Your Questions and Queries

Are you preparing for an exam? You can’t find the answer to your question anywhere? Your boyfriend’s Scottish and you don’t know what to say to his mum? Ask me what you want to know…

¿Estas preparando un examen? No puedes encontrar la respuesta a tu duda? Tu novio es escocés, y no sabes que decir a su madre? . Preguntame lo que quieres saber….

If you provide an Email you will receive a message, once your Question is Answered.

Good evening! I would like to know 2 things about reported speech : firstly, when using reported speech, we have to make some transformation but when it comes to the verbs : come – go and bring – take, do we always have to make these trans I have seen many times people don’t make them ( for example : come –> go as in the following sentence : ‘Lucy will come later’ –> He said that she would come later rather than He said she would go later ). And finally, when we say ‘ at the weekend” in a sentence, do we have to change it into last weekend? For instance, ‘I visited my parents at the weekend’ : he said that he had visited his parents at the weekend or last weekend? Thanks a lot ! 22. March 2016

There are 2 ways to look at tthis type of question – as an ‘exam question’ or as real life English.

In real life English it depends on the context. What you have said about changing “come/go”:

The conversation was at school, and you said “Lucy will come later”. If you mention the conversation at home, the only logical sentence would be: I said that she would GO later. If you are at school, you would use “come”.

The problem with exam English is that it is not flexible enough to take these situations into account. For example, you are told to change ‘next week’ to the following week – but of the direct conversation takes place on a Monday  and the reported speech on a Tuesday, then ‘next week’ is still ‘next week’.

In exam English I suppose you should use the transformation to show your teacher you can use it, although that may depend on the teacher. In real life, it’s a question of context (and logic).

Hi! I would like you to explain 2 things to me : Firstly, I don’t know why ‘any’ is followed by a plural noun in the following sentence : ‘ Use the second listening to answer any QUESTIONS you were unsure about’, as I would translate it into Spanish as ‘cualquier’ and in that case both in Spanish and English is followed by a singular noun as in : Any BOY can do that. Secondly , I don’t understand either why Any is followed by a plural noun when saying ‘ If you have any DOUBTS’, as I would say : If you have any doubt ( cualquier duda, sea la que sea). Thank you very much ! 🙂 12. March 2016

The problem you have is that it doesn’t sound right because in Spanish you wouldn’t use it that way. Remember that ‘SOME/ANY’ is basically used for uncountable OR plural (indefinite) verbs, as compared with A/AN:

I have a bottle of water – I have some water (UNCOUNTABLE)

Do you have a question? – Do you have any questions? (PLURAL)

For more information, click here.

Good evening! I would like to know why it has been used the word ‘parking’ rather than car park in the following sentence : ‘Another time perhaps. Anyway, I think the car park’s a good idea. There isn’t enough parking in the town’ ? Thanks a lot ! 8. March 2016

The gap you find between two cars outside the greengrocer’s is not a car park – it’s a parking space, whereas a ‘car park’ is a specific (larger) area where you can leave your car.

‘Parking’ in this case refers to a more general idea of all the places available in town.

How can i improve my English? 6. March 2016

In a word: PRACTICE

If you understand Spanish, read these articles I have written on this subject:

Inglés: Deja de Estudiarlo Ya

Los Mejores Sitios Web para Aprender Inglés Online

Como Escoger Tu Curso de Inglés

La Liebre, la Tortuga y el Inglés: Como Mejor se Aprende

When I use to and for? 6. March 2016

To and For both have a lot of meanings, but I think the problem you have is when in your language you mean ‘PARA’. This is a very common mistake. The good news is that there is a very easy explanation:

TO + VERB   (These posters are to help the children in class)

FOR + NOUN (These posters are for the children)

Good evening ! I would like to know if we can say : ten minutes’ walk or ten minute walk or both, as I have seen them written in both cases. I would like to know why as well. Thanks! 4. March 2016

Good question! Both are correct, but for different reasons:

“Ten minutes’ walk” is a possessive.

“A ten minute (or: ten-minute) walk” is also possible. Notice that there is no “s” in minute. This is because “ten-minute” works as an adjective, and adjectives do not use the plural form. See also:

A 6-metre fall.

An 11-year-old boy

etc etc.

Good evening! I need your help when it comes to time clauses starting with as soon as, after, before, when … and so on. What I don’t get to understand is when we are supposed to use a future simple (will) and when a going to future. For example, what’s the difference between As soon as the rain stops, I will go for a walk and As soon as the rain stops, I’m going to go for a walk. I had seen it with Will so far but if I had to choose one , I would use a going to future as it’s something I have planned (not an arrangement). However, I have always used the future simple because it was what I was taught and most books only show examples with the future simple. I hope you can make it clear! Thanks a lot! from Antonio 18. February 2016

Good question – really this comes down to the difference between theory (what you learn) and practice (what you actually hear in an English-speaking country.

This is a perfect example of how the grammatical rules are far more flexible in real-life situations. Although it is more common to hear for example, ‘As soon as I get my wages, I’ll pay you the money I owe’ it isn’t so strange to hear ‘I’m going to pay you as soon as I get my wages.’

I don’t think it’s very useful to talk about what is correct or incorrect here. Just think of your driving lessons, the way you were taught to drive, and how you drive now – it’s exactly the same as a language. When you are learning English, you are taught a series of rules, but as you gain experience you learn how to be more flexible.

