Sunday, 15 December 2013

"I'm always meeting..." VS "I always meet..."

Try this;

I _____________________ my students at shopping malls during the holidays.
A) am always meeting
B) always meet

The answer is A.


Because I mean that I'm always bumping into (meeting accidentally) my students whenever I visit shopping malls.

HOWEVER, if I say "I always meet my students at shopping malls during the holidays", that means I always make arrangements or plans to meet them.


We use "always VERB+ing" (not "always VERB")  for certain situations;

1) to mean 'very often', perhaps more often than we expected.
2) something that is unexpected or unplanned or not regular.
E.g. :
I'm always losing my keys. (very often)
My pupils are always giving me presents. (very often+unexpected)

We don't use "always VERB+ing"  for something that's regular or planned.
I always meet my students at school. (regular/planned arrangement)

We always spend our holidays together. (regular + planned)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

"MUSTN'T" or "CAN'T"? (in expressing improbability)

He's a nice boy. It can't be him stealing the pencil! - CORRECT

He's a nice boy. It musn't be him stealing the pencil! - WRONG

*Must is NOT often used to express certainty in NEGATIVE clauses.
It is used to express the conclusion that something is certain or highly probable.

He's a bad boy. It must be him stealing the pencil! - CORRECT!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

"It's I" OR "It's me"?

1) "It's I" (=I am the one)
2) "It's me" (=Me am the one)

Which one sounds correct to you?

Of course when talking informally we can just use any one we like. Nobody cares anyway, right? Even some native speakers use the wrong one too!

BUT, here I'm discussing the standard one which we use in formal writing, formal speech, at schools, during interviews or even in our daily conversation if we want to speak better English.

So, the 'better answer' is "It's I". ;)

Hello. You want to speak to Hafidz? This is him. 

Hello. You want to speak to Hafidz? This is he. - CORRECT
We're going to dinner alone - just you and me.

We're going to dinner alone - just you and I. - CORRECT

It was him who ate all the biscuits.
It was he who ate all the biscuits. - CORRECT

Mom gave both of us, Ziana and I, money for the film.
Mom gave both of us, Ziana and me, money for the film. - CORRECT
('me' is used here because it's an object in the sentence, not a subject )


The teacher told I to keep quiet.
The teacher told me to keep quiet. - CORRECT *as an object


She is a friend of Hazzi and me.
She is a friend of Hazzi and I.
She is a friend of Hazzi and mine. - CORRECT *to show possession

"You're welcome" OR "You're welcomed"?

Both are correct but they are different!

WELCOMED (VERB) is used when;
1) you're received or greeted with pleasure or in a friendly way when you arrive at a destination.

WELCOME (ADJECTIVE) is used when;
1) giving the permission to do, have or accept something.
2) you're pleased when someone comes to stay at your house, etc.
3) As a reply for 'thank you'.

Sentence examples;
1) You're welcome to stay as long as you wish. (I give you the permission to stay)
2) Welcome to my house! (another expression for no (1))
3) I could see that you're welcomed by the receptionist just now. (you're greeted with pleasure by the receptionist).
4) The visitors were welcomed by the hosts. (the hosts greeted the visitors with pleasure)
5) You can bring as many friends to the party as you like. Everyone is welcome. (Everyone's invited to the party)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Should we begin 'dad' and 'mom' with capital letters?

We only capitalize (begin with capital letters) when we're calling our parents' names for example;

Hi, Mom!
Welcome home, Dad.

- My dad's busy working.
- Is your mom here?
- His mom is pretty.
- Our dad isn't working today.

*more info:
- Religions, nationalities and races of people should always be capitalized.
(Malay, Chinese, Muslims, etc.)
- General subjects at school shouldn't be capitalized.
(mathematics, history, geography, etc.)
BUT we capitalize 'English' in English language.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A FEW versus FEW

If I say "I have a few excellent pupils", that means I'm happy and grateful to have them.
On the other hand, if I say "I have few excellent pupils", it means I wish I had more of them!

A FEW indicates a positive count something like "it's better than none", but
FEW indicates a negative count something like "there should be more".


Same goes to "a little" and "little".
A LITTLE indicates "more or better than none" or "a small amount"
LITTLE indicates "not enough to be important" or "not very much"/"almost none".

1) I have a little money for savings. :)
2) I have little money to spend today. :(

Saturday, 30 March 2013


Parent: Please bring the books to school tomorrow. (WRONG)
Parent: Please take the books to school tomorrow. (CORRECT)

(*SITUATION: You're not at school and the parent is not going to school with you tomorrow.)

Teacher: Please take the books to school tomorrow. (WRONG)
Teacher: Please bring the books to school tomorrow. (CORRECT)

(*SITUATION: Both the teacher and the student are at school. The books are with the student but are not with the teacher.)

-BRING means 'come with somebody/something'  (NOT 'go')
-TAKE means 'go with somebody/something' (NOT 'come')

Other examples:
- When you come to my house this Sunday, bring (NOT take) your sister with you so I can meet her. 

(*come to my house)
- Whenever I go sightseeing, I take (NOT bring) my camera with me. 

(*go to any places for sightseeing)
- Would you like to take (NOT bring) me home?

(*go back home)
- Can I come to your party and bring (NOT 'take') a friend with  me? 

(*come to my party here)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

'ANY' for singular or plural?

Do you have any questions? 

Do you have any question?

The correct one is;
Do you have any questions?

Any is usually used with uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns (NOT with singular countable nouns

Here are some other sentence examples:

> Do you have a pen? (singular countable)
> Do you have any pens? (plural countable)

> Do you have any money? (uncountable)

OMG! What????? You don't know what countable, uncountable, singular and plural are??
You'd better check it out yourselves! hahahaha