Saturday, December 29, 2018

Review and practice : verb senses

Put on your thinking cap and here we GO

Present Simple: in the Present

Uses: Facts, routines, habits
To give instruction or directions

Signal Words: every day/week/month; twice a day/week/month, often, usually, sometimes,never

I watch the news every day.

I read; He /She reads I study; He /She studies

Negatives: ‘do’; ‘don’t’; ‘does’ & ‘doesn’t’

Present Continuous: in the Present- action

Uses: To describe an action that is going on at the moment

To describe a temporary event of situation

With always, forever, constantly to describe and emphasize a continuing
series of repeated actions

Signal words: at the moment, right now, still, just, while

I am watching a good film at the moment

Form: Root verb + (–ing) end study studying
[am / is/ are] + [verb + -ing]

Note: Non-continuous verbs (State) verbs are not normally used in continuous tenses.

She is wanting a drink of coffee now. = Not Correct

She wants a drink of coffee now. = Correct

Present Perfect Simple: Has occurred relative to the Present

A bridge between the past and now at some unspecified time

Uses: A present situation that started in the past

A past event that caused a present situation

A repeated action in an unspecified period between the past & now

As a conversation opener, in order to establish the topic of conversation or
to introduce a story; for example:

Have you ever been to Scotland?

Have I ever told you about the time I went.....

Used to locate an action in time up to now

Signal words: up to now; until now; so far; since; often, yet, already, before, ever, just
Form: [has/have] + [past participle verb form]
She has worked at HTW since 1998.
Time expressions:
Present perfect is never used with definite time expressions; i.e. time expressions which describe
fixed points in the past (finished time).
In 1999; when I was five; yesterday; before I left school; last week; at 7am; two minutes ago; last term; at Christmas – Use past simple

Present perfect can be used with some indefinite time expressions which describe time up-to-now:

this year; since I was six; this week; recently; ever; yet; for the last few days; within the last week.

Present Perfect Continuous:

Continuous action or condition that has been occurring relative to the present

Creates an unbroken bridge between the past and now at some unspecified time

Uses: It refers to an unspecified time between before now and now
To describe the process as well as the result, and thus the process may
still be going on, or may have just finished – thus highlighting the process
Can reflect continuity within the link
Signal words: since; for
Form: [has/have been] + [Present participle verb]
She has been working at HTW for six months.

Past Simple:  in the Past

Uses: Is used to talk about a completed action at a time before now, duration is
not important, the time of the action can be in the recent or distant past.
Used when it was some event or incident in the past and you have moved
on and are no longer interested.
You always use the simple past when you say when (a definite point in
time) something happened, so it is associated with certain past time
Frequency: often, sometimes, always,
A definite point in time: last week, yesterday, six weeks ago
An indefinite point of time: ages ago, along time ago
(It happened a long time ago; that was ages ago!)
Chronological order: The door opened slowly and a man came in...
Form: [VERB + ed] Regular or Irregular past form of the verb
Three years ago, I studied German in Berlin.
When the phone rang, I washed my hair.
Details: When we want to give or receive (ask for) details involving the past, we
use the past simple. (WHEN; WHERE; WHO; WHY)

Past Continuous: Was occurring in the Past

Uses: To describe something; which was in progress when the main events in the
story happened
To describe an unfinished action interrupted by another event or action
I was sitting at home watching the television, when my brother walked in the
To describe the background in a story written in the past tense
It was late summer. People were sitting in street cafes, enjoying the sunshine
and watching the world go by.
As he was skiing down the slopes, he hit a stone and broke his leg in two places.
To answer questions initiated by: What were you doing?
Form: [WAS/WERE] + [VERB + ing]
When the phone rang, I was in the middle of washing my hair.

Past Perfect:  relative to the Past

Uses: To make clear that one event happened before another in the past
She had already eaten when I arrived.
To refer to actions completed before another in the past
When the phone rang, I had already washed my hair.
Form: [HAD] + [past participle]
I had studied a little German before I moved to Switzerland.
Time Reference: Past Perfect can refers to a time earlier than before now
‘Just’ is used with the Past Perfect to refer to an event that was only a short time
earlier than before now.
I had just tried to call her, when she knocked on the door.

Past Perfect Continuous:

Reference: Had been occurring relative to the past
Uses: To give a chronological order to past events
Refers to an action that began before another action in the past and was
continuing at the moment of the other action
Form: [HAD] + [BEEN] + [present participle of the verb]
I had been studying German for five years before I moved to Switzerland.

