Showing posts from 2015


The word 'best' can be a grammatical nightmare for some learners, especially in some more complex structures. Best acts as an adjective, adverb, noun and verb. Moreover, there are some fixed phrased with 'best' which one has to learn by heart.

Good - Better - Best  In this sense, the best means to have the highest qualities of something.
As an adjective, it modifies a noun.
She was the best cook in the family.
You are my best friend.
the best film of the year
the best time for planting
He donned his best suit.
In these cases 'best' is modified either by a definite article 'the' or a pronoun.

Adjective (according to a dictionary better)
Well - Better - Best  In the sense healthy or wiser or more advantageous and hence advisable.
He thought it best not to respond.
Your parents only want what is best for you.
It's best (= it is wise) to get to the supermarket early.

Adverb (according to a dictionary better)
Well - Better - Best The meanings: in …

Subjunctive mood

The good new is that the subjunctive forms are gradually replaced by normal forms of verbs. The bad is - it has been used for a very long time and there are many subjunctive verbs in literature. Also, some well-educated people still use it. (and the Americans)

Another good news is that part of the subjunctive mood is well-known as expressing wishes and conditionals.

If I were you, I would do it.

This is a piece of advice and therefore it is expressed in the subjunctive mood. Instead of saying 'I was' - 'I were' is used.

Uses of the subjunctive moodConditions that are contrary to the fact
If I were you, I would do it. (Second conditional)
He looks as if he were a policeman. (But he is not)
They look as if they were aliens. (They are not, the verb stays the same.)

Conditions that are hypothetical (Second conditional)
If I were to choose a book, I would take this.
Expressing wishes
I wish I were on the Mood right now.

Expressing commands or demands
She demanded that he leave…

Phrasal verbs with let

The most common expressions with let express allowing for something or movements.  He let me stay. She let a cat in/out.
There some more advanced phrasal verbs, fixed expression and idioms.
Let on to tell other people about something that you know, especially when it is a secret: I suspect he knows more than he's letting on.
Let up IMPROVE If bad weather or an unpleasant situation lets up, it stops or improves: When the rain lets up we'll go for a walk. STOP to stop doing something that you have been doing continuously or in a determined way: Neil spent the entire evening moaning about his job - he just wouldn't let up. The police insist that they are not letting up on their campaign against drugs.
Let out When something that people go to, such as school or a show, lets out, it ends and everyone leaves: When does school let out for the summer?

Bums on Seats

On the Tube, I usually read a paper, and today it was Time Out London. The editorial put a smile on my face, so I decided to share it with the other learners of English - in fact only with the first part, but most meaty.

It is artfully written, not many facts but how they are told. Also, it is full of not everyday expressions for pun-loving English readers.

Here it goes:

'Get ready for confused tourists, sticky Boris Bikes and genitalia all over the shop. Yes, the World Naked Bike Ride is back this weekend. More than 1,000 people are expected to huff and puff in the buff (and partial buff) across London on Saturday June 13 as part of an annual series of starkers cycle mounting that takes place around the world. Okay, going for a sweaty, naked ride with a group of like-minded strangers might sound a bit 'keys in the bowl', but an event is actually a legit demo to raise awareness about environmental and road safety issues.' 

bums on seats  (British & Australian inform…

Notes on GCSE Question 6

Question 6 (24 marks, 35 min, 400-450 words)

You will be asked toargue/persuadeon the topic given. Similarly to the question 5, your first step is to identify: the purpose, the audience and the form.  You may be asked to write a letter, an article/blog entry or a leaflet. 
Writing to argue Spend a few minutes to decide on your position. You may completely agree, completely disagree or partially agree. Draw a spider diagram to find reasons behind you point of view, including counterpoints.Decide which points you are going to use, how to group them together and how to order them. Write the plan of the essay:Introduction - comment on the topic and give your firm opinion about it.Counter- argument - this will show that you considered the other point of view and dismissed it because your point of view is stronger. Your point of view - a few points why you agree/disagree.Develop your point of view. Reflect on wider, moral implications of the topic, such as the moral or social issues. Conclusi…

Notes on GCSE exam - Question 5

Question 5 (16 marks, 25 min, write about 300-350 words in 4-5 paragraphs.)

The question focuses on you ability to: inform, explain and describe. You will be given the topic to have to write about, therefore you will have to identify the subject, the purpose, the audience and the form. 
There could be two kinds of combined purposes: to write to describe and informto write to inform and explain Let's say that the question 5 is: write a brief article for Real Life magazine, describing a childhood memory and explaining why it is important to you. 
1. Read carefully the question and answer several further questions; write down notes after reading.  Decide what the topic is. Decide what the purpose is.Target the audience.Choose the way to present your point of view depending on the question.
2. Preparations. Draw a spider diagram with 3-4 childhood memories you can write about. This is for a magazine, so it will be for the general public.The general public - people at different ages, backgr…

Notes on GCSE exam part 2

Question 3 (8 marks, 15 min) Explain some of the thoughts and feelings (keep in mind 3 things: what, how and why and use PEED to structure your answer.)
Start your response with an overview sentence to show you have a grasp of the whole text before going into detail. Select part of a text which convey some of the thoughts and feelingsof a character (or characters). These parts may include what is happening, what is character saying, or what the character is doing. About four quotations which you will be able to explain. Identify the thoughts and feelings of a character (or characters) from the parts of the text that you selected. Interpret the thoughts and feelingsof a character (or characters) from the parts of the text that you select. This is the most important part of your explanation. To interpret something means to read 'between the line'. Like in the previous questions - try to give an alternative explanation, or extended one: perhaps .... Even if you are being asked to …