One-Point English Lesson: In vs. After

MIchael Grammar

Be careful of this common mistake: When ever you want to talk about a period of time from now, in other words, related to the present time you need to use in. I’m leaving my house now so I will be there in 20 minutes. My birthday is in two months. My friend Eddie said he’s going to retire in four years. On the other hand, after relates to another point in time but not now. I’m going to work until 5 o’clock. After work I’m going to the gym. After I got home last night I did the laundry. I realized I left my keys on my desk after I left the office. Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences. You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for …

One-Point English Lesson: In vs. At for Events

MIchael Grammar

Be careful of this common mistake in English. We use AT before an event, especially events in which a group of people gather: We had a great time at the party last week. I met my cousin at a concert on Sunday. I think everyone learned a lot at the conference. Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences. You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

One-Point English Lesson: Because vs. Because Of

MIchael Confusing Words, Grammar

Be careful of this common mistake in English. We use because of followed by an noun: Because of the rain we canceled the picnic. We got to the party late because of the traffic. On the other hand we use because followed by a subject and verb: Because it was raining we canceled the picnic. We got to the party late because there was traffic. Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences. You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

English Grammar Lesson – Non-Progressive Verbs

MIchael Grammar

I am writing this lesson on my new laptop right now. ← I used the verb write in its progressive form (also called present continuous) because I am writing now. We use action verbs in the progressive form when we talk about actions that are happening right now. The grammar pattern is the BE VERB + ING form. Here are some other examples: I am working until 10pm tonight. Jack’s sister is staying at his house this weekend. Most present actions are described using the progressive form with verbs that show an action. However there are several kinds of verbs that are not used in the progressive, even if we are talking about right now. That’s because those verbs don’t show actions – they show states or situations. Today, I want to show you this English grammar and give you some example sentences. First of all, there are verbs that show mental states (such as believe, know, remember, want, etc): I believe she has the correct answer. Not, I am believing ~ I know how to fix most basic computer problems. Next, there are verbs that show emotions (such as love, like, hate, prefer, etc) I love listening to jazz. I prefer coffee to tea, but I do enjoy drinking a …

Adjectives Ending in LY with Example Sentences

MIchael Grammar

When thinking about English grammar, I guess that most people consider words ending in LY to be adverbs. And in many cases that’s true. You can say that someone walks slowly or talks quickly. However, did you know that not all words that end in LY are adverbs? In fact, there are a good number of adjectives that also end in LY. This is especially good to know when taking English exams like TOEIC, TOEFL, and IELTS. Here is a list of adjectives ending in LY with some example sentences to help you get to  understand how they are used. bubbly elderly holy lonely silly chilly friendly jolly lovely smelly costly heavenly likely oily timely curly hilly lively only ugly bubbly: I don’t really like bubbly drinks. chilly: It was a chilly day in October. costly: For Hank, quitting the company was a costly mistake. curly: That little girl with the curly red hair is so cute. elderly: Elderly people in our society deserve to be treated with respect. friendly: Kate lives in a place with very friendly neighbors. heavenly: The dessert is a heavenly chocolate cake. hilly: We are going to be hiking in a hilly area. holy: Mecca …

Countable and Uncountable Nouns – Part 3: Nouns Which Are Both Countable And Non-Countable

MIchael Grammar

Nouns In English In the last lesson, we looked at the various kinds of countable nouns and their spelling rules. In this English lesson today, we will look at nouns which are used in both countable and non-countable ways. Yes! The same word with the same spelling can be used as a countable or non-countable noun. Cake / Pizza / Pie: these are countable when we talk about the whole thing: The bakery sells 50 cakes a day. I ordered 10 pizzas for the office party. We made a few pies for Christmas dinner. Cake / Pizza / Pie: these are not countable when we talk about pieces from the whole thing: I had a piece of cake and a cup of coffee for dessert. I was so hungry that I ate four slices of pizza. Would you like a piece of pie? Chicken / fish: these are countable when we talk about the animal: My grandmother has a few chickens in her backyard. At the farm, the kids saw chickens and ducks. Chicken / fish: these are not countable when we talk about the meat They served chicken and hotdogs at the barbecue. I eat fish twice a week. …

