SARS warning sign

Indefinite articles and abbreviations

Understanding the correct usage of indefinite articles and abbreviations can be a challenge for both native and non-native English speakers. Should it be a MRI scan or an MRI scan; a UNESCO heritage site or an UNESCO heritage site? This post first describes the difference between acronyms and initialisms, before explaining the reason why we use an MRI scan, for example, despite the abbreviation beginning with a consonant.

Read more

More conditional forms

Having explored the function of previous post, here we consider more conditional forms that do not necessarily follow the conditional clause + dependent clause structure, but do still express hypothetical meaning.

Read more

The conditionals: first, second and third

Conditionals are structures used in English grammar to describe events or states that may happen/be true in the present and future, or that might have happened/been true in the past. In this post the first, second and third conditionals are presented.

Read more

Books on shelf

Order of adjectives

When more than one adjective is used to modify a noun, or when nouns are used to modify another noun, the order of adjectives needs to follow a particular sequence. For example, we could say a delicious mature blue cheese but not a blue delicious mature cheese. This post defines the positions for different groups of adjectives with examples given.

Read more

Prefixes and suffixes

The use of prefixes and suffixes in written and spoken English, known as affixation, allows us to extend our vocabulary range by modifying the beginning (prefix) or ending (suffix) of root words in order to alter their meaning. This post offers examples of affixation to guide writers towards broadening their linguistic range.

Read more

Homonyms

This post explores the nature of homonyms as a word class. A definition and examples are given before moving on to consider polysemy, homographs and homophones, which are all part of the same word class family.

Read more

The future tense

There are a number of ways to present the future tense in English, each with their own function and form. This post will present the different approaches and for every form, the function and practical examples will be given to help improve and consolidate the learner’s understanding of the future tense and its use.

Read more

Man laying a brick path

How to use adverbs correctly

When writing or speaking English, either in formal or informal settings, we need to use adverbs correctly to add colour and depth to our language use. This post explores the function of adverbs, where they can be placed in our sentences and the types of adverbs that feature in the English language. Examples are given as a guide to ensure correct and effective usage.

Read more

The passive tense

When writing academically or professionally, the passive tense (or passive voice) is often used to place emphasis on the thing rather than the person who did the thing. This allows us to avoid repetition, to express importance, or helps us when the person who did the action is not known.

The present simple tense in all its glory

Ever wanted to know the full range of situations when the use of the present simple tense is appropriate? Read on …. This blog presents eight occasions where the present simple tense is required, so that we can do justice to this undervalued but essential tense.

Read more

Antonyms

Antonyms are pairs or groups of words that are notionally opposite in meaning, such as night/day, boy/girl, long/short, hot/cold, etc. This post describes the four categories of antonyms that feature in the use of English, explains the characteristics of each and offers a number of examples of each type.

Read more