Across vs Over vs Through

ACROSS and OVER are both prepositions and adverbs. They are in most cases interchangeable.

Look at these sentences:

They had to go across the river to get to their house.

We walked over the bridge in the misty morning.

However, when the meaning is ‘from side to side’, ACROSS is preferred:

I ran across the street.

Juliana folded her arms across her chest.

When moving from one side to another in a surrounding environment, across is replaced by THROUGH:

I made my way through the bushes.

The Red Riding Hood went through the woods to get to her grandma’s house.

Don’t use THROUGH when talking about periods of time. In these cases, OVER is preferred.

I haven’t seen Tom much over the last three years.

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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!

-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.

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.