“Teacher, I need more five minutes.” Is that right?

“Teacher, I need more five minutes.”

A lot of English learners say that to me.
I understand that they say the same way they would say in Portuguese, but it’s incorrect.

More is a modifier, a word that gives additional information about another word. It is used in a variety of situations.

In this situation the structure is number + more + noun

Listen carefully to this famous song by Phil Collins (1984) and work on the lyrics by playing this fun game.

Look at some combinations below:

Verb “to be”

The verb to be is the most important in English. It is everywhere, and we use it all the time.

Do you know the sentence:

  • To be, or not to be – that is the question.

It’s from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s only 10 words long, and uses the verb to be three times.

In this simple lesson, we’ll learn to talk about ourselves with “I’m” and talk about other people!

I am, I’m…“, a common short form for “I” (the person speaking) and “am” (the verb). This short form is very common in spoken English. 💬

Hi, I’m Fred. Fred is saying his name using “I’m”

you are, you’re

You’re Jennifer, right?

she is, she’s

How’s Julia? – She’s good!

he is, he’s

He’s James.

it is, it’s

It’s a bee.

We use “he” to refer to a man, 👨 “she” for a woman, 👩 and “it” to refer to one animal or object. 🐝📕 These words go with the verb “is“.

Here’s a tip

We can ask “How are you?” to one person 🚶‍♂️ and to multiple people. 🚶‍♂️🚶🏿‍♀️🚶🏼

You” and “are” stay the same.

We use “they are” for a group of people. 🚶‍♂️🚶‍♂️🚶‍♂️ You might also see “they are” for just one person:🚶‍♂️

1️⃣ We can use “they” when we don’t know someone’s gender.
2️⃣ Some people choose to be “they” instead of “he” or “she”.

Look at the table below – there are only three different forms of “to be”. 🔍

PersonVerb “to be”Short form
IamI’m
youareyou’re
heishe’s
sheisshe’s
itisit’s
wearewe’re
theyarethey’re

For extra practice, listen carefully to the video. Topics included in it are negatives with be and simple questions using be.

Now test how well you can use the verb to be! 

Comparatives and superlatives

We use comparatives to compare two things, places or people.

She is taller than her husband.

Superlatives are used, however, to show the difference between more than two things, places or people.

Paris is the biggest city in France.

Now watch the following video and make/take notes.

So, to form comparatives and superlatives, you need to know the number of syllables in the adjective. Syllables are like “sound beats.”

For instance:

  • “find” contains one syllable,
  • but “finding” contains two — find and ing.

Rules to form comparatives and superlatives

1. One syllable adjective ending in a silent ‘e’ — nice

  • Comparative — add ‘r’ — nicer
  • Superlative — add ‘st’ — nicest

2. One syllable adjective ending in a consonant, a vowel and another consonant — big

  • Comparative — the consonant is doubled and ‘er’ is added —bigger
  • Superlative — the consonant is doubled and ‘est’ is added—biggest

3. One syllable adjective ending in more than one consonant or more than a vowel (or long vowels) — highcheap, soft.

  • Comparative — ‘er’ is added — highercheaper, softer.
  • Superlative — ‘est is added — highestcheapest , softest.

4. A two syllable adjective ending in ‘y’ — happy

  • Comparative — ‘y’ becomes ‘i’ and ‘er’ is added — happier
  • Superlative — ‘y’ becomes ‘i’ and ‘est’ is added — happiest

5. Two syllable or more adjectives without ‘y’ at the end  exciting

  • Comparative  more + the adjective + than  more exciting than
  • Superlative  more + the adjective + than  the most exciting

Examples:

  • The Nile River is longer and more famous than the Thames.
  • Egypt is hotter than Sweden.
  • Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
  • This is one of the most exciting films I have ever seen.

Irregular comparatives and superlatives

AdjectivesComparativesSuperlatives
badworseworst
far(distance)fartherfarthest
far(extent)furtherfurthest
goodbetterbest
little  lessleast
manymoremost
muchmoremost

Similarities

To express similarities use the following structure:

… as + adjective + as …

Examples:

  • Mike is as intelligent as Nancy.
  • Larry is as popular as Oprah.

Comparative and superlative exercises

Complete the sentences with the most appropriate comparative or superlative phrase of the adjective given.

1. Mary is  ____________________ (lazy) student in the class.

2. Rob’s apartment is  _________________ (nice) mine.

3. Elephants are  ____________________ (fat) camels.

4. Kim is   _______________________ (small) of all my friends.

5. I think tornadoes are _______________________ (bad) hurricanes because they occur more often and are much more unpredictable.

6. Laura speaks English  ______________________ (good) Susan.

More exercises on comparatives and superlatives.

