English Study Card
Basic – Intermediate
This section provides easy to understand explanations to help you get the most out of your English Basic to Intermediate Study Card. It takes you through the layout and content and it gives you a brief explanation of each topic with examples.
The Glossary section on the website gives you a definition of the different grammar terms. Remember that you can use your English Study Card with any textbook you may be using.
Practising your exercises out loud helps you absorb the language effectively.
The English Study from Basic to Intermediate displays 50 independent tables with the most important grammar elements such as pronouns, possessives, adjectives, verb tenses, key words and expressions.
The Personal Pronouns and the Verb to Be determine the colours used throughout the card.
- The personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, you and they), are represented in a light shade of yellow, purple, green and salmon.
- The conjugations of the verb to be (am, is are), are represented in the same colour but in a darker shade.
PRONOUNS + VERB TO BE
The verb to be expresses:
- Identity, origin, existence.
I‘m Bill, I‘m a student, I‘m from New Zealand.
Your phone is on the desk. It‘s beside the pile of books.
Brian is 39 years old.
- It’s also used for describing shape, size, state, colour, mood, etc.
These shoes are gorgeous.
We‘re very excited.
The food in this place is tasteless.
VERB TO BE INTERROGATIVE
Ryan is Canadian
Is Ryan Canadian?
- There are 2 types of questions:
- Yes/No questions (The answer for this question is either yes or no)
Are you hungry?
Yes, I’m starving / No, I’m OK.
- Wh- questions (The answer to this question contains information).
What’s your phone number? It’s 087 1709970
Why are you sad? My cat isn’t eating. There’s something wrong with him.
How is your sister Emma (she)? She‘s good, thanks.
Where are you? I’m parked beside the sweet shop on George’s Street.
VERB TO BE NEGATIVE
- You form the negative by adding not after the verb to be. Or you can join the is and are with not with an apostrophe: n’t.
- You can do the contracted negative form in all the persons except in the first person singular (I).
I’m not angry, I’m just worried.
It’s not too bad.
We aren’t staying here.
They‘re not from Lisbon, they’re from Porto.
THERE IS / THERE ARE
- The singular form is: there is
- The plural form is: there are
There is a stain on your shirt.
There are many job opportunities at the moment.
- The negative is formed by adding not after is/are, or by contracting is/are and not: isn’t / aren’t
There isn’t a hotel on this street.
There aren’t any tickets left.
- The interrogative is formed by inverting there and is/are
Is there a Mexican restaurant around here?
Are there glasses on the table?
DEMONSTRATIVES + / - / ?
- Demonstratives are used to point to a person, thing, place or time.
Singular (close to the speaker): this
Singular (far from the speaker): that
Plural (close to the speaker): these
Plural (far from the speaker): those
- Use is for singular and are for plural.
That is my drink.
That is my house.
These are our proposals.
Those are John’s keys.
- To form the negative, change:
Is to is not or isn’t,
And are to are not or aren’t.
That isn’t a good idea.
These scissors aren’t very sharp.
- To form the interrogative, invert the verb and the demonstrative.
Is this your jumper?
Are those Sarah’s kids?
- You can also use other verbs:
This house has a great view.
Those machines make too much noise.
That factory employs a lot of people.
These cars don’t have insurance.
Have these documents been checked?
- An article goes before a noun and it tells you whether the noun is specific or general.
- There are two types of articles: the definite article and the indefinite article.
The definite article tells you the word that is being referred to is specific: the
Pass me the magazine (a specific magazine).
The indefinite article tells you the word that is being referred to is general: a/an.
Pass me a magazine (any magazine).
QUANTIFIERS AND DETERMINERS
- A quantifier indicates the number or amount being referred to.
- There are countable and uncountable nouns.
- Countable nouns are those we can count. They have a singular and plural form.
one bag, two bags
- Uncountable nouns are those we can’t count. They may be abstract objects, ideas or physical objects that are too hard to count (gas, liquid, powder). The singular form is used with these nouns.
Examples of uncountable nouns:
love, time, tea, sugar, rice, money, air beauty, anger, water.
- A few / many
These quantifiers are used with Countable nouns.
There are many kids in this room.
There are a few apples left in the fruit basket.
- A little/much
These quantifiers are used with uncountable nouns.
There is a little milk left.
There isn’t much time.
- Some / any
Use some in affirmative sentences. Use any in negative and interrogative sentences.
There are some cats outside.
There aren’t any kids outside.
Are there any kids outside?
- A lot of / plenty / enough
You can use these quantifiers with countable or uncountable nouns.
There is a lot of time.
There are a lot of flies.
I have plenty of notes.
There’s plenty of food.
There isn’t enough butter for the cake.
There are enough players for the game.
