6 ways to use ‘any + comparative’

‘Any’ can be used as an adverb to mean ‘at all’ or ‘in some degree’.  In the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘any’ is listed as ADVERB B1 used in questions and negatives to emphasize a comparative adjective or adverb Do you feel any better? I can’t walk any faster. Those trousers don’t look any different from the others. Houses in this area used to be a real bargain, but they’re not cheap any more. This radio isn’t any good – I ‘ll have to buy another. She couldn’t wait any longer. *’any more’ …

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IN THE LEAST

Here’s an expert example of negation + ‘in the least’: I’m not in the least bit religious. Listen to this sentence C2 Point 28 in the category of NEGATION is defined: ‘IN THE LEAST’ after a negative form for emphasis. A search in iWeb: 1 NOT SURPRISED IN THE LEAST 86 2 NOT BE IN THE LEAST 63 …

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may | might + as well

If you want to make an unenthusiastic suggestion or say you are not enjoying, interested in, or approving of something, then you can use this grammar structure with ‘may as well‘ or ‘might as well‘. Here are some examples.  The first is a student speaking test example: You might as well just open the door to an unknown person. TLC female Mexico B2 Expert …

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‘AS’ + pronoun + ‘USED’ + to-infinitive

Student example in a speaking test: I don’t think that they pay enough attention towards the national customs as they used to do those days. TLC female Sri Lanka B2 Point 236 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘as’ + pronoun + ‘used to’ to add background to a narrative, often to highlight something unusual A search in iWeb for: as_C _P used_V _TO _VV 1 AS …

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WOULD + adverb (wide range)

Let’s look at some examples of ‘would’ + a wide range of adverbs: They would eventually become the oppressive hand of the Russian government.  (Listen) What would normally take him maybe a day or something to solder by hand, he can do in a few minutes using this machine.  (Listen)   Point 234 in the category of MODALITY is defined: wide range of adverbs with ‘would’, including ‘undoubtedly’, ‘possibly’, ‘normally’, ‘personally’, ‘eventually’, ‘obviously’, ‘significantly’, …

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‘be careful not to disturb them’ (adjective + ‘NOT TO’ + infinitive)

Here’s a student example in a speaking test of ‘BE + adjective + not + to-infinitive‘ to give emphasis: When you walk, you should be careful not to disturb them because they are all below you. TLC male Sri Lanka B1 *We can also write: You should be careful that you do not disturb them… Point 230 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘BE’ + ADJECTIVE + ‘NOT’ …

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used not to

The following rare student writing example shows how ‘used not to’ expresses modality: Also when I was younger, I used not to be allowed to drink coffee. PELIC Korean female level 3 grammar class. It sounds more natural to say: “I didn’t use to be allowed to drink coffee.” *In other words, she did not have permission to drink coffee.  Although now she is an adult and can. Point 227 …

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IF clause + SHALL clause

Here’s an expert example of using a conditional clause + ‘shall’ clause to express modality: Come on, if we don’t share a similar social consciousness, how shall we discuss social problems? Listen to this sentence. C2 point 225 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘shall’ in the main clause after an ‘if-‘ clause conditionals Long open queries are impossible on iWeb, so here we first look for the …

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adverb RESPONSE TOKENS

When you ‘listen’ to someone speaking in a conversation, you can respond with short phrases that add to the conversation. These utterances carry information and sometimes a single word like an adverb is all you might say. C2 point 224 in the category of MODALITY/adverbs is defined: adverbs expressing certainty as short responses Here is …

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defining relative clause TO infinitive

Here’s an expert example of a defining relative clause using TO-infinitive: Several years earlier, she‘d become the first woman to ski to the South Pole. Listen to the sentence. The first woman to ski can be written in another way with the same meaning: the first woman who skied  Pearson’s GSE 56 B1+ is defined:  construct defining (restrictive) relative clauses with ‘to’ + infinitive verb …

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‘You know the person making them’ (reduced verbING clause)

Pearson’s GSE 56 B1+ is defined: “reduced” defining (restrictive) relative clauses with verb +-ing. This point will overlap: verb of senses + object + verbing This is difficult grammar to find in corpora since many other structures get caught.  We have done a search with a full stop to narrow out questions.  Our search string …

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phrase ellipsis

Here’s a student example of verb phrase ellipsis: You need to study hard to pass the test unless you don’t want to. PELIC Arabic female level 4 grammar class Although there are a number of grammar points in the English Grammar Profile to do with Ellipsis, there are none that cover the ellipsis of phrases before or after the ‘TO’ infinitive.  Therefore, we turn to Pearson’s GSE …

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Academic IELTS grammar for writing task 2

I put this advanced student sample answer to the IELTS writing task 2 through our English Grammar Profiler looking for stand out features.  Here are the highest grammar constructions, that we have listed as C1: It is argued that volunteering should be made a part of the school curriculum. (This is the topic sentence) What you have done outside the classroom is often …

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‘SO’ (end of the sentence)

I don’t quite trust the CEFR level Pearson gives to the following grammar construct. GSE 58 B1+ is defined: ‘so’ in sentence-final positions as a placeholder (substitute) for verbs and verb phrases. It was too expensive. – I told you so. John is from Seattle. – I thought so.   ‘So’ has many possible meanings and uses near the end of sentences.  When we look at the English …

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‘It is for you to decide.’ (FOR +TO infinitive clause)

Pearson’s GSE 58 B1+ clause + ‘for’ to introduce an infinitive clause with a different subject.  The important thing is for you to arrive on time. My aim is for my children to go to university. A search in iWeb for: _VB for * _TO _VVI 1 IS FOR YOU TO DECIDE 392 (most examples with this string contained ‘whether’ or ‘whether or not’ which is C2.) 2 IS FOR YOU …

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Academic IELTS grammar for task 1

I’m often asked by my students just before they take an IELTS test for some quick tips on what to study before a particular task.  Therefore, in this post, I will summarise the salient grammar and vocabulary features I found in very good introductions and overviews in the Academic IELTS  Task 1 tests using our …

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‘In order not to’ + INFINITIVE

PELIC STUDENT EXAMPLE: I think we should do our best at the present moment in order not to be regretful. Chinese male level 5 writing class. We will only cover half of: GSE 60 B2 express negative purpose with ‘so as/in order not to’ In order not to seem stupid, he didn’t say anything. I came in very quietly, so as not to wake anyone. because ‘so as not to’ is at C1 in the English Vocabulary Profile.  ‘in order …

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