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Hello Doctor Grammar,

I was assigned by my teacher to complete two essays during the holidays. I have
completed one, but I am worried that this essay may be not so good and I wanted to make
an improvement on it. This essay is quite long, about 8 words. !o could you check and
edit my essay be"ore I hand it in to my teacher# I" you could, please tell me the mistakes I
have made.
Here is my essay$
Write a story ending with "I noticed a single drop of tear flowing down her
cheek...".
I have never imagined how drugs can be that power"ul. !o power"ul that it can even
shatter a person%s "uture whose suppose to be a bright one into pieces. &nd so it happens
in the case o" a girl in my school.
'aria was an intelligent girl in my class. !he was o"ten noted "or being an e(cellent
student in academy as she never "ailed to get an & in each sub)ect during her lower
secondary school. In her *'+ e(am, she managed to score straight &%s in seven sub)ects.
The teachers admire her "or she was always help"ul and attentive in class. !he is the apple
o" their eye. Her peers could not "athom the secret behind her success.
,verything started to change when she was in -orm ., "or the "irst time in history she got
, in /hemistry during her "irst e(am. Then, she was questioned by her teacher why she
could "ail in a sub)ect this time. !he seems to have trouble understanding the sub)ect. 0o
matter how hard she worked, she only managed to get / in /hemistry on her trial !*'.
!ince then, I saw something di""erent in her. !he had changed drastically.
&"ter the weekends, like any other day in school, everyone was listening to the /hemistry
lecture when suddenly it dawned on me that 'aria was sleeping on her desk. !he was
sleeping1 0o, how can this be# !he never slept in class be"ore. I could not believe my
eyes. It was so obvious to everyone because she sits in the "ront row. *n. !ue "inally
noticed her sleeping and stopped her lecture. -eeling surprised, she woke her up and *n.
!ue was shocked by the look o" her "ace.
2'aria1 3hat happened to your beauti"ul "ace#2 *n. !ue asked with a completely terri"ied
"ace. 24h... I... I%m "ine teacher, I%m )ust a bit sick.2 5ut she could not have look so pale, it
was as i" an evil spell had been cast on her. ,veryday she could merely concentrate in
class. ,ven her once un"altering urge to ask endless questions, which was what made her
stands out among her classmates, and which could even unravel the secrets o" the
universe, had "aded. !he became quiet and inattentive in every lesson.
,veryone was very worried about her. 'aria was used to be the most precious student in
our school but now she was a drug addict. 6ou could tell she was a drug addict already
)ust by looking at her appearance and behavior. Her "ace was so white, her hair her hands
sometimes tremble, and she could not even walk properly. 4nce she "ell down "rom the
stairs and broke her right arm. 5ut luckily she only su""ered a slight crack on her arm. &s
a school pre"ect, one day when I was on my duty, I trailed behind her to the hidden corner
o" the school compound. !he was breathing in the smell o" the drugs when suddenly she
sensed my appearance and turned to see me with utterly disgusted "ace.
'aria knew she could not possibly escape "rom the situation, so she begged me, 2*lease
7onathan. *romise me not to say anything. I" you do, I will be doomed. !pare me )ust "or
once. *lease...2 &s I hear this, I became completely out o" words. I reluctantly let her go.
5ack home, I thought really hard about it that I could not sleep throughout the night.
4n the ne(t 'onday morning, the whole class was absolutely astonished by the news o"
'aria. 4ur class teacher told us about 'aria being handcu""ed "or her involvement in
drugs activity a"ter receiving a call "rom the police during the weekends. 3hen she was
buying some drugs "rom a drug dealer, a group o" policemen ambushed and caught them
red8handed. &"ter some interrogation between the police and 'aria, they managed to
obtain her teacher%s contact number and called *n. !ue.
3e held a class visit to visit 'aria in the hospital where she was receiving treatment. !he
con"essed to us that the reason she started to take drug was she wanted so much to score
an & in /hemistry. !he e(plained that the drugs could help enhance her brain
per"ormance temporarily and she thought that a "ew dose was really okay. However, she
abused them as she was desperately willing to do anything to achieve an & in /hemistry.
Indeed, it was quite silly, but she did it as she "ailed and "ailed in every test despite her
e""ort. !oon she "ound hersel" increasingly relying on drugs and gradually become
addicted to it.
Thank God everything was not too late "or 'aria. 3e had been told that 'aria would be
sent to a rehabilitation centre a"ter her treatment in the hospital. I noticed a single drop o"
tear "lowing down her cheek, as she smiled with hope and grate"ulness "or her "riends and
teachers who came to give her moral support in hard times.
I%m so glad i" you could help. Thank you.
6ap /hoon 'eng

Hello /hoon 'eng,
Thank you "or your request.
I have edited your essay. !een below are your original essay and my e(planations 9the red
te(t in italics below each paragraph:$

Write a story ending with "I noticed a single drop of tear flowing down her
cheek...".
I have never imagined how drugs can be that power"ul. !o power"ul that it can even
shatter a person%s "uture whose suppose to be a bright one into pieces. &nd so it happens
in the case o" a girl in my school.
Here, we're talking the misuse of drugs. So, it's better to replace drugs with the misuse of
drugs. The adjective powerful is acceptable, but destructive is better, since the drugs
almost destroyed Maria. n the second sentence, the relative pronoun refers to Maria's
future and not Maria. So, which should be used instead of whose.

