• tips 05.11.2011 2 Comments

    If you have a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse living in another city, you are probably familiar with long distance relationship. You may even cringe just thinking about it. However it is indispensable in English grammar. Look at these sentences:

    The girl looks cute.

    The girls look cute.

    The verb has an “s” whenever the subject is third person singular. For three person plural subject, you don’t put the “s”. Now look the following sentence.

    The girl we met at the party next door looks cute.

    The girls we met at the party next door look cute.

    The verb look must agree with the subject, girl or girls, and that agreement takes place over a long distance. The subject and the verb are separated by a pretty long clause, we met at the party next door. There is no limit to how many words may intervene, as in the following sentence:

    The girls we met at the party next door that lasted until three AM and was finally broken up by the cops who were called by the neighbors look cute.

    You see that there is a very very long boundary between the subject and the verb, but they still in agreement. Just like you are still attached to your partner/spouse though he/she is far away.

    The same thing also goes with subject and pronoun agreement. Look at the example below:

    The new oak tree, along with three bags of planting mix and a box of fertilizer, was delivered to my house this morning.

    You see that the subject is separated by the modifying phrase beginning with along with and plural noun. Again, the verb must agree with the singular subject.

    Isn’t that romantic?


    An Introduction to Language, Fromkin & Rodman, 1998.


  • tips 22.08.2011 2 Comments

    Punctuation is the name of marks we use on writing. These marks help us understand sentences. They also help us determine the intonation and pauses when we read aloud. Okay maybe that sounds kindof technical. What’s the point of punctuation then? See these two sentences:

    Annie, my mother is the best teacher.

    Annie, my mother, is the best teacher.

    Can  you see the difference? In the first sentence, I am telling someone named Annie about my mother, while in the second sentence, I am telling someone about my mother, whose name is Annie. Now you see that the punctuation, in this case a comma, changes the meaning of the sentence completely.

    I found a funny example of punctuation here:

    Now take a look at these sentences:

    Let’s eat grandma!

    Let’s eat, grandma!

    I guess you’ve come to understand what the comma means.

    Yep, punctuation is powerful. It even saves a life, haha!


    Grammar Smart Junior (Liz Buffa)



  • tips 11.04.2011 2 Comments

    A relative clause, also called adjective clause, is a dependent clause that modifies a noun. It describes, identifies, or gives further information about a noun. If you combine sentences with a relative clause, your writing becomes more fluent and you can avoid repeating certain words.

    Relative clause uses relative pronouns, such as:

    relative pronoun




    subject or object pronoun for people

    I told you about the woman who lives next door.


    subject or object pronoun for animals and things

    Do you see the cat which is lying on the roof?


    referring to a whole sentence

    He couldn’t read which surprised me.


    possession for people animals and things

    Do you know the boy whose mother is a nurse?


    object pronoun for people, especially in non-defining relative clauses (in defining relative clauses we colloquially prefer who)

    I was invited by the professor whom I met at the conference.


    subject or object pronoun for people, animals and things in defining relative clauses (who or which are also possible)

    I don’t like the table that stands in the kitchen.

    You can form a sentence containing relative clause by combining two sentences. See the examples below:

    This is short i know, hope it helps anyways :D.

    Source: http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/relative-clauses

  • tips 24.09.2010 3 Comments

    Sometimes we use two or more adjectives together. For example:

    He is a tall young man.

    Young is a fact adjective. Fact adjectives give us objective information about something, such as age, size, color, etc. Tall is an opinion adjective. Opinion adjectives tell us what someone thinks about something.

    Opinion adjectives usually go before fact adjectives.
















    large round wooden


    Sometimes there are two or more fact adjectives. Very often (but not always) we put adjectives in this order:

    How big? –> how old? –> what color? –> where from? –> what is it made of? ——– Noun


    A tall young man (1 –> 2)

    Big blue eyes (1 –> 3)

    An old white cotton shirt (2 –> 3 –> 5)

    *source: English Grammar in Use (Raymond Murphy)

  • tips 10.03.2010 2 Comments

    • Present perfect tense

    We use the present perfect tense for the following:

    ü An unspecified time in the past

    –> I have seen that movie.

    ü An action that started in the past and continuous to the present

    –> She has been married for ten years.

    ü A repeated past action which may occur again

    –> I have been absent twice so far.

