Category Archives: Grammar

present perfect

Present perfect simple

Present perfect simple

present perfect simple

Present perfect simple tense examples:
I have cleaned my shoes.
He has gone to America.
I have travelled through Asia, but I haven’t been to Africa.

Uses of the present perfect simple:

1. To talk about something completed some time in the (recent) past that has an effect now
2. To talk about an experience we have had in our lives.

Present perfect simple form:

have / has + [3rd form of the verb / past participle]

 

 

Present perfect simple use #1:

We can use present perfect simple to talk about something completed in the past that has an effect now.

  • I have cleaned my shoes.

This tells us that:

a) the speaker cleaned his/her shoes in the past
b) that there is a present effect of this – probably that they are now clean.

  • I haven’t finished my homework!

NOTE: you cannot use present perfect simple with a specific time in the past – you have to use past simple.

e.g. I didn’t finish my homework last night. NOT  I haven’t finished my homework last night.

Present perfect simple use #2:

We can use present perfect simple to talk about an experience we have had in our lives.

Have you ever visited New Zealand?”
“No, I haven’t” been there yet. I have been to Australia though!

“I have eaten tofu but I have never eaten crocodile meat”

NOTE:

American English does not use this form of the present perfect. In American English, the past simple is used instead.

“Have you ever visited New Zealand?” (British English)
“Did you ever visit New Zealand?” (American English)

‘Ever’, ‘never’, ‘yet’ with present perfect simple

Have you ever…..?

Used for questions about experience up to now.

Example:

  • Have you ever taken an over night train?
  • Has he ever met your wife?

Have you…… yet?

Used for questions  and negative sentences about experience up to now.

  • Have you seen that new film yet?
  • I haven’t asked him yet.

NOT: Have you ever visited New York yet.

Never

Used for negative sentences about experience up to now.

I have never climbed a mountain.

I have never spoken to her.

NOT: I have never drunk champagne yet.

 

past_continuous

Past continuous tense

Past continuous

past_continuousThe past continuous is also known as the past progressive tense. When you have read this information page, try the past continuous exercises.

Example:

  • He was washing his hands when the phone rang.
  • We were singing and they were dancing all night.

Past continuous form:

was / were + [verb -to] + ing

Uses of past continuous:

1. To talk about an activity in progress at a particular time in the past
2. To talk about two actions happening at the same time in the past
3. To talk about a longer activity that was interrupted by a shorter activity
4. To give a background to an event

 

Past continuous use #1:

To talk about an activity in progress at a particular time in the past

  • This time last week, I was relaxing on the beach.

The particular time is ‘this time last week’, and we are referring to an activity (relaxing).

Past continuous use #2:

To talk about two actions happening at the same time in the past

  • Last night I was cooking dinner while my friends were watching television.

Using was cooking and were watching tells the listenener that both actions were happening at the same time.


Past continuous use #3:

To talk about a longer activity that was interrupted by a shorter activity

  • I was reading a book when the doorbell rang.

The longer activity = ‘was reading a book’
The interruption or shorter activity = ‘the doorbell rang

We would not say:

I was reading a book when the doorbell was ringing.

This would mean that the two actions were happening together over the same length of time.


Past continuous use #4:

To give a background to an event

  • It was a quiet night. The moon was shining and the wind was blowing gently.

In this example, you are simply describing the background of what was happening that night.

 

Now try the past continuous exercises.

present_continuous

Present continuous (present progressive)

Present continuous

This is also known as the present progressive

present_continuousIn English grammar, the present continuous is used to talk about something that is happening now or around now. Here are some examples:

  • I am studying English grammar now.
  • They are visiting friends at the moment.
  • He is playing football.

The present continuous can also be used to talk about something you are not doing now.

  • I am not sleeping right now.
  • They are not working today. They have the day off.
  • She isn’t watching the TV, she’s playing a computer game.

The present continuous verb can change when you talk about other people.

Positive + Negative –
I am working am not / I’m not working.
You are working are not / aren’t working.
We are working are not / aren’t working.
He is working is not / isn’t working.
She is working is not / isn’t working.
It is working is not / isn’t working.
They are working are not / aren’t working.

The present continuous verb changes when you ask questions.

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

 

Some verbs cannot be used in the present continuous form.

