15 Basic Facts About English (Numbers 5-7)

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 5-7:


The plural of 'a/an' is either no article or 'some/any'
- We use no article + plural noun when classifying/identifying:
It's a peach. She's a teacher.
They're (-) peaches. They're (-) teachers.
- We use 'a/an', 'any' or 'some' to refer to quantity:
Do you want a peach?
Do you want any peaches?
I want a peach.
I want some peaches.


We don't use adjectives as nouns
- We can't use an adjective as if it were a noun:
He's young. He's a young man. (Not *He's a young.*)
They're young. They're young men. (Not *They're youngs.*)
Or we have to use words like 'thing(s)' or 'one(s)' which stand in place of nouns:
You poor thing! (Not *You poor!*)
I prefer the red ones. (Not *I prefer the reds.*)
- We prefer adjectival forms of nationality to the noun forms:
He's/She's Japanese. (rather than 'a Japanese')
They're Japanese.
He's/She's English. (Not *an English*)
They're English.
- Compound nouns are made up from noun + noun.
In I bought a cotton blouse. 'cotton' is a noun which describes the noun that follows it. (= a blouse made of cotton). It's not an adjective.


We use different prepositions for direction and position
- 'to' (direction) contrasts with 'at' or 'in' (position):
She's gone to school. Now she's at school.
She's gone to bed. Now she's in bed.
- 'into' (direction) contrasts with 'in' (position):
He went into the cinema. Now he's in the cinema.
- After 'be' some nouns take only 'in' and some take only 'at':
She's in Europe. (Not *to Europe/at Europe*)
He's at a party. (Not *to a party/in a party*)
- Some nouns take 'at' or 'in' depending on how we view them:
I'll meet you at the airport. (= a meeting point)
I'll meet you in the airport. (= inside the building)


© LG & DE Limited 2006

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