English Grammar Lesson: Simple Past Tense in English

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

When I was a kid, I enjoyed building things. I made a lot of model cars, planes, and ships. I also liked going to the beach. Every summer, I spent lots of time swimming and playing at the beach. One day, my parents told me we were going to get a swimming pool. I was so excited! Today, let’s have a look at the simple past tense in English.  Most regular verbs form the past tense by adding ed to the end of the verb: work → worked / help → helped / play → played / walk → walked Verbs that end in e form the past tense by adding d to the end of the verb: live → lived / dance → danced / shave → shaved / hope → hoped Many verbs that end in one vowel + one consonant (except w & y) double the final consonant and add ed to form the past tense: hop → hopped / plan → planned / rub → rubbed / stop → stopped / For verbs that end in consonant + y, change the y to i and add ed to form the past tense: cry→cried / study→studied / …

Free English Vocabulary Lesson: Go There vs Get There

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar 4 Comments

I go to my office every morning. I leave the house at 7:00 and get to the train station about 7:10. After I get to Manhattan, I walk to my office. I usually get to the office by 8:30. Sometimes I go to the deli to pick up breakfast. I go home around 9:00pm, and sometimes I get home as late as 12:00 midnight. Today I am going to show you the difference between go to a place and get to a place and how to use these words in your English conversations. Some students have trouble with these using go and get, but the difference is pretty clear. Go means to move from one place to the next place. So use go when the focus of your sentence is movement from point A to point B: I go to my office every morning. Sometimes I go to the deli to pick up breakfast. I go home around 9:00pm Get means to arrive, so we use get when the focus of the sentence is on arrving at a place: I get to the train station about 7:10. After I get to Manhattan, I walk to my office. I usually get …

The Four Basic Parts of Speech in English – Grammar Lesson

Michael Grammar 1 Comment

As you study English, I think it’s a good idea to know some of the basic terms that your English teacher may use in the class. As in any language, there are different types words in a sentence, and each word has a certain function or purpose in the sentence. These are called “parts of speech.” For today’s free English lesson, I would like to show you four basic parts of speech in English. Nouns are words that show people, places and things. Nouns often do or receive actions. Some examples of nouns are: People: Jack, teacher, sister, friend, etc. Places: New York, park, garden, town, city, etc. Things: Desk, iPhone, pen, house, door, etc Adjectives describe nouns. They usually come before the noun and tell us what kind of noun it is. There are many categories, but I will put just a few here: Colors: blue, green, red, purple, etc Appearance: beautiful, strange, ugly, nice, etc. Size: small, large, round, square, tall, etc. Others: tired, excited, interesting, amusing, good, bad, etc So, based on this, we can combine adjectives and nouns like this: blue pen, large house, interesting teacher, good friend, beautiful garden. Verbs show action and existence. Some …

Conjunction Combinations – Both/And, Either/Or, Neither/Nor, Not Only/But Also

Michael Confusing Words 1 Comment

There are a few different English exams, but for American English, both TOEIC and TOEFL are the most common. I think either TOEIC or TOEFL can give you a fair assessment of your English skill, but TOEFL not only tests reading and listening, but also writing and speaking. Neither luck nor your good looks will help you get a good score on these exams. For that, you need to study. For today’s English lesson, we’re going to look at four common conjunction patterns that often get tested on English exams like TOEFL & TOEIC. Have a look once more at the paragraph above, and then check today’s lesson. The combination both/and indicates that the two items are equally presented and included. The grammar is both A and B: I like both chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Both Greg and his wife are big Yankee fans. We have a lot of time today, so we can both visit the museum and see a movie. The combination either/or indicates that there is a choice between the two choices, and only one can be selected: You can have either ice cream or cheesecake for dessert, so please chose one. Either Jack or Jim …

Learn The Difference Between When & While – TOEIC Grammar Study

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar Leave a Comment

When I was a kid, I was very curious about electronic equipment. My dad had an old reel to reel tape recorder, and the back of it was open, so you could see the components. While he was playing music, I used to love to look at the back of the recorder and watch the moving parts. I got excited when he taught me how to use the machine, too. These days the old recorder just sits in the attic. While I was writing this lesson, I wondered if it still works. When I get home from work tonight, I think I’ll find out! For today’s English lesson, let’s have a look at the difference between when and while. This comes up on the TOEIC exam sometimes, and even if you are not studying for TOEIC, I think it’s good to know. Both when and while are used to show two things happen at the same time: When Jack gets to the office, we will begin the meeting. While I was cooking dinner, the smoke alarm went off. However, there are a few differences between these words. We usually use while when we talk about two actions that are continuous, …

