Is/Are there – Interrogative sentences

There are many ways to ask a question. Often, interrogative sentences begin with “do,” “how many,” or “when.” But, “is there” and “are there” are commonplace as well. 

Simply, sentences containing “is there” and “are there” are used to inquire if something exists. For example, you may hear a native English speaker saying “Is there any rice left?” By saying this, the speaker is asking the listener if there is rice remaining in the bowl. 

As usual, “are” is used for plural Nouns, typically Nouns that end with an s. Here’s an example, “Are there any chopsticks in the dish dryer?” By saying this, the speaker is asking the listener if there are clean chopsticks on the drying rack. 

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Comparatives and Superlatives Adjectives that end with ‘y’

In this lesson, we are discussing polysyllabic Adjectives that end in “y”. But, don’t stress over the term “polysyllabic.” It simply means a word that possesses more than one counted beat. Water is a perfect example of a polysyllabic word: wa + ter.

As you may know, adjectives are used to describe a Noun. “Happy people” is an example of an Adjective + Noun grouping. 

Why do I need to use Comparative and Superlative Adjectives? These words compare two or more objects. For example, there are 3 old men standing in a row. They are grumpy, grumpier, and grumpiest. Pay attention to the word’s final syllable, it slightly changes between Comparative and Superlative Adjectives. 

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Comparatives and Superlatives

Do you ever need to compare Nouns? Do you have a brother? Does he tower over you? If so, he is taller. 

Making a Noun comparative is easy. Just add ‘r’ or ‘er’ to the end of a monosyllabic Noun and it’s suddenly a Comparative Adjective. 

Note: Don’t let the word “monosyllabic” frighten you. Simply, a syllable is a unit of speech that contains a vowel surrounded by consonants. For example, tall is a monosyllabic word. Of course the words “a” and “I” are also monosyllabic words. 

Here’s the rule, if the word ends in a consonant add ”er”. For example, tall becomes taller. But, if the word ends with the vowel e, add r.  For example, late becomes later. There are comparatively fewer of these Nouns. 

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Idioms with body parts: speak your mind

Idioms are a fun way to express ourselves. These sayings add color and meaning to any conversation. 

We are continuing our discussion of idioms related to parts of the body. Recently, we explored the relationship between feet and bills through the idiom “foot the bill,” but today our phrase is “speak your mind.” 

Someone who speaks their mind is outspoken. Often, they are not very popular because they say things that offend others, their words may be hateful or blunt. 

For example, “people who speak their minds aren’t well-liked”. By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that those who always reveal their true thoughts are disliked. You may also say “they tell it how it is,” both phrases possess the same meaning.

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Idioms with body parts: foot the bill

Most languages have idioms, English and Chinese are well known for these cryptic yet meaningful word groupings. 

Most interestingly, idioms are groupings of words whose meaning can’t be deduced through logic; they are nonsensical. These phrases have evolved through use rather than the entries of lexicographers (individuals who decide which words go into the dictionary and what they mean). 

These compact phrases pack a lot of punch. They are heavy with regional connotations and whimsy. Indeed, these sayings make language fun!

Using the idiom foot the bill

How can I use the idiom foot the bill in a full sentence?

You may even encounter a native speaker using the idiom “foot the bill.” This saying, counter-intuitively, has nothing to do with feet. By saying this, the speaker is stating that they will pay the bill. For example, “William often dines with us, but he never foots the bill”. Simply, he never pays. 

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Moreover, the person who foots the bill pays the entire bill. The idiom is most often used with dining but can be applied to anything. 

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Wish

To wish for something is a strong desire for a specific outcome. 

The word “wish” is a Verb, it’s one of those action words where no physical labor is required to engage in the action, something somewhat abstract. Other abstract Verbs include trust, worry, and forget as well as many other thoughts and feelings. But, “wish” is the most yearning of these Verbs.

Making a wish is common in both the West and East.  For example, you may have encountered a wishing well. A place where tossing a penny into a deep drum of water grants your deepest desire. Or, you may have seen a movie in which the players ask a genie to bring love into their lives. 

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Wish + would

The word “wish” is the desire or hope for something that isn’t easily obtained. It’s a Verb, an abstract Verb, but still a Verb. Often, abstract Verbs are feelings. 

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “wish upon a star”, a cliché used to express hope for the most unlikely of outcomes.  But today, we are discussing the Verb group “wish […] would.” 

You may encounter a Native English speaker saying “I wish you would eat more vegetables.” By saying this, the speaker is expressing a desire for the listener to consume healthier foods. 

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Could vs Can – Ability

“Could” is a Modal Verb. In fact, it acts as the past tense of the Modal Verb can. This Modal Verb refers to the ability to have done something, Don’t worry, this is not as confusing as it seems, here’s a simple dialogue:

Can you pass the test tomorrow? 

I don’t think so.

Could you have passed yesterday’s test? 

Definitely not.

Alternatively, the speaker could’ve said, “Can you pass the test now?”. If they wanted to use the Modal Verb “can” in the present tense. 

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Could vs Can – Request

Both “can” and “could” are Modal Verbs. Despite this similarity, “can” speaks of present/future actions, and “could” speaks of actions that occurred in the past. Here is an example of dialogue:

Can penguins fly?

No, they cannot. 

Could they fly a long time ago? 

No, they couldn’t. 

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Adverbs of frequency “never”

“Never” is an Adverb of Frequency. Adverbs of Frequency describe how often an event happens, for example, trains arriving and departing a station.

“Never” means that something doesn’t occur at all, in fact, it’s the opposite of always, which means that something occurs at all times. Can you think of something that doesn’t happen at all?

Humorously, it’s said that one should “never say never,” because they will eventually be wrong. However, native English speakers often use the Adverb “never.” The word is used as an exaggeration. For example, you may encounter the phrase, “You’ll never guess who I saw”. In actuality, you may be able to guess whom the speaker saw, it was a mutual friend. 

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