Subordinating conjunctions

Today let’s take a look at a few more conjunctions, in particular, we’ll focus on subordinating conjunctions and where we can use them.

These conjunctions can link two clauses together and are called subordinating because one of the clauses will make no sense on its own.

Let’s illustrate this with an example:

Before I go back home, I’ll buy some juice.

subordinating conjunctions juice.

If you take away the second part of the sentence you’ll end up with Before I go back home, which doesn’t tell us anything.

There are so many of those conjunctions that it would be insane to cover them in one blog post so, instead, let’s look at the more common ones and see how we can practice them today.

1) As

As is used either to give a reason for something and there it has a similar meaning to because. As for the second case, can you work it out from the song lyrics below? πŸ™‚

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left.

Actually, as has quite a few variations with it in the beginning. Let’s take a look at 3 of them:

As if

She looked at me as if she knew me.

subordinating conjunctions as if

In this case as if has the same meaning as like. I may not know who she is, but I made the assumption that she could know me. I could be wrong though πŸ™‚

As soon as

We’ll call you as soon as we have your test results.

subordinating conjunctions as soon as

In this case, as soon as means once so, the moment your test results become available, look forward to that phone call.

As long as

You can come to the party as long as you don’t bring your crazy brother!

subordinating conjunctions as long as

As long as has, in this case, has a similar meaning to if. Basically, on the condition that your brother doesn’t show up with you, you might have a good time at the party.

2) Since

Just like as, since can be used to say because.

I can trust him since I’ve known him for years.

3) Though

Though and its variations are called Concession conjunctions. In simple words, though, although, even though change the meaning of the more important clause. Compare the two sentences below, do they have the same meaning?

She was smiling.
She was smiling even though she was sad.

slight smile

To me, the second sentence implies that she’s got some problems that she’s trying to hide while everything seems to be okay in the first sentence.

4) Unless

Unless is the word to use when you want to say if not. We’ve covered since, unless and although before, but I figured I could give you a refresher.
So the two sentences below will have the same meaning:

I will punish you if you don’t listen to me.
I will punish you unless you listen to me.

subordinating conjunctions unless

How about we put all this knowledge to the test? πŸ™‚

As you’re reading this message below, I’d like to repeat my question:
have you found out what the second use case for as is? πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment if you have and have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Compound Nouns Plurals

Compound Nouns Plurals can be a bit confusing at times so today let’s take a look at some ways to make a plural out of a compound noun.

A compound noun is a noun that consists of two words or more that are put together. A compound noun can be written as a single word, two words or a word with a hyphen (-)

The ones that are written as a single word are usually made compound nouns plurals by adding the letter s:

Bedroom – Bedrooms
Haircut – Haircuts
Output – Outputs

If you have compound nouns written as two words, you need to add -s or -es to the last word:

Prime minister – Prime ministers
Swimming pool – Swimming pools

An exception to the rule is Man of war – Men of war
That’s because Man is an irregular plural noun and is the principal word (Men are much more important than their wars) πŸ™‚

When you’ve got compound nouns separated with hyphens, there are two ways to handle them:

1) Add -s to the important word:

Commander-in-chief – Commanders-in-chief
Court-martial – Courts-martial
Step-daughter – Step-daughters
Passer-by – Passers-by

2) Make both words plural

There are 4 compound nouns where both words become plural, these are:

Man-servant – Men-servants
Woman-servant – Women-servants
Lord-justice – Lords-justices
Knight-templar – Knights-templars

Most of these hyphenated compound nouns aren’t often used and I use them when I talk about history (Slavery and wars) or law, but let’s take a look at them with the help of these two exercises.

That sums up a few of these cases but we can’t make each and every compound noun plural. Many of them, like toothpaste, are uncountable and you have to make note of that sometimes.
I hope you found this information useful and I’ll see you next week! πŸ™‚

Where do we use at?

Today let’s take a look at the preposition at.

We use at in the following cases:

1) Exact time

If you want to meet with someone, when you decide the time you’ll meet you say: “I’ll meet you at half past 8“. At is also used with night.

I'll call you at night.
I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you at night.

2) Specific location

If I wanted to say which university I studied at, I’d say that I studied at Dnipropetrovsk National University. Or, if my friend works in a bank and we both know what bank it is, I can say that She works at the bank next to my house.
Notice that I used the to show that we both know what we’re talking about.