'aria was an intelligent girl in my class. !he was o"ten noted "or being an e(cellent
student in academy as she never "ailed to get an & in each sub)ect during her lower
secondary school. In her *'+ e(am, she managed to score straight &%s in seven sub)ects.
The teachers admire her "or she was always help"ul and attentive in class. !he is the apple
o" their eye. Her peers could not "athom the secret behind her success.
Since the word academy is a noun which means 'a school or college for special training',
it is not the right word to use here. So, you can replace the sentence with one of the
following sentences!
1) She was often noted for her excellent academic performance...
2) She was often noted for her excellent performance academically...
3) She was often noted for doing well academically...
"r any other sentences that are grammatically error free. #ou need to add days after the
phrase lower secondary school, since you're talking about Maria's lower secondary
school days. The phrase straight A's means $nothing but %'s$. Since the &M'
e(amination usually comprises ) subjects, Maria did not get straight %'s if she had * %'s.
Thus, you can replace the sentence with!
1) In her !" examination# she managed to score straight A's.
2) In her !" examination# she managed to score $ A's.
#ou also need to change admire to admired and is to was, as you are talking about past
actions here.

,verything started to change when she was in -orm ., "or the "irst time in history she got
, in /hemistry during her "irst e(am. Then, she was questioned by her teacher why she
could "ail in a sub)ect this time. !he seems to have trouble understanding the sub)ect. 0o
matter how hard she worked, she only managed to get / in /hemistry on her trial !*'.
!ince then, I saw something di""erent in her. !he had changed drastically.
+rong use of preposition , change on to in, to make it in her trial S! examination.
This paragraph is okay. 've made some changes so that the te(t is more smooth flowing.

&"ter the weekends, like any other day in school, everyone was listening to the /hemistry
lecture when suddenly it dawned on me that 'aria was sleeping on her desk. !he was
sleeping1 0o, how can this be# !he never slept in class be"ore. I could not believe my
eyes. It was so obvious to everyone because she sits in the "ront row. *n. !ue "inally
noticed her sleeping and stopped her lecture. -eeling surprised, she woke her up and *n.
!ue was shocked by the look o" her "ace.
t should be After a wee%end, as you are talking about one particular weekend. t's a
good idea to e(press your thoughts in between speech marks, to make them livelier. +hen
writing essays, it's best not to use short forms or contractions -e.g. isn't, I've, you're,
we'll, etc... t's okay to use them in conversations -e.g. $I'm going to see her tomorrow,$
said /ohn.. The same goes with abbreviations -e.g. &an, cm, dept, govt, ans, etc. and so
forth , write /anuary, centimetre, government, answer, et cetera instead.. So, replace
&n. with &uan. Since &uan Sue was shocked by the look of Maria's face, you should
describe her face in more details to satisfy readers' curiosity.

2'aria1 3hat happened to your beauti"ul "ace#2 *n. !ue asked with a completely terri"ied
"ace. 24h... I... I%m "ine teacher, I%m )ust a bit sick.2 5ut she could not have look so pale, it
was as i" an evil spell had been cast on her. ,veryday she could merely concentrate in
class. ,ven her once un"altering urge to ask endless questions, which was what made her
stands out among her classmates, and which could even unravel the secrets o" the
universe, had "aded. !he became quiet and inattentive in every lesson.
The verb following the verb made should be in the base form. Thus, stands should be
replaced with stand, making it '...which was what made her stand out among her
classmates...'
More e(amples !
0. The soldier's enemies made him %neel down.
1. She said that the injections made her look younger.

,veryone was very worried about her. 'aria was used to be the most precious student in
our school but now she was a drug addict. 6ou could tell she was a drug addict already
)ust by looking at her appearance and behavior. Her "ace was so white, her hair her hands
sometimes tremble, and she could not even walk properly. 4nce she "ell down "rom the
stairs and broke her right arm. 5ut luckily she only su""ered a slight crack on her arm. &s
a school pre"ect, one day when I was on my duty, I trailed behind her to the hidden corner
o" the school compound. !he was breathing in the smell o" the drugs when suddenly she
sensed my appearance and turned to see me with utterly disgusted "ace.
%gain, 've made some changes so that the te(t is more smooth flowing. 2ote that in the
phrase 'Maria was used to be...', was is not necessary. %lso, ...a slight crac% on her arm
should be replaced with ...a slight crac% in a 'one. The word trail means 'to follow
someone by looking for signs that show you where they have been'. So, it is not suitable
to be used here. The verb tail, which means 'to follow someone closely, in order to watch
where they go, what they do, etc.' is more appropriate.

