Intermediate Grammar Project: UCI

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This is my work on Intermediate Grammar Project from University of California. I have chosen to write about all the topics we studied on the specialization.

Author: Fernando Hidemi Uchiyama

Date: November/2017

University: University of California, Irvine

Past Participle

The form of a verb, typically ending in -ed in English, which is used in forming perfect and passive tenses and sometimes as an adjective, e.g. looked in "have you looked"?, lost in "lost property".[1]

For regular verbs, we normally add "ed" to form its past participle. Unfortunately for irregular verbs there are no rules and it is just a matter of practice.[2]

List of common irregular verbs: [3]

Verb Past Participle Verb Past Participle Verb Past Participle
be been grow grown shake shaken
beat beaten hang hung steal stolen
become become have had shine shone
begin begun hear heard shoot shot
bet bet hide hidden show shown
blow blown hit hit shut shut
break broken hold held sing sung
bring brought hurt hurt sink sunk
build built keep kept sit sat
burst burst know known sleep slept
buy bought lay laid slide slid
catch caught lead led speak spoken
choose chosen leave left spend spent
come come lend lent spring sprung
cost cost let let stand stood
cut cut lie lain stick stuck
deal dealt light lit swear sworn
do done lose lost sweep swept
draw drawn make made swim swum
drink drunk mean meant swing swung
drive driven meet met take taken
eat eaten pay paid teach taught
fall fallen put put tear torn
feed fed read read tell told
feel felt ride ridden think thought
fight fought ring rung throw thrown
find found rise risen understand understood
fly flown run run wake woken
forget forgotten say said wear worn
freeze frozen see seen weave woven
get got, gotten sell sold win won
give given send sent write written
go gone set set

Present Perfect

This tense is formed by have/has + the past participle.[4]

The present perfect is used to indicate a link between the present and the past. The time of the action is before now but not specified, and we are often more interested in the result than in the action itself.[5]

Some examples: [5]

  • Actions started in the past and continuing in the present:
  1. They haven't lived here for years.
  2. She has worked in the bank for five years.
  3. We have had the same car for ten years.
  4. Have you played the piano since you were a child?
  • When the time period referred to has not finished:
  1. I have worked hard this week.
  2. It has rained a lot this year.
  3. We haven't seen her today.
  • Actions repeated in an unspecified period between the past and now:
  1. They have seen that film six times
  2. It has happened several times already.
  3. She has visited them frequently.
  4. We have eaten at that restaurant many times.
  • Actions completed in the very recent past (with just):
  1. Have you just finished work?
  2. I have just eaten.
  3. We have just seen her.
  4. Has he just left?
  • When the precise time of the action is not important or not know:
  1. Someone has eaten my soup!
  2. Have you seen 'Gone with the Wind'?
  3. She's studied Japanese, Russian, and English.

Present Perfect Progressive

The present perfect continuous tense (also known as the present perfect progressive tense) shows that something started in the past and is continuing at the present time. The present perfect continuous is formed using the construction has/have been + the present participle (root + -ing). [6]

Example: I’ve been decorating the house this summer. The focus is on the action – decorating – and the action is unfinished. [7]

Adverbs for Present Perfect

The present perfect tense is commonly used with the indefinite time adverbs never, ever, before, yet, already.[8]

  • Have you ever been to the USA?
  • I have never seen a kangaroo.
  • I have seen her before.
  • They have already arrived.
  • She has not received the parcel yet.

Stative Verbs

A stative verb is a verb used primarily to describe a state or situation as opposed to an action or process. Common examples include be, have, like, seem, prefer, understand, doubt, and know. Also known as a stative, state verb, or static verb. Contrast this with a dynamic verb. Stative verbs usually don't occur in the progressive aspect or the imperative mood. [9]

List of stative verbs: [10]

agree doubt love remember
appear feel (=have an opinion) matter satisfy
astonish fit mean see
be hate measure (=have length etc) seem
believe have mind smell
belong hear need sound
concern imagine owe suppose
consist impress own surprise
contain include please taste
deny involve possess think (=have an opinion)
depend know prefer understand
deserve lack promise want
disagree like realise weigh (=have weight)
dislike look (=seem) recognise wish

Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic: [10]


Examples of stative sentence: [10]

  1. This soup tastes great
  2. The coffee tastes really bitter

Example of non-stative sentence (dynamic sentence): [10]

  1. The chef is tasting the soup

Past Perfect

The past perfect, also called the pluperfect, is a verb tense used to talk about actions that were completed before some point in the past. [11]

We use the verb had and the past participle for the past perfect. [12]

Examples: [13]

  1. John had gone out when I arrived in the office.
  2. I had saved my document before the computer crashed.
  3. When they arrived we had already started cooking.
  4. He was very tired because he hadn't slept well.

