English is full of annoying little rules that particularly plague new English students with different home languages. From time to time, I will just drop in a rule as it occurs to me, such as:

Practice and Practise

You must use practice when it is being used as a noun.

Example 1: I am going to attend cricket practice now. (here ‘practice’ is being used as a noun)

Example 2: I am going to practise my ground strokes now. (here practise is being used as a verb – an action word)


Tenses are often abused in English. It is vital to use the correct tense in a sentence and one must be very careful not to mix tenses within a sentence or a paragraph.

Present Tense

Example 1: I often sit in my favourite chair. (here ‘sit’ is being used in the present tense because it refers to what is happening now)

Past Tense

Example 2; My friend went to the soccer field yesterday (‘went’ is in the past tense because it has already happened)

Future Tense

This is used when talking about something that has not happened yet.

Example 1: I will go to the beach tomorrow (this hows that you have an intention to go to the beach tomorrow, i.e. in the future)

This is all I am going to say about tenses now, as there are more comples tenses that will be discussed later.


These are words that tell the reader or listener more about a noun (naming word). They describe something such as its colour, taste, weight etc.).

Example 1: I climbed onto the white horse. (the word ‘white’ is telling you more about the horse, so it is an adjective)

Example 2: My friend met a pretty girl wearing a blue dress. (here ‘pretty’ and ‘blue’ are telling you more about the girl. She is pretty and wearing a blue dress, so these two words are adjectives)


In the same sort of way that adjectives tell you more about nouns, adverbs tell you more about verbs.

Example 1: The man spoke clearly about fishing. (the word clearly tells you more about the way he spoke about the subject, fishing)

Plurals and the rule of possession

The rule of possession – (NB apostrophe s or s apostrophe).

First of all; a simple plural does not take an apostrophe!

Example 1: There are fifteen cows in the field. It’s more than one cow – so there is no apostrophe.

Possession comes into play when there is ownership.

Example 2: The cow’s food was hay. Here an apostrophe is placed between the ‘w’ and the ‘s’ to show that the cow had ownership of the hay e.g w’s).

Example 3: Don’t eat the cows’ food. (here the speaker is referring to more than one cow so the apostrophe comes after the s, so it is cows’.

Okay, that’s enough for today. Plenty to practise and think about!

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