Perfect!

Yesterday, I looked at the present perfect simple tense, a tricky customer for people learning English. The progressive aspect can also of course be in the past and the future, and can be combined with the continuous (progressive) aspect. As with the present perfect simple, the perfect aspect always joins two different time periods together. The present perfect simple is the most common way you’ll use the perfect aspect, but let’s have a quick look at the other ways we use it:

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S: the Story of a Letter

If you’re a native English speaker, you probably don’t think about individual letters too often. Why would you? You use them pretty much automatically. So if I asked you to¬†talk about the letter s, you might not have much to say. But for people who have to learn English, it’s quite important, and can prove to be a tricky little customer.

The first area of confusion is with plurals. Most languages don’t add s to make a plural, like English does, so it can be very hard for speakers of those languages to remember to add the s. Even when some languages do add an s, it’s in a slightly different way. Portuguese and Spanish, for example, often add an s to a noun to make it plural. But, they also add an s to adjectives describing those nouns, leading a lot of Portuguese and Spanish speakers to do the same thing in English. French is similar, but the s is generally silent, meaning that a lot of French speakers don’t pronounce it even if they write it.

But the most common area of error is with third-person singular verbs. That might sound like gibberish, but let me demonstrate: Continue reading