In the examples above, it doesn't matter which event is mentioned first, the tense makes it clear which one happened first. [13]


Modal verbs are helping/auxiliary verbs that express ideas like ability, permission, possibility, and necessity. One of the most important things to remember is that modal verbs are always combined with other verbs to show complete meanings, but combining correctly is often a challenge for English learners. This is because we have single-word modals (can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) and phrasal modals (be able to, be going to, be supposed to, had better, have to, have got to, ought to, used to). [14]

Phrasal Modals

Modal phrases (or semi-modals) are used to express the same things as modals, but are a combination of auxiliary verbs and the preposition to. [15]

  1. I have to go. [16]
  2. Maybe we ought to explore the mountain a little,' said Ginger to Steve [16]
  3. He is not able to be with us [16]
  4. It was supposed to last for a year and actually lasted eight. [16]
  5. He used to help us [17]
  6. He's got to help us [17]
  7. He's going to help us [17]
  8. He's able to help us [17]
  9. He had better help us [17]

Ability Modals

We use can, be able to and could to show that someone has (or doesn’t have) an ability to do something: [18]

Present/future ability Negative
Alan can swim well. Jackie cannot play piano.
I can meet you after school. We can’t visit Vancouver this weekend.
I am able to speak two languages. I am not able to speak Arabic.
Brenda is able to run quickly. Stacey isn’t able to finish a marathon.
You are able to program a computer. We aren’t able to make a reservation tonight.

Modals of Possibility

We use the modals could, might and may to show that something is possible in the future, but not certain: [19]

  1. They might come later. (= Perhaps/Maybe they will come later.)
  2. They may come by car. (= Perhaps/Maybe they will come by car.)
  3. If we don’t hurry we could be late. (= Perhaps/Maybe we will be late)

We use could have, might have and may have to show that something was possible now or at some time in the past: [19]

  1. It’s ten o’clock. They might have arrived now.
  2. They could have arrived hours ago.

Advice Modals

Modal Verbs are used to give advice or suggestions. There are two modal verbs for advice: should and would: [20]

Subject + Should + Base Verb: Should is used for advice in the present: [20]

  1. You should eat healthy food.
  2. You should exercise every day.

Should + Have + Past Participle: Should is used for advice in the past: [20]

  1. You should have gone to the party.
  2. She should have studied more often.

The modal verb "would" is used to give advice. In this situation, the speaker is giving hypothetical advice as if he/she were the listener: [20]

  1. If I were you, I would return the book.
  2. If I were you, I would not wear that jacket.

Preference Modals

Would rather: [21]

  1. I would rather stay home.
  2. I would rather play tennis.

Would rather + than: [21]

  1. I would rather go to the beach than study on such a nice day.
  2. I would rather be rich than poor.

Prefer: [21]

  1. I prefer hot chocolate to tea.
  2. I prefer drinking hot chocolate to drinking tea.
  3. I prefer to drink hot chocolate rather than drink tea.

Would prefer: [21]

  1. Would you prefer spaghetti or fish for dinner?
  2. Would you prefer to catch a bus or take a taxi home after the party?

Modals of Impossibility

We use the negative can’t or cannot to show that something is impossible: [19]

  1. That can’t be true.
  2. You cannot be serious.

We use couldn’t/could not to talk about the past: [19]

  1. We knew it could not be true.
  2. He was obviously joking. He could not be serious.


Adjectives are words that describe the qualities or states of being of nouns: enormous, doglike, silly, yellow, fun, fast. They can also describe the quantity of nouns: many, few, millions, eleven. [22]

  1. They have a beautiful house.[23]
  2. The unhappiest, richest man. [24]
  3. A red apple. [25]

Adjective Participles

Some participles can be used as adjectives in either the present or past form. Present Participle (-ing) is used to describe something or someone. Past Participle (-ed) is used to describe how people feel about something or someone: [26]

  1. I watched an interesting TV about American history last night. [26]
  2. This film is boring. Let's stop watching it. [26]
  3. I'm interested in American history. [26]
  4. I'm bored of my job. I want to find another one. [26]
  5. I'm bored of my job. I want to find another one. [27]
  6. I was really bored during the flight. [27]
  7. She's interested in history. [27]
  8. John's frightened of spiders. [27]
  9. It was such a long, boring flight. [27]
  10. I read a really interesting book about history. [27]
  11. Many people find spiders frightening. [27]

Adjective Clauses

Adjectives are not always single words. Sometimes they are clauses. For example: [28]

  • Students who are intelligent understand adjectives.

Adjective clauses begin with words such as that, when, where, who, whom, whose, which, and why. [29]

Examples of adjective clauses: [30]

  1. Pizza, which most people love, is not very healthy.
  2. The people whose names are on the list will go to camp.
  3. Grandpa remembers the old days when there was no television.
  4. Fruit that is grown organically is expensive.
  5. Eco-friendly cars that run on electricity save gas.
  6. I know someone whose father served in World War II.
  7. Making noise when he eats is the main reason why Sue does not like to eat with her brother.
  8. The kids who were called first will have the best chance of getting a seat.
  9. I enjoy telling people about Janet Evanovich whose latest book was fantastic.
  10. The people waiting all night outside the Apple store are trying to purchase a new iPhone.
  11. "He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead." - Albert Einstein
  12. "Those who do not complain are never pitied." - Jane Austen
  13. "People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid." - Søren Kierkegaard
  14. "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died." - Erma Bombeck

Adjective Clauses with Subject Pronouns

This sentences are made with the use of subject pronouns and subject relative pronouns.