'aria knew she could not possibly escape "rom the situation, so she begged me, 2*lease
7onathan. *romise me not to say anything. I" you do, I will be doomed. !pare me )ust "or
once. *lease...2 &s I hear this, I became completely out o" words. I reluctantly let her go.
5ack home, I thought really hard about it that I could not sleep throughout the night.
2ote how divided the above paragraph into three.

4n the ne(t 'onday morning, the whole class was absolutely astonished by the news o"
'aria. 4ur class teacher told us about 'aria being handcu""ed "or her involvement in
drugs activity a"ter receiving a call "rom the police during the weekends. 3hen she was
buying some drugs "rom a drug dealer, a group o" policemen ambushed and caught them
red8handed. &"ter some interrogation between the police and 'aria, they managed to
obtain her teacher%s contact number and called *n. !ue.
t's better to divide the second sentence into 1 as it is too long. t's also advisable to
replace the word handcuffed with apprehended or arrested as it is clearer. 2ote how the
word interrogation is used in a sentence. #ou can say After a few hours under
interrogation... or After the police had interrogated !aria for a few hours...

3e held a class visit to visit 'aria in the hospital where she was receiving treatment. !he
con"essed to us that the reason she started to take drug was she wanted so much to score
an & in /hemistry. !he e(plained that the drugs could help enhance her brain
per"ormance temporarily and she thought that a "ew dose was really okay. However, she
abused them as she was desperately willing to do anything to achieve an & in /hemistry.
Indeed, it was quite silly, but she did it as she "ailed and "ailed in every test despite her
e""ort. !oon she "ound hersel" increasingly relying on drugs and gradually become
addicted to it.
2ote how rewrite the paragraph to make it more smooth flowing and error free. t's
better to replace (e held a class visit to visit !aria in the hospital with )ur class visited
!aria in hospital, in order to avoid the repetition of the word visit. Here, the word
explained is more appropriate than confessed. #ou can say !aria confessed that she
was misusing drugs, since confess means 'to admit that you have done something wrong
or illegal'. 2ote that replaced a few dose was with a few doses were and 'ecome with
'ecame.

Thank God everything was not too late "or 'aria. 3e had been told that 'aria would be
sent to a rehabilitation centre a"ter her treatment in the hospital. I noticed a single drop o"
tear "lowing down her cheek, as she smiled with hope and grate"ulness "or her "riends and
teachers who came to give her moral support in hard times.
n the last paragraph, you did not mention the where and when the incidents took place.
So, added something which is relevant.

This is the edited version o" your essay$
Write a story ending with "I noticed a single drop of tear flowing down her
cheek...".

I have never imagined how the misuse o" drugs can be that destructive. !o destructive
that it can even shatter a person%s "uture, which is supposed to be a bright one, into pieces.
&nd it happens to a girl in my school.

