Tag: Grammar

Need needn’t grammar rules

Need and needn’t grammar rules




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Need is a regular verb that can be used as a lexical verb or as a modal. It expresses the necessity for something.

Need as a MAIN verb

You can use need as the main verb in a sentence with the following construction: need to + verb (to express a necessity, the need to do something) or need + noun (gerund) (to say that you need something) :

  • I need to have a shower. 
  • She needs to talk to him. 

For the negative and interrogative form, we use do/does and don’t/doesn’t :

  • Do I need to show my passport? 
  • Does she need my car? 
  • You don’t need to go there. 
  • He doesn’t need my help. 

⚠️ Don’t forget the final -s after he needs, she needs, it needs.

For the simple past, we add -ed to need: we get “needed“. For the interrogative and negative form, we use did and didn’t:

  • He needed some eggs to make a cake. 
  • He didn’t need to take his umbrellas. 
  • Did he need my computer? 

You can use the formula need + verb-ing, similar to need to be + past participle.

  • The windows need (or don’t need) cleaning. (= the windows need to be cleaned).

Need as a modal auxiliary

Need can also be used as a modal aid to the present, but only to the negative form and to the first person of the interrogative form (I or we).

⚠️ Be careful, however, these phrases are not often used :

In questions to ask about need, necessity :

  • Need I take an umbrella ? 
  • Need we finish the work today? 

The negative form need not (or needn’t) + verbal basis (without to) expresses the absence of obligation or necessity:

  • We need not hurry. 
  • It’s going to rain, you need’t take an umbrella. 

⚠️ As these formulas are rarely used, we use have to or need to instead :

  • Do I have to take an umbrella? = Do I need to take an umbrella?
  • Do we have to finish the work today? = Do we need to finish the work today?
  • You don’t have to take an umbrella = You don’t need to take an umbrella
  • We don’t have to hurry = We don’t need to hurry

To talk about actions that have been done but were not necessary: we use need not (or needn’t) + present perfect simple :

  • They needn’t have waited for us. 


Need can also be a name, it means a necessity :

  • Water is a need. 


⚠️ Do not confuse needn’t, which expresses the absence of obligation, with mustn’t, which expresses prohibition :

  • You need’nt come  (the negation concerns need)
  • You mustn’t come  (the negation concerns come)

⚠️ The structure need + verbal basis + ing is often used to say that something needs to be repaired or improved :

  • Your bike needs repairing. 
  • His english is bad. He needs practicing. 



Phrasal verbs basic rules pdf

Phrasal verbs basic rules in English




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Be careful, phrasal verbs are part of the basic things to know if you want to improve your English vocabulary!

What is a phrasal verb? It’s simply a verb composed of the base verb to which we add an adverbial particle, such as:

  • away
  • back
  • up / down
  • in / out
  • on / off
  • through
  • about
  • round
  • over
  • by
  • forward
  • along

This adverbial particle therefore modifies the meaning of the verb, or gives it more precision. An example:

  • to run = to walk fast
  • to run for = to be candidate for something
  • to run out = to miss something (to run out of water, for example)

Another example:

  • to put = to place
  • to put off = to postpone
  • to put away = to tidy up

Adverbial particles can also completely change the meaning of the verb:

  • to give = Can you give me a cake?
  • to give up = This lesson is too difficult! I give up! (= to quit)

Sometimes, the phrasal verb is followed by a preposition:

  • to run away from 
  • to keep up with 
  • to look up at 
  • to look forward to 

⚠️ The object can usually be placed before or after the particle:

  • Turn off the light please = Turn the light off  please 
  • Turn over the paper = Turn the paper over  

⚠️ When the complement is a pronoun (me, it, him, him, her, them), it is necessarily between the verb and the particle:

  • Turn it off!  (NOT Turn off it!)
  • Turn it over!  (NOT Turn over it!)

⚠️ A phrasal verb can sometimes have several meanings!


