English Grammar | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 30, 2015
  • Updated: 5:03am

English Grammar

Thirsty work

When someone tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him 'whose?' - Don Marquis, American writer (1878 - 1937)

Work it out

Wednesday, 6 June, 2012, 12:00am

Make my day!

'Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better'

Emile Coue (1857-1926) French psychologist

The big day

A day is the 24 hours between one midnight and the next. Here are some useful nouns and phrases that use the little word.

What is ...?

1 an open day

a. a day when shops close early

23 May 2012 - 12:00am

You name it

'Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes'Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) - Irish playwright

Name nouns

A name is the word by which a person, thing or place is known. But what is ..?

1 a big name

a. a person who is overweight

b. a famous or important person

2 a pen name

7 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Day after day

'Life is just one thing after another'

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) - American philosopher

After you

The preposition 'after' tells us when something happened.

She arrived at the cinema after me.

But what do these phrasal verbs mean?

1 to take after somebody

22 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Itchy feet

'Why isn't there a special word for the tops of your feet?'

Lily Tomlin, American comic actress

Get cold feet

Our feet are those useful body parts at the bottom of our legs. Without feet, we would fall over. Here are some useful phrasal verbs involving feet. What do they mean?

1 to get cold feet

8 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Drawing the short straw

'The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you'

Anita Roddick (1942-2007) - British businesswoman

To draw and to draw

14 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Keep it simple

If you ask local students what a perfect progressive verb is, chances are they will know. Not only that, but they may also tell you the difference between past perfect progressive and present perfect progressive. If you ask students at international schools the same question, chances are they will look at you as if you have two heads.

16 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

In turn

'I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.' American comedian Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

How did it turn out?

Adding another small word to the verb 'to turn' changes the meaning. What do these verbs mean?

1 to turn out

a. to have a particular result

9 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

A show of hands

'It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities' - JK Rowling, British author

Show me around!

'To show' means 'to demonstrate' or 'to illustrate'. But adding a small word, such as 'off', changes the meaning. What do these phrasal verbs and phrases mean?

1 to show somebody up

a to embarrass someone

2 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Set in your ways

A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return. Jewish proverb

A small setback

What do these 'set' nouns mean?

1 a set-to

a. an argument

b. a short period of happiness

2 a set text

30 May 2011 - 12:00am

Feeling low

Low nouns

'Low' is the opposite of 'high', but what do these 'low' nouns mean?

1 highs and lows

a. happy and sad times

b. the different types of friends someone has

2 low-rise pants

a. trousers that sit low on the hips

b. pants that stop below the knee

3 low tide

9 May 2011 - 12:00am

The Language Wars: A History of Proper English

The Language Wars: A History of Proper English by Henry Hitchings John Murray HK$234

Why do we get so agitated about matters of grammar and spelling and punctuation?

24 Apr 2011 - 12:00am

Back talk

'Your best friends are those who speak well of you behind your back'

Sam Ewing (1949 - ) - American baseball player

Back copies

What are these?

1 a back copy

a. a forged copy of a famous painting

b. a newspaper or magazine of an earlier date than the one on sale now

2 a flashback

11 Oct 2010 - 12:00am

Look lively

What sort of look?

What do the following expressions mean?

1 a black look

a. a look of anger and hate

b. a loving look

2 a look-alike

a. someone who looks upset

b. someone who is similar in appearance to someone else

3 a look-in

a. a glance behind you

28 Oct 2009 - 12:00am

money flow

Reading Comprehension

Answer the following questions:

1 Which currency is valued higher?

a. Chinese yuan

b. Hong Kong dollar

2 Which company does NOT use the one-to-one exchange rate?

a. Sogo

b. Spaghetti House

c. Marks & Spencer

d. Disneyland

3 Mar 2009 - 12:00am