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Adjectives ending in ED and ING English Grammar Notes There are many adjectives that we have in English that

end in -ED or -ING. Yes, that's correct, they are not only endings that we use for verbs! An adjective that ends in -ING is used to describe: the characteristic of a person or a thing. An adjective that ends in -ED is used to describe: a feeling. Compare the difference:

My girlfriend is bored. - (My girlfriend feels bored) My girlfriend is boring. - (My girlfriend is a boring person)

You can use these adjectives to describe people or situations but be careful that you are using the correct adjective. For example, there is a big difference in meaning between:

I am confused. - (I don't understand something) I am confusing. - (I will cause you to be confused)

Of course, you could also find both adjectives in the same sentence. Then you really need to concentrate on the intent / context of the sentence. Examples:

I was shocked by how shocking the accident was last night. They were frightened by the frightening roller-coaster ride! I am annoyed by how annoying that person in front of us is. Sally was confused by the confusing street signs in the city.

Note that the sentences above are to highlight how both adjectives can appear in the same sentence though it isn't common (because it sounds repetitive). Also see our article about the Pronunciation of words ending in -ED.

List of Adjectives ending in -ED and -ING There is quite a long list of adjectives ending in -ED and -ING in English, and most of them are based on a verb that can be changed into an adjective by adding either -ED or -ING. Some of the more common ones include:

Alarmed - Alarming Aggravated - Aggravating Amused - Amusing Annoyed - Annoying Astonished - Astonishing Astounded - Astounding Bored - Boring

Captivated - Captivating Challenged - Challenging Charmed - Charming Comforted - Comforting Confused - Confusing Convinced - Convincing Depressed - Depressing Disappointed - Disappointing Discouraged - Discouraging Disgusted - Disgusting Distressed - Distressing Disturbed - Disturbing Embarrassed - Embarrassing Encouraged - Encouraging Entertained - Entertaining Excited - Exciting Exhausted - Exhausting Fascinated - Fascinating Frightened - Frightening Frustrated - Frustrating Fulfilled - Fulfilling Gratified - Gratifying Inspired - Inspiring Insulted - Insulting Interested - Interesting Moved - Moving Overwhelmed - Overwhelming Perplexed - Perplexing Pleased - Pleasing Relaxed - Relaxing Relieved - Relieving Satisfied - Satisfying Shocked - Shocking Sickened - Sickening Soothed - Soothing Surprised - Surprising Tempted - Tempting Terrified - Terrifying Threatened - Threatening Thrilled - Thrilling Tired - Tiring Touched - Touching Troubled - Troubling Unsettled Unsettling Worried - Worrying

Question Words
English Grammar Rules

The most common question words in English are the following:

WHO is only used when referring to people. (= I want to know the person)

Who is the best football player in the world? Who are your best friends? Who is that strange guy over there?

WHERE is used when referring to a place or location. (= I want to know the place)

Where is the library? Where do you live? Where are my shoes?

WHEN is used to refer to a time or an occasion. (= I want to know the time)

When do the shops open? When is his birthday? When are we going to finish?


WHY is used to obtain an explanation or a reason. (= I want to know the reason)

Why do we need a nanny? Why are they always late? Why does he complain all the time?

Normally the response begins with "Because..."

WHAT is used to refer to specific information. (= I want to know the thing)

What is your name? What is her favourite colour? What is the time?

WHICH is used when a choice needs to be made. (= I want to know the thing between alternatives)

Which drink did you order the rum or the beer? Which day do you prefer for a meeting today or tomorrow? Which is better - this one or that one?

HOW is used to describe the manner that something is done. (= I want to know the way)

How do you cook paella? How does he know the answer? How can I learn English quickly?

With HOW there are a number of other expressions that are used in questions:

How much refers to a quantity or a price (uncountable nouns)

How much time do you have to finish the test? How much is the jacket on display in the window? How much money will I need?

How many refers to a quantity (countable nouns)

How many days are there in April? How many people live in this city? How many brothers and sister do you have?

How often refers to frequency

How often do you visit your grandmother? How often does she study? How often are you sick?

How far refers to distance

How far is the university from your house? How far is the bus stop from here?

English Grammar
What are quantifiers?
Quantifiers tell us something about the amount or quantity of something (a noun). Some quantifiers express a small or large quantity:

Small: I have a few things to do before finishing work. Large: I have many things to do before finishing work.

Some quantifiers express part of or all of a quantity:

Part: It rains most days in winter. All: It rained all day yesterday.

Quantifiers belong to a larger class called Determiner.

Examples of quantifiers
Quantifiers can be a single word (e.g. some) or a phrase (e.g. a lot of). Quantifiers that appear as a phrase are often called Complex Quantifiers. Simple Quantifiers: all, another, any, both, each, either, enough, every, few, fewer, little, less, many, more, much, neither, no, several, some. Complex Quantifiers: a few, a little, a lot of, lots of

The position of quantifiers

We put quantifiers at the beginning of noun phrases. quantifier + noun

some people

quantifier + adjective + noun

many old books

quantifier + adverb + adjective + noun

a lot of very crazy drivers

We can also use quantifiers without a noun, like a pronoun.

These books are old but some are still in good condition. (Some refers to some books)

Quantifier + Noun

Formal and Informal Quantifiers

Sometimes we can make a sentence more formal or more informal (or natural) just by changing the quantifier. Many people where invited to the wedding. (formal) A lot of people arrived late. (informal/natural) They made little progress. (formal) They didnt make much progress. (informal/natural)

Next activity
To learn more about when to use quantifiers see the following pages: (SOON)

Another vs. other vs. others All vs. every vs. each Both, either, neither Little, less, least More, most Much, many, a lot, few

No Several Some vs. Any, A vs. An

Prepositions of Place
English Grammar Rules

The chart demonstrates some of the most common prepositions of place in English. Prepositions of Place are used to show the position or location of one thing with another. It answers the question "Where?" Below we have some more examples of Prepositions of Place:

In front of

A band plays their music in front of an audience. The teacher stands in front of the students. The man standing in the line in front of me smells bad. Teenagers normally squeeze their zits in front of a mirror.

Behind is the opposite of In front of. It means at the back (part) of something.

When the teacher writes on the whiteboard, the students are behind him (or her). Who is that person behind the mask? I slowly down because there was a police car behind me.

Between normally refers to something in the middle of two objects or things (or places).

There are mountains between Chile and Argentina. The number 5 is between the number 4 and 6. There is a sea (The English Channel) between England and France.

Across From / Opposite

Across from and Opposite mean the same thing. It usually refers to something being in front of something else BUT there is normally

something between them like a street or table. It is similar to saying that someone (or a place) is on the other side of something.

I live across from a supermarket (= it is on the other side of the road) The chess players sat opposite each other before they began their game. (= They are in front of each other and there is a table between them)

Next to / Beside
Next to and Beside mean the same thing. It usually refers to a thing (or person) that is at the side of another thing.

At a wedding, the bride stands next to the groom. Guards stand next to the entrance of the bank. He walked beside me as we went down the street. In this part of town there isn't a footpath beside the road so you have to be careful.

Near / Close to
Near and Close to mean the same thing. It is similar to next to / beside but there is more of a distance between the two things.

The receptionist is near the front door. This building is near a subway station. We couldn't park the car close to the store. Our house is close to a supermarket.

On means that something is in a position that is physically touching, covering or attached to something.

The clock on the wall is slow. He put the food on the table. I can see a spider on the ceiling. We were told not to walk on the grass.