Future Simple: Will occur in the future

Uses: To express a voluntary action
• Offers to do something for someone else
• To respond to someone else’s complaint or request for help
To express a promise
I will call you back as soon as possible
To express an instant decision
What would you like to drink? - I‘ll have a large orange juice
To indicate or announce a definite future decision
To express a prediction
When making a general prediction about the future
Form: [WILL] + [VERB] I will help him later; I will never help him
When using a verb tense with more than one part (will help), adverbs (never);
adverbs come between the 1st and 2nd. part.
Time Reference: No future form in time clauses
Like all future forms, the future simple cannot be used in clauses beginning with
‘when’, ‘while’, ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘by the time’, ‘as soon as’, ‘if’ and ‘unless’
When you arrive tonight, we will watch a film. – CORRECT
When you will arrive tonight, we will study English. – WRONG
A specific time can be used to show the time that an action will begin.

Future Continuous: Will be in the future

I will be watching TV when she arrives tonight.
Use of a specific time as an interruption
Tonight at 7pm, I will still be working. i.e. the specific time only interrupts
the action ( I will start earlier and I will be in the process of working at 7pm)
To use two actions in the same sentence to express the idea that both
actions will be happening at the same time
Tonight, we will be studying English, discussing the use of tenses, and having a
good time.
To describe atmosphere in the future and as a polite form
To refer to actions which are arranged or expected to happen
We’ll be introducing more and more new product lines.
Form: [WILL BE] + [VERB + ing]

Future Perfect: Will relative to the future

It can also show that something will happen before a specific time in the

By next November, I will have covered most of the grammar in our text book.
To refer to actions completed by a certain time in the future
By the end of the year we’ll have reduced our paper invoices from 5million to

With non-continuous verbs - to show that something will continue up until
another action in the future

I will have been in London for six months by the time I leave.
I will have studied every tense by the time I finish this course.

Future Perfect Continuous:

Will be action in the future
Uses: To show that something will continue up until a particular event or time in future 

Durations such as “For five minutes”, “For two weeks” and “since Friday”
can be used. Note this is related to the (present and past) perfect continuous,
however the duration stops in the future.
They will have been working for over an hour by the time Peter arrives
She will have been working at that company for five years when it closes.
Cause of something in the future. It can be used to show ‘cause and effect’.
Sara will be tired when she gets home because she will have been working for
over nine hours.

Form: [WILL HAVE BEEN] + [VERB + ing]

I will have been reading for an hour when my children return. = (meaning - The
reading will stop just before my children return)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Question practice

Question Practice 3


Write questions to these answers. Find answers below.

1. Father buys a new car.



2. I brushed my teeth at 7:00 this morning.



3. The train leaves at nine pm.



4. Pat reads his book in bed.



5. There is a parcel for Maggie.



6. She draws a house.



7. I got a letter from Bob last month.



8. Sandy eats a sandwich, because he is hungry. 



9. We must clean our room.



10. At school today we listened to the teacher.


11. The apples cost one pound. (2 questions)





Saturday, December 15, 2018

Present simple or present continuous?

Fill in the spaces with the correct form of the verb. 
Use present simple or present continuous.

Today (be) _______(1) the first day at my new school. Right now,

it is lunch time, and all of the students (eat) _______ _________(2)

their lunches. 

They (sit) _______ _________(3) around the big table

in the cafeteria, (talk) ________(4) in small groups.

I (sit) _______ ________(5) alone. 

I (be) _______(6) pretty nervous.

 I (hope) _______(7) the other students

(not, think) _______ _______ ________(8) 

I am weird(komisch).

 I (write) _______ ________(9) in my diary(Tagebuch) 

right now to look like I (have) _______(10) something 

important to do.

For lunch today, I (have) _______(11) an apple, pretzels, and 

a tuna fish sandwich. I (hate) _______(12)

 tuna fish, but my mom (love) ________(13) it.

She (say) _______(14) it is good for me. 

She (pack) ________(15) it for me every day, so I (guess) 

________(16) I have to eat it.

I (also, have) ________ ________(17) some cookies.

At least I (like) ________(18) to eat those.

Hey! The girls at the big table (look) _______ ________(19) at me! 

What (they, want) _______ ________ ________(20)?

 They (laugh) _______ ________(21) at something.

What (they, laugh) _______ ________ _________(22) at?

I hope they (not, laugh) _______ _______ _________(23) at me.

I (get) _______ ________(24) nervous again.

Oh my gosh! One of them (come) ______ _________(25) 

this way! Stay calm, Rachel. 

She is not going to hurt you. She is just another girl like you, 


Wait. Now she (hold) _______ _________(26) out her hand 

to me. Does she (want) ________(27) to be friends? 

