Category Archives: Level A1

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)

 

 

at_the_bank

At the bank

At the bank

at_the_bankHere is some useful vocabulary that you can use when you are at the bank:

An account: this is where you would take your money from or put your money into at the bank.

Account number: the number the bank gives you for your account

Interest: the extra money the bank will pay you if you have money in your account

Deposit: to put money into your account at the bank

Withdraw: to take money out of your account at the bank

Exchange: when you want to change money from one country into money from another country

Bank card: the card that you can use in shops to pay for items and also in machines to withdraw money

Bank teller: the person who works behind the counter at the bank

Bank manager: the person that runs the bank

ATM (also called ‘cash machine’): a machine where you can withdraw money from your account using your bank card

ID (also ‘identification’): a document or card with your name and other details printed on it. Your passport or driving licence is often used as ID.

PIN number: Your pin number is the number (normally 4 digits) that you use when you want to withdraw money from an ATM.

Currency: Anything used to buy or sell something is currency. For example, The United States dollar is a currency; the British pound is a currency.

At the bank – example conversation #1

Teller: Good morning. Can I help you?

Customer: Yes please – I would like to open an account here.

Teller. OK. Do you have any ID?

Customer: I have my driving licence – is that enough?

Teller: Well, we need two forms of ID and something with your home address.

Customer: OK, well I also have an electric bill with my name and address on it.

Teller: That’s fine – just give me a few minutes to open your new account.

At the bank – example conversation #2

Teller: Hello. Can I help you?

Customer: Yes please. I’d like to deposit this cheque into my account.

Teller: Certainly. Do you have your account number?

Customer: No, but I do have my bank card – is that enough?

Teller: Yes, that’s fine….OK, that’s all done!

Customer: Thanks!

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.

introducing-yourself

Introducing yourself in English

Introducing yourself in English

Read the conversation below and practise introducing yourself in English.

introducing-yourself-in-English

John: Hello.
Sarah: Hi. How are you?
John: I’m fine thanks and you?
Sarah: I’m very well. My name is Sarah.
John: My name is John.
Sarah: I’m Sarah. Nice to meet you.
John: Nice to meet you too.

 

Introducing other people

Read the conversation below and practise introducing other people in English.

Sarah: John, this is my friend Helen.
John: Hello Helen. Pleasure to meet you. My name is John.
Helen: Hi John, my name’s Helen. Nice to meet you too.

 

Now practice introducing yourself – what are the missing words from this conversation?

Complete the gaps in the introducing yourself exercise below.

Susan: Hello. _____________ Susan.

David: Hello Susan. I’m David. _____________ meet you.

Susan: And you.

Click here to see the full conversation.

Susan: Hello. My name is Susan.

David: Hello Susan. I’m David. Pleased / Nice meet you.

Susan: And you.

 


Now practice introducing other people – what are the missing words from this conversation?

Complete the introductions below.

David: Helen, _____________ Susan.

Helen: Hello Susan. Lovely to meet you. _____________ Helen.

Susan: Pleasure to meet you, Helen.

Click here to see the full conversation.

David: Helen, this is Susan.

Helen: Hello Susan. Lovely to meet you. My name is Helen.

Susan: Pleasure to meet you, Helen.

 

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

Vocabulary for talking about leisure activities

Vocabulary for talking about leisure activities

Vocabulary for talking about leisure activities

What do you do in your free time? Leisure activities are the things you can do when you have free time, like reading a book or listening to music. Before you try the exercises below, make sure you know these leisure activities:

 

In this lesson we will look at:

  • verb + gerund (e.g. go swimming)
  • verb + noun (e.g. go to the cinema)

Look at the lists below of a few common leisure activities and then do the exercises.

Verb + gerund

Verb + noun

 go swimming

go to the cinema

go bunjy jumping

play computer games

go kayaking

do yoga

go shopping

play table tennis

do gardening

surf the internet

do  knitting

play cards

do drawing

go for a walk

do juggling

watch television

 

Choose the correct verb to complete the sentence.

1. I have been to Queenstown many times but I have never    bunjy jumping.

Show answer  been

 

2. Almost everybody   the internet in their free time.

Show answer  surfs

 

3. Bill needed some fresh air so he   for a walk.

Show answer  went

 

4. My grandmother often   some knitting in her free time.

Show answer  does

 

5. Let’s rent a DVD tonight I’m tired oftelevision.

Show answer watching

 

6. Jenny has beenyoga for 2 years now, she is very fit.

Show answer doing

 

7. John was in the middle ofhis juggling act when he fell over.

Show answer doing

 

8. We haven’tthe gardening for a month, it’s very overgrown.

Show answer done

 

9. It’s a beautiful day today, let’skayaking.

Show answer go

 

10. Kevincomputer games all day long at the weekend.

Show answer plays
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
could

Can or Could exercises

Can or Could exercises

Before taking these exercises, we recommend you read this page about can and could.

Read the sentences below. Are can, could, can’t, cannot used correctly?

1. It was really scary walking through the forest at night! I can’t see a thing, it was so dark!

Show answerThis is incorrect. It should be: “couldn’t

can or could exercises2. We could see from an early age that our daughter loved the water! She’s a professional swimmer now.