Here is a complete list of the 500 most common and most used phrasal verbs in English (there are a few more in fact…). Please leave a comment if you notice any errors or if there are any changes or modifications to be made:

to ask somebody out to get over to piss off
to add up to something to get over something to plan ahead
to aim at to get over with to plan for
to ask around to get round to something to plan on
to ask for to get through to plug in
to ask out to get to to plug in/into
to back down to get together to plug up
to back off to get up to point out
to back somebody up to get something across/ over to point somebody/ something out
to back something up to get something back to point to
to back up to give away to print out
to beat up to give back to pull down
to beef up to give in to pull off
to believe in to give out to pull out
to bite off to give somebody away to pull over
to blow away to give something away to pull through
to blow off to give something back to punch in
to blow out to give something out to punch out
to blow something up to give something up to push back
to blow up to give up to put away
to boil down to to go about to put back
to break down to go after to put down
to break in to go after somebody to put in
to break into something to go after something to put off
to break off to go against somebody to put on
to break out to go ahead to put out
to break out in something to go along to put past
to break something down to go along with to put somebody down
to break something in to go around to put something down
to break through to go away to put something off
to break up to go back to put something on
to bring about to go back on to put something out
to bring back to go beyond to put something together
to bring down to go by to put through
to bring in to go down to put to
to bring out to go for to put together
to bring over to go in to put up
to bring somebody down to go in for to put up to
to bring somebody up to go in/into to put up with
to bring something up to go off to put up with somebody/ something
to bring up to go off to ring up
to brush off to go on to rip off
to brush up to go out to rip up
to build in/into to go out with somebody to rule out
to bump into to go over to run across
to burn down to go over something to run around
to burn out to go round to run away
to burn up to go through to run down
to burst out to go through with to run for
to butt in to go up to run into
to call around to go with to run into somebody/ something
to call back to go without something to run out
to call for to goof around to run over
to call in to gross out to run over somebody/ something
to call off to grow apart to run over/ through something
to call on somebody to grow back to run up
to call somebody back to grow into something to screw on
to call somebody up to grow out of to screw out of
to call something off to grow out of something to screw up
to call up to grow up to see about
to calm down to hand back to sell out
to care for to hand in to send back
to carry away to hand out to send for
to carry on to hand over to send off
to carry out to hand something down to send out
to catch on to hand something in to send something back
to catch up to hand something out to set about
to cheat on somebody to hand something over to set down
to check in to hang around to set off
to check out to hang in to set off
to check somebody/ something out to hang on to set out
to cheer some body up to hang out to set somebody up
to cheer up to hang up to set something up
to chicken out to have on to set up
to chip in to head back to settle down
to chop up to head for to settle for
to clean out to head toward to shake up
to clean something up to hear about to shop around
to clear out to hear of to show off
to clear up to heat up to shut off
to clog up to help out to shut up
to close down to hit on to sign in
to close off to hold against to sign out
to come about to hold back to sit back
to come across to hold off to sit down
to come across something to hold on to sit up
to come along to hold onto somebody/ something to sleep over
to come apart to hold out to slow down
to come back to hold somebody/ something back to sneak in/into
to come down to hold somebody/ something up to sneak out
to come down to to hold something back to sort out
to come down with to hold up to sort something out
to come down with something to hook up to space out
to come forward to hurry up to stand around
to come in to keep at to stand for
to come in to keep away to stand up
to come off to keep down to start off
to come on to keep from to start out
to come out to keep in to start up
to come over to keep off to stay off
to come round to keep on to stay out
to come through to keep on doing something to stay up
to come up to keep somebody/ something out to step on
to come up with to keep something from somebody to stick around
to con into to keep something up to stick out
to con out of to keep to to stick to
to cool off to keep up to stick to something
to count on to kick back to stick up
to count on somebody/ something to kick out to stick with
to count up to knock off to stop off
to cover up to knock out to stop over
to crack down to knock over to straighten out
to cross off to know about to stress out
to cross something out to lay down to switch something on/off
to cut back to lay off to take after somebody
to cut back on something to lead up to to take apart
to cut down to leave behind to take away
to cut in to leave off to take back
to cut off to leave on to take down
to cut out to leave out to take in
to cut somebody off to leave over to take off
to cut something off to let down to take on
to cut somethingdown to let down to take out
to cut somethingout to let in to take out on
to cut up to let off to take over
to deal with to let on to take somebody out
to do away with to let out to take something apart
to do away with something to let somebody down to take something back
to do over to let somebody in to take something off
to do somebody/ something over to let up to take something out
to do something over to lie around to take up
to do something up to lift up to take up on
to do with to light up to talk down to
to do without to lighten up to talk into
to doze off to line up to talk out of
to dress up to live with to talk to
to drop back to lock in to tear down
to drop in to lock out to tear off
to drop in/ by/ over to lock up to tear something up
to drop off to log in (or on) to tell apart
to drop out to log out (or off) to tell on
to drop somebody/ something off to look after somebody/ something to think about
to dry off to look around to think ahead
to dry out to look at something to think back
to dry up to look back to think over
to eat out to look down to think something over
to eat up to look down on to think up
to empty out to look down on somebody to think up
to end up to look for somebody / something to throw away
to fall apart to look forward to to throw out
to fall apart to look into to throw something away
to fall behind to look into something to throw up
to fall down to look out to track down
to fall for to look out for somebody / something to trade in
to fall in to look over to trick into
to fall off to look round (ou look around) to try on
to fall out to look something up to try out
to fall out to look something over to try something on
to fall over to look up to try something out
to fall through to look up to turn around
to feel up to to look up to to turn back
to fight back to look up to somebody to turn down
to figure on to luck out to turn in
to figure something out to make for to turn into
to fill in to make of to turn off
to fill out to make off to turn on
to fill something in to make out to turn out
to fill something out to make somebody up to turn over
to fill something up to make something up to turn round
to fill up to make up to turn up
to find out to mess up to turn something off
to find out to mix something up to turn something on
to find something out to mix up to turn something up
to fix up to monkey around with to turnsomethingdown
to flip out to move back to use up
to float around to move in to usesomething up
to follow up to move on to wake up
to fool around to move out to want out (familier)
to freak out to move up to warm somebody/ something up
to get ahead to narrow down to wash off
to get along to not care for somebody / something to wash up
to get along/on to pass away to watch out
to get around to pass on to wear down
to get away to pass out to wear off
to get away with something to pass something out to wear out
to get back to pass something up to wind up
to get back at to pass through to wipe off
to get back at somebody to pay back to wipe out
to get back into something to pay for to wipe up
to get back to to pay for something to work in
to get behind to pay off to work off
to get by to pay somebody back to work on
to get down to pay up to work out
to get in to pick on to work something out
to get off to pick out to work up
to get on with somebody to pick something out to wrap up
to get on something to pick up to write down
to get out to pile up to zip up


