Must/Have to

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We can use ‘must’ to show that we are certain something is true. We are making a logical deduction based upon some clear evidence or reason. There’s no heating on. You must be freezing. You must be worried that she is so late coming home. I can’t remember what I did with it. I must […]

Zero Conditional

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When we talk about things that are generally or always true, we can use: If/When/Unless plus a present form PLUS present simple or imperative If he gets there before me, ask him to wait. When you fly budget airline, you have to pay for your drinks and snacks.  Unless you need more space, a small […]

First Conditional

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We use the First Conditional to talk about future events that are likely to happen. If we take John, he’ll be really pleased. If you give me some money, I’ll pay you back tomorrow. If they tell us they want it, we’ll have to give it to them. If Mary comes, she’ll want to drive. […]

Second Conditional

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The Second Conditional is used to talk about ‘impossible’ situations. If we were in London today, we would be able to go to the concert in Hyde Park.  If I had millions dollars, I’d give a lot to charity. If there were no hungry people in this world, it would be a much better place. […]

Third Conditional

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We can use the Third Conditional to talk about ‘impossible’ conditions, impossible because they are in the past and we cannot change what has happened. If I had worked harder at school, I would have got better grades. If I had had time, I would have gone to see him. But I didn’t have time. […]

Wish

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Let’s start off with the easy part. ‘ I wish to’ can mean the same as ‘I want to’ but it is much, much more formal and much, much less common. I wish to make a complaint. I wish to see the manager. You can also use ‘wish’ with a noun to ‘offer good wishes’. […]

Had better

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We use “had better” plus the infinitive without “to”  to give advice. Although “had” is the past form of “have”, we use “had better” to give advice about the present or future. You’d better tell her everything. I’d better get back to work. We’d better meet early. The negative form is “had better not”. You’d […]

Used to

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We use ‘used to’ for something that happened regularly in the past but no longer happens. I used to smoke a packet a day but I stopped two years ago. Ben used to travel a lot in his job but now, since his promotion, he doesn’t. I used to drive to work but now I […]

Ask Questions 1

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The basic rule for asking questions in English is straightforward: Invert the order of the subject and the first auxiliary verb.  It is snowing. = Is it snowing? He can speak German. = Can he speak German? They have lived here a long time. = Have they lived here a long time? She will arrive […]

Ask Questions 2

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In the section Questions 1, we looked at how to ask direct questions. To make a question, we invert the order of the subject and the first auxiliary verb.  Where is Johnny? Has he found it yet? If there is no auxiliary, use part of the verb ‘to do’. For example: What time did he […]

Question Tags

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We use tags in spoken English but not in formal written English. They are not really questions but are a way of asking the other person to make a comment and so keep the conversation open. Making a tag is very mechanical. To make a tag, use the first auxiliary. If there is no auxiliary, […]

Reported Speech 1

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We use reported speech when we are saying what other people say, think or believe. He says he wants it. We think you are right. I believe he loves her. Yesterday you said you didn’t like it but now you do! She told me he had asked her to marry him. I told you she […]

Reported Speech 2

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We also use reported speech when we are saying what other people asked or wanted to know. We do not use do or question marks in indirect questions. “What time is it?” = He asked me what time it was. “Why hasn’t he come? = She wondered why he hadn’t come. “When will you be […]

Suppose 1

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We often use  ‘suppose’ to mean ‘imagine’ or ‘guess’ I suppose you’ll be meeting Danielle when you go to Paris? When you weren’t there, I supposed you must have been held up. I suppose you two know each other? Notice that ‘suppose’ is not normally used in the continuous form. We do not usually say […]

Suppose 2

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‘Supposed to be’ can be used to mean ‘it is said/believed’. The new James Bond movie is supposed to be excellent. He is supposed to have been rude to Mark but I don’t believe it. It is supposed to be the best restaurant in town. ‘Supposed to be’ can also be used to talk about […]