- The plural of words that end in –o, –s, –sh, –ch and –x is formed by adding es. (Third person in verbs).
potato – potatoes
coach – coaches
fax – faxes
I push – she pushes
I pass – she passes
- The plural of words that end in –y is formed by changing –y to –ies.
puppy – puppies
party – parties
I study – she studies
- The plural of words that end in –ay, –ey and –oy, is formed by adding –s.
display – displays
turkey – turkeys
boy – boys
- The plural of words that end in –f, –fe is formed by changing –f, –fe to –ves.
knife – knives
wolf – wolves
- Possessive adjectives are the words used to show ownership. They come before the noun and it tells you to whom the noun belongs.
These are Laura’s clothes. This is her favourite jumper.
Alex is an amazing musician, his talent is out of this world.
I don’t think we’ll go to the gala, our daughter is sick.
Their final exam is next week.
- The Possessive Pronoun indicates possession. It’s used to avoid repeating information that is already clear or to substitute a noun which is obvious. It can stand alone or if the noun is mentioned, it comes after it.
Example without possessive pronouns:
This pen is my pen, not your pen.
Example with possessive pronouns:
This pen is mine, not yours.
This is mine, not yours.
PRESENT SIMPLE + / - / ?
- The Present Simple is used to express facts.
I live in Barcelona.
- To express habits.
I take drum lessons on Wednesdays.
- For future timetables.
My plane leaves at noon.
- To express something that is generally true.
The sun rises in the east.
- The structure for the Present Simple in affirmative is very easy: Pronoun or noun + Verb.
- The third persons (he, she, it) need to have an s at the end of the verb.
I work in the Marketing department.
She works in the Human Resources department.
- To form the negative form, the English language requires the use of auxiliaries or helping words: do, (for I, you, we, they) does (for he, she, it).
Pronoun or noun + Auxiliary + Verb
Susan doesn’t have a son, she has a daughter.
I don’t drink coffee, I drink tea.
- To form the interrogative, you need this structure:
(Wh- question) + Auxiliary + Pronoun or noun + Verb
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Where do you live?
How often do you go to the cinema?
Does Liam know how to play the guitar?
- When answering yes/no questions, use the auxiliary as well.
A: Do you have any change?
B: No, I don’t
A: Does Harry go to the gym with you?
B: Yes, he does, when he can.
PRESENT CONTINUOUS + / - / ?
- As you can see in your card, the Present Continuous, is formed with to be (am, is, are) and the verb with –ing ending.
- Invert the verb to be and the pronoun or noun to form the interrogative form.
Melissa is sleeping now.
Is Melissa sleeping now?
Where are you going?
- You use this tense to describe an action that is going on at this moment.
I’ll call you back, I‘m talking to Sean.
- To describe an action that’s temporary, not happening at this time.
We‘re remodeling our house. (It’s a temporary action).
- To describe an action or event in the future.
We’re going to the cinema at 6.00 today. Are you coming with us?
- Comparative adjectives are used to describe people or things.
I’m feeling better now, thanks.
This laptop is faster.
- You can use the word than when you want to compare one thing or person with another.
The thick book is cheaper than the thin one.
- To form the comparative, add -er at the end of short adjectives or one syllable adjectives such as cold, big, hot, cheap, etc.
Mike is taller than Gabriel.
This way is quicker.
It’s hotter during the summer.
- Use the word more with longer adjectives or two syllable adjectives such as interesting, dangerous, delicious, etc.
Flights are more expensive this year than last.
The cakes will be more delicious if you use goats butter.
- The superlative is used to express that a thing, person or idea has the most of a particular quality within a group of its kind.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful painting in the whole museum.
The Well is the oldest building in the town.
- To form the superlative with short adjectives (one syllable) such as hot, cold, fast, etc, add the and –est at the end of the adjective.
The 21st of June is the longest day of the year.
Take this shortcut; it’s the quickest way to get there.
- To form the superlative with two long adjectives (two or more syllables)add the most before the adjective.
You are the most impatient person I have ever met.
This is the most delicious cake you will ever taste.
This pizza is good, however, the ones from Giovanni’s are better. You will always find the best pizza in Italy.
- The Past describes actions and situations that are completely finished in the past.
Sam made a delicious lasagne, do you want some?
I thought of you all day.
The concert finished at midnight.
- To form the past, add –ed at the end of the verb
play – played
- Some verbs require a slightly different change. If they end in –e, add –d.
bake – baked
- For irregular verbs, you need to memorise the past form.
go – went
write – wrote
sleep – slept
- To form the negative, you need to use the auxiliary didn’t (did not) between the subject and the verb. Note that the verb is not in the past when you use the auxiliary didn´t.
I didn’t go to work today.
Mike didn’t tell me you called me.
They didn’t want to stay in that hotel.
- To form the interrogative, you also need an auxiliary. If it’s an information question, add the auxiliary did between the wh- question and the subject. If it’s a yes, no question, add did at the beginning of the question. Note that the verb is not in the past tense when you use the auxiliary did.
Where did you go?
Did you get to talk to Tom about our plans?
- To answer yes / no questions in Past, use the auxiliary did or didn´t.
