Transitive and Intransitive verbs

01 April 2015 by Diane

A verb can be either transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb needs a direct object while an intransitive verb does need a direct object.

Transitive verb > He sent a letter.

 (Send is a transitive verb-- it needs an object (letter) to express its full meaning.)

Intransitive Verb > He laughs.

(Laugh is an intransitive verb-- it does not need object to expressing its full meaning.)

Intransitive verbs cannot be changed into passive voice

We need an object to create a sentence in passive voice.

Intransitive Verbs

Transitive Verbs

Verbs that can be both

to ache

to beat

to begin

to agree

to bring

to break

to appear

to buy

to build

to arrive

to contain

to call

to belong

to cost

to change

to come

to enjoy

to clean

to cry

to get

to crash

to die

to give

to do

to disappear

to hit

to drop

to fall

to lend

to draw

to go

to make

to eat

to happen

to need

to enter

to laugh

to offer

to explain

to lie

to owe

to finish

to rain

to send

to go

to remain

to show

to help

to respond

to take

to hurt

to rise

to tell

to hug

to say

to kick

to scream

to lose

to sit

to open

to sleep

to paint

to snow

to play

to smile

to run

to stand

to see

to whisper

to smell

**Reporting verbs are often intransitive.

to throw

to win

Adverbs of Time

01 March 2015 by Diane



'Already' is used to say that something has happened earlier than expected or earlier than it might have happened.

ex. We’ve already eaten pizza three times this week!

* Commonly used with the present perfect tense!


'Still' is used to refer to continuing situations.

ex.  They've been married for 40 years and they still love each other.

* Commonly used with the present perfect or present continuous tense

STILL is very rare in negative sentences.


Just is used for an action that was recently completed

ex. She has just finished eating.

* Commonly used with the present perfect tense!

YET :  

  'Yet' is used :

   - to ask if something expected has happened :  ex. Has the mail arrived yet?  

   - to say that something expected hasn't happened :   ex. The postman hasn't    arrived yet.

YET is rare in positive statements.  But,  it can be used in positive questions.

* Commonly used with the present perfect tense!


Anymore is used to show that a situation has changed.

Anymore goes at the end of the sentence

ex. I don’t play basketball anymore.

* Commonly used with the past tense!

The Most Common Idioms (according to Teacher Diane)

10 February 2015 by Diane


About to (do something)


         Planning to do something at the moment             

         I was just about to take a shower.  Can I call you back?

About time

Used to convey that something happening now should’ve happened earlier

It’s about time he got a job.  He’s been unemployed for over a year!

After a while

After an unspecified amount of time

I’m sure you’ll get used to the cold weather after a while.

Ahead of time


We made sure to eat lunch ahead of time because we knew we wouldn’t have time to stop.

All along

From the beginning

I can’t believe that he knew the information all along and didn’t tell us.

All day long

The entire day

He sits down all day long.

All of a sudden

Quickly and without warning

Then, all of a sudden, a car crashed into me from behind.

All in all

With everything considered; on the whole

All in all, I’d say it was a success.

All the while

At the same time

Here I was thinking that you were downstairs working, and you were upstairs in bed all the while!

As if / as though

As would be the case if

She behaved as if he weren’t there.

Any day now

Sometime in the near future; very soon

The package should be arriving any day now.

As far as I know

Based on the information I know

As far as I know, she’s at home.  That’s what she told me.

At a moment’s notice

With little warning or time for preparation

I can be ready at a moment’s notice.

At a time


We can only take one person at a time.

At last


We made it to the top of the mountain, at last!

At times


She takes her anger out on her boyfriend at times.

Be better off

To be in a better position

You’re better off without him!

Be into (something)

Have an interest in (something)

He’s really into football.

Be up in the air

To be undecided

Our plans are still up in the air at the moment.

Benefit of the doubt

Believe what someone tells you when you are doubtful

I’m not sure if he’s telling the truth, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

By all means

Of course; certainly

May I make a suggestion?  By all means.

By the way

Used to introduce new information, not related to what is being discussed

By the way, I saw Marie at the store today.

Close call

Something bad that almost happened

We almost missed the flight.  It was a very close call.

Cross one’s mind

Think about something

It never once crossed my mind that she might be unhappy.

Either way

In both situations

I know that it might rain, but I’m going to go to the game either way.

Every so often


I go out to dinner every so often.

Feel like it

Have the desire to do something

Why are you headed to the city today?  I’m not sure, I just feel like it.

For a change

Contrary to how things are usually done

I’ll drive this time for a change.

