15 Basic Facts About English (Numbers 12-15)

Did you know there are 15 basic facts about English which you should really know about?

by Louis Alexander

All these points are fully covered in Direct English, but here is a summary of Basic Facts Numbers 12-15:


We use 'do', 'does' and 'did' to form questions and negatives in the simple present and simple past of ordinary verbs:
Do you know Tom? (Not *Know you Tom?*)
Does he know Tom? (Not *Knows he Tom?*)
Did he meet Tom? (Not *Met he Tom?*)
I don't know Tom. (Not *I not know Tom.*)
He doesn't know Tom. (Not *He not know Tom.*)
He didn't meet Tom. (Not *He not met Tom.*)
When do you leave? (Not *When you leave?*)
When does he leave? (Not *When he leaves?*)
When did he leave? (Not *When he left?*)


We use only one negative word in a clause. Words like 'hardly' and 'seldom' are negative words like 'not'.
I can hardly keep awake. (Not *I can't hardly keep awake.*)
I've seen no one./I haven't seen anyone. (Not *I haven't seen no one.*)


We have to know which structure to use after a verb. After some verbs we use:
- a bare infinitive: Let me go. (Not *Let me to go.*)
- a to-infinitive: I want to go. (Not *I want go.*)
- an -ing form: I enjoy working. (Not *I enjoy to work.*)
- to or -ing: He continued to speak. He continued speaking.
We can use various structures after verbs like suggest:
I suggest (that) you write to him. (Not *I suggest to write to him.*)
I suggest (that) you should write to him. I suggest writing to him.


English is a word order language
- (Time) Subject | Verb | Object | Manner | Place | (Time)
  I speak English well. (Not *I speak well English.*)- We don't separate a subject from its verb:
  They went to Paris. (Not *They to Paris went.*)- We don't separate a verb from its object:
  He banged his hand on the table. (Not *He banged on the table his hand.*)- Every English sentence must have a subject:
  It's hot today. (Not *Is hot today.*)- Verbs such as 'like', 'want' and 'have' always take an object:
  Do you like this coffee? - Yes, I like it. (Not, *Yes, I like.*)


© LG & DE Limited 2006

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