Countable and Uncountable Nouns – Part 2: Irregular Forms of Countable Nouns

MIchael Grammar

Plural Nouns In English In Part 1 of this series of English lessons, we talked about the basics of nouns in English. We also went over the spelling rules for nouns, so if you haven’t see that lesson yet, you can find it here. For today’s lesson, let’s look at the various types of nouns and examples of each type. First of all, we have a few more spelling rules. Nouns Which End In IS Nouns which are spelled with IS at the end have a special spelling rule. To make the plural form of these nouns, change the IS to ES. Here are some examples: analysis becomes analyses axis becomes axes basis becomes bases crisis becomes crises emphasis becomes emphases oasis becomes oases Some Nouns Which End In US Have Special Spelling Some nouns which are spelled with US at the end have a special spelling rule. To make the plural form of these nouns, change the US to I. Most of the words in this category come from the Latin language; they have Latin roots. Here are some examples: alumnus becomes alumni cactus becomes cacti fungus becomes fungi stimulus becomes stimuli Please note: There are exceptions to this rule. Some …

Countable and Uncountable Nouns – Part 1: The Basic Idea and Spelling Rules

MIchael Grammar

The Basics of Countable and Uncountable Nouns This week, I was having a conversation on Clubhouse with a very hardworking, curious English learner whose name is Nakomi Elsaroz. The conversation went something like this: Nakomi: So Michael, what is a noun? Michael: Good question. Well, a noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing. Nakomi: A person, place, or thing. Like, teacher, that’s a person. New York is a place and desk is a thing. Michael: That’s right. Words like student, worker, Michael, Kate, Tokyo, Paris, park, beach, tablet, and oven are all nouns. Nakomi: I get it. That’s easy. But are all nouns the same? Michael: Ah, that’s another good question. One of the interesting things about nouns in English is that we can classify them into two groups – nouns we can count, or countable nouns, and nouns that we can’t count, or uncountable nouns. Nakomi: I’ve heard of that before. I think I get it, but can you tell me more about these countable and uncountable nouns? Michael: You bet. In general, a countable noun is a word that represents something you can point to with your finger and count using numbers. For example …

Causatives with MAKE, LET, and HAVE

MIchael Grammar

The Basic Grammar of the Causative Form of Make, Let, and Have The Causative. This is an English grammar point that you can find on just about every TOEIC test in Part V and Part VI. Look at this sample TOEIC Part V style question: The boss will not let you _____ the projector home for the weekend. (A) taking         (B) took         (C) take         (D) to take The correct answer is C and you can find out more when you read pattern #4 in this lesson. Let’s find out why! There are 6 patterns with make, let, and have. We use make followed by an object and then a base verb or an adjective. We use let and have followed by an object and then a base verb. For success on the TOEIC, be sure to memorize these six grammar patterns Using MAKE Pattern #1: make + person + base verb In its causative form, make has the meaning of “force” or “order.” The boss made Jack work on the report all day. This agreement prevents management from making employees work overtime. Pattern #2: make + thing + base verb When talking about …

What’s the Difference Between Almost and Mostly?

MIchael Grammar, Vocabulary

A lot of my students and their fellow English learners have trouble with words like almost and mostly. These two adverbs can be confusing, but I’m here to help you get this straight. The key point is to understand how we use almost. And there are 4 different ways that we use almost. Almost means not quite or very close or very near 100% or nearly. In other words, almost means close, but not. Close, but not. Simple, right? Well, I think so! The tricky part is understanding the four different ways that we use this word. Let’s dive in First, we use almost plus a past verb. I almost dropped my book means I was close to dropping my book, but I didn’t drop it.  Again, almost means close…but not. Here are some other examples. I almost missed my train today. The train leaves at 7:18, and I got to the station at 7:15am. When I slipped in the café, I almost spilled my coffee. Luckily I didn’t. I had to work late last night, so I almost missed Jack’s party. Luckily the party was still going on when I arrived. Next, we use almost plus a number. Usually this number is …