The use of articles in English is complex, and there are a lot of
exceptions that need to be remembered and learned.
Here are the basic rules.
Use a/an to refer to a singular countable noun which is indefinite – either we don’t know which one, or it doesn't matter which one.
They live in a lovely house. I'm reading a good book at the moment. She’s expecting a baby.
Use a/an to describe what something or someone is.
That's an instrument for measuring distance. She’s a lawyer.
Use the before a singular or plural noun, when both the speaker and the listener know which specific object is being referred to.
They live in the green house on top of the hill. The book I’m reading is all about the emancipation of women. Mind the baby! She’s near the fire. The sweater I bought is blue.
Use the before a noun if it is the only one (the Queen, the Earth, the Atlantic). Also use it with certain public places, especially when referring to them in a general way:
I went to the theatre last night. I have to go to the bank.
It should also be used when referring to general groups of people (the French, the rich and famous)
Use no article with plural and uncountable nouns when talking about things in general.
Compare the use of articles in the following sentences.
Money is the root of all evil. (general) Put the money on the table. (specific) Love conquers all. (general). The love I have for you will last for ever. (specific) Gas is cheaper than electricity. (general) I forgot to pay the bill, and now the gas has been cut off. (specific)
Notice the difference between the use of articles in the following
My daughter is at school.
The meeting will be held at the school.
I go to church on Sundays.
The firemen went to the church to put out the fire.
He was rushed to hospital immediately.
I’m going to the hospital to visit him.
The use of the emphasises the place simply as a building. The use without
the suggests that the place is being used for its proper function as an
institution, i.e. a place of learning, healing etc.
Pubs, hotels, theatres, and cinemas usually have the
the Prince William
the London Hilton
the Albany Empire
Some geographical areas have the.
seas the Mediterranean
rivers the Seine; the Mississippi
island groups the Seychelles
mountain groups the Alps
deserts the Sahara
Streets, roads, and squares etc. in towns usually have no article.
Other nouns which take no article are:
lakes Lake Superior, Lake Victoria
countries Spain, Norway, China
continents Asia, Europe
The following types of noun take no article when referred to generally:
Do you prefer hockey or football?
The football they play in America is different from the kind they play in
Dinner is usually at eight o’clock.
The dinner they served yesterday was the best I remember.
1. Fill each gap (if necessary) with a suitable article.
1. - What’s her job?
- She’s ___ teacher.
2. Britain is ___ island.
3. Excuse me, can I ask ___ question?
4. What do you usually have for ___ lunch?
5. Is there ___ life on Mars?
6. Can you tell me ___ time, please?
7. ___ air is so fresh today.
8. She has ___ long brown hair.
9. Is she ___ English?
10. Where’s ___ bag? It’s gone!
11. Would you like ___ coffee?
12. She works six days ___ week.
2. In this exercise you have to put in a / an or the.
Example: There was __a__ man and __a__ woman in the room. _The_ man was
English but _the_ woman looked foreign. She was wearing __a__ fur coat.
1. This morning I bought _____ newspaper and _____ magazine. _____ newspaper is in my bag but I don’t know where _____ magazine is.
2. My parents have _____ cat and _____ dog. _____ dog never bites _____ cat but _____ cat often scratches _____ dog.
3. I saw _____ accident this morning. _____ car crashed into _____ wall. _____ driver of _____ car was not hurt but _____ car was quite badly damaged.
4. When you turn into Lipson Road, you will see three houses: _____ red one, _____ blue one and _____ white one. I live in _____ white one.
5. We live in _____ old house in _____ middle of the village. There is _____ beautiful garden behind _____ house. _____ roof of _____ house is in very bad condition.
3. Read these sentences carefully. Some are correct, but some need the (perhaps more than once). Correct the sentences where necessary.
Examples: Everest was first climbed in 1953. Right
Milan is in north of Italy. Wrong – the north of Italy
1. Last year we visited Canada and United States.
2. Africa is much lager than Europe.
3. South of England is warmer than north.
4. We went to Spain for our holidays and swam in Mediterranean.
5. Tom has visited most countries in western Europe.
6. A friend of mine used to work as a reporter in Middle East.
7. Next year we are going skiing in Swiss Alps.
8. Malta has been a republic since 1974.
9. Nile is longest river in Africa.
10. United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Unit 2 Prepositions
Prepositions of place and directions
o You normally use prepositional phrases to say where a person or thing is, or the direction they are moving in. o You can also use adverbs and adverb phrases for place and direction. o Many words are both prepositions and adverbs.
You use prepositions to talk about the place where someone or something is.
Prepositions are always followed by a noun group, which is called the
object of the preposition.
Sheila was here a moment ago.
Can’t you go upstairs and turn the bedroom light off?
Note that a few noun groups can also be used as adverbials of place or
Steve lives next door at number 23.
I thought we went the other way last time.
Many words can be used as prepositions and as adverbs, with no difference
in meaning. Remember that prepositions have noun groups as objects, but
adverbs do not.
Did he fall down the stairs?
Please do sit down.
I looked underneath the bed. but the box had gone!
Always put a sheet of paper underneath.
Prepositions of place – at, in, on
o You use ‘at’ to talk about a place as a point. o You use ‘in’ to talk about a place as an area. o You use ‘on’ to talk about a place as a surface.
You use ‘at’ when you are thinking of a place as a point in space.
She waited at the bus stop for over twenty minutes.
‘Where were you last night?’ – ‘At Mick’s house.’
You also use ‘at’ with words such as ‘back’, ‘bottom’, ‘end’, ‘front’, and
‘top’ to talk about the different parts of a place.
Mrs Castle was waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
They escaped by a window at the back of the house.
I saw a taxi at the end of the street.
You use ‘at’ with public places and institutions. Note that you also say
‘at home’ and ‘at work’.
I have to be at the station by ten o’clock.
We landed at a small airport.
A friend of mine is at Training College.
She wanted to stay at home.
You say ‘at the corner’ or ‘on the corner’ when you are talking about
The car was parked at the corner of the street.
There’s a telephone box on the corner.
You say ‘in the corner’ when you are talking about a room.
She put the chair in the corner of the room.
You use ‘in’ when you are talking about a place as an area. You use ‘in’
a country or geographical region
When I was in Spain, it was terribly cold.
A thousand homes in the east of Scotland suffered power cuts.
a city, town, or village
I’ve been teaching at a college in London.
a building when you are talking about people or things inside it
They were sitting having dinner in the restaurant.
You also use ‘in’ with containers of any kind when talking about things
She kept the cards in a little box.
Compare the use of ‘at’ and ‘in’ in these examples.
I had a hard day at the office. (‘at’ emphasises the office as a public
place or institution)
I left my coat behind in the office. (‘in’ emphasises the office as a
There’s a good film at the cinema. (‘at’ emphasises the cinema as a public
It was very cold in the cinema. (‘in’ emphasises the cinema as a building.)
When talking about addresses, you use ‘at’ when you give the house number,
and ‘in’ when you just give the name of the street.
They used to live at 5, Weston Road.
She got a job in Oxford Street.
Note that American English uses ‘on’: ‘He lived on Penn Street.’
