[Questions] – Lesson 1: Forming questions

Structures of questions
If there is an auxiliary (helping) verb (be, have, can, will, etc.) we put it before the subject (he, she, I, etc.) Is anybody in the office?
Have you ever visited London?
What time Will they be here?
If there is no auxiliary (helping) verb, we put do, does or did before the subject. Do you know my older brother?
Did he come in time?
We put wh- words (when, where, why, who, how,etc.) at the beginning of the question. How long have you been waiting for me?
Where is their office?
Which colour do you like best?
We don’t use do, does or did when we use what, which, who or whose as the subject. What happened to you?
Who told you about it?

 

Questions – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
What meant you by saying that? What did you mean by saying that? If there is no auxiliary (helping) verb, we put do, does or didbefore the subject.
You like this film? Do you like this film?
Where you are going this afternoon? Where are you going this afternoon? We put an auxiliary verb before the subject.
You did read the letter? Did you read the letter?
Who did give you the information? Who gave you the information? We don’t use do, does or didwhen we use what, which, whoor whose as the subject.
Does he knows your sister? Does he know your sister? When there is an auxiliary verb, the main verb is in the infinitive form.
Where will she studies? Where will she study?
Can you tell me where can I buy a good camera? Can you tell me where I canbuy a good camera? Word order in indirect question is the same as in a normal sentence: SUBJECT + VERB + …

 

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[Question] – Lesson 3: Structures of indirect questions

An indirect question is when a question is ‘inside’ another question.

Take a simple scenario: we stop someone in the street and ask: “Where is the supermarket?” This is what we call a direct question.

However, let’s say that we begin with Can you tell me? or Do you know? Our original question is now ‘inside’ the new question: Can you tell me where the supermarket is

You will see that the word order has now changed because technically the question is now Can you tell me? not Where is? This is what we call an indirect question.

Word order in indirect questions
Word order in an indirect question is the same as in a normal statement sentence:
SUBJECT + VERB + …
Direct question Indirect question
Where can I buy ink for the printer? Can you tell me where I can buy ink for the printer?
Can you tell me where can I buy …
Why do you want to work for our company? He asked me why I wanted to work for their company.
He asked me why did I want to …
What is the number of the last invoice? I’m calling to ask you what the number of the last invoice is.
I’m calling to ask you what is the number of 
How much did it cost? Do you know how much it costs?
Do you know how much did it cost?
How did it happen? Did she tell you how it happened?
Did she tell you how did it happened?

[Questions] – Lesson 2: Question words

Question words
Question word Asking for / about … Example
What … ? information, type What’s your name?
What is an oak – a tree or a plant?
When … ? time, day, year, etc. When were you born?
When are you coming – today or tomorrow?
Why … ? reason Why are you so tired?
Why don’t you go to bed?
Which … ? choice We have fruit tea and green tea – whichwould you like?
Who … ? a person, a name Who wrote War and Peace – was it Tolstoy?
How … ? method, quality, condition How do you travel to work – by bus or by car?
How was the soup?
How are you today?
Whose … ? possession, owner Whose is this pen? Is it yours or mine?
Whom … ? [formal] a person, name Whom did you see?

Whom is very formal and is not often used in spoken English. Most native speakers use who:

  • Whom did you see? [formal written, formal spoken English]
  • Who did you see? [standard spoken English]

[Adverbs] – Lesson 3: Adverbs of manner

Adverbs describe the time when something happens, the place where something happens or how something happens. They tell us more about verbs. We can ask these questions:

Question Answer Type
When? yesterday, today, now, later… adverbs of time
Where? here, there, everywhere, home, away, … adverbs of place
How? slowly, happily, well… adverbs of manner

Adverbs of Manner

Let’s work on adverbs of manner!

Read this example:

Tom drove carefully along the narrow road.

How did Tom drive? Carefully!
In what way did Tom drive? Carefully!

Compare:

Tom is a careful driver.

Here, careful is an adjective and gives more information about what kind of driver Tom is. Adjectives usually follow the verb “to be” and come before a noun.

How can we make adverbs?

Usually, we make adverbs by adding “ly” to the end of an adjective.

Examples:

nice arrrow to the right nicely
clear arrrow to the right clearly

Sometimes, we must change the “y” at the end of the adjective and add “ily” to make the adverb.

Examples:

heavy arrrow to the right heavily
lazy arrrow to the right lazily

Be careful! Some adjectives end in “ly” and are NOT adverbs.

Examples:

She is a lovely woman.
They are very friendly, aren’t they?

Now we know how to use adverbs of manner to describe more about the way we do things. Let’s look at three more examples. Can you find the adverbs?

My mother sings beautifully, but my father sings very badly.

When I was a child, I couldn’t swim very quickly, but now I can!

