Plurals are relatively easy in English. In most cases, you simply add an “s” to the end of the word. For example: one chair, two chairs. There are very few exceptions to this. Some other languages have several different types of plural endings, which can get quite complex.
In general, nouns in English don’t have any gender as they do in other languages. For example, it’s a horse or a cow. But in languages such as Spanish, words can be either masculine or feminine. So, “a horse” in Spanish is “un caballo” (which is masculine), and “a cow” is “una vaca” (which is feminine).
In English, there are no plural forms for adjectives. For example: a blue car, blue cars. In other languages, the adjective might change according to the gender of the noun and whether it’s singular or plural. For example, a happy child / happy children in Spanish would be un niño feliz / niños felices.
In English, we use the indirect article “a” and direct article “the”. The only exception is the use of “an” before vowel sounds: an elephant, an igloo. In other languages the articles change according to the gender of the word. For example, in Spanish the word telephone is masculine (“el teléfono”) and table is feminine (“la mesa”). There are also different articles for plurals too. For example: “los teléfonos” (the telephones) or “las mesas” (the tables).
English has very few verb endings. For example, the Present Simple is all the same, except for the third person: I eat, you eat, he eats, she eats, it eats, we eat, they eat. Future forms are all the same too: I will eat, you will eat, he will eat, she will eat, it will eat, we will eat, they will eat. In general, most verbs follow this pattern. On top of that, English has just one basic type of verb (with a few spelling changes), whereas other languages may have several different types. For example, in Spanish, there are three types of verb endings: “-ar”, “-er”, and “-ir”, all with lots of different inflected forms.
Past tense verbs
Past tense verbs are quite easy to learn. With regular verbs, you simply add “-ed” to the verb ending. For example: “play-played”. There are irregulars verbs (such as eat-ate, go-went), but there aren’t that many. And all the verb forms (both regular and irregular) are the same for each person: I ate, you ate, he ate, she ate, we ate, they ate.
Most of the basic words in English are very short and easy to learn: run, work, big, go, boy, girl, take, body, clap, bang… And long words are often shortened: refrigerator = fridge, ammunition = ammo, introduction = intro… This makes words easier to learn.
English is everywhere – in music, films and TV shows, as well as being the international language of business, computing, medicine and science. So, you can always find something to listen to or read in English. Plus, with English you can travel internationally, get a better job and meet people from all over the world, so it’s motivating to learn.
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■ a gender n = the “gender” of a noun refers to whether it’s masculine, feminine or neutral
■ an inflected form exp = if a verb has a lot of “inflected forms”, it has a lot of different endings which change according to its grammatical function
■ motivating adj = something that’s motivating makes you want to learn or progress
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