You use ‘at’ when you are talking about someone’s house.
I’ll see you at Fred's house.
You use ‘on’ when you are talking about a place as a surface. You can also
use ‘on top of’.
I sat down on the sofa.
She put her keys on top of the television.
You also use ‘on’ when you are thinking of a place as a point on a line,
such as a road, a railway line. a river, or a coastline.
Scrabster is on the north coast.
Oxford is on the A34 between Birmingham and London.
1. Put the correct preposition into each gap.
When my grandmother was at school, she had to learn everything (a) ________
heart, and even years later she could recite countless poems (b) _______
memory. She was discouraged (c) _______ thinking (d) _______ herself, and
concentrated simply (e) _______ learning facts. The teachers were very
strict (f) _______ pupils in those days. My grandfather confided (g)
_______ me that he was expelled (h) _______ school (i) _______ playing
truant just once.
It is always worthwhile for governments to invest (j) _______ education.
Nobody should be deprived (k) _______ a good education, and everybody
should benefit (l) _______ it. Nothing can compensate (m) _______ a bad
start in life. Pupils (n) _______ public schools still account (o) _______
many of the students at Oxford and Cambridge University. Until quite
recently these universities seemed to be prejudiced (p) _______ pupils from
state schools. Many people objected very strongly (q) _______ this and at
last things are changing.
I had no intention (r) _______ staying (s) _______ at university after I
had finished my first degree. I finally succumbed (t) _______ parental
pressure, but only (u) _______ protest, and carried out research (v)
_______ the life of Baudelaire.
2. Put the correct preposition into each gap (if necessary).
1. Are you coming to classes _____ Monday?
2. Can’t you hurry up? The train leaves _____ 9 o’clock.
3. There weren’t many people _____ the party.
4. David has been a teacher _____ 10 years.
5. They got married some time _____ .
6. Do you know the names of the letter _____ English?
7. I don’t live far _____ my office. In fact, it’s quite _____ .
8. What time do you usually come _____ home?
9. He lives _____ the country.
10. I think she’s gone _____ holiday _____ the South.
11. I’m going to stay _____ my parents _____ July.
12. It’s so difficult to wake him up _____ the morning.
13. The girls are _____ the bus stop.
14. They are going _____ school.
15. The children are playing _____ the garden.
16. Did you see the film _____ television yesterday?
17. I try to go _____ bed before midnight.
18. Young people are fond _____ sports.
19. Charles is very good _____ languages.
20. It might be John but I thought he was _____ work.
21. - How do you get _____ work?
- I go there _____ bus.
22. Look _____ that picture.
23. Why don’t you take _____ your coat. It’s warm today.
24. She’s French, she comes _____ the South of France.
Unit 3 Review of tenses (active/passive voice)
1. Matching verb forms
Match a sentence from A with a sentence from B, according to the tense
used. Say which tense it is. (Some sentences are in the negative or
He works in a bank.
She doesn’t smoke.
They are both Present Simple active.
1. I don’t believe you.
2. Have you been waiting long?
3. He hasn’t arrived yet.
4. It wasn’t mended properly.
5. How are you feeling today?
6. My office is being decorated at the moment.
7. We got lost.
8. What were you doing last night?
9. This book has been translated into several languages.
10. The post is delivered twice a day.
a. It’s raining.
b. Did you have a good time?
c. How are these machines made?
d. They were working for something.
e. He was killed in a car crash.
f. What is being done about inflation?
g. I’ve been thinking about moving house.
h. Have you seen Henry?
i. A cure for cancer hasn’t been found yet.
j. Where do you work?
2. Active or passive?
Put the verb in brackets in the correct tense, and decided if it is active
Ex.: My car __was stolen__ (steal) last night.
Joseph Ford, the politician who (a) __________ (kidnap) last week as he was
driving to his office, (b) __________ (release) unharmed. He (c) __________
(examine) by a doctor last night, and (d) __________ (say) to be in good
health. Mr Ford (e) __________ (find) walking along a small country lane
early yesterday evening. A farmer (f) __________ (see) him, recognised who
it was, and (g) __________ (contact) the police. When his wife (h)
__________ (tell) the news, she said, ‘I am delighted and relieved that my
husband (i) __________ (find).’ Acting on information received, the police
made several arrests, and a man (j) __________ (question) in connection
with the kidnapping.
3. Passive construction
Put the following sentences into the passive, using a personal pronoun as
Ex.: Someone told her the news.
She was told the news.
a. Someone will give you your tickets at the airport.
b. People asked me a lot of questions about my background.
c. Someone usually shows airline passengers how to use a life jacket at the beginning of the flight.
d. If somebody offers you a cheap camera, don’t buy it. It’s probably stolen.
e. Doctors have given him six months to live.
f. Someone will tell you what you have to do when you arrive.
g. My parents advised me to spend some time abroad before looking for work.
h. Pleased to meet you. People have told me a lot about you.
i. At interviews, people ask you quite searching questions.
j. In a few years’ time, my company will send me to our New York office.
4. Tense review (1)
Put the verb in brackets in an appropriate tense. When there is no verb (
__ __ __ ), insert an auxiliary verb.
My wife and I (a) ________ (live) in our present house in the country for
five years. We (b) ________ (move) here after our second child (c) ________
(be) born. We (d) ________ (live) in town for ten years , and (e) ________
(decide) that as soon as we (f) ________ (can) afford it, we (g) ________
(move) away from the smoke and the noise of the city centre, which we
finally (h) __ __ __ in 1985. We (i) ________ never (regret) it. We (j)
________ (be) reminded of the wisdom of our decision every morning when we
(k) ________ (draw) the curtains to see the open fields stretching before
us. When the children (l) ________ (have) breakfast, they (m) ________
(rush) outside to play, which they (n) __ __ __ whatever the weather.
Whilst they (o) ________ (play) outside, we somehow manage to start the
Actually, we (a) ________ (think) of moving. My wife (b) ________ (accept)
a new job, which she (c) ________ (start) next month. As soon as she (d) __
__ __ , she (e) ________ (have) a journey of fifty miles there and back,
and I (f) ________ (not think) that she (g) ________ (realise) just how
tiring this (h) ________ (be). I (i) ________ (go) away on business for a
few days next week, and while I (j) ________ (be) away, my sister (k)
________ (come) to stay, which she (l) __ __ __ quite often. Once I (m)
________ (be) back, I (n) ________ (decide) that I (o) ________ (get) in
touch with some estate agents. I (p) ________ (not feel) happy until we (q)
________ (find) a house closer to my wife’s job. I wonder what the children
(r) ________ (say) when they (s) ________ (hear) that we (t) ________
(move). This is the first time they (u) ________ (live) in the country, and
they (v) ________ (hate) to move back to town.
5. Tense review (2)
Put the verb in brackets in an appropriate tense.
Junk story that beat the experts
The strangest story I (a) _____ ever _____ (report) began one Spring
morning in Hong Kong. I was born and brought up in Hong Kong and I (b)
_______ just _______ (start) working as a radio reporter there.
In March 1981, ninety-five fishing junks (c)_______ (spot) sailing over
the horizon. Immediately they (d) _______ (surround) by police launches who
thought they were trying (e) _______ (sneak) into Hong Kong against the
One of Hong Kong’s greatest problems is trying to keep out thousands of
people who think life there (f) _______ (be) better than in China, and try
to smuggle themselves in. Hong Kong is already the most crowded place in
the world, and there’s no room for more people.
