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How to use Articles

Average: 3.8 (110 votes)

What's wrong with this sentence?

"Boy played in the park."

The problem is that the noun 'boy' (the subjects) cannot be used without an article. We could say, for example, 'The boy', 'A boy' or 'My neighbour's boy'. Generally, the articles a and the are used with nouns.

When to use The

Use the before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific.


Average: 3.6 (117 votes)

Native speakers usually use contractions especially when speaking. We make contractions by connecting two or more words together. One or more letters are removed from the words when they are connected.

I contractions

I am → I'm →"I'm older than you."

I had →I'd → "I'd better do my homework."

I have → I've → "I've always liked sushi."

Lonely or Alone?

Average: 4.7 (23 votes)

Let's take a look at a couple of words that are often confused by English learners, alone and lonely.

If you are sitting in a room and there are no other people in the room, you are alone. Alone simply means without other people.

"I used to live with my parents, now I live alone."

Simple for Always, Continuous for Now

Average: 4.1 (23 votes)

When should we use the present simple and the present continuous tenses?

Present Simple

Use the present simple tense for actions that are habitual or repeating. When we talk about something we always do, we use this tense.

Elena loves English.
I read English books every evening.
I go to English class on Tuesday.

In the News: Google Glass

Average: 4.4 (20 votes)

On Wednesday, Google finally _1_ its latest much-talked about product, 'Google Glass'.

Repeating Subjects

Average: 3.5 (25 votes)

Is the structure of this sentence correct?

"My hometown it is very big."

What is it in this sentence?

Hear or Listen?

Average: 3.5 (18 votes)

A while ago we looked at how to use look, see and watch; today we at two other verbs connected to our senses: hear and listen.


We use hear for sounds that come to us when we are not expecting to hear them, i.e. we are not trying to hear something. We hear something without trying to.

Three meanings of Afraid

Average: 4.3 (18 votes)

On Sunday my young daughter asked what afraid means. Good question. I was going to say it means 'scared' until I realised that it has more than one meaning.

Afraid is a useful word for English learners to know because it can be used in a few different ways. Let's take a look.

Afraid as 'scared'

When we are afraid we have a fear of something or are scared.

Are you afraid of dogs?
Yes, I am very afraid of dogs.

5 Money Phrasal Verbs

Average: 4.5 (28 votes)

Splash out

To spend money lavishly or freely, usually on something that is nice to have but not something we really need.

"Joe just splashed out $500 on a new watch."

Save up

When we keep money for a large expense in the future, we save up.

"I'm saving up to buy a new car. I should have enough by next year."

Pay off

We pay off something when we complete payment on a debt.

Unless and If

Average: 3.7 (189 votes)

Often when we are talking about present situations, we use unless instead of if...not.

Unless means except if or simply it means if...not.

Both of these examples have the same meaning and refer to the present time.