Adjectives or Adverbs?

The parts of speech in English are challenging for many students because they may not remember the names for these types of words even in their own language! A lot of students have trouble understanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs, so we thought we’d try to give you some help to remember when you should use adjectives and when adverbs are needed. Adjectives describe nouns. Now, we have to remember what nouns are; nouns are words related to people, places or things. So, an example of an adjective is “happy” as in “Mark is happy today.” In this sentence, “happy” describes Mark. We can also use lists of adjectives to describe something. For example, “EC is a bright, orange school.” Most people know the rule that adverbs describe verbs, such as “He runs slowly.” How does he run? In a slow way. The more difficult use of adverbs is when they are used to describe adjectives or other adverbs. Let’s start with adjectives. An example would be, “He is relatively fast.” How fast is he? Relatively. When describing other adverbs an example is, “He runs extremely quickly.” How does he run? Quickly. How fast does he run? Extremely quickly. Another thing to remember is that not all adverbs end in “-ly.” Although many people think of adverbs as “-ly” words, this is not always true. An example is the word “well.” We say, “I play tennis well” not “I play tennis good” because we are describing the verb “play” not the noun “tennis.”  Also, many people forget that “very” is also an adverb, as in, “It is very hot in Miami in August.” So, next time you are writing a sentence, think twice about whether you need an adjective or an adverb!

Have you ever…?

When students learn the perfect tenses for the first time, they can definitely be confusing. Once you know the basic rules about how to form the perfect tenses and how to use participles you can talk about some pretty silly topics. A fun activity in some of our classes is to play a game called, “Have you ever…?” During this game, students ask each other questions about things they have and have not done and they can also guess information about their classmates. For example, you could say, “I think Kyung Woo has never surfed.” Kyung Woo could reply, “You’re right! I’ve never surfed, but I have swum in the ocean.” In Mark’s class, they learned about the perfect tenses a while ago and they used some interesting questions to practice. As you can see from the picture they discussed, “Have you ever eaten frog’s legs?” We decided to ask some staff around EC Miami to use the perfect tenses and tell us whether they have ever eaten frog’s legs. We also asked them, “What is the most interesting thing they have eaten recently?” Here are their responses: Elisa – Academic Director: “I have never eaten frog’s legs, but I have eaten some interesting things. Although it wasn’t recently, I have had guinea pig. I ate it when I was in Peru.” David – Accommodation Coordinator: “Frog’s legs? No. The most interesting thing I have ever eaten is definitely iguana soup. That’s as crazy as it gets. I had it in Curacao awhile back.” What about you? What is the most interesting thing you have eaten recently? As you can probably see, we use the perfect tenses a lot in English, so it’s always good to practice. Next time you are talking to your EC friends start asking some perfect … Read more