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Have something done

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 […]

Review: Second Conditional

The second conditional is used to talk about hypothetical situations in the present. Suppose I think I’m too short to play basketball. I would probably say: “If I were taller, I would play basketball.” What I mean is that I don’t think I can play basketball because I’m not tall enough. I use the verb in the […]

Free English Resources to Boost Your Language Learning

 The British Council is an organization in the United Kigdom that builds on implementing cultural relationships and provides myriad educational opportunities. They have developed a website exclusively dedicated to learning the English language, which is divided into sections according to the student age: kids, teens and adults. Each section features a huge variety of resources, including games, […]

Review: Present Perfect vs Simple Past

Hello, dear reader, Here is the second part in our review series. There’s great confusion among language learners when they have to differentiate between the Present Perfect and the Simple Past. Most of these problems originate from the need a student might have to translate these tenses into his/her own language to better understand how […]

Review: Past Perfect

Here’s my third piece of review, and it’s a good one. The Past Perfect is an interesting verb tense. It does not happen alone. It comes together with the Simple Past. As the saying goes, they go together like a horse and carriage Look at this sentence: “When I got home, my wife left for work.” In this sentence […]

Review: Zero Conditional

Conditional sentences are sometimes confusing, so I am going to try to make them as clear as possible to you, reader. Let’s start with the first one. It’s called zero conditional. You only use the present tense in this time of sentence. “If you don’t eat, you get sick.” “If you eat a lot, you put on weight.”  As you can probably […]

Review: First Conditional

Hello again, dear reader, The first conditional is one of the most common in the English language. We use the simple present after if and the simple future in the next clause. “If I get home early, I will do my homework today.” As you can see, the first conditional is used to express a future action that depends on another […]

Numbers vs Periods & Hyphens

Hi, dear reader, The title of this post might sound puzzledly mathematical, but its content does not require prior knowledge of advanced calculations. In English, periods and hyphens are frequently used when numbers need to be set to paper: Periods:  Periods are used to separate the number from its decimal ($ 3.35) . This period […]

Cleft sentences

“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. […]

Past Participle in a Nutshell

Some English learners struggle to use the verb tenses correctly. In this post, we will explore the use of the past participle in the present perfect and the past perfect.

Review: Will vs Going to

Hi, dear reader, As the year is coming to an end, I think it’s high time we reviewed some of the basics about English grammar. First, I would like to talk a little about the differences between using will and going to when talking about the future. Basically, what you should know is: Use will when you want […]

Grammar Tip: “do” and “does”

Here goes a brief explanation about ‘do‘ and ‘does’. In English, these two little words act as auxiliary verbs in questions and negative statements, in the simple present. In Portuguese, for us to make a question, we just need to put the question mark (?) in the end and that’s it. But in English it’s not […]

“everybody go” or “everybody goes”?

Today’s topic is ‘subject-verb agreement’ with words like ‘everybody’ and ‘nobody’. These words are followed by the verb in the singular form, like in Portuguese, right? We say “todo mundo está feliz”, and not ‘estão’. In English, it is the same way. Observe: 1) Everybody knows this. 2) Everybody wants to be happy. 3) Nobody was at the party when I arrived. 4) Nobody knows who stole John’s […]

Grammar Tip: “neither is” or “neither are”?

Here is another post about agreement, which can be a bit tricky when we use certain words like ‘neither’, ‘both’, ‘half’, and so on. Let’s take a look at the most confusable ones: 1) “Neither is” or “neither are”? With the word “neither” we use a verb in the singular. Examples: a) Neither of us […]

The Apostrophe

The apostrophe ( ‘ ) is a punctuation mark and it is very used in English, as you may have already noticed. It is simply a way to show that a letter (or letters) is hidden. As it also serves to save space, it is very common in poems and lyrics of songs. Let’s take […]

Don’t Forget “it”

Have you noticed how we, Brazilians, like to omit “it”? Take a look at these common mistakes: *Rains a lot in Manaus. The correct is: “It rains a lot in Manaus.” A: “Why didn’t you like the party?” B: “*Because was boring. The correct is “Because it was boring.”   A: “How was your weekend?” […]

“So” and “neither”

The usage of “so” and “neither” is not that hard, but it’s a bit tricky because we need to know the auxiliaries well and it involves inversion of words. Let’s take a look at each example – I guess it’s easier to understand this way. Examples with “so”: 1) A: I think U2 is still […]