Let me point out that when you talk about what’s happening inside a building, you need to use the preposition in.

VA Hospital Fire_3-29-09_-6695 by 
Mike Rosati. License: CC BY 2.0
There was a fire in the hospital.

3) Indicating contact information

When you want to provide someone with your phone number, e-mail address or your website, you can use at with reach. This is a formal way of giving your contact information.

I can be reached at

Sorry for the fake address, but I wouldn’t want to get a lot of spam on my real addresses. πŸ™‚

4) Events

At a concert.
I met one of my friends at a concert.

The concert, in this case, or a party is an event that takes place somewhere and, hence, we use at with these.

5) Unique places

This is similar to β„–2. When you want to tell people that you are in your house, your workplace, that you did something in your university, you use at to point it out.

Sitting at home on my laptop
Right now I’m sitting at home and working on my website.

Doesn’t seem too hard now, does it?
Let’s try practicing it in context:

I hope you found it useful to you and, as usual, I’ll see you at the weekend. πŸ˜‰

Round and around

Today let’s take a look at how we can use around (and round) with verbs and get a whole new meaning.

1. Ask around

When we ask around, this means that we ask different people about something. We can use it to finish our sentence:

If I don’t know something, I can just ask around and find out the answer.

2. Come around

Come around is often used to say wake up after losing consciousness or being in a coma.

Patient not coming around.
After the operation, the patient didn’t come around for 2 hours

Luckily, the patient survived, but it took him 2 hours to wake up.

The second meaning of come around would be change someone’s mind and start to agree with something that you find hard to accept.

3. Keep around

When you keep something around you keep it close to you so you could use it.

My phone.
I always keep my phone around in case somebody calls me.

4. Poke around

When people poke around, it means that they’re searching for something or investigating.
This phrasal verb has more of a negative meaning.
For example, you wouldn’t want someone poking around in your personal life (Or would you?)

5. Run around

You can say that you’re running around when you’re busy and have a lot of things you need to do.

6. Round up

Last but not least, let’s look at round up using an example.
Quite often, when we look at the price for something, we can see that it costs, say, €9.99. In our mind, however, we often round it up to €10.

Olives for sale.
How much would you pay for 1 kilo of olives? πŸ™‚

I know you didn’t come here for the long lecture, so how about we find a use for these phrasal verbs with this short activity?

There’s a saying which goes “what goes around comes around”.
Have you ever had a situation when you felt like you deserved what had happened to you?
Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! πŸ™‚

Time expressions

Today let’s take a look at some time expressions and when we use them.

AgoPast Simple
Since, for, yetPresent Perfect
ByFuture Perfect
WhilePast Continuous

How about we clarify them with some examples?

For example, we use ago when we talk about the past, however, we need to state how long ago something had happened.

Best friends.
I met my best friend 10 years ago.

If we look at the example above, we can change it to:
I’ve known her for ages.

I can also say that I’ve known her since I was 15 (Which was 10 years ago)

Yet, which means up to now is mostly used in negative sentences.
If you asked me whether I saw my best friend today, I could say:
No, I haven’t seen her yet.

By is used to say that something will be done before a specific time in the future.
So if I don’t meet with my best friend today, I will have met her by the end of the week.

We use while to say that something happened during the time we were doing something something else.

People talking.
While I was talking to my best friend, a girl came up to us and asked us for the time.

Let’s try using these in a few simple exercises.

By the end of this month, I will have been to Germany. What about you?
Leave a comment and share what you will have done by the end of the month.
And I’ll see you next Saturday! πŸ™‚

Let Me Help You Do This

Let’s look at a few verbs that are followed by other verbs in the bare infinitive (withoutto“)

ModalsSensual verbsVerbs with objects
Will, would, can, could, may, might, must, shouldSee, hear, feel, watch, noticeHave, help, let, make

The first group of verbs will always be followed by a bare infinitive regardless of the tense:

I will talk to him tomorrow.
must have known this would happen.
He could be working from home right now.

