Form of Adjectives

1. Adjectives are invariable:
They do not change their form depending on the gender or number of the noun.
A hot potato Some hot potatoes

2. To emphasise or strengthen the meaning of an adjective use 'very' or 'really':
A very hot potato Some really hot potatoes.
(BUT see also Modifiers/Adverbs)
Position of adjectives
a) Usually in front of a noun: A beautiful girl.
b) After verbs like "to be", "to seem" , "to look", "to taste":

• The girl is beautiful
• You look tired
• This meat tastes funny.
c) After the noun: in some fixed expressions:

• The Princess Royal
• The President elect
• a court martial
d) After the noun with the adjectives involved, present, concerned:

1. I want to see the people involved/concerned (= the people who have something to do with the matter)
2. Here is a list of the people present (= the people who were in the building or at the meeting)
Be careful! When these adjectives are used before the noun they have a different meaning:
• An involved discussion = detailed, complex
• A concerned father = worried, anxious
• The present situation = current, happening now

ADVERBS: How adverbs are formed

1. In most cases, an adverb is formed by adding '-ly' to an adjective:

Adjective Adverb
cheap cheaply
quick quickly
slow slowly

• Time goes quickly.
• He walked slowly to the door.
• She certainly had an interesting life.
• He carefully picked up the sleeping child.


If the adjective ends in '-y', replace the 'y' with 'i' and add '-ly':

Adjective Adverb
easy easily
angry angrily
happy happily
lucky luckily

If the adjective ends in -'able', '-ible', or '-le', replace the '-e' with '-y':

Adjective Adverb
probable probably
terrible terribly
gentle gently

If the adjective ends in '-ic', add '-ally':

Adjective Adverb
basic basically
economic economically
tragic tragically

Note: Exception: public - publicly

2. Some adverbs have the same form as the adjective:
Adjective and Adverb
early late
fast near
hard straight
high wrong

• It is a fast car.
• He drives very fast.
• This is a hard exercise.
• He works hard.
• We saw many high buildings.
• The bird flew high in the sky.

3. 'Well' and 'good'
'Well' is the adverb that corresponds to the adjective 'good'.

• He is a good student.
• He studies well.
• She is a good pianist.
• She plays the piano well.
• They are good swimmers.
• They swim well.

Most nouns form the plural by adding -s or -es.

Singular Plural
boat boats
hat hats
house houses
river rivers

A noun ending in -y preceded by a consonant makes the plural with -ies.

Singular Plural
a cry cries
a fly flies
a nappy nappies
a poppy poppies
a city cities
a lady ladies
a baby babies

There are some irregular formations for noun plurals. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

Examples of irregular plurals
Singular Plural
woman women
man men
child children
tooth teeth
foot feet
person people
leaf leaves
half halves
knife knives
wife wives
life lives
loaf loaves
potato potatoes
cactus cacti
focus foci
fungus fungi
nucleus nuclei
syllabus syllabi/syllabuses
analysis analyses
diagnosis diagnoses
oasis oases
thesis theses
crisis crises
phenomenon phenomena
criterion criteria
datum data

Some nouns have the same form in the singular and the plural.
Singular Plural
sheep sheep
fish fish
species species
aircraft aircraft

Some nouns have a plural form but take a singular verb.
news --> The news is on at 6.30 p.m.
athletics --> Athletics is good for young people.
linguistics --> Linguistics is the study of language.
darts --> Darts is a popular game in England.
billiards Billiards is played all over the world.

Some nouns have a plural form and take a plural verb.

trousers --> My trousers are too tight.
jeans --> Her jeans are black.
glasses --> Those glasses are his.

others include:

savings, thanks, steps, stair, customs, congratulations, tropics, wages,spectacles, outskirts, goods, wits

(See also Verbs -'Regular verbs in the simple present')

Simple present, third person singular
1. he, she, it: in the third person singular the verb always ends in -s:
he wants, she needs, he gives, she thinks.

2. Negative and question forms use DOES (=the third person of the auxiliary'DO') +the infinitive of the verb.
He wants. Does he want? He does not want.

3. Verbs ending in -y : the third person changes the -y to -ies:
fly flies, cry cries

Exception: if there is a vowel before the -y:
play plays, pray prays

4. Add -es to verbs ending in: -ss, -x, -sh, -ch:
he passes, she catches, he fixes, it pushes
See also Verbs -'Regular verbs in the simple present', and 'Be, do & have'

1. Third person singular with s or -es
He goes to school every morning.
She understands English.
It mixes the sand and the water.
He tries very hard.
She enjoys playing the piano.

