Tag Archives: Grammar

When to Use the Definite Article (“The”)

Specific identity:

  • I’ll have the spinach salad and the mushroom burger.
  • I want to adopt the cat we saw yesterday.
  • I’ll get the kids ready to go outside.


  • The English and the Italians played in the World Cup.
  • The elderly (older people) have different needs than the young.

Some countries:

  • the Philippines
  • the Netherlands
  • the United Kingdom
  • the United States


  • Can you play the guitar?
  • The piano is my favorite instrument.


  • The first time we met, I knew you were the only one for me.
  • And I knew this would be the last time I’d fall in love.
  • The worst days of my life are behind me now.
  • I want to spend the best part of my life with you.





Wait and Await

The verbs wait and await have similar meanings but they are used in different grammatical structures.

The verb await must have an expressed object.

  • I am awaiting your reply.
  • They are awaiting the birth of their first baby.

The object of await is usually a thing. It is not a person.

For example, we can’t say: I am awaiting you.

The verb wait can be used in several different structures.

Wait does not require an object.

  • We have been waiting for hours.

Wait can be followed by an infinitive.

  • I waited in line to board the bus.
  • I am waiting to hear from him.

When we use the verb ‘wait’, we usually also mention the length of the time we have been waiting.

  • I have been waiting since morning.

Before an object, wait takes the preposition for. Note that in this case, the noun/pronoun that follows for is the object of the preposition.

  • I am waiting for you. (NOT I am waiting you.)
  • We are waiting for his call. OR We are awaiting his call.

Await is more formal than wait for. It can be used in formal letters and documents.

Wait is more common and leaves less room for confusion.

Note that await does not take the preposition ‘for’.

  • We are awaiting his call. (NOT We are awaiting for his call.)

Complete the following sentences using wait or await.

1. Let’s ………………. until he arrives. (wait / await)

2. The manager is busy now, so you will have to ……………….. (wait / wait for / await)

3. I have been …………………. a bus for two hours. (waiting for / awaiting / waiting)

4. The bill is ………………….. parliamentary approval. (awaiting / waiting)


1. wait; 2. wait; 3. waiting for; awaiting

Source: www.englishgrammar.org

In, At, On + Time or Date


Use ‘in’ with months, years and periods of time such as decades or centuries:

  • in January
  • in 1978
  • in the twenties

When does the school year begin in your country? – In mine it begins IN September.

Use ‘in’ a period of time in the future to express that an action will occur after that amount of time:

  • in a few weeks
  • in a couple of days


Use ‘at’ with an exact time:

  • at six o’clock
  • at 10.30
  • at two p.m.

When do you eat lunch? – I usually eat it AT noon.


Use ‘on’ with days of the week:

  • on Monday
  • on Fridays

Use ‘on’ with specific calendar days:

  • on Christmas day
  • on October 22nd

When is your birthday? – Mine is ON October 12.

Important notes

in the morning / afternoon / evening – at night

We say in the morning, afternoon or evening BUT we say ‘at night’.

Should I Use a Singular or Plural Verb with None?

None can take either a singular or plural verb.

When none is followed by a mass noun (a noun that cannot be counted or made plural) it takes a singular verb.

– None of the wine was drunk. (wine = mass noun)

When none means no one or not any, use whichever verb makes more sense.
Consider none as singular when you want to emphasize a single entity in a group, but consider none to be plural when you want to emphasize more than one.

– None of the books is worth reading.
– None of the books are worth reading.

– None of us is going to the banquet.
– None of us are going to the banquet.

– None of the printers is working.
– None of the printers are working.

– None of you is guilty
– None of you are guilty.

If your meaning is ‘none of them’, treat the word as plural; if it is ‘none of it’, treat it as singular.

Have Something Done

Take a look at these two sentences. What is the difference in meaning between them?

‘I cut my hair.’
‘I have my hair cut.’

‘I cut my hair’ means that I do it myself.
‘I have my hair cut means someone cuts my hair for me (in this case it’s probably a hairdresser).

We use have something done to mean another person does a service for us.

The grammar for this is pretty simple:

Have + object + past participle

Let’s take a look at a few more examples:

‘We didn’t want to cook so we had a pizza delivered.’
‘I had my car washed at that new place by the station.’
‘I had my watch fixed.’

We can also use ‘get’ instead of ‘had’ and the meaning stays the same. The sentences above now become:

‘We didn’t want to cook so we got a pizza delivered.’
‘I got my car washed at that new place by the station.’
‘I got my watch fixed.’