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Review: Second Conditional
12-03-2016

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 […]

Review: Present Perfect vs Simple Past
06-02-2015

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
05-01-2015

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
01-01-2015

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
29-12-2014

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 […]

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 […]

Numbers vs Periods & Hyphens
13-11-2014

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?
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 […]

Confusing verbs: Borrow vs Lend?
23-09-2014

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 […]

“Wasn’t” and “Didn’t” Don’t Go Together
29-04-2014

In the post you´ll learn how to use the auxiliary verbs “Was” and “Did” in the negative form. You´ll also see them in context to realize that they never go together in a sentence.

Past Participle in a Nutshell
24-04-2014

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
04-02-2014

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”
01-12-2013

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”?
30-11-2013

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”?
28-11-2013

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”
26-11-2013

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
12-11-2013

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”
10-11-2013

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?” […]

Confusable Words – “Leave” or “Let”?
28-09-2013

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
27-09-2013

“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 […]