-ED and -ING Forms of Adjectives

We sometimes use verbs ending in –ed and –ing as adjectives:

I like painted furniture.

Do you like smoked meat?

The police are looking for a missing person.

Some people say Leonardo da Vinci invented first flying machine.

Many –ed and –ing adjectives describe feelings, but we use them in different ways. We use:

  • -ed adjectives to describe how we feel:

I’m confused.

The students are interested.

  • -ing adjectives to describe the thing that causes our feelings:

The rules are confusing.

It’s an interesting lesson.

We often use –ing adjectives to ask about or give an opinion about something:

Do you think horror films are frightening? (= or they frighten you?)

My cousin is really boring. (= He makes me feel bored)

We don’t use –ing adjectives to talk about how we feel;

Tell me more about the course.  I am very interested.

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Other ways to say “however”

Don’t you agree that “however” is a bit overused word? Well, here are some adequate alternatives:

After all

All the same

Albeit

Alternatively

Although

Anyhow

At any rate

Be that as it may

But

By way of contrast

Conversely

Despite that

Even so

For all that

In contrast

In whatever way

Having said that

In spite of

Meanwhile

Nonetheless

Notwithstanding

On the contrary

On the other hand

Otherwise

Per contra

Regardless

Still

Still and all

Then again

That being said

Though

Whatever

Whatsoever

Whereas

Without regard to

Yet

The Definite Article THE

The Definite Article THE is the most frequently used word in English. It is the same for all genders in singular or plural.

Definite article is used to refer to a particular phenomenon or a thing. It can be something already mentioned or something specified.

We use THE:

  • with the words beach, cinema, theatre, world, weekend… (We’re going to the beach every day).
  • before the names of the cinemas (the Cineplex), hotels (the Four Seasons), theatres (the Rex), museums (the Louvre), groups of islands/states (the Philipines, the United Kingdom), etc…
  • with the names of rivers (the Danube), seas (the Mediterranean), mountain ranges (the Himalayas), the oceans (the Atlantic), deserts (the Sahara).
  • before musical instruments (I can play the piano).
  • with names of people, families, nationalities (the Smiths, the French)
  • with titles without names (the Prime Minister)
  • with superlative forms of adjectives (the most popular)

We don’t use THE:

  • with proper nouns (Sabin is travelling to China).
  • before names of sports, colours, meals, etc… (They play tennis on Saturday mornings)
  • with names of countries (Thailand), streets (Oxford Street), mountains (Mont Blanc), lakes (Albert Lake ), etc…
  • before titles with names (President Mujica)

 

Find the exercises on this link:

The Definite Article

 

 

When and how to use HAVE/HAS BEEN

 

We normally use HAVE/HAS BEEN in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense. HAS BEEN is used if the subject is third person singular (he/she/it) and HAVE BEEN is used for all other persons (I/you/we/they).

The Present Perfect Continuous refers to an action that started in the past and is still continuing in the present.

Examples:

Maria has been studying for her exam since 8 o’clock. (and she still is)

We have been running for an hour. (and we still are)

How long have you been living in Chester?

HAVE/HAS BEEN is also used as a form of “to be” in Present Perfect Simple / Continuous passive constructions.

Examples:

They have been robbed.

She has been named after her grandma.

The toys have been being tidied up by the children all morning.

Tips to Help You Improve Your Listening Skills

It can be pretty hard to take notes when the teacher is speaking English in ‘light’ speed, watch a film without subtitle or even listen to a podcast. You may find yourself struggling for concentration or getting nervous because it’s ‘too fast’. It’s frustrating. You’ve been studying English for so long and you still have problems to understand it.

So, here are some tips to help you develop better listening skills:

  1. Be attentive but relaxed. It doesn’t matter whether you understand 100% of the material you’re listening to, the point is that you’re relaxed and trying to capture as much as you can. Don’t worry because you don’t understand a word or a phrase. You can always go back and listen to it again. Screen out the noise from the background and listen.
  1. Don’t translate in your head. Try to understand the material you’re listening to in English. It may be blurry or unclear, but believe me, this technique will improve your listening immensely. Besides, thinking in two languages at the same time will exhaust you! Remember that you’re not a translator but an English learner. So, relax and listen without translating.
  1. Try to understand the unknown words from the context. It is unacceptable to interrupt your listening and look for new vocabulary. It would ruin your concentration and you’d miss the point of the material you’re listening to. Even if you don’t understand all the words, try to understand them within the context.
  1. Listen to all kinds of English. Non-native English speakers make the largest part of the English speaking community. I bet you’ll find it easier to understand English speakers whose native language is the same or like yours.
  1. Learn the vocabulary for the material you’re listening to. For example, if you’re listening something about hotels, then you should learn the hotel vocabulary such as front desk, lobby bar, room service… Knowledge of the vocabulary will make your listening much easier.
  1. Listen without prejudice. Keep an open mind! Don’t judge on the material you are listening to or jump into conclusions. Don’t allow your thoughts to distract your listening.
  1. And finally, once you chose the material to listen to, make sure it’s interesting and can keep your attention. Don’t listen to boring news or reports. Watch an interesting film (without subtitles), a radio theatre, an audiobook (you may read in your native language before), a podcast…

Happy listening!

Tips to help you master a formal language

When learning English, it is very important to work out when and how to use formal  language.

Informal language is usually in a casual context. Informal language may use abbreviations, contractions, emojis, and slang. We use it in our everyday communication with friends and family.

However, formal language is used mostly in writing and in speeches or presentations. We use it in serious situations that include people we do not know well, when applying for a job, writing emails at work,  writing essays for school, etc…

Here are some tips to help you master a formal language:

  1. If you want to make your speech or writing more formal, the first thing to do is to replace contractions with non-contracted versions of the words. Instead of “isn’t,” “she’s,” or  “couldn’t,” say/write “is not”, “she is” or “could not”.

Informal: She couldn’t possibly attend the meeting.

Formal: She could not possibly attend the meeting.

2. Avoid abbreviated versions of words such as TV, phone, photo, etc. Rather go for television, telephone, and photograph instead.

3. Formal language will not use slang terms and colloquialisms.

Don’t say: The chick grabbed her coat and rushed out of the room.

Say: The woman/lady fetched her coat and hurriedly left the room.

4. Avoid phrasal verbs in your academic writing. Although their usage is quite common in normal conversations and it makes your speech sound more natural, formal context is not an adequate place for them. So, instead of a multi-word phrasal verb, use a one-word verb.

Don’t say: The scientists found out a solution to environmental pollution.

Say: The scientists discovered a solution to environmental pollution.

5. Avoid first-person pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘We’. Try and replace them with “One,” “the reader,” “the viewers, ”.

Don’t say: We can see the actor is confused.

Say: The viewers can see the actor is confused.

Remember that the tone of a formal context is more serious, while the tone of an informal context is more personal and spontaneous.