Grammar - Elementary



Adverbs

We use some adverbs in English to describe how a verb is performed.

He hit the ball brilliantly.
She speaks French terribly.
They ran down the street quickly.

You can see that we add "-ly" to the end of the adjective root of a word.

The adverb of the adjective bad is badly but the adverb of the adjective good is well.

She played very badly and lost the match.
Her opponent played well and deserved the victory.

Some adjectives and adverbs are spelt the same way: fast, late, hard.

We use other adverbs in English to describe adjectives and other adverbs:

I was terribly sorry to hear about your father's death.
Your mother was incredibly lucky to win the lottery.
They spoke unbelievably well for foreigners.

Adverbs of Frequency

We use adverbs of frequency to describe How Often we do something.

How often does it rain in the Sahara? Rarely.
How often does it rain in Ireland? Often.

100%
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50%
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0%
Always
Almost always
Very often
Often
Frequently
Usually
Normally
Sometimes
Rarely
Seldom
Almost never
Never

Position

Frequency adverbs normally go after the verb "to be" but before other verbs.

Examples:

I am always happy on a Saturday night.
They are often late for class.

She sometimes smokes cigars.
We almost always go to France in May.

Some frequency adverbs such as sometimes, usually and normally can also go at the beginning and end of a sentence.

Sometimes, Henry takes her to a restaurant at the weekend.
I go to bed at midnight usually.

We sometimes use numbers when we answer How Often.

Q: How often do you play tennis?
A: Three times a week.

Once
Twice
Three times
Four times
Five times
etc etc
a
an
day
week
hour
month
year
term
etc etc

Or we can use an expression such as:

Once every six months.
Take this medicine once every four hours.

'Going To' and Present Continuous for Future

The future is one area of English grammar that seems to cause so many problems for students learning English.

One way of expressing the future is to use " be going to" plus the infinitive of the verb:

She is going to visit her uncle in Monaco next summer.

Another, with a near identical meaning, is the present continuous which we covered earlier:

She is buying a house near Paris before the end of the year.

You can see from these two examples that we are expressing a plan, something we already we know we are going to do. Something we thought about earlier.

I'm going into town tomorrow. I already have my ticket.
They are going to do a computer course together. They signed up today.
I'm seeing Darren tomorrow. We are meeting at ten in the morning.

We also use going to to talk about something we think will happen in the future because of evidence we see now.

There is going to be a terrible storm. Look at the black sky!
He is going to fail all his exams. He isn't studying at all.

When we talk about something we intended to do in the past, but then changed our minds, we use was going to.

I was going to ring you, but then I saw I didn't have your number
We were going to play baseball in the park, but then it started to rain.


Prepositions Of Time

Before different time expressions, English uses different prepositions.

On Sunday, I get up at nine o'clock.
In 1999, he came to see me in October.

Here is a summary of prepositions to use with different time expressions:

In At On No Preposition
October
1997
the morning
summer
Christmas
the weekend
night
7 o'clock
Monday
the 21st November
my birthday
Christmas Day
Yesterday
Last week
Today
Tomorrow
Next month

Examples:

Last week, I went to work at nine o'clock every morning.
In summer, especially in July, the beaches here are very busy.
On Thursday, in the morning, I want you to finish that letter.

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Whose

We use whose to ask "who owns this?"

Example:

Q: Whose house is this?
A: It's John's house.

In the answer, it is common to use a possessive pronoun.

Q: Whose is this pen?
A: It's mine.

Here is a list of these possessive pronouns:

Possessive Pronouns
I
You
He
She
It
We
You
They
Mine
Yours
His
Hers
Its
Ours
Yours
Theirs

Whose can also be used alone as a question:

A: I went to work by car.
B: Whose?
A: Mine, of course!




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