Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Contrasts: Present Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect Simple and Continuous

It is really difficult sometimes.
But each of you knows your teacher well enough. 
She always says:

So let's do it. Begin here

Friday, May 25, 2012

Using the Present Continuous...

... to talk about the Future: for arrangements.

Think about this:

What do you put in your diary?

Do you keep a diary - in English?

Which of the ideas below do you put in your diary?

(1). wash my hair (2). clean the house (3). do the washing

(4). make the beds (5). go to the dentist (6). go to the cinema with friends

(7). meal with John and Marie (8). go shopping (9). Addis Ababa

10. hairdressers' 11. go to bed early.

Answer: You usually put appointments e.g. (5), (10) or meetings (6), (7), or flights (9). Not the other things.

In addition: if you can put your activities in your 'mental' diary, or your plan for the day, then you have decided you are going to do them.

Use the Present Continuous, or 'going to' talk about them.

Look at the examples above again:

e.g. 7. I'm meeting John and Marie for a meal on Friday. (You could say 'I'm going to meet John and Marie for a meal on Friday, if you want to). BUT, if it's in your diary, you can't say 'I will meet John and Marie'.

Practice Exercise:

1. This evening we……(meet) some friends and …(go) to see a film

2. Next year we're planning a trip to China. We're….(join) a group of Dutch holidaymakers so it should be fun.

3. My birthday is in August so we………(have) a barbecue in the garden and…..(invite) a few friends and family.

4. At the week-end the pop stars ………(fly) to the desert to make a video.

5. My boss has got a doctor's appointment on Friday. He…….(have) a medical exam and a blood test. I hope everything's OK.


1. we're meeting friends/ going

2. we're joining a group

3. we're having a barbecue / inviting

4. the pop stars are flying to the desert

5. he's having a medical examination.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


There was a man who worked all of his life and saved all of his money. He was a real miser when it came to his money. He loved money more than just about anything, and just before he died, he said to his wife, "Now listen, when I die, I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. I wanna take my money to the afterlife."

So he got his wife to promise him with all her heart that when he died, she would put all the money in the casket with him.

Well, one day he died. He was stretched out in the casket, the wife was sitting there in black next to her closest friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said "Wait just a minute!"

She had a shoe box with her, she came over with the box and placed it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down and rolled it away. Her friend said, "I hope you weren't crazy enough to put all that money in the casket."

"Yes," the wife said, "I promised. I'm a good Christian, I can't lie. I promised him that I was going to put that money in that casket with him."

"You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?"

"I sure did. I got it all together, put it into my account and I wrote him a check."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Contrasting the Past Simple and the Past Perfect

The Past Simple Tense tells actions in chronological order in English

e.g. (1) I got up (2) I had a shower (3) I had breakfast (4) You arrived

The Past Perfect Tense tells you what happened before these activities

e.g. I had just eaten breakfast when you arrived.... 
Thanks again grammar cat!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Passives anyone?

Gurit Inc. makes solar energy parts.
The subject is the important point .

Solar energy parts are made by Gurit, Inc.
The object is the important point.

To turn an active sentence into a passive one, we use:
subject + verb  be (in correct tense) + participle of the verb.


Thank you for the practice exercise Grammar Cat!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Policeman's Ball

A woman in a hurry to get her daughter to school on time was pulled over for speeding.

The mom smiled at her daughter and said "Don't worry dear! I can get out of this ticket."
The cop approached the car and he asked "Ma'am do you know why I pulled you over?" With a big smile she replied "Sure you are selling tickets to the policeman's ball."

He then said, "Ma'am, I am a State Trooper, we don't have balls."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Bagpiper

As a Piper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a Pauper's' cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had already gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say;

"I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Word Formation Practice C-2

A Musical Genius

For many people Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is the

most (0) influential figure in the history of western classical INFLUENCE

Click here to continue

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Future Perfect


Something will already have happened before a certain time in the future


will + have + past participle


I will have written the letter by tomorrow.

Practice here

A few Francs a little money....

Countable or uncountable? That is the question.

Look at this example:
She has a little time today to be with her friends.
She has a few minutes today, between 9:30 and 10:00, to see her friends.

time is uncountable
minutes is countable
Practice here