'aria was an intelligent girl in my class. !he was o"ten noted "or her e(cellent academic
per"ormance as she never "ailed to get an & in each sub)ect during her lower secondary
school days. In her *'+ e(amination, she managed to score straight &%s. The teachers
admired her "or she was always help"ul and attentive in class. !he was the apple o" their
eye. Her peers could not "athom the secret behind her success.
,verything started to change when she was in -orm .. -or the "irst time in her academic
history, she got an , in /hemistry during her "irst semester e(amination. Then, she was
questioned by her teacher the reason "or not doing well in the sub)ect. !he replied by
saying that she seemed to have trouble understanding the sub)ect. 0o matter how hard she
worked, she only managed to get a / in /hemistry in her trial !*' e(amination. !ince
then, I noticed that she had changed drastically.
&"ter a weekend, like any other day in school, we were listening attentively to the
/hemistry teacher when suddenly, it dawned on me that 'aria was sleeping on her desk.
2'aria was sleeping#2 I thought to mysel" in disbelie". 20o1 How can this be# !he has
never slept in class be"ore.2
I could not believe my eyes. It was so obvious to everyone because she sat in the "ront
row. *uan !ue "inally noticed what she was doing. -eeling surprised, she stopped her
teaching and woke her up. 3hen she had woken up, *uan !ue was shocked by the look o"
her "ace, which appeared as pale as death. !he had dark circles under her eyes and
seemed to be e(tremely e(hausted and "eeble.
2'aria1 3hat happened to your beauti"ul "ace#2 *uan !ue asked with a completely
terri"ied "ace.
24h... I... I%m "ine, teacher. I%m )ust a bit sick,2 'aria replied in a weak voice.
5ut she could not have looked so pale. It was as i" an evil spell had been cast on her.
,very day, she could barely concentrate in class. ,ven her once un"altering urge to ask
endless questions, which was what made her stand out among her classmates, and which
could even unravel the secrets o" the universe, had "aded. !he became quiet and
inattentive in every lesson.
,veryone was very worried about her. 'aria, who used to be the most precious student in
our school, had become a drug addict. It was obvious )ust by looking at her appearance
and behaviour. Her "ace was so white, her hands sometimes trembled and she could not
even walk properly. 4nce she "ell down "rom the stairs and broke her right arm. ;uckily,
she only su""ered a slight crack in a bone. &s a school pre"ect, one day when I was on my
duty, I tailed her to a hidden corner o" the school compound. !he was sni""ing glue when
suddenly, she sensed my presence and turned around to look at me with a disgusted "ace.
'aria was angry because I caught her red8handed misusing drug. &s she could see no
way out o" the situation, she begged me not to report her.
2*lease... 7onathan. *romise me not to say anything. I" you do, I%ll be doomed. !pare me
)ust "or once. *lease...2
<pon hearing her words, I was speechless. I let her go reluctantly. 5ack home, I thought
so hard about it that I could not sleep throughout the night.
4n the ne(t 'onday morning, the whole class was absolutely astonished by 'aria%s
news. 4ur class teacher told us that the police called her during the weekend. They
in"ormed her that 'aria had been apprehended "or her involvement in a drug activity.
3hen she was buying some drugs "rom a drug dealer, a posse o" policemen appeared
"ollowing a tip8o"" and caught them red8handed. &"ter the police had interrogated 'aria
"or several hours, they managed to obtain *uan !ue%s contact number "rom her.
'aria was sent to hospital "or treatment. 3hile our class was paying her a visit in
hospital, she apologised to us "or letting us down. !he also e(plained to us the reason
why she became a drug addict. !he wanted so much to score an & in /hemistry and
struggled hard but to no avail. Then she started turning to drugs "or a solution, since they
could help enhance her brain per"ormance temporarily. !he thought that a "ew doses were
really okay. However, despite the use o" the drugs, she "ailed and "ailed in every test. In
desperation, she increased the doses and soon, she "ound hersel" increasingly relying on
them. Gradually, she became addicted to them.
Thank God everything was not too late "or 'aria. &"ter she had received her treatment in
hospital, she was sent to a rehabilitation centre. 4ur class and a "ew o" our teachers
visited her at the centre. !he told us that she was progressing well and thanked us "or our
moral support during the hard times. 3e were happy "or her. 3hen we were about to
leave, I noticed a single drop o" tear "lowing down her cheek, as she smiled with hope
and bid us "arewell.

4verall, your story line is not bad but you do have quite a lot o" rooms "or improvement.
-or e(ample, sometimes you tend to use the wrong words. 4ne o" the criteria "or getting
high marks in the /ontinuous 3riting !ection o" the !*' e(amination is Wide
vocabulary, used expressively/precisely. !o, i" you use the wrong words, marks will
undoubtedly be deducted. 6ou can overcome this problem by making good use o" the
dictionary. I" you are unsure whether a word can be used in a certain situation, look it up
in a dictionary. 6ou can also widen your vocabulary through the Increase your
vocabulary section o" this website.
The inconsistency o" tenses is also one o" your problems. -or past actions, only the past
tense is used, unless in special circumstances as described here on this page. &lso, you
have to be clear about where and when certain incidents take place, especially when it is
important "or readers to know. 4ne good e(ample is the last paragraph o" your essay.
It is important to note that reading helps greatly i" you wish to possess essay8writing
skills. !o, try to read more model essays and practice writing them.
I would like to commend you on your willingness to learn "rom your mistakes. !tudents
with enthusiasm like yours have potential "or improvement.
=eep it up1

Dr Grammar

Hi Dr Grammar,
I have some questions$
3hat is the di""erence between %could% and %would%, and when to use them# Is it be"ore
past tense or present tense#
;ibra 0ytestar

Hi ;ibra 0ytestar,
Thanks "or your questions. The use o" could was e(plained earlier and I%ll repeat it here$
The modal verb could is used$

9>: as the past tense o" %can%.
,(amples$
could answer all the 3uestions in the test this morning.
Sam could not open the door yesterday because he lost his key.
could not drive well two years ago.

9?: to say that something is possible or might happen.
,(amples$
t could be months before he returns home.
#ou pen could have been stolen by someone.
4on't worry , your daughter could have just missed the bus.

9@: to make a request politely.
,(amples$
*ould you feed our dogs while we are on holiday in /apan5
*ould borrow your bicycle5
*ould 6isa come along with us to the library5

9.: to make a suggestion.
,(amples$
#ou could go for a medical check,up to ease your mind.
Ma('s not home but you could always try his mobile phone number.
*ouldn't you wake up earlier to avoid going to school late5

9A: to show annoyance because somebody did not do what you e(pected.
,(amples$
#ou could have told me that you were not going to make it.
They could at least apologise to me.
#ou could have called me and informed me about the postponement.