2. Simple present, form
Example: to think, present simple

Affirmative Interrogative Negative
I think Do I think ? I do not think.
You think Do you think? You don't think.
he, she, it thinks Does he, she, it think? He, she, it doesn't think.
we think Do we think? We don't think.
you think Do you think? You don't think.

The simple present is used:
1. to express habits, general truths, repeated actions or unchanging situations, emotions and wishes:
I smoke (habit); I work in London (unchanging situation); London is a large city (general truth)

2. to give instructions or directions:
You walk for two hundred metres, then you turn left.

3. to express fixed arrangements, present or future:
Your exam starts at 09.00

4. to express future time, after some conjunctions: after, when, before, as soon as, until:
He'll give it to you when you come next Saturday.

BE CAREFUL! The simple present is not used to express actions happening now. See Present Continuous.

1. For habits
He drinks tea at breakfast.
She only eats fish.
They watch television regularly.

2. For repeated actions or events
We catch the bus every morning.
It rains every afternoon in the hot season.
They drive to Monaco every summer.

3. For general truths
Water freezes at zero degrees.
The Earth revolves around the Sun.
Her mother is Peruvian.

4. For instructions or directions
Open the packet and pour the contents into hot water.
You take the No.6 bus to Watney and then the No.10 to Bedford.

5. For fixed arrangements
His mother arrives tomorrow.
Our holiday starts on the 26th March

6. With future constructions
She'll see you before she leaves.
We'll give it to her when she arrives.



The simple past in English may look like a tense in your own language, but the meaning may be different.

1. Simple Past: Form

Regular verbs: base+ed
e.g. walked, showed, watched, played, smiled, stopped

Irregular verbs: see list of verbs

Simple past, be, have, do:
Subject Verb
Be Have Do
I was had did
You were had did
He, she, it was had did
We were had did
You were had did
They were had did

• I was in Japan last year
• She had a headache yesterday.
• We did our homework last night.

Negative and interrogative

For the negative and interrogative simple past form of "do" as an ordinary verb, use the auxiliary "do", e.g. We didn't do our homework last night. The negative of "have" in the simple past is usually formed using the auxiliary "do", but sometimes by simply adding not or the contraction "n't".

The interrogative form of "have" in the simple past normally uses the auxiliary "do".

• They weren't in Rio last summer.
• We hadn't any money.
• We didn't have time to visit the Eiffel Tower.
• We didn't do our exercises this morning.
Were they in Iceland last January?
Did you have a bicycle when you were a boy?
Did you do much climbing in Switzerland?

Simple past, regular verbs

Subject verb + ed
I washed

Subject did not infinitive without to
They didn't visit ...

Did subject infinitive without to
Did she arrive...?

Interrogative negative
Did not subject infinitive without to
Didn't you like..?

Example: to walk, simple past.

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I walked I didn't walk Did I walk?
You walked You didn't walk Did you walk?
He,she,it walked He didn't walk Did he walk?
We walked We didn't walk Did we walk?
You walked You didn't walk Did you walk?
They walked They didn't walk Did they walk?

Note: For the negative and interrogative form of all verbs in the simple past, always use the auxiliary 'did''.

Examples: Simple past, irregular verbs

to go
• He went to a club last night.
Did he go to the cinema last night?
He didn't go to bed early last night.

to give
• We gave her a doll for her birthday.
• They didn't give John their new address.
• Did Barry give you my passport?
to come
• My parents came to visit me last July.
• We didn't come because it was raining.
Did he come to your party last week?

2. Simple past, function
The simple past is used to talk about a completed action in a time before now. Duration is not important. The time of the action can be in the recent past or the distant past.

• John Cabot sailed to America in 1498.
• My father died last year.
• He lived in Fiji in 1976.
• We crossed the Channel yesterday.

You always use the simple past when you say when something happened, so it is associated with certain past time expressions

often, sometimes, always;
a definite point in time:
last week, when I was a child, yesterday, six weeks ago.
an indefinite point in time:
the other day, ages ago, a long time ago etc.

Note: the word ago is a useful way of expressing the distance into the past. It is placedafter the period of time e.g. a week ago, three years ago, a minute ago.

• Yesterday, I arrived in Geneva.
• She finished her work at seven o'clock.
• We saw a good film last week.
• I went to the theatre last night.
• She played the piano when she was a child.
• He sent me a letter six months ago.
• Peter left five minutes ago.