Here is a list of subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they. [31]

And here is a list of subject relative pronouns: [32]

Relative pronoun Used for people Used for things
who yes no
that yes yes
which no yes

To understand how this kind of adjective clause is formed take a look at these two sentences: [32]

  1. The woman is in my class.
  2. She likes tennis.

In the sentences above we have the subject she. Using the relative pronoun who or that we can make an adjective clause with subject pronoun:

  1. The woman who likes tennis is in my class.
  2. The woman that likes tennis is in my class.

Adjective Clauses with Object Pronouns

This sentences are made with the use of object pronouns and object relative pronouns.

Here is a list of object pronouns: Me, you, him, her, it, us, them. [33]

Here is a list of object relative pronouns: [32]

Relative pronoun Used for people Used for things
who/whom yes no
that yes yes
nothing yes yes
which no yes

To understand how it works, look at the following sentences: [32]

  1. The woman is in my class.
  2. I like her.

These can be reduced to one of the following adjective clauses with object pronoun: [32]

  1. The woman whom I like is in my class.
  2. The woman who I like is in my class.
  3. The woman that I like is in my class.

Adjective Clauses with the Possessive

In addition to subject- and object-pattern adjective clauses, there are also adjective clauses with whose. In clauses of this type, whose shows possession. It is always combined with a noun or noun phrase. For example, consider these two sentences: [34]

  1. The people will be glad to help you.
  2. The people's names are on this list.

These can be rewritten using possessive adjective clause:

  1. The people whose names are on this list will be glad to help you.

Whose can be used for people and things. [35]

Adjective Clauses with Prepositions

Many common verbs are followed by prepositions before their object. A partial list includes verbs such as: [36]

think about
work with
go to
speak with
look for
ride on
pay for
worry about
live with
care about
write about
look at

Given that, consider the following sentences: [36]

  1. I am looking at a woman.
  2. She is looking at the water.

If you want to turn it to adjective clauses, the preposition must be kept: [36]

  1. The woman at whom I am looking is sitting near the ocean.
  2. The water at which she is looking is blue.

The sentences can also be written in these less formal ways: [36]

  1. The woman who I am looking at is sitting near the ocean.
  2. The woman that I am looking at is sitting near the ocean.
  3. The woman I am looking at is sitting near the ocean.
  4. The water which she is looking at is blue.
  5. The water that she is looking at is blue.
  6. The water she is looking at is blue.

Adjective Clauses with Where

Adjective clauses beginning with where add information about a place. Consider these two sentences: [37]

  1. The building is on Central Avenue.
  2. Lena works in the building.

Rewriting as an adjective clause with where: [37]

  1. The building where Lena works is on Central Avenue.

Adjective Clauses with When

Adjective clauses beginning with when add information about a time. Consider these two sentences: [37]

  1. I'll always remember the day.
  2. We met on the day.

Rewriting as an adjective clause with when: [37]

  1. I'll always remember the day when we met.

Reduced Adjective Clauses

You may remove the relative pronoun and reduce your sentence in certain conditions: [38]

  1. The man who wants to talk to you is waiting for you.
  2. The man wanting to talk to you is waiting for you.

Reduction to Participle

a) Present participle (simultaneous) [38]

  1. We stood on the bridge which connects the two halves of the city.
  2. We stood on the bridge connecting the two halves of the city.

b) Past participle (passive simultaneous) [38]

  1. The boy who was attacked by a dog was taken to hospital.
  2. The boy attacked by a dog was taken to hospital.

c) Perfect participle (explaining sth. happened before the others) [38]

  1. Jenna, who has lived in Florida for 20 years, has gone through several hurricanes.
  2. Jenna, having lived in Florida for 20 years, has gone through several hurricanes.

d) Perfect Passive Participle (explaining sth. happened before the others) [38]

  1. Usain Bolt, who had been disqualified from the men’s 100m final after a false start, made no such mistake in the 200m.
  2. Usain Bolt, having been disqualified from the men’s 100m final after a false start, made no such mistake in the 200m.

Reduction to Preposition

Adjective clauses can often be reduced to phrases, but the relative pronoun must be the subject of the verb in the adjective clause.

Example 1: [39]

  1. Did you see the book that is on the table?
  2. Did you see the book on the table?

Example 2: [39]

  1. She hasn't finished her paragraph which is about her best friend yet.
  2. She hasn't finished her paragraph about her best friend yet.

Reduction to Appositive

Example 1: [39]

  1. You who are students should plan about your future jobs.
  2. You students should plan about your future jobs.

Example 2: [39]

  1. Piseth, who is a curriculum developer, has been working very hard.
  2. Piseth, a curriculum developer, has been working very hard.