Above / Over
Above and Over have a similar meaning. The both mean "at a higher position than X" but above normally refers to being directly (vertically) above you.

Planes normally fly above the clouds. There is a ceiling above you. There is a halo over my head. ;) We put a sun umbrella over the table so we wouldn't get so hot. Our neighbors in the apartment above us are rally noisy.

Over can also mean: physically covering the surface of something and is often used with the word All as inAll over.

There water all over the floor. I accidentally spilled red wine all over the new carpet.

Over is often used as a Preposition of Movement too.

Under / Below
Under and Below have a similar meaning. They mean at a lower level. (Something is above it).

Your legs are under the table. Monsters live under your bed. A river flows under a bridge. How long can you stay under the water? Miners work below the surface of the Earth.

Sometimes we use the word underneath instead of under and beneath instead of below. There is no difference in meaning those they are less common nowadays. Under is often used as a Preposition of Movement too.

Next activity
On another page we will explain when to use At and In when referring to location. (Coming soon) You may want to check out our notes about Prepositions of Time And see our list of prepositions in English.

If you found these English grammar rules about the Prepositions of Place useful, share them with others:
More English Grammar

Compound Adjectives
English Grammar
A compound adjective is sometimes called a hyphenated adjective. What are they? Let's look at the following sentences:

I saw a man-eating alligator. I saw a man eating alligator.

The first sentence contains a compound adjective. The second sentence doesn't. However the meaning of the two sentences are very different as can be seen in the picture below:

I saw a man-eating alligator. We are describing the alligator. What type of alligator is it? It is one that eats men (or people). I saw a man eating alligator. This sentence without the hyphen sounds like a man is eating an alligator. (man is the subject, eating is the verb, alligator is the object or thing that is being eaten). As you can see, the hyphen (or lack of it) makes a big difference in the meaning of the sentence.

Before we explain in more detail why we put that hyphen between those two words in the first sentence, we need to do a quick review of Adjectives.

What is an adjective?
An adjective is a word that describes something. A red car (red is an adjective because it describes the car. How is the car? Red) A big book (big is an adjective because it describes the book. How is the book? Big) See our other grammar notes about Adjectives in English. (LINK) But sometimes we use more than one adjective to describe something.

Compound adjectives
A compound adjective is an adjective that contains two or more words. In general we put a hyphen between two or more words (before a noun) when we want them to act as a single idea (adjective) that describes something.

I live in an English-speaking country.

English-speaking is an adjective (used to describe the country). We use a hyphen to connect the wordEnglish with speaking to show that it is one adjective (or one idea). This adjective with two words joined by the hyphen is called a compound adjective. Some more examples of compound adjectives are:

Our office is in a twenty-storey building. I have just finished reading a 300-page book.

He is a well-known writer.

There are many types of Compound Adjectives. Here is a list of the most common types:

Compound Adjectives + Periods of Time

When he have compound adjectives using numbers + a time period, that word referring to a time period is in singular form and is joined to the number with a hyphen.

I work eight hours every day --> I work an eight-hour day I'm going on vacation for three weeks --> I have a threeweek vacation There was a delay of 5 seconds --> There was a five-second delay

Notice how we normally write the number as a word, not in numerical form.

Adverbs and Compound Adjectives

Adverbs modify a verb.

She walks slowly.

How does she walk? Slowly. Slowly is an adverb that modifies (or describes) the verb. Adverbs can also be used to modify an adjective.

It is very hot today. (Very is an adverb) She is extremely intelligent. (Extremely is an adverb)

Notice how we do not put a hyphen between an adverb and an adjective (not even before a noun).

It is a very hot day. She is an extremely intelligent girl.

Adverb + Past Participle

However when we have an Adverb + past participle, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

This is a brightly-lit room. She is a well-known actress. We live in a densely-populated city.

Noun + Past Participle

When we have a noun + past participle, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

We should start using wind-powered generators to cut costs. I love eating sun-dried raisins.

Noun + Present Participle

When we have a noun + present participle, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

I bought some mouth-watering strawberries. That was a record-breaking jump.

Noun + Adjective
When we have a noun + adjective, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

She is a world-famous singer. This is a smoke-free restaurant.

Adjective + Noun
When we have an adjective + noun, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

It was a last-minute decision. We watched the full-length version of the movie.

Adjective + Past Participle

When we have an adjective + past participle, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

That is an old-fashioned dress Reptiles are cold-blooded creatures.

Adjective + Present Participle

When we have an adjective + present participle, we put a hyphen between the two words to make it a compound adjective.

She is a good-looking girl. It left a long-lasting taste in my mouth.

Compound Adjectives with Proper Nouns

A proper noun is the name of something or someone (e.g. John, Susan Sanders). Compound Adjectives made from Proper nouns don't need a hyphen though must have capital letters.

I bought the James Jackson tickets for us.

James Jackson is a compound adjective describing the tickets (What type of tickets? James Jackson tickets). Since the adjective is a Proper noun, we don't need a hyphen between the two names.

How do we know when to put a hyphen?

If you can use the word and between the two adjectives or words, then a hyphen isn't necessary.

She has a big blue book.

(Big and Blue are adjectives) Can we say: She has a big and blue book. (Yes, it is possible)

He is a world famous singer

Can we say: He is a world and famous singer. No, it doesn't sound correct so we need a hyphen to join the words world and famous.

Also, look at the following:

It's an old coal-mining town

Notice how we didn't put a hyphen between the word old and coal. If we had have done that, we would have been referring to old coal, as in coal that is old. We want to emphasis that the town in old and not the coal. Here we can say it is old and a coal-mining one.

Like vs. As
English Grammar Rules
We generally use LIKE and AS to make comparisons.

The structure of the sentence is usually: VERB + LIKE + NOUN / PRONOUN.

He speaks like a native speaker. She looks like a supermodel.

The structure of the sentence is usually: AS + SUBJECT + VERB.

Nobody sings as she does. They went to the party as they were.

It is very common in American English to use LIKE instead of AS. However, it is generally considered informal to use it in this way.

We play football like champions do.

Another use of AS is to say what the role/function of a person/thing is.

He started work as a carpenter. She used the tapestry as a decoration in her living room.

Be careful, in similar sentences that use LIKE and AS, the meanings of each sentence are very different. For example:

As your boss, I must warn you to be careful. (I am your boss.) Like your boss, I must warn you to be careful. (I am not your boss, but he/she and I have similar attitudes.)

In English we also use as if to make comparisons. However it has a few distinct characteristics to its use: 1. The verb after AS IF is always in the past subjunctive, no matter what tense the sentence is. 2. If the verb BE directly follows AS IF, we use were for all personal pronouns.

He looks as if he knew the answer.

(The verbs LOOKS indicates this sentence is in the present but the verb after AS IF knew - is in the past subjuntive).

She walks as if she were a supermodel.

(The verb after AS IF be has been changed to were and not was).

He boarded the airplane as if he were a seasoned traveller. He spends money as if he owned a bank.

Whoever - Whatever Whenever

English Grammar Rules
We can think about the W-ever words semantically as the 'W' word + the quantifier 'any'. The trick to understanding these terms is to realise that they apply to any single one of the referents, and at the same time refer to all of the referents.

Whatever - Any thing (This could also be every thing) Whenever - Any time (This could also be 'every time') Wherever - Any 'where' (Anywhere or everywhere). Whoever - Anyone (Any person or every person, or sometimes used to refer to a person unknown to the speaker) Whichever - Any 'which' (Choice between a group or set). However - Any 'way' (In any manner or way, regardless of how).