    Note the contrast with simple past tense:

    I have seen that movie –> you have seen it, that’s all, and you don’t mention specific time

    I saw that movie yesterday –> you mention specific time in the past

    • Present perfect continuous tense

    ü To emphasize the action, we use the continuous form.

    –> We’ve been working really hard for a couple of months.

    ü When an action is finished and you can see the results, use the continuous form.

    –> You’re red in the face. Have you been running?

    • Past perfect tense

    The past perfect tense is used with an event that occurred before another event in the past.

    –> By the time I got to the airport, the plane had already taken off.

    • Past perfect continuous tense

    The past perfect continuous tense is used with an event of duration that occurred before another event in the past (to look back at a situation in progress).

    –> He had been working there for three years when the accident happened.


    Sarah (climb) ………………………………………. the Matterhorn, (sail) ………………………………………………………… around the world, and (go) ………………………………………. on safari in Kenya. She is such an adventurous person.

    What words do you have to put in the blanks?

    Sarah has climbed the Matterhorn, has sailed around the world, and has gone on safari in Kenya. She is such an adventurous person.

    You use the present perfect tense to describe Sarah’s experience. It happened in the past and may occur again. You can also see the last sentence which uses the simple present tense, so you can decide to use the present perfect tense to fill in the blanks.

    Now see the contrast in this sentence:

    Sarah (climb) ………………………………………. the Matterhorn, (sail) ………………………………………………….. around the world and (go) ………………………………………. on safari in Kenya by the time she turned twenty-five. She (experience) ………………………………………. more by that age than most people do in their entire lives.

    Sarah had climbed the Matterhorn, had sailed around the world and had gone on safari in Kenya by the time she turned (–> past tense) twenty-five. She had experienced more by that age (–> 25 years old) than most people do in their entire lives.

    Series of events/actions:

    Climb the Matterhorn, sail around the world, go on safari in Kenya (past perfect) –> turn 25 (past tense)

  • tips 26.09.2009 10 Comments

    Sometimes you have to memorize things when learning English grammar. Using mnemonics, it will be easier for you to memorize words. I found some mnemonics from my friend’s thesis. I think he wouldn’t be mad if i post them here for you so you can use it to help you learn English. (Note that some of the acronyms are in Indonesian or Javanese, but if you are not a speaker of Indonesian, you can try still, or create your own :P).

    Verbs followed by gerund

    BeLiDisCon (Begin, Like, Dislike, Continue)

    Forest (Forget, Remember, Stop)

    AdA (Admit, Avoid)

    PaSuKAn (Postpone, Suggest, Keep, Anticipate)

    PRiA (Practice, Risk, Against)

    Verbs followed by infinitive

    PrAWaNe BegO (Promise, Ask, Want, Need, Beg, Order) <– not a good one, heheh

    ADHEM PAk (Arrange, Decide, Hope, Encourage, Mean, Plan and Ask)

    Verbs of Perception

    He, NOfi LeWat CaFe SeKS Lo (Hear, Notice, Observe, Find, Leave, Watch, Catch, Feel, See, Keep, Smell, Look at)

    The last one was created by my teacher back then in highschool. Also not a good one I guess, haha.

    Hope it helps :D

  • tips 24.06.2009 1 Comment

    There are some words in English that sometimes make us confused because they have similarities in pronunciation and spelling. Mistakes in writing those words can be a serious problem in your grammar exam ;). I will try to list some of them along with the examples here.

    accept (v), except (prep.)
    They accepted my invitation.
    Everyone except me attended the party.

    affect (v), effect (n,v)
    The verb affect means to influence; the verb effect means to cause to happen, and the noun effect means the result.

    Pollution affects everyone.
    Arbitrators have effected a settlement of the dispute.
    The effect of the drug is well known.

    cloth (n), clothes (n), clothe (v)
    the noun cloth means artifact made by weaving or felting or knitting or crocheting natural or synthetic fibers; the noun clothes means clothing in general, or apparel; the verb clothe means to provide with clothes, or to cover as if with clothing

    Woven cloth originated in Mesopotamia around 5000 BC.
    The man was wearing old, dirty clothes.
    The mountain was clothed in tropical trees.

    compared to, compared with
    Compared to is used to point out similarities, compared with is used to indicate differences.