Reduction by omitting Relative Pronoun

Example 1: [38]

  1. I will talk to a consultant whom I met at the party.
  2. I will talk to a consultant I met at the party.

Example 2: [38]

  1. We will start our project which we finalized it last week soon.
  2. We will start our project we finalized it last week soon.

Reduction by omitting Relative Pronoun + To be

Example 1: [38]

  1. The car which is parked next to mine is very expensive.
  2. The car parked next to mine is very expensive.

Example 2: [38]

  1. Hamlet, which was written by Shakespeare sometime in the early 1600s, is among the classics.
  2. Hamlet, written by Shakespeare sometime in the early 1600s, is among the classics.

Reduction to With or Without

When the verb “have” meaning possession, we can omit relative pronoun and “have” and use with(+) or without(-): [38]

Example 1: [38]

  1. Students who have enough math and English skills will be admitted.
  2. Students with enough math and English skills will be admitted.

Example 2: [38]

  1. People who don’t have their ID cards can not get in.
  2. People without their ID cards can not get in.


Appositives are two words or word groups which mean the same thing and are placed together. Appositives identify or explain the nouns or pronouns which they modify: [40]

  1. Our teacher, Professor Lamanna, loves grammar. [40]

We can say that "Professor Lamanna" is an appositive or is in apposition to "our teacher." "Professor Lamanna" identifies or explains "teacher.'

Appositives can be essential or nonessential. If the appositive is necessary for the meaning of the sentence, then it is essential. This means that it cannot be left out. If the appositive is not essential for the meaning of the sentence, and it could be left out, then it is nonessential. Nonessential appositives should be set apart from the sentence with commas. Essential appositives are not set off with commas. [41]

Examples: [42]

  1. The long-time U.S. senator Ted Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills and his charisma.
  2. Ted Kennedy, a long-time U.S. senator, was known for his oratorical skills and his charisma.
  3. The novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was a great read.
  4. Starbucks, one of the best places for coffee in town, is always busy.
  5. The Great Depression, a time of great strife for many Americans, one of the nation’s toughest non-military challenges, affected many of those who lived through it for the rest of their lives.

An appositive identifies, defines or renames a noun or pronoun. This is the main difference between appositive and adjective clause. [43]

Comparatives and Superlatives

Comparative adjectives

Commonly, adjectives that contain only one syllable or end in 'y' use 'er' to form comparatives and 'est' to form superlatives. For adjectives ending in y, change the 'y' to 'i' before adding the 'er' or 'est'. Adjectives with two or more syllables do not change but instead add more to form comparatives and most to form superlatives: [44]

  1. old – older – oldest
  2. young – younger – youngest
  3. pretty – prettier – prettiest
  4. long – longer – longest
  5. short – shorter – shortest
  6. bright – brighter – brightest
  7. close – closer – closest
  8. happy – happier - happiest
  9. respectable – more respectable – most respectable
  10. beautiful – more beautiful – most beautiful
  11. preferable – more preferable – most preferable
  12. hardworking – more hardworking – most hardworking

We use comparative adjectives to describe people and things: [45]

  1. This car is certainly better but it’s much more expensive.
  2. I’m feeling happier now.
  3. We need a bigger garden

Comparative with than

We use than when we want to compare one thing with another: [45]

  1. She is two years older than me.
  2. New York is much bigger than Boston.
  3. He is a better player than Ronaldo.
  4. France is a bigger country than Britain.

Comparative with as

We use as + adjective/adverb + as to make comparisons when the things we are comparing are equal in some way: [46]

  1. The world’s biggest bull is as big as a small elephant.
  2. The weather this summer is as bad as last year. It hasn’t stopped raining for weeks.
  3. You have to unwrap it as carefully as you can. It’s quite fragile.


In the superlative you talk about one thing only and how it is the best, worst, etc. You do not compare two things: [47]

  1. My sister is the tallest in our family.
  2. Yesterday was the coldest day of the year so far.
  3. The richest people are not always the happiest.
  4. Which do you think is the easiest language to learn?
  5. She's the luckiest person I know.
  6. The most boring thing about ESL class is doing grammar exercises.
  7. My sister is the most careful person I know.
  8. Albert Einstein was the most intelligent person in history.
  9. You are the most irritating person I have ever met!

Countable and Uncountable nouns

A count noun is one that can be expressed in plural form, usually with an "s." For example, "cat—cats," "season—seasons," "student—students." [48]

A noncount noun is one that usually cannot be expressed in a plural form. For example, "milk," "water," "air," "money," "food." Usually, you can't say, "He had many moneys." [48]


Quantifiers are adjectives and adjectival phrases that give approximate or specific answers to the questions "How much?" and "How many?" [49]

Quantifiers can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns. [50]

With Both With Countable Nouns With Uncountable Nouns
all many much
enough a few/few/very few ** a little/little/very little *
more/most a number (of) a bit (of)
less/least several a great deal of
no/none a large number of a large amount of
not any a great number of a large quantity of
some a majority of
a lot of
lots of
plenty of

Examples: [51]