The modal verb would is used$

9>: as the past tense o" %will% to say what someone has said or thought.
,(amples$
7eronica said she would fetch us at the airport at 00 am.
He thought it would be a good idea to drop by and visit you on our way to town.
They told us that they would not join our outing.

9?: to talk about the possible result o" an event that you imagine or want to happen.
,(amples$
f were older, would join you in the e(pedition to %frica.
Henry would be a fool to miss the opportunity.
She would be delighted if you went to her birthday party.
think Samantha would look smashing in the purple dress.

9@: to make a request politely.
,(amples$
(ould you mind emptying the dustbin5
(ould you 3ueue up to buy the tickets, please5
(ould someone please call for an ambulance5

9.: to make an o""er to somebody or to e(tend an invitation politely.
,(amples$
(ould you like a drink5
(ould you like to sample this cake5
(ould you go to the cinema with me this weekend5

9A: to give or ask "or advice.
,(amples$
would not drink and drive if were you.
+hat would you do if you had only a week to live5
+hat would you have done, if you were in my shoes5

9B: to say what you like, dislike, love, etc.
,(amples$
#es, 'd - 8 would . love a cup of tea, please.
would like to have a word with you.
would rather do the project on my own.

9C: to talk about things that happened o"ten in the past.
,(amples$
+hen my neighbour and went to the same school, we would go to school and come
back together.
4uring his last few years, he would sit silent for hours.
He would always be ready to help me whenever needed it.

It is important to note that the base "orm o" a verb should be used a"ter would and could.
,(amples$
I hope that my e(planation helps.

Dr Grammar


Hi Dr Grammar,
I would like to ask you some questions$
>. !hould we use %besides that% or %beside that% #

?. I" a te(t or essay is in the past tense, under what conditions must the present tense be
used# 9-or e(ample, we can use the present tense when writing dialogues.:
Herman ;im

Hi Herman ;im,
Thank you "or your questions.
>. !ince %beside% is a preposition to show position, the correct phrase should be besides
that.
?. &part "rom dialogues, we use the simple present tense when we talk about "acts and
universal truths.
,(amples$
9&: During the last weekend, my "amily and I visited =uala ;umpur. As the federal
capital of Malaysia, uala !u"pur is also the largest and "ost populous city in the
country. It covers an area of #$% s&uare kilo"eters. 3e went there by car and the
)ourney took about ? hours. &"ter reaching the city, we checked in a hotel...
95: ;ast night when I looked up the sky, I saw the moon. It was a "ull moon. I understood
that it revolves round the earth but wondered why the sa"e side always faces the
earth...
I hope that you "ind my e(planations clear.



Dear Dr Grammar,
I was or I were#
Darcy

Dear Darcy,
Thank you "or your question.
3e use I was and I were in di""erent circumstances.
In normal circumstances, we use I was as %was% is the past tense o" the verb D au(iliary
verb %am%.
,(amples$
I was home yesterday morning.
I was shopping when met /ulie last week.
I was late for the meeting because I was stuck in a traffic jam for 3uite some time.

3e usually use I were a"ter the phrase %I wish% or in wish"ul sentences, where %were% is
used as a sub)unctive.
,(amples$
wish I were more powerful.
wish I were a little taller.
wish I were a doctor.
I were is also commonly used a"ter the con)unction %i"% or in conditional clauses to show
that things are unlikely to happen.
,(amples$
f I were a millionaire, would donate to charities and travel round the world.
f I were more intelligent, would be the top student in my class.
f I were older, would get myself a driving licence.

Hi Dr Grammar,
Thank you "or answering my questions a "ew days ago. I would like to ask you some
more questions here$
I wonder what the di""erence is between$
>: to play and to playing
?: to be and to being
@: welco"e and welco"ed
I hope you can solve my problem soon, thank you.7ia !in

Hi 7ia !in,
Thank you "or your questions.
>: to play and to playing
to play 8 the in"initive marker to is o"ten used be"ore the base "orm o" a verb to show
purpose or intention. Here, the purpose is %play%.
,(amples$
like to play basketball.
The children love to play in the playground.
4o you want to play a game5
Since it is raining, Steven and his sister have to play inside today.
He is going to play me a tune on his harmonica.
to playing 8 the in"initive marker to is not normally used be"ore a present participle
9words ending in %8ing%, such as %playing% in this case:. However, there is an e(ceptional
case to show that a person is thinking with pleasure about something that is going to
happen.
,(amples$
am looking forward to playing chess with you.
Henry and 9enny are looking forward to playing pirates in the drama.
'ebecca is looking forward to playing the new piece to us on stage.
,(amples o" other present participle commonly used be"ore the in"initive marker %to% in a
sentence$
am looking forward to hearing from you.
/ohn is looking forward to wor%ing with &atrick.
am looking forward to receiving a favourable reply from you.
#' to be and to being
8 the e(planation is similar to to play and to playing. Here are some e(amples o" how
they are used in sentences$
9ritney wants to 'e a nurse when she grows up.
t's my honour to 'e here tonight.
6et's hurry , don't want to 'e late.
There is a lot of work to 'e done.
%m going to 'e successful5
/ane is looking forward to 'eing your special guest on your show.
4uncan is looking forward to 'eing part of our team.
+e are looking forward to 'eing there again.
6ionel and 7alerie are looking forward to 'eing role models to their fellow students.
+e are looking forward to 'eing of service to you.

