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Noun Classification

Noun is a word that is used to define a person, animal, place, thing, and
abstract idea. They are one of the first things that an ESL student learns.
Nouns can be categorized into 7 major groups. Read below to learn more:
Common Nouns
General nouns.
a cat a bowl a keyboard
Countable Nouns
Nouns that can be counted.
car - cars house - houses man - men
Uncountable Nouns
Nouns that can't be counted.
water wood air
Collective Nouns
Nouns that refer to a group of people or things.
a team a family a herd
Proper Nouns
Nouns that refer to a specific name of a person, company, product.
Mr. Jack Kushi Microsoft
Concrete Nouns
a noun that is a physical object, something that can be touched, seen.
a plane a animal a chair
Abstract nouns
Nouns that are not physical objects and can't be touched physically.
love jealousy hate
Generally, the Present Perfect expresses the idea that an action happened
at an unspecified time. Because the concept of "unspecified time" can be
confusing, it's a great idea to learn the most common uses of PP.
1. An action or situation that started in the past and continues in the
I have lived in the United States for 2 years.
She has been married since 1989.
Jake has been unemployed for 12 months.
I live in Paris. I have lived in Berlin too.
2. When the time period referred to has not finished.
Podolski has scored 2 goals so far.
I haven't used my car today.
3. A repeated action in an unspecified period between the past and now.
I have been to Europe a couple of times.
Jane says she has seen that woman many times.

4. An action that was completed very recently.

She has just been fired.
My father and I have just left our house.
I have just received tons of spam.
5. An action when the result is very important but the time is not.
The Browns have invited us for dinner.
Who has drunk my coke?!
Have you been notified about your award?

To correctly form the Present Perfect, master these topics:
1. Conjugation of the auxiliary verb "to have "
I have
I has
He/she/it has
He/she/it have

2. Negative Statements : "not" is added between the auxilary "to have"

and the main verb.
I haven't (have + not) seen her today.
Mary hasn't (has + not) left her apartments yet.
3. Questions - the word order for questions is reversed. The verb "to have
" comes before the subject.
Have you seen her today?
Has Jake told you?
Jake has told you?
You have seen her today?
4. Past participle formation. For regular verbs Past participle can be
formed by adding -ed to base form the verb of the main verb. Irregular
verbs must be learned.
talk + ed = talked
explain + ed = explained
include + ed = included
include + ed = includeed
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General tags: Verb Tenses, Present Perfect
Mixed Conditionals
The most common mix of two conditionals if the mix of the second and
third conditional. There are two options:
Third Conditional (If-clause) + Second Conditional (main clause)

If some condition has been fulfilled (Third Conditional), the present

situation would be different (Second Conditional):
I had worked hard when I was young, I wouldn't be a poor old man now.
Second Conditional (If-clause) + Third Conditional (main clause)
Its most frequent use is with the phrase "If I were you", e.g.:
If I were you, I would have helped her when she needed help.
Passive Voice
We use passive voice when the focus of our sentence is on the action.
This voice is ideal if we don't know who (or what) is performing the
action, or think it is not important.
My wallet was stolen.
In the above example, we are focusing on the fact that the wallet was
stolen. We do not know who did it.
Subject + correct form of to be + past participle
Active to Passive?
Mark told a funny story. active
A funny story was told by Mark. passive
If you want to change the sentence's voice from active to passive, do the
Move the active sentence's object ("A funny story") into the sentence's
subject position.
Create a phrase with the active sentence's subject ("Mark") and the
preposition by.
Add a correct form of auxiliary verb be to the main verb, and change its
form to past participle
ust like in all languages, in English sentences can be in the active and
passive voice.
Active voice
You probably already know and use the active voice. It is the more
"natural" voice, and is used more often than the passive voice.
I tell stories.
The city was invaded by the Danes in the 16th century.
In this voice, the object receives the action of the verb.
Passive voice
This is the less usual voice, used only in specific situations.
Stories are told by me.
The Danes invaded the city in the 16th century.

Here, it is the subject that receives the action of the verb.

Click here to read more about the passive voice.

