English Rules!

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The English language, just like everything else in this world or universe, is controlled or governed by rules. For example, can you play football without knowing the rules of the game? Can you play netball without knowing the rules of the game? Or can you drive a car without knowing traffic rules? In all the above examples, the answer would be a ‘no’.

So likewise, English is also controlled by rules. When you speak or write in English and if someone says you are wrong, it is because you have not followed the rules of English. To be successful in English, you have to follow the rules.

The rules that you need to learn and remember are called, “Grammar Rules”. These are the rules that control the correct use of the English language.

There is another name for Grammar rules. They are also called, “Parts of Speech”. If you are asked, “How are your Parts of Speech”? What they are actually asking you is, “How is your Grammar”?

Now, why is it also called, Parts of Speech? The answer to that can be explained in the example below:

I am a man.

The above is a simple sentence made up of four words. Each word in the sentence belongs to one grammar rule:

I = is a Pronoun

am =  is a Verb

a = is an Adjective

man =  is a Noun


You see, I broke up the sentence into parts and each word in the sentence belongs to one grammar rule or Parts of Speech. We use the term, “Parts” to show that sentences are made up of parts of words. And the term, “Speech” is used to cover both spoken and written English.

You may ask, why do you need to learn all these? The answer is, if you know which word belongs to which grammar rule, it will be easy for you to arrange the words of the sentence, in the correct order or sequence. This will then make the sentence correct. Sometimes, people get the order of the words wrong in a sentence due to the lack of understanding of grammar rules. And that’s why we need to learn the grammar rules.

Now how many rules are there in grammar?

Let me answer you in my next article on grammar!

Ever wondered what the difference is between ‘staying’ and ‘living’?


A problem that students often face are the use of the words, live and stay. Most of the time, people ask someone, “Where do you stay?” or “Where are you staying?”, especially if they are enquiring about the home of someone. This is wrong.

The word stay means, to remain or be somewhere temporarily, especially as a visitor or a guest. The word live should be used as it means to remain or be somewhere permanently, like one’s home.

  1. I stay in Kuantan. I bought a house there. (x)
  2. When I visit Singapore, I live with my uncle. (x)
  3. I live in Kuantan. I bought a house there. (a)
  4. When I visit Singapore, I stay with my uncle. (a)

The word stay in sentence No. 1 is wrongly used. The word live should be used, like in sentence No.3, as it refers to a permanent place or home.

Similarly, the word live in sentence 2 is also wrongly used. The word stay should be used, like in sentence 4, as it refers to a temporary place.

So next time if you wish to ask someone about their home, you should ask, “Where do you live? or “Where are you living?”.

Let’s say, if your friend lives in Kuantan, and you meet your friend in Penang, you should ask, “Where do you stay in Penang?” or “Where are you staying in Penang?”.

Chicken Rice “Soup”

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Chicken Rice “Soup”

It was a sultry June weekend. 2 nights and 2 days of running around giving commands, assisting tenderfoots (and that’s tenderfoots, not tenderfeet! I’ll pull the rest of my scanty hair out of my scalp, skin and all, if you ask me why and I don’t think you relish being showered in the blood of a teacher, no matter how kooky he or she is), ensuring safety, aiding ailing teenagers, patting backs and growling at perennial bum warmers who always seem to be on their rear ends watching the world go by. Sweating buckets, pacifying a famished belly, feeling like it would devour itself in the next instance, in vain and with every muscle cell in my body begging respite, Juneschoolholidayscoutcamp was always a test of one’s mettle.

The final inspection was done by 1600 hours Sunday and a few of the Patrol Leaders and myself decided to reward ourselves with soul food, Chicken Rice at Restoran Yum Kee, a long 20 minute trudge away. We got there, famished beyond starvation and so barking out our orders. Within seconds, a large bowl of “soup” arrived. We tasted it. What followed can only be described as a communal “Bleargggh!”. Plain hot water and if not for the specks of spring onion ringlets floating on the surface, we’d have washed our cutlery in it!

I decided the “soup” aka hot water would taste better if it had pepper in it. So I called the stall helper, a boy our age, over. “Ada pepper ka?” I asked, to be met by a blank stare. I gestured as if I was adding pepper to my soup and he promptly went off with a smile. Once he returned, he handed me a mini bottle of soya sauce. My pals smirked and looked at me. Bemused, I told him again while gesticulating wildly “Lada sulah! Pepper! Peppppppppeeerrrr!” The boy smiled again, turned and walked off. A few seconds later, he was back, all chest out and standing tall. With a sense of comprehension and no small amount of pride, he handed me a brand new roll of toilet paper! I sank onto the table, defeated, amidst guffaws and thunderous table thumping.

That, my friends, is why we need to learn English.

by supremier

Diploma In TESOL


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