In conclusion: I would use the future simple (will) as you have learnt, but it isn’t as strict as you may think.

hello!! I need help. I have a phrasal and i don´t understand would you object______________in this difficult situation ? i neet complete the word “out”in the phrasal. and i don´t now Would you object out assist us difficult situation ? thanks 5. February 2016

I’m not really sure what you have to do in the exercise, but from what you are saying I imagine you have to replace ‘object’ with a phrasal verb, rather than using ‘object’ (I can’t think of anything if that is the case).

If I’m right, the answer would be ‘ ‘Would you RULE OUT assisting us in this difficult situation?’ = Would you object to helping us in this….?’

I hope that’s the answer!

Quisiera saber como preguntar en ingles -> si todavía hay hippies en Woodstock? 3. February 2016

“Are there still hippies at Woodstock?”

De hecho, me encanta esa pregunta porque es un ejemplo perfecto de la diferencia entre ‘YET’ and ‘STILL’

Are they here yet? = Haven’t they arrived?

Are they still here? = Haven’t they left?

Do you see the difference?

Disculpen. Esta es mi duda, por que se escribe: This knife to is for cutting meat y no This knife is to cutte? 1. February 2016

There are 2 possibilities:

  1. This knife is (used) TO CUT meat
  2. This knife is (used) FOR CUTTING meat

Both are correct, but the second structure can only be used for a machine/tool/etc. with ONE SOLE PURPOSE. The first option can be used in any case:

This money will be   FOR HELPING   TO HELP people in need.

Good evening! There’s something I don’t understand very well in English. For example, when someone says ‘he is a 10 year old boy’. Why wouldn’t you say ‘ he is a 10 yearS old boy’ , that’s to say, why wouldn’t you add an ‘S’ to the word ‘year’. One more example could be the following: I bought a 12 euro cake for his birthday. I’m asking you this because when you say ‘a 10 minute’s walk’ , you use the saxon genitive! I hope you can make it clearer! Thank you very much 12. January 2016

Good question! This always comes up:

He is 7 yearS old = He is a 7-year-old boy

Quite simply, in the second sentence it acts as an adjective, and adjectives do not have a plural form:

A 5-year wait.
A 3 metre drop
A 70 kilo adult
etc. etc…..

The dash ( – ) is optional.

Good evening! I would like to know why ‘While’ is sometimes followed by the present continuous and sometimes by the present simple, as I would always use the present cointinuous. Thanks a lot ! 7. January 2016

The basic difference between Present Simple (IN GENERAL) and Present Continuous (SPECIFIC) also applies here:

  • While we are waiting for dinner, we can finish our homework = RIGHT NOW, AT THE MOMENT OF SPEAKING
  • While we wait for dinner, we finish our homework = EVERY DAY

For the past, the Continuous is the most common:

While we were waiting….

Sorry for taking so long to answer! I went for a few days’ holiday.

quisiera saber como saber escribir lo que oigo en ingles 30. December 2015

No sé que nivel tienes, pero no es tan fácil, porque toca uno de los aspectos más complicados del Inglés – la diferencia entre la palabra escrita y como se pronuncia. Si quieres empezar a ver la complejidad, pincha aquí.

Tienes que leer, y escuchar mientras lees. Canciones, historias….



hola, me gustaría saber una cosa sobre el genitivo sajón. ¿ Por qué no se usa en la frase The door of the house ( lo cual es algo inanimado) y sin embargo, sí se en The company’s report y en The book’s writer ? Y tampoco entiendo por qué se usa en las frases ‘The girl’s shouts’ y en ‘ The prisoner’s release’, ya que no indica posesión, ni parentesco, ni es una expresión de tiempo, espacio, medida etc Gracias ! 23. December 2015

Tengo un mini-class sobre esto:

La verdad es que en este caso (como en muchos otros) la teoría solo nos lleva hasta cierto punto en el camino. El uso y la evolución del Inglés siempre es mucho más complejo que un serie de reglas.

Eso dicho, un par de consejos:

La posesión se entiende en su significado ás amplio, no solo ‘Juan’s pen’ sino tambien ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, ‘The prisoner’s release’, etc.

El ‘dueño’ no tiene porque ser persona (‘The dog’s bone’) mientras que tenga personalidad. Otra vez, podemos usar esto en su sentido más amplio: ‘The sun’s rays’, y lo que has dicho: ‘The company’s report’ and ‘The book’s writer’.

Eso dicho, ‘The company report’ no es incorrecto, y en el caso de ‘The book’s writer’ (El libro tiene escritor) tiene que diferenciarse de ‘The book writer’ (Escribe libros, no articulos). Lo mismo pasa con ‘My mother’s photo’ (Es suya) y ‘A photo of my mother’ (Ella sale en la foto).

Lo mejor es hacer lo que has hecho – observar para aprender!

Hello! I would like to know the difference in meaning between the verbs ‘To fall down’ and ‘ To fall over’. For example, ‘My son fell down at school ‘ and ‘My son fell over at school’. Thank you ! 23. December 2015

I explain this example (and more) here:

Phrasal Verbs of Movement

You have to know the exact direction implied by the prepositions DOWN and OVER (and others….)

Hi again ! What’s the difference between ‘That’s all’, That’s it’ and ‘This is it’. Thank you ! from Antonio 17. December 2015

You’re buying meat from the counter, and the seller asks you “Would you like anything else?”
‘No thanks – that’s all!’ (Quantity)

You’re playing a computer game with your brother.
‘That’s it – you’re dead!’ (Time)

‘This is it!’ can mean many things depending on the context. It could mean the beginning of an event, when a film starts, for example.

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