund
A form of verb ending in –ing. Consider the verb read, and consider this example: I enjoy reading books. Here read stands in its gerund form reading, and reading exhibits verbal properties: in this case it takes the object books.

The relative pronoun who, which and that

September 10th, 2011 in Improve English

The relative pronoun that is only used in identifying (restrictive) relative clauses.

The boy who stole the bicycle has been caught. OR The boy that stole the bicycle has been caught.

Irregular and special plurals

September 8th, 2011 in Improve English

Nouns ending in –f or –fe usually have plurals ending in –ves.

Singular plural
Calf Calves
Elf Elves
Half Halves
Knife Knives

Phrasal verbs with come

September 7th, 2011 in Expressions

Come about
When something comes about, it happens without planning.

I don’t know how these things come about.
It was an unexpected discovery that came out while scientists were working on a different project.