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 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

Not ‘easy to be found’!

News from online media is easy to be found.

With easy and difficult you need active verbs:

  • News from online media is easy to find.
  • It is more difficult to find news from traditional sources.

..and with a different verb:

  • News online still has a negative side because it is not always easy to be verified.
  • News online still has a negative side because it is not always easy to verify.

So, that was easy to fix! (NOT ‘to be fixed’!)

Giving to people for a purpose

In recent times, the obligation of developed nations to give aid for developing nations has been widely discussed.

This grammar item is handled differently by different languages. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Several highly independent intelligence operations were given to him.
  • Eventually they gave the house to their eldest son.
  • Don’t give it to them! They’ll waste it.
  • In these examples, give..to is followed by a person or group. (Indonesian flag kepada)

So, ‘to’ + person or people. What about ‘for’?

  • Cool, huh?! My parents gave it to me for my birthday.
  • I normally give a tip for good service, but this time I was disappointed.
  • Here give..for is followed by a purpose. (Indonesian flag untuk)

Now try this practice activity. Continue reading

Insisting on skirts!

Forward-thinking schools don’t insist their students to wear uniforms.

Ok I admit that there are some similar words that behave like this:

  • Forward-thinking schools don’t force their students to wear uniforms.
  • Forward-thinking schools don’t oblige their students to wear uniforms.
  • Forward-thinking schools don’t require their students to wear uniforms.
  • Meaning: schools want uniforms, students don’t.
    Structure: verb + someone + to + V1

Insist is unusual:

  • Forward-thinking schools don’t insist on uniforms for their students.
  • Meaning: schools want uniforms, students don’t.
    Structure: verb + on + something
  • Forward-thinking schools don’t insist that their students wear uniforms.
  • Meaning: schools want uniforms, students don’t.
    Structure: verb + that + independent clause

In the featured image for this post, boys who are not allowed to wear shorts at school are insisting that they should be allowed to wear skirts instead!

Take a look at these examples.

Interested in ‘interest’

Admittedly some people may not interests in the arts.

OK so ‘interest’ is potentially a problematic word.

Let’s say I’m one of those people who like the arts, I like attending arts events, and I like going to galleries, etc. In this case I can say any of the following:

  • I’m interested in the arts.
  • S.o. + (not) to be + interested in + s.th./s.o.
  • The arts interest me.
  • S.th./S.o. + (doesn’t) interest(s) + s.o.
  • I find the arts interesting.
  • S.o. + (doesn’t) find(s) + s.th./s.o. + interesting
  • The arts are interesting to me.
  • S.th./S.o. + (not) to be + interesting + to + s.o.

Returning to our original example, we need:

  • Admittedly some people may not be interested in the arts.
  • Admittedly some people may not find the arts interesting.
  • Admittedly the arts may not interest some people.
  • Admittedly the arts may not be interesting to some people.

Try this practice activity: Continue reading

Now listen to me!

Listening modern music, such as Jazz, for instance, might be useful to warm up the emotion part of the brain which can induce relaxation and reduce anxiety.

There is some sophisticated language here – except for the first word! Unfortunately there’s a difference in meaning between listen (without to) and listen to. Take a look at this short dialogue:

Mother (angry..) Johnny, are you listening?
Johnny What?
Mother Now listen to me. That’s very naughty. Don’t do it again!

Quite simply, if there’s an object – listen to me (‘me’, object) – then you need ‘to’:

  • Listening to modern music, such as Jazz, for instance, might be useful to warm up the emotion part of the brain which can induce relaxation and reduce anxiety.