Basic English Usage

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This page shows you ways to talk about the future although the two final ways are more suitable for an intermediate level of grammar. Make sure you can use all these accurately on this page: Like and As.

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Go to Modal auxiliary verbs in English to learn about the grammar and use of this essential area of English. At pre-intermediate level you should aim to study and use the Zero, First and Second conditional. Go to Conditional sentences for this. Most students have problems with English prepositions, and we have an entire section for you!

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Start with the page Prepositions list which gives you a complete list of English prepositions with their main uses and examples. Then learn which prepositions to use with common adjectives on the page Prepositions and adjectives. Go to Prepositions of time to learn prepositions of time for, ago, etc as well as prepositions to talk about location place and transport. Learn which prepositions to use with verbs on the page Learn English Prepositions and Verbs. Finally, learn how to talk about where things are in relation to each other, and how to give directions with common prepositions on the page Prepositions of location and direction.

Another difficult area of English grammar is how to make questions. There are two, final areas of grammar which are often introduced at the end of the pre-intermediate level. Go to the Reported Speech in English page to learn how tenses change; plus how to report questions and modals.

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The other more complicated area of grammar to start studying at this level is passives. The page How to use the passive voice in English shows you when — and how — to form a passive sentence. Learn how to use adjectives and adverbs correctly — especially adverbs with double meanings. Review the word order of adjectives, too. Go to English Adjectives and Adverbs for this. At this level you need to know when to use gerunds and when to use infinitives. Check out the two pages How to use gerunds and English grammar rules for using the infinitive. This page also shows you the different types of infinitives and which verbs are followed by them.

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At this level, you also need to learn the difference between defining and non-defining relative clauses, and how to use relative pronouns correctly. Go to the page Relative Clauses for this.

English Grammar Course For Beginners: Basic English Grammar

Then try the page English Question Tags. This is a common part of British English speech, but quite hard to get right!

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Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. We often use them to avoid repeating the nouns that they refer to.

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Pronouns have different forms for the different ways we use them. Determiners and quantifiers. Determiners and quantifiers are words we use in front of nouns. We use determiners to identify things this book, my sister and we use quantifiers to say how much or how many a few people Possessives are forms that we use to talk about possessions and relationships between things and people. They take different forms depending on how they are used.

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Modal verbs in English serve to indicate likelihood, possibility, obligation and more. The most common examples of modal verbs include can , may , must , will and shall. Must is the one indicating an obligation or a necessity to do something. The difference between must and have to is subtle. Both refer to an obligation, but must indicates an opinion or suggestion. Have to is an expression of a more objective obligation coming from an outside force. Must and have to are used interchangeably in casual English.

In other words, the verb needs to take a form that matches the subject. The subject of a sentence can be either singular or plural, which will determine what form the verb takes. For example:. Notice how these sentence elements provide additional information that can be safely removed. The sentence would be less informative, but still grammatically correct. A simple way to check for subject and verb agreement is to replace the subject with an appropriate pronoun, like we did in the first sentence above.

In many English sentences, the subject is the one performing the action described by the verb of the sentence. In other instances, the subject is being acted upon. Someone else is performing the action!

Elementary English Grammar

A good mix of active and passive verbs will make your English, especially written English, varied and colorful. Sometimes, a singular noun represents a group of people or a collection of things. Should it take a singular or a plural verb? Is family singular or plural?

Daily Word

Is government plural or singular? These types of nouns are known as collective nouns. In American English, collective nouns typically take a singular verb. If the collective noun represents a group acting as one unit, it takes a singular verb. If the collective noun stands for several individuals or things acting independently, it takes a plural verb.

Incorrect: The team is on a winning streak. Correct: The team is on a winning streak. It beat every other team so far. Remember tip number six, and always keep the subject and the verb in agreement throughout. Having a subject and a verb is the minimum requirement for English sentences.