The Oxford Comma: yes or no?

The ‘Oxford comma’ or the ‘serial comma’ is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ or ’or’ in a list:
They have a dog, a cat, and a hamster.
 
Do you have this shirt in black, white, or grey colour?
The reason it is called the Oxford comma is because it was primarily used at the Oxford University Press.
There are lots of arguments about the topic. Some linguists think the Oxford comma is unnecessary, while some believe that it provides clarity and helps avoid misunderstandings.
For example: I love my family, Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder.
Without the Oxford comma at the end of the list it seems that Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder are your parents.
I love my family, Angelina Jolie, and Winona Ryder.
It is now clear what you meant.
I love Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder and my family.
This one is clear as well, even without the Oxford comma.
As it is not obligatory, you probably wonder whether to use the Oxford comma in your writing, or not?
Whatever you decide, try to be consistent in it.
Happy writing!
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-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.

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.

Adverbs of Time

LATER

Adverbs of time later is usually placed at the end or beginning of a sentence.

I will call you later.

Later, we went to the zoo.

It can also be placed after the main verb and usually has a function of comparative.

Our mail arrived later than usual.

YET

YET is primarily used in negative and interrogative sentences. It is normally placed at the end of a sentence.

I haven’t had my breakfast yet.

Daren hasn’t gone to the dentist’s yet.

Have you finished your homework yet?

Have they decided about the wedding date yet?

YET can also be used in positive sentences to talk about a future possibility.

We might yet be able make a deal with them.

Things could yet improve in the company.

STILL

The adverb STILL is used to describe something that is happening continuously.

Tom is still thinking about moving to Corsica.

They are still not sure whether to continue with the project.

It can also be used with the modal verbs may, might, can, and could to describe something that was a possibility in the past, and which could possibly happen in the future.

We can still catch the 5.15 train.

I could still make it up to you.

FOR & SINCE

We use FOR & SINCE when we talk about how long something happens.

We use FOR  with a time phrase that specifies a length of time.

I have been waiting for two hours.

Lorna has been studying English for five years.

We have lived here for 20 years.

We use SINCE with a specific point in time.

I haven’t eaten anything since 8 o’clock.

Bill has put on weight since he started working in that bakery.

They have been married since 2012.

 

 

Also, as well or too?

Also, as well and too are adverbs that have a similar meaning but they do not go in the same position in a sentence.

Also, as well and too mean ‘in addition’.

Also

Also is more commonly used in writing than in speaking. Unlike as well and too, also can be placed in different positions in a sentence.

We use also for emphasis:

Anette is very intelligent. Also, she is talented in music.

Jane is not only fond of reading, she also writes well.

We use also between the subject and main verb, or after the modal or auxiliary verb. In this position, the meaning of also connects to the previous clause:

I can play football but I can also play basketball.

She works very hard but she also  exercises twice a week.

In end position, also normally connects two phrases. We use as well and too instead of also in end position:

She emailed him but he didn’t reply. He didn’t answer the phone also. (or he didn’t answer the phone too or …answer the phone as well.)

As well

As well is much more common in spoken than in written English.

As a rule, as well comes at the end of the sentence:

I speak English and I can speak French as well.

I’ll have a coffee and I’ll have a cupcake as well.

Too

We usually put too at the end of the sentence:

Tom is tired. He’s hungry, too.

Too is especially common in responses to fixed expressions such as giving good wishes, etc:

A: Have a good time!

B: You too!