Basically each one means: "It does not matter what / when / where etc." OR "An unknown thing / time / place etc."

Examples of Whatever
Whatever you do, pay attention to the road when you are driving. (You can do anything as long as you pay attention to the road) They say you can buy whatever you desire in Harrods, as long as you have the money. (You can buy anything in Harrods, if you have enough money) The student was so intelligent that whatever we taught, she understood. (She understood everything that she was taught)

The criminal said he would do whatever he could in order to get out of jail. (He would do everything or anything he could to get out of jail)

Examples of Whenever
Whenever the neighbours flush the toilet, water comes through our ceiling. (Every time they flush the toilet it happens) Whenever she calls, the landlord is busy. (Every time she calls the landlord, he/she is busy) Call me whenever you need something. (Call me any time you need something) Whenever he comes home, he acts like a hungry dog. (Ever time he comes home, she is like that) Whenever I go to sleep early, I have extraordinary dreams. (Every time I go to sleep early, I have these dreams)

Examples of Wherever
Wherever you go in the world, remember where you came from and where you are going. (Anywhere you go in the world, remember those things) With a good education in English, wherever you go, you will have a good time. (If you are taught well, you will have a good time anywhere) Wherever we put the TV in the room, the reception is bad. (Anywhere we put the TV the reception is bad) You can put the present that she gave you wherever you want, just don't let her know if you put it in the trash. (You can put that present anywhere)

Examples of Whoever
Whoever broke the vase, can you please replace it? (Any specific person who broke the vase, please replace it) Whoever goes to the shop, please don't steal anything. (Any one or more of the people who will go to the shop, don't steal anything) Whoever it was that knocked on the door last night must have been drunk, because they dropped twenty dollars as they ran away. (The unknown person who knocked on the door dropped twenty dollars) Whoever you just spoke to, she must have some special powers, because you look like you fell in love. (The unknown person who you spoke with must have some special powers)

Examples of Whichever
You can drive whichever of the cars you want. (You can choose to drive any of the cars) Whichever dress I wear tonight, I'm worried that my butt will look fat. What do you think? (Person is worried that the person's butt looks fat in any of the selected dresses) Whichever road you take to Rome, you will need to drive carefully. (There are a number of roads to take, and it is necessary to drive carefully on any one that you take) Whichever pizza you ordered for her, it must have had some very delicious ingredients. (The pizza that was ordered from those available had some special ingredients)

Examples of However
You can dress however you like for the party, it's not formal. (You can dress the way that you want for the party) However much she eats, she never puts on weight. (It doesn't matter how much she eats, she never gets fat) You can do it however you like, I don't really care as long as it gets done. (you can do it any way that you want) However rich they may be, it still isn't enough for them. (It doesn't matter how rich they may be)
Sometimes we use more than one adjective in front of a noun: He was a nice intelligent young man. She had a small round black wooden box.

Opinion adjectives: Some adjectives give a general opinion. We can use these adjectives to describe almost any noun:













Some adjectives give a specific opinion. We only use these adjectives to describe particular kinds of noun: Food: tasty; delicious Furniture, buildings: comfortable; uncomfortable People, animals: clever; intelligent; friendly We usually put a general opinion in front of a specific opinion: Nice tasty soup. A nasty uncomfortable armchair A lovely intelligent animal Usually we put an adjective that gives an opinion in front of an adjective that is descriptive: a nice red dress; a silly old man; those horrible yellow curtains We often have two adjectives in front of a noun: a handsome young man; a big black car; that horrible big dog Sometimes we have three adjectives, but this is unusual: a nice handsome young man; a big black American car; that horrible big fierce dog It is very unusual to have more than three adjectives. Adjectives usually come in this order:

General opinion

Specific opinion







We use some adjectives only after a link verb:













Some of the commonest -ed adjectives are normally used only after a link verb: annoyed; finished; bored; pleased; thrilled We say: Our teacher was ill. My uncle was very glad when he heard the news. The policeman seemed to be very annoyed but we do not say: We had an ill teacher. When he heard the news he was a very glad uncle He seemed to be a very annoyed policeman A few adjectives are used only in front of a noun:

north south east west

northern southern eastern western

countless occasional lone

eventful indoor outdoor

We say: He lives in the eastern district. There were countless problems with the new machinery. but we do not say:

The district he lives in is eastern The problems with the new machinery were countless. Try these tasks to improve your adjective ordering. A lot of adjectives are made from verbs by adding -ing or -ed:

-ing adjectives: The commonest -ing adjectives are:













If you call something interesting you mean it interests you. If you call something frightening you mean it frightens you. I read a very interesting article in the newspaper today. That Dracula film was absolutely terrifying.

-ed adjectives: The commonest ed adjectives are:










If something annoys you, you can say you feel annoyed. If something interests you, you can say you are interested. The children had nothing to do. They were bored. We use comparative adjectives to describe people and things: This car is certainly better but its much more expensive. Im feeling happier now. We need a bigger garden We use than when we want to compare one thing with another: She is two years older than me. New York is much bigger than Boston. He is a better player than Ronaldo. France is a bigger country than Britain. When we want to describe how something or someone changes we can use two comparatives with and: The balloon got bigger and bigger. Everything is getting more and more expensive. Grandfather is looking older and older. We often use the with comparative adjectives to show that one thing depends on another: When you drive faster it is more dangerous > The faster you drive, the more dangerous it is. When they climbed higher it got colder > The higher they climbed, the colder it got.

Superlative adjectives: We use the with a superlative: It was the happiest day of my life. Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Thats the best film I have seen this year. I have three sisters, Jan is the oldest and Angela is the youngest .

We use words like very, really and extremely to make adjectives stronger: Its a very interesting story Everyone was very excited. Its a really interesting story. Everyone was extremely excited We call these words intensifiers. Other intensifiers are:

amazingly remarkably

exceptionally particularly

incredibly unusually

We also use enough to say more about an adjective, but enough comes after its adjective: If you are seventeen you are old enough to drive a car. I cant wear those shoes. Theyre not big enough.

Intensifiers with strong adjectives: Strong adjectives are words like: enormous, huge = very big tiny = very small brilliant = very clever awful; terrible; disgusting; dreadful = very bad certain = very sure excellent; perfect; ideal; wonderful; splendid = very good delicious = very tasty We do not normally use very with these adjectives. We do not say something is "very enormous" or someone is "very brilliant". With strong adjectives, we normally use intensifiers like:

absolutely really

completely exceptionally

totally particularly

utterly quite

The film was absolutely awful. He was an exceptionally brilliant child. The food smelled really disgusting.

Mitigators are the opposite of intensifiers. When we want to make an adjective less strong we use these words: fairly - rather - quite By the end of the day we were rather tired. The film wasnt great but it was quite exciting. and in informal English: pretty We had a pretty good time at the party. We call these words mitigators.



When we use quite with a strong adjective it means the same as absolutely: The food was quite awful. = The food was absolutely awful. As a child he was quite brilliant. = As a child he was absolutely brilliant.

Mitigators with comparatives: We use these words and phrases as mitigators: a bit - just a bit - a little - a little bit - just a little bit - rather - slightly

Shes a bit younger than I am. It takes two hours on the train but it is a little bit longer by road This one is rather bigger. We use slightly and rather as mitigators with comparative adjectives in front of a noun: This is a slightly more expensive model than that. This is rather bigger one than that.