What (she, do) _______ ________ _________(28)? 

Oh, I know! She (invite) _______ _________(29) me to her 


 Maybe I (be, not) _______ _______(30) that weird after all! 

scroll down for the answers
1) is 

2) are eating 
3) are sitting 
4) talking 
5) am sitting
6) am 

7) hope 
8) do not think 
9) am writing 
10) have
11) have 1

2) hate 
13) loves 
14) says 
15) packs
16) guess 

17) also have 
18) like 
19) are looking
20) do they want 

21) are laughing
22) are they laughing 

23) are not laughing
24) am getting 

25) is coming 
26) is holding
27) want 

28) is she doing 
29) is inviting
30) am not

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Oh the words we already know!

It is incredible how many words we can get out of one root word.
Check this out:



Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

How many times.......

...have these quantifiers given you trouble?

Let's practice a bit here and now.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Google This!

How a simple dinner date between a Japanese designer and a junior art-director resulted in a multi-award winning campaign. Enjoy!

ElaN Languages has a great online translation tool. Unfortunately nobody knows about it, because everybody (yes, everybody) uses Google Translate. And that’s unfortunate for everyone, because ElaN’s translations are of a much higher quality.

Do you find ElaN better than Google :) 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A problem with “H”

Many uneducated English people make mistakes with the letter “h”. They often leave it out at the beginning of words, saying: ”at” for “hat”, “oney” for “honey” and so on.

Sometimes, too, they pronounce an “h” where none exists, in such words as: easy, insect, owner, which become heasy, hinsect, howner.

Misunderstandings may arise from such mistakes in speech, as the following story shows:

Miss Miller, a typist, was going home to her lodgings from the office where she worked. She was in a merry mood because the manager had promised her an increase of salary and all the other clerks had congratulated her.

Success arouses the appetite and Miss Miller entered a fried fish shop and bought a large portion of fish and chips for her supper. By the time she got home, however, the food had got cold, so she handed it to her landlady, saying:

“Will you heat this up for supper, please, Mrs. Peck?”

“Oh, certainly Miss”, said Mrs. Peck with a smile. Miss Miller smiled too and spent the next hour reading a novel and thinking of the pleasure which awaited her.

At last Mrs. Peck came into the room, carrying a knife and fork, a plate, a glass, a cheese-dish, some bread and some radishes on a tray. This was Miss Miller’s usual supper, but not what she had been expecting that whole evening. As Mrs. Peck set the tray on the table Miss Miller reminded her of the fish and chips.

“You said I was to heat them up”, said Mrs. Peck naively.

“Thank you very much. They were excellent!”

Find the words that mean:

1. wait for
2. look forward to
3. stimulate, provoke, excite
4. omit, skip
5. give
6. happy, cheerful  
7. et cetera 
8. amplify, enlarge, magnify, raise
9. accommodation
10. happen

Fill in the blanks with the words from the text:

1. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings! It was a ________________________.

2. Good evening sir! What a ___________________ to see you here.

3. I’ll have the chicken for the main ___________________.

4. If you ____________________ a “k” from the word “know”, you will get the word “now”.

5. With John here, you never know what will happen ___________________.

6. I really want this car. __________________ it costs too much and I can’t buy it.

7. Hello Mr Simpson. We have been _________________ you.

8. If the sign says Do Not __________________, it means that you should keep out of that place.

9. I won’t __________________ you to do your homework this time. If you want to do it OK, if you don’t want to do it – well, that’s your problem.

10. Tell me the ________________ truth! Don’t lie to me this time.

1. What did Merlin Monroe like wearing the most?
 a) high-heeled shoes b) diamonds c) jeans

2. The least people are killed every year 
 a) in plane crashes b) by donkeys c) by mosquitoes

3. Which animal sleeps with one eye open? 
 a) lion b) mosquito c) panda d) dolphin

4. The battle of Gallipoli, where thousands of people from Australia and New Zealand, took place in:
a) Australia b) New Zealand c) Turkey d) India

5. The battle of Gallipoli took place during the: 
 a) World War I b) World War II c) Cold War

6. The main role in the film “The Brave Heart” was played by:
a) Charley Chaplin b) Harrison Ford c) Mel Gibson d) Richard Geere

7. A prize that is given each year in the US for the best film, actor etc in the film industry – Oscar is also called:
a) The Academy Award b) The Academic Award c) The Golden Palm d) The Golden Camera

8. Charlie Chaplin, one of the best actors, that has ever lived was born in
a) London b) Paris c) Rome d) New York

9. Bugs Bunny, a cartoon rabbit who likes carrots and often uses the phrase
a) "What's up, Dude?" b) "What's up, Mac?" c) "What's up, Man?" "What's up, Doc?"