And now the funniest practice ever! With songs! Listen and complete. 😉

“Of” e receitas: an oatmeal recipe

Oatmeal (mingau de aveia) can be the most comforting and fulfilling breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A student was having (eating) a bowl of oatmeal during the class (online classes allow for that), and I asked her to share her oatmeal recipe with me. Then, she started listing the ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of the oats (aveia)

She thought that she had to use “of the”, because of phrases like the end of the day, the cost of the meal, a member of the team, etc.

So I decided to prepare this lesson.

In this context, when we are listing the ingredients of the recipeOF is being used to show what type of substance or thing we are referring to when talking about the amount:

  • two kilos of sugar
  • millions of dollars
  • a bar of chocolate

There are many different oatmeal recipes, and the purpose of this lesson is not the recipe itself but to learn how to say it. Here is an easy one only to show you how the ingredients are listed. Notice the 1/2 cup of rolled oats

Okay, now let’s look at some situations in which we use of the:

the end of the day

used to show what a part belongs to or comes from
the back of the house
the last scene of the movie

the cost of the meal

used when talking about a feature or quality that something has
the beauty of the scenery
the length of the swimming-pool

a member of the baseball team

used to show what group one or more things or people belong to
some of the students
‘Mona Lisa’ is one of the best-known paintings.
Two of the guests are vegetarian.

Now, here is a very common situation in which we use only of: a cup of coffee

used to say what something contains
several packets of cigarettes
truckloads of refugees

Okay! Let’s see what other ingredients my student adds to her oatmeal recipe, starting from the beginning:

  • 2 tablespoons of oats
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of whey protein
  • 1 banana
  • a dash (pitada) of cinnamon

Way to go Mariane! Bon apettit!

Like or as?

Like and as are words commonly used in English for comparisons. Even though there are subtle differences between them, English speakers use them interchangeably. They are even sometimes misused.

The confusion in using like and as is first caused by translating them to Portuguese, because both of them mean “como”, one word only.  

In formal writing, like is used as a preposition, telling location, direction, time or relationship between a noun or a pronoun and another word in a sentenceAs is used as a conjunction, joining two clauses (groups of words that must include a subject and a verb), with the bonus that you have a comparison too.

But let me remind you that there are two ways of comparing:

‘more _____ than’ or ‘_____ than’ and ‘as _____ as,’ compare qualities, speed, height, weight, cost, shape

‘like’ and ‘as’ compare things to things, actions to actions

When to use Like

Like compares two things, usually appearance or behavior, meaning similar to.’ That is probably the most common use of like. Like, must always be followed by a noun or a pronoun.

  • He looks like Oscar Wilde.

Here, we are comparing he and Oscar Wilde, so like should be used.

  • The little girl, like her mother, has bright red hair.

The same goes for this sentence, where we are comparing a mother and daughter.

  • She’s a teacher, like me.

Like can also be used to say ‘for example,’ especially when there is a list of things.

  • I love sports like tennis and golf.
  • I have hobbies like dancing and cycling.

When to use As

As is commonly used to talk about jobs.

  • I work as a teacher.

Frequently, as can be replaced by the way‘, ‘in the same way,’ ‘in the same condition.’

  • No one makes chocolate cake as my mother does.

Notice how you could replace as with ‘the way’ or ‘in the same way’ and maintain the same meaning.

  • No one makes chocolate cake the way my mother does.

As is used to compare verbs (actions). So the conjunction as should be used because there is a subject and a verb (does) after it.

Let’s look at another example.

  • He can’t play cricket as he used to.

At first glance, there appears to be no verb after as. However, when speaking, we often leave out verbs that are already implied. The implied verb is play, as in he used to play cricket

Traditionally, like needs to be followed by a noun. However, in informal English, like can replace as. Some people think this is not correct, but it is common in American English.

  • Nobody understands him as I do.
  • Nobody understands him like I do.

It is also possible to use as + noun (preposition) meaningin the role/position/function of a person/thing.’

  • I’ll dress up as a ghost for Halloween.
  • We can use the sofa as a bed.

Now compare the following sentences. Here, the change from as to like changes the meaning.

As your father,
I’ll help you as
much as I can.
The speaker is the listener’s father. (it is not a comparison)
Like your father,
I’ll help you
as much as
I can.
The speaker is not the father but wishes to act in a similar way to the father.

Here is a video that reminds us of the use of as for comparing something that is equal (as + adjective + as), and teaches some expressions, like:

  • As you know, I’m from Brazil.
  • I booked that restaurant, as you suggested.
  • As we agreed, I’ll pay you tomorrow.
  • You’re late, as usual/always.
  • She’s the same age as me.

Next, there is a chart which summarizes this information.

Here is another good lesson and you can now do exercises about as and like.