For example:

I like Coca-Cola Correct

I am liking Coca-Cola Incorrect

Click here for more information about dynamic and stative verbs

 

Present continuous for future

We can also use the present continuous tense to talk about arrangements we make with other people that are planned and will happen in the future.

For example:

I am meeting David next week.

My company is moving to a new office next year.

They are flying to Thailand tomorrow.

……………..

Are you having dinner with Louise tomorrow?

Is your mother visiting you next week?

Are they coming to the party on Saturday?

Click here to try the present continuous exercises.

past_simple

Past simple tense

Past simple

past_simpleIn English grammar, the past simple is used to talk about finished events or actions in the past. Here are some example sentences including regular past simple verbs:

  • I worked last Monday.
  • They studied for an English test last week.
  • She smiled when she saw him.

 

The past simple can also be used to talk about something you did not do.

  • I didn’t work last weekend.
  • He didn’t do his homework.
  • You didn’t tell me!

The past simple verb doesn’t change when you talk about other people.

Positive + Negative –
I worked didn’t work.
You worked didn’t work.
We worked didn’t work.
He worked didn’t work.
She worked didn’t work.
It worked didn’t work.
They worked didn’t work.

The past simple verb doesn’t change when you ask questions.

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

 

To make the past simple tense form of regular verbs, we add +ed .

Present Past
I work I worked
He works He worked

However, pronunciation of regular past tense tense verbs can change.

For example, ‘He worked’ sounds like ‘He workt’

Base verb
Sounds like /t/
Sounds like /d/
sounds like /id/
Work Worked
Look Looked
Talk Talked
Like Liked
Watch Watched
Laugh Laughed
Wish Wished
Listen Listened
Open Opened
Learn Learned
Change Changed
Climb Climbed
Try Tried
Paint Painted
Want Wanted
End Ended
Decide Decided

Past simple irregular verbs

Irregular verbs don’t follow the rules above. You simply need to learn them.

For example. eat – eated – ate

  • He ate chicken for dinner last night.

Click here to see a list.

Some verbs can be used with a regular or an irregular form.

These include:

  • burn (burned OR burnt)
  • dream (dreamed OR dreamt)
  • learn (learned or learnt)
  • smell (smelled OR smelt)

 

 

present_simple

The present simple

The present simple

the_present_simpleIn English grammar, the present simple is used to talk about habits and routines. Here is an example of the present simple in a sentence:

I work on weekdays.

The present simple can also be used to talk about something you don’t do.

I don’t eat meat.

The present simple verb can change if you talk about other people.

Positive + Negative –
I work don’t work.
You work don’t work.
We work don’t work.
He works doesn’t work.
She works doesn’t work.
It works doesn’t work.
They work don’t work.

 


The present simple also changes if you ask questions about other people.

Do I work?
Do you work?
Do we work?
Does he work?
Does she work?
Does it work?
Do they work?

For he, she or it, the present simple changes:

I miss He misses verb ends in ‘s’ add +es
I fly He flies verbs ends in consonant + ‘y’ add +ies
I wash He washes verb ends in ‘sh’ add +es
I fix He fixes verb ends in ‘x’ add +es
I buzz It buzzes verb ends in ‘z’ add +es

 


Another change that happens with the present simple is with have.

I have a new car. I don’t have a new car. Do I have a new car?
You have a car. You don’t have a new car. Do you have a new car?
We have a car. We don’t have a new car. Do we have a new car?
He has a new car. He doesn’t have a new car. Does he have a new car?
She has a new car. She doesn’t have a new car. Does she have a new car?
It has new tyres. It doesn’t have new tyres. Does it have new tyres?
They have a new car. They don’t have new car. Do they have a new car?

Click here to try the present simple exercises.

comparatives

Comparative adjective exercises (A1)

Before you take this test, make sure you have read the comparative adjectives page.

Comparative adjective exercisesQuestion #1: Horses are _____ dogs.

A. the faster
B. faster than
C. faster as
D. the faster than

Show answer

The correct answer is B

Question #2: Jack is 1m 85cm tall. Jane is 1m 60cm. Jane is _________ Jack.

A. more shorter than
B. shorter than
C. more short than
D. shortter than

Show answer

The correct answer is B

Question #3: Jon is 80kg. Jane is 70kg. John is _________ Jane.

A. is heavIer than
B. is heavYer than
C. is the heavier than
D. is heavy than

Show answer

The correct answer is A

Question #4: She’s always smiling and laughing – she’s much _________ me.