    He compared the crowd with the larger crowds of previous year.
    He compared the crowd to a swarm of angry bees.

    complement, compliment (n)
    A complement is something that completes something else; a compliment is a statement of an approval or congratulations.

    A subject complement follows the verb “to be”.
    She got many compliments on her new dress.

    costume, custom, customs (n)
    Costume refers to clothing; custom refers to a traditional practice or habit; customs means the agency for collecting duties imposed by a country on imports or exports.

    She wore a beautiful costume to the party.
    Customs differ from country to country.
    You must pass through customs when you enter a country.

    desert (n, v), dessert (n)
    The noun desert means arid land with little or no vegetation; the verb desert means to leave behind, to abandon; and the noun dessert refers to a dish served as the last course of a meal.

    It is very hot and dry in the desert.
    The camp was deserted.
    My favorite dessert is chocolate ice cream.

    its (adj.), it’s (pronoun + v)
    Don’t judge a book by its cover.
    It’s time to go home.

    maybe (adv.), may be (v)
    Maybe means possibly or perhaps; may be is a verb form indicating that a possibility exists.

    Maybe you will find the wallet you lost.
    She may be late.

    personal (adj.), personnel (n)
    Personal means private; personnel refers to the workers or staff of a business.

    It is difficult to discuss personal problems.
    All personnel must attend the meeting.

    quiet (adj.), quite (adv.)
    Quiet is the opposite of noisy; quite can mean completely or fairly.

    After the boys left, the house was quiet.
    She is quite beautiful.

    their (adj.), they’re (pronoun + v), there (adv.)
    Use there when referring to a place and their to indicate possession. Remember that they’re is a contraction of the words they and are. It can never be used as a modifier, only as a subject (who or what does the action) and verb (the action itself).

    They left their books at home.
    Please put your book over there.
    There are many documents that are used in investigations
    They’re studying for the exam.
    They’re talking about their plan there.

    Can you add some more? :D

  • blah 14.04.2009 6 Comments

    I was browsing around the net and found this kind of generator thing at http://www.brunching.com/alanislyrics.html. You just submit some words in the form and it will create song lyrics, Alanis Morrisstte’s syle. Haha, it was kindof funny. I was bored with my work i was doing and came up with words relating to it. Here is the song that the web created:

    “Will to Live”

    I feel miserable
    Managers make me ill
    I feel miserable
    Bosses tear at my foundations
    I feel miserable
    Work loads are dragging me down to the depths of misery
    I want to die

    Is it because of work that I feel this way?
    With the blue rays of misery pounding on my brain?
    Or am I lost in tale of robert frost, adrift far from home
    I don’t think so, I don’t think so.

    You Broke My Will to Live
    You Broke My Will to Live
    You Broke My Will to Live
    I was getting better but then
    You Broke My Will to Live

    I feel miserable
    Deadlines rot the flesh from my bones
    I feel miserable
    Work overtime defeat my purpose
    I feel miserable
    Papers are doing their best to impale my soul
    I want to die

    Is it because of work that I feel this way?
    With the blue rays of misery pounding on my brain?
    Am I lost in tale of robert frost, adrift far from home
    I don’t think so, I don’t think so.

    You Broke My Will to Live
    You Broke My Will to Live
    Oh God, you Broke My Will to Live
    I was getting better but then
    You Broke My Will to Live

    Hahah, work broke my will to live?? I don’t think so…

  • blah 17.12.2008 5 Comments

    aku ingin berpuisi
    tapi aku takut mengungkap kata hati
    aku ingin berpuisi
    tapi aku tak bisa merangkai kata yang berarti

    aku bisa berpuisi
    tapi aku tak mau mengumbar suara hati
    aku bisa berpuisi
    tapi aku tidak mau orang lain mengetahui
    aku bisa berpuisi
    tapi mungkin tidak sebagus sutardji calzoum bachri

    aku suka berpuisi
    karena aku hanya ingin bercerita sendiri
    aku suka berpuisi
    karena puisi tidak butuh pungtuasi
    aku suka berpuisi
    tapi yang kutulis jelek sekali
    aku suka berpuisi
    dan aku tidak peduli

  • blah 08.11.2008 6 Comments

    I found these four-leaf clovers in a paddy field in Blora. There was A LOT of them in the paddy field. If a four-leaf clover does mean luck, then I should get good luck after finding some, hehe.