English grammar explained using clear and simple explanations.

The Future Perfect Simple

To understand the future perfect simple just think about the present perfect simple: I‘ve been to Spain. I was born in 1970 and at some point since my birth and now I went to Spain. It doesn’t matter when. The future perfect has a similar idea but refers to some point in the future. The keyword is “by“. By 2015 I will have learnt to speak Japanese. […]

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The Future Perfect Continuous

To understand the future perfect continuous we need to think about the present perfect continuous. I have been playing the guitar for 3 years. I started playing the guitar 3 years ago and I’m still playing the guitar. We use the future perfect continuous when we want to talk about something which will continue until a certain point in the future. As with the future […]

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The Future Continuous

We use the present continuous to talk about an exact moment in the present, that is now (I am writing); we use the past continuous to talk about an exact moment in the past (I was sleeping at 6 o’clock this morning), we use the future continuous to talk about an exact moment in the future. I will be having dinner at 7 o’clock this evening. The […]

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Dates

We usually write the date in one of two ways: I was born on 2nd October 1970. I was born on October 2nd 1970. We say these dates in this way: I was born on the second of October nineteen seventy. I was born on October the second nineteen seventy. When we say the year we divide the number into two: 1990 – nineteen ninety 1278 – twelve seventy-eight For the first 10 […]

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Countable and Uncountable Nouns

A countable noun has a plural form. For example we say: 1 dog and 2 dogs. The singular form and the plural form are different and for this reason dog is a countable noun, like pen, car, etc. Note that most irregular nouns are countable. For example 1 child, 2 children. There is no “s” in the plural but the singular form […]

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Could and to be able to

We use could to talk about general abilty in the past and we use to be able to or managed to to talk about a specific situation in the past. Examples So we say I could run fast when I was a child. because it is a general fact, but we say I was able to run five miles without stopping last night. or I managed to run five miles without stopping. because we are […]

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Inversions in conditionals

In certain conditional sentences we can omit “if” and invert the subject and auxiliary verb as if it were a question auxiliary + subject + verb It is a more formal form but the meaning is exactly the same. Normal form Inversion If he should call, let me know. Should he call, let me know. If he were to ask for […]

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The Mixed Conditionals

The most common mixed conditional is a mix of the 3rd conditional in the if clause and the 2nd conditional in the main clause. We use this conditional to talk about a hypothetical situation in the past (3rd conditional) with the results now (2nd conditional): If I had studied harder, I would have a better job now. If I hadn’t gone out last night I wouldn’t be tired […]

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The Third Conditional

We use the third conditional to talk about a situation in the past which would have happened if something else had happened. It is the past conditional. If I had studied harder for my exam, I would have passed. If I hadn’t passed my driving test they wouldn’t have given me the job. Look at the construction: If subject had past participle subject […]

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The Second Conditional

We use the second conditional to talk about an imaginary situation in the present. Maybe in the future it will become reality but now it is a dream. If I had a million dollars, I would buy a ranch. If I played tennis, I would be fitter. Look at the construction: If subject past simple subject would base form of verb If I ate a lot of chips I would […]

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