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….


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What is the difference between learnt and learned? 3. November 2015

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 2. November 2015

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 2. November 2015

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 2. November 2015

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! 2. November 2015

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 2. November 2015

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 24. October 2015

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 22. October 2015

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! 20. October 2015

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 20. October 2015

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. 20. October 2015

(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! 20. October 2015

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.


What’s the difference in meaning among the verbs To look + adjective, To be like and To look like? Thank you from Antonio 20. October 2015

– Look like = be similar PHYSICALLY

You look like your dad – you are tall and strong, the same as him.

– Be like = be similar IN PERSONALITY

You’re like your dad. He never relaxes, and look at you! Today is Sunday, and you’re working!

– Look + Adjective = Seem to be (for people looking at you)

‘Hi Sarah- You look tired!’ ‘I know. I had to finish a project. I only slept for 3 hours!’

‘Did you see James with his new girlfriend – They looked really happy.’

This only works when you see people. For exanple, if you are on the phobe you would say ‘You sound tired’.


Como hacer una pregunta si la respuesta es: mi mejor amiga me llama tres veces a la semana 15. October 2015

La pregunta seria:

‘¿Con que frecuencia te llama tu mejor amiga?’

Recuerda que la pregunta es Presente Simple (porque esta hablando de algo EN GENERAL) y por lo tanto tienes que que usar el auxiliar ‘DO’, pero que también ‘tu mejor amiga’ (ella) es tercera persona y debe llevar ‘-S’. Finalmente el orden es: Pregunta (Con que Frecuencia) / Auxiliar (Adaptas ‘DO’) / Persona (Tu mejor amiga) / Verbos (Llamar) / Resto de la frase. Entonces:

How often does your best friend call you? (‘phone you’ o ‘ring you’ tambien es posible)


the exact instruction is: write a paragraph to share with the class about your favorite way to spend a free hour at home. in your paragraph include at least 5 different examples of subject-verb agreement with indefinite pronouns, compound subjects, and inverted sentences. 13. September 2015

5 in total, I hope – not 5 each! OK, let’s try:

I don’t like it when everybody (1) phones me to invite me out, nor am I (2) the type of person to go out dancing. Me and my brother (3) (or: My brother and I – more formal) usually stay at home and play videogames. We switch off our phones so nobody (4) disturbs us, and only after an hour do we turn them back on again (5).

Is that OK? I you want another compound subject: ‘My dog and my 2 cats (6) also like to join in the fun!’


Does the phrasal verb “take off” have an other meaning: to kill? 13. September 2015

‘Take out’ means ‘eliminate’. There are some American or Australian phrasal verbs I might not know, but as far as I know, no.

‘Take off’ can mean:

– A plane leaving an airport ‘What time does your plane take off?’
– Undressing ‘Your t-shirt is dirty – take it off!’
– A rapid growth ‘Sales of the new mobile watch have really taken off.’


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