But when the police asked the junk people why they (g) _______ (come)
they (h) _______ (get) a shock. They said they (i) _______ (stay) for a few
days (j) _______ (escape) the terrible calamity that was about (k) _______
(strike) their villages in China.
They said there was complete panic at home because everyone (l) _______
(believe) an earthquake (m) _______ (come).
Throughout its history China (n) _______ (suffer) terrible earthquakes,
cities (o) _______ (destroy) and thousands killed. Nowadays, all over the
country there are seismographic centres where earthquakes can easy (p)
The Hong Kong authorities phoned one of these centres in China to find
out whether they (q) _______ (warn) about a forthcoming earthquake, but the
answer was no. Experts in Hong Kong agreed that there was no reason for the
junk people’s fears.
Consequently the junk people (r) _______ (send) home. On their way back
an earthquake did indeed (s) _______ (strike) their village. No-one was
hurt but the mystery (t) _______ (remain). How did the junk people know,
when the scientists and experts with all their sophisticated machines
Unit 4 Modal verbs
Introduction to modals
can, could, may, might, must, ought, shall, should, will, would
o Modals are always the first word in a verb group. o All modals except for ‘ought’ are followed by the base form of a verb. o ‘Ought’ is followed by a ‘to’-infinitive. o Modals have only one form.
Modals are always the first word in a verb group. All modals except
for'ought'are followed by the base form of a verb.
I must leave fairly soon.
I think it will look rather nice.
Things might have been so different.
People may be watching.
‘Ought’ is always followed by a ‘to’-infinitive.
She ought to go straight back to England.
Sam ought to have realised how dangerous it was.
You ought to be doing this.
Modals have only one form, There is no ‘-s’ form for the third person
singular of the present tense, and there are no ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’ forms.
There’s nothing I can do about it.
I’m sure he can do it.
Modals do not normally indicate the time when something happens. There are,
however, a few exceptions.
‘Shall’ and ‘will’ often indicate a future event or situation.
I shall do what you suggested. He will not return for many hours.
‘Could’ is used as the past form of ‘can’ to express ability. ‘Would’ is
used as the past form of ‘will’ to express the future.
When I was young, I could run for miles.
He remembered that he would see his mother the next day.
In spoken English and informal written English, ‘shall’ and ‘will’ are
shortened to ‘-’ll’ and ‘would’ to ‘-’d’, and added to a pronoun.
I’ll see you tomorrow.
I hope you’ll agree.
Posy said she’d love to stay.
‘Shall’, ‘will’, and ‘would’ are never shortened if they come at the end of
Paul said he would come, and I hope he will.
In spoken English, you can also add ‘-’ll’ and ‘-’d’ to nouns.
My car’ll be outside.
The headmaster’d be furious.
Warning: Remember that ‘-d’ is also the short form of the auxiliary ‘had’.
I’d heard it many times.
1. Your have to complete a sentence with could, was / were able to or couldn’t.
Example: My grandfather was very clever. He could (or was able to) speak
1. He had hurt his leg, so he __________ walk very well.
2. She wasn’t at home when I phone but I __________ contact her at her office.
3. I look very carefully and I __________ see a figure in the distance.
4. They didn’t have any tomatoes in the first shop I went to, but I __________ get some in the next shop.
5. My grandmother loved music. She __________ play the piano very well.
6. The boy fell into the river but fortunately we __________ rescue him.
2. In this exercise you have to write sentences with could or could have.
Example: She doesn’t want to stay with Linda. But she could stay with
1. He didn’t want to help us. But he
2. He doesn’t want to help us. But
3. They don’t want to lend us any money. But
4. She didn’t want to have anything to eat.
3. You have read a situation and write a sentence with must have or can’t have. Use the words in brackets.
Example: The phone rang but I didn’t hear it. (I must / be / asleep)
I must have been asleep.
1. That dress you bought is very good quality. (It must / be / very expensive)
2. I haven’t seen Jim for ages. (He must / go / away)
3. I wonder where my umbrella is. (You must / leave / it on the train)
4. Don passed the examination. He didn’t study very much for it. (The exam can’t / be / very difficult)
5. She knew everything about our plans. (She must / listen / to our conversation)
6. Denis did the opposite of what I asked him to do. (He can’t / understand / what I said)
7. When I woke up this morning, the light was on. (I must / forget / to turn it off)
8. I don’t understand how the accident happened. (The driver can’t / see / the red light)
4. Rewrite these sentences using the modals given.
Example: Perhaps he fell. (may have) (might have)
He may have fallen.
He could have fallen.
1. Perhaps they saw us. (could have) (might have)
2. Perhaps he said that. I don’t remember. (might have) (could have)
3. We’re lost. I think we’ve taken the wrong road. (must have)
4. I wish you had seen it. It was wonderful. (should have)
5. I ought to have known that would happen. (should have)
6. Perhaps when I am fifty I won’t remember it. (will have forgotten)
7. It was possible for me to prevent that, but I didn’t. (could have)
8. You should have listened to her the first time. (ought to have)
5. Make suitable sentences from the table below using can.
6. Complete these sentences using can, can’t, could or couldn’t.
Example: There was a woman with a big hat right in front of me. I couldn’t
see a thing.
1. I’m sorry, you’re in my light. I __________ see what I’m doing.
2. It was a huge hall and we were at the back, so we __________ hear very well.
3. When she screams, you __________ hear her all over the house.
4. She was phoning all the way from Singapore, but I __________ hear her very clearly.
5. __________ you hear me at the back?
6. Put your hands up if you __________ hear me.
7. Rewrite these suggestions starting with the words given.
Example: Let’s go to the theatre. / How about going to the theatre?
1. We should get started as soon as possible. / It might be a good idea
2. You could write and ask her yourself. / You might like to
3. Why don’t we take a winter holiday for a change? / What about
4. Couldn’t you just play at the end of the month? / You could
5. We could take a week off in July. / Let’s
6. You could ask Bill to help. / What
7. Why don’t you ring and tell them you’re coming? / You
8. We could borrow the equipment from Peter. / Couldn’t
9. Why don’t we keep quiet about that? / It might
8. Add comments to these sentences using I wish.
Example: I’m afraid your father can’t come. / I wish he could.
They always come late. / I wish they wouldn’t.
1. He always complains about everything. /
2. He never invites us round. /
3. We can’t go on holiday this year. /
4. She won’t listen to anything you say. /
5. They can’t help out I’m afraid. /
6. She never comes home at weekends. /
9. Fill each gap with a correct modal verb.
1. I really think you __________ see a doctor.
2. Oh, look! Mr. Thomson __________ be here: there’s his car.
3. Why did you carry that heavy box? You __________ hurt yourself!
4. - Where are my keys?
5. I suppose I __________ them in the car.
6. She had to wait 5 minutes for traffic to stop, but in the end __________ to cross the road.
7. I took my umbrella, but it didn’t rain, so I __________ taken it.
8. Everyone understood. The teacher __________ to explain it again.
9. He had an accident in his car. He __________ where he was going.
10. - Did she do the exercise?