@: welco"e and welco"ed
8 the word welco"e can be used as a verb, ad)ective or noun.
,(amples o" how welco"e is used in a sentence as a verb$
The students will be at the school gate to welcome the minister when he arrives.
t is our pleasure to welcome you to our home.
They welcomed us warmly.
The 7acation Hotel welcomes its guests in their own languages.
My penfriend and his family welcomed me with open arms.
,(amples o" how welco"e is used in a sentence as an ad)ective 9note that it is usually
used be"ore the verbs %am%, %is%, %are%, %was% and %were%:$
%ny suggestions and comments are welcome.
:hildren are always welcome at the theme park.
#our uncle is welcome to stay in our house as long as he likes.
$Thank you for your assistance.$ $#ou're welcome.$
They had a feeling that they weren't welcome at the conference.
/eremy says that am welcome to visit him anytime want.
,(amples o" how welco"e is used in a sentence as a noun$
/oe's parents gave me a smile of welcome when visited /oe.
+e thanked them for their warm welcome.
The man who saved the child's life received a hero's welcome when he visited the child
and her family.
;uests can be assured of a friendly welcome at our all resorts.
%my's classmates gave her a warm welcome when she returned to school after
recovering from a long illness.
The word welco"ed is used as the past tense o" welco"e.
,(amples$
welcomed the guests at the party last evening.
The new students to the university were warmly welcomed by the +arden.
Harry stood at the door and welcomed the visitors by greeting them and shaking hands
with them.
The mayor welcomed the guests at the airport last week.
They welcomed us with open arms when we arrived at the club.

I hope that my e(planation helps. Don%t "orget to spread the word about english@>?.com
so that more people could bene"it "rom this website, thank you.

Dr Grammar

Hello Dr Grammar,
I%m glad to visit this site. I have "ound that ,nglish@>? is great and help"ul to me. Thus, I
have a question to ask, that is, when to use %have been% and %had been%# &nother question
is, when to use %I have had to%#
Hope to see your reply soon, thank you.
7ia !in

Hello 7ia !in,
I%m glad to know that you "ind english@>?.com a great and help"ul site.
Here are the answers to your questions$
(ave been / has been is combined with a present participle 9words ending with an %8ing%,
such as %playing%, %reading%, %watching%, %cooking%, etc.: to "orm the present per"ect
continuous tense.
have been / has been E present participle F present perfect continuous tense
e.g.
have been playing
have been reading
has been watching
has been cooking

The present perfect continuous tense is used to show that an action that started in the
past is still going on now, at this very moment. The prepositions %"or% and %since% are o"ten
used with the tense.
,(amples$
They have 'een playing chess for two hours.
/oanne and <rederick have 'een reading in the library since 0= o'clock this morning.
Henry has 'een watching T7 for half an hour.
My mother has 'een coo%ing in the kitchen since > pm.

/lick here "or more in"ormation on the present perfect continuous tense.

(ad been is combined with a present participle to "orm the past perfect continuous
tense.
had been E present participle F past perfect continuous tense
e.g.
had been waiting
had been chatting
had been discussing
had been studying

3e use the past perfect continuous tense to show that an action started in the past and
continued up until another time in the past. The action usually stopped when something
else happened.
,(amples$
%nne had 'een waiting for you for a long time when you showed up.
They had 'een chatting for about an hour when the clock chimed.
+e had 'een discussing the issue for twenty minutes when we had a blackout.
%dam had 'een studying in the university for two years when the war broke out.

6ou can click here "or more in"ormation on the past perfect continuous tense.

Would have had to is used in a conditional clause in the past perfect tense 9click here
"or the e(planation "or the past perfect tense: to show past events that might have
happened but are impossible now.
,(amples$
f you had contracted the disease, you would have had to see a doctor.
f /ohn's car had broken down, he would have had to call a mechanic.
f the accused had pleaded guilty, he would have had to go to jail.
f 'ebecca had lost the key, she would have had to call a locksmith.

I hope that my e(planation answers your questions. 6ou%re welcome to ask again i" you
have anymore queries.

