Category Archive: Grammar

Mar 01

Learn British English Grammar Free (video): Second Conditional with examples

This is a Learn British English Free lesson where Chris explains the concept and structure of the second conditional in English with examples.

“If I were you, I would (I’d) ask her out.”

 

Structure: If + subject + verb past tense…, subject + would + verb bare infinitive…

Or: Subject + would + verb bare infinitive… + if + subject + verb past tense…

(I would ask her out if I were you.)

 

Time: present or future (hypothetical)

Probability: extremely small

First conditional: If it rains tomorrow, I’ll stay inside (50% chance)

Second conditional: I’d stay inside if it were to snow tomorrow (very small chance)

 

Question for students: “If you were stuck on a desert island, what five things would you choose to have?”

“If I were stuck on a desert island, I would choose…”

Via YouTube:

Feb 27

Learn British English Free (video): Help with Common Mistakes

In this Learn British English Free lesson, Chris explains some useful expressions and how to avoid common mistakes in the UK.

“Her daughter is six or seven years old.”

“I last saw him 30 or 40 years ago.”

“The flight could take nine or ten hours.”

Compound Adjectives for Duration

The drive takes four hours = it’s a four-hour drive

The appointment takes 15 minutes = it’s a 15-minute appointment

“Every now and then.”

“The defence is at sixes and sevens back there!”

Via YouTube:

 

Feb 16

Learn British English Verbs Free (video): “look for” and “search (for)”

This is a Learn British English Free lesson in which Chris explains the difference between “look for” and “search (for)”.

Look for – more natural, common and informal (always with “for”)

“I can’t find my car keys.” “Let’s look for them then”.

“What are you looking for?”

Search (for) – more formal (e.g. police)

“The police are urgently searching for the suspect.”

“The police were searching the area last night.” (verb without “for”)

“The police conducted a thorough search of the property.” (noun)

Via YouTube:

Feb 10

Free English Grammar Lesson (video): Double Negatives with examples

This is a Learn British English Free (YouTube) lesson where Chris explains not to use double negatives in English and how to avoid it with examples:

“I don’t know nothing.” – WRONG

“I don’t know anything.” – CORRECT

“He didn’t see no-one like that in the pub.” – WRONG

“He didn’t see anyone like that in the pub.” – CORRECT

“We don’t have no spuds left in the kitchen!” – WRONG

“We don’t have any spuds left in the kitchen!” – CORRECT

“I don’t want no tea, thank you.” – WRONG

“I don’t want any tea, thank you.” – GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT BUT STILL WRONG

Via YouTube:

 

Jan 13

FREE English Grammar Lesson: hear vs listen to; see vs look at vs watch

Chris explains the difference between English verbs ‘hear’ and ‘listen to'; ‘see’, ‘look at’ and ‘watch':
Via YouTube:

Dec 30

Learn British English Free: new year’s resolutions (happy new year 2019)

Happy new year! Chris explains ideas and structures for talking about your goals for the new year.

Via YouTube.

Oct 21

Learn British English Free: important phrasal verb – let someone know (video)

Chris explains how to use important phrasal verb let me / you know in British English.

It’s like ‘tell’ but softer / more polite. Please listen to Chris to know how to use it.

For commands:

Let me know.

Please let me know when you get the update.

For the future:

I’ll let you know tomorrow.

She’ll let you know next week.

With the past perfect:

They’ve let me know.

I’ve let him know.

Past simple: use ‘tell’

‘I told him yesterday.’

‘I told you so.’

Fixed expression: ‘Let me tell you something…’

Via YouTube.

Sep 25

Learn British English Free: Polite British Grammar for Questions / Instructions

Polite: Please write the report for me by tomorrow.

Even more polite: Please could you write the report for me by tomorrow.

Polite form: please + verb (bare infinitive) is ok, but for British people even this can seem too direct, especially at work.

Even more polite form: please + could + subject + verb (bare infinitive) – using ‘could’ makes everything more polite. In a British work setting, this feels more comfortable.

Polite: Please open the window.

Even more polite: Please could you open the window.

Aug 27

Learn British English Grammar Free (video): can; could; to be able to (subtitles / captions)

Chris presents some ideas about different ways to use can, could and to be able to. Via YouTube

CAN = modal verb

I can do it or I can’t (cannot) do it

can’t use it in the past

can for permission: Can I go out? You can’t smoke here (instruction)

can for ability: I can speak three languages or I can’t speak three languages

can in the future: I can see you tomorrow

 

COULD = can in the past  (modal verb)

I could come or I couldn’t (could not) come (past)

could for questions (more polite):

Could you do that outside, please?

could = can in the past: I could do that when I was younger

couldn’t for something you don’t want to do:

I couldn’t make fun of him (it is possible but I don’t want to)

 

TO BE ABLE TO is possible with the past and future – not a modal verb

able – ability (noun)

I’m able to see him now or I’m not able to see him now

use with future + will:

I will be able to come tomorrow

I won’t be able to come tomorrow

use to be able to in the past:

I was able to do that when I was younger

I used to be able to do that

‘can’ is more common than ‘be able to’ because it’s shorter and more useful

Jul 12

Learn British English Grammar Free (video): must; have to; must not; don’t have to; need not

Chris explains the difference between ‘must’, ‘have to’, ‘must not’, ‘don’t have to’ and ‘need not’ (needn’t). For Dani. Please click here for a visual grammar cline.

Must

Obligation: yes.

Do you do it? Yes.

‘You must go to all your classes’.

 

Have to

Obligation: yes.

Do you do it? Yes.

‘I have to go shopping’.

 

Must not

Obligation: yes.

Do you do it? No.

‘You must not smoke at school’.

 

Do not (don’t) have to

Obligation: no.

Do you do it? You choose.

‘You don’t have to come later’.

 

Need not (needn’t)

Obligation: no.

Do you do it? You choose.

‘You needn’t come later if you don’t want to’.

 

Notes

must = have to

don’t have to = needn’t = don’t need to

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