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Category: Grammar

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All the time or Every time???
31-05-2017

Some time ago, in one of my classes, a student was sharing a story about his daily routine in the office and he was doing a great job at that. At one point, he made the following statement: “I use the stapler every time.” To which I responded by correcting him and telling him that […]

Have something done
19-09-2016

It is common to hear things such as “I cut my hair / I washed my car / I repaired my car”. Brazilians might understand what you mean, but probably a native speaker of English would be surprised. Let me tell you why: we only say these things when we actually did them. So, did […]

Fast or Quick?
28-04-2016

When you’re really late for school, do you take a quick shower or a fast shower? Well… Is there a difference? Yes, there is. Maybe not in terms of meaning, but in terms of collocation. Collocation happens when two or more words and phrases together sound more correct to the people who have spoken the […]

How often do you exercise your mind?
25-04-2016

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison There are many ways in which you can keep your brain fit. – challenge yourself. Try out new experiences and provide your brain with new information and stimuli. – switch up the things you normally do – try to use your left […]

Make your own word using prefixes – “over-“
02-09-2015

When I first think of the word “over”, I remember Brazilian fashion experts talking about an outfit that is a little too extravagant. An American teenager might use the word to say that they are “done” with something, that they can’t take it anymore – “I’m so over high school!” But the most interesting thing about […]

When an ‘a-‘ is not an opposite
20-05-2015

It was a winding path that led me to teaching the English language, which started with an interest in the development of language. I think you can appreciate language more when you have an idea of where it comes from, what has influenced it and how it has changed over its history. There is an […]

Getting a Good Free Dictionary App for Learning
30-03-2015

There are many different dictionary apps that you can download and use to become a more independent English learner. With a good app in our hands, you can look for definitions of some words, check pronunciation, and see how the words collocate with others to form sentences. However, there are so many options in the stores that […]

Wish
17-11-2014

When we talk about wishes, it is related to something you´d like to do, have, try out. There´s a sense of regret, a nostalgic feeling. You´d like things to be different in the present. Watch this video with Kate Nash´s song Nicest Thing. What do you notice in relation to the verb tense you use […]

Confusing verbs: Been or Gone?
10-11-2014

Hi, dear reader, Two verb forms that are often confused is been and gone. They are the past participle of the verbs be and go.  I ask you, what’s the difference between,  he’s gone to Africa and he’s been to Africa? Well, use gone when someone visits a place but has not come home yet. “Michael can’t come […]

Have or There + to be?
04-09-2014

A very common mistake in writing is the use of the verb have meaning existence. For instance, “Have a blue house on this street.” In English, the idea of existence is expressed by means of using there to be. So, the correct sentence is “There is a blue house on my street.” Also, what sometimes confuses students is the […]

English Tip: Connectors in Writing
02-09-2014

When it comes to contrasting ideas in your writings, there are some ways you can go about doing it. The simplest one is “it’s rainy,  but I’ll go to the club”. However, you can say exactly the same by using the following connectors: In spite of being rainy, I’ll go to the club. Despite being rainy, I’ll go […]

Separation: A Tough Thing To Do
31-07-2014

Hello, dear readers, Students often ask me, “Teacher, how do I separate a word in English?” If you speak Portuguese, you probably separate a word based on the letters this word has; however, in English we do it differently. The syllables and not the letters are more important for you to learn to separate properly. […]

Cleft sentences
24-05-2014

“Cleft sentences” is a very elegant term to a very simple structure in English. In fact, ‘cleft sentences‘ are a way to give emphasis to something we want to talk about, or to correct a piece of information. Examples: 1) Normal sentence, withouth ‘clefting’: I love teaching because I get to know different people every semester. […]

Compromise x Commitment
18-12-2013

As with many (or all?) words in English, their translation depends on the context. “Compromise” is one of those. ”Compromise” can be translated as “compromisso”, but there is also the word “commitment” for that. So, it depends on the context.

Separating Syllables in English
17-12-2013

There is a rule of gold in English: “never separate words”. If it is absolutelly necessary, try to separate the words into syllables, but observe the following rules: 1) Avoid leaving one or two letters alone in the following line. Ex.: fath- er. 2) Avoid separating suffixes like -able; -ible; -cial; -tial; -tion; -tious, etc. […]