11. No, she said she __________ understand it.
12. He is very rich. He __________ work for a living.
13. - Did you go to the concert?
14. No. We __________ have gone but decided not to.
15. - Did they find your house?
16. Yes, it took them a long time but they __________ to find it.
17. - Do you want me to wait for you?
18. No, it’s okay. You __________ wait.
19. His test is the best in class. He __________ (study) last night.
Unit 5 Gerunds and infinitives
The gerund is used:
After leaving school, I went to university. The firemen rescued the lady by breaking down the door. Is anyone here good at sewing? She was accused of killing her husband.
Examples of prepositions frequently followed by the gerund are:
before after without by about at to of
after certain verbs.
I enjoy staying in hotels. I avoid working at the weekend.
Some of the most common verbs which are followed by the gerund are:
admit avoid deny enjoy finish
as the subject or object of a sentence.
Swimming is my favourite sport. Smoking is bad for your health. I find working in the garden very relaxing.
after certain idiomatic expressions.
It's no use talking to him. He doesn't know anything. This is an excellent book. It's worth buying.
Other idiomatic expressions are:
There's no point in (waiting all day). It's no good (pretending that you understand).
after certain verbs which are followed by the preposition to.
I'm looking forward to visiting you in July.
The infinitive is used:
after certain verbs.
I can't afford to pay all my bills. I hope to see you again soon.
Some of the most common verbs that are followed by the infinitive are:
agree appear attempt choose dare decide expect help learn manage need offer promise refuse seem
You should consult a good dictionary, for example the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, to see which structures are possible after a particular verb.
after certain verbs followed by an object.
He advised me to listen carefully. They invited her to have lunch with them.
Some of the most common verbs that are normally used with an object and an infinitive are:
allow encourage force order persuade remind teach tell warn
after certain verbs which sometimes take an object and sometimes don’t.
I want to find out the answer, (no object – ‘I find out.’) I want you to find out the answer, (‘you’ as object – ‘You find out.’) I'd like to help you. I'd like you to give her a message.
NEVER I want that you . . .
I'd like that you . . .
Other common verbs are:
after certain adjectives.
It's difficult to explain how to get there. It's possible to walk there.
after make and let.
She made me do the exercise again, (active – without ‘to’) I was made to do the exercise again, (passive – with ‘to’) He let me borrow the car. (active - without 'to') I was allowed to borrow the car. (‘Let’, in the sense of ‘allow’, is not possible in the passive.)
to express purpose.
I came here to team English. I need more money to buy the things I want.
after certain verbs followed by question words, e.g. what, where, who.
I didn't know what to do. Can you tell me how to get there? Show me where to put it. Do you know where to buy it?
After these verbs and others with similar meanings, it is possible to use how, what, where, when, whether etc.
ask consider explain wonder find out understand
Forms of the infinitive
The continuous infinitive
The continuous infinitive is formed with to be + present participle. It expresses activities in progress.
I'd like to be lying in the sun right now. He seemed to be having financial difficulties.
The perfect infinitive
The perfect infinitive is formed with to have + past participle.
I'd like to have seen his face when you told him. He seems to have forgotten about the appointment.
The passive infinitive
The passive infinitive is formed with to be + past participle.
I'd like to be promoted to sales manager. I asked to be informed as soon as there was any news.
The continuous, perfect, and passive infinitives can also be used with
modal auxiliary verbs, but with these verbs to is omitted.
You should be working, not watching television.
She must have gone home already.
This report must be finished tonight.
The gerund or the infinitive after verbs?
Continue, start, begin
Either the gerund or the infinitive can be used.
It started to snow
The infinitive is more common.
1. Love, like, prefer, hate
The meaning changes slightly, depending on whether the gerund or the
infinitive is used.
Followed by the gerund, the statement is general.
I like swimming.
I love going to parties.
I hate driving in the dark.
Followed by the infinitive, the statement is more specific.
I like to read a book before going to sleep at night.
I hate to tell you, but I've lost your coat.
Remember, forget, stop, try
The meaning changes greatly depending on whether the gerund or the
infinitive is used.
I remember being very unhappy as a teenager. (I know that I was very
unhappy as a teenager.)
I'll never forget meeting you. (The day I met you is very clear in my memory.)
The gerund refers to actions and states in the past, i.e. before the
remembering, forgetting, etc. take place.
Remember to put some petrol in the car! (There isn’t much petrol in the car
and it is important that you buy some.)
Don't forget to post the letter! (The letter is important, so you must
remind yourself to post it.)
The infinitive refers to actions that must still be done, i.e. that happen
after the remembering, forgetting, etc.
I stopped smoking years ago. (previous activity)
I stopped to pick up a hitchhiker. (This tells us why I stopped.)
We tried to put out the fire, but it was impossible.
I tried pouring on water, my husband tried covering it with a blanket and
my son tried using the fire extinguisher, but in the end we had to call the
Try + infinitive is your goal; it is what you want to do.
Try + gerund is the method you use to achieve that goal.
1. Open the brackets using a gerund.
1. The windows are very dirty; they need (clean).
2. It's very hot, so you don't need (bring) a coat.
3. The house is old, and it badly wants (paint).
4. The famous man didn't need (introduce) himself.
5. The floor is covered with dust; it needs (sweep).
6. The grass in the garden is very dry; it wants (water) badly.
7. The planners didn't realise they would need (build) so many houses.
8. This shirt is quite clean; it doesn't want (wash) yet.
9. Her shoes have a hole in them; they want (mend).
10. The room was in a terrible mess: it needed (tidy up).
11. The baby's crying; I think he needs (feed).
12. I know my hair wants (cut) but I never have time to go to the hairdresser's.
13. John needed (cheer up) when he heard that he'd failed his exams.
14. You should tidy the garden. - Yes, it needs (tidy). The roses want
(water), the peaches want (pick), the grass wants (cut).
2. Open the brackets using a suitable gerund
1. Alter the accident, the injured man recovered consciousness in hospital.
He remembered (cross) the road, but he didn't remember (knock down).
2. I am still thirsty in spite of (drink) four cups of tea.
3. This carpet always looks dirty, in spite of (sweep) every day.
4. He didn't return the book he had borrowed after (promise) to do so.
5. He got into the house by (climb) through a window, without (see) by anyone.
6. I think he was foolish to buy a car before (learn) how to drive it.
7. Peter is a much better chess-player than I am, and he was very surprised when I beat him yesterday for the first time. He isn't used to (beat).
8. He went to bed at 9 p.m. in spite of (sleep) all the afternoon.
9. He complained of (give) a very small room at the back of the hotel.
10. The little girl isn't afraid of dogs in spite of (bite) twice.
11. The little girl didn't go near the dog; she was afraid of (bite).
12. The baby went to sleep a few minutes after (feed).
13. The little girl never gets tired of (ask) her mother questions, but her mother often gets tired of (ask) so many questions.