A. more happier
B. happier
C. happier than
D. more happy

Show answer

The correct answer is C

Question #5: John was stuck in traffic so he arrived ________ Dave.

A. more late than
B. latter than
C. the latter than
D. later than

Show answer

The correct answer is D

Question #6: Jane runs her own business and travels around the world. Joe doesn’t have a job. Jane is _________ than Joe.

A. more success than
B. more successful than
C. more successful of
D. successfuller than

Show answer

The correct answer is B

Question #7: This is a very old building. I want to live somewhere _________.

A. moderner than
B. more modern
C. more modern than
D. moderner

Show answer

The correct answer is B

Question #8: Which of these is INCORRECT?

A. taller than
B. widder than
C. faster than
D. bigger than

Show answer

The correct answer is B

angry

Dependent prepositions with verbs, adjectives and nouns (C1)

Dependent prepositions (with verbs, adjectives and nouns)

Certain verbs, adjectives and nouns naturally take certain prepositions when placed in a sentence – these are called dependent prepositions.

For example, you can object to (something), participate in (something), complain about (something).

Unfortunately there are no fixed rules that can help you decide which dependent prepositions should be placed with which words, you really just need to learn them.

Remember that sometimes usage of different dependent prepositions change the meaning.

dependent prepositionsDependent prepositions example 1:

He is angry with us. (angry with ‘someone’)

He is angry about the problem. (angry about ‘a situation’)

Dependent prepositions example 2:

He is good at football (meaning he has skill / ability in something – he is good at (playing) football).

She is good with children (meaning she has a positive relationship with / has an affinity with…).

A teacher for example, might be good at teaching English and may be good with their students.

The best way to learn more about dependent prepostions is to make a list of your own, and then find sentences that use the structure. Google can be very useful for that. For example, if you were trying to remember that complain is generally followed by about, simply type in “complain about” in Google and see the results.

NOTE: It is important to use the speech marks (” “) around the phrase you are searching for so that only results with that phrase will come up.

xx

Verbs and dependent prepositions Adjectives and dependent prepositions Nouns and dependent prepositions
abide by according to in agreement
abstain from accustomed to attack on
accuse (somebody) of afraid of attitude towards
add to annoyed with/about/at on behalf of
adhere to anxious about comparison between
agree with ashamed of on condition (that)
aim at/for astonished at connection between
allow for attached to cruelty towards
apologise to someone for something aware of decrease in
apply for delighted at/about delay in
approve of different from difference between/of
argue with/about dissatisfied with difficulty in/with
arrest (somebody) for doubtful about disadvantage of
ask for enthusiastic about in doubt
attend to envious of under guarantee
believe in excited about increase in
belong to famous for information about
blame (somebody) for fed up with intention of
boast about fond of knowledge of
borrow (something) from (somebody) frightened of need for
call for friendly with notice of
care for good at in order
choose between guilty of pleasure in
comment on incapable of in power
compare with interested in in practice
complain about jealous of preference for
concentrate on keen on protection from
conform to kind to reaction to
congratulate on mad at/about reason for
consent to opposed to reduction in
consist of pleased with report on
deal with popular with result of
decide on proud of rise in
excel at/in puzzled by/about at risk
excuse (somebody) for safe from room for
face up to satisfied with solution to
forgive (somebody) for sensitive to(wards) on strike
hear of/about serious about on suspicion of
hope for sick of under suspicion
insist on similar to in theory
interfere with/in sorry for/about in trouble
joke about suspicious of trouble with
laugh at sympathetic to(wards)
lend (something) to (somebody) tired of
listen to typical of
long for unaware of
mistake (somebody) for used to
object to
pay for
praise (somebody) for
prepare for
present (somebody) with
prevent (somebody) from
protest about
provide (somebody) with
punish (somebody) for
refer to
rely on
run for
save (somebody) from
sentence (somebody) to
smile at
succeed in
suffer from
stand for
talk to (somebody) about (something)
thank (somebody) for
think of/about
volunteer to
wait for
warn (somebody) about
worry about
Click here to try the dependent prepositions exercises.
would-in-the-past

Using would in the past (B1)

Using would in the past

‘used to’ and ‘would’ can both be used to talk about past actions. ‘Would’ can be used to speak about past actions as an alternative to the simple past or ‘used to’.

