Are vs. Do & Yes / No Questions – English Grammar Lesson

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar Leave a Comment

Are you interested in learning English? Are you a student, or working in an international company? Do you like learning language? Do you enjoy studying English grammar? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you have come to the right place. A lot of my students have trouble with yes no questions. Today I am going to show you how to use these question words in English. There are several patterns you’ll need to memorize. Ready? The basic pattern using is and are is Are/Is + Subject + Object. Are you a student? Not, Do you a student? Are dogs good swimmers? Are the student’s happy? Is Jack the manager? Is your sister working today? Is that fun? You’ll notice that in the examples above, are & is are followed by a noun or pronoun, but not a verb. The basic pattern using do & does is Do/Does + Subject + Verb. Do you like English? Not, Are you like English? Do your friends study English? Do dogs swim well? Does Jack like pizza? Does your sister work in Manhattan? Does everyone enjoy this lesson? So if there is a verb after the subject you need to …

Using BY and WITH – English Preposition Lesson

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar Leave a Comment

Homemade pizza is really delicious, so I like to make pizza by hand. I make the dough by following my grandmother’s recipe. I even make the pizza with my grandmother’s mixing bowl. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the results are great! Today I am going to show you two prepositions in English, by and with and how we used them. Both by and with are used to talk about how we do something, but there are a few differences. We use by + noun to talk about the way we do something or the way something is done: I like to make pizza by hand. Those donuts are made by machine. The calculations are performed by computer. We use by + gerund to talk about the action we take in order to do something: I make the dough by mixing flour, yeast, and warm water. Those donuts are made by pouring the ingredients into the machine. The calculations are performed by programming the computer. We use with + noun to talk about the, ingredients, tool or instrument we use to do something: I made the sauce with fresh tomatoes, basal, and garlic. I forgot to bring …

Free English Grammar Lesson: Using Even

Michael Grammar 6 Comments

My friend Yalcin is a pretty talented guy when it comes to computers. He knows all of the popular programs and he can even repair computers. He’s from Turkey, so he speaks Turkish and English. He even speaks a little Japanese! We went out for pizza last weekend, and a lot of our old friends came with us. Even Jim came, and he doesn’t like pizza so much. A lot of students have trouble using even. Today, I’m going to show you the grammar we use with even so you can use this word in your English conversations. We use even as an adverb when we want to say that something is more than what we expect. Generally, even comes before the verb: Yalcin even repairs computers. Jack even knows how to speak French. We saw all of the attractions in the amusement park. We even rode the Ferris Wheel. Even can also come before the subject of the sentence or other words we want to emphasize: Even Jim came to the restaurant, and he doesn’t like pizza. Nobody was able to fix it. Even Tom couldn’t do it, and he knows a lot about cars. I work every day, …

Free English Grammar Lesson: Using Go

Michael Grammar 3 Comments

I am to meet one of my students who is in the US this week on business. We usually have a lesson online, but today she is coming to my office for class. After the lesson we will go for lunch. I suggested we go for pizza at Lombardi’s, my favorite pizza shop. I like to go there whenever I have students or other guests who come here from out of town. It is a great place and when I go in there I always enjoy the atmosphere, as well as the pizza. The verb go has a variety of prepositions that follow it and each one has a different meaning. Today, I’m going to show you how to use this English grammar. We use go + to + [place] when we show movement in the direction of a place. Before the place, you need to: I am going to NYC today. Jack goes to his office by bicycle. Jenny went to Cancun last month and had a great time. Keep in mind we don’t use to before: home, there, here, somewhere, uptown, and downtown. I have to go uptown for a meeting. Not: I have to go to uptown …

English Preposition Lesson: At vs. In For Location

Michael Grammar 18 Comments

Hi English Language fans! It was a bit chilly this morning in NYC. Well, today I have a special English lesson for you that I think is really going to help you learn the difference between the prepositions at & in when talking about location. I know so many people have trouble with these two words, but if you can remember a few basic rules and patterns, you’ll have it down pat! We often use both at & in to talk about position or location. Generally the meaning is the same. Both of these sentences tell us Jack’s location: Jack is athis office. Jack is inhis office. So, when we speak in a general way, we can use either at or in to describe the location. However, both at & in have some specific uses and meanings when you need to be less general and more specific. We use at when we want to refer to one specific point. This could be a point in time, or a physical point in a place. Often this physical point is an object: Jack is athis desk. His desk is the specific point or object of Jack’s location I waited atthe bus stop for twenty minutes. Grandma is knitting atthe window. The teacher is atthe whiteboard. Of course, I am sure you know we use at to indicate an exact …

