Contrasting while and meanwhile for contrast

The amount of time children spent watching TV remained stable, meanwhile the amount of time they spent using computers increased dramatically.

In this post we contrast while and meanwhile in terms of grammatical usage and their usefulness as contrast signals.

Continue reading

Conjunction sandwich

Alternative methods rely on variables that cannot be controlled by airlines, with overbooking, airlines have more control over related parameters.

The grammar problem in this opening sentence is explained in the video below.

Watch the video, and then – in the comments box at the bottom of this post – re-write the opening sentence based on the advice givien in the video!

Continue reading

Past and present importance

Indonesia and Australia have concluded their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) in August 2018.

Sometimes past events, although finished, are somehow important in the present, and we can communicate this importance using present perfect tense, often in conjunction with related time expressions.

Continue reading

As he says that..

As Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

OK so there is a group of reporting verbs that may be followed by that (+ independent clause), while there are others that don’t work with that:

Reporting verbs with ‘that’

  • Henderson (2013) writes that the double quantum matrix is a myth.
  • In 2015 it was discovered by Smith that elephants are more afraid of snakes than mice.
  • The findings of Jones et al. (2017) suggest that music education can lead to more general improvements in academic ability.

Reporting verbs without ‘that’

  • Henderson (2013) describes the double quantum matrix as a myth.
  • In his 2015 study of elephants, Smith identified a discrepancy between fear of mice and fear of snakes.
  • Jones’ research (2017) highlighted improvements in academic ability following music study.

As + that (?!)

This third category simply does not exist! As does not belong with that, so in our opening example we need either:

  • Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

OR..

  • As Ballard (2017) states, nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

Indonesian flag But NEVER:

  • As Ballard (2017) states that nicotine is more dangerous than alcohol.

Helping and enabling + to + V1

Older workers have built expertise to enable them coping with unusual circumstances.

Indonesian flag With help + obj and enable + obj you need to + V1:

  • Older workers have built expertise to enable them to cope with unusual circumstances.
  • Older workers have built expertise to help them to cope with unusual circumstances.

And that’s all folks!

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

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!

Continue reading

(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

One family

I have one wife, one child, one cat and one dog.

In the IELTS speaking test candidates often mention their families when talking about their homes. Sometimes they do this to justify only having a small home, or maybe they want to explain why they chose to live in a particular area.

But in any situation when you offer information about your family, your listener will make certain assumptions, in particular about numbers, and if the number is one then this is often best communicated without using the word ‘one’. Continue reading