Adjectives as intensifiers: We use some adjectives as intensifiers: absolute total - complete utter - perfect real We say: Hes a complete idiot. They were talking utter nonsense. but we do not say: The idiot was complete. The nonsense they were talking was utter.

Task 1

noun modifiers
backnext We often use two nouns together to show that one thing is a part of something else: the village church; the car door; the kitchen window; the chair leg; my coat pocket; London residents


We do not use a possessive form for these things. We do not talk about: The cars door; the kitchens window; the chairs leg

We can use noun modifiers to show what something is made of:

a gold watch; a leather purse; a metal box We often use noun modifiers with nouns ending in -er and -ing: an office worker; a jewellery maker; a potato peeler; a shopping list; a swimming lesson; a walking holiday. We use measurements, age or value as noun modifiers: a thirty kilogram suitcase; a two minute rest; a five thousand euro platinum watch; a fifty kilometre journey; We often put two nouns together and readers/listeners have work out what they mean. So:

an ice bucket = a bucket to keep ice in an ice cube = a cube made of ice an ice breaker = a ship which breaks ice the ice age = the time when much of the Earth was covered in ice. Sometimes we find more than two nouns together: London office workers; grammar practice exercises

Position of noun modifiers

Noun modifiers come after adjectives: The old newspaper seller A tiring fifty kilometre journey

Task 1

adverbials of location
backnext Location We use prepositions to talk about where someone or something is:











in between



next to









He was standing by the table. She lives in a village near Glasgow. Youll find it in the cupboard.

We use phrases with of as prepositions:

at the back of

at the top of

at the bottom of

at the end of

on top of

at the front of

in front of

in the middle of

There were some flowers in the middle of the table. Sign your name here at the bottom of the page. I cant see. Youre standing in front of me. We can use right as an intensifier with some of these prepositions:

He was standing right next to the table. There were some flowers right in the middle of the table. Theres a wood right behind our house.


superlative adverbs

We can use superlative adverbs to make comparisons: His ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt worst. It rains most often at the beginning of the year.

Intensifiers: When we intensify a superlative adverb we often use the in front of the adverb, and we use these words and phrases as intensifiers: easily - much - far - by far

common problems with count/uncount nouns

backnext 1: Uncount nouns used as count nouns Although substances are usually uncount nouns... Would you like some cheese? Coffee keeps me awake at night. Wine makes me sleep. ... they can be also used as count nouns:

Id like a coffee please.

Id like a [cup of] coffee.

May I have a white wine.

May I have a [glass of] white wine.

They sell a lot of coffees.

They sell a lot of [different kinds of] coffee.

I prefer white wines to red.

I prefer [different kinds of] white wine to red.

They had over twenty cheeses on sale.

They had over twenty [types of] cheese on sale.

This is an excellent soft cheese.

This [kind of] soft cheese is excellent.

2: Some nouns have both a count and an uncount form: We should always have hope. George had hopes of promotion. Travel is a great teacher. Where did you go on your travels?

3: Nouns with two meanings Some nouns have two meanings, one count and the other non count: His life was in danger. There is a serious danger of fire. Linguistics is the study of language. Is English a difficult language? Its made of paper. The Times is an excellent paper.

Other words like this are:












4: Uncount nouns that end in -s Some uncount nouns end in -s so they look like plurals even though they are singular nouns. These nouns generally refer to:

Subjects of study:

mathematics, physics, economics, etc.


gymnastics, athletics, etc.


cards, darts, billiards, etc.


mumps, measles, rabies, etc.

Economics is a very difficult subject. Billiards is easier than pool or snooker.

5: Group nouns Some nouns, like army, refer to groups of people, animals or things, and we can use them either as singular nouns oras plural nouns.


















We can use these group nouns either as singular nouns or as plural nouns:

My family is very dear to me. I have a large family. They are very dear to me. (= The members of my family) The government is very unpopular. The government are always changing their minds. Sometimes we think of the group as a single thing:

The audience always enjoys the show. The group consists of two men and three women. Sometimes we think of the group as several individuals;

The audience clapped their hands. The largest group are the boys.

The names of many organisations and teams are also group nouns, but they are usually plural in spoken English:

Barcelona are winning 2-0. The United Oil Company are putting prices up by 12%. 6: Two-part nouns A few plural nouns, like binoculars, refer to things that have two parts.















These binoculars were very expensive Those trousers are too long. To make it clear we are talking about one of these items, we use a pair of I need a new pair of spectacles. Ive bought a pair of blue jeans. If we want to talk about more than one, we use pairs of : Weve got three pairs of scissors, but they are all blunt. I always carry two pairs of binoculars.

ctives ending in -ed or -ing. -ed: excited, interested, bored, annoyed, surprised. -ing: exciting, interesting, boring, annoying, surprising. The words above are a few of the adjectives that end in -ed or -ing. Their meaning can sometimes be confusing. Adjectives ending in -ed show what has happened to a person or thing. He was surprised by the result of his test. Adjectives ending in -ing show the effect which something has on a person or thing. The test results were surprising to him. If you are watching a film on television and the film is good it will be interesting. You will be interested in it. If the film is boring then you are bored. If you meet someone who makes you laugh then he is amusing. You are always amused when you speak to him. Lesson by Tristan, English teacher at EC Malta English school

Decide which form should go in the following:

1) Peter was __ when he missed the start of the film.

annoyed annoying

2) Have you read the book 'Life of Pi'? It's a great book, especially if you are __ in that genre.

interesting interested

3) The results of the game were __. The best team didn't win.

surprised surprising

4) I just can't speak to Tom for more than five minutes. He's the most __ person I know.

boring bored

5) The children were so __ when we told them we were going to Disneyland.

excited exciting

6) Trying to understand English grammar can be so __.

frustrated frustrating

7) John was __ when he went parachute jumping for the first time.

terrifying terrified

8) When there are the sales Sarah is not __ in anything except shopping.

interested interesting

ESDAY, JUNE 8, 2010

Participial Adjective Endings: "ed" or "ing" ?

"Two Cranes by a Pine Tree" Maruyama Okyo, 18th Century

It's confusing! What's confusing? This grammar is confusing. How does it make you feel? I feel confused. The "ing" ending for an adjective describes the person, or thing that causes a feeling or reaction. Examples: The trip was exciting. The lecture was interesting. The comedian was entertaining and amusing. The "ed" ending describes a subjective response. It tells how I feel about the thing or person. Examples: I was annoyed when I had to wait in line. I was excitedabout the new class. I'm interested in the new book.

I'm fascinated by Japanese art. In the following exercises, use the correct form of the adjective. Click the drop down menu for the correct answer.

1. I saw a very yesterday.

exhibit of Japanese painting

2. The children were very circus.

by the clowns at the

3. I couldn't stand the movie last night. It was one of the most movies I've ever seen.

4. Aren't those cranes beautiful.

? They're also graceful and

5. Tom was read.

because the application form was difficult to

6. Jose isn't to repeat Level Five.

with his progress in English this semester. He wants

7. We don't want to be homework.

because we're trying to finish our

8. The acrobats performed some acts.

somersaults and balancing

9. I'm very

to say that I forgot your birthday.

10. The score I received on my last exam was somewhat thought I had done better.


11. I was night.

this morning because I didn't sleep well last

12. We want to paint our house, but we can't decide what color to paint it. It's very

13. They're raining.

because they want to go to the beach but it's

14. I had to take the kids out of the movie theater yesterday because the film we were watching was too .

15. That singer was so evening.

that we wanted to listen to her all

16. The cars were going so fast on the freeway that they us.

17. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are looking forward to having a holiday.

