The or no The

The or no The

For many learners using, or not using, “the” is a bit hit and miss !

There are some guidelines but to be honest the rules are not that clear ……. so you need some practice.

As a general rule we use “the” when we talk about a specific noun and no “the” when we are talking in general. The examples in the quiz will highlight this.

Also remember that countries do not generally have “the” in front of them except when the country is a plural noun. So watch out for “The United States” but America. Again you will see examples in the quiz.

We start the quiz with some easy questions and get more and more complex. 

  Do the quiz once to get the idea and then do it again and time yourself to go quicker and quicker.

Go for it !

THE or no THE ?


Know your nouns, verbs and adjectives

Know your nouns, verbs and adjectives

Knowing your nouns, verbs and adjectives is a key part to learning a new language and especially when taking a timed exam.

Practice your skills with this quick quiz.

 Whenever you learn a new word check out if it has an association noun, verb or adjective. For example: to weigh (verb) , a weight (noun) , heavy or light (adjectives)

Know your nouns and verbs.

How to use Tag questions in English

How to use Tag questions in English

Tag questions  are questions added to a short sentence, usually at the end, to engage the listener, check understanding or confirm that an action has heppened.

Tag questions are very common in natural English and they can also have distinct meaning according to the tone used with the tag, a rising tone and a descending tone can communicate very different meanings from the question asked as you will find out in this podcast.

Common tags include: Won’t you? Wasn’t it? Don’t you? Haven’t you? Wasn’t it? Wouldn’t you? Isn’t it? Isn’t there? etc. 

Listen to the tag question examples we use in the podcast.


Asking Polite questions in English

Asking Polite questions in English

It’s so nice to be polite isn’t it? When we ask direct questions, especially to people we do not know very well, we can come across as being too abrupt or even as rude, something we would like to avoid at all costs.

In this podcast we will explain how to easily change direct questions into more polite forms, very useful to avoid any sticky situations.

Polite questions are particularly useful when we need to ask for confidential or sensitive information, where a direct question would probably not elicit an answer, such as, ‘How old are you?’ or ‘How much do you weigh?’ etc.

Find the correct tense: Simple Past or Present Perfect ?

Find the correct tense: Simple Past or Present Perfect ?

Take a look at these questions and find the right tense to fit the context.

You find a simple explanation after each question.

When you have done it once, do it again but QUICKER ! How fast can you go ? 

Find the correct tense

When you feel comfortable with the quiz try a podcast to see if you can follow the conversation. In the podcast A Few Days in New York you can hear the speaker using the Simple Past and Present Present abundantly. 



ENGLISH GRAMMAR, speed test.

ENGLISH GRAMMAR, speed test.

How quickly can you answer these questions?

Watch out for the timer at the bottom of the page.

Welcome to your English grammar, speed test.

Are you preparing for an English language test? If so, most of you will know many of the pitfalls of English grammar, but the question is fast are you ???

If you are a new learner take your time to think about your answers but if you are a more advanced learner  you can give yourself an extra challenge by setting a  time limit. Start by allowing yourself 2 minutes to answer these 15 questions (that's 8 seconds per question which is the usual amount of time you should allow yourself in language tests such as the TOEIC® and TOEFL®) and then try again getting faster and faster. 

Before you start, have you every wondered about the origin of the word "grammar"?

The word grammar is derived from Greek γραμματικὴ τέχνη (grammatikē technē), which means "art of letters", from γράμμα (gramma), "letter", itself from γράφειν(graphein), "to draw, to write".

You can see the influence of this in words such as telegram, diagram, hologram and many, many more.

The first English grammar book was published in 1586 by the printer William Bollokar who wanted to show that the English language was just as structured, therefore just as important, as Latin, the main scholarly language of the time. The 18th century saw the publication of many grammar guides, in particular Samuel Johnson's A dictionary of the English Language which had a section devoted to English grammar. 

However, the standard for all modern grammar books is A Dictionary of Modern English Usage written by Henry Fowler in 1926 and it has become so influential that it is known simply as "Fowler's".  The success of this book was Fowler's direct, vigorous writing style and his opinions in which he firmly advised against convoluted sentence construction, the use of foreign words and phrases, and the use of archaisms. He opposed pedantry, ridiculed artificial grammar rules and encouraged natural English usage. He set the standard for where to place a preposition in a sentence, where the word "only" should be placed  and the rules distinguishing between which and that.

So are you ready ......GO !!!!





So how did you do ?

Keep tuned to the EFL PODBLOG for news of an exciting new site devoted to improving your English grammar, vocabulary and listening skills..... in short, how to get a better score in all your language tests.

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