Cuter or More Cute?: Comparative Adjectives

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When you are comparing the cuteness of two things, is it correct to say one is cuter or more cute? If you’re thinking it depends on how cute the items are, you are… WRONG! The answer is that “cuter” is correct. There is actually a rule. It has to do with something called comparative adjectives.

 

What’s a Comparative Adjective?

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A comparative adjective is the form of an adjective used to compare two things. Think of words like harder, better, faster and stronger (Does that remind you of a song?). Let’s use some comparative adjectives in a sentence. For example:

 

“This mattress is definitely harder than the one we have at home.”

 

“Michael Jordan and Lebron James are both great players, but I like Lebron better.”

 

“Michelle ran faster than me in the last race.”

 

“I feel stronger than I did last year.”

 

For the most part, the rules of comparative adjectives are straightforward. If we are talking about regular comparative adjectives, all you have to do is consider the number of syllables (we’ll discuss the difference between regular and irregular comparative adjectives later). 

 

If it is a one syllable adjective, just add “er.”

 

Adjective Comparative
loud louder
soft softer
round rounder
tall taller

 

If it is a regular two syllable adjective, in most cases you can either add “er” to the end or use “more” before the adjective. If you are modifying an adjective that ends in “y” change the “y” to “i” before adding the “er.” See below:

 

Adjective Comparative
happy happier or more happy
crunchy crunchier or more crunchy
narrow narrower or more narrow
simple simpler

 

Got an adjective with three or more syllables? It’s best to just add “more” before the word.

 

Adjective Comparative
exciting more exciting
gigantic more gigantic
reputable more reputable
dangerous More dangerous

 

What’s an Irregular Comparative Adjective?

So of course there is an exception to the rule. After all this is the English language. Rules were meant to be broken! So there’s a category of adjectives (irregular) that don’t follow the typical (or regular) rules of comparative adjectives. Here is a short list of the major ones:

 

Adjective Comparative
much / many more
far further / farther
bad worse
good better

 

So, how much have you learned today? Have you learned more than you thought? I hope you thought it was a good article. I don’t think we could have done a better job!

 

Well I hope  we didn’t confuse you too much:) If you have more questions about grammar rules or if you want to perfect your English grammar, sign up a Lingoloop free trial class. Meet with one of our qualified teachers today. During the trial class we’ll assess your speaking skills and develop a plan to help you feel good speaking English!

 

 

English Prepositions Quiz by Lingoloop

en]No Church at Sundays[:de]No Church At Sundays[:] • English With Nick

Knowing how to use English prepositions is key to becoming a fluent English speaker. Before we get to the Lingoloop Prepositions Quiz, do you even know what a preposition is? Let’s review!

A preposition is a word (usually a small one) that is used to show a relationship between a noun and a pronoun in a sentence. Common prepositions include the following words: “to”, “at”, “by”, and “of.”

Even though these are little words, English learners can struggle with the right way to use them. Take our Prepositions Quiz below to see how much you know!

 

How did you do on the Prepositions Quiz?

Hopefully it wasn’t too bad!

Like we said before, knowing the proper way to use prepositions can really take your English fluency to the next level. Want to practice your prepositions with our Expert tutors? Click here to sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class!

To be or not to be: the grammar quiz

 

It is, what it is… the verb “to be”

 

Our Lingoloop students tell us that the verb “to be” is the most complicated verb there is. It’s true! There are many rules and forms of the verb depending on the subject, verb tense etc. Truthfully though, “to be” is complicated in most languages, not just English.

If you have a moment give our simple “to be” grammar quiz a try. These are some pretty common uses, so it shouldn’t be too tricky. Can you get a perfect score?


We hope you got them all right! Whatever your score, if English is your second language and you want to improve your ability to speak it confidently, sign up for a Lingoloop Free Trial Class to learn more about the Lingoloop method and why our students love it!

The Battle of English vs. Math (the 1 rabbit 6 elephants riddle)

English vs. Math riddle

 

At Lingoloop we care very much about words. Words are important… even when you are doing Math! Take for example this simple (yet complicated) riddle. It is sometimes described as “the battle of English and Math” or “the 1 rabbit 6 elephants question.” Some versions even have 9 elephants:)

 

1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.

Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.

Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.

 

How many animals are going towards the river?

 

Take some time to think and then scroll down for the correct answer.

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The battle of English vs. Math… who wins?

 

If you answered “5” you are CORRECT! Let’s break it down:

 

Sentence 1: 1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.

In sentence 1, there are 7 animals, but only 1 (the rabbit) is going to the river. The word while is modifying rabbit, not elephants. Think about it this way: if we changed the sentence to: ”The rabbit saw a plane while going to the river.” we would not say that the plane was going to the river. 

