The following is an important thing to keep in mind when learning English verb tenses.
It is known that the Present Progressive tense is used for actions that are taking place now, or for actions that are temporary.
“We are having dinner at the moment.”
(This happens right now.)
“He is renovating the house these days.”
(This is a temporary action.)
However, the Present Progressive can also be used for planned future actions.
“We are celebrating tonight.”
“She is starting a new job tomorrow.”
So how can we distinguish between the present and the future? Time expressions are used exactly for this purpose.
Future words, like “tomorrow”, “next week”, etc, indicate future actions.
Words like “now”, “at this moment”, “these days”, etc, indicate actions in the present.
– Ola Zur, www.really-learn-english.com.
Some words are generally considered as uncountable, but you can add “-s” or “-es”. When you do that, you change the meanings of those words. Here are a few examples:
water - waters
It is clear that “water” is uncountable, but when we talk about the water in the oceans, in the seas, we must add “-s”. So we say “sea waters”. Here is an example from the Bible – God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” God was talking the waters in the ocean. He used its plural form.
wood – woods
“Wood” is material for furniture. It is uncountable. When we add “-s”, the meaning changes. “Woods” refers to trees and plants in a wooded area, a small forest.
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glass – glasses
When we talk about window glass, “glass” is uncountable. However, in ” Would you like a glass of water?” “glass” is countable here. You can say: “Three glasses of water!” Here the meaning has already changed. The glass is the container of the drinking water. Another example is “a pair of glasses”. Here you must always use the plural form when you talk about the glasses you are wearing.
There are some other strange words. “Mail” is uncountable, but nowadays, we use “emails” all the time. “change” is countable. We say “many changes”. But when we talk about money: “Do you have some change?” The “change” is uncountable. You don’t say “Do you have some changes? (wrong)” We can “small talk”, but we don’t say “small talks”.
Some words are countable, but you never add “-s” even though you are using them as countable nouns. “Police” is such a word. You say “Police are coming!” Not “Police is coming!” (wrong). “Cattle” and “aircraft” are two other examples: ”Japanese aircraft were strong on maneuverability.” ”Cattle were inclined to remain in the territory.”
“People” is a countable noun, but you don’t need to add “-s”. When you add “-s”, it means peoples from different nations.
– Ron Lee
The prepositions “at”, “in” and “on” can be confusing for English learners. Their meaning is so close that it is sometimes hard to tell when to use each word.
Here are some guidelines that will help you decide on the correct preposition to use:
1) When you want to speak about a precise time, use “at“.
The movie starts at nine o’clock.
They arrived at 6 PM.
The meeting is at 4:30 this afternoon.
2) When you want to speak about long periods of time (such as months, seasons, years, etc), use “in“.
I returned to Canada in 1998.
We first met in June.
The lake will unfreeze in the spring.
3) When you want to speak about a particular day, use “on“.
She will be back on Thursday.
I was born on January 2nd.
They will join us on Thanksgiving.
Ola Zur is the editor of Really Learn English Vocabulary and Easy English Grammar.
English plural forms tend to be pretty simple, in most cases. You usually add s/es/ies in the end of the word and your job is done.
kid -> kids
box -> boxes
baby -> babies
However, some words change differently.
child -> children
man -> men
woman -> women
person -> people
mouse -> mice
foot -> feet
fish -> fish
sheep -> sheep
datum -> data
bacterium -> bacteria
How can you know the plural form of each word? You can always check it in the dictionary.
Ola Zur is the editor of Really Learn English Vocabulary and Grammar with Illustrations, an illustrated guide to English.
One of the most frequent words in English is “run”, but did you know it had over 40 different meanings?
Well, it does. We won’t go over all of them in this post, but we’ll definitely cover the important ones for you to know.
So here are the meanings and examples of the word “run” (past tense: “ran”)
Meaning #1: to move very quickly.
Example: “He ran after the bus, but it didn’t help.”
“The children are running up and down the stairs.”
“He is too old to run.”
Meaning #3: to work or operate.
Examples: “This computer scan is running for over an hour.”
“Our new website is up and running.”
“Don’t leave the car when the engine is running.”
Meaning #3: to be in control of something.
Examples: “I am running this company.”
“This manager does not run his team very well.”
“Do you know how to run this machine?”
“Can you run a disk cleanup?”
Meaning #4: to try to win an election.
Examples: “Jonathan is running for president.”
“He doesn’t have much chances of winning, since Martha is running against him.”
“He wants to run for mayor, but he doesn’t have the funds.”
Meaning #5: to flow.
Examples: “Rhine River runs all the way through Europe.”
“Tears were running down her cheeks.”
“Cold water was running out of the tap.”
Ola Zur is the editor of Really Learn English with Illustrations, an illustrated guide to English.