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Is there something you have never been able to understand? Are you revising for an exam? Is your boyfriend’s mother Scottish, and you need to know what to say? This page can help you!


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Thanks. I think this question is easy for everyone, but for me it is not. Why does the word ‘ever’ means two or more concepts : nunca y siempre? alguna vez, always, ever, jamás, never, nunca -

Haha! I like this question because I think that in English it’s very logical, and that the problem is in Spanish.

First:    NOT + EVER = NEVER

I have never eaten octopus = I haven’t ever eaten… (not so common).

EVER on its own means ‘Alguna vez’: Have you ever been to Egypt? It doesn’t mean ‘siempre’, exactly.

What confuses me about Spanish (and I think is your problem) is this type of sentence:

Es la ciudad más bonita que he visto jamas. ¿¡¡Pero si la has visto porque decís que jamás lo has visto?!!?? It’s much more logical to say ‘It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. In the same way ‘Forever and ever’ in Spanish is ”por siempre jamás’. Now that’s confusing!!!

 


necesito que me ayude a traducir un texto se puede ?

Lo siento, no traduzco textos – es algo muy específico, y lleva mucho tiempo, pero si quieres intentar traducirlo (o encontrar a alguien que lo haga) y me lo mandas, te puedo echar un vistazo y comprobar si esta bien.

 

Eso si, que no sea muy largo….

 


Good evening! I would like to know whe I have to use the noun holiday both in singular and plural. I know it is said in singular e.g if you say I go on holiday every summer . However , sometimes when saying it in a different way people use it in plural. Would you tell me all the cases,please? Thanks! from Antonio

It’s not very important – generally people say that they are ‘on holiday’ and ‘holidays’ are used for the period of holidays: ‘When are your holidays?’ (Even when you aren’t going anywhere)

Just one note: In the US the word is ‘vacations’. ‘Holidays’ refers to the Christmas period between Thanksgiving and New Year.


Good evening! First of all, thank you for all your answers to my questions. Once said this, I have just seen on FB you had a new post answering someone else’s question and you end up saying something similar to this: ‘To see more or ask your own questions go to …” I have always been told I can’t use the ‘To’ at the beginning of a sentence meaning ‘for the purpose of’ but ‘in order to’ or ‘ so as to’ . Thanks again!

It is very difficult for anyone to say ‘Thus is correct’ or not. On whose authority? There is no Royal Academy of English, as there is in Spain, for example.

This is part of a never-ending debate. When you hear something which goes against established rules (Think of ‘I’m loving it!’ – McDonalds – love has always ben a verb which should not be used with present continuous) is it a natural evolution of a language or simply incorrect?

What you have told me was probably taught 60-80 years ago as ‘correct’ English, but has no connection with how the language is used nowadays. To tell you the truth, it’s the first time I’ve heard it.

(..and Shakespeare : “To be or not to be…”?)

Keep those messages coming!


What is the difference between learnt and learned?

This has an easy answer:

Burnt, Learnt, Dreamt are all past participles used in UK English.

Burned, Learned and Dreamed are all past participles used in US English. They are also the Past Simple forms (UK and US)


(SEE COMMENT BELOW) about work being an uncountable noun.In some contexts we must use job

You have to give me an example here. The problem with a lot of explanations (mine, for example) is that they are guides, but don’t work 100%. They give you an idea, but no more…


(SEE COMMENT BELOW) Hi again! As for my question on the different ways of saying ‘ya’ in Spanish, I ‘ve just seen your answer about that but you didn’t mention when we have to use the adverb already as the Spanish adverb ‘ya’ ,both in present simple and past simple tense. What’s more, even in other tenses like future.Thanks again from Antonio

Yes, you’re right – although in the future it would have to be a future perfect:

‘In two years’ time I will have already retired’ for example. I think this is similar to Spanish.

It’s difficult to explain because it depends on the context, but I think it translates well:

‘I already knew that’

‘I had already met him’

‘I’m beginning to understand already’, etc…

 

 


Hello! Could you please tell me all the differences between the word ‘work’ and ‘job’? Thanks! from Antonio

Actually, I’ve been meaning (=have the intention) to do a mini-class on this for some time, because it’s a classic problem.

We all know that ‘work’ is a verb. The problem is between ‘work’ and ‘job’ as nouns. These are differences:

  • Grammatically, ‘work’ is uncountable and ‘job’ is countable, so : ‘I’m looking for a job’ but ‘I’m looking for (some) work.’
  • ‘Job’ is what you are, it’s the name of your profession: He’s a fireman, that’s his job.
  • ‘Work’ is what you do (paid or not). Sometimes you have a lot of work, sometimes you have nothing to do at all, but you still have the same job with the same salary. A fireman’s work is to put out fires and rescue cats in trees.
  • Just to confuse things, ‘jobs’ are also ‘trabajitos’ that you have to do on Saturday – paint the bedroom, cut the grass, etc. but don’t let that distract you from the main idea.


Good morning! When it comes to the way of saying the word ‘ya’ in Spanish, what would you call it in English? I know I can say e.g. I have already eaten meaning “yo YA he comido”when using the present perfect. However, as well as in that tense, I have seen it used in present simple tense too, as in I’m getting nervous already. What I don’t understand is the fact that sometimes I see native English speakers using ‘already’ in present simple tenses and sometimes they don’t ,despite the fact that I would have said it!

