Review of Verb Tenses

esl.verb.charts.image

Verb tenses are only one part of grammar, but when I ask students what grammar points they think they need to review, they almost always say verb tenses. I have looked for “the perfect” verb chart, with construction, usage, examples, and key words all included, but did not find a free, available version online.

My verb chart is not 100% complete, but am sharing it as a review tool for any ESL learners who are interested. I did say this was review week, after all! Teachers and educators, feel free to use for any educational purposes. I am still working on it and looking for feedback. Specifically, if you know of any helpful key words/signal words, please let me know.

Please click the link below to access the file (you can save it once the PDF is open):

ESL.Verbtense.review.1.0

I’m extremely curious to know what you think. I welcome all suggestions and comments about the chart.

Happy verb review for ESL learners!

Expressing Impressions in English: Seems Like, Feels Like, Looks Like, Sounds Like

Usually when we think of weather, we think of science and not our impressions. However, we almost always talk about how the temperature feels when we include humidity with temperature. In yesterday’s post about Montreal’s heat wave, I wrote that the “humidity is around 30 percent, making the temperature feel like 40 degrees.” The word feel means to be aware of something that affects you physically, such as pain, heat, or an object touching your body. In English, we also use this word to describe our impressions about a situation, person, or an object.

Four of the main ways we express impressions in English are:

  • to seem like
  • to feel like
  • to look like
  • to sound like

Let’s take an example.

  • You seem like you like living in Montreal.

We can break this sentence into the the subject, the expression (that expresses an impression) and the actual impression (opinion/thought).

  • You=the subject
  • seem like=expresses an impression
  • you like living in Montreal=the actual impression I have about you

A note about comparisons: These expressions are sometimes used to make comparisons. For example, I might say, “This music sounds like the music we heard yesterday,” or “He looks like his father.” However, these expressions can be used to express much more than simple comparisons.

You might be thinking…

seemslike

Don’t worry, you will understand it soon!

When to Use Them

These four phrases are used in a similar way, but they are not exactly the same.

Use seem like with: general impressions that are not seen physically, or specifically heard. Seem is usually not used with I.

  • The winter is extremely cold, and the summer is extremely humid. It seems like there are only 10 nice days a year!

Use feel like when: expressing personal impressions. Often used to reflect.

  • It is so hot today! I feel like I am melting!

Use look like when: you can physically see something (you see or saw with your own eyes, in images, photos, or video)

  • I saw a documentary about Montreal in the summer. It looks like it is really warm in the summer.

Use sound like when: you have heard people talking about something

  • My sister lives in Quebec. It sounds like a nice place to live, except for the weather.

Examples

  • I feel like he doesn’t think about me.
  • She seems like a nice person, but I do not know her very well.
  • Thanks for telling me about your trip. It sounds like you had a lot of fun!
  • You don’t look so good. You look like you’re going to faint. Maybe you have heat exhaustion.

Questions: Asking about Impressions

Often, people will ask a question before you give your impressions. It is more likely that someone might ask “What do you think about ___________?,” instead of using the four phrases used above. However, it is common to hear questions with these phrases.

  1. Do you feel like there is something wrong with him?
  2. How does this sound to you? = What do you think about this?
  3. Does she seem like she is tired to you?
  4. How does the weather look this week?

Notice that when asking questions, like is not always used. If your question already includes the impression (1 and 3), you will use like. If it does not include an impression (2 and 4), you will not use like.

Practice Exercises

Choose the correct expression (seem like, feel like, look like, sound like) in its correct form to fill in the blank.

  1. I just saw the sky covered with clouds. It ____________ it is going to rain.
  2. Michael said he loved the restaurant. It ____________  he enjoyed his meal.
  3. I don’t know Sharon well, but she ____________ she is very smart.
  4. My father can ____________ a shy person when you first meet him.
  5. I am so frustrated. I ____________ I can never do anything right!

Answers:

  1. I just saw the sky covered with clouds. It looks like it is going to rain.
  2. Michael said he loved the restaurant. It sounds like he enjoyed his meal.
  3. I don’t know Sharon well, but she seems like she is very smart.
  4. My father can seem like a shy person when you first meet him.
  5. I am so frustrated. I feel like I can never do anything right!

Thanks for visiting. I plan to post tomorrow with a “heat wave” listening comprehension activity. See you then.

Used To | For ESL Learners

used to

Good morning, again, everyone.! You may have noticed that in yesterday’s post I wrote the expression used to a few times. You probably already know the meaning of the word use. Use means to do something with (an object, machine, person, method, etc.) in order to accomplish a task, do an activity, etc. I can then write a sentence with the word use in the past to explain what I accomplished with a specific object.

  • I used a sharp knife to cut the tomato. 

You may also see someone write this sentence in the passive voice .