18. I was

to learn that I was accepted to the University of

California. I didn't think my grades were good enough.

19. I heard that Joe and Carol are getting married. Isn't that

20. I didn't even know they were

in each other.

21. If I don't have the chance to use my computer for a while, I get restless and .

22. I'm getting very I'm working on my blog.

with my browser. It keeps quitting while

23. The cranes in the picture seem very peaceful and .

24. After doing some of these exercises, are you still to use "ed" or "ing"?

about when

25. Please, don't be

about your English. It's natural to make

mistakes when you're learning a new language. 26. I listened to the lawyers at the trail, but I didn't think their arguments were very .

27. I'm not crime.

at all that Mr. Donald Bennet is guilty of any

28. The situation on the Gulf Coast is absolutely it take to clean up that oil spill?

. How long will

29. Louise and Jeffery have a very stay there every summer.

house in the country. They

30. The food and service at our restaurant seems to be pretty good because we have a lot of customers.

English is Confusing: -ing or -ed?.

Look at these sentences:

The movie we saw yesterday evening was boring. We were all bored. Doing yoga is very relaxing. When you do it, you feel relaxed.

Read the text. Fill in the blanks.

Good evening, everybody! said the teacher, Donna. Where is everybody? That was sort of a joke by Donna. Usually the class started with only two or three students present, and then filled up as the minutes went by. It was summertime. Summer school was only eight weeks long. Class semesters. was always smaller than during fall and spring

I dont know, teacher. Maybe they late or no come, said one student. Maybe watching TV football tonight. Is there a soccer game tonight? It seems like theres a soccer game every night. Oh, well. Lets get Were on page 36 in the workbook. Tonight were , okay?

participles as adjectives. Students are always confused

when they learn about the present and past participles, so we will practice this a lot. Tonight, were just going to practice the present participle.

The present participle tells

what emotion or feeling the

subject is causing. For example, Grammar is boring means that the subject grammar - causes an emotion of boredom. If we say, The movie is interesting, we are saying that the movie causes a feeling of interest. If we say, The roller coaster is exciting, we are saying that the roller coaster causes a feeling of excitement. everyone confused? The classroom was questions so far? Am I confusing you? Is

. Donna looked at blank faces. They

were . She knew this would take a while. But eventually, the faster students would grasp it, and then they would help the slower students. By the end of the evening, most of the class would feel comfortable using the present participle. Donna the board and put some new examples on it. She loved

guiding her students difficult topics like this one. She always felt a little bit thrilled when the look of understanding came to their faces.

Do the exercise: -ing or -ed?

1. I studied hard for my exams but I didn't do very well. I was very . .

2. The difference between the words 'borrow' and 'lend' is 3. Studying can be very .

4. A friend of mine collects coins and wanted to show them to me, but I told him I wasn't 5. I was very . when my girlfriend forgot our dinner date. .

6. The fact that so more and more teens are taking drugs is 7. Riding a rollercoaster is .

8. My parents were night. 9. Liverpool has had a 10. I heard some really 11. It's very them. 12. Mr Jones is the most 13. I was completely 14. My parents were become a doctor.

when my sister didn't come home on time last

season so far this year. news yesterday. when people don't listen when you're tlaking to

teacher I've ever had. after running the London marathon. when I told them I didn't want to

15. T think the octopus is the most

creature in the ocean.


Adjetivos terminados en -ing -ed

Los adjetivos que acaban en -ing "Ing" no es slo un banco holands, sino tambin un sufijo (una forma de terminar las palabras) que puede tener muchos usos y significados. Uno de esos usos es el de adjetivar sustantivos. Es decir, a un sustantivo se le agrega la terminacin -ing y zas! no slo sirve para identificar a un objeto, sino tambin para describir cmo es un objeto determinado. Veamos algunos ejemplos:

- Alarm Alarma The alarm went off at 7 a.m. La alarma son a las 7 a.m.

Ahora, le aadimos -ing y la convertimos en--> "Alarming" Alarmante - That was an alarming sound. se era un sonido alarmante. Te has fijado en lo que he hecho? Rebobinemos (Let's rewind). En el primer ejemplo, "alarm" es un objeto que en ese caso es tambin sujeto (realiza la accin de sonar). En el segundo ejemplo, aado -ing a "alarm" y convierto la palabra en un adjetivo que me sirve para describir cmo era un sonido---> El sonido era alarmante. Pero, ojo!: No slo convertimos "sustantivos" en adjetivos aadiendo la terminacin ing, tambin podemos hacerlo con verbos. Por ejemplo: "to entertain" ---> es un verbo que significa "entretener". Le aado -ing y tengo "entertaining " entretenido. Problemas que presenta la terminacin -ing 1) Si no sabes cul es el uso y significado de una palabra concreta terminada en -ing, puedes pensar que se trata de una forma verbal y no de un adjetivo.

Por ejemplo: -That's a crying shame. [dats a craing sheim] Es "crying" un verbo, o un adjetivo? Cmo lo podemos saber? Una solucin es buscar las palabras en el diccionario y si tenemos suerte, encontramos el significado correcto. En este caso (pincha en las palabras arriba) vers que "crying" es un adjetivo, no un verbo, que "shame" [sheim] es un sustantivo (nombre) y que la expresin significa: "sa es una verdadera lstima". No obstante, muchas veces, no es tan fcil porque no aparece en el diccionario el significado y has de "crearlo" t mismo; igual que lo hicieron las primeras personas que decidieron hacer un diccionario. Para estos casos, ayuda mucho leer. Aunque no

entiendas el significado preciso de una expresin, leyendo te empapas de palabras (verbos, adjetivos, sustantivos) y de tanto leer, de repente, zas! se gran ordenador que es el cerebro, da con el significado correcto; encuentra el archivo adecuado en una biblioteca aparentemente desordenada.

Los adjetivos que acaban en -ed 2) Por otro lado, una misma palabra puede convertirse en adjetivo aadindole la terminacin -ing, o alternativamente, la terminacin -ed. Cul es la diferencia entre ambos adjetivos? Por ejemplo, Cul es la diferencia entre "boring" e "bored"? - He is a boring person. [hi Is a boringperson] l es una persona aburrida. - I'm bored. [am bored]. Estoy aburrido. En espaol el adjetivo es "aburrido/a" para ambas casos. Por qu en ingls es diferente? Igual podramos preguntar Por qu en espaol ambos adjetivos son iguales? Ja! Da igual, lo importante, es intentar encontrar la regla para que puedes entender el significado y no equivocarte al hablar. "Boring" describe cmo es una persona o situacin. "Bored", en cambio, se utiliza para describir un "estado". -Cmo es Juan? Juan es aburrido. What is John like? John is boring. Describo cmo es Juan como persona. Nota: Fjate que no es "How" sino "What" is John like? - Cmo est Juan? Juan est aburrido. How is John? John is bored. Describo el estado de nimo de Juan. Lo ves? Hay otros adjetivos en ingls que son ms fciles de diferenciar al compararlos con sus equivalentes en ingls. Por ejemplo, "interesting" -I saw an interesting movie/film. Vi una pelcula interesante. Describo cmo fue la pelcula que vi. Nota: Te has fijado cmo suena "interesting"? No es "interesting", sino "intristing". Nos comemos la "e" que va despus de la "t". - I'm interested in politics. [am intrestid in politics]Estoy interesado en la poltica.