Words ending with -ever: whatever, whoever, whenever, whichever…

Words ending with -ever: whatever, whoever, whenever…




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

The suffix -ever can be added to the words in wh- and how to change their meaning. These compound words then express a general value.


  • Whatever dish you choose, you have to eat it all.
  • Take whatever you want from the fridge if you feel hungry. 
  • Whatever you do, try your best. 

Whatever is sometimes used alone orally: it means ‘I don’t care‘, ‘It doesn’t matter to me‘:

  • What do you want to eat tonight? – Whatever


  • Come and visit us whenever you want.
  • He interrupts me whenever I start to speak. 
  • You can borrow my car whenever you like. 
  • We can leave whenever you’re ready. 


  • However tired I am, I work out every day.
  • However you try to explain it, I still can’t understand it. 
  • However you look at it, it’s going to cost a lot. 


  • Put the book wherever you want.
  • Sit down wherever you like. 
  • Wherever we go, we’ll have fun. 


With whichever we propose to choose between several things:

  • Keep whichever you like. 
  • Choose whichever you prefer. 
  • Whichever day you come, we will be happy to see you. 


It means ‘any person’:

  • You can call whoever you want. 
  • Whoever you are, you’ll love this song. 
  • Whoever opened the gate didn’t close it. 
  • Could I speak to whoever is in charge of customer service please? 


How to use can and can’t in english sentences

Can and can’t sentences in English




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Can in English

Can expresses a possibility, a capacity, or the ability of the subject, or a permission.

