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Notes on grammatical issues (1º Bach)

Remember that in NOTES ON GRAMMATICAL ISSUES (2º Bach) you can have a look at the following issues (I give you the links to some useful exercises to do all along the school year):

a. Comparatives and superlatives    (EXERCISES TO DO)  

b. Passive voice    (EXERCISES TO DO)  

c. Conditional sentences    (EXERCISES TO DO)  

d. Relative Clauses    (EXERCISES TO DO)  

e. Reported Speech    (EXERCISES TO DO)  

And remember you've got in the level 4º ESO more exercises about each category, too.


 Present Simple
  • facts and states (The sun rises in the east)
  • routines, habits and actions repeated with a certain frequency (We usually have classes in the morning)
  • stative verbs (I like shopping)
 Present Continuous
  • momentaneous actions, actions happening now (The boy is playing)
  • temporary actions (We are living in an appartment this year)
  • + ALWAYS   >>>  repetitive irritating action that usually makes you angry (You are always talking in my class!!!)
  • Future arrangements as part of your agenda (We have already bought the flights. We are flying to Honolulu on 21st April)
 Present Perfect Simple
  • present situations that started in the past and that come up to the present (We have studied at this school for 5 years)
  • past life experiences without any specific time reference (Albert has worked at this school since 1996)
  • Past actions or situations that have an effect on the present (The price of petrol has gone down)
  • Completed changes (You have grown taller, so now you are taller)
  • When presenting a piece of news (There has been a terrible earthquake in the centre of Italy), the SIMPLE PAST will be used to give further details (Yesterday there was a terrible...and thirty people were injured... the firemen and the police forces came to help...)
  • with regard to the CONTINUOUS FORM, you make an emphasis on the RESULT (Raúl has scored more than 80 goals in the European Champions League)
 Present Perfect Continuous
(lleva haciendo algo)
  • with regard to the SIMPLE FORM, you make an emphasis on the ACTION itself (What have you been doing all the morning?  >>  the speaker is not really interested on what he has done, but he is angry because he hasn't come before or because he is all dirty)
  • with regard to the SIMPLE FORM, you can also give the idea that the action might continue. (Example: I have been phoning her the whole afternoon, but she is not at home. >>>  So he will probably continue trying it)
 Past Simple
  • completed actions or events that happened in the past at a specific time. (We wrote 4 compositions in the first term).
  • things which happened with a certain frequency in the past (They often played in the park).
  • past states (He was very happy with his exam results).
  • habits in past which are no longer true in the present situation (We used to play football in the streets because there weren't many cars. Chilren can no longer do it because of the heavy traffic).
 Past Continuous
  • actions in progress at a specific time in the past. (I was working yesterday evening at 9 o'clock).
  • past actions interrupted by other actions, most of the times using WHEN (They were playing when the accident happened).
  • two parallel actions in progress using WHILE (I was having a shower while my sister was doing the washing up).
 Past Perfect Simple/Continuous
  • actions or states that happened before other past actions. (I had already had dinner when you arrived home).
  • the continuous form is used when there is an emphasis on the action, as it happened with the Present Perfect Continuous (I had been working for more than five hours by the time you arrived home = Llevaba trabajando más de 5 horas para cuando llegaste a casa).
 Future Simple
  • abstract future (One day the Man will travel to Mars and live there.)
  • making general predictions or giving opinions about the future. (I hope I will win the lottery one day. I think she will visit us next summer).
  • Decisions taken at this very moment. ('Someone is knocking at the door.'   'Don't move. I'll open the door). TO MAKE A POLITE OFFER. You can also use SHALL to make a polite offer ('Shall I open the door for you?')
  • TO MAKE A POLITE REQUEST with WILL ('Will you open the door for me, please?). If you want to sound politer, you will use WOULD (Would you open the door for me, please? Would you be so kind...? Would you mind opening...?)
  • TO MAKE A SUGGESTION with SHALL ('Shall we go to the cinema this evening?)
 GOING TO Future
  • predictions based on evidence. (Look at those clouds! I think it is going to rain this afternoon).
  • personal plans and intentions (They are going to spend their winter holidays in the Alps). When these plans and intentions are shared with other people, they become arrangements and then we use the present continuous.
 Future Continuous
  • actions that will be in progress at a certain time in the future. (Tomorrow morning at this time I will be lying on the beach next to my girlfriend).
  • formal arrangements, especially used by tour guides (On Wednesday we will be flying to Copenhagen and then we will be visiting the Lofoten Islands at the weekend).
 Future Perfect
  • actions or events that will be completed by a specific time in the future, often used with the time expression BY THE TIME (para cuando). (I will have written the composition by the time you arrive home).
 to be about to do sth
  • It is similar to the GOING TO future, but it mainly has a time meaning  >>  La película estaba a punto de empezar (The film was about to start when the TV set broke down).
 to be to do sth
  • It has a similar meaning of EXTERNAL OBLIGATION to the modal verb HAVE TO in some cases and in others it has got a time meaning (You are to watch That's English every morning).