14. They lived in a small town for ten years and then moved without (make) friends with any of their neighbours.
15. The little boy was punished for (tell) a lie by (send) to bed without his supper.
16. Mary was chosen a year ago to act in the school play. She was very pleased at (choose).
17. Jack doesn't like boxing. I don't know if he is afraid of (hurt) his opponent or of (hurt) himself.
18. He was taken to hospital unconscious after the accident. He died in hospital without (recover) consciousness.
19. I always treat people politely and I insist on (treat) politely.
20. The boy was very hungry at eleven o'clock in spite of (eat) a big breakfast two hours earlier.
21. She didn't get out of bed until ten o'clock in spite of (wake up) at seven.
3. Complete the following sentences using a gerund.
Example: I/m good at mending things.
a. I have difficulty in
b. I’m very interested in
c. I’m thinking of
d. He saved up £1000 for a holiday by
e. I sometimes worry about not
f. Thank you for
g. I’m looking forward to
h. She left the room without
i. I stayed in bed all day instead of
4. Use your imagination to complete the following sentences.
Example: Working in a coal mine is dangerous, but well-paid.
a. Finding a good job these days
b. Living in a big city
c. Taking regular exercise
d. Travelling by air
e. Being self-employed
f. Learning a foreign language
5. Complete the following sentences using infinitives.
Example: It is easy to find cheap places to eat.
a. How do you do. Pleased to
b. When you’re old, it can be difficult to
c. I was surprised to
d. If you haven’t got much money, it’s impossible to
e. It can be expensive to
f. When you travel abroad, it’s important to
6. There are many expressions with go + gerund which are concerned with activities, sports, and physical recreation.
go dancing / go skiing / go running
Complete these sentences with go + a suitable gerund.
a. I __________ yesterday, but I didn’t buy anything.
b. I __________ by the river tomorrow, but I’m sure I won’t catch anything.
c. Whenever there’s enough snow, we __________ every weekend.
d. If I had enough money, I’d buy a yacht and __________ in the Mediterranean.
e. We had a lovely holiday. We __________ every day. The water was lovely.
7. Fill the gaps with one of the verbs which follow the passage, in either the gerund or infinitive form.
Jane’s a nurse, but she’s trying (1)__________ a new job. Although she
enjoys (2)__________ people, nursing is not very well paid, and she cannot
afford (3)__________ all her bills. She finds it impossible to live on such
a low salary without (4)__________ her account at the bank. Her flat needs
(5)__________ , and she would like (6)__________ a car. She managed
(7)__________ enough last year for a short holiday by (8)__________ some
extra money in her spare time, and this year, she’s hoping (9)___________
some friends in France. She has stopped (10)__________ to the theatre,
which used to be one of her greatest pleasures. She’s thinking of
(11)__________ in America, where she could earn a higher salary in a
private hospital, but would prefer (12)__________ in this country if
possible. She likes (13)__________ to see her parents whenever she wants
to. A friend of hers went to America after (14)__________ university, but
began (15)__________ her friends so badly that she had to come back.
be able to
8. Gap filling
Complete the following story. The lines show the number of words missing. The words are not always gerunds or infinitives.
Example: He tried to find a job.
I’d like you to help me.
John Bradley was surprised (a) __________ __________ a letter waiting
for him on his desk when he arrived at work. Before (b) __________ it, he
hung up his coat and took out his glasses.
‘Dear Mr Bradley,’ he read, ‘We are sorry (c) __________ __________ you
that your services are no longer required …’
He couldn’t believe it. After (d) __________ for the company for thirty
years, he had been made redundant, one Monday morning, without (e)
__________ warned in any way at all. There was no point (f) __________
__________ the letter. The ending was obvious. ‘Thank you for your loyalty
and dedication over the years, and we hope you will enjoy (g)__________
more time to spend …’
The company wanted (h) __________ to go away quietly and enjoy his
premature retirement. He was fifty-two. How could he (i) __________
__________ find another job at this age? He knew that firms were not
interested (j) __________ __________ people over forty-five, let alone
over fifty. Could he still afford (k) __________ __________ his daughters
to their expensive school?
He sat back in his chair and looked out of the window, wondering (l)
__________ __________ __________ next. He decided (m) __________
___________ the office as soon as possible. He did not want (n) ___________
to see him while he left so depressed. So he put on his coat and for the
last time closed the office door behind him. He stopped (o)__________
__________ ‘goodbye’ to the telephonist, whom he had known for years, and
left the building.
Out in the street, it had begun (p) __________ __________ . He had
forgotten (q)__________ __________ his umbrella that morning, so he turned
up his overcoat collar and walked towards the station (r) __________
__________ his train home. He didn’t know what (s) __________ __________
to his wife. The thought of breaking the news to her (t)__________
__________ feel sick.
9. Adjective + infinitive
Rewrite the sentences, using the adjectives in brackets.
Example: I heard you passed your driving test. (delighted)
I was delighted to hear that you passed your driving test.
a. I learned that your aunt died. (sorry)
b. He wanted to know where we had been. (anxious)
c. She found that her husband was still alive. (amazed)
d. I see you’re still smoking. (disappointed)
e. He learned that he had nearly died. (shocked)
10. Verbs + gerund or infinitive
Rewrite the sentences, using the verbs in brackets.
Example: ‘Come to the party. You’ll really enjoy it,’ he said to her.
He persuaded her to go to the party.
a. ‘Yes, I did drive too fast through the town,’ she said. (admit)
b. ‘I’ll lend you some money, if you like,’ he said to me. (offer)
c. ‘If I were you, I’d accept the job,’ he said to his daughter. (advise)
d. ‘Why don’t you have a holiday in my country cottage?’ he said to us. (invite)
e. ‘You must pay for the damage you’ve done,’ she said. So I paid. (make)
f. ‘I haven’t smoked for three years,’ she said. (stop)
g. We needed petrol, so we went to a service station. (stop)
h. I didn’t buy food for dinner so we had to go out. (forget)
i. But I fed the cat. (remember)
j. I had piano lessons for years, but I was never very good. (try)
11. ‘To’ used instead of whole infinitive
Notice that the whole infinitive need not be repeated if it is understood.
Example: A You look terrible. You should have a holiday.
B I’m going to. (I’m going to have a holiday)
a. A Why aren’t you going to work? B (not want)
b. A Can you come round for a meal tonight? B (love) , but
c. A I’m afraid I can’t take you to the airport after all. Sorry. B (promise) But
d. A Why can’t I take this book from the library? B (not allow)
e. A Why have you painted the wall black? B (tell) A No, I didn’t. I told you to paint it pale yellow.
f. A Did you go out for a meal with him? B (not ask)
12. ‘Talking’ versus ‘a talk’
Compare the following sentences.
Talking to someone about a problem usually helps to solve it. I had a talk with Susan last night.
The gerund is used when we speak in general. To speak about one specific occasion, we can use some verbs as nouns in the structure have a + noun.
Write two sentences for each of the following words, one with a gerund and one with have a + noun.