 

Sentence 2: Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.

Since we see the word every, we know that all of the elephants saw 2 monkeys going towards the river. The trick here is that sometimes people assume that each of the 6 elephants saw 2 discretely different (or separate) monkeys. The sentence does not say that, so we cannot make that assumption. All we know for sure is that 2 monkeys are going towards the river.

 

Sentence 3: Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.

This isn’t that tricky as long as you know the right number of monkeys! So if there are 2 monkeys going to the river, there must only be 2 parrots if every monkey is holding just 1 parrot.

 

1 rabbit + 2 monkeys + 2 parrots = 5 animals

So as you can see… every word counts! Very simple words can have a dramatic effect on meaning. Even native English speakers can struggle with communication if they don’t choose their words carefully. 

Are you struggling with getting your point across? Or maybe you are having trouble listening to what people are saying. If you need to improve your English communication skills, try Lingoloop. Sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class to get your English skills assess by an expert tutor!

Contractions: When You Can and When You Can’t

Contractions are the same as their longer forms, just shorter!

Contractions are wonderful, and we use them when speaking English all the time.

We don’t often hear: “I am going to the store later, but I cannot take you with be because you will need time to do your homework.”

Even when we read it, it sounds like a robot!  You’re more likely to hear: “I’m going to the store latter, but I can’t take you because you’ll need time to do your homework.”

How do contractions work?  In one of three ways:

Don’t do it!
  1. Negative contractions

Negative contractions are for when we need to use the “no” version of something.  The “not” part of the sentence gets pushed together, usually with a helping verb, and we exchange the “o” for an apostrophe [‘].  Negative contractions are words like:

  • Can not = Can’t
  • Do/Did not = Don’t/Didn’t
  • Would not = Wouldn’t
  • Could not = Couldn’t
  • Will not = Won’t
  • Should not = Shouldn’t
  • Might not = Mightn’t

Even though you see a lot of modal verbs in this list, there is no “may not” contraction: just say “That may not work” and use both words.

We’re going shopping, and she’s getting a new dress!

2. Be-verb Contractions

You probably heard a be-verb contraction before you even knew what a contraction was!  These are very common, and we use them all the time.  They give us words like:

  • I am = I’m
  • You are = You’re
  • She/he is = She’s/He’s
  • We are = We’re
  • They are = They’re

Be-verb contractions are only used for present tense verbs.  There is no “I was = I’s” contraction.

I’d love to go on an adventure! I’ve never been on an adventure before!

3. Helping verb contractions

Helping verbs like “have” and “will” and modal verbs like “would”, “could”, or “should” can be contracted with their subjects.  Be careful though!  Sometimes they can look the same, so be sure to read the whole sentence before you decide which verb has been contracted!

  • I would = I’d
  • Also: I had = I’d
  • You have = You’ve
  • She will = She’ll

Remember that usually* you can only use one contraction per subject.  “I have not” does NOT become “I’ven’t“.

* The only exception to this is “would + have”, which can sometimes be contracted in speaking to “She’d’ve”, for example:

She would have gone home, but she was having too much fun! 
She’d’ve gone home, but she was having too much fun!

Remember, only use this double-contraction in speaking, and try to avoid it in writing!

***

Want to learn more about how contractions can help you feel more confident speaking English?  Contact LingoLoop today to speak with a tutor!

 

How Should I Order My Adjectives?

One of the hardest things about English is knowing the correct way to order adjectives in a sentence. Sometimes we need more than one adjective to describe something. We may even need more than two or three adjectives to give an accurate description. Is it a big, brown, fuzzy bear or is it a brown, fuzzy, big bear? To the untrained ear, these examples may sound similar, but if you are a native English speaker one definitely sounds weird!

Ordering adjectives is a common pain point for most English learners. You may be asking yourself “What is the right order of adjectives in a sentence?” There is a solution.

Using multiple adjectives to describe something

Let’s look at an example. Imagine there are three cars:

  • All three cars are silver
  • One car is old, and two are new
  • One of the new cars is German, and the other is American

If I ask, “Which car is yours?” you would need more than one adjective to answer the question.

If you answered, “It’s the silver car,” I would be confused because there are three silver cars.

If you answered, “It’s the new silver car,” I would be confused because there are two new silver cars.

If you answered, “It’s the new silver German car,” I would not be confused because there is only one of those!

So, using more than one adjective can avoid confusion by creating a more specific answer.

When in doubt, NOSASCOMP

When we use more than one adjective, we can remember how we order them with the acronym: N.O.S.A.S.C.O.M.P (it kind of sounds like “nose-as-comp”).

Number
Opinion
Size
Age
Shape
Color
Origin
Material
Purpose

So, for example, let’s take an easy noun, like “desk”. You might have:

Number – one
Opinion – ugly
Size – big
Age – old
Shape – round
Color – brown
Origin – American
Material – wooden
Purpose – classroom
………………..desk!

