Easy English Grammar

English grammar tricks that work (part 1)

English Grammar Tricks that Work (part 1)

I get it. English can be very confusing sometimes, and the grammar rules can seem crazy and random. Sometimes they are.

But a lot of the time, there’s a system happening underneath the madness.

After teaching for 12 years, I’ve discovered some of these English grammar tricks that most English textbooks don’t mention.

They work about 80% of the time and I call them the “80 percenters”.

English Grammar Trick #1 — Make or do?

people sitting an exam

Make a exam?         OR         Do an exam?

a couple in love

Make a promise?         OR         Do a promise?

Here’s the rule:

"do" is the working verb

● Does it feel like work? Does it take effort? Then use ‘do’.
● If not, use ‘make’.

As I said before, this works about 80% of the time.

So the answers are:

do an exam

and

make a promise

Got it?

OK. Let’s practise this.

Do the housework?    OR    Make the housework?

● Is it fun? No!
● Does it feel like work? Yes.

So, we say:

do the housework

Do friends?    OR    Make friends?

● Is it fun? Hopefully!
● Does it feel like work? No.

So, we say:

make friends

Easy, right?

You’ll get the chance to test yourself at the end of this post. But first:

English Grammar Trick #2 — Verb + -ing or ‘to’?

a woman and a cat

She’s good at to throw cats?         OR         She’s good at throwing cats?

a girl and a tank

She apologized for to crash the tank?         OR         She apologized for crashing the tank?

Here’s the rule:
English Grammar Tricks

…about 80% of the time. Hey, nothing’s perfect.

Don't know what a preposition is? Click here for some examples.

in
on
at
by
for
before
over
from
about
with

So the answers are:

She's good at throwing cats.

and

She apologized for crashing the tank.

Once you know this shortcut, you won’t have to think about it at all.

Action plan!

See how easy it is. Try our quick quiz.

Click the button to start the quiz.

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