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Why Prep?

Mr. Leon's English
Grammar Page


There appears to be some difference of opinion amongst authorities as to what grammar is.  For the purposes of this website:  Grammar includes ALL the rules of a language!  NOTE:  This page is mostly for ESL/EFL, but I suppose native speakers could benefit also.  Worth a gander.

(Now has a table of contents all linked up for your browsing convenience).

What exactly is grammar?

According to
Merriam-Webster's Online Unabridged Dictionary,

Grammar is:  a branch of linguistic study that deals with the classes of words, their inflections or other means of indicating relation to each other, and their functions and relations in the sentence as employed according to established usage and that is sometimes extended to include related matter such as phonology, prosody, language history, orthography, orthoepy, etymology, or semantics.

For more info, see next box >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My Related Pages

Phonologystudy of the sounds of a language


Language History:  (History of the English Language).

Orthography: (Morphology): spelling, capitalization

Etymologymorphemes and word roots

Semanticsmeaning and word usage


This page focuses upon syntax, use, and usage.

Use = just using it.  /  Usage = using it properly.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations used on this page. Gerund vs. Infinitive.
Adjective Usage. ...in order to... (shortened).
Adverb Usage. Passive Voice.
Articles (a, an, the). Past Participle vs Present Participle.
Because Usage. Perfect Tense.
Collocations. Phrasal Verbs.
Compound sentences and Complex sentences. Quiz Section (Test your knowledge of English Grammar)  [And have fun doing so!].
Countable nouns vs Uncountable nouns. Say, Speak, Talk, Tell (contrasted).
Fixed Expressions. Subjunctive Mood Section.

And a special essay (by me, Leon) about...
Prescriptive Grammar vs Descriptive Grammar.



Abbreviations Used on This Page

C = countable noun

D.O. = Direct Object

I.O. = Indirect Object

U = uncountabe noun (this usually means it is a 'collective noun', but some things, like love are not collective and not countable)

v.i. = verb (intransitive) [which means there is no object]

v.t. = verb (transitive) [which means that is an object required]

Articles:  A, An, & The

I.  a (an)  /  the
                  A.  a = 1 (of many)  Example:  Titus is a student in class 5b.

                  B.  the = 1 (and only one)  Example:  Mr. Leon is the English Literacy teacher at Orchlon.

                  C.  the = a special (uncountable thing)  Example:  The water has spilt.

                  1.  The sun is in the sky.
                  2.  An Orchlon student helped me.
                  3.  The moon is white.
                  4.  Our sun is a star.
                  5.  Our moon is a moon in our solar system.
                  6.  Mr. Leon is a teacher at Orchlon School.
                  7.  We eat lunch in the school's lunch room.
                  8.  We study in a classroom.
                  9.  The water is on the floor.
                  10.  A glass of water fell off a desk.




A.  If there is a question "Why....?", then you may start your answer with "Because...."

                                1.  Why are you here?
                                     Because I want to learn grammar.
                                2.  Why are you learning English?
                                     Because I want to go to university in America or United Kingdom.

B.  In a story, report, essay, or recount NEVER start a sentence with "because"!!!!!

                                1 BAD:  The most important thing in my life is my family.  Because they give me love.
                                        1 GOOD:  The most important thing in my life is my family, because they give me love.
                                2 BAD:  I am smiling.  Because I am happy.
                                2 GOOD:  I am smiling, because I am happy.



Compound and Complex Sentences

I.  Compound Sentences

                  A.  Compound Sentence  [d = double], i.e., double sentence joined by a connective
                        Remember "FANBOYS", like this:

F For
A And
N Nor
B But
O Or
Y Yet
S So

                                      EXAMPLES of COMPOUND SENTENCES
                                      1.  I am happy; for I love to be happy.
                                      2.  I was happy and I was sad at the same time.
                                      3.  Neither was I angry, nor was I annoyed.
                                      4.  I was happy, but I wasn't elated.
                                      5.  I was happy, or I was glad.
                                      6.  I was happy, yet I wasn't super happy.
                                      7.  I was happy, so I smiled.

II.  Complex Sentences

                  A.  Complex Sentence [x = not]:  Two clauses: (1 is a complete sentence + 1 is not)

                                      EXAMPLES of COMPLEX SENTENCES
{ Independent Clause (Complete Sentence)  + Subordinate Clause (not complete sentence) }

                                      1.  I ate, because I was hungry.
                                      2.  After I ate, I went to sleep.
                                      3.  Before I went to sleep, I brushed my teeth.
                                      4.  When I die, I will be a ghost.