Describo qu es lo me interesa. Nota: Te has fijado cmo suena "interested"? Hay que comerse la "e" que va detrs de la "t", no es "interested", sino ["intrestid"] Pero insisto, no todo es tan fcil. En este foro hay un ejemplo de las dificultades que presentan estas terminaciones. El problema que veo de los foros es que, a veces, con tanta discusin no se llega a saber qu era lo correcto. Pero tambin hay pginas que aclarar oscuridades. Por ejemplo en esta pgina explican muy bien la diferencia entre los adjetivos terminados en -ing y los terminados en -ed. Adems, puedes hacer ejercicios. Y ahora, para realmente, aprender cmo se forman y cundo se usan los adjetivos terminados en -ing y en -ed, nos vamos a matar a hacer ejercicios. Si te resultan muy complicados, echa mano de un buen diccionario.
holiday was relaxing. I felt really relaxed.' Few, but common, adjectives end in either -ed or -ing: worried/worrying, interested/interesting, excited/exciting

'-ed' adjectives
Adjectives that end in -ed are used to describe how people feel: 'He was surprised to find that he had been upgraded to first class.' 'I was confused by the findings of the report.' 'She felt tired after working hard all day.'

'-ing' adjectives
Adjectives that end in -ing are used to describe things and situations. Compare these example sentences to the ones above: 'Being upgraded to first class is surprising.' The findings of this report are confusing.' 'Working hard all day is tiring.'

example table:
-ed and -ing adjectives tables Feel '-ed' describe '-ing' annoyed bored confused depressed annoying boring confusing depressing

excited frustrated frightened satisfied shocked

exciting frustrating frightening satisfying shocking

Extreme Adjectives Lesson Confusing Words Lesson

Now complete the sentences below using the correct adjective:

Dogs often feel ___ during fieworks.

frightening frightened

The metro can be ___ the first time you use it.

confusing confused

Satoru was ___ to hear about the earthquake.

shocked shocking

I think that rainy days in winter are ___.

depressed depressing

She's ___ of doing the same thing every day.

boring bored

It was the most ___ I have been watching a film.

excited exciting

The meals at Immigrant's Cafe are ___.

satisfying satisfied

me adjectives have the characteristic of ending in ed and ing. Lets ltake a look at the rules. We use adjectives ending in ING to describe something or someone. Examples: Maria is watching a very interesting movie.

I hate that teacher. He is really boring. We use adjectives ending in ED when we want to describe how people feel. Examples: This movie isnt interesting. I am bored. Juan is very exited because he is going to travel to Miami for the first time. Conclusions - We can use adjectives ending in ing for things or people. Remember that when we use ing it is describing the person or thing. - We can use the ed ONLY for people (or animals) because THINGS CANNOT FEEL. We can say: Felipe is boring. (describes his personality). Felipe is bored. (he feels bored at the moment) We cant say: The TV program is bored INCORRECT (because things cant feel). ***Queda claro que para cosas, situaciones u objetos usamos la terminacin ing y no es posible usar ed. La razn es porque se usa la terminacin ed para expresar lo que uno siente y est claro que las cosas sin vida no pueden sentir. Para personas uno puede usar ed ( cuando uno siente) o ing pero esta ltima se usa para DESCRIBIR a la persona. As que si yo digo Juan is depressed quiere decir que se encuentra deprimido ya que describo la situacin actual porque por algina razn se siente asi. En cambio si decimos Juan is depressing entonces describimos a Juan. Es una persona depresiva. Adjectives ending in -ed and -ing list

ADJECTIVES (ING ED) alarming alarmed amusing annoying boring amused annoyed bored

Spanish translation Alarmante / alarmado Divertido Fastidioso / fastidiado Aburrido

concerning confusing embarrassing encouraging entertaining exciting exhausting frightening frustrating humiliating interesting intriguing overwhelming perplexing pleasing relaxing satisfying shocking surprising tiring

concerned confused embarrassed encouraged entertained excited exhausted frightened frustrated humiliated interested intrigued overwhelmed perplexed pleased relaxed satisfied shocked surprised tired

Preocupante / preocupado Confuso / confundido Embarazoso / avergonzado Alentador / animado Entretenido Emocionante / emocionado Agotador / agotado Aterrador / aterrado Frustrante / frustrado Humillante / humillado Interesante / interesado Intrigante / intrigado Abrumador / abrumado Perplejo Agradable / complacido Relajante / relajado Gratificante / satisfecho Chocante / estupefacto Sorprendente / sorprendido Cansador / cansado

*** Lista mas completa aqu :

Exercises / Ejercicios (Las respuestas estn en el audio)

Choose the correct form of the adjective according to the context.
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) Monday is very bored / boring. It is the first day of the week. Im bored / boring with my job. Its always the same. When we lost the football game, we felt depressed / depressing. My team never wins. It is very depressed / depressing. Reading a book is very relaxed / relaxing. I am very relaxed / relaxing at the weekend. The movie I watched yesterday was very interested / interesting. Im not very interested / interesting in studying French. I prefer English.


Julio is very exited / exiting about his brand new car.

10) The Barcelona Inter match was very exited / exiting.

-ING the cause -ED Fill the gaps with the adjectives in brackets. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 He's such a monotonous speaker. I was ________________ stiff. (bored / boring) Most sequels are ________________. (disappointed / disappointing) I had such a ________________ day I went straight to bed. (tired / tiring) Everyone's very ________________ about the news. (excited / exciting) That lamp produces a very ________________ effect. (pleased / pleasing) The whole school was ________________ by the tragic event. (saddened / saddening) I don't like watching ________________ films on my own. (depressed / depressing) I was ________________ when she told me she'd got divorced. (amazed / amazing) He's such a ________________ guy. He only ever talks about himself. (bored / boring) I'm very ________________ in films and theatre. (interested / interesting) No one knew what would happen next. We were all ________________ . (intrigued / intriguing) It was a very ________________ situation. (interested / interesting) There's been some very ________________ news. (surprised / surprising) His mother was ________________ by what she found under his bed. (disgusted / disgusting) Their hamburgers are ________________ . (disgusted / disgusting) Dad always arrives home from work thoroughly ________________ . (exhausted / exhausting) He's always showing off. It's really ________________ . (annoyed / annoying) I think Alex is one of the most ________________ people I've ever met. He can't keep still for a second. (annoyed / annoying) I walked into this restaurant and there was Andy with a strange woman. He seemed really ________________ . (embarrassed / embarrassing) She kept talking about her boyfriend problems all night. It was rather ________________ . the effect

12 13 14 15 16 17 18



(embarrassed / embarrassing)

Completa las siguientes cuestiones y haz clic en el botn -Corregir Ejercicio- para obtener la correccin de este ejercicio.
Q1 of 10: Peter thought the marathon was __________ (challenge).

Q2 of 10: I was __________ (annoy) by his attitude.

Q3 of 10: Are you __________ (confuse)? Don't worry, I'll explain.

Q4 of 10: That movie was really __________ (depress).

Q5 of 10: It was an __________ (exhaust) day.

Q6 of 10: The children were __________ (frighten) by the storm.

Q7 of 10: You must be __________ (relieve) not that your exams are finished.

Q8 of 10: The news was __________ (discourage).

Q9 of 10: She is __________ (overwhelm) with work.

Q10 of 10: Could this situation be any more __________ (frustrate).