Can’t (or cannot, in a single word) is its negative form and expresses a disability. In the interrogative form, Can… must be placed at the beginning of the sentence.

1. Express an ability or inability

Can and can’t are used to say that something or someone may or may not be able to do something:

  • He can sing.
  • She can speak Japanese fluently. 
  • I can’t swim. 
  • Can you play the guitar? 
  • I’m afraid I can’t come to work on Wednesday. 

2. Express an opportunity or occasional characteristics

In this case, it is used in the affirmative form:

  • The river can be dangerous at times. 
  • It can get hot there during the day. 
  • I know she can win the competition. 
  • I think your drone can be repaired.

3. To give or request permission or service

Can’t can also be used to deny permission:

  • You can use my car if you want.
  • Mum, can I go out now?
  • Can I ask you a question? 
  • Can I carry your luggage for you? 
  • You can go to the swimming pool if you like. 

4. Indicate a prohibition with can’t

  • You can’t smoke in the restaurant. 
  • We cannot park the car next to this fire hydrant. 
  • You cannot drive a car without a license. 

5. Express a strong certainty with can’t

In this case, can’t is used to show that you are surprised, or that you are sure that something is wrong in the present or in a past situation, whether it is a past fact or an activity (the construction is different in both cases):

  • It can’t be possible! 
  • He can’t have been to Japan.  (construction: can’t + have + verb at the past participle)
  • He can’t have been drinking, he looked sober.  (construction: can’t + have been + ing)

6. Can and perception verbs

We often use can in front of perception verbs: hear, see, smell, touch…

  • I can hear you but I can’t see you! 
  • We can see the beach from our hotel. 
  • I can smell something burning. 

7. Could

Could is the preterite of can. It is considered more polite or formal in a request:

  • Could I have more tea, please? 

8. Can or be able ?

We use be able to when can is impossible to use:

  • I’ve never been able to sing. 
  • I’d like to be able to forgive you. 
  • Sorry for not being able to help you. 



Will and Going to: what’s the difference?

Will and Going to: what is the difference?




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

What is the difference between will and going to?

To put it simply, we use ‘be going to’ + infinitive verb to evoke an intention to do something when a decision has already been made as we speak.

When the decision is made immediately, we use will. Will is also stronger than going to (will is used to make a promise, for example).

Compare the following examples:

  • I need the car. I’m going to visit Uncle Paul. 
  • She’ll tell you why she did it. 

We also use Be going to to predict something from what we see or know. With Will, the prediction is more abstract:

  • Look at this kid with his skateboard. I’m sure he’s going to fall. 
  • She’s going to have a baby. Her belly is really big. 
  • Be careful! You’re going to drop thos glasses. 
  • It’s going to rain. 

That said, sometimes there is not much difference between will and going to and you can use either one or the other:

  • I think the weather will be nice tomorrow morning. = I think the weather is going to be nice tomorrow morning.



How to use “used to” in English

How to use ‘used to‘ in English




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Used to is used to talk about habits or actions that were repeated in the past, but are now over. In this lesson you will find many examples of sentences in English with used to, to help you understand better:


Affirmative form: Used to is followed by the verbal base.

  • He used to live in Tokyo. 

Negative form: we use either used not to, or didn’t use to. It’s necessary to remove the final -d of used after didn’t in writing (orally, it’s ok)!

  • I used not to be so skinny (= I didn’t use to be so skinny). 
  • I didn’t use to like mushrooms. (= I used not to like mushrooms) 

Question form: simply use Did (I, he, they…) use to…? at the beginning of the sentence. Be careful, remember to remove the final “d’ of used to the interrogative form in writing (orally, it’s ok)!

  • Did he really use to be a soldier?
  • Did he use to smoke much? 


Used to is used to refer to an activity that has existed for some time and ended, or to talk about a habit in the past:

  • He used to drink too much. 
  • I used to read a lot.
  • She used to be my friend when I was at school. 
  • When I was a child, I used to walk to school everyday. 

At the end of sentences:

  • I smoke cigarettes much more now than I used to. 
  • My mother cooks better than she used to.