Did Nancy work with you during the summer?
Yes, she did. She was in charge of the invoices.
Did you have a good night sleep?
No, I didn´t. A dog barking kept me up all night.
PAST - TO BE
- The Past of be is was or were. Your table displays the conjugation with the colour coded system for easy reference.
am and is = was
are = were
- The same as in the Present, the negative Past is formed by adding not:
was not = wasn’t
were not = weren’t
I wasn’t aware of the time.
Jim and Kate weren’t happy about it.
- Look at how the colours of the pronouns and be are swapped in your card. Try to find the logic in the grammar when forming questions with the verb to be. One of the most common mistakes is when a sentence is made a question just with the intonation. Remember to invert the verb and the pronoun when asking something.
Your car was parked outside the school? (wrong)
Was your car parked outside the school? (right)
- The Past Continuous is used to talk about actions in progress at a specific moment in the past.
I got so nervous at my presentation I was shaking.
- It’s also used to express that an action was in progress and it was interrupted by another action.
I was thinking of you when you called.
- To form the Past Continuous, use the verb to be in Past (was / were)and add –ing at the end of the verb. Look at the table of VERBS + ING SPELLING.
play – playing
swim – swimming
run – running
- Use wasn’t or weren’t for the negative form.
I wasn’t copying, Miss Henderson.
Nicole wasn’t driving, Mark was.
- Remember to invert the noun or pronoun and verb to be when forming questions.
Were you listening to the radio last night?
What were they thinking?
- The Reflexive Pronouns indicate that the person doing the action also receives the action.
I wasn’t laughing at you, I was laughing at myself.
- In English Reflexive Pronouns are more commonly used to emphasize the persons doing the action.
We don´t need to hire a painter, I´m sure we can do it ourselves.
She walked home by herself.
I, does the action, and the word you receives the action. The pronoun doing the action is called Subject Pronoun, the one receiving the action is an Object Pronoun.
Your card shows all the Object Pronouns in their respective colours for easy reference.
- The Object pronoun goes after the verb.
John loves Rita. John loves her.
Rita loves John. She loves him.
- A characteristic of the Modal Verbs is that they never change their form, you can’t add s or ed and they are always followed by an infinitive (without to).
- The modal verbs can have different functions, depending on the context, if it’s in negative, in present or in past.
- Can and could – Ability.
I can/could play the piano.
- Should – Advice.
You should wait before you buy the tickets. The prices might come down.
- Must – Obligation.
You must wear a helmet if you want to get into the plant.
- Mustn’t – Strong prohibition.
You mustn’t pass this area marked by the yellow line.
- Can’t – Flexible prohibition.
I can’t go out tonight, I’m grounded.
- Can’t, couldn’t – 100% negative certainty.
She can’t be in work, I saw her 10 minutes ago with Jimmy.
- May, not, might not – Less negative certainty.
They may not want to come with us, they weren’t very happy the last time after your comments.
- May, might, could – Assumptions.
I don’t know why Carlos didn’t show up, he could be sick. He didn’t look great the last time I saw him.
- Must – Strong certainty.
Colin must be really happy, winning a trip to the Greek Islands, how lucky!
- May, might could – Future possibility.
The shop may open early tomorrow. It’s the busiest time of the year.
- May, can – Permission.
You can use my laptop.
- Would, could, will, can – Requests.
Would you like to come with us?
- Would, should – To offer suggestions.
Should we go out tonight?
FUTURE - GOING TO
- The Future with going to is used to describe future plans and intentions. It is formed with the verb to be in present + going to + verb.
I’m going to call Ben.
Jack is going to be very happy when he hears the news.
Alex is going to play at the jazz festival next October.
- To ask questions in Future, just invert the verb to be and the pronoun or noun.
Is Peter going to travel with you?
Are they going to keep the house?
- To form the negative, just use the negative of the verb to be: isn’t / aren’t
Tim isn’t going to be with us tonight.
I know Patty and Lisa aren’t going to choose Italian as a foreign language.
FUTURE - WILL
- Will is used for future predictions, offers, promises and spontaneous responses. The contracted form is ‘ll.
- The negative form is won’t. To ask questions, just place will or won´t before the pronoun.
I will be good.
Megan will bring the drinks.
Don´t lift it, I‘ll do it.
She won’t want to get to the party without a present.
Will you tell her I called in?
- This table in your card displays the structure needed to form the Present Perfect. You need the auxiliary verb have/has and the Past Participle of the verb.
- It´s used to express that an action started in the past and it still continues.
I have worked in this company since 2012.
Esther has lived in Madrid all her life.
They have seen a lot of Dublin since they got here.
- To form the negative, use haven’t / hasn’t.
I haven’t seen that movie yet. Is it good?
Emily hasn’t called yet, do you think she’s alright?
- To form the interrogative, place have / has before the noun or pronoun.
Where have you been? I´ve been looking for you everywhere.
Have you ever been to Toledo?