English For Beginners Part 2

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Beginner English Study Guide Chapter 1 Part 2

Beginner English Study Guide

Here you can see some of the basic things you need to start learning English – from level zero.

Chapter 1 Part 2 – Whose is this?

Plural Nouns

Apple apples
Book books
Cat cats
Orange oranges
Table tables
Idea ideas
Computer computers


These nouns are regular. Regular nouns end in s.

In some cases, the pronunciation is different and you get an extra syllable. For example, change, changes, sentence, sentences.

Irregular nouns do not end in s in the plural form.

Some irregular nouns are:

Child children
Woman women
Man men
Person people
Fish fish
Sheep sheep


The Indefinite Article

To describe one of something we often say a, e.g. there is a cat in the garden. When the noun starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) we add n to the article, i.e. an elephant.


Grammar Quiz

a/an
a book _____?____ umbrella _____?____ piano
an elephant _____?____ pencil _____?____ watch

Example Conversation – What’s in your bag?
David: Your bag looks heavy, Susan. What’s in it?
Susan: My bag is absolutely full. I’ve got my purse in here, a notebook, an apple, an iphone, a makeup bag, and a passport.
David: Is it your passport?
Susan: Of course it is! What’s in your rucksack?
David: An umbrella.


Possessive S

The possessive (‘s) is used to indicate something belongs to someone, or the relationship between people. Example:

Where is Claudio’s book? He can’t find it.

Here the ’s means that the book is the book of Claudio. In some languages the book of Claudio is correct, but in English we remove of and use ‘s instead. This is the same for relationships between people, whether that is family, school, or work. Example:


This is Viviana. She is Claudio’s sister (i.e. the sister of Claudio).

Note

Don’t confuse the possessive ‘s with the contraction of the verb to be, third person singular, i.e. it’s hot today – this is an abbreviation of: it is hot today (verb to be).


How to spot the difference?

Though it can be confusing, there is a simple way to tell if ‘s is the verb to be or the possessive s.

Verb to be: It’s cold; she’s here; it’s six o’clock; he’s David…

These examples refer to an adjective (cold), an adverb (here), a time, a name, etc. The possessive s, however, will refer to a noun – either a person or a thing, and there will be two nouns together – i.e. Claudio’s sister – Claudio = proper noun (name), sister = common noun (something general).

To test this idea, re-write the phrase using the verb to be, e.g. Claudio’s sister – Claudio is sister. In this case, Claudio is sister doesn’t make sense, so the ‘s must be a possessive.


Plural possessive s
To talk about plural possessives, we move the position of the apostrophe to after the s, i.e. s’. Example:

Singular
This is Claudio’s sister. (Note – sister can be singular or plural; the issue here is that there is one Claudio.

Plural
My parents’ house has four bedrooms. (Note – the plural here is parents; they may only have one house, but there are two parents, so we put the apostrophe after the s: parents’).

Grammar Practice

One person (singular)

This is Katie __?__ restaurant. It’s called Katie __?__ .
Two or more people (plural)
The customer __?__ favourite dish is the aubergine lasagne. The customer __?__ second favourite is the chocolate cake from Naples.

Rewrite these sentences:

Example
(Rachel) Peter is her friend – Peter is Rachel’s friend. _________________________ .
(your parents) Where is their house? _________________________ .
(Karen) Her cell phone is on the table. _________________________ .
(The children) Their dinner isn’t ready. _________________________ .
(Susanna) Her hair is black. _________________________ .

Note

We generally use possessive s for people plus people (Sarah‘s mother), or people plus things (David’s computer). We don’t generally use it for things plus things (the table’s edge – instead, we use of = the edge of the table).

However, some things like a city can take the ‘s – e.g., London’s most famous restaurant.

For titles we also tend to use of, too, e.g. The King of England, The Prime Minister of Britain (not Britain’s Prime Minister).

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