  • A sharp knife was used to cut the tomato.

If you are a beginner, do not worry too much about the passive voice for now! I only want you to notice that the sentence has used to in its original meaning. However, the expression used to has two other meanings, or two separate uses, that are very common in English.

used to esl diagram

Used to: To Talk About How the Past is Different from the Present

Used to can be used to express difference between the past and the present. If shows that there has been a change.  For example, in the past, I hated spinach. Now, I like spinach.

  • I used to hate spinach.

Usually, when used to is used in this way, you can rephrase the sentence with anymore.

  • used to hate spinach.= I do not hate spinach anymore.

Note: If the sentence uses did or didn’t to express the past, you will only use use to. Notice the expression is followed by an infinitive verb.

We can also use this expression in questions. For example,

  • Where did you used to buy your food?

Used to: To Express Familiarity or Comfort

To be used to something means to be familiar, comfortable, or habituated with something. I eat spinach every week. It is normal for me. I am familiar with it.

  • I am used to spinach.

In this case our construction is [subject + be (conjugated) + used to + noun].

To ask a question, we change the order to:

  • Are you used to spinach?

Notice that gerunds (verb+ing) can also be a noun. I wash dishes every day. It is normal for me.

  • I am used to washing dishes.

With this meaning of the expression, used to is often with the word get.

  • I am getting used to spinach: I did not have a habit of eating spinach, but now I eat it, and it is becoming normal for me.
  • I got used to the taste of spinach: I was not familiar with the taste, but I became familiar with it, and it is normal.
  • Are you getting used to the taste of spinach?: Are you becoming familiar with its taste?
  • I can’t get used to the taste of spinach: I will never think it is normal.

How Can You Know?

To know what the expression means each time, you will have to look at or listen to the context of the expression. If used to is followed by a noun or a gerund (an “ing” word), it is expressing familiarity. If it is followed by an infinitive verb, then it is expressing a change from the past or explaining what an item is used for.

Examples from yesterday’s cooking post

In the cooking post, there are three examples of uses. Which do each of these mean? Am I using the proper sense, talking about the past, or talking about being familiar with something?

  1. When I was young and lived with my parents, I used to help them a little bit with baking and cooking.
  2. I wasn’t used to such strong criticism at the time!
  3. Jordan is used to me trying new things.

Here are my explanations. Are they what you expected them to be?

  1. Past: I am talking about the past. I do not live with my parents anymore, so I do not help them in the kitchen anymore.
  2. Familiarity: Even though I am talking about the past, used to is not referring specifically to the past. In this sentence, I am talking about being familiar with accepting criticism.
  3. Familiarity: Jordan knows that I try new foods in the kitchen, so he is familiar with my cooking.

Exercises

  • Write two sentences telling how your life has changed since four years ago using used to.
  • Write two sentences about foods you are used to or foods you are not used to.

Feel free to write your answers in the comments and I will correct any responses if necessary.

You didn’t use to use used to, but now you are getting used to it, right?

Relative Pronouns Part II: Whose and Whom | For ESL and EFL Learners

Note:This is Part II in a series on relative pronouns. If you are still having trouble with the basic relative pronouns that and who, look back at the Introduction to Relative Pronouns Post. Part III will be posted in the next couple weeks.

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Review: What is a Relative Pronoun?

You remember that a relative pronoun is a word that combines two “related” sentences or ideas. Related ideas or sentences share a subject or noun. Like all pronouns, they also let us replace a word so that we do not have to repeat the it. This lets us express two thoughts about one subject more quickly, or to be more specific about who or what we are talking about.

We have already reviewed the two most common English relative pronouns (who and that). Today is our second lesson about relative pronouns, and we are focusing on whose and whom. Which will be covered in a later post.

Whose

Whose is the possessive form of who or which. If you want to combine two ideas, one expressing ownership, then use whose.

Whose can be used for people and animals, but in English, it is also used for things or objects as well. When combining sentences, whose replaces her, his, our, etc., or the word ending in ‘s.

  • I know the woman. Her couch is on the sidewalk.—>I know the woman whose couch in on the sidewalk.
  • The moving truck is parked in the garage. The moving truck’s headlights are broken.–>The moving truck whose headlights are broken is parked in the garage.

Whose can be used to ask questions about possession. For example, if we do not know who a couch belongs to, we can ask:

  • Whose couch is that?
  • Do you know whose couch that is?

Whom

Whom is only to refer to people. However, it is different than who. Whom is used as an object pronoun. To review what an object pronoun is, visit this review. In the example below, the man is the object pronoun because he is receiving the action (i.e., the call).

  • I called the man to help me move. The man is strong—>The man whom I called to help me move is strong.

Whom can be used for questions.

  • Whom did you call when you needed help moving?

