ESL Study Guide

Friday, September 26, 2008

Verb Tense practice

Complete the following sentences. Use yesterday, last, tomorrow, or next.

1. I went swimming ______ morning.
2. Ken is going to go to the beach ______ morning.
3. I'm going to take a trip ______ week.
4. Alice went to Miami ______ week for a short vacation.
5. We had a test in class ______ afternoon.
6. ______ afternoon we're going to go on a picnic.
7. My sister is going to arrive ______ Tuesday.
8. Sam bought a used car ______ Friday.
9. My brother is going to enter university ______ fall.
10. ______ spring I took a trip to San Francisco.
11. Ann is going to fly to London ______ month.
12. I'm going to study at the library ______ night.
13. ______ night I watched TV.
14. ______ evening I'm going to go to a baseball game.
15. Matt was at the laundromat ______ evening.

See if you can complete all 15 sentences. I will post the answers tomorrow.

Good luck with your studies,
ESL Study Guide

1. yesterday
2. tomorrow
3. next
4. last
5. yesterday
6. Tomorrow
7. next
8. last
9. next
10. Last
11. next
12. tomorrow
13. Last
14. Tomorrow
15. yesterday

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Possessive adjectives

Pronouns each have a possessive adjective:

I —> my
we —> our
you —> your
you —> your
he —> his
they -> their
she —> her
it —> its

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Comparative Forms

Complete the following sentences using the words in brackets.

1 It's _____________ here than in London. (hot)
2 She's _____________ her brother. (imaginative)
3 He's _____________ all the other students. (old)
4 Do you think Pat is _____________ Brian? (intelligent)
5 This school is _____________ ours. (old-fashioned)
6 The computer was _____________ I thought. (expensive)
7 The rooms are _____________ they used to be. (clean)
8 He's _____________ he was a year ago. (healthy)
9 Do you think English is _____________ French. (difficult)
10 He eats a lot - he's getting _____________ before. (fat)


1 hotter
2 more imaginative than
3 older than
4 more intelligent than
5 more old-fashioned than
6 more expensive than
7 cleaner than
8 healthier than
9 more difficult than
10 fatter than

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Basic Grammar Review - Making Comparisons

There are three basic ways to compare objects:

The same (as), similar (to), different (from)

1. Is the population of China and India the same?
3. Is the culture of China and Japan similar?
4. Do you think College and University are different?
5. Do you think Michael and Sean are similar?
6. Are Richmond and Vancouver different?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Using Pronouns Correctly

Only two parts of speech, nouns and pronouns, have case. This means that they change form depending on how they are used in a sentence. English has three cases: nominative, objective, and possessive.

Nominative case
- the pronoun is used as a subject.

I threw the ball.

Objective case
- the pronoun is used as an object.

Give the ball to me.

Possessive case
- the pronoun is used to show ownership.

The ball is mine.

Nominative Objective Possessive
(Pronoun as subject) (Pronoun as object) (Ownership)
I me my, mine
you you your, yours
he him his
she her her, hers
it it its
we us our, ours
they them their, theirs
who whom whose
whoever whomever whoever

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Friday, September 05, 2008

A Tip for Reference and Paraphrased Sentence Questions

SENTENCES that ask you to identify a reference or the best paraphrase for a sentence are testing a similar skill. In both cases, you need to show that you understand what a particular sentence means.

The following strategy will help you pick the correct answer.

First, eliminate any answers that you know are incorrect. Take the remaining choices and place them one at a time into the sentence or paragraph. Does the answer make sense in the context of the sentence or paragraph? If it does not, it is not the correct answer.

For example, notice how this works with the following reference question:

The word they in paragraph 3 refers to:
a. people suffering from bipolar disorder.
b. symptoms of bipolar disorder.
c. family members of people with bipolar disorder.
d. people who have occasional mood swings.

Here's the sentence in which they is used:

They are often greatly relieved to learn that they suffer from a treatable medical condition.

It's clear that 'they' refers to people, not symptoms, so we can immediately rule out answer b. Now, we can begin the process of elimination by replacing 'they' with each of the remaining answers:

a. People who suffer from bipolar disorder are often greatly relieved to learn that they suffer from a treatable medical condition.
c. Family members of people with bipolar disorder are often greatly relieved to learn that they suffer from a treatable medical condition.
d. People who have occasional mood swings are often greatly relieved to learn that they suffer from a treatable medical condition.

This process makes it clear that a is the correct answer.

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Monday, September 01, 2008


Successful Freewriting

Freewriting is probably one of the best-known prewriting or brainstorming techniques. It works well when you have some thoughts on a topic, but can't decide how to develop it into an essay. Freewriting also functions as a development tool. It turns isolated ideas into a potential essay. People use this technique and often surprise themselves by coming up with an idea they didn't realize they had.

Specifically, freewriting means spending a predetermined amount of time writing nonstop and focusing on one specific topic. This technique may also be referred to as 'flow writing,' because it works on the flow, or momentum, that comes when you stay with your writing. The key is to not stop writing. Ignore your grammar, spelling, or whether your ideas make sense. It is purely about improving the speed of your writing.

1.) Resist the temptation to look back at what you have written.

2.) If you can't stay on topic, keep writing anything to maintain the flow.

3.) Don't censor yourself; remember, no one will see it so write everything.

4.) Follow your ideas regardless of where they lead you.

5.) When finished, highlight the most interesting and strongest ideas.

Try the process again after you've focused your topic; more ideas may be generated.

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