Category Archives: Grammar

Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense tells us that an action was finished at some point in the past before something else happened.


subject + had + past participle = past perfect tense


  • She had met him before the event.
  • I had sent the email before he talked to me.


There are many situations where the past perfect tense can be used, such as the following:

  • To show that an action happened before something else in the past:

Example: Anthony had met Ryan before you introduced him to us at the party.

  • To show that an action happened before a specific time in the past:

Example: They had gotten engaged before last year.

Remember that past perfect tense makes it clear that one thing happened before another in the past and that the order of events doesn’t matter because the tense already makes it clear which event happened first.

Wish/if only regrets

We use Wish and ‘If only’ when we talk about regrets – these are the things that we would like to change about the past or the present.

There are three types of  I wish / if only  sentences:

  1. Wish – wanting to change something about the present or future with the simple past.
  2. Regret – used with the past perfect.
  3. Complaints – used with would + verb.


In expressing a wish:

  • If only I knew how to use a smartphone.
  • I wish I were a millionaire!

In expressing regret:

  • If only I had gotten to work early.
  • I wish I hadn’t eaten all that candy.

In expressing a complain:

  • I wish you wouldn’t borrow my stuff without asking first.
  • I wish you’d give up smoking soon.




Passive Voice

Passive voice is used when the focus of the topic is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action.

For example: My bike was stolen. — In this sentence, the focus is that my bike was stolen and I don’t know who did it.

Sometimes a statement in the passive voice is more polite than the active voice. For example: A mistake was made. — In this sentence, I focused on the fact that a mistake was made, but I don’t blame anyone (Example: You have made a mistake.).

Form of the Passive Voice
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle

Example: A letter was written.

When you are rewriting active sentences in the passive voice, take note the following points:

  • the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
  • the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
  • the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)


Active: Johnny writes a letter.
Passive: A letter is written by Johnny.

Active: Johnny wrote a letter.
Passive: A letter was written by Johnny.

Active: Johnny has written a letter.
Passive: A letter has been written by Johnny.

Active: Johnny will write a letter.
Passive: A letter will be written by Johnny.

Active: Johnny can write a letter.
Passive: A letter can be written by Johnny.

Mixed Conditional

We use different conditionals to express ourselves clearly.  A conditional consists of two clauses: first, is the condition or the if-clause and the main or result clause. We are going to look at two mixed conditionals that express unreal situations.

Mixed conditionals is where the tense in the main clause is different from the tense in the conditional-clause (also called if-clause).


1. Past to Present
If I had taken an aspirin, I wouldn’t have a headache now.

2. Past to Future
If I had known that you are going to come by tomorrow, I would be in then.

3. Present to Past
If she had enough money, she could have done this trip to Hawaii.

4. Present to Future
If I were you, I would be spending my vacation in Seattle.

5. Future to Past
If I weren’t flying to Detroit, I would have planned a trip to Vancouver.

6. Future to Present
If I were taking this exam next week, I would be high-strung.

Modals – might, may, will, probably

May and Might


The modals May and Might are used when expressing what might occur in the future. Both can be used to express actions in the future or the present.



I might have some flour in the pantry.


They may leave tomorrow.


May and Might function as modals such as can, will and should. Therefore, the same rules apply.

1) No need to add ‘s’ to the third person singular.


Correct: He may attend.

Incorrect: He mays attend.

Correct: She might cry.

Incorrect: She mights cry.

2) The negative form is: may / might + not.


He may not attend the meeting.

She might not buy the book.

3) The question form is: may / might + subject. However, using might in forming questions is not very common.


Might she be hungry?

4) To make requests, May can be used with ‘I’ or ‘we’. However, it is more common to use can and could.

May I have some water?

May we eat the sandwiches?

5) May and Might are always followed by the infinitive form of the verbs.


Correct: I might sing.

Incorrect: I might to sing.

Correct: She might stay.

Incorrect: She might staying.


Will + Probability Adverbs


You can combine will and won’t and some adverbs to express the probability of a future event happening.


I’ll possibly cook something for dinner.

I’ll probably cook something for dinner.

I’ll definitely cook something for dinner

I’ll certainly cook something for dinner.


Remember that Will / ‘ll comes before the adverb and won’t comes after.


I’ll probably watch a movie later.

I probably won’t watch a movie later.

Adverbial Phrases of Time, Place, and Frequency

Adverbial Phrase

  • group of words which describe where, when, or how often something happens.


Adverbial Phrases of Frequency

  • describe how often something happens.



every day (daily); every week (weekly); every month (monthly); every year (annually); once a day; twice a year; five times a month; all the time



  • often go in present simple sentences:

I hunt rabbits every day.

I train twice a day.


Adverbial Phrases of Time

  • describe when something happens.



today; tomorrow; tonight; yesterday; nowadays; now; first of all; beforehand; soon; afterwards; later; next; then



  • usually go at the beginning or the end of a sentence or clause:

Tomorrow, I’m going to the free cities. / I’m going to the free cities tomorrow.

First of all, we had ale at an inn. / We had ale at an inn first of all.

I’m going to the flea market, and afterwards I’m going to the citadel. / I’m going to the flea market, and I’m going to the citadel afterwards.


  • use then at the beginning of a sentence or clause:

Then we saw the pier.