Collocations Section

What are collocations?  Collocations are usually two (sometimes three) words that are inseparable.


Collocations 1.0


Just knowing the meaning of a word does not guarantee one can use it correctly.  Certain words go with certain words.  Those are called "collocations".  Random usage is not acceptable.

Collocations 1.1

Transitive verb collocations:
This focus is on transitive verbs and their objects.  There are two kinds of adjectives.  The first modifies a noun by existing before the noun, like this:

Examples & Non-examples:

commit a crime   do a crime
conduct or perform surgery   do surgery
commit suicide (archaic)
died by suicide (modern)
  do suicide
drive ((sb)) crazy   make ((sb)) crazy
play a card game   do a card game
ride a motorcycle   drive a motorcycle
fly a plane   drive a plane


Collocations 1.2

Adjective-vs.-Prepositional-Phrase Collocations

Preface:  Many non-native speakers speak in ways that are grammatically correct, but sometimes they are not following the usage patterns of native speakers.  In linguistics, this is called "grammaticality".  In this section we focus on the collocation of adjectives vs prepositional phrases.  Sometimes both can by used, but other times one or the other is not used by native speakers, even though it might be grammatically correct.

NOTE:  That's why I call these "collocations," because although all of the examples below have grammaticality, some are just not used (and thus not correct).


Leon's homepage  or  the homepage of Leon

Q:  Which one is correct?

A:  I think both are grammatically correct, but usage-wise, the first is correct.

Q:  So, how does one know when to use one way or the other way?

A:  That's a difficult question to answer.  As a native speaker, I know intuitively which one is appropriate for which situation.  The best I can do is give you some examples.

[ Green = good usage ]     [ Yellow = uncommon usage, but okay ]     [ Red = not proper usage ]

nominative adjective possessive adjective prepositional phrase
Leon Website Leon's Website Website of Leon
company policy the company's policy the policy of the company
military attack military's attack attack of the military
people rights people's rights rights of the people
education principles

educational principles

education's principles principles of education
education website

educational website

education's website website of education
love rules love's rules rules of love
war tragedies war's tragedies the tragedies of war
water quality water's quality quality of water
diamond color a diamond's color the color of a diamond
at arm length at arm's length the length of one's arm
a stone throw a stone's throw the throw of a stone
a drug effect a drug's effect the effect of a drug
the mind eye the mind's eye the eye of the mind
the king throne the king's throne the throne of the king
a chicken wing* a chicken's wing* the wing of a chicken*
a plan effectiveness a plan's effectiveness the effectiveness of a plan
money lure money's lure the lure of money
a person capability a person's capability the capability of a person
a church congregation a church's congregation the congregation of the church
Hyundae holdings Hyundae's holdings the holdings of Hyundae
ESL website ESL's website a website of ESL

*  All are correct, but different meanings:
'Chicken wings' are for eating.  A 'chicken's wing' is still attached to the chicken.  And you would declare something the 'wing of a chicken' if you found a wing on the ground and then determined that it was that of a chicken.


Collocations 2.0


Just knowing the meaning of a word does not guarantee one can use it correctly.  Certain words go with certain words.  Random usage is not acceptable.  This section focuses on prepositions (in connection with the direct object or indirect object.  Here are some examples:


Wrong:  I agree to you.
Right:  I agree with you.

Wrong:  We agree for going to the party.
Right:  We agree to go to the party.

Wrong:  You and I agree at one thing.
Right:  You and I agree about/on one thing.

Wrong:  Do we agree to my plan?
Right:  Do we agree on my plan?

Wrong:  I'm going to home.
Right:  I'm going home.

Wrong:  Let's go my home.
Right:  Let's go to my home.

Wrong:  The student is preparing his exam.
Right:  The student is preparing for his exam. 

Wrong:  There's no accounting taste.
Right:  There's no accounting for taste.

Wrong:  All day I think you.
Right:  All day I think of/about you.

Wrong:  John married with Jill.
Right:  John married Jill.