Mixed Verbs
We have talked about Normal Verb and Non-Continuous Verbs. But there
is the third group. The group of Mixed Verbs is the smallest and most
interesting one. It containes those verbs whose meaning in noncontinuous forms is different than in continuous ones.
For example, let's take the verb see.
The non-continuous meaning of this verb is to understand:
Oh, I see what you mean.
Meanwhile, the continuous meaning is to visit:
I'm seeing the dentist tomorrow.
Interesting, isn't it?
More examples
Non-Continuous Meanings
think = "have an opinion" I think this is way too expensive.
taste = "have a taste" This cake tastes yummy!
feel = "have an opinion" She feels this is not right.
see = "understand" I see what you meant.
appear = "look like" This watch appears to be broken.
look = "seem" It looks pretty tasty!
Continuous Meanings
think = "use the brain" Please, don't disturb I'm thinking hard about
taste = "use the mouth" Let me taste the soup.
feel = "feel physically" I'm not feeling well today.
see = "visit" Mike is seeing a doctor this morning.
appear = "be on stage / perform" David Copperfield is performing at
the Globe tonight.
look = "stare at" When she entered the room, everone was looking at

The group of Non-Continuous Verbs contains those verbs which are

rarely or never used in continuous tenses.
For example, let's the verb hate.We can not say:
I'm hating you.
But we can say:
I hate you.
Well, that might not have been the best verb to use... :-)
Anyway, the Non-Continuous Verbs can be divided into several

Mental and Emotional Verbs
Communication Verbs
Abstract Verbs
I know: the list is long. But don't worryyou do not have to know all
these verbs by heart! The best way to avoid mistakes is to read as much as
you can in English. After a while, it will become easy for you to tell
whether a given verb takes continuous form or not.
Also, there is a very interesting group of verbs whose meaning can
change depending on which form they takecontinuous or noncontinuous.

A group of two or more grammatically-linked words without a subject or
predicate. The words in bold in each of the following examples make up a
I went to a shop and bought some meat.
They met in park during a hot sunny day.
Terrible mistakes were commited while this operation.
A group of grammatically-linked words with a subject and predicate.
I wake up early every morning to go to work.
The thief stole most of the jewelry



A pronoun is a word that is used to replace a noun. The most common are
the personal pronouns in the subjective form: I, you, he, she, it, we, they.
We will loose this match.
He and his brother work together.
She is beautiful.
Possessive pronouns
Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession. For example:
His car is dirty.
I love my daughters.
This watch is mine.
Objective pronouns
Examples of objective pronouns are:
I gave you my wallet yesterday.
Our team dissapointed us.
Do you love her?
It is very common to confuse the subjective and objective forms:
The teacher teaches you and me.
You and I go to the same school.
Reflexive form
A reflexive pronoun is pronoun that is preceded by what it refers to.
She looked like she wanted to kill herself.
I cannot help myself staring at her.
Other pronouns
Apart from the personal pronouns there are other pronouns like: nobody,
anybody, who.
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun (e.g. "an interesting book").
Adjectives are usually placed before a noun ("he is a friendly person").
Comparative Adjectives
What is a comparative adjective?
What is an Adverb?
An adverb is a part of speech that we use to modify a verb, an adjective
or another adverb. It answers question such as "how", "where", "how

As mentioned, adverbs can modify different parts of speech. In the below
examples, each of the highlighted words is an adverb (words in italics are
parts of speech being modified by the adverb).
1. modify a verb
He waited patiently.
2. modify an adjective
Marry is stunningly beautiful.
3. modify another adverb
They moved incredibly slowly.
They can also modify the whole sentence:
Naturally, this car is much more expensive.
Most of adverbs are formed by adding the suffix -ly:
Mike eat slowly.
She walks gracefully.
However, there are exceptions. E.g. the adjectives hard or fast don't take
any endings as adverbs.
He works hardly.
He works hard.
She walks very fastly.
She walks very fast.
Adverbs can have three different positions in a sentence.
Now let's go to the park.
We sometimes go to the park.
We go to the park happily.
Modal vb
1. can
ability to do sth. in the present (substitute form: to be able to)
I can speak English.
permission to do sth. in the present (substitute form: to be allowed to)
Can I go to the cinema?
Can you wait a moment, please?

I can lend you my car till tomorrow.
Can we visit Grandma at the weekend?
It can get very hot in Arizona.
2. could
ability to do sth. in the past (substitute form: to be able to)
I could speak English.
permission to do sth. in the past (substitute form: to be allowed to)
I could go to the cinema.
polite question *
Could I go to the cinema, please?
polite request *
Could you wait a moment, please?
polite offer *
I could lend you my car till tomorrow.
polite suggestion *
Could we visit Grandma at the weekend?
possibility *
It could get very hot in Montana.
3. may
It may rain today.
permission to do sth. in the present (substitute form: to be allowed to)
May I go to the cinema?
polite suggestion
May I help you?
4. might
possibility (less possible than may) *
It might rain today.
hesitant offer *

Might I help you?