When To Use & Not To Use Commas In Adjective Clauses – English Grammar Lesson

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

A lot of students have a tough time knowing when to use commas in adjective clauses in English. It is a very confusing point to understand and remember…until now. This lesson, which I wrote today, will teach you the basic rules. The examples that I will show you should clear up any confusion that you may have about this English grammar point. Take a deep breath and check out today’s free English grammar lesson: We use commas when the adjective clause modifies a proper noun (the name of a person or place, usually written with capital letters): Jane, who works in my office, is married and lives in Brooklyn. New York, which is popular with tourists, is the business capital of America. My aunt Mary, who grew up in Queens, is a fantastic cook. We also use commas when the adjective clause gives us extra information about the noun that comes before it. If you remove the adjective clause and the commas, the sentence still makes sense. As well, it is clear from the sentence which noun we are talking about: Madison Park, which was built in 1847, was the original home of arm and torch of Statue of Liberty. …

How To Use Go & Come + And + Verb – English Grammar Lesson

Michael Grammar 2 Comments

I’ve been thinking about buying a new computer, so after work today I think I’ll go and see what they have at the electronic shop near my office. My friend Yalcin came and visited me this morning and said the shop was having a sale. Yalcin lives in Turkey, but he’s visiting New York this week. When he came this morning, I invited him to stay and have a cup of coffee. We had a fun time catching up with each other. For today’s free English lesson, I’m going to show you how we connect verbs like go, come, and stay with other verbs using and. Have a look at the paragraph above once more and then check the lesson. We use verbs that show movement (like go, come, and stay) followed by and verb in informal English. The basic pattern is verb 1 + and + verb 2. Verb 1 is the verb of movement, and verb 2 is another verb which generally shows the reason or purpose of the movement. The connecting word and has the meaning of in order to. For example, go and see means to go somewhere in order to see something: I think I’ll …

Simple Past vs. Present Perfect – American vs. British English – Grammar Lesson

Michael Grammar, Vocabulary Leave a Comment

I lost my wallet. I have looked everywhere for it, but I can’t find it. This is not the first time this has happened. I often lose things. I’ve lost keys, wallets, I even lost a new camera on a train! I don’t know why I’m so forgetful. Today, I want to show you the difference between American English and British English when it comes to using the present perfect tense. Do you know the difference? Have a look at the paragraph one more time then check out this lesson. Strictly speaking, we use the present perfect tense to talk about an action that happened in the past and has a connection to the present time. As you know, present perfect tense is formed by using have + the PP Verb (past participle): I’ve lost my wallet. I still do not know where my wallet is. I’ve missed the bus, so I’m going to be late for the meeting. In British English, only the present perfect tense is used in situations where an action that occurred in the recent past that has some effect on the present. In American English, however, it is more common to use the simple past …

5 Patterns For Making Comparisons Using As…As & The Same As

Michael Grammar 4 Comments

I like sushi, but sushi in New York is not usually the same as sushi in Japan. The sushi here is as delicious looking as sushi in Japan, but it’s not as cheap as it is there. However, in some restaurants here, the atmosphere is just as nice as it is in Japan, even though the price of sake is not as low as it is there. Today, let’s have a look at five patterns for making comparisons with as. Do you know the grammar rules? Have another look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson. We use as + adjective + as to show that two things are the same. In a positive sentence we often use just to emphasize that the two things are the same. Tom is as tall as Bob The atmosphere is just as nice as it is in Japan Today is just as cold as yesterday. We use not as + adjective + as to show that two things are not the same. Jim is not as tall as Bob. Bob is taller than Jim. New York is not as expensive as Tokyo. Tokyo is more expensive than NY. Today is not …

Adverb Lesson – Instead of Very, Use Fairly, Pretty, Quite, & Rather

Michael Grammar 3 Comments

The weather here in NY has been quite cold recently. Usually, winters here in the Big Apple are fairly cold and snowy, but this year we’ve had pretty cold temperatures and a rather large amount of snow. I’m very tired of this weather, and hoping spring will come soon… I’m sure a lot of Happy English readers know how to use very, but there are a few other words that you can use in your everyday English that function just like very. I’m going to show you these words today. Fairly is the weakest of these adverbs. We use fairly before an adjective or another adverb: Jack plays golf fairly well, considering he just started playing last year. Jenny’s French is fairly good. I’m sure she’ll have no trouble during her business trip to Paris. Quite is a bit stronger than fairly, and can also be used before verbs and nouns. Using quite before a verb or noun is more common in British English than American English. I was quite tired last night so I went straight to bed. Paul knows football quite well, so if you want to know the rules, just ask him. I quite like spending time …