Archive | Grammar


have gone & have been

I am frequently asked what the difference is between have gone and have been. Generally speaking, when we say, “He has gone to New York,” we mean he has left and is in New York now.  When we say, “He has been to New York,” we mean he went to New York and he is back now, […]

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a/an Exceptions to the Rule

Exception to the Rule We use “a” before words that begin with a consonant sound, and we use “an” before words that begin with a vowel sound. a / e / i / o / u For example: It was raining, and I didn’t have an umbrella. I ate an apple and a sandwich for […]

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When do you use “a” and “the”?

Today, we want to talk about when to use “a”, and when to use “the”. We use the definite article “the” when there is: 1. only one person, place, or thing 2. the person, place, or thing is already understood 3. the noun has already been mentioned before For more information, visit us at

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Using Commas

When writing compound sentences, use a comma before the coordinating conjunction. John went to the bank, and he went to the post office. It was raining hard, but he stayed dry. When writing complex sentences, use a comma when the subordinating clause is first. Although the test was canceled, John still studied at the library. Because the […]

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Using Adjective Clauses

We use adjective clauses to identify or give more information about a person, place or thing (noun). Unlike an adjective word, which comes before the noun it modifies, the adjective clause comes after the noun. We usually use relative pronouns to introduce the adjective clause. Relative pronouns are listed below. who, that modifies person / […]

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Look at the following examples using the word “MAKE.” In these examples “MAKE” means to REQUIRE, or even FORCE someone to do something. Teachers often MAKE students put away their cell phones. The police MADE the residents move their cars. New policies will MAKE workers sign in when they start work in the morning. Notice […]

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When to Use SHOULD, When to Use MUST

Should and must are modal verbs. We use should when we want to give advice or warn against something.  Such as, “You should buy organic food.” Notice that the modal comes just before the base form of the verb.  When we use the negative form to express warning, the adverb “not” comes between the modal and […]

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Using the Passive Voice

Using the Passive in Essay Writing When we use the passive voice, we take the object and move it into the subject position.  We do this primarily when the subject is less important and the object (the action) is more important.  Take for example: My glasses were broken. In this case, it is not so […]

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