>>  TO TALK ABILITY we use can/can't, could/couldn't, be able to/not be able to.

Examples: I can speak English (Sé hablar inglés)      I will be able to speak English after my five-month course in England.
General ability in the past: Mozart could play the piano when he was four.  (had the ability)
Specific ability in the past: The little boy couldn't swim, but he was able to (=managed to) get out of the water when he fell into the swimming-pool.

>>  TO EXPRESS CERTAINTY we use must.

Examples: Someone is ringing the bell. It must be the postman.


Examples: 'Someone is ringing the bell. It must be the postman.'    'It can't be the postman because today is Sunday and they don't deliver any letters on Sundays.'

>>  TO EXPRESS POSSIBILITY / PROBABILITY we use may/may not, could/couldn't, might/might not.

Examples: It may rain this afternoon, but I don't think so.

>>  TO EXPRESS OBLIGATION, LACK OF OBLIGATION or PROHIBITION we use must/mustn't, have to/don't have to,  need to/needn't/don't need to.

Moral obligation: You must obey your parents.
Prohibition: You mustn't park here.
External obligation you don't have to agree with: You have to wear a uniform at this school.
Weaker obligation: You need to wear gloves if you are going out. It is freezing.
Lack of obligation: You don't have to wear a uniform at Mediterranean Sea Secondary School. (You needn't wear / You don't need to wear...)

>>  TO GIVE ADVICE OR MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS with a pinch of OBLIGATION we use should/shouldn't, ought to/oughtn't to.

Examples: You should/ought to study more regularly.       You shouldn't/oughtn't go to bed so late.


>>  TO EXPRESS CERTAINTY IN THE PAST  we use must have.

Examples: The postman must have been here because there are some letters in the post box.


Examples: It can't have been the postman because today is Sunday and they don't deliver any letters on Sundays, so it may have been one of your neighbours.'

>>  TO EXPRESS POSSIBILITY / PROBABILITY IN THE PAST we use may/may not have, might/might  not have.

Examples: He might have left the door unlocked, but I don't think so because he is so careful.


Examples: He could have taken the train instead of the coach.


Examples: He should have listened to the teacher instead of being reading the comic during the class. Now he can't do any of the exercises.

ING forms, TO-infinitives, base form??

admit, apologize for, avoid, can’t stand, can’t imagine, consider, don’t mind, enjoy, finish, imagine, mention, miss, practise, report, suggest

followed by ING form only

advise so to do sth, afford, agree, arrange, ask, beg so to do sth, choose, decide, expect, hope, invite so to do sth, learn, manage, offer, pretend, promise, seem, tempt, want

followed by TO-infinitive only

begin, hate, like, love, prefer, start

followed by ING form or TO-infinitive without change in meaning (although usually with the ING form we refer to general situations and with the TO-infinitive we refer to specific situations. Example: Although I don’t like eating out, I’d love to have dinner with Angelina Jolie)

  • regret, remember, forget to (future) regret, remember, forget + ING (past)

Examples:  I remember playing in the street when I was a young boy.

Remember to bring your CDs to the party.

  • stop to do sth (stop and do sth)

Example: He stopped to have a coffee.

  • stop doing sth (give up doing sth)

Example: The doctor told me to stop smoking if I wanted to live longer.

followed by ING form or TO-infinitive with a change in meaning

let, make, help (it is also possible to say 'help so to do sth'), I'd rather, you'd better

followed by the base form