Collocations 3.0


Just knowing the meaning of a word does not guarantee one can use it correctly.  Certain words go with certain words.  Random usage is not acceptable.  Here are some examples:


Wrong:  I gained six dollars.
Right:  I got six dollars.

Wrong:  Put your coat off.
Right:  Take your coat off.

Wrong:  Take your shoes on.
Right:  Put your shoes on.

Wrong:  You are making me crazy.
Right:  You are driving me crazy.

Wrong:  Let's cook some bread.
Right:  Let's bake some bread.

Wrong:  Let's cook an egg.
Right:  Let's boil, or fry an egg.

Wrong:  My foot is sick.
Right:  My foot hurts.

Wrong:  He did a crime.
Right:  He committed a crime.

Wrong:  He did suicide.
Right:  He committed suicide.

Wrong:  She did adultery.
Right:  She committed adultery.



Fixed Expressions Section

What are 'fixed expressions'?  Fixed expression are common collocations which span more than two words.  (Usually collocations are just two (sometimes three) words).  Fixed expressions are three or more words.

Fixed Expressions 1.0


Some expressions cannot be changed (in English).  They are called fixed expressions.

For example:  the book of love, or  the book of life.

If you say, "love's book" or "life's book,"  It may not make sense to a native speaker, or the native speaker may laugh at your English.

More examples:

1.  insist that s.v.o. (subject, verb, object)

2.  insist on sth

3.  attest that s.v.o.

4.  attest to sth

5.  persist in gerund (doing sth)

6.  agree with sb. or an idea

7.  agree to-infinitive (verb)

8.  agree on a plan or issue

9.  be interested in sth or sb

10.  be in love with sb

11.  be out of love with sb.  (implies you were in love with sb first).


Fixed Expressions 2.0


Some expressions cannot be changed (in English).  They are called fixed expressions.

For example:  I'm feeling under the weather.

If you say, "The weather is on top of me today."  It makes no sense to a native speaker.

More examples:

1.  Time is on my side.

2.  broad daylight

3.  be green with envy

4.  kick the bucket

5.  in the knick of time

6.  begin/end on time

7.  arrive/leave on time

8.  time's up.  (Some people say, "time's over,"  but not I.  Do as you will.)

9.  don't rock the boat

10.  be in someone else's shoes


Fixed Expressions 3.0


Some expressions cannot be changed (in English).  They are called fixed expressions.

For example:  The circle of life.

That expression cannot be changed to:  Life's Circle. 

There are millions of fixed expressions in English.  I can't give all here.  Just a few:

1. It's raining cats and dogs.

2. fish and chips

3. wine, women, and song

4. fighting like cats and dogs.

5. the pie in the sky

6. the apple of one's eye

7. hit the hay

8. take a break

9. drive sb crazy

10.  be right back

11.  laughing out loud

12.  play cards

13.  go bowling

14.  go swimming

15.  have a martial arts match

16.  take/ride the bus

17.  take an airplane/a taxi/a train [or] ride in an airplane/a taxi/a train

18.  board a plane/a boat/a train

19.  get on/off a bus/airplane/boat

20.  get (into/out of) a car/taxi




Adverb Usage Section


Just knowing the meaning of a word does not guarantee one can use it correctly.  Certain words go with certain words.  Random usage is not acceptable.  This section focuses on adverbs.  When modifying the action of a sentence, adverbs collocate with verbs, but that does not necessarily mean that they are side by side.  Syntax comes into play as to where in the sentence the adverb should appear.  Here is a table with some general rules: 

Pre-clause Adverb Pre-verb

(Post-v.i. Adverb)


(Post-v.t.+object Adv.)

x Adverbs of Frequency
(Ex. often)
x x
x Negative Adverbs x x
Adverbs of Sequence
(Ex. Firstly)
Adverbs of Sequence
(Ex. Firstly)
Adverbs of Sequence
(for v.i.)
Adverbs of Sequence
(for v.t.)
Adverbs which answer the question "how?" Adverbs which answer the question "how?"

for v.i. & v.t.

Adverbs which answer the question "how?"

for v.i. only

Adverbs which answer the question "how?"

for v.t. only

x x Adverbs which answer the question "how much?"  (v.i.) Adverbs which answer the question "how much?"  (v.t.)
actually actually actually (v.i.) actually (v.t.)
interestingly x x x
x especially x x
basically basically basically (v.i.) basically (v.t.)
clearly clearly clearly (v.i.) clearly (v.t.)
luckily luckily luckily (v.i.) luckily (v.t.)