A note about usage: Native speakers, particularly in North America, use who in the place of whom when speaking. For example, although the example above is correct, they may instead say:

  • The man who I called to help me move is strong.

Examples

Here are some examples of sentences that use relative pronouns from yesterday’s Moving Day Post. Refer back to the post to read them in context. Notice that some of these include who.

  • It was easy to find furniture for free on the street this day, but sometimes it’s hard to know whose items are being thrown away and whose items are being moved.
  • A woman who lives down the street from me was having a garage sale, but I never saw her outside.
  • When we move, we will probably rent a moving truck, pack up ourselves, and ask friends, who will be paid with food, with the heavy items.

Practice

Okay, practice time! Using the information in the box, complete the sentences below with relative clauses (using who, whose, or whom).

relativepronounexercise

  1. The woman _______________________ is moving.
  2. The man _____________________ is out of the country.
  3. I am calling the same friends ________________________.
  4. The woman ________________________ lost my check.
  5. The family _____________________ is moving to the United States.

Answers

Check your answers with those below.

  1. The woman who lives next to me is moving.
  2. The man whose apartment I rent is out of the country.
  3. I am calling the same friend whom I called the last time I moved.
  4. The woman to whom I paid the rent lost my check.
  5. The family whose house is for sale is moving to the United States.

How did it go? Don’t worry if it isn’t easy. It takes practice and time! Please let me know if you have any questions or need a clarification.

To summarize today’s lesson, review the following visual aid. Feel free to post or share with others for educational purposes.

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For a bigger picture, click on the image.

relativepronounspart2

See you tomorrow!

Introduction to Relative Pronouns | ESL

What is a Relative Pronoun?

The grammar term “relative pronoun” can seem difficult, but it is a simple concept. A relative pronoun is a word that combines two “related” sentences or ideas. Related ideas or sentences share a subject or noun. Like all pronouns, they also let us replace a word so that we do not have to repeat the it. This lets us express two thoughts about one subject more quickly, or to be more specific about who or what we are talking about.

The two most common English relative pronouns are who and that. Today’s lesson focuses on these two pronouns. Two weeks from today, I will post a second lesson about relative pronouns, including which, whose, and whom.

How to Use Them

  1. Search for repeated words in a related pair of sentences.
  2. Decide if the repeated noun is a person or a thing. If the noun is a person, you can replace the noun with who or that. If the noun is not a person, you can use that.
  3. Combine the ideas with the pronoun in the middle.

Who is only used for people or groups of people. Let’s try to combine two related thoughts about a singer.

  • The singer is on the stage. I do not know the singer.—>I do not know the singer who is on the stage.

That can be used for people or things. Let’s try to combine two related ideas using that.

  • I like the music. He is playing the music–>I like the music that he is playing.
  • The man is playing the guitar. I know the man.–>I know the man that is playing the guitar.

Examples

Here are some examples from yesterday’s music festival post. Refer back to the post to read these sentences in context. Note that some of these examples include relative pronouns in the middle of the sentence.

  • I am not a person who knows all of the latest or most obscure bands.
  • Many of the singers who are in this festival are new to me.
  • Some artists who have already performed are Ariane Moffatt, Marie-Pierre Arthur, and Ingrid St-Pierre.
  • There are over 300 concerts that are free during the International Jazz Festival.
  • There will also be a great music festival that features emerging artists on August 2nd through 4th.

Practice

First, try to break these sentences into two separate sentences.

  1. There are over 300 concerts that are free during the International Jazz Festival.
  2. There are many singers in the festival who are new to me.
  3. I liked the band that only had two members.

Now, try to put these sentences together using either the relative pronoun who or that.

  1. Do you like the singer? The singer is from Montreal.
  2. The drummer was very animated. I liked watching the drummer.
  3. I went to the concert. The concert was sold out.

Answers

There are other answers that could also be correct. If you have a question about your answer, please leave a question in the comments and I will respond.

First, try to break these sentences into two separate sentences.

  1. There are over 300 concerts during the International Jazz Festival. The concerts are free.
  2. There are many singers in the festival.  The singers are new to me.
  3. The band had two members. I liked the band.

Now, try to put these sentences together using either the relative pronoun who or that.

  1. Do you like the singer who is from Montreal?
  2. I liked watching the drummer who was very animated.
  3. I went to the concert that was sold out.

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For a bigger picture, click on the image.

relativepronouns.info

See you tomorrow!

 

Too Much, Too Many, Enough, Not Enough | ESL

esl infographic too much, too many, not enough

Good afternoon! I’m a little behind schedule with the post today, because I put some extra effort into the infographic above. The full image is posted below. Feel free to use for any personal or education, non-profit uses.

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Let’s get started! This week’s grammar point combines two important grammar points that let us talk about quantity or amounts: much vs. many, and too vs. not enough.

