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Grammar

1. Comparing

When you compare A and B => comparative

When you compare A to all the other examples of A => superlative

In English, you need to make a distinction between short adjectives and long adjectives.

  • Short adjectives: 1 syllable
    ex: “short”
  • Long adjectives: not short !
    ex: “intelligent” (4 syllables)
Attention

Some adjectives are considered short even if they have two syllabes : the ones which end in -y.

For example : "happy"

A . Comparative superiority

Short adjectives : adj.+ -er (+than)

Ex : "Concrete is stronger than wood."

Long adjectives : more+adj. (+than)

Ex : "Steel is more resistant than aluminum."

B. Comparative inferiority

Short and long adjectives : less + adj. (+than)

Ex : "A reversible heat pump is less costly in the long term."

C. Comparative equality

Short and long adjectives : as + adj. + as

Ex : "Nowadays, accomodation is as expensive in Paris as in London."

D. Superlative superiority

Short adjectives : the + adj. + -est

Ex : "the price of housing in Romania is among the lowest in Europe."

Long adjectives : the + most + adj.

Ex : "Mineral fibre is one of the most insulating materials."

E. Superlative inferiority

Short and long adjectives : the + least + adj.

Ex : "Three floor buildings are the least common form of individual housing."

F. Irregular

  Comparative Superlative
Good Better (than) The best
Bad Worse (than) The worst
Far Further / Farther (than) The furthest / the farthest

2. Tenses

There are only 2 tenses in the English language:

  • the Present
    ex: “The digger is arriving on the site.”
  • the Past:
    ex: “This building was built in the 1970s.”

There are only 3 verbal forms in English:

  • Simple
    Ex : "The workers finished the building on Monday."
  • Be+ing
    Ex : "The engineers are studying the design."
  • have + P.P. (past participle)
    Ex : "The prices of real estate have dropped because of the crisis."

 be+ing and Have+P.P. can be combined

ex : "The roofers have been putting on the tiles for three hours now."

ex : "The mason had been working on a scaffold when he fell to the ground."

The Simple Form  is used for habits, characteristics, facts, etc… Things which are true independently of the situation

ex: “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.”

The BE+ING Form  is used for describing an event, an activity, etc…Things which are true only in the situation

ex: “Keep quiet, I am trying to work!”

The HAVE+PP Form  is used for underlining the consequences of an action, for an action which continues now, etc… A link between two moments

ex: “I have lived in London for three years.”

(= I still live in London)

(≠ “I lived in London for three years”: I don’t live in London anymore)

When dealing with a verb, you need to ask yourselves 3 questions: 

  1. Singular / Plural ?
  2. Past / Present ?
  3. Simple ? / Be+ing? / Have + P.P. ?

In the present, there is only one thing to remember : -s in the third person

Exemple

To work :

  • I work
  • We work
  • You work
  • They work
    BUT
  • He/she works

To talk about the future, you can use the auxiliary WILL.

Exemple
  • I will work
  • you will work
  • he/she will work
  • We will work
  • You will work
  • They will work

3. Conditional

A conditional sentence has 2 clauses:

  • the main clause
  • the if clause

There are four types of conditional sentences: 

Type 1

The speaker sees the event as a real possibility :

“If the survey indicates the presence of oil, we will do some drilling.”

Type 2

The speaker sees the event as a remote possibility:

“If there was a problem, we would evacuate the building immediately.”

Type 3

The speaker sees the event as impossible, too late:

“If the dump truck had broken down, we would have rented one.” (but it has not broken down…)

Type 4

The speaker indicates that the consequence always follows the event:

“If a material is translucent, it allows light to pass through it.”

These expressions mean if and only if :

provided / providing (that) / on condition that / so long as

ex: “Provided the foundations are laid by Tuesday, we will start erecting the walls”.

 These expressions indicate that a future event may or may not happen :

in case / in the case of / in the event of

ex: “In case of corrosion, stop all activity”. 

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