⚠️ Be careful not to confuse used to with be used to + verb -ing (to be used to):

  • I am used to get up early. (I am used to getting up early.) → I have the habit of waking up early.
  • I used to getting up early. → I would get up early (usually).

⚠️ In the same style, be careful not to confuse used to with get, become or grow used to + verb -ing

  • You will get used to it. 

⚠️ Do not confuse the formula ‘used to‘ with the past participle of the verb to use!

  • This room is used to store old furnitures. 

⚠️ There is no equivalent to ‘used to‘ in the present. To speak of habits in the present, we use frequency adverbs like often, usually, never, always…

  • I usually go running at night.

⚠️ It’s sometimes possible to replace Used to with Would + infinitive (without to):

  • We would go to Spain every year when I was a child. 



How to use would in English sentences

How to use would in English sentences




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.


Would is a modal auxiliary, which is the will loan. It allows you to express a hypothesis.

The contracted form of would is ‘d, and the contracted form of would not is wouldn’t.

⚠ Be careful not to confuse the ‘d of would with that of had!

Here are the different uses of Would in English:

1 – Express the conditional with Would

We would use to imagine something that is not real:

  • I’d like to go to Paris.
  • I would not (= wouldn’t) want to go by bus. 
  • They would buy this car if they had enough money. 

2 – Make a prediction

Would is often used with if + preterite, to evoke a possible hypothesis:

  • I would do it if you asked me. 
  • We would live in Osaka if we were Japanese. 
  • I would be happy if she came. 

3 – To be polite

We use would to speak politely (it’s less direct than saying “I want”):

  • I’d like some information about this car. 
  • I’d like to see the menu, please. 

Would is often used in questioning form to ask or propose something politely:

  • Would you help me, please?
  • Would you like some tea? 
  • How would you describe him? 

4 – Express the refusal with would

In the negative form, would express the refusal:

  • I asked him to come, but he wouldn’t. 
  • He wouldn’t listen to me. 
  • The computer wouldn’t start. 

5 – Express an indirect speech

  • Paul said that he would arrive late.

6 – Indicate a past habit with Would

We can use would to talk about things that used to happen regularly in the past, about old habits:

  • When I was a child I would walk to school every day. 
  • She would practise two hours a day. 

⚠ We can replace would by used to in this type of sentence:

  • She would practise two hours a day. = She used to practise two hours a day.

7 – Would have + Past participle

This formula is used to imagine possible or impossible hypotheses in the past:

  • We would have preferred to eat pizzas. 
  • He wouldn’t have accepted. 
  • I would have done it if I had known. 

Compare the following sentences:

  • I would like to leave quickly.
  • I would have liked to leave quickly.

8 – Would Rather

The formula I’d rather (= I would rather) means ‘I like (I would like) better’, ‘I prefer’ (I would prefer).

  • I’d rather stay here. 
  • I’d rather not go out tonight. 

There is another possible construction:

  • I’d rather you stayed here. 
  • I’d rather he didn’t know.

You can also add ‘than’ to compare:

  • I’d rather stay at home tomnight than go to the cinema. 

⚠ Be careful not to confuse the construction of I’d rather with I’d prefer:

  • I’d rather go there by bus ≠ I’d prefer to go there by bus.


How to use could in English sentences

How to use could and couldn’t in English sentences



Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Could is the preterite of can. It expresses a capacity in the past. Couldn’t express a disability in the past, or something hypothetical.


Could can express a capacity or permission in the past (it is used as the past of can):

  • I could smell something burning. 
  • My grandmother could speak six languages. 
  • I was totally free. I could go where I wanted. 

Compare the following sentences:

  • I can see something.  (present)
  • I could see something. (past)

Could could mean a hypothetical ability, i.e. something could be realized or be true now or in the future (it’s similar to might or may):

  • You could succeed if you worked harder. 
  • I could go out with you but I’m tired. 
  • They could arrive anytime now. 
  • Could you do this exercise in one minute? 
  • If we had some eggs I could make you some pancakes. 