Dr Grammar

Hello Dr Grammar,
3hat is the di""erence between %did not% and %do not%# /an you e(plain how to use didn)t
and don)t#
Thank you.
5'&

Hello 5'&,
Thank you "or your questions.
+o is a plural au(iliary verb 9singular$ does: used with not be"ore a "ull verb to "orm
negative sentences.
do E not E ver' F negative sentence
e.g. do not wash, do not read, do not run, etc.
,(amples$
They do not go to church on weekdays.
/ohn and Mary do not play basketball.
+e do not li%e beef.
My grandparents do not watch ?nglish films.
My aunts do not go shopping every day.

+id is the past tense o" do 9and also does:. !imilarly, it is also used with not be"ore a "ull
verb to "orm negative sentences. 0ote that the "ull verb used is always in the base "orm
9e.g. sit, draw, sweep, drive, run, etc.:
did E not E 'ase for of a ver' F negative sentence in the past tense
e.g. did not come, did not see, did not ta%e, etc.
,(amples$
did not visit my uncle last week.
Sam and 7alerie did not finish their homework yesterday.
They did not go to Singapore.
Marie did not pay the bills this morning.
The student did not 'uy the book.

+on't is the contraction o" do not and didn't is the contraction o" did not.
don)t * do not
didn)t * did not
They are mainly used in"ormally, which is suitable "or normal conversation and writing to
"riends.
,(amples$
don't swim well.
Helen and her sister don't speak <rench.
They don't know the way to my house.
The ladies don't like gardening.
:ows don't eat meat.
My aunt didn't bake any cakes last month.
#ou didn't try hard enough.
Michael didn't pass the driving test.
+e didn't hear any strange noise last night.
My mother didn't weed the garden last evening.

+on't and didn't are also used to make question tags, which are short questions added to
the end o" statements. 0egative tags are added to the end o" positive statements while
positive tags are added to the end o" negative statements.
,(amples$
#our uncles speak /apanese well, don't they5
They don't go to school by bus, do they5
Samantha and 7alerie live nearby, don't they5
:heetahs don't roar, do they5
The postmen deliver letters every day, don't they5
#ou don't drink tea, do you5
He forgot to bring a dictionary, didn't he5
/ulie didn't miss the train, did she5
They danced well last night, didn't they5
The principal didn't give a speech last week, did he5
#ou replied his email, didn't you5
#our neighbour didn't go fishing this morning, did he5

I hope that you understand my e(planation. 6ou%re welcome to ask again i" you have any
more questions.

Dr Grammar

Dear Dr Grammar,
I have a question$ how to use the words %can% and %could%#
Thank you.
&HT48CG

Hi &HT48CG,
Thanks "or your question.
The modal verb %can% means %be able to% or %to know how to do something%.
,(amples$
can drive well.
4ucks can swim.
7eronica can speak ;erman fluently.

It is also used to ask "or permission to do something or to ask someone to give you
something.
,(amples$
*an read your maga@ine5
*an use your phone5
*an have a glass of water, please5

The modal verb %could% is used$
9>: as the past tense o" %can%.
,(amples$
could answer all the 3uestions in the test this morning.
Sam could not open the door yesterday because he lost his key.
could not drive well two years ago.

9?: to say that something is possible or might happen.
,(amples$
t could be months before he returns home.
#ou pen could have been stolen by someone.
4on't worry , your daughter could have just missed the bus.

9@: to make a request politely.
,(amples$
*ould you feed our dogs while we are on holiday in /apan5
*ould borrow your bicycle5
*ould 6isa come along with us to the library5

9.: to make a suggestion.
,(amples$
#ou could go for a medical check,up to ease your mind.
Ma('s not home but you could always try his mobile phone number.
*ouldn't you wake up earlier to avoid going to school late5

9A: to show annoyance because somebody did not do what you e(pected.
,(amples$
#ou could have told me that you were not going to make it.
They could at least apologise to me.
#ou could have called me and informed me about the postponement.

I hope that helps. Do ask again i" you have any more doubts.

Dr Grammar

Hello !ir,
I need to know how to use the word %omnipotent% in a sentence.
/an I use it in essays# is it suitable#
Thank you $:
7ustin

Hello 7ustin,
Thank you "or your questions.
The ad)ective %omnipotent% carries ? meanings$

9>: 9o" a deity: having unlimited power and there"ore able to do anything.
,(amples$
%ccording to Mr 9rown, he and his family worship an omnipotent ;od.
+hy doesn't the omnipotent ;od stop sufferings, wars and diseases5
n the legend, there is an omnipotent character.
;od is described as omnipotent and merciful.
4o you believe that the earth and all its living creatures are created by an omnipotent
creator5

9?: having great power and in"luence.
,(amples$
The king of that country is an omnipotent sovereign.
Such important decisions can only made by the omnipotent central committee.
n the past, the global economy was controlled by that wealthy and omnipotent nation.
The omnipotent tycoon owns a large amount of property.
The omnipotent managing director of that company has decided to proceed with his
decision to buy the shopping arcade.