5. must
force, necessity
I must go to the supermarket today.
You must be tired.
advice, recommendation
You must see the new film with Brad Pitt.
6. must not/may not
prohibition (must is a little stronger)
You mustn't work on dad's computer.
You may not work on dad's computer.
7. need not
sth. is not necessary
I needn't go to the supermarket, we're going to the restaurant tonight.
8. ought to
simliar to should ought to sounds a little less subjective
You ought to drive carefully in bad weather.
You ought to switch off the light when you leave the room.
9. shall
used instead of will in the 1st person
Shall I carry your bag?

10. should
You should drive carefully in bad weather.
You should switch off the light when you leave the room.
11. will
wish, request, demand, order (less polite than would)
Will you please shut the door?
prediction, assumption
I think it will rain on Friday.
I will stop smoking.
spontaneous decision
Can somebody drive me to the station? - I will.
She's strange, she'll sit for hours without talking.
12. would
wish, request (more polite than will)
Would you shut the door, please?
habits in the past
Sometimes he would bring me some flowers.

Conditional sentences
Conditional sentences are sometimes confusing for learners of English as
a second language.
Watch out:
Which type of conditional sentences is it?
Where is the if-clause (e.g. at the beginning or at the end of the
conditional sentence)?
There are three types of conditional sentences.



condition possible to fulfill


condition in theory possible to fulfill


condition not possible to fulfill (too late)

1. Form


main clause

Simple Present

will-future or (Modal + infinitive)


Simple Past

would + infinitive *


Past Perfect

would + have + past participle *

2. Examples (if-clause at the beginning)


if clause

main clause

If I study,

I will pass the exam.


If I studied,

I would pass the exam.


If I had

I would have passed the exam.

3. Examples (if-clause at the end)


main clause


I will pass the exam

if I study.


I would pass the exam

if I studied.


I would have passed the exam

if I had

4. Examples (affirmative and negative sentences)

long forms
short/contracted forms
If I study, I will pass the exam.
If I study, I'll pass the exam.
If I study, I will not fail the exam.
If I do not study, I will fail the exam.
If I study, I won't fail the exam.
If I don't study, I'll fail the exam.
If I studied, I would pass the exam.
If I studied, I'd pass the exam.
If I studied, I would not fail the exam.
If I did not study, I would fail the exam.
If I studied, I wouldn't fail the exam.
If I didn't study, I'd fail the exam.
If I had studied, I would have passed the exam.
If I'd studied, I'd have passed the exam.
If I had studied, I would not have failed the exam.
If I had not studied, I would have failed the exam.
If I'd studied, I wouldn't have failed the exam.
If I hadn't studied, I'd have failed the exam.

* We can substitute could or might for would (should, may or must are
sometimes possible, too).
I would pass the exam.
I could pass the exam.
I might pass the exam.
I may pass the exam.
I should pass the exam.
I must pass the exam.

I dont know when I can omit the word that. I looked for the word
that in the index of my grammar book. I found it in different chapters.
Case ( A ) : Object of a verb:
The man (that) I saw told me to come back today.
This is the best hotel (that) I know.
I read If it is the object of a verb, the that can be removed.
Case ( B ) :The conditional:
I hope (that) I will succeed.
I hoped (that) I would succeed.
He thinks (that) they will give him a visa.
He thought (that) they would give him a visa.
that are in parentheses in the book.
Case ( C ) :Reported speech
He explained that he never ate meat.
He said he was waiting for Ann.
He said he had found a flat.
He said that Ann would be in Paris on Monday.
Peter said that they ought to widen the road.
Bill said he would be 21 the following day.
Case ( D) :Noun clauses introduced by that:
It occurred to me that he might be lying.
It appears that we have come on the wrong way.
It is a pity that he didnt come earlier.
He was relieved that no one had been hurt.
Im delighted that you can come.
I understand that in the cases A and B, the word that can be omitted. I
dont know about the cases C and D. Can I omit the "that?"
An infinitive is the simple present form of a verb used as either a noun,
adjective, or adverb. The verb of the infinitive is normally preceded by