We can use could to make a suggestion or talk about possible actions (we can then replace it with can):

  • We could go to the movies tonight if you want. 
  • When you go to London next week, you could stay at Paul’s place. 
  • He could try to fix the car himself. 

Could also express a logical deduction:

  • It could be true. 
  • She could still be in bed. 
  • It could freeze tonight. 
  • Where’s Paul? He could be at Tony’s place. 

Could have + past participle is used to express a possibility in the past, but that has not happened (to make a criticism, or to express a hypothesis, for example):

  • You could have broken your arm.
  • He could have tried once more. 
  • Your brother could have helped you. 
  • We were lucky: we could have run out of petrol. 

Could also express unrealistic things:

  • This place is amazing. I could stay here for ever. 

Could allows you to ask for permission or something politely, in the present:

  • Could I please use your bathroom? 
  • Could we move on to the next topic now please? 
  • Could you pass me the salt please? 
  • I’m busy right now. Could you call back later? 


Couldn’t allows to express a disability in the past:

  • I was so tired I couldn’t get up. 
  • I couldn’t start my car this morning. 

This incapacity could be due to something that was not permitted or authorized:

  • In high school, we couldn’t use our smartphones. 
  • Tina couldn’t go to the party because his parents wouldn’t let her. 

With couldn’t, we doubt that anything is true, we are almost sure of what we are saying:

  • It couldn’t be true.
  • Paul couldn’t be at Tony’s place. 
  • You couldn’t be hungry. You’ve just had some pizza. 

To express the impossibility of the past, we use couldn’t have + past participle:

  • We had a really good evening. It couldn’t have been better. 
  • Tina couldn’t have gone to the party because she was sick. 



How to use should in sentences

How to use should in English sentences




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Should is a modal verb. It is the preterite of shall (not used as often). We use should to give advice or suggest something, or to give our opinion. It’s less strong than must or have to. Should also serves to express a certainty.

Give advice or make a suggestion

Should indicates what should be done and is used as a recommendation or advice:

  • You should read this book, it’s great. 
  • You look tired. You should go to bed.
  • You should go out more often. 
  • When you go to Paris, you should visit the Louvres. 

To say that something is wrong:

We can use should in negative form to advise against or say that something is wrong:

  • We shouldn’t leave without saying goodbye.
  • I shouldn’t listen to you. 
  • She shouldn’t eat too much. 
  • You shouldn’t work so much. 
  • He shouldn’t talk like that to his mother. 
  • You shouldn’t believe everything he says. 

To request an opinion or advice

  • Should we invite Kevin to the party? – Yes, I think we should. 
  • What should I do? 

Express a regret or reproach

With the formula should + have + verb in the past participle, we express a regret or a reproach:

  • You should have checked the timetable.
  • I should have studied more but I was too tired. 
  • We should have taken the train. 
  • You should have come to the party last night. 
  • You should have given your brother the key yesterday when he asked for it. 

Compare should (go) and should have (gone) in the following examples:

  • You should eat your breakfast. 
  • You should have eaten your breakfast. 

Give your opinion

We often use should with I think / I don’t think / Do you think… ? at the beginning of the sentence. This allows for the expression of personal judgment.

  • I think she should stop smoking. 
  • I don’t think we should tell her.
  • You should be more careful.
  • Do you think Sarah should see a doctor? 

Express a certitude

We also use should to express a certainty, a very high probability:

  • This is not normal, he should be here by now. 
  • She should pass her exams.
  • By now, they should already be in Singapore.
  • There are plenty of restaurants in the town. It shouldn’t be difficult to find somewhere to eat.

When the probability concerns the past, we use should have + past participle:

  • They should have finished already. 
  • He should have eaten by now. 

Express an obligation that is less than necessary

Sometimes should be used instead of must to make instructions, orders or rules more polite and less strong (we often see this on notices or information boards):

  • Passengers should check in at least 2 hours before departure time. 
  • On hearing the fire alarm, hotel guests should leave their room immediately. 

Express an unfulfilled obligation

In this case, we use should + be + verb -ing, to say that the subject does not act as it should.

  • You should be wearing your seatbelt. 
  • We should be studying for the test. 