They don’t like the teacher because she speaks so loudly.

Be careful! There are some very common exceptions!!

“Good” is an adjective.

Your pronunciation is very good.

“Well” is an adverb.

You speak very well.
He can’t play tennis well.

The words “fast,” “late,” and “hard” are adjectives and adverbs.

Adjective Adverb
Mary was a fast runner in high school. Mary could run very fast.        (not fastly)
The bus was late. The bus arrived late today.     (not lately*)
John is a hard worker. John works hard every day.    (not hardly**)

*Lately is an adverb, but it means “recently”.

I have been feeling tired lately.

**Hardly is an adverb, but it means “almost not at all.”

She hardly ate anything today.

Now, we need to know how to compare how things are done. You can follow the same rules that we use with adjectives!

Example:

Ann speaks French fluently. Jack can’t speak French fluently.

Ann speaks French more fluently than Jack, OR
Jack speaks French less fluently than Ann, OR
Jack doesn’t speak French as fluently as Ann.

Ann speaks French the most fluently in the whole office.

This is the “superlative”. It compares three or more people/things.

Example:

Bob studies seriously.
Dan doesn’t study seriously.

Bob studies more seriously than Dan, or…
Dan studies less seriously than Bob, or…
Dan doesn’t study as seriously as Bob.

Bob studies the most seriously of all the students in his class.

Do you remember those exceptions above? (fast/late/hard/well)

Let’s see how to compare ideas with these!

Examples:

Margaret runs faster than me, but Bob runs the fastest on our team.

Joe arrives home later than his children. His wife arrives home the latest in the family.

Sally works much harder than her sister in the family business, but her brother works the hardest.

My mother sings better than my father. In fact, my mother sings the best in our whole family!

[Adverbs] – Lesson 2: Adverbs of frequency

always, usually, regularly, normally, often, sometimes, occasionally, rarely, seldom, never are adverbs of frequency.

The position of these adverbs is:

before the main verb

Adverb of frequency Verb
I always get up at 6.45.
Peter can usually play football on Sundays.
Mandy has sometimes got lots of homework.

after a form of to be am, are, is (was, were)

Verb Adverb of frequency
Susan is never late.

The adverbs often, usually, sometimes and occasionally can go at the beginning of a sentence.
Sometimes I go swimming.
Often we surf the internet.

Somtimes these adverbs are put at the end of the sentence.
We read books occasionally.

[Adverbs] – Lesson 1: What are adverbs?

Adverbs
We use an adverb to say how an action is performed. He speaks English fluently.
She answered correctly.
We use an adverb to add information about the time/place/manner. How long have you lived here?
We can use an adverb to add information to an adjective. She was extremely happy to see him again.
really hate travelling by train.

 

Forms of adverbs
Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective.
There are some exceptions – irregular adverbs.
nicely, quickly, beautifully, happily, economically
If the adjective ends in -ic we add ally. basic – basically, dramatic – dramatically
Some adverbs are irregular: they have the same form as the adjective.

The adjective good is irregular: its adverb form iswell.

fast, daily, late, early, hard

good – well

 

Adverbs – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
The camera works perfect. The camera works perfectly. We use an adverb
(perfectly – adverb, perfect – adjective) when we want to say how we do something.
Did you work hardly today? Did you work hard today? Some adverbs have the same form as the adjective: hard – hard, fast – fast, late – late.
She behaved rather sillily.

She passed the exam difficultly.

She behaved in a silly way.

She passed the exam with difficulty.

Some adjectives (including many ending in -ly) don’t have an adverb equivalent. Instead, we use an adverbial phrase (in a friendly manner, in a silly way, with difficulty).
His answer sounded correctly.
He looks happily.
His answer sounded correct.
He looks happy.
After linking verbs (looksound,tastesmellfeelseem) we use adjectives, not adverbs.

 

[Adjectives] – Lesson 1: What are adjectives?

Adjectives
We use an adjective to describe the qualities of people, things, places, etc. Can you see the young woman at the end of the street?
He’s a great singer.
We use an adjective (not an adverb) after ‘linking’ verbs such as be, become, feel, seem, smell, sound, look, etc. It looks interesting.
It tastes delicious.
His ideas are interesting.
We can use an adjective to describe the object of a sentence. His answer made his boss angry.

 

Adjectives – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
She was too frighten to say a word. She was too frightened to say a word. Many adjectives are participle forms of verbs.
The -ed form describes how someone feels (bored).
The -ing form describes the person or thing that causes the feeling (boring).
I am very interesting in this problem. I am very interested in this problem.
It was a bored film. It was a boring film.
The camera works perfect. The camera works perfectly. We use adverbs to say how we do something.
She married a German, young, tall lawyer. She married a tall, young, German lawyer. Adjectives normally go in the following sequence: size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose.