Free Grammar Lessons

On this page you will find some of our old grammar lessons that we have posted on our Facebook page over the past few years. Please join our page for regular grammar updates.

The Past Simple

We use the past simple to talk about finished actions.

-I lived in Mexico (+) For the negative use ‘did not + infinitive’: -I did not eat sushi last night. (-)

The past is the same for I/he/she/it etc.

Regular verbs in the past end in ‘ed’ eg played jumped etc. For questions use did + infinitive: -Did you see Kevin yesterday? (?)

When you are speaking you need to use contractions. It sounds more natural and fluent. Was not = wasn’t, were not = weren’t Did not = didn’t

Would/Would not

There are many ways we can use ‘ would :’  The first way is ‘Iwould like…’ this is the polite way of saying ‘I want. ‘ It is not a good idea to say ‘I want ‘ directly to people, they might think it’s rude!
‘I would like a cappuccino please. ‘ ‘I wouldn’t like to live in a wet country. ‘  ‘Would you like to have some cake? ‘  If you use a verb after ‘would’ you must use the infinitive with ‘to.’

Indirect Questions

​These kind of questions are used to sound more polite when we are speaking. ‘Could you tell me…?’ ‘Do you know…?’
If the direct question begins with an auxiliary verb(do,we,have), we need to add ‘if’ or ‘whether.’ Basically, if it is a yes or no answer, we must use if.We must also change the word order, it changes to ‘subject + verb.’ NOT, ‘verb + subject’ like normal questions. Let’s look at some examples:

Where is the station? = Could you tell me where the station is? Does this bus go to Trafalgar Square? = Do you know if this bus goes to Trafalgar Square? Is there a bank near here? = Do you know if there is a bank near here? What time is it? = Could you tell me what the time is?

Present Continuous (Future)

We use present continuous to talk about future arrangements ‘We’re getting married next week.’ ‘We aren’t leaving on Friday.’ ‘Are you seeing John tonight?’ In this situation the decision has already been made.

It has been arranged, you know the date, time, location you are getting married. It is definitely happening.  You are allowed to use ‘going to’ for future arrangements.

However, you cannot use present continuous for future plans or intentions.  DO NOT use ‘Will/won’t’ when you have already decided to do something.  This is a common mistake.

Comparatives and Superlatives (Part one)

This is a grammar point that has some good and clear rules to follow. We use these kind of adjectives to compare two things or to say one thing is the top or the bottom in one area.

Adjectives:
​1 syllable comparative = er than 1 syllable superlative = the -est tall – taller than – the tallest short – shorter than – the shortest
He is taller than me. I am shorter than him.  He is the tallest in the class. I am the shortest in the school.
​ 2 syllables ending in ‘y.’ = we replace the ‘y’ with ‘ier for comparative and with ‘iest’ for superlative. happy – happier than – the happiest lazy – lazier than – the laziest I am happier than I was before. I am the happiest person in the world. John is lazier than Jill. John is the laziest in the family.
​ 2 syllables or more, not ending in ‘y.’ = we add ‘more’ for comparative and ‘most’ for superlative, the opposite is ‘less’ and ‘least.’ comfortable – more comfortable than – the most comfortable patient – more patient than – the most patient

I am more comfortable in this chair than the other one. This is the least comfortable car I have ever been in. She is the most patient girl I know. She is a lot less patient than her mother.

Comparatives and Superlatives (Part two)

In this lesson we will learn what to do with adverbs. We will also learn about the irregular adjectives that do not follow the rules we previously learned.

There are a number of adjectives that do not follow the ‘er, est’ pattern:
bad worse worst far further/farther furthest good better best ill worse worst well better best

In the past lesson, some students mentioned other adjectives with two syllables that do not follow the pattern. Handsome can be used either way: handsomer or more handsome. I prefer more handsome.  My advice is to stick to the main rules and you will not get confused!

Now, we move onto adverbs:
​ Adverbs that end in -ly, use ‘more’ for the comparative and ‘most’ for the superlative.
happily more happily the most happily easily more easily the most easily quietly more quietly the most quietly
Adverbs without -ly follow the same rules as adjectives: hard harder the hardest
Irregular adverbs are similar to the adjectives: badly worse the worst

Some people like to do something similar with 2 syllable adverbs that they do with 2 syllable adjectives.
​ slowly slowlier the slowliest lonely lonelier the loneliest
​ It is more correct, in my opinion, to use more and most but it is up to you here!

The Present Simple

Use the present simple to talk about things that are generally true or are a habit.
I play football (habit)
The sky is blue (true)
Do you like beer? (? form)
Does she live here? (? form)
I don’t work (negative habit)
He is not French (negative truth)
**IMPORTANT** We do not use this tense to talk about things you are doing now!! Only things that are a habit or are generally true.)

MUST/HAVE TO (obligation)

Obligation/necessity: have to/must (+infinitive) ‘must’ and ‘have to’ have a very similar meaning. ‘Have to’ is more common for general obligations like rules or laws e.g ‘ You have to bring your passport when you travel to another country.’
‘must’ is normal for specific or personal obligations. e.g ‘I must study for my test.’ ‘Have to’ is a normal verb and it exists in all tenses ‘must’ is a modal verb. We can only say ‘must’ and ‘mustn’t’  You can also use both for really strong recommendations. ‘You have to see that film, it is amazing.’

The negative of ‘have to’ , ‘don’t have to’ means you have no obligation/necessity. e.g ‘You don’t have to pay for a ticket. It is free.’ The negative of ‘must’, ‘mustn’t’ means you are prohibited or forbidden. ‘You mustn’t go there, it’s dangerous.’  REMEMBER: ‘mustn’t’ and ‘don’t have to are completely different. This is a very common mistake.

Must, may, might, can’t

We use these modal verbs to decide whether something is true or not. It is our deduction.

When you are sure something is true: MUST ‘He must be asleep. I can hear him snoring.’ ‘He must be married. He has a wedding ring.’When you think something is true: MAY/MIGHT ‘He might not like that game, he prefers sports games.’ ‘He may have left his phone at home.

He is not answering it.’ There is no real difference between ‘may’ and ‘might’ here. Might is more popular though.
When you are sure something is not true: CAN’T ‘He can’t be Italian. I spoke the language in front of him and he didn’t understand.’ ‘He can’t be 15. I saw him driving a car yesterday.’

Going to + Present Simple

We use ‘going to’ to talk about future plans or intentions.  ‘I am going to go on holiday next year.’ ‘I am not going to buy a cat next month.’ ‘Are you going to watch this film at the cinema?’

This is a plan, but it is not necessarily definite. Maybe you haven’t bought the tickets or decided where to go but it is your idea.

Will + Present Simple

Last week we learned how to use ‘going to;’ this week we are going to learn how to use ‘will.’ We use will for a lot of different reasons. However, we DO NOT use will for future plans.

This is a common mistake with English learners. We use ‘will’ for the following reasons:

1) Instant decision When you decide something at the moment of speaking. e.g You go into a cafe and you look at the menu: “I’ll have a coffee please.”

2) Offer When you offer to do something for somebody “I’ll help you with your suitcases.”

3) Promise ” I will never lie to you.”

4) Future Fact Something that you know is almost certainly going to be true. “I will see John at work tomorrow.”

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