ED and ING Adjectives Exercise 1 Choose the correct adjective: 1. My nephew was (amusing / amused) by the clown. 2. Its so (frustrating / frustrated)! No matter how much I study I cant seem to remember this vocabulary. 3. This lesson is so (boring / bored)! 4. Im feeling (depressed / depressing), so Im going to go home, eat some chocolate, and go to bed early with a good book. 5. I thought her new idea was absolutely (fascinated / fascinating). 6. This maths problem is so (confusing / confused). Can you help me? 7. The teacher was really (amusing / amused) so the lesson passed quickly. 8. The journey was (exhausting / exhausted)! Twelve hours by bus. 9. The plane began to move in a rather (alarming / alarmed) way. 10. He was (frightening / frightened) when he saw the spider.

11. I was really (embarrassing / embarrassed) when I fell over in the street. 12. That film was so (depressing / depressed)! There was no happy ending for any of the characters. 13. Im sorry, I cant come tonight. Im completely (exhausting / exhausted). 14. We are going in a helicopter? How (exciting / excited)! 15. Dont show my baby photos to people, Mum! Its so (embarrassing / embarrassed)! 16. Its okay, its only me. Dont be (alarming / alarmed). 17. My sister is so (exciting / excited) because she is going on holiday tomorrow. 18. I hate long flights, Im always really (boring / bored). 19. She looked very (confusing / confused) when I told her we had to change the plan. 20. John was (fascinated / fascinating) by Mandarin when he first started learning languages. He decided to study more and now he can speak it fluently s: 1. My nephew was amused by the clown. 2. Its so frustrating! No matter how much I study I cant seem to remember this vocabulary. 3. This lesson is so boring! 4. Im feeling depressed, so Im going to go home, eat some chocolate, and go to bed early with a good book. 5. I thought her new idea was absolutely fascinating. 6. This maths problem is so confusing. Can you help me? 7. The teacher was really amusing so the lesson passed quickly. 8. The journey was exhausting! Twelve hours by bus. 9. The plane began to move in a rather alarming way. 10. He was frightened when he saw the spider. 11. I was really embarrassed when I fell over in the street. 12. That film was so depressing! There was no happy ending for any of the characters. 13. Im sorry, I cant come tonight. Im completely exhausted. 14. We are going in a helicopter? How exciting! 15. Dont show my baby photos to people, Mum! Its so embarrassing! 16. Its okay, its only me. Dont be alarmed. 17. My sister is so excited because she is going on holiday tomorrow. 18. I hate long flights, Im always really bored. 19. She looked very confused when I told her we had to change the plan. 20. John was fascinated by Mandarin when he first started learning languages. He decided to study more and now he can speak it fluently.

te suffix Stress and Pronunciation

The complex and versatile -ate suffix is used to create nouns, adjectives, and verbs. While the primary stress of most words containing the -ate falls on the third-from-last syllable, the suffix itself is pronounced differently depending on the part of speech the word is used in. -ate suffix: nouns and adjectives When a word containing an -ate suffix is a noun or an adjective, the vowel sound of the suffix is unstressed and is pronounced with a short i //.

-ate suffix nouns and adjectives delicate 3-syllable:


/dl kt/

certificate 4-syllable:


/s tf kt/

inconsiderate 5-syllable:

Play /n kn sd t/

-ate suffix: verbs When a word containing an -ate suffix is a verb, the vowel sound of the suffix is given a secondary stress and is pronounced with a long a /e/.
-ate suffix verbs celebrate 3-syllable:


/sl bret/

communicate 4-syllable:

Play /k mjun ket/

rehabilitate 5-syllable:

Play /ri (h) bl te

The following sentence demonstrates the difference in pronunciation between -ate suffix nouns, adjective, and verbs. They had to evaluate (verb) the certificate (noun) to be certain that it was accurate (adjective). Play

-ate + -ly suffix Adjectives ending in -ate can have an additional -ly added to them, creating an adverb. The primary stress of the word remains two

syllables before the -ate suffix. However, the consonant of the ate suffix adapts to the l sound following it and is usually pronounced as the glottal stop //, a t soundallophone.
-ate + -ly suffix delicately


/dl k li/



/ mi di li/


Play / prks m li/

-ate suffix Heteronyms Some words containing the -ate suffix are heteronyms, meaning that a single spelling can have more than one pronunciation. When this occurs in words containing the -ate suffix, the suffix retains the pattern of nouns and adjectives being pronounced with a short i and verbs being pronounced with a long a. I'd like to elaborate (verb) on my proposal. Play The elaborate (adjective) house had twelve bedrooms and sixteen fireplaces. Play
-ate suffix heteronym examples (noun) (verb) Play /d v kt/ Play /d v ket/



(noun/adj.) Play /l t nt/ (verb) Play /l t net/ (adjective) Play / lb () rt/ (verb) Play / lb ret/



(noun) (verb) (noun) (verb) (noun) (verb)

Play Play

/ n i t/ / n i et/


Play /gr u t/ Play /gr u et/ Play Play /sp () rt/ /sp ret/


Consonant + /r/: Initial Consonant Clusters

The following consonant clusters including /r/ can occur at the beginning of a word in English. Practice blending smoothly from one consonant sound into the next without adding a vowel sound between the consonants. 1. /br/ a. break b. bring Play Play

c. brother Play

2. /kr/ a. cry b. create c. crazy

Play Play Play

3. /dr/* a. draw b. drive

Play Play

c. dream


4. /fr/ a. free b. friend c. from

Play Play Play

5. /gr/ a. great b. green c. grow

Play Play Play

6. /pr/ a. price


b. practice Play c. private Play 7. /r/a. shrimp Play b. shrink Play c. shrug Play

8. /skr/ a. scratch Play b. scream Play

c. screen Play

9. /spr/ a. spring Play b. spread Play c. spray Play

10. /str/* a. street Play b. strong Play c. stress Play

11. /tr/* a. try b. tree c. true

Play Play Play

12. /r/ a. three b. throw

Play Play

c. through Play

*Allophones of /t/ and /d/ before /r/ often cause the /tr/ and /dr/ cluster to be pronounced similarly to /r/ and /r/, respectively. In addition to the stops becoming affricate-like, the /r/ also takes on the

qualities of a fricative as it blends with the consonant before it. This is also true with the /tr/ of the /str/ cluster. Because most dictionaries do not transcribe individual allophones, the first transcription shown below is the more common dictionary transcription. The second transcription can help non-native English speakers better understand the common pronunciation used by native English speakers. 1. /tr/ /r/ tree: /tri/ /ri/ 2. /dr/ /r/ dream: /drim/ /rim/ 3. /str/ /r/ street: /strim/ /srit/

Introduction to American English Consonant Stops

The six English stop sounds (the b sound, p sound, g sound, k sound, d sound, and t sound) initially appear simple, but quickly reveal intricate details as learners become more familiar with their characteristics.

The two major points that beginner ESL/ELL students should understand about stop sounds are: 1. The air is briefly stopped at the beginning of the sound, then released (the release of the air is called the aspiration) 2. The sounds occur in voiced/unvoiced pairs The subtle aspects of stop sounds to be aware and attempt mastery of include: 1. Aspiration (the puff of air as the stop is released) is greater for unvoiced stops than for voiced stops

2. The aspiration of stops is the greatest at the beginning of words and the beginning of stressed syllables 3. The duration of a vowel sound before a voiced stop is greater than the duration of a vowel sound before an unvoiced stop

Voiced and unvoiced sounds Of the eight stop sounds in English, four are voiced (meaning that the vocal cords vibrate while producing the sound) and four are unvoiced (meaning that the vocal cords do not vibrate while producing sound). Voiced and unvoiced sounds often occur in pairs of sounds with similar vocal tract shape, with the major difference between the pairs being the use of the vocal cords or not.