The second group of verbs can be followed by infinitives or gerunds (-ing)
That can sometimes change the meaning:

I heard her talking to the man. (At that exact moment)
I heard her talk about her experience. (e.g. a TED talk by Monica Lewinsky)

When verbs like make, let, have or help are followed by an object (Me, him, her, Mr. Smith) we don’t use to before the verb

I’ll have her send you the e-mail right away!
Let me help you carry those bags!
My best friend helped me move to a better flat.
I’ll make Dan regret making her cry!

The same rule applies for Let’s which is used to make suggestions.

Let’s go to the cinema.
Let’s play that new EA game.

Enough theory, let’s jump from theory to practice πŸ™‚

This week was a tough week for me. I spent the whole weekend moving my website to a new host and then suddenly fell ill.

The people who worked for my new host helped me move all my posts and lessons so it wasn’t too hard.

I’d like to ask you, when was the last time that someone helped you with something?
What did they help you with?

Let us know by leaving a comment and have a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

Contrasting with linkers

Today let’s look at some linkers that we use to show contrast in our speech and writing.

In spite of / Despite

We usually use these two with nouns or verbs with gerunds.

In spite of the rain, we decided to go to the park.

Despite leaving home early, they were still late for school.

You can use both in spite of and despite in your sentences but you can’t write despite of.

If you want to follow in spite of or despite with a that-clause, you need to add the fact that before your sentence.

Despite the fact that their jokes were funny, they didn’t get any prize for their jokes.

Although / Even Though

We use although and even though to connect two sentences together. They both need a main sentence to work though.

A car being stuck

Although we ran out of gas, we still got to the city thanks to the locals.

If you got rid of the main sentence, it wouldn’t make any sense:

Although we ran out of gas.

In spite of the rain.

Despite leaving home early.

That doesn’t tell us anything at all.

Even though is stronger than although and makes us sound more confident.

I'm gonna beat you up!

He won the boxing match even though he wasn’t fit.

How about we practice these in context? πŸ™‚

Even though 2018 has been a challenging year for me, I remain optimistic and wish all of you to be better, smarter, stronger, more successful and I’d like to ask you:

Even though we can’t go back in time, if you could change one thing that happened last year, what would you change and why?

Let us know in the comments section and have a great weekend!

Bohemian Verbs

I recently watched Bohemian Rhapsody and figured that I could make a short exercise to revise irregular verbs.

Freddie Mercury

You probably know that to make the past simple of most verbs you just add ed.

Well, today let’s look at some of the verbs that don’t follow this simple rule.

Become β€” Became
Begin β€” Began
Do β€” Did
Feel β€” Felt
Get β€” Got
Go β€” Went
Know β€” Knew
Leave β€” Left
Meet β€” Met
See β€” Saw
Wake up β€” Woke up
Win β€” Won

Can you use these to complete the short text below? πŸ™‚

I actually enjoyed the movie even though I’m not a big fan of Queen. What about you? Did you watch Bohemian Rhapsody? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section and happy holidays to you and your family! πŸ™‚

Make a wish

Today, let’s take a quick look at how we can use wish:

Wish can be used with the following tenses:

  • Past Simple (When we want things to be different)

Rome visit, June 2008 - 57 by Ed Yourdon. License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I wish I was single again. (I’m married now)

  • Past Continuous (When we want to do something else instead of what we’re doing now or later)


I wish I was sleeping right now. (I’m working on this blog post)

  • Past Perfect (When you talk about something you regret)


I wish I had studied Cinematograhy at University.
(I majored in International Relations and I’m not happy about my choice)

  • You can also use wish with would when you’re not satisfied with what’s happening now.

Annoyed man

I wish he would shut up! (He talks too much and it’s annoying)

Let’s practice these uses of wish:

Is there anything you wish you were doing now?

Let us know in the comments section and I hope you have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Always never sometimes

Today, let’s take a quick look at adverbs of frequency. We use them to say how often something happens.

The most common ones are:









And that’s how I would grade them (Sorry for my terrible GIMP skills):

Adverbs of frequency

One thing you should know about them is that they always go after the verb be and before any other verbs.

I’m always tired in the morning. I always go to bed late.

But I’m sure you’re not here for the theory, so let’s jump into practice with the exercise below πŸ™‚

When you’re done, I have a question for you: How often do you exercise? Are you an athletic or non-athletic person? Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! πŸ™‚