Category Archives: ESL Grammar

What is the Present Perfect and When Should I Use it?

What exactly is the present perfect and why should you care about it? You should care because, if you’re like most people, you’re probably overusing and misusing it. Too often, writers use the present perfect when the simple past is the better choice. The simple past: I went to France last summer. The present perfect:

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Shall We Dance?

I love dancing and would never decline this invitation, especially if you ask like Yul Brynner. It wouldn’t hurt if you come with your own ballroom either. . But under any other circumstances, shall makes me wince. It’s a word that makes you sound either foreign (not necessarily a bad thing) or pretentious and archaic

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Can or May I Have a Cookie?

My sort of sister-in-law Jane speaks English as a foreign language. She’s just finished a course that taught her business skills—she learned how to interview for a job, write a resume, give a presentation and speak better English. (Really, there’s nothing wrong with her English.) She told me her instructor advised the class to, “NEVER

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Verb Tenses: Present Continuous

“It’s a tricky point, when to use simple present and when to use the progressive, especially as simple present rarely refers to present time. The Greenbelt While the simple present refers to general truths that include the present moment, the present continuous emphasizes action in the present moment. Here’s how you form it: I am

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Do Verbs Make you Tense?

If so, join the club. Lots of people get nervous when they hear terms like ‘present perfect’ or ‘future progressive.’ What does it mean? In case you want to know, here’s an overview of the twelve English verb tenses. In a series of upcoming articles, I’ll be delving deeper (that was future progressive!) into each

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Verb Tenses: Simple Present

I notice many people don’t know how to use verb tenses, so here is the first of a series on the subject. Let’s start with the present tenses. The present tenses refer to action taking place in the present, to a state of being, to an occurrence in the very near future, and to action

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