Term Archives

  1. Direct and indirect speech can be a source of confusion for English learners. Let's first define the terms, then look at how to talk about what someone said, and how to convert speech from direct to indirect or vice-versa.
  2. Demonstratives show where an object, event, or person is in relation to the speaker. They can refer to a physical or a psychological closeness or distance. When talking about events, the near demonstratives are often used to refer to the present while the far demonstratives often refer to the past.
  3. In English, the two indefinite articles are a and an. Like other articles, indefinite articles are invariable. You use one or the other, depending on the first letter of the word following the article, for pronunciation reasons. Use a when the next word starts with a consonant...
  4. The word "the" is one of the most common words in English. It is our only definite article. Nouns in English are preceded by the definite article when the speaker believes that the listener already knows what he is referring to. The speaker may believe this for many different reasons, some of which are listed below.
  5. A reciprocal pronoun is a pronoun which is used to indicate that two or more people are carrying out or have carried out an action of some type, with both receiving the benefits or consequences of that action simultaneously. Any time something is done or given in return, reciprocal pronouns are used. The same is true any time mutual action is expressed.
  6. A relative pronoun is one which is used to refer to nouns mentioned previously, whether they are people, places, things, animals, or ideas. Relative pronouns can be used to join two sentences. The most common relative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, that. The relative pronoun we use depends on what we are referring to and the type of relative clause.
  7. Indefinite pronouns are those that are not specific, exact or definite. They are also used when the noun is unknown. In other words, they do not follow the same construction as most other pronouns, which replace the antecedent (the noun to which they refer). The pronouns themselves are the antecedents.
  8. Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that are used to point to something specific within a sentence. These demonstrative pronouns can indicate items in space or time, and they can be either singular or plural. Why do we use this and these? We use this (singular) and these (plural) as pronouns: - To talk about people or things near us: This is a nice cup of […]
  9. We use personal pronouns in place of the person or people that we are talking about. My name is Micheal but when I am talking about myself I almost always use "I" or "me", not "Micheal". When I am talking direct to you, I almost always use "you", not your name. When I am talking […]
  10. The rules of capitalization in English can be quite confusing. Most students understand that they should begin a sentence with a capital letter. They also understand that proper nouns (e.g. Mark, Mary) should be capitalized.