10. Songs: Wild Horses, Jumping Jack Flash, It’s only Rock and Roll, are performed by:
a) The Beatles b) The Rolling Stones c) Red Hot Chilli Peppers d) Eric Clapton

11. If things are selling like hot cakes it means: 
 a) they aren’t selling well b) they are selling like crazy

12. The chief of a republic is a 
 a) president b) queen c) king d) no one

13. A small and poor country with weak government that needs help from other countries is called:
a) a banana republic b) a strawberry republic c) a chicken republic d) a carrot republic

14. “Mum went bananas when I said I was going to leave my husband” means:
a) she was sad b) she was angry and excited c) she was happy

15. An ex-husband means
a) a dead husband b) a man some woman used to be married to c) a man some woman is going to marry

16. If a couple is celebrating a golden wedding, they have been married for:
a) 20 years b) 30 years c) 40 years d) 50 years e) 60 years

17. A shotgun wedding is a wedding where
a) you have to marry someone or you’ll get shot 
b) a wedding where people carry guns
c) a fast wedding because the bride is going to have a baby

JOKES: Choose and fill in the blanks. 
I'll tell you when it's raining! 
an American 
what’s with that
pick up the pieces
very intelligent 
the fly is on vacation


A person who speaks two languages is bilingual...A person who speaks three languages is trilingual...A person who speaks four or more languages is multilingual.
What is a person who speaks one language?

Why are you complaining?

Customer: Waiter, waiter! There is a frog in my soup!!!
Waiter: Sorry, sir. ___________________________.

She can’t help it – she’s nervous?

A nervous old lady on a bus was made even more nervous by the fact that the driver periodically took his arm out of the window. When she couldn't stand it any longer, she tapped him on the shoulder and whispered on his ear: "Young keep both hands on the wheel..._________________________________ "

What help!

Father: What did you do today to help your mother?
Son: I dried the dishes
Daughter: And I helped _________________________.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

how much OR how many?

The how much/how many test helps you practice the difference between these two question phrases. Remember, one is for countable nouns and the other is for uncountable nouns. Do you know which is which? Find out below!

begin here

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A look at should, supposed to, ought to.

Have to is the same as must. It implies that you don't have a choice.
John has to go to work everyday.
The students have to study tonight.
To be supposed to means an obligation. It is something that you should do, or something that another person expects you to do. Don't forget to use the verb be in front of supposed to.
Sally is supposed to meet her friend tonight.
All of the employees are supposed to attend today's meeting.
Ought to means a suggestion. You should do something but you don't have to do it.
We ought to clean the house tonight.
Phillip ought to help you with your homework.
(Notice that all of these words are modals. They are followed by a verb.) 
You may feel confused about the slight differences between these words. Just think about what the speaker is implying.
I have to do my homework.  (If I don't, will be in trouble.)
I am supposed to do my homework. (If I don't, my teacher will notice that I didn't do it.)
I ought to do my homework. (I don't have to if I don't want to, but I feel I should do it because I want to do well in the class.)

Check Your Understanding

Choose the best answer.

1. Willy needs money to pay for his food and house. If he doesn't go to work, he won't have money. He must work.
Willy ___ go to work.
a. ought to
b. has to
c. is supposed to

2. Johnny should help his mother with the housework. His mother would be happy if he did. But if he didn't help her, his mother wouldn't feel bad.
Johnny ___ help his mother.
a. ought to
b. has to
c. is supposed to

3. Joan want to be a nurse. To become a nurse it is necessary to go to nursing school.
Joan ___ go to nursing school if she wants to be a nurse.
a. has to
b. is supposed to
c. ought to

4. Tom's friend is waiting for him at the gym. They made plans to meet at 6:00. His friend will be upset if Tom doesn't go.
Tom ___ meet his friend.
a. ought to
b. has to
c. is supposed to

5. Lisa tells Nathan that he would be a good manager. She suggests that he apply for a job as a manager. Nathan is going to think about that.
Lisa thinks Nathan ___ be a manager
a. ought to
b. is supposed to

c. has to


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Listen up!

Breakup Albums 
Everyone wants to listen to music that resonates with them. We want to listen to songs about life… the joys, pain, and everything in between. Especially when we go through a breakup, we want to listen to songs about love and heartache. In fact, singers can make beaucoup bucks with these songs. One famous example is Adele.