Post Notes:

1.  Very is NOT a collocate of any verb.  It only modifies other adverbs.  Therefore the following sentence, which I hear all too often in EFL, is incorrect:  "I very like you."  CORRECTION:  "I like you very much."

2.  Pre-clause adverbs and some post-clause adverbs, modify the whole sentence, NOT THE VERB, and therefore are NOT collocates with the verb.  In written grammar they are separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma, AND in spoken grammar, they are separated from the rest of the sentence with a pause.  Such are represented above with white text and black background.



Gerund vs. Infinitive Section

Gerund = a noun form of the verb with ~ing on the end

Infinitive = a noun form of the verb beginning with the word "to" 

Gerund vs. Infinitive Explanation:

Sometimes a gerund must be used as an object and sometimes an infinitive must be used, and sometimes both can be used.

First take this short quiz.

Which sentence has incorrect grammar?

1.  I enjoy to eat.
2.  I enjoy eating.
3.  I enjoy eat.

Answer:  That was a trick question.  Both 1 and 3 are incorrect; Only 2 is correct.

Now lets look at some examples (and non-examples).

Green = correct;      Red = incorrect

~Gerund ~To-infinitive
I like swimming. I like to swim.
I want swimming. I want to swim.
I enjoy swimming. I enjoy to swim.
I am into reading. I am into to read.
I will take up jogging. I will take up to jog.
I hate running. I hate to run.

Sometimes "for + gerund" is okay.  (But not always!)


I live for swimming. I live to swim.
I work for a living.* I work to live.
I eat for pleasing my tongue. I eat to please my tongue.
I exercise for losing weight. I exercise to lose weight.

Some Examples of other expressions (not involving gerunds):

I ride for fun. I ride to have fun.
I sing for enjoyment.  (Karaoke) I sing to enjoy life.  (Karaoke).
I listen to music for entertainment. I listen to music to entertain myself.




...in order to... Section

Sometimes the expression "in order to" can be shortened to "to" (and sometimes it cannot be shortened, or should not be shortened, but I cannot think of any examples right now).


I went there in order to read. I went there to read.
I eat in order to live. I eat to live.
I work in order to earn money. I work to earn money.
? ?

Contact me if you can think of one.


There are vs. There

There - is a place.

There are - is a phrasal verb which means "exist".

But, 'there are' has different grammar (syntax) than 'exist'.


There are people.  =  People exist.

There are people over there.  =  People exist over there.



Say, Speak, Talk, Tell

Say, Speak, Talk, and Tell are synonyms, but there is different grammar rules for each.

See chart:

Subject Verb D.O. I.O.
I say "Something." x
I say "Something," to you.
I tell a story to them.
I tell a lie / the truth to him.
I tell you the truth.
I speak a language. x
I speak. x x
I talk with you. x
I talk to you / with you about something.
I talk. x x
I talk about lots of things. x

say (v.t.) D.O. is words, I.O. is a person.

speak (v.i.)  =  means I can speak a language.
speak (v.t.)  =  a language (English, Spanish, whatever).

tell (v.t.) D.O. is a story, a lie, the truth, or a person.

talk (v.i.)  =  means I converse (have discussions).  You can say, "I talk a lot." or "I talk very little."
talk (v.t.) D.O. with a person; I.O. to somebody, and/or about something.


Quiz Section
Test your knowledge of English Grammar!
And have fun!

QUIZ #1:  There are and there

Which sentence has incorrect grammar?

1.  There are some people.
2.  There are some people over there.
3.  Some people are there.
4.  There are people.
5.  None.  /  All of the above have correct grammar.

Answer:  4
Those are all correct sentences, but the meanings differ.
Explanation:  "There are" is the phrasal verb which means "exist" (but with different grammar rules).
#1.  There are some people. = Some people exist.
#2.  There are some people over there. = Some people exist over there.
#3.  Some people are there. = Some people are located over there.
#4.  There are people. = People do exist.

QUIZ #2:  There and They're

Which sentence has incorrect grammar?

1.  There is some money there.
2.  There they're.
3.  They're there.
4.  There they are.

Answer:  2
Correction:  There they are.
Explanation:  You cannot say that, because the listener will think you mean #3.
#3 is used when you cannot seem them, but you know that they're there.
#4 is used when you can see them.

