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Grammar Lesson – making suggestions

There are many ways to make suggestions. We will look at making suggestions with should and could. One is much stronger than the other!

should – use should + base verb when you REALLY think it is a good idea to do something – you are telling the person what to do

“You should visit your mother more. She’s getting very old.”

Grammar lesson – ‘as (adjective) as ever’ v. ‘as usual’

These show continuous behavior, but there is a difference in how you apply them.

as busy/aggressive/lazy as ever = the person always shows this characteristic, it is his/her normal behavior.  It can be a positive or negative adjective.

Tom is as busy as ever. He works 7 days a week.

My secretary is as efficient as ever. I never have to ask her to do anything twice.

Grammar – too v. very

The ‘adverbs of degree’ very and too can be confusing, so let’s study the difference!

Look at the two sentences. How are they different?

A: It is very hot.
B: It is too hot.

A is a simple statement – It’s HOT! In this sentence, ‘too’ is the same as ‘really’.

However,  B shows difficulty.  For example, it may be  so hot that people are getting sick (heat exhaustion).

Grammar Lesson: maybe v. may be

Maybe is an adverb that means “perhaps”.

A: “Do you want to see a movie tonight?”

B:Maybe. What do you want to see?”

A little trick to help: replace maybe with perhaps and see if it still works…

A: “Are you going out tonight?”

B:Perhaps. I’ll see how tired I am later.”

If this sounds OK, then maybe is correct!

Grammar lesson – shall

Americans and Canadians do not use shall very often, but it is common in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

We can use it to make offers and suggestions and to ask for advice, usually at the beginning of a sentence.

Shall I turn the TV on?”

Shall we start the meeting?”

Shall I invite Rob to dinner?”

The negative of shall is shall not.

Can I start a sentence with BECAUSE?

Yes…and No!

We do NOT say:

“The party is going to be indoors. Because it is raining.”

“I’m not inviting Adam to the party. Because he’s a troublemaker.”

You DO say:

Because it is raining, we are having the party indoors.”

Because Adam is a troublemaker, I’m not inviting him to the party.”


Grammar Lesson – the verb ‘suggest’

Suggest is a verb that many English learners have trouble with.

Suggest is NOT followed by an object + to infinitive. This is a very common mistake.

‘Martin suggested me to visit the museum.’  WRONG

Suggest is usually followed by that or verb -ing.

That can be left out if there is a clause following it.

‘Martin suggested that museum.’

Grammar Lesson: used to

used to + verb = something that was true or happened in the past on a regularly basis. It does no happen today.

‘John used to smoke, but he quit last year.’

‘My husband used to drive to work, but the price of parking went up. So, now he takes the bus.’

‘There used to be a McDonalds in the park, but it closed a couple of months ago.’

Grammar Lesson: a lot of / lots of

A lot of / lots of mean the same, and are the informal versions of much and many.

They can be used:

1. with uncountable nouns to represent the idea of much

2. with countable nouns to represent the idea of many

“I’m going to eat a lot of Easter eggs this weekend!” (many)

“We have lots of time to help Jane move house.” (much)

Grammar lesson – uncountable nouns we make plural

A student asked me a very good question about uncountable nouns such as FOOD, OIL, and PROTEIN.

She asked why we sometimes make them plural by adding ‘s’.

To refresh your memory, countable nouns are things we can count…3 dogs, 2 years, 100 hours.

Uncountable nouns are things we cannot count such as milk, paint, or time.  We quantify/measure them instead -  a glass of milk, a can of paint, a lot of time.