[Adjectives] – Lesson 2: Comparative and superlative of adjectives

Comparative and superlative adjectives: basic rules
Type of adjective Adjective Comparative Superlative
Short adjectives (one-syllable adjectives) old
long
older
longer
the oldest
the longest
Adjectives ending with one vowel and one consonant big
hot
bigger
hotter
the biggest
the hottest
Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y ugly
noisy
messy
uglier
noisier 
messier
the ugliest
the noisiest 
the messiest
Longer adjectives (adjectives with two or more syllables) careful
expensive
beautiful
more careful
more expensive
more beautiful
the most careful
the most expensive
the most beautiful
With some two-syllable adjectives both -er/-est endings and more/most are possible. polite
common
more polite/politer
more common/commoner
the most polite/the politest
the most common/the commonest
With some two-syllable adjectives only an -er/-est ending is possible. narrow
simple
clever
narrower
simpler
cleverer
the narrowest
the simplest
the cleverest

 

Notable exceptions
good better the best
bad worse the worst
far further / farther the furthest / the farthest

[Adjectives] – Lesson 3: Possessive adjectives and pronouns

possessive adjective tells us that someone owns (or ‘possesses’) something.

Myyourhis and her are all possessive adjectives.

We use a possessive adjective before a noun:

  • This is my brother.
  • Where is your sister?
  • How much did his car cost?

possessive pronoun also tells us who owns a thing. However, a possessive pronoun is NOT followed by a noun:

  • Whose book is this? Is it yoursIs it yours book?
  • The blue car is my brother’s; the red car is mine. The red car is my.
  • I bought the house – it’s mineIt’s mine house.

 

Possessive adjectives and pronouns
singular
my
mine
It’s my dog.
This dog is mine.
my = possessive adjective
mine = possessive pronoun
your
yours
It’s your book.
It’s yours.
your = possessive adjective
yours = possessive pronoun
his
his
It’s his bicycle.
It’s his.
his = possessive adjective
his = possessive pronoun
her
hers
It’s her guitar.
It’s hers.
her = possessive adjective
hers = possessive pronoun
its
The bear is feeding its cubs.
its = possessive adjective
no possessive pronoun equivalent
plural
our
ours
This is our car.
This car is ours.
our = possessive adjective
ours = possessive pronoun
your
yours
Your baby is beautiful.
Which house is yours?
your = possessive adjective
yours = possessive pronoun
their
theirs
We’re going in their car.
Is this car theirs?
their = possessive adjective
theirs = possessive pronoun

[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 4: Third conditional

Structure of the third conditional
positive negative question
If I’d (I had) known you were coming, I would have waited for you. If she hadn’t (had not) been ill, she would have gone to the cinema. Would you have done it if you’d (you had) known earlier?

 

The third conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If I would have asked him, he would have helped me. If I had asked him, he would have helped me. In the if-clause we use the past perfect (had + pastparticiple). We don’t use ‘would’ or ‘would have’ in the if-clause.
If you had spoken to my mother, she would tell you where I was. If you had spoken to my mother, she would have toldyou where I was. The main clause has
would + have + past participle.

[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 3: Second conditional

Structure of the second conditional
positive negative question
If I had more time, I’d (I would) travel more. I wouldn’t (would not) refuse if you offered me $10,000. What would you say if you met Queen Elizabeth?
If I were you, I’d leave the job. I wouldn’t (would not) leave the job if I were you. Would you leave the job if you were me?

 

The second conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If I would have enough money, I would buy a new computer. If I had enough money, I would buy a new computer. We use the past simple (here I had) in the if-clause. It shows we are talking about something which is unlikely to happen or is an imaginary situation.
If you didn’t hurry so much, you will feel more relaxed. If you didn’t hurry so much, youwould feel more relaxed. The main clause has would + infinitive.

[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 2: First conditional

Structure of the first conditional
positive negative question
If I see him, I’ll (I will) tell him. If you don’t hurry, you’ll miss the bus. What will you do if there is a problem?

 

The first conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If you will go to England, you will improve your English. If you go to England, you will improve your English. We use the present simple in the if-clause.
If I find his address, I send him the letter. If I find his address, I will send him the letter. We use will in the main clause, to express certainty in the future.
I’ll tell him if I will see him. I’ll tell him if I see him. We use the present simple in the if-clause.

[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 1: Zero conditional

Structure of the zero conditional
positive negative question
If/when you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils. If/when you don’t heat water to 100 degrees, it doesn’t boil. What happens if/when you heat water to 100 degrees?

 

The zero conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If/when people eat too much, they will get fat.

Water boils when it will reach 100°C.

If/when people eat too much, they get fat.

Water boils when it reaches100°C.

We use the present simple in both clauses of the zero conditional. We are saying that the condition can be true at any time (it is a fact).
If means the same as when in a zero conditional sentence. We can also use whenever.

[Conjunctions] – Lesson 3: Coordinating conjunctions

The seven coordinating conjunctions are soandbutoryetfornor.

A coordinating conjunction joins words, groups of words, or clauses, and gives them equal importance:

  • I like summer, but I don’t like winter.
  • Do you prefer summer or winter?
  • He’s been working all day, so he’s very tired.

Conjunctions are words which connect sentences or groups of words. Some learners know them asconnectors or joining words.

One type of conjunction is the coordinating conjunction, which gives equal importance to the words or sentences that it connects.

There are seven coordinating conjunctions: but, or, so, and, yet, for, nor.

  • I like coffee, but my wife prefers tea.
  • Would you prefer coffee or tea?
  • I’ve drunk six cups of coffee today, so I’ve got a headache.
  • I take milk and sugar in my tea.
  • He’s seventy-two, yet he still swims, runs and plays football regularly.
  • She must have been very hungry, for she ate everything immediately.
  • Switzerland is not in the European Union, nor is it a member of NATO.

Functions of coordinating conjunctions

  • so – for showing the consequence of something
    He was very hungry, so he ate all the cake.
  • but – for contrast
    I eat cake, but I never eat biscuits; I don’t like them.
  • for – for explaining why [more formal and less common than because]
    He’s overweight, for he eats too many cakes and biscuits.
  • and – the same, similar or equal; without contrast
    His favourite snacks are cakes and biscuits.
  • nor – for two non-contrasting grammatically negative items (not + not)
    He doesn’t eat cake, nor does he eat biscuits.
    [= He doesn’t eat cake and he doesn’t eat biscuits.]
  • or – before an alternative
    Would you like cake or biscuits with your coffee? 
  • yet – contrast, despite something [synonyms = nevertheless, but still]
    He’s overweight and feels terrible, yet he continues to eat lots of cakes and biscuits.
    [He’s overweight, but still he continues to eat lots of cakes and biscuits.]