QUIZ #3:  Told Quiz

Which sentence has incorrect grammar?

1.  I told to you.
2.  He told me.
3.  She told a story.
4.  They told a lie.
5.  None.  /  All of the above are correct.

Answer:  1
Explanation:  The direct object of the verb "tell" is either a story, a lie (which is a false story), or a person.

QUIZ #4:  Said Quiz

Which sentence has CORRECT grammar?

1.  I said you.
2.  I said to you.
3.  I said to you, "I like you."
4.  I said, "I like it," (to you).

Answer:  4
Explanation:  I said, "I like you." (to you) is the only correct one because the direct object of the verb "say" is the sentence spoken.

QUIZ #5:  Give Quiz

Which sentence has incorrect syntax?

1.  I give money you.
2.  I give to you money.
3.  I give money to you.
4.  I give you money.

Answer:  1 and 2, only 3 & 4 are correct.


Which sentence is correct?

A:  I you love.
B:  I love you.

A:  I put money the table on.
B:  I put money on the table.

A:  Who you are?
B:  Who are you?

Easy so far????  Okay, I'll make it harder...

A:  That is what I want.
B:  That is what do I want.

A:  What is it that I want?
B:  What is that I want it?

A:  Especially, I love you.
B:  I especially love you.

A:  Basically, I don't love you anymore.
B:  I basically don't love you anymore.
C:  I don't basically love you anymore.

A:  I very thank you.
B:  I thank you very.

A:  Only I love you.
B:  I only love you.
C:  I love only you.
D:  I love you only.

A:  I am hard to English.
B:  English is hard for me.


1.B, 2.B, 3.B, 4.A, 5.A, 6.B, 7.A,B, 8. neither, the correct sentence is:  I thank you very much., 9.A,B,C,D,(all are correct, but slightly different meaning, 10.B



Passive Voice Section
(But, don't be passive when learning.  Get it?  Ha, ha, ha.)

Past passive voice

first person singular:  I was + p.p
first person plural:  We were + p.p.
second person singular:  you were + p.p.
second person plural:  you (all) were + p.p.
third person singular:  he/she/it was + p.p.
third person plural:  they were + p.p.


I was excited.

{This above sentence is very interesting, linguistically.  Is it a past passive, or is it a past descriptive verb (i.e., be + adj.)??????}

Answer:  both, depending on the meaning of the speaker.

If it's passive, it can be changed into an active sentence...

(Sb) excited me.  =>  I was excited (by sb).

Otherwise, it's just a descriptive verb (in the past tense).

More Examples:

I was excited (by you).  => 네가 나를 흥분하게 했다. =>

You excited me.

I was excited.  =>  나는 흥분 됐다.

Present passive voice

first person singular:  I am + p.p
first person plural:  We are + p.p.
second person singular:  you are + p.p.
second person plural:  you (all) are + p.p.
third person singular:  he/she/it is + p.p.
third person plural:  they are + p.p.


I want to love and be loved.
{I want to love (sb) and be loved (by sb).}

In war, it's kill or be killed.
{In war, it's kill (the enemy) or be killed (by the enemy).}

be supposed (by sb) to + infinitive

suppose = think, 그래서...

be supposed = be thought


It is supposed (by sb) to rain today.  =>

{It is thought (by meteorologists) that it will rain today.}

I am supposed to do my homework. =>

{It is thought (by my mother) that I should be doing my homework.}

You are supposed to get married. =>

{It is thought (by the people of your culture) that you should get married.}


Past perfect passive

had + been + p.p. (past participle)


I had been loved (by a woman) only once before coming to Korea.

She had been hurt (by a man) before she met me.

Before  entering kindergarten, they had been taught (by their mothers) how to count.

{Note:  blue words are unnecessary, red words are necessary}

Present perfect passive

have + been + p.p.(past participle)
(1st person singular and plural, 2nd person singular and plural, 3rd person plural)

has + been + p.p.(past participle)
(3rd person singular)


I have been loved.

I have been loved by you.

This book has been read.

This book has been read by a lot of people.

Passive Voice for Koreans

Passive voice is quite an interesting linguistic tool.  It would seem that the subject and object of a sentence are switched.  The subject of each sentence shall be purple.


(Note:    A.V. = Active Voice,  P.V. = Passive Voice)

A.V.:  I like you. (가 너를 좋아합니다.)

P.V.:  You are liked by me. (나는 네가 좋아요.)

Modified P.V.: You are liked.  (네가 좋아.)

A.V.:  I hate racism.  (내가 인종적차별을 싫어해요.)

P.V.:  Racism is hated by me. (나는 인종적차별이 싫어요.)

Modified P.V.:  Racism is hated. (인종적차별이 싫어요.)

A.V.:  The movie scares me.  {(나는) 그 영화가 무서워요.}

P.V.:  I am scared (by that movie). {내가 (그영화 때문에) 무서워해요.}

A.V.:  I love you.  (내가 너를 사랑해.)

P.V.:  You are loved (by me). {너는 (나에게) 사랑을 받는 분 이다.}

A.V.:  This movie excites me. (이 영화가 날 흥분하게 해.)

P.V.:  I am excited by the movie. (이영화 때문에 내가 흥분해.)

A.V.:  This movie bores me. (이 영화가 날 지루하게 해.)

P.V.:  I am bored by this movie. (이 영화 때문에 내가 지루해.)



Perfect Tense Section

Present perfect progressive

have + been + ~ing
(1st person singular and plural, 2nd person singular and plural, 3rd person plural)

has + been + ~ing
(3rd person singular)

The present perfect progressive is used to express something that started in the past but has continued until now and is still happening.  Examples:

I have been living in Korea since 1995.

I have been working in Seoul for four years.

My friend has been working and living in Korea for five years.


Past perfect

had (past "have") + p.p. (past participle of verb stem)

Unfortunately all Koreans who study in Korea from English materials made in Korea misunderstand the past perfect, and therefore frequently misuse it.

The past perfect refers to an event, which occurred, or a condition, which existed prior to some other past event or condition.

Bad sentences (X) and Good sentences (O):

I had been to America.  (X)  {out of proper context, this sentence makes no sense}

Before my twenty-fifth birthday, I had been to America only once.  (O)

I hadn't eaten yesterday.  (X

Before today's breakfast, I hadn't eaten for about 36 hours. (O)

I hadn't seen a giraffe.  (X)

I hadn't seen a giraffe before going to the zoo.  (O)


Subjunctive Mood Section

Present subjunctive mood

should, could, would

should = past shall

could = past can

would = past will


In the present subjunctive, we use past tense, but it has present meaning!

Examples of Present Subjunctive Mood:

1.  I would call you, if I had some free time.

2.  I should call you. =>

           (=> If I called you, it would be good!)

3.  I could call you, if I had a phone.

Important Note:  "should" does NOT mean "must".  Why?  because "should" is subjunctive mood and "must" is imperative mood.  They are totally different moods;  therefore, they carry totally different semantics.

Past subjunctive mood

should have, could have, would have


should have + past participle = past should

could have + past participle = past (subjunctive) could 

would have + past participle = past (subjunctive) would


"Could" and "Would" need if-clauses.  If if-clauses are not present, they are implied.  All native speakers know this fact implicitly.  Too bad it is not taught explicitly to Koreans.  Also, in past subjunctive, the if-clause must have past perfect.

"Should" does not need an if-clause, because the if-clause is built-in.  Thus, "should" means:

"If..... it would be good."

"Should have..." means"

"If... had p.p., ....it would have been good."


1.  I should have eaten, before coming here.

     여기 오기 전에, 먹었으면 좋았을텐데.

2.  I could have eaten lunch, if I hadn't been so busy.

     만약에 내가 그렇게 바쁘지 않았더라면, 점심을 먹을 수가 있었을텐데.

3.  I would have eaten lunch, if I had been hungry.

     만약에 나는 배가 고팠더라으면, 점심을 먹었을텐데.

Important Note:  "should" does NOT mean "must".  Why?  because "should" is subjunctive mood and "must" is imperative mood.  They are totally different moods;  therefore, they carry totally different semantics.

Future subjunctive mood

should, could, would


In future subjunctive mood expresses an unlikely or impossible future situation or event.  The if-clause uses the form:  "If... were to...".

Note:  since "should" does not have an if-clause, the only way to tell the difference between present and future is by use of a time-modifier, such as "now" or "next week".  Here are some examples:


1.  You should wash your car now (present) / tomorrow (future).

2.  I would take a trip (this year/ next week), if I were to receive vacation time from my job, but English institute teachers don't get vacations.