Good question. It’s very common to study ‘still’, ‘yet’ and ‘already’ as part of the Present Perfect, and it often gives the impression that it is only used in this tense, when in fact this only applies to ‘yet’. (The same thing happens with ‘for’ and ‘since’- since has to be used with present perfect when its meaning is ‘desde’, but not ‘for’.)

I have to say that it’s never a good idea to look for a direct translation with words like ‘ya’ or ‘por’ which can be used in different contexts. I remember my confusion with ‘ya’ when I was first in Spain. I think you have to separate ‘ya’ in at least 3 different meanings:

‘Ya lo he hecho’ : I’ve already done it

‘Ya habeis acabado?’ : Have you finished yet?

‘Hazlo ya!: Do it right now / straight away!

Does that help?


Hi! What’s the difference between saying ‘To have something in my mind’ and ‘To have something on my mind? Thanks from Antonio

The expression is ‘He has something on his mind’, or ‘He has something in mind’ (not: in HIS mind)

To have something on my mind means that I’m worried about something, or I’m preoccupied (I can’t stop thinking about something )

To have something IN mind (not in MY mind) means that I have a project or an idea.


Hi! I have a doubt with respect to when we have to say I know / I know it and I forgot / I forgot it / I forgot about it. Thank you from Antonio

I’m not sure what your question is, or where you have the doubt, but I’ll explain briefly….

They are all correct, but:

  • It’s not so common to hear ‘I know it’. People generally say ‘I know’ or ‘I know that’. In the past tense it is much more common (‘I knew it!’)
  • ‘Did you buy some milk? I sent you a message.’   ‘Oh no! I forgot!’ or ‘I forgot (all) about it’
  • ‘I forgot it’ is not so common if you’re talking about a physical object. You wouldn’t say, for example, ‘I forgot it (the mobile) at home’. You would say ‘I left it at home.’
  • On the other hand you could say ‘I forgot (about) our anniversary’

I hope that helps!


Hello! Could you please tell me the difference between ‘on the top of’ and ‘on top of’ ? Thanks from Antonio

Not a lot…

‘On top of’ is the most common thing to say (or quite simply ‘on’)

‘On the top of’ or ‘on the very top of’ is just a way of emphasising:

“The suitcase is on top of / on the top of the wardrobe”

Remember if it isn’t physical, use ‘at the top of..’

“Arsenal are at the top of the league”

..and ‘at the top of…’ is not exactly the same as ‘on’. An attic is at the top of the house (= the top part), not on (the) top of the house (= on)


Hi! We use the modal verb SHOULD when giving advice. However, we use HAD BETTER for the same purpose if I don’t get wrong… Is there any difference? Thanks!

Good question, and difficult to explain…

There is a difference, but it’s a difference of tone, more than meaning. ‘Had better’ is more urgent. Look at these examples:

A FRIEND: You should eat more vegetables and do more exercise – you’ll feel better.
THE DOCTOR: You’d better stop smoking now, or you won’t live long!

HAD BETTER often implies a threat or danger:
“You’d better tell me what he said, or I’ll tell them our secret….”

‘Ought to’ is the same as ‘Should’, although it is only used in its affirmative form, as a general rule.


Hello, Would you be so kind as to tell me the difference between ‘faculty’ and “college” ? I noticed the word college its not only used in the context of University but also as a school. As well as that, I don’t know what the sixth form is ( I know it consists of the 2 last years before University but the question would be: How many “forms” are there ? Thank you very much from Antonio

OK… I have the sensation that you are asking me about US English, and I am British, so I’ll tell you about the UK side, and what I think happens in the US.

A faculty in the UK means a department of studies at university. For example, the Faculty of Social Science or the Faculty of Medicine. I think this is the same in the USA.

A college in the USA is another word for university. In the UK it’s a centre of education which is alternative to a university- if you want to study hairdressing or plumbing, for example.

People usually refer to years at secondary school as ‘forms’. So compulsory secondary education is from the first to the fifth forms (11 – 16 years old), and then the ‘lower sixth’ and ‘upper sixth’ forms are for ‘A-levels’ (for University admission).

This is the UK. I’ll ask on Facebook to see if anybody knows about the US.


Hi ! I would like to know when the usage of the prepositions at/on/over and during are appropriate for the word weekend. I would be greatful if you could give me some examples when using each one. Thank you very much.

(grateful)

OK. Let’s first talk about ‘on the weekend’. I was going to tell you ‘That’s wrong’ and then I remembered that Americans say ‘on the weekend’, although that doesn’t mean it’s correct 😉 .

The correct form (or UK form – it’s the same thing 🙂 ) is ‘at the weekend’. No plural form, always singular.

‘During the weekend’ is basically the same thing, but isn’t used as frequently. It is also very commob to hear ‘this weekend’ ‘last weekend’ and ‘next weekend’ depending on the sentence.

‘Over the weekend’ is a way of saying ‘during the whole weekend’ instead of ‘at some point during the weekend’. Look at the example:

I’ll see you at the weekend = At some point during the weekend

Why don’t you stay over the weekend = Stay for the whole weekend


Could you please tell me the difference between exact and accurate? Thanks!

Imagine somebody asks you: ‘How long does it take for light to travel from the sun to the earth?’

If you say: ‘I’d say between 8 – 8 and a half minutes.’ that’s quite ACCURATE.

If you say: ‘Exactly 8 minutes 20 seconds’, that’s EXACT (according to Google. I am not responsible for any scientific statements on this webpage 🙂 )

There are degrees of accuracy, but something is either exact or not.


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