One Point English Lesson: Excited About or For or To

Michael Grammar 2 Comments

Excited is an adjective and can be followed by a few different structures. Let’s look at those today. When you want to mention the thing that makes you feel excited, you can use excited + about + noun: I am excited about my trip to Brazil. Jack is excited about his new job. Is Joe excited about the wedding? When you want to mention an activity that makes you feel excited, you can use excited +  to + verb: I am excited to visit Brazil. Jack is excited to start his new job. Is Joe excited to be getting married? When you hear someone’s good news and that news makes you feel excited, you can use excited +  for + someone: I am excited for Jenny. I just heard she is getting married. Jack told me he got a great new job. I’m so excited for him. Everyone is excited for Jane and Chris. They’re having a baby! What are you excited about? Who are you excited for? Leave a message here and let us know! If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. …

One-Point English Lesson: For, Since, & Ago

Michael Grammar 2 Comments

We can use for, since, and ago to talk about time. We use for when we talk about how long something happens. The structure is for + a time period, and we usually use for with the present perfect tense: I have been working in this company for two years. I haven’t seen Jack for such a long time. We’ve been waiting at this bus stop for twenty minutes. We also use since when we talk about how long something happens. The structure is since + a point in time, and we also usually use since with the present perfect tense: I have been working in this company since 2010. I haven’t seen Jack since 2005. We’ve been waiting at this bus stop since 9:30. We use ago when we want to talk about time before now. The structure is time period + ago. We usually use ago with the simple past tense: I started working at this company two years ago. The last tie I saw Jack was seven years ago. We arrived at the bus stop twenty minutes ago. How long have you been working at your current job, or studying at you school? Can you make three …

One-Point English Lesson: Infinitive or Gerund as a Subject

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

Did you know that you can use an infinitive (to + VERB) or a gerund (VERBing) as the subject of a sentence in English? It’s true, but you need to be careful of when you make the choice. The gerund is used as the subject of a sentence in everyday, usual English, like this: Studying English every day is the best way to improve. Exercising is important for staying healthy. Waiting for a bus on a hot day is pretty uncomfortable. The infinitive is used as a subject of a sentence when you are talking about abstract or philosophical ideas: To be or not to be. That is the question. (Shakespeare was speaking philosophically) To love another person would be out of the question. To spend time in the garden is relaxing for the mind and the body. Unless you want to sound like a philosopher or Shakespeare, it is best to use the gerund as the subject of a sentence. Compare these: Working hard is the best way to advance in the company. (This sounds like natural English) To work hard is the best way to advance in the company. (This is unnatural and sounds too philosophical) How about …

One-Point English Lesson: All/All of, Some/Some of, etc

Michael Grammar 2 Comments

#1 You can use these words All / some / any / most / much / many / little / few + a plural or uncountable noun All cars have four wheels. Some people have short hair. I don’t have any time for lunch today. Most dogs are very friendly. There were many tourists in Times Square. #2 You can use these words All / some / any / most / much / many / little / few + of. When you use of with these words, you must use a determiner such as the, these, my, his, Jim’s, etc All of the cars in this parking lot are clean. Some of the people in this office have short hair. I like cupcakes, so I’ll take any of those cupcakes for dessert. Most of the dogs in this park are very friendly Many of the tourists in Times Square are from a foreign country. *You can not use these words All / some / any / most / much / many / little / few + of + a noun Most of people ~ Some of Americans ~ How about all of your friends? Or some of your coworkers? Leave …

One-Point English Lesson: Using “It takes”

Michael Grammar 3 Comments

When you want to know the amount of time needed to get from Point A to Point B, you can ask: Chris: How long does it take to get from NYC to Miami? Ted: It takes about three hours by plane. Not, I take ~ When you want to know the amount of time needed to do something, you can ask: Chris: How long does it take to bake homemade bread? Ted: It takes about 4 hours. Not, I take ~ When you want to know the amount of time someone needs to do something, you can ask: Chris: How long does it take you to get to work in the morning? Ted: It takes me about 25 minutes. Not, I take ~ Remember! In conversations like these, when we use take, we do not say I take, we say, it takes.   How long does it take to get from NYC to your city? How long does it take you to get to your office? Leave a comment below and let us know!