3.  The river could become clean, if people and factories were to stop polluting it.


Present participle/past participle

present participle = ~ing adjective

past participle = ~ed adjective


I'm bored.  내가 심심해요.

I'm boring.  내가 지루하게 하는 사람 이다.

I'm interested.  나는 흥미 있다.

I'm interesting.  내가 흥미 있게 하는 사람 이다.

I'm confused. 내가 혼동해요.

It is confusing.  그것 혼동하게하는 것 이다.


Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verbs are two (or more) words that compose ONE verb.

Today's Phrasal Verb:  Put up with

Put up with = tolerate

Sample Sentence:  It's hard to put up with racism.

Note:  up is a preposition and with is a preposition, but in this case they are functioning as parts of the verb.  The grammatical name for them is "particle".  "up" and "with" are particles.

To learn more, see my Phrasal Verbs Page.



There are some common grammatical problems that EFL students face.  The problems may seem confusing, but Leon's English Grammar makes them simple and easy.  Let's start with a little pretest.
Instructions:  choose the correct word in the parentheses and write it down.  Then compare with the answer sheet below.
1.  Bill Gates is (a/the)  business owner.
7.  I drank too much (during, for) the party.
                 (ďWhatís the matter?Ē / "What's up?")
15.  Iím sorry. Your joke is not (fun, funny).
16.  English class is (fun, funny) because the teacher tells a lot of jokes.
17.  (Look at, Watch, See) me when Iím talking to you.
18.  I canít (look at, watch, see) the board.
19.  Tino (looked at, watched, saw) his watch.
20.  HelloÖ Hello. Can you (hear me, listen to me) ?
21.  I canít (hear, listen to, comprehend) English.
22.  Letís (speak, talk, say, tell) English.
23.  Letís speak, talk, say, tell) about politics.
24.  I (spoke to, talked to, said to, told) my brother the secret.
25.  I (spoke, talked, said, told) ďBe quiet!Ē
26.  I am (bored, boring) with English.
27.  My students say that I am a (bored, boring) teacher.
28.  Believe in Jesus. / Believe Jesus.  What's the difference?
29.  My head (is sick, is sore, hurts).
30.  My muscles (are sick, are sore).
31.  Everyone (must, should, had better) eat healthy food.
32.  One (must, should, had better) study hard, or else he/she might not pass the
33.  You (must, should, had better) obey the law.
34.  I will arrive (by, until) 9:00am.
35.  I will die (by, until) the time I reach the age of 100.
36.  I will live (by, until) the time I reach the age of 100.
37.  He has been working (from, since, starting) 7 am.
38.  She will begin working (from, since, starting) tomorrow morning.
39.  They will listen well (from, since, starting) now on.
40.  The program will be running (from, since, starting) next week.


1. a,   2. the, the,   3. the,   4. a,   5. for,   6. during,   7. during,   8. lend,   9. borrow,   10. changed,   11. changed,   12. appointment,   13.  promise,   14. What's up?   15. funny,   16. funny,   17. look at,   18. see,   19. looked at,   20. hear,   21. comprehend,   22. speak,   23. talk,   24.  told,   25. said,   26. bored,   27. boring,   28. believe in = (think something exists), believe = (think words (of someone) are true),   29. hurts,   30. are sore,  31. should,   32. had better,   33. must,   34. by,   35. by,   36. until,   37. since,   38. starting,   39.  from,   40. starting.


