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Grammar

Actually or Really

Average: 3.5 (21 votes)

Emphatic devices

There are a number of ways of adding emphasis to part of a sentence in English. Actually and really can be used to make part of a sentence or a whole sentence more emphatic.

Actually

Actually is used to introduce something unexpected or to reinforce opinion.
Although she failed the test, she is actually very bright.
Yes, you were right; it was actually an amazing concert.

Gerunds

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Gerunds can be described as a special type of noun. They are made from verbs and can have an object. Many gerunds end in –ing.

–ed or –ing?

Average: 4.2 (28 votes)

It can sometimes be difficult to decide which form of the adjective to use: -ed or -ing. Do I say boring or bored? Here are the rules:

-ed

- ed describes someone's feelings:

I'm bored. Let's do something else. (I feel bored).
You seem bored. Would you like to go to the cinema? (I think you feel bored).

We use -ed for people only.

Clause structure

Average: 4.1 (18 votes)

All clauses in English have at least two parts:
The children played.
All the people in the room were laughing.

These sentences have a noun phrase and a verb phrase.
Noun phrase + verb phrase
The children played
All the people in the room were laughing

Past modals of deduction

Average: 3.8 (19 votes)

To make guesses or deductions about past actions or states use a past modal of deduction. This is formed with a modal verb + have + past participle also called the perfect infinitive.

Where's my phone?
You could have left it in your office.

To make deductions about continuous actions or states use modal verb + have + been + ing form.

Why didn't Sarah come to the party last night?
She must have been feeling ill.

The Causative

Average: 4 (80 votes)

We use the causative in English to say that we have arranged for someone to do something for us.
He had his jacket cleaned.
(He didn't clean it himself.)
The causative is formed with 'have + object + past participle' The past participle has a passive meaning.

Questions and negations of the verb 'have' are formed with do/does or did in the past simple.
Did you have your camera fixed?

Introductory It

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It is unusual to have an infinitive or a that-clause as the subject of a sentence in English. As an alternative we use 'introductory it' as the subject and put the infinitive or that-clause later.

That the Americans are friendly is a common belief.
It is a common belief that the Americans are friendly.

To be punctual is polite.
It is polite to be punctual.

Linkers

Average: 4.1 (29 votes)

Linkers are words that combine sentences and show the relationship between ideas. Here is an exercise using three basic linkers: and, but and because.

And

We use and to link two related ideas or to add information.

'I like tea and coffee.'
'On Saturday, we went to the park and the cinema.'

But

We use but to show a contrast (link a positive and a negative idea).

Either or / Neither nor

Average: 3.5 (41 votes)

Either …or

We can use either...or to emphasise a choice. (Either…or is used to refer to two things or people.) In most cases 'either' can be omitted.

Here are some examples:
You can either stay here or come with us.
You can stay here or come with us.

It was either John or Peter who received your message.
Either John or Peter received your message.
John or Peter received your message.

Adverbs and position of adverbial phrases

Average: 3.9 (17 votes)

Here is a quick revision of adverbs:

Adverbs often show how, when or where an action takes place.
How - MANNER - Peter spoke quietly.
When  - TIME - Peter went shopping yesterday.
Where - PLACE - Can you see that house? Peter lives there.