Question Tags: Positive and Negative

Much of this will be somewhat familiar to speakers of Asiatic languages. For example, Hindi, Japanese, and Arabic use tags at the end of sentences to alter their meaning. 

Simply, in English, Question Tags are tacked onto the end of declarative (stating) or imperative (commanding) sentences to make them interrogative, these small phrases are used to transform a statement into questions. 

Interestingly, Question Tags come across as an afterthought, but these phrases are intentionally placed. And, most often, Positive/Negative Question Tags are deployed by native English speakers when the listener is expected to agree.

For example, you may encounter an English speaker saying “It’s hot today, isn’t it?” It would be atypical to hear this on a day below 26℃ Celsius. The listener would reply with a simple, but heartfelt, “Yes, it is!” 

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The Preposition “Under”

How do I use the Preposition under

Under is another commonly used Preposition. 

In general, Prepositions communicate the position of an object relative to another. “Under” describes an object as below another.  

For example, Americans refer to Australia as The Land Down Under because it’s located in the southern hemisphere. Are you in a land down under? 

A fun and useful example might be “everything under the sun.” A native English speaker, especially in a film, may use this phrase to speak of each and every item that possibly exists. 

Here’s another example, you may encounter a native English speaker saying “The keys are under the rug.” By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that the house keys are located under the doormat. 

Notice the use of a Determiner, “the,” “a” or “an,” with a Preposition. It’s common to use both a Determiner and Preposition in a sentence.


The Preposition “Up”

Not all languages possess words or phrases that Linguistics classifies as Prepositions. In fact, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek,  and Japanese use Post-Prepositions. Post-Prepositions function much like English Prepositions, but are dissimilar in syntactical placement and may be suffixed (a syllable added to the end of a word). 


Determiners and Plural and Uncountable Nouns

It’s a fact, some things are countable, and some are not. Uncountable Nouns are objects or ideas that can’t be divided into parts. 

Today, we are discussing Plural Uncountable Nouns. Those many indivisible objects or ideas that don’t have a singular form. 

Water is an example of a plural Uncountable Noun. Although it takes any form and its volume can be measured, the number of waters in a vase is illogical and unknowable, it’s neither plural nor singular. Other examples are groceries, snow, music, etc

Most often, plural Uncountable Nouns are emotions or abstract concepts like success, joy, or behavior, but there’s plenty of physical objects that fall into this category like coffee. 



Grammar, syntax, and morphology, are among the most fascinating aspects of language. And, every student of language, regardless if they are studying Russian or Chinese, has a story to tell about the complexities of using Determiners. However, there’s no need to stress, there are a few simple rules to make them easy and fun.

Firstly, the student must understand the difference between Countable and Uncountable Nouns.  

Simply, a Countable Noun is an object, like people, that can be counted. For example, “There is a boy in the classroom.” This sentence tells us that there’s one young man waiting for his teacher in the schoolroom. Just to be clear: 

a = one


Being Verbs there is/are

What do I need to know about the English Adverb there + the being Verbs is and are

Surprisingly, not all modern languages have a present tense Being Verb. For example, Hebrew and Turkish do not; they have other methods of stating that an object or action exists. 

Interestingly, the English language possesses two present tense Being Verbs, “is” and “are.” Both simply mean to be. Despite possessing the same definition, they can’t be used conversely. 

Remember, the Being Verb “Is” is used with all singular Nouns, but “are” is used with plural Nouns. For example, you may encounter a native English speaker saying the sentence below.

There is a black cat over there.

By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that there is a (singular) black cat nearby. 

Notice that there’s a direct relationship between the Being Verb and the Noun. And so, if the noun is plural, “are” is used. Here’s an example:

There are black cats over there.

By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that there are black cats nearby. 

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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.