Much vs. Many

The first step is too determine if you should use much or many. To do so, you need to decide if your noun is countable or uncountable. For example, we can count the number of plants in your garden. Plants are countable nouns. We cannot easily count soil, because the quantity is countable only if we use a specific unit of measurement, such as a quart, liter, etc. Soil, or dirt, is an uncountable noun. Sometimes, this can be difficult, but you can also look to see if there is an s at the end of the word when it is pluralIf there is an s, usually, it is countable. If there is not an s, it is usually not countable.

Countable Nouns

  • plants
  • cups
  • tables
  • coffee beans
  • pots
  • aphids

Uncountable Nouns

  • space
  • land
  • soil
  • time
  • coffee
  • salt
  • sugar
  • luck
  • money
  • room

Once we know if a known is countable or uncountable, we know if we should use many or much.

If a noun is countable, we use many.

  • How many plants do you have?
  • I have many plants.
  • You don’t have many plants?
  • No, I don’t have many plants.

If a noun is uncountable, we use much.

  • Do you have much space on your balcony?
  • I have much space.* [See next section]
  • How much space do you have?
  • No, I don’t have very much space.

Using A Lot

Knowing the difference between many and much is very important, especially when asking questions. However, when answering questions with a positive statement, English speakers are more likely to use a lot to describe a quantity or amount. This is almost always done when replying positively to a question with much in it. A lot can mean very, many, much, or to a large degree. When used with nouns, you will need to add the word of before the noun. Look at the following examples.

  • Question: Do you have many herbs growing in your garden?
  • Replies: Yes, I have a lot of herbs in my garden./Yes, I have many herbs in my garden./No, I don’t have many herbs in my garden./No, I don’t have a lot of herbs in my garden.
  • Question: Is there much soil in each pot?
  • Replies: Yes, there is a lot of soil in each pot./Yes, there is much soil in each pot./No, there is not much soil in each pot./No, there is not a lot of soil in each pot.

In the first example, all replies sound natural. In the second example, the second reply does not sound very natural. The first option would be a better choice.

Do We Want More or Less? |Too Much/Too Many vs. Not Enough

Now that we know the difference between many, much, and a lot, we need to think about if we want more or less of the item.

  • If we have the perfect amount and we do not want/need more or less, then we have enough.
  • If we want/need more, then we do not have enough. There is not enough.
  • If we want/need less, then we have too much or too many.

enough.notenough.too

It helps some people like to think about nouns as good or bad.

  • Good: If you have many good things, you have a lot. If you do not have many, then you do not have enough.
  • Bad: If you have a lot of bad things or of a bad thing, you have too many/too much.

It is important to note that sometimes you can have more of a “good” thing than you need, and that could be bad. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I think coffee is good, but if I drink eight cups in a day, that is too much!

Examples

Let’s take a look at a few examples that were used naturally in yesterday’s post.

  • I do not have a lot of experience with gardening, but I can only improve, right?
  • Things grew very well, but after a while, we had many aphids on our plants…
  • I think I tried too many things, because many of our plants shriveled.
  • …we do not have very much space for planting a garden.
  • There were too many to choose from!
  • I didn’t want to spend too much money this year.
  • …now we have too many basil plants.

Infographic

esl infographic too much, too many, not enough

You may click on the image to make it bigger.

Practice

Practice time. We can never have too much practice, right?!

Much, Many, or A lot: Choose between much, many, a lot to fill in the blanks.

  1. Does this pot hold ________ soil?
  2. I cook with _______ types of fresh herbs.
  3. How ________ sugar do you add?
  4. How ________ bags of soil do you need?
  5. I eat ________ bread.

Too Much, Too Many, Enough, Not Enough: Fill in the blanks.

  1. I am really full! I think I ate _________ food.
  2. I only ate one serving of vegetables today. That is _________.
  3. Do you have __________ soil to fill the pots?
  4. I think I will have soil left over. I think I bought __________.
  5. When I went to the market, the plants were on sale, so I bought a lot. Now, I know that I do _____ have ________ room for all of them! I bought ___________ plants!

Answers

Much, Many, or A lot

  1. Does this pot hold much soil? [a lot  of would also work].
  2. I cook with many types of fresh herbs.
  3. How much sugar do you add?
  4. How many bags of soil do you need?
  5. I eat a lot of bread.

Too Much, Too Many, Enough, Not Enough

  1. I am really full! I think I ate too much food.
  2. I only ate one serving of vegetables today. That is not enough.
  3. Do you have enough soil to fill the pots?
  4. I think I will have soil left over. I think I bought too much.
  5. When I went to the market, the plants were on sale, so I bought a lot of them. Now, I know that I do not have enough space for all of them! I bought too many plants!

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Was that enough grammar for the day? Was that too much grammar for the day?

Please let me know what you think of the images in today’s post. Were they helpful?