Say Anything

Don’t Say
– I don’t know nothing about cooking.
– I’m not doing nothing.
– She didn’t say nothing.
– He won’t do nothing.

Say This:
– I don’t know anything about cooking.
– I’m not doing anything.
– She didn’t say anything.
– He won’t do anything.

Remember:

  • Use Anything instead of Nothing in negative sentences that contain the word “not” (including don’t, doesn’t, didn’t, can’t, couldn’t, won’t, wouldn’t, isn’t, wasn’t, aren’t, weren’t, hasn’t, haven’t …)
    • I can not see anything.
    • Katia isn’t buying anything today.
    • My brother never helps with anything.
    • I’m not afraid of anything.
  • Usually avoid using double-negatives (two negative words) in a sentence.
    • Examples of negative words:
      • Not, Nothing, None, Nobody, Neither, Nowhere…

My Doctor Told Me …

Some examples of how to tell someone else about advice your doctor gave you …

  • My doctor told me TO GET more sleep.
  • My doctor told me TO EXERCISE more.
  • My doctor told me NOT TO SMOKE so much.
  • My doctor told me NOT TO EAT so much junk food.

Don’t Say:

  • My doctor told me you should get more sleep.  (I, not you)
  • My doctor told me to don’t smoke.
  • My doctor told me to no eat so much junk food.

More Detail:

  • We usually use this type of speech to tell someone what somebody else said to you. It’s known as “reported speech“.

Scared or Scary?

Don’t say: 
– I’m too scary to go bungee jumping.
– He was scary of the loud noise.

Say this:
– I’m too scared to go bungee jumping.
– He was scared of the loud noise.

Remember:

  • Scared (used as an adjective) is a feeling – similar to afraid.  I feel scared.  She is scared of bees.
  • Scary is the reason for this feeling.  Going bungee jumping is scary.  Sharks are scary.

Never Say “I no have…”

Don’t Say Say This
I no have time today. I don’t have time today.
I no have his phone number. I don’t have his phone number.
I no have to work tomorrow. I don’t have to work tomorrow.
I no have to work yesterday. I didn’t have to work yesterday.

Remember

  • Never, Never say “I no have
  • For present tense, say “I don’t have…”
    • I don’t have any money.  I don’t have patience with my kids.  I don’t have to go to Boston.  I don’t have a headache.
    • Here are 25,000 more examples of “I don’t have” in American conversational speech on Youglish.com
  • For past tense, say “I didn’t have…”
    • I didn’t have school last week.  I didn’t have many friends when I was young.  I didn’t have electricity in my house until 8:00.  I didn’t have to shovel the driveway.
    • Here are 5,000 more examples of “I didn’t have”

How Old Are You?

Don’t say: 
How many years have you?
I have 34 years.

How many years has your daughter?
– My daughter has 6 years.

– Her baby has 4 months.

Say this:
How old are you?
I am 34. (or – I am 34 years old. or – I’m 34.  )

How old is your daughter?
– My daughter is 6. (or – My daughter is 6 years old.)

– Her baby is 4 months. (or – Her baby is 4 months old.)

Remember:

  • When talking about how old someone (or something) is, use the verb “to be” – not the verb “to have
    • My twins are 5. (or – My twins are 5 years old.)
    • My car is 10 years old.
  • Future: Her son will be 5 on Friday.
    • or – Her son will be 5 years old on Friday.
  • The word “turn” is often used when an age changes
    • Her son will turn 5 on Friday.
    • I turned 30 yesterday.
  • Exception: If the person comes after the age in the sentence, then you do use the verb “to have”.
    • My daughter is 6 years old.  I have a 6 year old daughter. (not: I have a 6 years old daughter.)
    • Her son is 7.  She has a 7 year old son.
    • Our cat is 4 years old.  We have a 4 year old cat.

Here’s another YouTube video with more information on talking about age.

I Was Born

Don’t say: 
I born in Brazil.
My son borned in January.
Her baby borned last summer.
When your baby borned?.

Say this:
I was born in Brazil.
My son was born in January.
Her baby was born last summer.
When was your baby born?.

Remember:

  • When talking about the birth of a new baby, always use was born (for a birth in the past).
  • Future: Her baby will be born in February.
  • Question: Where was your baby born?
  • Infinitive:  I want my baby to be born in Boston.

 

 

Don’t Say (or Write) “Differents”

Don’t say: 
– There are many differents flavors.
– I went to the market and bought some differents things.
– I like to meet people from differents countries.

Say this:
– There are many different flavors.
– I went to the market and bought some different things.
– I like to meet people from different countries.

Remember:

  • Different is an adjective, which describes a noun.  “Three”, “blue”, “happy”, and “strong” are all adjectives.
  • Adjectives are always singular, even when the noun they modify is plural.
  • You would not say: “I saw two blues cars.”  or “There are many strongs women.”
  • Say: I saw two blue cars.  There are many strong women.
    I have a different idea.  I have two different ideas.
  • There is an English word that sounds very similar to differents – It’s “difference“,  which is a noun that describes what is different between one person/thing and another.

Questions with Do and Does (Present Tense)

Don’t say: 
Where you work?
What she likes to eat?
How much it costs?
Why they come late every day?
What this means?

Say this:
Where do you work?
What does she like to eat?
How much does it cost?
Why do they come late every day?
What does this mean?

Remember – for Present Tense Questions:

  • Include do or does as an auxiliary verb with most main verbs
    • Use do with I, you, we, they
    • Use does with he, she, it
  • The main exceptions include:
    • Verb to be (Is he happy? not: Does he happy? not: Does he is happy?)
    • Modals like can/could/should (Can you drive a truck?  not: Do you can drive a truck?)
  • When you use do/does as auxiliary verb in a question, the main verb is always in its base form
    • like“, not “likes”  (base verb is to like)
    • cost“, not “costs” (base verb is to cost)
  • Look here to review the correct order of words in a question