the word to. When the infinitive follows some verbs as the direct object,
the to may be dropped.
An infinitive phrase is the infinitive plus any complements and any
modifiers of the infinitive and complements.
As a Noun: He helped to write the program.
As an Adjective: Lydia was looking for a way to earn money.
As an Adverb: He shouted to get our attention.
To Dropped: He helped write the program.
In the above examples, the infinitive is italicized and the infinitive phrase
is underlined.
clause is a part of a sentence. Some sentences have two or more clauses:
Jim hurt his arm playing tennis.
Playing tennis - ing clause Jim hurt himself - main clause
Feeling tired, I went to bed early.
Feeling tired - ing clause I went to bed early - main clause
"Playing tennis" and "feeling tired" are -ing clauses.
If the -ing clause is first (as in the second example), we write a comma (,)
between the clauses.
When two things happen at the same time, you can use -ing for one of the
verbs. The main clauseusually comes first:
I've just seen Carol. She's in the bar having a drink. (= she is in the bar
and she is havinga drink) A man ran out of the house shouting. (= he ran
out of the house and he was shouting) Do something! Don't just stand
there doing nothing!
We also use -ing when one action happens during another action. We use
-ing for the longeraction. The longer action is the second part of the
Jim hurt his arm playing tennis. (= while he was playing)
Did you cut yourself shaving? (= while you were shaving)You can also
use -ing after while or when:
Jim hurt his arm while playing tennis. Be careful when crossing the
road. (= when you are crossing)
When one action happens before another action, we use having (done) for
the first action:
Having found a hotel, we looked for somewhere to have dinner.
Having finished her work, she went home.You can also say after -ing:
After finishing her work, she went home.
If one short action follows another short action, you can use the simple
-ing form (doing insteadof having done) for the first action:
Taking a key out of his pocket, he opened the door.

These structures are used more in written English than in spoken English.
You can use an -ing clause to explain something or to say why somebody
does something. The-ing clause usually comes first:
Having already seen the film twice, I didn't want to go to the cinema. (=
because I hadalready seen it twice) Feeling tired, I went to bed early. (=
because I felt tired) Being unemployed, he hasn't got much money. (=
because he is unemployed) Not having a car, she finds it difficult to get
around. (= because she doesn't have a car)
These structures are used more in written English than in spoken English.

In English we express desire and regret in different ways, and the two
most common methods of doing this are in the "would" and wish forms.
The former, "would", is often used in conjunction with words such as
"like" and "love", while "wish" is used with a variety of words.
Would you like something to eat or drink?
Yes please, I would love a glass of milk, if you have any.
For once, I would like to go to the cinema without having to sit behind a
really tall person.
I would love to be able to go to sleep, but I have to finish this essay by
I want to go the theatre this weekend, but Im too busy.
The wish clause looks different depending on what time we're refering to.
a) When we refer to the present, past form of a verb is used.
Im shorter than I want to be. I wish I were/was taller.
I wish I werent/wasnt so lazy; then I would have done this work long
It is too cold in New York. I wish it werent / wasnt so cold.
b) When we regret events in the past.
I wish I had told him how much I loved him.
I wish I were/was able to take you to the zoo, but I have to wash my car.
Im tired, but I need to be at work in an hour. I wish I didnt have to go to
c) When we want to express a desire for future events, we may use "wish"
along with "would", as the first example demonstrates:
We came to the mountains to ski, and there is no snow. I wish it would
My brother and sister are fighting over the computer. I wish they would
come to an agreement.
I cant get to sleep because my brother keeps snoring. I wish he would

Im sitting in a boring English class and I want it to stop. I wish it would


In wish clauses, most verbs can go alongside "would". However, there are
two important verbs which do not: "to be" and "to have".
Relative pronouns


a) Subject who


b) Object who/whom



c) Possessive whose

In both types of the relative clauses we use relative pronouns.

Let's analyze each row:
Mike, who/that likes sailing, [...]
There are many pets which/that are sensitive when their feet are touched.
who/whom, which and where can be used.
That's the man who / whom / that I saw on TV.
That's the cat which / that I saw on TV.
Los Angeles, where I was born, will host [...]
Remember: whom is used in formal writing.

To show possession whose is used.
That's the man whose car was stolen.
Relative Defining Clauses
People who stutter usually have more difficulty controlling their speech
on the telephone
Most countries which produce and export oil are member of OPEC.
The man who I told you about the other day is here.