I’m going to finish cooking and then I’m going to sew some dresses.


  • use soon and now at the end of a sentence:

We’re going on a war soon.

Arya is going home now.


Adverbial Phrases of Place

  • describe where something happens.



outside; inside; indoors; outdoors; upstairs; downstairs; (over) here; (over) there; abroad; overseas



  • usually go after a verb:

They were exiled abroad.

Let’s keep them downstairs.


  • also go after the object of the sentence:

The maester works in the library upstairs.

Your horse is on the stable over there.


Relative Pronouns


Subject Object Possessive
who who(m) whose
which which whose
that that
  • who and whom for people
  • which for things.
  • that for people or things


  • after a noun:

– The chapel that Baelor built.

– The person who discovered the prisoner’s secret .

– An eighth-grader who attempted to skip school.


  • to tell more about a person or thing:

– My sister, who studied abroad, has always been insightful.

– Lord Frey, who was 98, has just died.

– We had lemon cakes, which are Sansa’s favorite.


  • do not use that as a subject:


  • whose as the possessive form of who:

– This is Gregor, whose brother went to war with me.


  • whom / who as the object of a verb or preposition:

– This is Robb, whom you met at my daughter’s wedding. / This is Robb, who you met at my daughter’s wedding.


  • whom or which after a preposition:

– I had an uncle in Westeros, from who[m] I inherited a castle.

– We brought an axe, with which we cut up all the firewood.


  • preposition at the end of the clause:

– I had an uncle in Westeros who[m] I inherited a castle from.

– We brought an axe, which we cut all the firewood up with.


  • that at the beginning of the clause:

– I had an uncle in Westeros that I inherited a castle from.

– We brought an axe that we cut all the firewood up with.

Present Simple


  • for statements that are true all the time

I come from Spain.

Maria lives in Madrid.

They have two dogs.


  • positive

I/You drink coffee at breakfast.

He/She/It drinks coffee at breakfast.

We/They drink coffee at breakfast.

  • Negative

I/You don’t drink coffee at breakfast.

He/She/It doesn’t drink coffee at breakfast.

We/They don’t drink coffee at breakfast.

  • Questions

Do I/you drink coffee at breakfast?

Does he/she/it drink coffee at breakfast?

Do we/they drink coffee at breakfast?

  • Short Answers

Yes, I/you do drink coffee at breakfast.

Yes, he/she/it does drink coffee at breakfast.

Yes, we/they do drink coffee at breakfast.

No, I/you don’t drink coffee at breakfast.

No, he/she/it doesn’t drink coffee at breakfast.

No, we/they don’t drink coffee at breakfast.

Spelling Rules: 3rd Person Singular Pronouns

  • verb ending in a consonant + y → i + es

marry → He marries Lucy today.

  • verbs ending in tch, ss, x, sh or z → + es.

pitch → He pitches his tent far from the river.

discuss → The teacher discusses climate change to 4th graders.

mix → The gardener mixes the soil with fertilizer.

blush → She blushes when complimented.

  • irregular verbs

I am → he/she/it is

I don’t → he/she/it doesn’t

I haven’t  →  he/she/it hasn’t

Broader Range of Intensifiers: So, Such, Too, Enough



– means very

  • This winter is so cold!


– before an adjective or an adverb

  • Madrid is so crowded!
  • He finished the exam so quickly!

– before nouns and verbs

  • That is so gentleman of you!
  • I was so angry this morning.

– with a that-clause

  • He was so impatient that he left without me.




– means very; used before an adjective and noun

  • They are such good people.  


– a / an is used after such, not before

  • It was such a lovely afternoon.

– with a that clause

  • It was such a warm night that we decided to go for a walk.




– to show a negative opinion; means a lot of something

  • It’s too windy outside.


– before an adjective

  • This place is too noisy.
  • My vacation is too short.

– before an adverb

  • The teacher speaks too fast.
  • My friend reacted to the news too loudly.

– before a noun

  • I had too much alcohol.
  • I ate too many cookies.

– after a verb

  • I diet too much.
  • He exercises too much.




– means having what is needed

  • We have enough supplies to last winter.
  • We don’t have enough men to patrol the place.


– before a noun

  • We have enough food for the party.

– after an adjective or verb

  • Is the baby comfortable enough?  
  • He trained enough for the competition.
  • Cersei isn’t wise enough to be a queen.
  • I can’t cry hard enough.
  • Are the dancers practicing enough?

– followed by to + verb infinitive

  • Robb is not good enough to win the war.
  • I haven’t got enough time to go to the store.

Being Frugal vs. Being Cheap

There’s a thin line between being frugal and being cheap, but how do we know when we’re in danger of crossing it?

Being frugal is being resourceful and savvy about how you spend your money, whereas being cheap is trying to cut corners to the detriment of yourself or others just so you don’t have to spend money.

Click the link to find out the differences between the two and be able to answer the questions that follow:

Let’s discuss:

  1. What’s the difference between being cheap and being frugal?
  2. Can you manage your money to the end of the month?
  3. Are you saving money now? Why? Do you regularly save money? Why?
  4. When was the last time you spent money on something you didn’t really need? Why did you do so?
  5.  Do you go shopping when you are sad? What do you buy? Do you need them?
  6. Are you good with money?
  7. Are you more of a generous or frugal character? How about other people in your family?