by Liz Walter
All students of English need to learn phrasal verbs! A phrasal verb is a verb and a particle (e.g. up, off, over) used together. Phrasal verbs may seem difficult, but you probably know some already:
It is often impossible to guess the meaning of a phrasal verb from the meaning of the verb. For example, if you give up smoking, you stop smoking, and if you carry on doing something, you continue to do it. You have to learn the meaning of these phrasal verbs in just the same way as you do with a single verb. Continue reading “An introduction to phrasal verbs”→
by Kate Woodford
In these blogs we make a point of looking at areas that often cause difficulties for learners of English. This week we are considering how we talk about obligation – the fact that we mustdo something, either because of a rule or some other need. We will start with the differences between ‘have to/need to’ and ‘must’, and when we use one and not the other.
Have to/Need to
The first thing to say is that if we want to talk about something that it is necessary to do, ‘have to’ and ‘need to’, (followed by the infinitive of the main verb), generally sound correct and natural:
by Kate Woodford
Last week we looked at the most basic tenses and structures that are used for talking about the future. This week, we’re considering some more future tenses and structures and thinking about exactly how they are used.
Let’s start with the present simple. Like the present continuous, this tense can be used for talking about future events that are planned, or ‘in the diary’:
We leave for France next Tuesday.
Term starts next week.
Her plane getsin at three in the morning.
Notice that two of the above examples relate to events that are not only planned, but planned by someone else, as part of an official diary or timetable. This is a typical use of the present simple for future events.
The future in English is complicated. The problem is that there are so many different ways of talking about it, and the differences between those various ways are sometimes quite slight. This week and next, we’re looking at the range of tenses and structures that we use to talk about the period of time that is to come.
We’ll start with a really useful tense – the present continuous (be + v-ing), (Notice, by the way, that we’re not starting with ‘will’ – more of that later…):
This is probably because most learners will be aware of the difference between countable nouns (such as apple, dog, and child) and uncountable or mass nouns (such as rice, milk, and time), and this is useful for understanding the basic rule:
… use less for things you can’t count (uncountable/mass nouns):
Most first language speakers simply don’t think of nouns in that way. The result is that many of them don’t know that there’s any difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’. Others know, but don’t really care. However, there is a third group that does know, does care, and gets very angry indeed when they are used incorrectly. Continue reading “Less or fewer?”→