People often stumble (have trouble) over questions in English, but the rule is quite simple: you need to use an auxiliary in the first instance, (do/does) followed by the subject of the question, (you, she, they, etc.) and then the verb you want to use in its infinitive (unconjugated) form. You don’t need to conjugate the verb because the auxiliary (do/does) is already conjugated.
Do this anytime you want to ask a question in English, except when using certain modal verbs (can, could, may, might, must, will, would) and be. This means that we use an auxiliary for most questions asked in English!
Are you ready for some examples?
Do you like hot chocolate in winter?
Does your sister train everyday?
Do you buy your shoes at the mall?
Do these come in my size?
Does Fred know we start at 10am?
Do we have to wear these stupid hats?
Do they know we’re coming?
Does Karina have the file with her?
These are the simplest questions you could ask, and they generally require only a one work answer: yes or no.
If you’d like to add a question word or phrase (who, what, when, where, how much, what time, etc.) you put it in front of the auxiliary (do/does). Eg.: Where do you buy your clothes? But more on that next week!
Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments if you do!
I always love the month of May. Doesn’t everyone? It’s spring, flowers are in bloom everywhere, and the warm weather becomes a more regular visitor.
So what’s on the menu this month?
We are going to be organising a series of Facebook Lives for all of you lovely people. Yes, you read that right, we’re giving away lots of learning tips. However, we need your help! Join our group, Groupetude Community, where the Lives will be hosted, and post your questions! There will be two threads, one for English and one for French learners. We will use these to organise the Lives and do our best to answer as well as possible.
So get ready, we’re starting the week of May 17th!
I’ve read a lot of questions concerning this issue on various expat forums, so check it out. The article breaks down the most popular questions, hopefully it’ll help you or someone you know!
Long Term Improvement
This one is going to seem so obvious, but, make a friend. It’s so much easier to learn when you’ve got someone to talk to. You get free practice and have a good time all the while. If it’s hard to figure out how to make a friend, join a club; anything you enjoy doing really, and you’ll meet people that way.
Learning English: if you want to compare two things that are the same, you can use “as”. For example, Mary is as tall as John. The melon is as big as my head. You can also do this for the negative, when two things aren’t the same: my tea is not as hot as yours.
Ok, do you have any questions? Drop me line, I’ll get back to you ASAP!
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English has many conjunctions to choose from. Conjunctions make our sentences more fluid, and knowing alternatives to the ones we use everyday will help you become more fluent, and your writing less repetitive.
Today’s conjunctions: despite, nevertheless and although, all mean « even though ». They are not, however, all used in the same way. Notice where the conjunctions are placed in the examples above, and what kind of words they are paired with.
Here’s a quick look at their construction and use:
despite + noun or noun phrase
It’s usually found at the beginning of a clause (a group of words separated by a period, comma, colon or semi-colon).
It can be at the start, or in the middle of a sentence.
It can be found in the middle or at the end of a sentence.
You can use it to concede a point or argue against something.
Ok, I’ll say it right away, I’m not a big fan of listening to music on Spotify or on YouTube.
Mainly, it’s because I have to know what to look for. If you type, say, « jazz » into Spotify, you get the most generic search results, there’s rarely anything truly interesting that pops up. It can, of course, but you do need to begin with something, and my problem is that I have a terrible memory for names. This has always been an obstacle for me. I remember faces, but matching the face with a name, or worse still, a song with a band or musician, is a hurdle that I always struggle to get across.
So how do I go about solving this? The old fashioned way. I go to a music store and I peruse its selection. Granted, there aren’t too many of these around anymore. The big stores still exist, but in the big stores, you can’t always listen to the album before you buy it. In the little ones, on the other hand, you can ask the shop assistant to play it for you. You can also ask them for a recommendation, if they know anything about music, which seems, unfortunately, to be less and less frequent.
That’s ok though, because, as I said, I like to peruse the selection. I go through each record, one by one, and I look at what strikes me as interesting. The more records I buy, the more different names sound familiar. For example, if you read the information on the sleeve, you find out all sorts of things about the artist. This is how I found some pretty sweet music. For example: Jimmy Smith, Mama Estella Yancey, Sonny Rollins, or Rhoda Scott. Some of these names were vaguely familiar to me, and if the record wasn’t too expensive, I’d buy it on a whim. Usually… often, I sniff out some great things; sometimes I’m disappointed, because what I found isn’t to my taste. But that’s ok too, you have to take chances sometimes, even if it means wasting a few euros on something you don’t end up enjoying.
So, if you have a music store near you, one of those used or old fashioned ones, go on in and choose something at random. Go with your gut, and see what you come out with. Leave your selection in the comments and let us know if it was a yay or a nay. (If there isn’t anything close to you, or if it’s closed, try your local library, they often have music as well as books, and could potentially also be a treasure trove of interesting sounds!)
matching put one thing with another, like two colours that look good together
hurdle an obstacle
peruse browse or look through something
record an LP/Vinyl
strikes me hits me (makes me think)
sleeve here, the cardboard package the LP comes in