In number 6 …

Once, twice, … – Not Only Grammar

I bet you said “three times” just as most people, including native speakers, say. Surprise, surprise, there is another word you can use. True, some think that it’s old fashioned and yet it still appears in books and articles. Therefore there’s no harm in learning “THRICE”, which follows on nicely from “once” and “twice”.

Probably you now expect me to give you something for “4 times”. Sorry but my bag of surprises is empty for today. Instead, I will show you 2 common mistakes:

  • I’ve been to an English language course thrice times.
  • She phoned me twice times last night.

These are correct:

  • I’ve been to an English language course thrice.
  • She phoned me twice last night.

In number 7 …

Past Simple / Present Perfect – The sushi restaurant example – Not Only Grammar

sushi

A: There’s a sushi restaurant not far from here. Do you know it?

=> B1: Yes, but I didn’t try it.

=> B2: Yes, but I haven’t tried it.


I hear so many conversations on similar lines in the classroom and sometimes a discussion arises over which of the two answers – B1 or B2 – is correct. Actually, both are possible but there is a fine difference in meaning.

B1: I didn’t try it (past simple) implies that the speaker has no interest in trying the restaurant (maybe sushi isn’t their type of food) or that they don’t have the possibility of going there (maybe it’s their last day in Malta).

B2: I haven’t tried it (present perfect) implies that the speaker will try the restaurant if he/she gets the chance; the possibility is still there

There are countless situations when we have such a choice with our answer – films, holiday destinations, books, sports. It is important to use the correct tense to make sure there won’t be a misunderstanding with the person you’re speaking to.

In number 8 …

Once, twice, … – Not Only Grammar

I bet you said “three times” just as most people, including native speakers, say. Surprise, surprise, there is another word you can use. True, some think that it’s old fashioned and yet it still appears in books and articles. Therefore there’s no harm in learning “THRICE”, which follows on nicely from “once” and “twice”.

Probably you now expect me to give you something for “4 times”. Sorry but my bag of surprises is empty for today. Instead, I will show you 2 common mistakes:

  • I’ve been to an English language course thrice times.
  • She phoned me twice times last night.

These are correct:

  • I’ve been to an English language course thrice.
  • She phoned me twice last night.

In number 9 …

Does it FIT/SUIT me? – Not Only Grammar

You’re at Zara, Bershka or some other high street boutique trying on a new pair of jeans or blouse. There are usually 2 things you need to know before deciding whether to buy it or not.

First, of course, is the size. Too big, too small or just right? In other words, does it FIT you?

Next is whether it looks good on you, such as the colour and style (both important factors). What you want to know is whether the garment SUITS you.

I know, there is a third factor, which is the price. That’s something you must discuss with your credit card though!

In number 10 …

ALIGHT / BOARD – Not Only Grammar

“How about saying ‘good morning’
or ‘good afternoon’ as we alight or
get off the bus?”


I imagine your first question is about the word ALIGHT. First, you can find the meaning in a good dictionary. Click here: Oxford Dictionaries. After checking the word,  you’ll realize that there is a problem with the sentence above. Interestingly, it was written by a competent native speaker and this goes to show that we all make mistakes sometimes.

In connection with buses or trains, ALIGHT can be used instead of “to get down from or out of”. In fact, some bus stops here in Malta have a sign saying “ALIGHTING of passengers only”. My advice to you is that you don’t wait for a bus there because you’ll never get on it!

Now look at the sentence above again. What the writer should have used is the word “BOARD“. You probably know it in an airport situation because after checking in you are given a BOARDING pass. This piece of paper allows you to go on –  BOARD – the plane.

2020 Top Ten posts

Here’s something I’ll be doing for the first time since I started this blog in 2013. From the 1st to the 10th January 2021, I’ll be reproducing the top ten posts of 2020. Together we’ll discover which posts vsitors to NotOnlyGrammar found most useful, interesting and helpful. I’ll do it in countdown fashion, with the number ten position appearing tomorrow, New Year’s Day, until the 10th, when we find out the top post for 2020. Whether you have a hangover or not, make sure you check in to this site tomorrow for the start of the countdown!

The year’s top 10 posts

BBC News: How Covid conspiracies, ‘fake news’ and misinformation spread in 2020

Here’s a news item from the BBC which we will use for today’s listening activity: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-55348574.

First, read the instructions to help you get the most benefit from the task:

  1. Click on the link – BBC news – and watch without subtitles
  2. Watch it again but this time with subtitles in English. Don’t worry about any words you don’t understand
  3. Watch once more (with subtitles) and pause when you find a word you don’t know
  4. Use an English only dictionary to find the meaning of these words
  5. Do not look up the meaning of every word you don’t know but only the ones you think are interesting

If you found this interesting or useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


Parking Procedures: The grand finale!

For the past 8 days, I have given you a series of tasks based on the instructions on how to use the car park of an international airport. You had 8 language challenges because there are 8 steps in the parking procedures. However, the tasks were not in the same sequence as the instructions on the airport’s website. For the grand finale, you must decide on the correct order of the instructions. Here are the links to the 8 tasks:

Task 1 | Task 2 | Task 3 | Task 4 | Task 5 | Task 6 | Task 7 | Task 8

Email me your answers for my correction / feedback: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

If you found this interesting or useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


Parking Procedures: 8 (gerund or infinitive)

This is the last of an 8-part series on parking procedures. These are the instructions on how to use the car park, taken from the website of an international airport.

As I like to say, there’s no better way to learn than by using English from the real world!

For this eighth task, put the verbs in brackets in either the gerund (doing) or infinitive (to do) to complete the instruction:

Remember ~~~~~ (carry) your parking ticket within the terminal as you will need it ~~~~~ (pay) via the pay machines.

Email me your answers for my correction / feedback: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

If you found this interesting or useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.