Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now

Your English Questions of the Month

Average: 3.1 (7 votes)

Every month we ask our newsletter readers to send their English language questions to EC Brighton's teacher, Tim. Here are the best questions of the month.

Sign up for our free newsletter to get your questions answered by a professional English teacher!

An uniform / a uniform

Question:Could you explain to me why we use a uniform instead of an uniform. All the words starting with a vowel letter we add before the word an, but uniform its different why?

Answer: We use the article a with words that start with a u but are pronounced with a y:
"I wear a uniform to work."
"There's a university near here."
"Can you ride a unicycle?."

Try this exercise for more information on articles.

All the best,


Question: My long time doubt is as below:
We usually add "un-" or "ir-" or "in-" when we want to say the negative of a particular word.
The opposite of responsible is irresponsible - here wa add "ir" to the word.
The opposite of responsive is unresponsive - here we add "un" to the word.
How should we decide whether it is "ir" or "un" to the given word.
Please clear my doubt.

Answer: You don't decide, you just learn them! :)
All the best,

Negative Forms

Question: is there any difference in using of negative forms: He's not & He isn't, You're not & you aren't etc.?

It's not (or it isn't) only my question: it's also my beginner student's one.

Answer: No difference at all. And, despite the more common frequency of isn't, aren't etc in the course books. I believe it's not, they're not, he's not etc to be in much greater usage.
All the best,

Reference Word

Question: I have just read the VOA Special English Education Report, and I cannot understand well the structure as follows:

"To stay in school, experts say children must consider their education useful -- and so must their parents." ( quoted in the tittle of Greater Efforts are Urged to Get and Keep Girls in School - dated May 19,2010 )

The first MUST as an auxiliary verb, but the second one I don't know its function in the sentence, because it goes with Noun ( their parents ) and full stop, this phrase doesn't have a verb. So I don't understand we can use this structure in other situations or not, and when we can use this strange structure?
Mario Andreone, Italy

Answer: The part 'so must their parents' is like the short answers we give when we agree with someone. When we use so and the auxiliary verb, or a form of do.
"I really enjoyed the party last night"
"So did I"

But in this case it is not a response, but it is saying someone else has to do the same thing, without repeating it all.
So is a reference word we use to avoid repetition.
"I really should do some more exercise, and so should you."
"Anna passed the exam, and so did Bill."
"Juan was bored with the film, and so was Rex."

All the best,

Uncountable Noun

Question: What is right? "This is very bad news" or "These are very bad news".
Thank you very much.
Sergio, Bilbao

Answer: News is always uncountable and therefore singular. So this is very bad news is correct.
All the best,


Link: Last month's English Questions