Adele wrote many famous songs about her ex. But now her ex isn’t very happy. She made a lot of money singing about him, and he wants a
slice of the pie. Singers can sing about their lives, but there are laws that protect the identities of people, even the person’s ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. And if the person inspired the song, should they get some of the money?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Language Fluency Myths That People Still Believe

For all you fluent English speakers out there, don’t you think it’s interesting that “the Kronecker pairing on the homology and cohomology of a space should be thought of as an analogue (in fact it is a generalization) of integrating a differential n-form along an n-dimensional submanifold?”

This excerpt is from a lecture on algebraic topology, an advanced and (to some) obscure branch of mathematics. I imagine that most native English speakers reading this article did not understand it at all. That’s because fluency in language is a relative phenomenon. No one will ever be completely fluent in a language like English, which is spoken in so many different ways by so many different people, and is used to describe so many different spheres of activity. You may be a native English speaker, but that does not mean you will understand an 80-year old bus driver from Scotland describing the terrible weather they had 50 summers ago, or a professor in algebraic topology. This is not only the case with English, but with any of the world’s languages: Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, German, etc. I want to bust two popular, current myths about fluency which I have repeatedly come up against.

The first and central culprit is the idea that fluency is an absolute status, that the world of each language is divided into two groups: "fluent" and "non-fluent". But here’s a brief example of how muddy these waters can actually be: if I am born in Moscow, but then move to Toronto at 14 and never speak a word of Russian again for the rest of my life, am I still fluent at 89? Language is a living thing; it always happens within a context and relative to that context, and those contexts often do not have any exterior criteria by which they could be termed standard.

A second, related myth is that fluency is purely linguistic, i.e. not cultural, physical, or contextual. Some countries have different gestures to signify "no" and "yes" - written fluency won’t help you to understand the meaning of a nod. Another example from my travels involves a cultural reference: I lived in Italy for a short time, and while my Italian was improving I kept hearing (and not understanding) the term "redot", until I learned that was the Italian term for the band The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The above examples don’t mean that there are no standards, or that there is nothing to gain from study – there is always room for improvement. But they do show that one’s use of language changes and matures, it fades or grows, and the lines aren’t as hard as they may seem. The difference between beginner and advanced becomes much less clear once a language is used in the real world.

As a last example, let’s compare a graduate student who can read complicated mathematical texts in Arabic, but doesn’t know the word for grocery store, with a traveller who has learned Arabic on the fly – ­colloquially and imperfectly – ­but who can navigate the bus system in Morocco with ease. In your opinion, which of these two is more fluent?

For the original article please see here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

How do you say that in English? German English translation

Here are some sentences.  Read the sentence and see if you can translate it to English- great practice!

  1. Ich treffe heute Abend einen Freund von mir. Möchtest du mit uns kommen? Wir gehen ins Kino. Das ist meine Handynummer. Kannst du mir anrufen?

I’m meeting a friend of mine this evening.  Would you like to come with us? We’re going to the cinema. Here is my mobile number. Can you call me?

  1. Wo sind deine Eltern? Sie sind mit Kollegen im Ausgang. Was machen sie? Sie essen Pizza in der Abby’s Pizzeria. 

Where are your parents?  They are out with friends.  What are they doing?  They’re having (eating) pizza at Abby’s Pizzeria.

  1. Hat er eine Schwester? Nein, aber er hat zwei Brüder. Wie alt sind seine Brüder? Der jüngere ist neun Jahre alt und der ältere siebzehn. Was macht sein älterer Bruder? Im Moment studiert er Englisch in Brighton.

Does he have a sister?  No, but he has two brothers. How old are his brothers? The younger one is nine years old and the older is seventeen.  What does his older brother do?  Right now,(at the moment) he is studying in Brighton.  

  1. Möchtest du etwas trinken? Ja, gerne. Was möchtest du denn gerne? Ich möchte ein Mineralwasser bitte. Mit Eiswürfel und Zitrone? Nein danke, nur mit Eiswürfeln bitte.

Would you like something to drink?  Yes, please.  What would you like? I’d like a mineral water please.  With ice and lemon? No thank you, only with ice cubes please.

  1.  (am Telefon) Kann ich mit Tim sprechen? Entschuldigung, aber er ist nicht zu Hause. Kann ich ihm etwas ausrichten?

Can I speak with Tim please?  I’m sorry but he isn’t at home.  Can I give him a message? 

  1. Ich bin müde.  Ich werde heute Abend zu Hause bleiben. (future plan)

I’m tired.  I am going to stay home this evening.

  1. Was machen die Leute (dort)?

What are those people doing (there)?