Lay and Lie are both verbs (actions). They have similar meanings, but lay means ‘put something on a surface carefully’ – e.g. Chloe lays her clothes on the bed. Lie means ‘move into a horizontal position (independently)’ – e.g. Sarah lies on the sofa after work. Simple rule: Lay (put something down flat) vs. Lie (get into a horizontal position).
Warning! We are not talking about the verb lie that means ‘to tell an untruth’. Here, we are only interested in lie – movement into a horizontal position.
It’s is a short form (contraction) of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. The apostrophe replaces the missing letters. E.g. It’s (it is) cold outside. Its is a possessive pronoun (like ours or hers) for nouns without gender. We never use an apostrophe with a possessive pronoun. E.g. The dog is in its bed. Both words sound the same.
Practice is a noun (a thing) that refers to ‘the time someone regularly spends on an activity because it’s a habit / custom or they want to get better at it’ – e.g. I go to band practice three times a week. Practise is a verb (an action) that means ‘to repeat an activity in order to master it or because it’s part of a routine / custom’ – e.g. I practise with the band three times a week.
Which and that refer to a subject we have already introduced. That provides essential information, specifying what makes the subject unique. Which adds non-essential detail. If we remove this, the sentence still makes sense. E.g. The cat that lives next door loves eating fish, which is a rare treat.
There, their and they’re all sound the same. What’s the difference? There shows location (over there, I’m there for you) or introduces a subject (there are too many cars). Their indicates possession or connection (their house is huge). They’re is the short form of ‘they are’ (they’re always happy).
Effect is a noun that means ‘result, consequence of change’ – e.g. cause and effect. Affect is a verb that means ‘influence, make a difference to’ – e.g. The accident affected her health. We confuse the spellings of these words because their pronunciation and meanings are very close. Simple rule: Effect (End result) vs. Affect (Action).
Modal verbs in English can be confusing! In this guide, we’ll explain what they are, why and how we use them correctly, and give you examples to improve your understanding. Mastering modals like should, would, may and might will help you express yourself clearly in the English. Don’t forget to download the pdf so you can study more at home!
Conditionals (or ‘if clauses’) show us how one situation depends on another happening. If it rains, you will get wet. They give us the cause and the possible result. There are 4 types of conditionals in English. These can be used to talk about the past, present and future – what might have happened, always happens or could happen later as a result of something else.
Most lists of similes online and in textbooks contain outdated expressions. In response, we’ve compiled this list of 50 popular similes to show you examples that are still commonly used in modern English today. For each simile, we have given its meaning and an example. Check out the quiz at the end to test your knowledge!
A proverb is a short, well-known saying that contains advice. Native speakers often use proverbs to express a bigger idea in a shorter sentence or phrase. English proverbs can teach you a lot about British mentality, culture and history. These colourful expressions are useful if you are improving your English beyond Intermediate level. In this guide, we’ll teach your 56 of the most popular proverbs still used today!
Do you ever struggle when making a phone call in English? Don’t worry, you are not alone! Many people feel nervous about taking and making phone calls in English. Even advanced English speakers can have trouble when speaking English on the phone. Let’s take a look at some great phrases to improve your confidence and telephone manner!
Prefixes are added at the beginning of words to change their meaning: dis-trust, im-mature, counter-productive. Suffixes are added at the end of words to change their form: wonder-ful, improve-ment, adapt-able. Understanding how to use prefixes and suffixes will help you expand your vocabulary!
Personality adjectives describe the positive and negative aspects of someone’s personality. Words like generous, enthusiastic, meticulous and outgoing are positive adjectives. Words like indecisive, tactless, fussy and grumpy are negative adjectives.
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. The 5 main types of adverbs can give us more information about frequency, manner, degree, place and time. In this study guide, you will learn all about the different types of adverbs with examples of how to use them in a sentence. Check out the exercises at the end to test your understanding!
Adverbs of time tell us when something happens. These adverbs can describe how often, how long or when something takes place. Now, today, daily, early and soon are all adverbs of time. In this study guide, you will learn about these adverbs through real examples. Don’t forget to check out the exercises at the end to test your understanding!