The information in these clauses is essential. It tells us details that are

necessary for the sentence to be logically and grammatically correct.
Defining relative clauses are never separated from the rest of the sentence
by commas.
Relative Non-Defining Clauses
Our English teacher, who graduated from Stanford in 1960, didn't know
the answer either.
My neighbour, whose car was stolen yesterday, is going to London.
Relative non-defining clauses are the opposite. We can remove the
information between the commas and the sentence will still be completely
correct and understandable.
A participle phrase will begin with a present or past participle. If the
participle is present, it will dependably end in ing. Likewise, a regular
past participle will end in a consistent ed. Irregular past participles,
unfortunately, conclude in all kinds of ways [although this list will help].
Since all phrases require two or more words, a participle phrase will often
include objects and/or modifiers that complete the thought. Here are some
Crunching caramel corn for the entire movie
Washed with soap and water
Stuck in the back of the closet behind the obsolete computer
Participle phrases always function as adjectives, adding description to the
sentence. Read these examples:
The horse trotting up to the fence hopes that you have an apple or carrot.
Trotting up to the fence modifies the noun horse.
The water drained slowly in the pipe clogged with dog hair.
Clogged with dog hair modifies the noun pipe.
Eaten by mosquitoes, we wished that we had made hotel, not campsite,
Eaten by mosquitoes modifies the pronoun we.
Don't mistake a present participle phrase for a gerund phrase.
Gerund and present participle phrases are easy to confuse because they
both begin with an ing word. The difference is the function that they
provide in the sentence. A gerund phrase will always behave as a noun
while a present participle phrase will act as an adjective. Check out these
Walking on the beach, Delores dodged jellyfish that had washed ashore.
Walking on the beach = present participle phrase describing the noun
Walking on the beach is painful if jellyfish have washed ashore.
Walking on the beach = gerund phrase, the subject of the verb is.

Waking to the buzz of the alarm clock, Freddie cursed the arrival of
another Monday.
Waking to the buzz of the alarm clock = present participle phrase
describing the noun Freddie.
Freddie hates waking to the buzz of the alarm clock.
Waking to the buzz of the alarm clock = gerund phrase, the direct object
of the verb hates.
After a long day at school and work, LaShae found her roommate Ben
eating the last of the leftover pizza.
Eating the last of the leftover pizza = present participle phrase describing
the noun Ben.
Ben's rudest habit is eating the last of the leftover pizza.
Eating the last of the leftover pizza = gerund phrase, the subject
complement of the linking verb is.
Punctuate a participle phrase correctly.
When a participle phrase introduces a main clause, separate the two
sentence components with a comma. The pattern looks like this:
Participle Phrase + , + Main Clause.
Read this example:
Glazed with barbecue sauce, the rack of ribs lay nestled next to a pile of
sweet coleslaw.
When a participle phrase concludes a main clause and is describing the
word right in front of it, you need no punctuation to connect the two
sentence parts. The pattern looks like this:
Main Clause + + Participle Phrase.
Check out this example:
Mariah risked petting the pit bull wagging its stub tail.
But when a participle phrase concludes a main clause and modifies a
word farther up in the sentence, you will need a comma. The pattern
looks like this:
Main Clause + , + Participle Phrase.
Check out this example:
Cooper enjoyed dinner at Audrey's house, agreeing to a large slice of
cherry pie even though he was full to the point of bursting.
Don't misplace or dangle your participle phrases.
Participle phrases are the most common modifier to misplace or dangle.
In clear, logical sentences, you will find modifiers right next to the words
they describe.
Shouting with happiness, William celebrated his chance to interview at
Notice that the participle phrase sits right in front of William, the one
doing the shouting.
If too much distance separates a modifier and its target, the modifier is

Draped neatly on a hanger, William borrowed Grandpa's old suit to wear
to the interview.
The suit, not William, is on the hanger! The modifier must come closer to
the word it is meant to describe:
For the interview, William borrowed Grandpa's old suit, which was
draped neatly on a hanger.
If the sentence fails to include a target, the modifier is dangling.
Straightening his tie and smoothing his hair, the appointment time for the
interview had finally arrived.
We assume William is about to interview, but where is he in the sentence?
We need a target for the participle phrase straightening his tie and
smoothing his hair.
Straightening his tie and smoothing his hair, William was relieved that the
appointment time for the interview had finally arrived.