English grammar explained using clear and simple explanations.

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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The First Conditional

We use the First Conditional to talk about something which will happen in the future if something else happens. It is the Future Conditional. If it’s sunny tomorrow, I’ll go to the beach. If I sleep too long, I won’t arrive on time. Look at the construction: If subject present simple subject will base form of verb If I study hard I will […]

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The Zero Conditional

We use the Zero Conditional to talk about something which happens in general. If, or when, something happens something else always happens. It can be used to talk about routines and facts. If I can’t sleep, I read my book. If you heat water, it becomes steam. Look at the construction: If subject present simple subject present simple If I have a headache I take an […]

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Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

The Tower of London is older than the Empire State Building.

There are 3 rules regarding the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives: 1. For short adjectives (adjectives with 1 syllable) we add -er in the comparative form and -est in the superlative form: Short adjective Comparative Superlative small tall cheap long smaller than taller than cheaper than longer than the smallest the tallest the cheapest the longest Examples: Comparatives France is smaller than Argentina. Cheese is cheaper than caviar. The Tower of London is older than the […]

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The Causative

Look at these sentences: I have my car repaired once a year. They have their house decorated every three years. When somebody does something for us we use the causative. Look at the construction: Present simple Positive  Subject to have something past participle  I have my hair cut every 2 months. Negative  Subject to have something past participle  I don’t have my hair cut every […]

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Permission – Can, Could, May

Can I go to the party?

When we ask for permission to do something we use can, could, may. May is the most formal. Examples Can I go to the party? Could I ask a question? May I sit here?   If we want to be more polite we can use the following construction: Do you mind if I base form of verb Do you mind if I open the window? Do […]

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Can

I can swim.

Can is a modal verb and so always has the same form: I can You can We can You can He can She can It can They can After can we use the base form of the verb. Examples: I can swim. She can speak Spanish. The negative form of can is can’t. We use can to talk about ability and permission. Ability They can drive. She can’t use a computer. Permission He can’t go to […]

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Difference between been and gone

Been is the past participle of the verb to go when the trip has finished: They have been to Brazil. This means that they went to Brazil some time in the past and they have finished their time there. Gone is the past participle of the verb to go when the trip hasn’t finished yet. John’s gone to work. This means that John is still at work. Look at the […]

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