Ride; drink; look; wash; quarrel; walk
13. Noun + preposition
Many nouns are followed by prepositions. Put the correct preposition into each gap.
a. I got a cheque __________ five hundred pounds in the post today.
b. There has been a rise __________ the number of violent crimes.
c. Have you seen this photo __________ my daughter? Isn’t she beautiful?
d. The difference __________ you and me is that I don’t mind hard work.
e. I can think of no reason __________ such strange behaviour.
f. It took a long time to find a solution __________ the problem.
g. Could you give me some information __________ train times?
h. I’m having trouble __________ my car. It won’t start.
i. She’s doing research __________ the causes of tooth decay.
j. This is a machine __________ grinding coffee.
Unit 6 Reported speech
Report structures: ‘that’-clauses
o You usually use your own words to report what someone said, rather than repeating their exact words. o Report structures contain a reporting clause first, then a reported clause. o When you are reporting a statement, the reported clause is a ‘that’- clause. o You must mention the hearer with ‘tell’. You need not mention the hearer with ‘say’.
When you are reporting what someone said, you do not usually repeat their
exact words, you use your own words in a report structure.
Jim said he wanted to go home.
Jim’s actual words might have been ‘It’s time I went’ or ‘I must go’.
Report structures contain two clauses. The first clause is the reporting
clause, which contains a reporting verb such as ‘say’, ‘tell’, or ‘ask’.
She said that she'd been to Belgium.
The man in the shop told me how much it would cost.
You often use verbs that refer to people’s thoughts and feelings to report
what people say. If someone says ‘I am wrong’, you might report this as ‘He
felt that he was wrong’.
The second clause in a report structure is the reported clause, which
contains the information that you are reporting. The reported clause can be
a ‘that’-clause, a ‘to’-infinitive clause, an ‘if’-clause, or a ‘wh’-word
She said that she didn't know.
He told me to do it.
Mary asked if she could stay with us.
She asked where he'd gone.
If you want to report a statement, you use a ‘that’-clause after a verb
such as ‘say’.
You can also mention the hearer as the object of the verb with ‘promise’
I promised her that I wouldn't be late.
Note the differences between ‘say’ and ‘tell’. You cannot use ‘say’ with
the hearer as the object of the verb. You cannot say ‘I said them you had
gone’. You cannot use ‘tell’ without the hearer as the object of the verb.
You cannot say ‘I told that you had gone’. You cannot use ‘tell’ with ‘to’
and the hearer. You cannot say ‘I told to them you had gone’.
The reporting verbs that have the hearer as object, such as ‘tell’, can be
used in the passive.
She was told that there were no tickets left.
Most reporting verbs that do not need the hearer as object, such as ‘say’,
can be used in the passive with impersonal ‘it’ as subject, but not
‘answer’, ‘complain’, ‘insist’, ‘promise’, ‘reply’, or ‘warn’.
It was said that the money had been stolen.
Other report structures
o When reporting an order, a request, or a piece of advice, the reported clause is a 'to'-infinitive clause, used after an object o When reporting a question, the reported clause is an 'if-clause or a 'wh'- word clause o Many reporting verbs refer to people's thoughts and feelings
If you want to report an order a request or a piece of advice you use a
‘to’-infinitive clause after a reporting verb such as ‘tell’ ‘ask’ or
‘advise’. You mention the hearer as the object of the verb before the ‘to’-
Johnson told her to wake him up.
He ordered me to fetch the books.
He asked her to marry him.
He advised me to buy it.
If the order request or advice is negative you put ‘not’ before the ‘to’-
He had ordered his officers not to use weapons.
She asked her staff not to discuss it publicly.
Doctors advised him not to play for three weeks.
If the subject of the ‘to’-infinitive clause is the same as the subject of
the main verb you can use ‘ask’ or ‘beg’ to report a request without
mentioning the hearer.
I asked to see the manager.
Both men begged not to be named.
If you want to report a question you use a verb such as ‘ask’ followed by
an ‘if’-clause or a ‘wh’-word clause.
I asked if I could stay with them.
They wondered whether the time was right.
He asked me where I was going.
She inquired how Abraham was getting on.
Note that in reported questions the subject of the question comes before
the verb just as it does in affirmative sentences.
Many reporting verbs refer to people’s thoughts and feelings but are often
used to report what people say. For example if someone says ‘I must go’ you
might report this as ‘She wanted to go’ or ‘She thought she should go’.
She hoped she wasn’t going to cry.
They are in love and wish to marry.
‘Expect’ and ‘prefer’ can also be followed by an object and a ‘to’-
I m sure she doesn’t expect you to take the plane.
The headmaster prefers them to act plays they have written themselves.
A speaker's exact words are more often used in stories than in ordinary
‘I knew I’d seen you,’ I said.
‘Only one replied,’ the Englishman.
‘Let’ s go and have a look at the swimming pool,’ she suggested.
In ordinary conversation it is normal to use a report structure rather than
to repeat someone's exact words.
1. Match the reports with the actual words used.
Example: 1 – h;
1. They said they had to go.
2. He said he would help if he could.
3. She promised she would visit us.
4. He suggested that we should write to the boss.
5. They insisted we should stay a bit longer.
6. They complained that they were too busy.
7. She mentioned that she had met you.
8. I explained that they should send a letter.
a. ‘You can’t leave yet. It’s only eleven o’clock.’
b. ‘Well, I’ll do whatever I can for you.’
c. ‘If I were you I would get in touch with the manager.’
d. ‘I bumped into your brother in London yesterday.’
e. ‘It’s no good just telephoning. Put something in writing.’
f. ‘I’ll certainly come and see you some time.’
g. ‘We have far too much work at the moment.’
h. ‘I’m afraid it’s time for us to leave.’
2. Use the appropriate form of these verbs to complete the definitions and examples.
1. If you __inform__ someone that something is the case, you tell them about it. EG I __informed__ her that I was unwell and could not come to her party.
2. If you __________ something, you agree, often reluctantly, that it is true. EG I must __________ that I had my doubts.
3. When you __________ something, you say that it not true. EG Green __________ that he had done anything illegal.
4. If you __________ something, you tell people about it publicly or officially. EG It was __________ that the Prime Minister would speak on television that evening.
5. If you __________ , you tell someone about a situation affecting you that is wrong or unsatisfactory. EG He __________ that the office was not ‘businesslike’.
6. If you __________ something, you say it, but do not spend long talking about it. EG I __________ to Tom that I was thinking of going back to work.
7. If you __________ something, you describe it so that it can be understood. EG He __________ that they had to buy a return ticket.
8. If you __________ that something is the case, you state your opinion about it and give reasons why you think it is true. EG Some people __________ that nuclear weapons have helped to keep the peace.
3. Use one of the words given in brackets to complete each of the sentences below.
1. I _explained_ to him that he would have to wait. (explained / told)
2. He __________ me that it was time to go. (mentioned / informed)
3. She __________ to them that they should reconsider their decision. (suggested / persuaded)
4. We were __________ that you would pay the bill. (told / said)
5. It was __________ that there would be another meeting the following week. (informed / announced)
6. George __________ to me that he might look in to see me. (promised / mentioned)
4. Rewrite the sentences below as orders or requests with a ‘to’-infinitive clause, and the words in brackets.
Example: ‘Do you think you could look after the children?’ (David / ask /
David asked Mary to look after the children.