Key words The table below includes a key word to demonstrate each stop sound and an audio example of that word. The stop sound of each word is underlined. The voiced sound of each pair is listed first .
Stop Key Words b sound /b/ boy Play p sound /p/ pen Play

air is stopped between the lips

g sound // go Play air is stopped between the back of the tongue and the soft palate k sound /k/ cat Play d sound /d/ do Play t sound /t/ top Play

air is stopped between tip of the tongue and the tooth ridge

Aspiration While the question of the involvement of the vocal cords is the greater difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds, the amount of

aspiration plays a secondary role in articulating each sound. In general, the aspiration is greater in unvoiced sounds than voiced sounds. This characteristic is complicated by the fact that, additionally, the aspiration is greater at the beginning of words and the beginning of stressed syllables than in other locations within words. Compare the aspiration of the following stop sounds at the beginning of words. There is more of a puff of air during the aspiration of unvoiced stops.
Aspiration comparison Unvoiced stop Voiced stop pig cold time Play Play Play big Play

gold Play dime Play

Vowel lengthening The vowel sound before voiced consonant sounds has a longer duration than the vowel sound before unvoiced counterparts. Since a stop sound at the end of a word has little aspiration, the change in vowel duration subtly helps listeners of English determine which stop sound was spoken. Some dictionaries will use a colon-like symbol of stacked triangles // to note a vowel with increased duration. Notice the difference in vowel duration in the following minimal pairs.
Vowel length comparison Unvoiced stop word IPA Voiced stop word IPA

Vowel length comparison Unvoiced stop word IPA Voiced stop word IPA

rope /rop/ Play robe /rob/ Play hit /ht/ Play hid /hd/ Play /b/ Play

buck /bk/ Play bug

NOTE: Since vowel duration is also influenced by word stress within a sentence, vowel duration due to voicing/unvoicing can be difficult to notice during a conversation.

-ic, -ical, -ically suffixes

Words containing the -ic, -ical, and -ically suffixes have rather straightforward syllable stress patterns: the syllable previous to the ic receives the primary stress of the word. Non-native English speakers should give special attention to the pronunciation of the -ical -ically suffixes. The al portion of the ical suffix is pronounced as a syllablic l, so there is not usually any vowel sound included in that syllable. Then, due to syllabic compression, the -ically suffix is often pronounced as two syllables (instead of three). This means that a base word containing the ical suffix is pronounced with the same number of syllables as the same base word containing the -ically suffix.
-ic suffix classic -ical/-ically suffix classical Play classically Play /kls k l/ /kls k li/


/kls k/



/ lk trk/

electrical Play electrically Play

/ lk trk l/ / lk trk li/


Play /k nm k/

economical Play /k nm k l/ econom i cally Play /k nm k li/

Second-from-last syllable stress

There are two commonly used suffixes that cause words to be stressed on the second-from-last syllable: -ic and -tion. A more flexible description of this pattern is to say that the stress falls on the syllable previous to the suffix. This convenient structure of word stress allows the prediction of stress patterns for any multi-syllable word that contains either of these suffixes.
-ic suffix classic 2-syllable: -tion suffix section Play


specific 3-syllable:

condition Play


economic 4-syllable:

definition Play


While both descriptions 1) "the stress falls on the second-from-last syllable," and 2) "the stress falls on the syllable previous to the suffix" are accurate, they fail to account for the wide range of patterns that surround these two suffixes. By including expansions and variations on them, however, the stress patterns of a huge number of English words can be accurately predicted with this general rule. Expanding the -ic and -tion suffixes Both -ic and -tion are frequently extended with suffixes themselves. For instance, -al and -ally often exist as an extension of both of these

suffixes, greatly increasing the number of words to which the same rule can be applied. When these extended suffixes are used, the pattern of being stressed one syllable before the -ic and -tion is retained.
expanding suffixes electrical suffix + -al:

nutritional Play


identically suffix + -ally*:

traditionally Play


*Note that the -ically suffix is often compressed to two syllables.

-tion/-sion suffix
The -tion and closely related -sion and -ation suffixes are among the most frequently used stress-controlling suffixes in American English. All of these suffixes cause the syllable previous to the -tion or -sion to carry the main stress of the word. This hugely important pattern provides a formula to determine which syllable is likely to be the stressed syllable in an enormous number of words in English. In addition to studying the following example words to learn these stress patterns, note other commonalities in their pronunciation to help learn the characteristics of pronouncing the suffixes themselves correctly. -tion suffix: sh sound and ch sound The -tion is pronunced with an sh sound unless the sound preceding the suffix is an s sound; then the suffix is likely to be pronounced with a ch sound. Of the two options, the sh sound pronunciation is much more common.
-tion suffix pronounced with sh sound /sk n/ section Play

-tion suffix pronounced with sh sound /p z n/ position Play

/ w z n/ acquisition Play

-tion suffix pronounced with ch sound /kws n/ question Play

/d s n/ digestion Play

/ zs n/ exhaustion Play

-sion suffix: sh sound and zh sound The -sion suffix is likely to be pronounced with a zh sound when it is preceded by an r sound or a vowel sound (this often aligns with the ssion spelling). In most other circumstances, the sh sound is the more likely pronunciation for the -sion suffix. Since both of these pronunciation patterns are common in American English, care should be taken with the pronunciation of all words containing the -sion suffix.
-sion suffix pronounced with sh sound /tn n/ tension Play

/k spr n/ expression Play

apprehension Play /p r hn n/

-sion suffix pronounced with sh sound

-sion suffix pronounced with zh sound /v n/ vision Play

/kn klu n/ conclusion Play

/d s n/ decision Play

Variations of the -tion, -sion and -ation suffixes The -tion, -sion and -ation suffixes can be viewed as base suffixes for still more related suffixes, namely -tional, -tionally, -sional, -sionally, ational and -ationally. The syllable stress pattern remains consistent, even when more syllables are added to the word: the syllable previous to the -tion or -sion carries the word's primary stress.
-tional, -tionally, -sional, -sionally, -ational and -ationally stress examples additional -tional and -tionally:

emotionally Play


professional -sional and -sionally:

occasionally Play


sensational -ational and -ationally:

educationally Play


-ity suffix Stress and Pronunciation

The noun-forming -ity suffix is relatively straightforward compared to other derivational suffixes in English. This suffix typically does not attach to other derivational suffixes, nor do other derivational suffixes attach to it. Since the -itysuffix creates nouns, it does have the inflectional -s suffix added during the creation of plurals, but that is as complicated as this suffix gets. -ity suffix pronunciation One of the patterns that lead to the t sound being pronounced as a quick d sound (also called the alveolar tap) is when the t is not the first sound of a stressed syllable and occurs between vowel sounds. Since the -ity suffix fits within this pattern, the consonant sound of this suffix is almost always pronounced as the quick d sound (transcribed as /t/). -ity suffix stress pattern The -ity suffix is a stress-controlling suffix and causes words that include it to be stressed on the third-from-last syllable.
-ity pronunciation and stress quality 3-syllable:


/kwl t i/

majority 4-syllable:


/m r t i/

opportunity 5-syllable:


/p tun t i/

responsibility 6-syllable:

Play /r spn s bl t i/