We almost never need more than three adjectives to describe something, but it’s good to know the order we should put them in if we do.

 

The trickiest part about ordering adjectives

Most problems occur with the last three types of adjectives: Origin, Material, and Purpose.

Origin is where the noun comes from. Maybe you have a “Swiss watch” or a “Korean cell phone” or a “German car.”

Material is what the noun is made of. Maybe it’s a “metal chair” or a “porcelain dish” or a “plastic toy.”

Purpose is what we use the noun for. Sometimes, this adjective becomes so important we actually add it to the noun: this is where we get words like “teacup” (a cup used for tea) or “bathroom” (the room you go to for a bath). So you might have a “paint brush”, or a “coffee mug” or “snow boots.”

Origin, material, and purpose can be tricky because all of these things can be nouns on their own.

Try to remember: when one word describes another, the word that IS is the noun, and the word that DESCRIBES is the adjective. Do you have boots, or do you have snow? You have boots, but they are made for the snow. So, you have “snow boots.”

 

Need help with more than adjectives?

By the way, the answer to the question above is B. “Beautiful” is an opinion, “new” is an age, and “silver” is a color. Did you get it right?

Knowing the right order of adjectives is just one aspect of mastering conversational English. If you need help with your English skills for work or life in general, try Lingoloop online English classes. Use Zoom to connect with our expert teachers over video chat. After just a few classes you’ll be on your way to feeling good about your English.

Click HERE to try sign up for a free trial class today!

What’s a Gerund?

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Although the term “gerund” may sound unfamiliar, we use them in English everyday.

A gerund is simply a verb that acts as a noun.

Gerunds are fairly easy to find because they always end in “ing

Here are a few examples –

 

Learning English is hard.

I enjoy running.

John likes singing in the choir.

Have you ever thought about flying an airplane?

In each of these examples, the words ending in “ing” are acting as nouns, not verbs.

 

Can you find the gerunds in these sentences? (Hint: some of the words that end in “ing” are verbs, not gerunds!)

I go swimming every summer.

Driving a car is difficult.

Thinking about reading makes me tired.

She is enjoying baking.

 

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Many Much

Learn English Online Much Many Coffee

The words “many” and “much” can be tricky for English language learners. They mean similar things, but we use them in different ways.

Basically: “Many” and “much” are adjectives. “Many” is for countable nouns, and “much” is for uncountable nouns.

That is not the whole story. Many and much also can be used as nouns, adverbs, and pronouns. But, in this post, we focus on how the way they are most commonly used.

 

So, what are “countable” and “uncountable” nouns?

Countable nouns are things that can be counted, like apples, cars, houses, and any other object.

Uncountable nouns are things that cannot be counted, like water and other liquids, abstract things like love and knowledge, and things that always come in bundled amounts like sugar and bread.

 

One tricky thing about uncountable nouns is that many have countable nouns that can be used to measure them. For example, tea is uncountable, but cups of tea are countable. Another example is work. Work is uncountable, but minutes of work or hours of work are countable. But, it’s still hard to find ways to count abstract things like fear and safety.

 

Now, back to much and many!

 

many – Anytime you want to describe a noun that can be counted, use “many.”

Examples:

“She had been to the restaurant many times.”  We can count the times that she has been to the restaurant.

“Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech has been heard by many people.” We can count people. It would take a very long time to count how many have heard his speech, but it is possible.

 

too many – This is also used with countable nouns, but in negative situations.

Examples:

“He did not want to go to the restaurant again. He had been there too many times.”

“She wanted to leave the beach because there were too many people there.”

 

much – Anytime you want to modify a noun that cannot be counted, use many.

Examples:

“It is great that California got so much rain this winter.”

Rain is water and water, like any other liquid, can not be counted. However, inches of rain, drops of rain and buckets of rain can be counted, so with those words, you would use “many.”

“You still have so much bread on your plate. I wish I had that much bread to eat.”

Bread is also something that cannot be counted. However, loaves of bread and slices of bread can be counted, so with those words, you would use “many.”

 

too much – This is also used with uncountable nouns, but in negative situations.

Examples:

“They did not feel well because they ate too much food.”

“It rained too much last night and now there is a leak in my roof.”

 

Now, you try! Write many examples in the comments section, but don’t spend too much time working on it!

Can you fix this story?

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Here is a short story about John and Tina. All of the mistakes are in red. Can you reply with all of the corrections?

John and his friend Tina is at the park. First, they walks on the path and look on all of the pretty tree. Next, they sit on the bench and listened the birds sing. Last, John and Tina watches the childs play of the swings.

 

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