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Grammar | Vocabulary | English in Use


These Activities focus on the grammar of English. English grammar compared to other grammars is quite simple, but in its simplicity lies its complexity. The Activities here cover all aspects of English grammar from the aspects and tenses to sentence structures. English grammar covers the structure of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and entire texts. There are eight parts of speech in English: nouns, determiners, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. The largest of these parts of speech are the nouns which, unlike most European languages, do not have grammatical gender. English grammar has largely done away with the inflectional case system of other European languages and bases its grammar on analytic constructions. The Activities in this category will go some way to helping you get a better understanding of English grammar.    


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.

English in Use

The Activities categorised as English in Use look at the way we use English in everyday life. The Activities cover the actual use of English and examine grammar, punctuation, and functionality of the language. For any student studying English as a second language or English as a foreign language, English in Use Activities are particularly useful for improving speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. These Activities will help you to develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers and magazines, as well as learning to speak and write about things such as the weather and travel, as well as preparing you for typical situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket.

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Question tags are short questions placed at the end of statements in informal writing and normal speech, and they are used to indicate that we want some information or that we want confirmation of something we believe to be the case. Usually we use positive question tags with negative statements and negative question tags with positive statement. We can, however, use positive with positive in some circumstances to express our feelings. This lesson will tell you everything you need to know about question tags, won't it?  

Most tag questions do not exist in order to obtain information, do they? They function as a type of closed question, asking the listener to agree or disagree with something we have said. The tag question is made up of an auxiliary verb and a pronoun, isn't it? The auxiliary verb in the tag question must match the verb in the preceding main sentence, mustn't it? If the verb in the main sentences in the present perfect, the tag question uses has or have, doesn't it? Tag question: You read that last statement, haven't you? If the verb in the main sentences in the present continuous, the tag uses the auxiliary verb to be, doesn't it? Tag question: You're reading this, aren't you? If the main verb in the main sentence is a tense that doesn't use an auxiliary, such as the present simple, then the auxiliary verb in the tag uses the emphatic form of the verb do, doesn't it? Tag question: You read everything I write, don't you? If the main sentence uses a modal auxiliary, then we use a modal auxiliary in the tag, don't we? Tag question: You should read everything I write, shouldn't you? Tag question: You can read everything I write, can't you? If the main sentence uses the verb to be as a main verb, not as an auxiliary, then the tag uses the verb to be as well, doesn't it? Tag question: This is a tag question, isn't it? If the main sentence uses the verb to have as a main verb, we can choose to use the verb to have or the verb to do in the tag, can't we? Tag question: You have this eBook, haven't you? Tag question: You have this eBook, don't you? Question tags can either be positive or negative, can't they? Deciding whether the tag should be positive or negative is quite simple. The general rule is that if the main sentence is positive, then the tag is negative, and if the main sentences negative, then the tag is positive. Tag question: You are reading this, aren't you? Tag question: You are not going to forget this, are you? Tag question: In these situations, we say that the tag is balanced. When the tag is not balanced with the main sentence, we have a positive statement and a positive tag, or a negative statement and a negative tag. Tag question: So I'm stupid, am I? Tag question: So I don't know anything about tag questions, don't I? Such unbalanced tag questions are used for sarcasm, irony, or confrontation. We use rhetorical tag questions when we want to criticise or demonstrate our annoyance, don't we? Susan: Are you ready, John? We have to be there at six. John: I have to get dressed, don't I? or Teacher: You haven't done your homework! Student: Well, my mother's been in the hospital, hasn't she? Teacher: I'm sorry, I didn't know. 

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