For the time being

Temporarily; until another arrangement is made

She’s working two jobs for the time being until her husband can get back on his feet.

For good


At the age of thirty, he left home for good.

For the best

A bad situation has some positives

Thomas and Susan broke up, but I think it’s for the best.  They were arguing all the time.

From now on

From this moment until the future

From now on, I will no longer tolerate lateness.

From scratch

Starting from the beginning with only the basic ingredients

After the business failed, they decided to start again from scratch.

From time to time


He stops by from time to time to say hello.

Good for nothing


His parents told him that he was good for nothing.

Go for it

Take a chance

There’s an audition for a new TV series.  I think I’m going to go for it!

Have a hard time with

To have difficulty doing something

I’m having a hard time with the new computer software.  Can you help me?

In case

In the event that something happens

Bring an umbrella in case it rains.

In fact

In reality; really; actually

This is a really good computer.  In fact, many people say it’s the best.

In other words

Another way to say something

I’m really tired.  In other words, I think it’s time to go home.

In the way

Acting as an obstacle in achieving a goal

Nothing would get in the way of achieving his dreams.

It’s beside the point

Irrelevant; not important

That’s very interesting, but beside the point.

In the meantime

The period of time between now and when something is supposed to happen

The flight leaves at 7pm.  In the meantime, let’s grab dinner.

It’s a matter of time

Sure to happen at sometime in the future

He’s going to apologize.  It’s only a matter of time.

Keep in mind

Remember and think about someone or something

If any jobs open up at your company, please keep me in mind.

Make a long story short

To leave out parts of a story to make it shorter and bring it to an end

To make a long story short, Thomas is in town this weekend and we made dinner plans for tomorrow night.

Make sense

To be understandable

None of the things that he said made any sense to me.

Might as well

It’s probably better to do something than not to do it

We might as well leave now.  There’s no harm in being early.

More often than not


He remembers my birthday more often than not.

No matter what

Regardless; it makes no difference

We’ll be at your show, no matter what.

On the spot

At the moment without much time for thought

She decided to join them on the spot.

On the way

Moving towards a place

I was on my way to the café when I ran into an old friend.

On purpose


I think he stepped on my foot on purpose.

Out of the question

Not allowed or permitted

I’m sorry, but you can’t take our car.  It’s out of the question.

Run out of time

Not have enough time to complete something

Hurry up!  We’re running out of time before the deadline.

Since day one

From the beginning

I’ve loved him since day one.

Sleep on (something)

Think about something as you sleep

Can you give me tonight to sleep on it?  I’ll have an answer by tomorrow.

So far

Up until this point

They’ve made very little progress so far.

Take one’s time

Don’t rush

Take your time!  We have a lot of time to spare.

Take it easy


On Sundays, he likes to take it easy.

Time is up

There is no more time

Time is up.  Everyone please put their pencil down and close the test booklet.

To one’s face


He told me to my face that he couldn’t trust me.

Touch base


Let’s touch base sometime next week.

Up to date

With the most recent information

I was out last week.  Can you bring me up to date?

Up to you

It’s your decision

I don’t care what we do.  It’s up to you.

What for?


I know you’re in London, but what for?

What’s new?

Do you have any recent news?

Hi Bob.  What’s new?

Word for word

In the exact words

I memorized the speech, word for word.

Worth it

Sufficiently good to repay any effort, trouble or expense

All of the extra time I devoted to studying was worth it.  I scored the highest in the class!



Phrasal Verb: Act Up

02 January 2014 by Diane

Past Continuous / Progressive

23 December 2014 by Diane

Subject + was/were + verb-ing

I was speaking.  You were speaking.  He/she/it was speaking.  We were speaking.  They were speaking.

Duration in the past: We use the Past Continuous to talk about continuous actions or situations in the past.  It is commonly used to describe the longer action when we have two actions in the past.


  • What were you doing last night at 10pm?  I was watching TV.
  • What was your sister doing?  She was sleeping on the couch.

Interrupted actions: The Past Continuous is often used when one action in progress is interrupted by another action in the past. We usually use when or while to link these two sentences.

Sentence in Past Continuous


Sentence in Past Simple

I was singing

my wife came home


Sentence in Past Continuous

Sentence in Past Simple

I was singing

my wife came home

Examples: Remember the longer action should be past continuous!

IT STARTS TO RAIN            3:45pm
While Bob
was painting the windows, it started to rain.

EAT DINNER   6pm - 6:15pm
was talking eating dinner when the telephone rang.