Blog CTJ

Tag: grammar

« Voltar para o Blog
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 […]

Make your own word using prefixes – “over-“

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 […]

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 […]

Confusing verbs: Been or Gone?

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 […]

Confusing verbs: Borrow vs Lend?

Hi, Many are the verbs in English out there that confuse the eager language learner. As a fellow blogger of mine in these pages have already introduced you to lay/lie and raise/rise, I thought I could give my contribution so that you avoid the common pitfalls every student tends to fall into. Borrow vs Lend […]

Confusing Verbs: Lay or Lie?

Another pair of confusable verbs is lay and lie. Lay is a transitive verb, so it’s used with a direct object. For instance, “as the kids arrive, they lay their backpacks next to the window.” Their backpacks is the object of the verb lay. Its past is laid and so is its past participle form. […]

Less is more

It’s all very well and you are famous for being the creative genius of the family. Then you come to class and wonder why it is that sometimes everybody has finished the task and you’re still thinking, organizing your ideas into a productive flow. Like everything else, too much creativity at the wrong time may […]

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. […]

It ain’t that, ain’t it?

You probably have across ain’t either while reading, listening to a song, or even watching a movie. Ain’t is not really what you could call proper English, so it should never be used for academic writing; however, it is commonly used either in American or British English. But what is ain’t exactly and how is […]

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 […]

Grammar Tip: “me and my friend”

I always come across sentences like “me and my friend went out yesterday”, “me and my family traveled to the USA last year” and so on. So, just for clarity, this way of phrasing is OK if you’re in an informal context, like in spoken English. But, in a formal environment, like in a composition or test, […]

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?” […]

“Too” and “neither”

A: I like Linkin’ Park a lot! B: Me too!   Who has never used “me, too”? It’s quite easy for us to know what it means and to use it comfortably. But, what happens if the person says: A: I don’t like pineapple at all. Do you say “me too”? No…actually you have to […]

“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 […]

“how” and “as”

We use “how” and “as” when we mean “como”, in Portuguese. However, since in English there are two words with this meaning, we tend to misuse ‘how’ and ‘as’. We use “how” in cases like: 1) questions Examples: How‘s the weather today? How did you find out I was here? How can you do this […]

When X Factor Meets Learning

Part of studying a foreign language is devoting some of our time to having fun with the language. As a teacher, I usually try to find materials that are motivating and fun, and learning through media (movies, music, etc.) is one of the best ways to motivate practicing a new language. The clips below will […]

Between x Among

Between and among are synonyms, but their usage is a bit different. Observe:   – We use “between” when we are talking about two objects, items or people. Examples: 1) Mary likes to sit between Carlos and Sue in class. 2) I told you this story but I want you to keep it between you […]

Confusable Words – “Leave” or “Let”?

Here’s another pair of confusable words: leave and let. They have the same meaning in Portuguese (deixar), so this is basically one source of confusion. “Leave” means “to go out of a place; to abandon/forget; to remove yourself from a society/association”, among other things. Let’s take a look at some examples: 1) She left the […]

If x whether

“If” and “whether” have the same meaning (which is “se”, in Portuguese). However, they can be used in different situations. Use “whether” when there is an option/choice: 1) I don’t know whether his eyes are green or blue. 2) I’ll take this new course anyway, whether you take it with me or not. 3) The […]

“Other”, “others” or “another”?

Have you ever had a doubt when choosing between “other”, “others” and “another”? This is a common doubt, but the good news is that it is simple to learn the difference between these words. Examples with “other”: 1) John has two brothers. One is very calm and sweet, but the other (brother) is really hectic […]

Forget “have”!

One of the most recurring mistakes among Brazilian learners of English is to use “have” when they want to express the idea of “exist”. And, believe me, it’s a mistake that can kill your English! So, let’s just remember: we use “there +be” for this. Let’s take a look at these sentences. The first ones […]

Difference between “it’s” and “its”

The difference between “it’s” and “its” is really simple. Take a look: 1) It’s  “it’s” = “it is” or “it has”. See the examples below: a) It’s getting late. (It is getting late.) b) Oh, it’s so beautiful here! (It is so beautiful here.) c) It’s been so hot lately that everybody is already dreaming […]