Countable and Uncountable
Nouns Section



A Test of 
Collective ( Uncountable ) Nouns

& Non-collective ( Countable ) Nouns


1.       There is a lot of (clothes, clothing) on the floor.

2.       There are a lot of (papers, sheets) on the desk.

3.       I donít have much (wood, boards).

4.       I donít have many (works, jobs) to do around the house.

5.       John doesn't have much (software, programs).

6.       The doctor doesn't do much (surgery, operations).

7.       The teacher gives a lot of (praise, praises).

8.       The counselor gives a lot of good (advice, suggestions).

9.       There arenít many (times, hours) in the day.

10.  Today we learned two (pronunciations, phonemes).

11.  The students received a lot of (homework, homeworks).

12.  The pharmacist gave me only a few (medicines, drugs).

13.  I do very little (exercise, sports).

14.  I donít have many (glass, glasses) in my cupboards.

15.  The lady didnít give me (many informations, much information).

16.  I.M.I has too (many staffs, much staff).

17.  I have too (many stuffs, many things).

18.  How (much, many) foods have you eaten?

19.  How (many furnitures, much furniture) do you have?

20.  I canít sing many (musics, songs).

21.  There isnít (much nutrition, many nutrients).

22.  The quartermaster complained that they donít have much (equipment, supply).


Answers:  1. clothing, 2. sheets, 3. wood, 4. jobs, 5. software, 6. surgery, 7. praise, 8. both answers are correct, 9. hours, 10. phonemes, 11. homework, 12. drugs, 13. exercise, 14. glasses, 15. much information, 16. much staff, 17. many things, 18. many, 19. much furniture, 20. songs, 21. much nutrition, 22. equipment.


Prescriptive vs. Descriptive Grammar


I just love it when my students argue with me... NOT!!!  Why do Koreans think they know more about so-called "proper" English.  I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU LEARNED IN MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL.  I AM A NATIVE SPEAKER!  and MOST EDUCATED NATIVE SPEAKERS, SUCH AS I, SPEAK PROPER ENGLISH!  DON'T TRY TO TEACH A FISH HOW TO SWIM!!!!  

Now, let's define terms here.  First of all, what exactly is "proper English"?  Well, there are two kinds of "proper" English.  The first is prescriptive English grammar, and the second is descriptive English grammar.  Prescriptive means:  pre (before) script (writing) ive (a.), which is to say:  rules of language made before one writes or speaks.  In other words, prescriptive grammar is composed of the rules as set by grammarians, directing the way a language ought to be written or spoken.  Descriptive means:  de (down) script (writing) ive (a.), which is to say:  rules of language made after the language is written down, or spoken.  In other words, descriptive grammar is composed of the rules made by observing real time language in real use.  In my opinion, both are proper.  As to which one is more proper, I don't know.  It is debatable.  It can be argued either way.  I believe that both ought to be taught to EFL learners.  Then, they can decide which way they wish to use the language.

I think it's safe to say that it really depends on the situation.  Probably in a more formal situation, the prescriptive rules would prevail, and in a more casual setting, the descriptive rules would prevail.  But that seems like an oversimplification, because it also seems, from my observations, that the more educated people are, the more their language resembles prescriptive grammar, and visa versa.  So, I always tell my students, "If you want to sound/appear well-educated, you should speak/write with prescriptive grammar.

There is a problem with this, though.  And that problem is prescriptive grammar has not yet been able to account for all the usages of English, such as exceptions to rules, special collocations that may be more appropriate than others, or the 'idiom principle'.  In this case descriptive grammar rules by default, must be applied.


Prescriptive (P):  To whom were you speaking on the phone?  
Descriptive (D):  Who were you speaking to on the phone? 

P:  May I buy you a drink?
D:  Can I buy you a drink? 

P:  By what time will you be home?
D:  What time will you be home by? 

P:  My car is more big than your car.
D:  My car is bigger than your car.
THIS is WRONG:  My car is more bigger than your car.  (chose one, not both)

P:  This is the person, whom I love more than life itself.
D:  This is the person, who I love more than life itself. 

P:  I, too, love pork.
D:  Me, too.  I love pork. 

P:  Neither do I.  /  So do I.
D:  Me neither.  /  Me too.

P:  When one does not know what to do, it becomes him/her to ask an expert.
D:  When one does not know what to do, it becomes them to ask an expert.
D2:  When you do not know what to do, it becomes you to ask an expert.
D3:  When we do not know what to do, it becomes us to ask an expert.

P:  An old woman lay on the bed.
D:  An old woman lied on the bed.
D2:  On the bed lay an old woman.
D3:  On the bed lied an old woman.

P:  Would you give me some help?
D:  Give me some help, would you?*

* Intonation can carry meaning.  This structure can be rude or polite, depending on the speaker's intonation.  Whereas the Prescriptive form is generally very polite and formal. 


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Awesome article linked up at Leon's Planet:

Grumpy Martha's Guide to Grammar and Usage

(It elicits some common grammar problems of native English speakers).

These are my other pages (related to grammar)

"Meet the Clauses"     Parts of Speech     Phrasal Verbs








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