1. ‘I think you should try to get more sleep.’ (John’s doctor / advise / him)
2. ‘You can come round and see us any time.’ (We / invite / our friends)
3. ‘Will you take the money to the bank, please?’ (Jack / tell / me)
4. ‘Don’t forget to come half an hour early on Tuesday.’ (Mr Brown / remind / the students)
5. ‘Please write to me every day.’ (Bill / beg / Maria)
Now do these with not and ‘to’-infinitive clause.
6. ‘You shouldn’t play with fire.’ (I / warn / the children)
7. ‘I don’t think you should go to England in the winter.’ (My grandfather / advise / me)
8. ‘You really ought not to go out alone after dark.’ (They / tell / the visitors)
9. ‘Please don’t make an official complaint.’ (The manger / persuade / her)
5. Now do these sentences with ask and a ‘wh'-word clause.
Example: ‘What time does the match start please?’ (I / a policeman)
I asked a policeman what time the match started.
1. ‘Where are you going to spend the holiday?’ (Joe / Mary)
2. ‘Why are the tickets so expensive?’ (Everybody / us)
3. ‘How old are Mary’s children?’ (Frank / his wife)
4. ‘Who’s going to buy your house?’ (Mrs Jones / her neighbour)
5. ‘When are you planning to come to Darlington?’ (Bill / his friend)
6. ‘What are you going to do next?’ (I / Maria)
7. ‘Were can I get the bus to Liverpool?’ (Peter / a policeman)
6. In this exercise you have to write what you would say in these situations.
Example: Ann says ‘I’m tired’. Five minutes later she says ‘Let’s play tennis’. What do you say? You said you were tired.
1. Your friend says ‘I’m hungry’ so you go to a restaurant. When you get there he says ‘I don’t want to eat’. What do you say? You said
2. Tom tells you ‘Ann has gone away’. Later that day you meet her. What do you say? Tom told
3. George said ‘I don’t smoke’. A few days later you see him smoking a cigarette. What do you say to him? You said
4. You arranged to meet Jack. He said ‘I won’t be late’. At last he arrives – 20 minutes late. What do you say? You
5. Sue said ‘I can’t come to the party tonight’. That night you see her at the party. What do you say to her?
6. Ann says ‘I’m working tomorrow evening’. Later that day she says ‘Let’s go out tomorrow evening’. What do you say?
7. Now you have to read a sentence and write a new sentence with the same meaning.
Example: ‘Listen carefully’, he said to us. He told us to listen carefully.
1. ‘Eat more fruit and vegetables’, the doctor said.
2. ‘Read the instructions before you switch on the machine’, he said to me.
3. ‘Shut the door but don’t lock it’, she said to us.
4. ‘Can you speak more slowly? I can’t understand’, he said to me.
5. ‘Don’t come before 6 o’clock’, I said to him.
Unit 7 Conditionals
Conditional clauses using ‘if’
o You use conditional clauses to talk about a possible situation and its results. o Conditional clauses can begin with ‘if’. o A conditional clause needs a main clause to make a complete sentence. The conditional clause can come before or after the main clause.
You use conditional clauses to talk about a situation that might possibly
happen and to say what its results might be.
You use ‘if’ to mention events and situations that happen often, that may
happen in the future, that could have happened in the past but did not
happen, or that are unlikely to happen at all.
If the light comes on, the battery is OK.
I'll call you if I need you.
If I had known. I'd have told you.
If she asked me, I'd help her.
When you are talking about something that is generally true or happens
often, you use a present or present perfect tense in the main clause and
the conditional clause.
If they lose weight during an illness, they soon regain it afterwards.
If an advertisement does not tell the truth, the advertiser is committing
If the baby is crying, it is probably hungry.
If they have lost any money, they report it to me.
Warning: You do not use the present continuous in both clauses. You do not
say ‘If they are losing money, they are getting angry.’
When you use a conditional clause with a present or present perfect tense,
you often use an imperative in the main clause.
Wake me up if you’re worried.
If he has finished, ask him to leave quietly.
If you are very early, don’t expect them to be ready.
When you are talking about something which may possibly happen in the
future, you use a present or present perfect tense in the conditional
clause, and the simple future in the main clause
If I marry Celia, we will need the money.
If you are going to America, you will need a visa.
If he has done the windows, he will want his money.
Warning: You do not normally use ‘will’ in conditional clauses. You do not say ‘If I will see you tomorrow, I will give you the book.’
When you are talking about something that you think is unlikely to happen,
you use the past simple or past continuous in the conditional clause and
‘would’ in the main clause.
If I had enough money, I would buy the car.
If he was coming, he would ring.
Warning: You do not normally use ‘would’ in conditional clauses. You do not say ‘If I would do it, I would do it like this.’
‘Were’ is sometimes used instead of ‘was’ in the conditional clause,
especially after ‘I’.
If I were as big as you, I would kill you.
If I weren’t so busy, I would do it for you.
You often say ‘If I were you’ when you are giving someone advice.
If I were you, I would take the money.
I should keep out of Brendan's way if I were you.
When you are talking about something which could have happened in the past
but which did not actually happen, you use the past perfect in the
conditional clause. In the main clause, you use ‘would have’ and a past
If he had realised that, he would have run away.
I wouldn’t have been so depressed if I had known how common this feeling
Warning: You do not use ‘would have’ in the conditional clause. You do not say ‘If I would have seen him, I would have told him.’