  1. There are many people living in the many houses on that street
  2. Because there was so little fire, people noticed little smoke.
  3. He put lots of chocolate chips and lots of sugar into the cookie dough.
  4. If you put a little bit more effort into this, I’m sure you can have a little bit more success.
  5. They put plenty of thought into their plans, and were able to think of plenty of ideas.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

The definite article the is used to indicate a noun that is definite or has been previously specified in the context: [52]

  1. Please close the door.
  2. I like the clothes you gave me.

The indefinite articles a and an are used before singular nouns that are unspecified and also before number collectives and some numbers: [52]

  1. a pencil
  2. an orange
  3. a dozen
  4. a gallon

Gerunds and Infinitives

An infinitive is the verb form that has “to” at the beginning. For example, “to do,” “to sleep,” “to love” and “to create.” Gerunds are formed by adding “-ing” to the verb: “sleeping,” “drawing,” “swimming.” But they are not the “-ing” verb forms that you see in the present or past continuous tense. They look the same, but gerunds are actually verb forms used as nouns. [53]

It can be a little difficult to know when to use gerunds and infinitives. [54]

Here’s an example. Which sentence is correct?

  1. I suggested going to dinner.
  2. I suggested to go to dinner.

Sentence one, with the gerund, is correct. “I suggested going to dinner.” Why? You can only use a gerund after the verb “suggest.” [55]

List of commons verbs: [56]

Common verbs followed by a gerund:

abhor discontinue give up (stop) recommend
acknowledge discuss keep (continue) report
admit dislike keep on resent
advise dispute mention resist
allow dread mind (object to) resume
anticipate endure miss risk
appreciate enjoy necessitate shirk
avoid escape omit shun
be worth evade permit suggest
can’t help explain picture support
celebrate fancy postpone tolerate
confess fear practice understand
consider feel like prevent urge
defend feign put off warrant
delay finish recall
detest forgive recollect

Common verbs followed by an infinitive:

agree demand mean seek
appear deserve need seem
arrange determine neglect shudder
ask elect offer strive
attempt endeavor pay struggle
beg expect plan swear
can/can’t afford fail prepare tend
can/can’t wait get pretend threaten
care grow (up) profess turn out
chance guarantee promise venture
choose hesitate prove volunteer
claim hope refuse wait
come hurry remain want
consent incline request wish
dare learn resolve would like
decide manage say yearn

Common verbs followed by a gerund or infinitive with little to no change in meaning:

begin like
can’t bear love
can’t stand prefer
continue propose
hate start

Requests and Permissions

The modal verbs may, could, will, would are used in making polite requests in speech and writing, in communication with strangers and with people you know. Can is generally used in informal requests, mostly in conversation with friends and family: [57]

  1. May I borrow your pen, please?
  2. Could I speak to Tom Lee, please?
  3. Could you help me with this report?
  4. Can I borrow your pen, please?
  5. Can you tell me where the bank is, please?
  6. Will you please be quiet?
  7. Would you please ask her to call me?

Can is used to make basic requests from a friend or co-worker. It is often used for small things. [58]

Could is more polite than can, but has the same function. [58]

Would is used to make polite requests in English. [58]

Will is similar to would, but is a more casual way of making a request. "Will" would be more with people who you have a comfortable, common relationship with. [59]

May is used to politely ask for permission to do something. [60]


Personal pronouns

A personal pronoun is a pronoun that is associated primarily with a particular person, in the grammatical sense. [61]

Subject Object
I me
you you
he him
she her
it it
we us
you you
they them

Examples: [62]

  1. I like your dress.
  2. You are late.
  3. This is Jack. He’s my brother. I don’t think you have met him.

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns include my, mine, our, ours, its, his, her, hers, their, theirs, your and yours - all words that demonstrate ownership. [63]

Table of possessive pronouns: [64]

Personal pronoun Possessive determiner Possessive pronoun
I my mine
you (singular and plural) your yours
he his his
she her hers
it its its
we our ours
they their theirs
one one’s one’s

Examples of possessive pronouns: [63]

  1. The kids are yours and mine.
  2. The house is theirs and its paint is flaking.
  3. The money was really theirs for the taking.
  4. We shall finally have what is rightfully ours.
  5. Their mother gets along well with yours.
  6. What's mine is yours, my friend.
  7. The dog is mine.
  8. The cat is yours.
  9. The ring is hers.
  10. The bag is theirs.

Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are words ending in -self or -selves that are used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same (e.g., I believe in myself). They can act as either objects or indirect objects. The nine English reflexive pronouns are: [65]


Examples: [66]

  1. I was in a hurry, so I washed the car myself.
  2. You’re going to have to drive yourself to school today.
  3. He wanted to impress her, so he baked a cake himself.
  4. Jennifer does chores herself because she doesn’t trust others to do them right.
  5. That car is in a class all by itself.
  6. We don’t have to go out; we can fix dinner ourselves.
  7. You are too young to go out by yourselves.
  8. The actors saved the local theatre money by making costumes themselves.

Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are those that are not specific, exact or definite. They are also used when the noun is unknown. [67]


another anybody anyone anything each
either enough everybody everyone everything
little much neither nobody no one
nothing one other somebody someone


both few many others

Both singular and plural

all any more most
none some such

Examples: [68]

I would like to go somewhere this summer. Someone gave me this book. I won't tell your secret to anyone. I bought everything at the mall. I have nobody to talk to. There wasn't anything we could do.

Confusing Adjectives and Adverbs


Each refers to all members of a group though we think of them more one by one (individually). Each can be used to talk about two or more people/things. [69]

Every refers to all members of a group though considered individually. It can be used to talk about three or more people/things. [69]

Every cannon be used for two things. For two things, each should be used: He was carrying a suitcase in each hand. [70]

Examples: [71]

  1. Every artist is sensitive.
  2. Each artist sees things differently.
  3. Jessica wore anklets on each ankle.
  4. The bride received each item on her registry.
  5. The bride received every item on her registry.


Farther and further both mean at a greater distance, and they are used interchangeably in this sense. In the United States, though, farther is more often used to refer to physical distances, and further more often refers to figurative and nonphysical distances. [72]

Examples: [73]

  1. Tom ran farther than Bill.
  2. Which is farther, New York or Los Angeles?
  3. I prefer the seat farthest from the window.
  4. Pluto was once considered the farthest planet from the sun.
  5. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  6. Who is further along in her research?
  7. Do you have any further ideas?


Last is fairly easy to understand. Put simply, last is the opposite of first. It can also be used to discuss time in the past.

Now let’s take a look at latter. It can be used to describe something occurring near the end, or belonging to the final stages. It can also be used to refer to the last item in a series.

Latest means most recent. It is often used to discuss news.

Examples: [74]

  1. He came last at the Badminton tournament.
  2. She was the last to arrive for dinner.
  3. I went to Shanghai last week.
  4. Last month she went to summer school.
  5. Fashion became more colourful in the latter half of the decade.
  6. I agree with the latter.
  7. Here is the latest news from China.
  8. The chairman was the latest to announce his resignation.
  9. She’s interested in the latest music from Korea.


We use tall mainly for things which are narrower or thinner than they are high: people, trees, buildings, ladders, animals. [75]

We prefer to use high for things which are very wide: fences, walls, mountains, hills, ceilings, clouds. [75]

Examples: [75]

  1. tall people
  2. tall tree
  3. tall buildings (with a lot of floors)
  4. high mountains
  5. high walls
  6. high shelf
  7. high window
  8. Steven’s 1m 80cm tall
  9. The tree is about 20m high
  10. How tall is Lionel Messi?
  11. Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
  12. The prison is surrounded by very high walls and fences.
  13. Atlas Cedars are tall trees.
  14. The tree is about 30m high


Sick usually describes short-term diseases or ailments, like the flu, and is commonly used to refer to a feeling of nausea. [76]

Ill is used to describe long-term diseases or ailments. A person who is not in good health because of something serious like cancer or pneumonia might be said to be ill. [76]


  1. I feel sick. [77]
  2. I think I’m going to be sick. [77]
  3. I’ve been off sick for ten days. [77]
  4. I felt sick and had to go home at lunchtime. [78]
  5. Nancy looks ill. I wonder what’s wrong with her. [78]
  6. He was forced to retire because of ill health. [79]
  7. As a child she had suffered regular bouts of ill health. [79]


A fatal action has very undesirable effects. [80]

A fatal accident or illness causes someone's death. [80]

If something is deadly, it is likely or able to cause someone's death, or has already caused someone's death. [81]

  1. It would clearly be fatal for Europe to quarrel seriously with America. [80]
  2. He made the fatal mistake of compromising early. [80]
  3. It would deal a fatal blow to his fading chances of success. [80]
  4. ...the fatal stabbing of a police sergeant. [80]
  5. A hospital spokesman said she had suffered a fatal heart attack. [80]
  6. He was acquitted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. [81]
  7. ...a deadly disease currently affecting dolphins. [81]
  8. Passive smoking can be deadly too. [81]
  9. The authorities are looking into last week's deadly gas explosions. [81]


Late as an adverb means ‘not on time’. Late as an adjective means ‘after the usual time’. [82]

Lately meaning ‘recently’. [82]

Examples: [82]

  1. Well, I couldn’t find my classroom, so I got to the classroom a bit late and then I had to sing a song in front of the other students!
  2. The programme started late.
  3. We had a late breakfast.
  4. She says she’s been feeling tired lately. I think she’s working too much.
  5. He’s been studying hard lately. He’s got exams at the end of the month.


