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Put Prepositions in Their Place

English learners know that prepositions can be difficult to master. There are 94 one-word prepositions in English, and about 56 prepositions with two or more words, called complex prepositions. This adds up to 150 chances to make mistakes. We cannot, of course, explain the small differences between all 150 prepositions here. We can, however, provide you with a few explanations of different prepositions that use one particular verb: provide.

  


Can You Correct 'Her and I?'

On March 5, Jazmine Hughes wrote in a New York Times blog, Recently, at an IRL party that is, a party that takes place in real life, as opposed to where I generally live, which is on the Internet a guest asked a friend and I how we met. The sentence includes a common error I have been seeing and hearing more and more often lately.

  


Beating Problems with Adverbs

This week, were going to talk about some common problems with adverbs. Basically, adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. For example, "I ran quickly to the store." The adverb quickly describes the verb run. What is an adverb? If a word is not easy to classify as a noun, verb, or adjective, it is probably an adverb. Some of the most common words in English are adverbs, including up, so, just, then, how, now, also, here, and more.

  


Mastering Reported Speech

We often need to tell others what someone else said.There are two ways to do this. One is to say the same words and use quotation marks. That is "direct speech." The other method is to summarize, or tell about what someone said. This is called "reported speech." Before weget into the rules for reporting speech, here are the terms we are using to explain it.

  


Can I, Could I, May I?

This week we will give you some tips on how to use modals to make requests and give permission. Some common modals for expressing permission are may, can, and could. But these modals have multiple meanings that can be confusing for English learners.

Can and May

Children in American schools learn to use the modal may when asking for permission. A student might ask the teacher, "May I be excused?" before leaving the room. When students asked, "Can I leave the room?" their teachers often made a joke, "You can, but you may not." The teacher was saying the student is able to leave the room, but does not have permission to do so. May is the most formal way to ask for permission. The distinction between can and may is slowly disappearing in English.



  


Yoy Had Better learn Modals

This week we are going to show you how to give advice using modal verbs. Modal verbs (called modals for short) are auxiliary verbs that express a speaker's attitude and the strength of that attitude. For example, "He should visit Prague."

In this sentence, should is the modal verb, and visit is the main verb.

The simple form of a verb goes after a modal. Do not add the third person "s" to a verb after a modal. It would sound strange to say "He should visits Prague" or "He should to visit Prague." The correct way is "He should visit Prague."



  


The Sounds of Grammar with Betty Azar

Today we have a special guest host. Betty Azar is the most successful writer of grammar textbooks in the world. Generations of English learners will recognize her best-selling book Understanding and Using English Grammar. The famous blue grammar book, now in its fourth edition, is in use at language schools across the world. Ms. Azar also supports research and professional development in the English language teaching field. Today Ms. Azar will offer some advice on how to hear the sounds of grammar. STUDENT: "English speakers talk too fast! I can't understand what they're saying." BETTY AZAR: Does that sound familiar? It's a common complaint of English language learners, one I've heard often from my university-level ESL students through the years.

  


Fun with Future Tenses

This week, we are going to talk about the future tenses. There are several ways to talk about future events in English. Compared to the past and present, future tenses are usually more flexible. Will Lets start with will. To form the simple future, use will and then the simple form of the verb. For example, I will go to the store. In everyday conversation, will often gets shortened, which can be difficult for English learners to hear. For example, Ill leave tomorrow or Hell go to the store. You can use will to express a desire to do something. Ill help you move tomorrow or Ill answer the phone.

  


Tag Questions Are Easy, Arent They?

Have you ever been in a conversation and wanted to check your understanding? That is the time to use a tag question in English. A tag question is a short question added to a statement. The tag includes a pronoun and its matching form of the verb be, or auxiliary verb. If the tag question is negative, we shorten the phrase, or use a contraction with the auxiliary verb. Here's an example: I was visiting a friend and saw a photo on the wall. I said,

  


Unusual Plurals

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, goes the Dr. Seuss childrens story. Why isnt it two fishes? You may think, Ok, its hard to count fish so we group them all together. No problem. Life on the farm Its easy to understand that farmers would not worry about making plurals when they talk about sheep. After all, they are almost always in a group. When you have one sheep, you can also call it a ram or a ewe, and make those nouns plural by adding an s: rams and ewes.

  


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