Show answerThis is correct.

3. I would love to be brave enough to skydive, but I can. I’m so afraid of heights.

Show answerThis is incorrect. It should be: “can’t

4. Of course you can bring your boyfriend to the party! He is very welcome.

Show answerThis is correct.

5. I could speak Japanese very well now as I learned the language when I was living there.

Show answerThis is incorrect. It should be: “can

6. Couldn’t I finish work early today, please? I have a doctor’s appointment I need to go to.

Show answerThis is incorrect. It should be: “could” (can is also possible but in a business situation, could is more polite).”

7. Take your jacket with you. It could get cold later on.

Show answerThis is correct.

8. I didn’t enjoy the climate in Australia. It couldn’t get so hot and humid in summer.

Show answerThis is incorrect. It should be: “could
could

Can or Could

Can or could

Deciding when to use can or could sometimes causes problems for English language students, especially as these words have a number of different uses.

can or couldCan or could can be used to talk about:

  • Possibility / Impossibility
  • Ability / no ability
  • To ask for / give permission
  • To give instructions / make requests
  • To make offers / give invitations

 

Here are some tips and practice exercises to help you decide when to use can or could.

 

Can or Could Tip 1: use can to talk about something that is possible (possibility)

  • It can get very busy at the park on a Saturday afternoon.
  • It can get so hot at my gym because they don’t have air-conditioning.

 

Can or Could Tip 2: could is used as the past tense of can. (past possibility)

  • It could get very busy at the park. It was so popular; I don’t know why they closed it!
  • It could get so hot at my gym because they didn’t have air-conditioning. I’m glad they have installed it now.

 

Can or Could Tip 3: could is used to show that something is possible in the future, but not certain.

  • We could go to beach tomorrow evening. Let’s see what the weather is like!
  • I’m going to take my cellphone with me when we go out, as James could call at anytime.

 

Can or Could Tip 4: use can’t (cannot) to show that something is impossible (impossibility).

  • She is such a nice person; I’m sure she wouldn’t do that. It can’t be true!

 

Can or Could Tip 5: use couldn’t (could not) to show that something was impossible (past impossibility).

  • Now we have all the facts we have evidence that those rumours couldn’t be true!

 

Can or Could Tip 6: use can to talk about ability, or can’t (cannot) to talk about lack of ability

  • I can sing quite well. (ability)
  • I can’t (cannot) play any musical instruments. (lack of ability)

 

Can or Could Tip 7: use could to talk about ability in the past, or couldn’t (could not) to talk about lack of ability in the past

  • Mozart could play the piano when he was three years old. (ability)
  • I couldn’t (could not) dance very well until I started having lessons. (lack of ability)

 

Can or Could Tip 8: use can or could to give instructions / make requests

Note: Could is more polite than can when you are telling / asking someone to do something.

  • Could you finish that as soon as you are able, please?
  • Can you finish that as soon as you are able, please? (less polite – can be used when talking to someone you know well, but it is better to use could in more formal situations or when talking to people you don’t know well)

 

  • Could you help me please?
  • Can you help me please? (less polite – can be used when talking to someone you know well, but it is better to use could in more formal situations or when talking to people you don’t know well)

 

Can or Could Tip 9: use can or could to make offers / give invitations

Note: we often use can in these situations, but could is also possible sometimes (more formal).

  • Can I help you with that?
  • Could I be of any assistance?
  • I can drive you to work tomorrow if you need a lift.
  • I could read through your report for you when you’ve finished if it would be helpful.

Now click here to try the practice exercises

adverbs-of-frequency

Adverbs of frequency exercises

Adverbs of frequency exercises

Have you read the information page on adverbs of frequency? Click here to read it before you try the adverbs of frequency exercises.

Remember to register to get email updates.

 

Are the sentences below correct?

Adverbs of frequency exercises1. John often walks to work. He only drives if it’s really bad weather.

Show the answer
This is correct

 

2. They rarely cook at home – they both love spending time in the kitchen.

Show the answer
This is not correct – the adverb should show that they cook a lot – often, always, generally.

 

3. The post office always is busy at lunchtime.

Show the answer
This is not correct  – the adverb should be after the ‘to be’ verb.

 

4. I am never late for work – I’m a perfect employee!

Show the answer
This is correct

 

5. Occasionally she takes her work home with her.

Show the answer
This is correct

 

6. Very rarely he pays for dinner when we go out together – he’s very mean!

Show the answer
This is not correct. Certain adverbs shouldn’t be used to start a sentence.

 

7. He could usually make new friends very quickly.

Show the answer
This is correct

 

8. He never can come back here – he’s been permanently banned!

Show the answer
This is not correct. The adverb of frequency needs to be between the auxiliary verb ‘can’ and the main verb ‘come’ – He can never come back…

 

9. I seldom don’t go out late on a weeknight.

Show the answer
This is not correct. Seldom cannot be used in a negative sentence.

 

10. I study once a day English lessons online.

Show the answer
This is not correct. Definite adverbs of frequency are not used in the middle of a sentence, only at the beginning or end – I study English lessons online once a day. / Once a day, I study English lessons online.