Hard: When something is solid, firm and difficult to break or bend; Difficult to understand, do, experience or deal with; needing or using a lot of physical or mental effort [83]

Hardly: very little/few; almost none or not; very difficult; nearly impossible; rarely; absolutely not. [83]

Examples: [83]

  1. Diamonds are extremely hard stones
  2. The basketball trainer is very hard if you miss the rebound you have to do 20 push-ups
  3. The ground is hard after last night's cold weather.
  4. Diamonds are the hardest materials known to man.
  5. Learning another language is hard
  6. Tom worked very hard to make his business profitable
  7. The little boy held his father’s hand hard, he didn’t want to lose him
  8. I could hardly hear him speaking, he should have used a microphone
  9. Mike had hardly walked through the front door when the phone rang


Dead: Having lost life; no longer alive. [84]

Deadly: If something is deadly, it is likely or able to cause someone's death, or has already caused someone's death. [81]


Alive is a word used to describe the condition of patients and animals. It means living or not dead. Alive is an adjective. [85]

Live is used in different ways: to remain alive, live telecast, and a person full of energy. [85]

Live is also defined as: to maintain oneself (subsist); to occupy a home (dwell); to attain eternal life; to remain in human memory or record; to have a life rich in experience; Cohabit; among other meanings. [86]


  1. It feels great to be alive. [87]
  2. The patient was barely alive. [87]
  3. The sheriff was ordered to find the killer and bring him back alive. [87]
  4. He managed to stay alive for a week without any food. [87]
  5. The patient is being kept alive by artificial means. [87]
  6. We learned about the people who lived during colonial times. [86]
  7. I wonder what it was like to live then. [86]
  8. She's one of the greatest writers who ever lived. [86]
  9. It was one of the largest animals that has ever lived. [86]
  10. He lived to the age of 92. [86]
  11. He's very sick and he may not live much longer. [86]
  12. I hope I live to see the day when you admit you've been wrong about me! [86]
  13. I'll remember that day for as long as I live. [86]
  14. He lives next door to his parents. [86]
  15. We lived in the city. [86]


A main difference is that freely is an adverb (modifies verbs and adjectives) and free is an adjective (modifies nouns).

Free: no cost; not a prisoner; not controlled; not busy; not being used [88]

Freely: without controls/limits; easily and smoothly; generously; without hiding anything; obtained in many places. [89]


  1. All students are offered free accommodation. [88]
  2. Admission is free for children under 9. [88]
  3. He knew he could be free in as little as three years. [88]
  4. He walked out of the courtroom a free man. [88]
  5. We had a free and open discussion about religion. [88]
  6. Remember, you are free to say no. [88]
  7. Newspapers today are entirely free from government control. [88]
  8. He became president following the country’s first free elections last year. [88]
  9. I’m free next weekend. [88]
  10. At last I was free to concentrate on my own research. [88]
  11. Is this seat free? [88]
  12. I’m afraid we don’t have any free tables this evening. [88]
  13. A freely elected government. [89]
  14. The shares could be traded freely on the open market. [89]
  15. The traffic is moving quite freely this morning. [89]
  16. Preservatives are added much too freely to most processed foods. [89]
  17. They give their time freely to support our cause. [89]
  18. He freely admits he is jealous. [89]

Confusing Nouns and Verbs


Desert: a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all [90]

Dessert: cake, pie, fruit, pudding, ice cream, etc., served as the final course of a meal. [91]


Site: a place where something is, was, or will be: [92]

  1. The fort is now a historic site.
  2. The fan club has its own Web site.

Sight: Some definitions: [93]

  1. The ability to see, or the act of seeing something:
    1. Machines don’t have a sense of sight.
    2. The sight of sick children disturbs her.
    3. I know David by sight (= I know what he looks like).
    4. Officers arrested the looters on sight (= as soon as they saw them).
  2. Something that is in someone’s view, or the view someone has:
    1. The finish line was a welcome sight for the runners.
    2. Don’t let the children out of your sight.
    3. Keep your bags in sight.
  3. A sight is also an interesting place:
    1. No sights in Moscow are more historic than the Kremlin.
  4. To suddenly see something or someone:
    1. After several days at sea, the sailors finally sighted land.


Resident: A person who lives somewhere permanently or on a long-term basis; or a medical graduate engaged in specialized practice under supervision in a hospital: [94]

  1. The hotel restaurant is open to residents and guests of residents
  2. Increasingly, residents feel afraid to walk the streets at night.
  3. Citizens or permanent residents of other countries must have a valid passport and/or a valid visitor's visa.
  4. We are involved in the education of residents, medical students, and nurses.

Residence: Living in a particular place; a person's home, especially a large and impressive one: [95]

  1. The youth hostel has been adapted from a private residence
  2. The palace was designated the official residence of the head of state
  3. Rome was his main place of residence
  4. She took up residence in Paris
  5. The guests currently in residence at the hotel


Lend means ‘give something to someone for a short time, expecting that you will get it back’. The past simple and the -ed form are lent: [96]

  1. I never lend my CDs to anyone.
  2. I lent Gary £30. (I expect that Gary will return this to me)

Borrow is a regular verb meaning ‘get something from someone, intending to give it back after a short time’: [96]

  1. Could I borrow your pen for a minute, please?
  2. Laura used to borrow money from me all the time.

When you give something, you lend it; when you get or receive something, you borrow it: [96]

  1. Can I borrow your dictionary?


Choosing the correct forms of lay and lie is a big challenge. Without a doubt, they are the two most difficult irregular verbs. [97]

Definition of lie: to be in a horizontal, recumbent, or prostrate position, as on a bed or the ground [98]

Definition of lay: Put (something) down gently or carefully. [99]

Verb conjugation and examples of lie and lay: [100]



Compliment means to give praise, express admiration or giving congratulations. Complement, on the other hand, means completing something or to make something perfect: [101]

  1. The colors in the pillows complemented the stripes in the sofa very well.
  2. She paid her boss a nice compliment on how well her new hairdo complemented her complexion.


