Japan earthquake – tenses

There have been a lot of earthquakes recently, including this one on Japan’s Hokkaido island. Current news stories – although often tragic – are full of interesting grammar as they include past and finished, recently finished, as well as ongoing events and situations. See if you can choose the correct tenses from the news coverage. Continue reading

More papers and paper

For all you ‘visual learners’ out there, here’s a video version of a previous post in which we looked at the difference between the countable and uncountable forms of the word ‘paper’.

After watching the video you might want to have a go at the gapfill activity accompanying the last post dealing with ‘paper’!

Crime or crimes?

Several posts on GuruEAP deal with nouns that can be either countable or uncountable but with slightly different meanings. Here’s a text packed with examples of one such word – Crime. Select either ‘crime’ or ‘crimes’ from the dropdown menus and then check the answer key for analysis and explanations!

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(A) few, (a) little

Only some students hand in their homework on time.

Indonesian flag Elsewhere on GuruEAP we’ve looked at alternatives to ‘some’, which tends to be overused by Indonesians translating from ‘beberapa’, or, in the example above – ‘hanya beberapa’.

In this post we look at other alternatives to ‘some’ that are especially problematic for Indonesians because they are awkward to translate: few, a few, little, and a little.

As with all quantifiers, we need to begin by deciding whether the noun we’re quantifying is countable or uncountable. Continue reading

Idiomatic language in IELTS

I recently started walking to work occasionally, but it’s still only once in a blue moon.

Students read in the IELTS public band descriptors that band 7 candidates can use ‘idiomatic language’, and so they head for the nearest idioms dictionary and start writing things like ‘once in a blue moon‘, or ‘a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush‘, but in the wrong contexts!

In this post we take a look at what the IELTS test means by ‘idiomatic language’. Continue reading

No need for ‘necessity’

It is a necessity of Christian churches to address post-colonial issues in their ministerial aspects.

This was a special request from subscriber and special friend Elia who is unsure about his use of the word ‘necessity’. Like many Indonesians he is not confident when it comes to expressing subtle degrees of obligation, the Indonesian equivalents for which are often less subtle than their English counterparts. Continue reading