School of TEFL

Ask a TEACHER all your grammar questions here.

You'll get quick answers (I promise) and we will do our best to provide you with resources to help you in the classroom also! Please see THIS FOLDER for lots of grammar related books/resources that might also have answers or exercises to help your students.

If you really need a quick answer (within a few hours), go see the very busy EFL CLASSROOM 2.0 by hitting the EFL 2.0 button above.

Views: 184

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

help me~

Henry (had worked) at a bank for ten years and was still a clerk

------------> 'had worked' can be altered by 'was working' or something else?
please answer me~~~~ASAP!
This is easy! You can change "had worked" to "was worked" but it would change the meaning. It all depends on the context!

"had worked" would mean that the whole situation you are talking about happened before some main situation you are talking about happened. Like if you were telling a story and talking about the past. Example:

When I met him, Henry had worked at the bank for ten years and was still a clerk.

The main situation is meeting him (happens first but in the past) and the dependent situation is "Henry had worked...." (happens second and uses the Past Perfect).


Henry was working at the bank for ten years and was still a clerk -- is used to show ONE situation happening all at the same time (but in the past) - past continuous tense. Example

At the time I met him, Henry was working at the bank for ten year and was still a clerk.

I hope this helps!
In my opinion, I think that the exact grammar understanding is important. What are the differeces
among 'was(were) -ing, have been -ing, and had been -ing'? Among 'be -ing' forms not in gerund, participles but in tenses, there are 8 kinds of tenses. But, they have different meaning. According each of them, different adverbs are used. For example, There are sentences. "I am studying in library now.", "I was studying in library yesterday.", "I will be studying in library tomorrow."
Henry (had worked) at a bank for ten years and was still a clerk. This sentence looks like that 'was working' seems inappropriate. Because whole meaning is focused with the tense 'past perfect'. The most important meanig is Henry's job duration. If you use 'was working', appropriate time adverb should be used like David's opinion.
Second, I agree with David's opinion. It all depends on the context. English grammar age teachers in Korea like me usually have one-sided tendency with language. We are very stiff with language creativity (variability). We have a tendency to think in only with expressed sentences. Context has infinite(unlimited) extension possibility. Grammar is not a law which will not be able to be changed. There are so many innecessary grammars, especially in English. Korean learners usually have less creativity. Because education system is that.
Mira Kim asks....

Would you give me some comments and outline some ideas on how I might teach the expression like this sentence:

'Our baseball team was down to five players and zero substitutes.'

Please write in simple terms, as if speaking to a learner of English, how I would make the grammatical justification of the sentence.

Thank you in advance, expecting your quick answer.

From Mi-ra Kim,

Great question! It seems illogical but it really does have logic!

We say zero substitutes
We say 1 substitute / a substitute
We say 2 substitutes
We say 3 substitutes

Zero is considered plural semantically in English! Only ONE is singular.

But remember this only works when we are "counting" There are zero members".
If we are not counting, we say Zero is a beautiful number.

Whether we consider phrases/nouns / noun phrases as singular or plural in English is a BIG area of confusion and really gives English both its beauty and its ability to frustrate. Ex. Why do we say - Ham and eggs is my favorite dish?.........

For some really good reading on these subjects, look at THIS WEBSITE. So many great questions like yours, answered! For your question - view Dec. 2008

I'll be continuing my ASK DAVID role on website as soon as they get the new version online....Find and ask me questions either here or there!
help me~

What does 'coach' means in sports ?
It means a manager, 감독 in Korean. Right? I'm wondering what I call 'coach' used in Korean If 'coach' is used as a manager in English. Maybe assistant-coach?

'The higher the temperature, the more intense the flavor.' --This is a right sentence. But is it ok if each sentence is inverted like ' The more intense the flavor, the higher the temperature.'?



Try EnglishCentral

Public Speaking


  • Add Photos
  • View All




ddeubel created this Ning Network.

© 2018   Created by ddeubel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service