Advice is the noun and advise is the verb. They both mean "suggestion about what someone should do": [102]

  1. Let me give you some advice: stay away from Margaret.
  2. I have two pieces of advice for you about the holiday.
  3. I strongly advise you to lose weight.
  4. They finally did what we advised.

Advice is uncountable. If we want to use advice in a countable way, then we use the phrase a piece of advice (as in number 2). [102]


Choice is a noun that refers to the act of picking something or the options available to be picked. Choose is a verb, the actual action of picking or deciding on something: [103]

  1. I choose Ken as my lab partner.
  2. Pat has to make a choice between the red dress and the yellow dress.
  3. The red dress was a good choice.


Success is a noun and means "good outcome". Succeed is a verb and means "to attain success": [104]

  1. I wish you great success in your work.
  2. I didn't have much success in finding a job.
  3. I have succeeded in my business.
  4. I'm going to succeed this year.
  5. She wants to succeed in her job.


Breathe is a verb we use for the process of inhaling and exhaling. Breath is a noun that refers to a full cycle of breathing. It can also refer to the air that is inhaled or exhaled: [105]

  1. I realized as I watched him fight for breath, that his life was as important to him as mine is to me.
  2. Press your shoulder blades down and keep your head and neck relaxed. Hold this for 5-10 breaths.
  3. Many people find observing their breath flowing in and out is a good way to stay mindful.
  4. Children with sickle cell disease may breathe easier when they’re given hydroxyurea...
  5. Allowing a wine to ‘breathe’ is simply a process of exposing it to air for a period of time before serving.
  6. Designers sweat the details to let athletic clothes breathe.


A preposition is a word that links a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to some other part of the sentence. [106]


Definition: [106]

  1. Used for unspecific times during a day, month, season, year
  2. Used to indicate a location or place
  3. Used to indicate a shape, color, or size
  4. Used to express while doing something
  5. Used to indicate a belief, opinion, interest, or feeling

Examples: [106]

  1. She always reads newspapers in the morning.
  2. In the summer, we have a rainy season for three weeks.
  3. The new semester will start in March.
  4. She looked me directly in the eyes.
  5. I am currently staying in a hotel.
  6. My hometown is Los Angeles, which is in California.
  7. This painting is mostly in blue.
  8. The students stood in a circle.
  9. This jacket comes in four different sizes.
  10. In preparing for the final report, we revised the tone three times.
  11. A catch phrase needs to be impressive in marketing a product.
  12. I believe in the next life.
  13. We are not interested in gambling.


Definition: [106]

  1. Used to express a surface of something
  2. Used to specify days and dates
  3. Used to indicate a device or machine, such as a phone or computer
  4. Used to indicate a part of the body
  5. Used to indicate the state of something

Examples: [106]

  1. I put an egg on the kitchen table.
  2. The paper is on my desk.
  3. The garbage truck comes on Wednesdays.
  4. I was born on the 14th day of June in 1988.
  5. He is on the phone right now.
  6. She has been on the computer since this morning.
  7. My favorite movie will be on TV tonight.
  8. The stick hit me on my shoulder.
  9. He kissed me on my cheek.
  10. I wear a ring on my finger.
  11. Everything in this store is on sale.
  12. The building is on fire.


Definition: [106]

  1. Used to point out specific time
  2. Used to indicate a place
  3. Used to indicate an email address
  4. Used to indicate an activity

Examples: [106]

  1. I will meet you at 12 p.m.
  2. The bus will stop here at 5:45 p.m.
  3. There is a party at the club house.
  4. There were hundreds of people at the park.
  5. We saw a baseball game at the stadium.
  6. Please email me at
  7. He laughed at my acting.
  8. I am good at drawing a portrait.

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are verb+preposition combinations, so they are usually two or more word expressions. For example, ’look + after’, ’put off’, ’take + up’ or ’put + up with’. The meaning of a phrasal verb is often very different from the original verb: [107]

  1. She’s looking after the children. (She is taking care of the children.)
  2. They’ve put off the meeting. (They’ve postponed the meeting.)
  3. Greg’s taken up golf. (Greg’s started playing golf.)
  4. I can’t put up with my neighbours any longer. (I can’t tolerate my neighbours any longer.)


Collocations are words that are generally used together. For example: [107]

  1. commit a crime
  2. make a mistake
  3. distant memory
  4. break a record
  5. bunch of flowers
  6. fast food

It would sound strange if you said ’make a crime’, ’do a mistake’, ’remote memory’, ’knock a record’, ’pack of flowers’ or ’quick food’. These words don’t collocate with each other - don’t sound correct together. [107]


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