6es, you can use the word %omnipotent% in essays, as long as it carries one o" the meanings
stated above.
I hope that my e(planation helps to answer your questions. 7ust "eel "ree to ask again i"
you have any more queries.

Dr Grammar

Dear Dr Grammar,
I have a problem using the phrase %"irst things "irst%.
Is it true that it can only be used in the "irst paragraph o" an article or something like that#
Thank you.
Timothy

Hi Timothy,
Thank you "or your question.
The phrase %"irst things "irst% means %the more important things should be done or dealt
with "irst%.
,(amples$
9>:,irst things first , let's finish our homework before we go shopping.
9?:,irst things first , greet the customers before taking their orders.
9@:+e have a lot of household chores to do, but, first things first, let's have something to
eatA
9.:#ou need to get your priorities right , first things first.
9A: suggest you complete your tertiary education before your start working , first things
first.
&s you can see "rom the e(amples, it does not necessarily have to be used at the
beginning o" a sentence or in the "irst paragraph o" an article only. It can be used
wherever suitable, as long as it is appropriate and grammatically error "ree.
I believe you have con"used it with the phrase %"irst o" all%, which means %be"ore doing
anything else%. It is o"ten used at the beginning when you e(plain the procedure to do
something or a set o" instructions.
,(amples$
9>:,irst of all, get ready all the ingredients.
9?:,irst of all, wash the vegetables.
9@:,irst of all, read the instruction manual before using the software.
9.:,irst of all, unfi( the screws.
I hope that my e(planation clears your doubts. Don%t hesitate to ask again i" you have any
other questions.

Dr Grammar

Dear Dr Grammar,
How do I use 2is "illed2 or 2is "ulled2#
Thank you.
,laineH;ing

Dear ,laineH;ing,
Thank you "or your question.
The phrase 'is filled' is o"ten used with the preposition 'with', making it 'is filled with'.
9>: The phrase 'is filled with' means %something is "ull o" something%.
,(amples$
The bottle is filled with water.
This bucket is filled with ice.
That bo( is filled with books.
My room is filled with smoke.
These suitcases are filled with clothes.
+hen 6inda heard the bad news, her eyes were filled with tears.

9?: The phrase 'is filled with' is also used to show that somebody has a strong "eeling or
emotion.
,(amples$
'ebecca is filled with admiration for her uncle's accomplishments.
Suddenly, /ohn's face is filled with fear.
+hen Mariah heard about her daughter's e(cellent e(amination results, she was filled
with happiness.
"ur faces were filled with anger when we learnt about the brutal murder.

9@: !ince 'full' is an ad)ective, it does not have a past tense. Thus, the phrase 'is fulled'
does not e(ist in the ,nglish language. 3e use 'is full of' instead and its meaning is
similar to 'is filled with'.
,(amples$
My cup is full of coffee.
The refrigerator is full of food and drinks.
Those shelves are full of maga@ines.
<anny is full of joy to be reunited with her long,lost brother.
His essay is full of grammatical errors.
Harry is full of praise for the scientist's achievements.

I hope that my e(planation answers your question. 6ou%re welcome to ask again i" you
have any other questions.
Dr Grammar

Dear Dr Grammar,
How do I use %in time% and %on time%#
Thank you "or helping me.
'ay

Hi 'ay,
Thank you "or your question.
3hen we are in time to do something, it means that we are not late and we have enough
time to do something.
,(amples$
+ill we be in time for the B.1= p.m. flight5
6uckily, the ambulance arrived just in time to save the accident victim's life.
'm sure that 'll be able to complete the project in time.

3hen something happens on time, it means that something happens punctually, or at the
arranged time.
,(amples$
The train arrived right on time.
The ship left the harbor on time.

3hen we do something on time, we do something according to schedule and we are not
late.
,(amples$
/ohn always hands in his coursework on time.
%s we arrived at the theatre on time, we did not miss the beginning of the movie.
I hope that my e(planation helps.
Dr Grammar
Hi im )oan bernas "rom philippines. Ive been searching a site "or english lesson. I "ind
your site so great. I really hope to become "luent in english. I hope you could help me. I
want to create an article but im a"raid to post it because i dont want to be creticiIed. so i
am looking "orward something you can contribute on me aside "rom you english lesson.

Hi 7oan,
Thanks so much "or your compliments. I%m glad that you like our website. I%m also glad to
know that you%re learning ,ngllish and hope to be "luent in the language.
4" course, I%m more than willing to help you. In your email, you mentioned that you wish
to create an article. 6ou don%t have to worry about the criticism, because I can help you. I"
you want me to, I can edit your article and make it more presentable "irst be"ore you post
it.
+emember, english@>?.com is specially meant "or ,nglish learners like you. There"ore,
do not hesitate to let me know, i" you encounter any problems in the process o" learning
the language.
Happy learning1
Dr Grammar