Both ‘would’ and ‘used to’ can be used to talk about past actions and temporary states. However we only use ‘used to’ to refer to past permanent states. For example:

  • I would walk to school everyday
  • I used to walk to school everyday

But…

  1. I used to be a receptionist
  2. I would be a receptionist

 

How to use would in the past

The form of ‘would’ when used to talk about the past is the same as its use as a modal verb.

 

Positive and negative statements:

Subject Would Infinitive Other
I would/wouldn’t walk

sing

play

work

everyday

often

occasionally

You
He/she/it
We
They

 

Question form:

Would Subject Infinitive Other
 

Would

I walk

sing

play

work

everyday?

often?

occasionally?

you
he/she/it
We
they

 

Now practice using would in the past

Fill in the blanks with the correct form; would/used to or both.

 

  1. Wewalk to school everyday but get a lift home.
  2. The teachermake us take out our homework first thing.
  3. Welive in the town center before we moved.
  4. Therebe a few places to lunch in the town.
  5. Wespend all our pocket money on fries at lunch.
  6. Ilove to have a lie in on Saturday mornings.
  7. I alsolike the television shows that were on at the weekends.
  8. If it was raining at the weekends, welie on the couch and watch television for hours.
  9. When the weather was good, Ivisit my friend or meet at the mall.
  10. Iunderstand mathematics but now I’ve forgotten it all.
Show the answers
  1. Both
  2. Both
  3. Used to
  4. Used to
  5. Both.
  6. Used to
  7. Used to
  8. Both
  9. Both
  10. Used to

 

past_continuous

Past continuous exercises

Past continuous exercises

Before trying these exercises, you should first read the past continuous information page here.

Instruction: Choose the correct tense form from either simple past or past continuous.

Conversation 1

Past continuous exercisesPeter: I  you yesterday but you didn’t answer.
John: What time did you call?
Peter: At about 11 in the morning.
John: Ah. I think I    a shower then.
Peter: At 11 o’clock?! That’s so late!

Show the answers for conversation 1
called | was taking

 

Conversation 2

Kate: Did you hear the thunder last night?
Mary: Yeah! It was so loud! It woke me up. I   when the storm came. Now I feel really tired.
Kate: Well, I was with Jenny and we  for our exam when the storm came. We couldn’t concentrate and now we’re not prepared!

Show the answers for conversation 2
was sleeping | were studying

 

Conversation 3

Tom: Wow. The weather is horrible! It is raining so heavily!
Larry: Yeah. Have you seen Jeff today? He is so wet!
Tom: I know! He   to work today but   an umbrella.

Show the answers for conversation 3
was walking | didn’t take

 

Conversation 4

Lisa: Did you hear Lisa got into a car accident?
Kelly: No?! Really?? Is she ok??
Lisa: Yeah, luckily she’s fine.
Kelly: How did it happen?
Lisa: Well, she was looking at her phone when she . I guess at that time she wasn’t looking / didn’t look at the road.

Show the answers for conversation 4
crashed

 

Conversation 5

Mark: Hey, John. I saw you running yesterday when I   for a bus. I called out to you but you didn’t turn around!
John: Oh, I   to music when you called out. I always listen to music when I’m jogging and I can’t hear anything else!

Show the answers for conversation 5
was waiting | was listening
prepositions-time

Prepositions of time exercises (A2)

Prepositions of time exercises (A2)

Have you read the information pages on prepositions of time?  Click here to read them before you try the prepositions of time exercises.

Remember to register to get email updates!

Complete the prepositions of time exercises below to test your knowledge.

Prepositions of time exercises practice

Complete the prepositions of time exercises by choosing the correct option (a), (b) or (c) to complete each of the sentences with ‘at‘, ‘on‘, ‘in‘, ‘within‘ or ‘before‘.

 

prepositions of time exercises1. I will finish the report __________ the end of the week.

(a) within (b) before (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

2. We always have a family gathering ___________ Christmas.

(a) at (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

3. I need to make a decision ___________ the next 24 hours.

(a) before (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

4. They celebrate their wedding anniversary _________ July.

(a) on (b) within (c) at

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

5. They said they would let me know __________ the next week.

(a) before (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

6. I told her to see me ___________ lunchtime.

(a) before (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

7. I need to finish my studies ___________ the next twelve months.

(a) before (b) at (c) within

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is C.