One can use should in two types of subordinates in that:

1 – To express a judgment, after a sentence beginning with an adjective such as strange, funny, interesting, interesting, surprised, surprised, surprising + that… or by ‘it’s important/necessary/essential/vital that … should’.

  • It’s strange that you should say that. 
  • I’m amazed that he should think that. 
  • It’s essential that everyone should be here on time. 

2 – After some verbs expressing an order, a request, such as suggest, insist, propose, request, recommend:

  • She insisted that we should sing the song aloud. 
  • They demanded that he should repay the money. 
  • She insisted that I should have dinner with her. 

⚠️ However, it is not mandatory to use should in the above sentences!

  • It’s strange that you should say that. = It’s strange that you say that. 
  • I’m amazed that he should think that. = I’m amazed that he think that.
  • It’s essential that everyone should be here on time. = It’s essential that everyone be here on time.
  • She insisted that we should sing the song aloud. = She insisted that we sing the song aloud.
  • They demanded that he should repay the money. = They demanded that he repay the money.
  • She insisted that I should have dinner with her. = She insisted that I have dinner with her. 

With if or in case, to express a possibility:

  • If/in case they should come, tell them to telephone. 

⚠️ To express an obligation we use would have to… and not should:

  • If my dad was sent abroad I should would have to quit my school. 



Either and neither difference

Either and Neither, what is the difference?



Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

We use either and neither to talk about two similar things and choices to be made. They can be determinants, pronouns or adverbs.


Either is always associated with the idea of a choice between several alternatives. It is always followed by a name in the singular:

  • Either day suits me = A day or another day is ok for me.
  • Either solution is good. = Both solutions are good.

When it is subject (whether it is a determinant or a pronoun), the verb is in the singular:

  • Which pub shall we go? – We can go to either pub. 
  • We have two choices. Either (of them) is fine. 

Either is often followed by of and it can also be used with a plural name or pronoun in this case:

  • You can have either of the books. 
  • Either of the hotels will be fine. 

Not… either is the negative equivalent of too. It is often placed at the end of the sentence:

  • I don’t like wasting my time. – I don’t like it either. 
  • She hasn’t had anything to eat and I haven’t either. 

Either is often used with ‘or’:

  • You can either come with me or stay here. 
  • He’s either shy or bored. 

If this conjunction is used with the subject, the following verb is in the singular:

  • Either Sam or Tina has have taken it. 

⚠️ You can use Either alone, without any names:

  • Do you want tea or coffee ? – Either. I don’t mind. 

⚠️To say “in any case”, “in either case”, we use the formula “Either way,…”:

  • You can stay, or you can go. Either way, I’m going home. 

⚠️’On either side‘ means “on both sides, on both sides”:

  • You can park on either side of the road.


Neither is negative, it is used to express a double refusal. It is always used with an affirmative verb.

  • Neither movie is any good. 
  • Neither of them came. 
  • Neither is fine with me.
  • Neither solution is good. 

When it is subject (whether it is a determinant or a pronoun), the verb is in the singular

  • We have two players, but neither of them is ready for the game. 

Neither… nor: we find this formula mainly in writing, it is not normally used orally:

  • I like neither pizza nor pasta. (⚠️ but we normally say ‘I don’t like pizza or pasta‘).
  • It’s neither good nor bad.  (⚠️ but we normally say ‘It’s not good or bad‘).
  • They can neither read nor write. (⚠️ but we normally say ‘They can not read or write‘).

If this conjunction is used with the subject, the following verb is in the singular:

  • Neither John nor Tina is coming tonight. 

⚠️Neither can be used alone, without any names:

  • Is your friend British or Australian? – Neither. he’s Canadian. 

⚠️How can I say “me neither”?

It is necessary to take the affirmative form of the auxiliary of the starting sentence:

  • She can’t swim. Neither can I.

The following formulas can be used:

Neither do I. (formal)  /  Me neither. (very familiar)  / I don’t either. (very familiar)

  • He doesn’t like running. Neither do I. /Me neither. 

We can also say “Neither do we”, “we don’t either”, “neither do they”… to answer a negative sentence.