Saturday, 8 December 2012


Nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions,... are parts of speech which are easy to point out.  Adverbs are tricky words, though. They usually give students a hard time because they find it difficult to identify them.

Adverbs can tell you when, where, why, how and to what extent something happens.

They are words or expressions that may:
    - describe a verb: "She dances beautifully";
    - modify an adjective: "The exam turned out to be very easy";
    - modify another adverb: "I can´t understand him: he speaks very quickly";
    - or even modify an entire sentence:

"Fortunately, we arrived on time for the flight".

Many adverbs are formed by adding the suffix -ly to some adjectives (quick- quickly; true - truly; happy- happily,...). However, neither all adverbs end in -ly (always, never, just, well,...) nor all the words ending in -ly are adverbs (friendly, lonely, lively).


"She sang beautifully last night".

And one more thing: some adverbs have exactly the same form as the corresponding adjective (hard, fast, late, early, left, right, long, wrong, high)

     - "He was driving extremely fast when the police stopped him".
     - "She´s got a fast car".

The position of adverbs is not a simple matter either. Although, to a certain extent, there is some freedom to place them in the sentence, there are some rules which must be observed.

Perhaps you would find it useful to have a look at the following PowerPoint Presentation about word order and adverbs.

Now, try the following exercises:

If you still feel you need further practice, you could click on the following links and work on them:
Adverb or Adjective?
Adverbs with two Forms and Different Meanings
Adverbs often Confused
Quiz on Adverbs

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Auxiliary and Modal Verbs

Auxiliary and modal verbs are used in different ways in English and having a good command of them will make students of English as a foreign language much more competent speakers.

Question tags are one of the most familiar structures for students of English but there are other uses of auxiliary and modal verbs which are by no means less common. These verbs are also used:

-In short answers
          A. "Do you like him?"   B. "Yes, I do"
-To avoid repetition
          "I love sunbathing on the beach, but my husband doesn´t"
-To show agreement with so and neither:   
          A. "She can´t understand politicians"   B. "Neither can I!"
-With echo questions
          A. "I went to a psychic last weekend"   B. "Did you?"
-To show emphasis

A bit confusing, isn´t it? Ok, then try and have a look at the following PowerPoint presentation and I do hope this murky matter will become crystal clear for you!

You can get some practice by clicking on the following links:

If you still feel you need further practice, just google what you want. Don´t forget that on the net there are plenty of resources at your fingertips!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Conditional Sentences. Part 1

Conditional sentences are a grammar issue which students of English must strive to learn due to their complexity, on the one hand, and their practicality, on the other hand.

They are complex sentences formed by a main clause and a subordinate clause. The subordinate clause states a condition and the main clause states a consequence, and the idea is that given the condition, the consequence will take place.

Although "if" is the most usual conjunction used in conditional sentences, there are others which also occur, such as "whether" "unless", "provided that", "as long as", "on condition that", etc.

In this first post regarding conditionals, only zero conditionals and first conditionals are dealt with. Second and third conditionals will shortly be attended to. Also, some attention is given to the so called "time clauses" which are somewhat similar to first conditional sentences because they follow the same pattern.

If you pay attention to the following power point, you will understand this grammar issue better. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

What the future holds…

Future time can be expressed in English in different ways. Using the auxiliary “will / shall” together with the bare infinitive of the main verb is the most neutral and most usual way of conveying the idea of future time in English. However, there are other structures which are also used to refer to future time in different situations, namely the present simple, to be going to + bare infinitive, the present continuous (be + verb-ing), the future perfect and the future continuous.

Image credit
Here are some examples:

- I´ll be home at ten o´clock, I promise, mum!   (A promise)
- I think it´ll rain tomorrow.   (An assumption with regards to the future)
- (Telephone ringing) ll get it!   (A spontaneous decision)
- Time will tell (An action in the future that cannot be influenced)

- It´s getting hot in here. Shall I open the window?   (An offer- Only with 1st person singular and plural)

- The train leaves at 4 o´clock.   (A scheduled event in the near future)

- The sky is getting greyer and greyer. It´s going to rain any minute.   (A prediction based on evidence)
- We are going to travel to London next Easter.   (A plan: a decision is made)

- We are travelling to London next Easter. The flight was very cheap.  (A plan: the arrangements are made)

The last two tenses mentioned, the future perfect and the future continuous, are explained in the following presentation:

Future perfect and future continuous
View more PowerPoint from Lola Domínguez

Now you can try the following exercise to check what you learnt with the previous presentation. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Whitney Houston, In Memoriam

This week we´ve celebrated Saint Valentine´s Day, for many the day of love, but on Sunday, 12th February, I woke up to the sad news of the decease of  someone who used to sing to love sublimely but who, paradoxically, seemed to lack love so much. As a child, Whitney cherished music like her aunt (Dionne Warwick) or her mum did and she, undoubtedly, inherited their talent and developed it to a mastery level despite her ups and downs in life. One may think that she was ill-treated by life or, rather, that she ill-treated her own life.

Whitney Houston
Image credit

Many artists before her couldn´t possibly handle fame and money and their successful careers ran in parallel with their miserable lives. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchence, Amy Winehouse and many other musicians tragically ended their lives far too soon. They left this world but yet, they will always live in their music and their talent will be relished and praised by those who can appreciate their work forever.

Let me invite you to see and listen to one of Whitney´s most memorable performances in the following video: 

Alternatively, you can follow this link to the page Lyrics Training to listen to the same song as you exercise your listening skill by filling in the gaps:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Charles Dickens' 200th Anniversary

On the 7th of February, the world celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, who is today considered the greatest writer of the Victorian period and whose stories and characters are still as vivid and powerful as when they were created, many years ago.
Charles Dickens
In the following exercise we are going to watch a video about the life of this English writer. After that, you can answer some comprehension questions about the contents of the video.

Alternatively, you can do the same exercise by clicking here