1. Put the verb into the correct form
1. You (to speak) better if you (to be) more attentive.
2. If he (to understand) the situation, he (to act) differently.
3. He (to catch) the train if he (to make haste).
4. If I (to be) you, I (to consider) the matter settled.
5. If only he (to be) here, he (can) tell you.
6. If I (to be) in your place, I (to think) as you do.
7. He not (to do) it if you not (to help) him.
8. If he (to be) present, he (may) object.
9. She (to come) to see you if she not (to be tired).
10. If I (to get) the tickets before twelve o'clock, I (to come) straight home.
1. I think that if we (to take shelter) under these trees, we not (to get wet).
2. If I (to hesitate) much longer before getting into the water, he not (to let) me swim at all today.
3. If she (to come) earlier, she (to have been able) to see him before he went out.
4. He (to go) for a ride with you, if he (to repair) his bicycle.
5. If a year ago the sailors (to be told) they were to undertake a trip of this sort, they (to be surprised).
6. If he (to be) present, this not (to occur).
7. If the storm not (to rage), the ship (to leave) the harbour last night.
8. If our telephone not (to be) out of order, I (to ring) you up this morning.
9. If you (to come) between two and three yesterday, you (to find) me at home.
10. If I (to have) to carry that heavy box, I (to be) obliged to drop it after five minutes.
11. I not (to go) to sleep over that book if it not (to be) so dull.
12. If I (to know) you (to come), I of course (to stay) at home.
13. If anyone (to say) such a thing to me, I (to feel) hurt.
14. We never (to solve) the riddle, if you not (to put) us on the track.
2. Open the brackets
1. If I had known that you were in hospital I (visit) you.
2. If I (know) that you were coming I'd have baked a cake.
3. If you (arrive) ten minutes earlier you would have got a seat.
4. You would have seen my garden at its best if you (be) here last week.
5. I wouldn't have believed it if I (not see) it with my own eyes.
6. I (offer) to help him if I had realised that he was ill.
7. If I (realise) what a bad driver you were I wouldn't have come with you.
8. If I had realised that the traffic lights were red I (stop).
9. The hens (not get) into the house if you had shut the door.
10. If he had known that the river was dangerous lie (not try) to swim across it.
11. If you (speak) more slowly he might have understood you.
12. If lie had known the whole story he not be) so angry.
13. If I (try) again I think that I would have succeeded.
14. You (not get) into trouble if you had obeyed my instructions.
15. If I (be) ready when he called he would have taken me with him.
16. If she had listened to my directions she (not turn) down the wrong street.
17. If you (look) at the engine for a moment you would have seen what was missing.
18. I (take) a taxi if I had realised that it was such a long way.
19. You (save) me a lot of trouble if you had told me where you were going.
20. If you (not sneeze) he wouldn't have known that we were there.
1. If I (see) you in the street yesterday, of course I (say) "Good morning."
2. I'm sorry I threw the newspaper away. I (not throw) it away if I (know) you had wanted it.
3. Why didn't you ask me to help you? -Of course I (help) you if you (ask) me to.
4. I'm sorry I couldn't come to the cinema with you last Friday. - I (come) if I (not be) so busy.
5. I (not cleave) the office early yesterday if I (not finish) my work.
3. Match these parts to make conditional sentences.
Example: 1 – j
1. Dan might help you ... a ... if they are enjoying themselves.
2. You are sure to be late ... b ... if I can remember her phone number.
3. You'll enjoy the Jacques Tatty film ... c ... if you miss the bus.
4. They always stay out late ... d ... if you don't want to.
5. They'll understand it all right... e ... if you phone while I'm out.
6. I'll give her a call ... f ... if you explain it to them.
7. Bill will take a message ... g ... if I have the time.
8. I'll do the shopping ... h ... if you don't have a ticket.
9. You can't get in ... i ... if you can understand French.
10. You needn't come to the party ... j ... if you ask him.
4. Complete these sentences by putting the verb in brackets in the right tense.
Example: If you …ask… Liz, she will tell you what to do. (ask)
1. He's going to visit some friends in Athens if he time. (have)
2. You shouldn't interrupt them if they (work)
3. Maria will get you some money if she to the bank. (go)
4. I'll have a word with Jack if he at home. (be)
5. Match these parts to make conditional sentences.
Example: 1 – i
1. If I had their address ... a ... it would cost over £650.
2. If you saw her now ... b ... you might earn a bit more money.
3. If I took more exercise … c ... I could probably stay with Michael.
4. If you got a new job … d ... she must have been out at work.
5. If you asked Heather … e ... she would give you a certificate.
6. If I travelled first class … f ... she would probably give you a lift.
7. If it was a little warmer … g ... we could go for a swim.
8. If she didn't answer the phone … h ... I might lose a bit of weight.
9. If you went to the doctor … i ... I could write and ask them.
10. If I stopped off in Ankara … j ... you would hardly recognise her.
Conditional clauses using modals and 'unless'
o You can use a modal in a conditional clause. o You use 'unless' to mention an exception to what you are saying.
You sometimes use modals in conditional clauses. In the main clause, you
can still use a present tense for events that happen often, ‘will’ for
events that are quite likely in the future, ‘would’ for an event that is
unlikely to happen, and ‘would have’ for events that were possible but did
If he can’t come, he usually phones me.
If they must have it today, they will have to come back at five o’clock.
If I could only find the time, I’d do it gladly.
If you could have seen him. you would have laughed too.
‘Should’ is sometimes used in conditional clauses to express greater
If any visitors should come, I'll say you aren't here.
You can use other modals besides ‘will’, ‘would’ and ‘would have’ in the
main clause with their usual meanings.
She might phone me, if she has time.
You could come. if you wanted to.
If he sees you leaving, he may cry.
Note that you can have modals in both clauses: the main clause and the
If he can't come, he will phone.
In formal English, if the first verb in a conditional clause is ‘had’,
‘should’, or ‘were’, you can put the verb at the beginning of the clause
and omit 'if. For example, instead of saying ‘If he should come. I will
tell him you are sick’, it is possible to say ‘Should he come, I will tell
him you are sick’.
Should ministers decide to hold an inquiry, we would welcome it.
Were it all true, it would still not excuse their actions.
Had I known. I would not have done it.
When you want to mention an exception to what you are saying, you use a
conditional clause beginning with ‘unless’.
You will fail your exams. You will fail your exams unless you work harder.
Note that you can often use ‘if...not’ instead of ‘unless’.
You will fail your exams if you do not work harder.
When you use ‘unless’, you use the same tenses that you use with ‘if’.
She spends Sundays in the garden unless the weather is awful.
We usually walk, unless we're going shopping.
He will not let you go unless he is forced to do so.
You wouldn't believe it, unless you saw it.
‘If’ and ‘unless’ are not the only ways of beginning conditional clauses.
You can also use ‘as long as’, ‘only if’, ‘provided’, ‘provided that’,
‘providing’, ‘providing that’, or ‘so long as’. These expressions are all
used to indicate that one thing only happens or is true if another thing
happens or is true.
I will come only if nothing is said to the press.
She was prepared to come, provided that she could bring her daughter.
Providing they remained at a safe distance, we would be all right.
Detergent cannot harm a fabric, so long as it has been properly dissolved.
We were all right as long as we kept our heads down.
1. Rewrite these sentences as conditionals.
Example: I can’t write to her because I don’t have her address.
I could write to her, if I had her address.
1. I’d like to go abroad but I can’t afford it.
2. I’m not going to buy that car because it's so expensive.
3. We can’t go out because it’s raining.
4. She won’t come to the party because she’s away on holiday.
5. The central heating isn't working so we can’t turn it on.
2. Rewrite these sentences as conditionals.
Example: Unfortunately I didn’t see him, so I couldn’t give him your message.
If I had seen him, I could have given him your message.
1. Unfortunately he didn’t pass his exams or he might have gone to university.
2. He didn’t realise what was happening or he would have run away.
3. Fortunately I didn’t hear what she said or I would have been very angry.
4. They got in because you didn’t lock the door properly.
5. It only happened because you didn’t follow the instructions.
6. Luckily she didn’t find out or she would have been furious.
7. It's lucky we booked a room or we would have had nowhere to stay.
8. It’s a good job we weren’t going any faster or someone could have been killed.
9. He was so tired that he went home at lunchtime.
3. Match the two parts of these conditional sentences.
Example: 1 – g
1. You can borrow the money ...
2. He'll probably get lost. ...
3. Had I known you were coming. ...
4. George says he will come, ...
5. You are not allowed to park in the school,
6. Should he telephone while I'm out, ...
7. Henry Ford said you could have any colour you wanted, ...
8. Fred will be at school next week, …
a ... I would have invited you to lunch.
b ... would you ask him to call back later?
c ... provided he has recovered from his cold.
d ... unless you are a member of staff.
e ... as long as it was black.
f ... provided he can stay overnight.
g ... so long as you promise to pay it back.
h ... unless someone shows him the way.