Asking the time
Here are some phrases you can use when you want to know the time:
  • What's the time?
  • What time is it?
  • Have you got the right time?
  • What time do you make it?
Telling the time
To tell someone what the time is, we can say "The time is..." or, more usually, "It's...". Here is a typical dialogue:
What's the time, please?
It's three o'clock.
The chart below shows you two different ways to tell someone what the time is.

more formal
less formal

three o'clock
just gone three o'clock
three oh two
three minutes past three
three oh three
five past three
three oh five
nine minutes past three
three oh nine
ten past three
three ten
a quarter past three
three fifteen
twenty past three
three twenty
twenty-one minutes past three
three twenty-one
twenty-five past three
three twenty-five
half past three
three thirty
twenty-five to four
three thirty-five
twenty to four
three forty
a quarter to four
three forty-five
ten to four
three fifty
five to four
three fifty-five
three minutes to four
three fifty-seven
nearly four c'clock
three fifty-eight
four o'clock

Day and Night
There are 24 hours in a day. The day is divided into "day(time)" and "night(-time)". Daytime is from sunrise (this varies, but we can say approximately 6am) to sunset (we can say approximately 6pm). Night-time is from sunset to sunrise.
Every day starts precisely at midnight. AM (Ante-Meridiem = before noon) starts just after midnight. PM (Post-Meridiem=after noon) starts just after midday. This means that 12am and 12pm have no meaning.
This diagram shows the cycle of a 24-hour day and the words we use to describe its parts. The day starts at midnight (at the bottom of the diagram).

The word day can have two meanings:
1. the 24 hours between one midnight and the next 2. the time between sunrise an

Days of the Week
Notice that "weekdays" and "days of the week" are not the same:
  • "Days of the week" are all 7 days from Monday to Sunday.
  • "Weekdays" are only the 5 days from Monday to Friday.
  • The "weekend" is Saturday and Sunday.


Months of the Year
The table below shows the months of the year used in English-speaking countries and many other parts of the world. The list shows the order of the months, starting from January (month 1).
The abbreviations or short forms shown are the most common, but other abbreviations are possible, for example: Ja./Fe./Ma. or J./F./M.
The days column shows the number of days in the month. All months have 30 or 31 days, except for February which has 28 days (29 in a leap year).
Every fourth year, the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. This year is called a "leap year" and the 29th of February is a "leap day". A leap year has 366 days instead of the normal 365. Any year that can be divided cleanly by 4 is a leap year. 2012, 2016 and 2020 are all leap years.

Short Form
The seasons are approximate and depend on latitude. Some parts of the world have only three seasons. The seasons shown here are for the North Temperate Zone (for example North America). In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed.
Writing the Date
There are several different ways to write the date in English. They vary from formal to informal, and there are differences between British and American English. The following table shows some typical formats.

British: Day-Month-Year
American: Month-Day-Year
the Fourteenth of March, 2011
March the Fourteenth, 2011
14th March 2011
March 14th, 2011
14 March 2011
March 14, 2011
Note: which format to use is a question of formality, politeness and personal choice. Generally, the longer formats, such as B or C, are more polite (since they show more respect for the reader). Shorter formats, such as D or E, are used in less formal situations, for example a memo, a letter between friends or an impersonal business letter. Format F is rather official and is typically seen on an invoice or an official or technical document. Format A is extremely formal and mainly used on printed items, for example a wedding invitation. The numerical formats may use a full stop (.) or hyphen (-) instead of a slash (/), for example: 14.3.2011 or 03-14-11
Note that another format exists which writes the date numerically in the order Year-Month-Day, for example: 2011/03/14. This is rare in British or American English and used mainly in very official or technical documents.


In English, months are correctly written with an initial capital: January, February...

Days of the Month

Calendar of Holidays and Events
This calendar lists many of the more popular holidays and events worldwide. Note that some events do not always fall on exactly the same date each year so you may need to check further for the year in question.
Holiday or Event
January 1
New Year's Day
On New Year's Day people make resolutions, such as quitting smoking or starting a new diet. See also New Year's Eve (December 31).
Second Monday of January
Coming of Age Day (Japan)
This event celebrates all of the citizens who are 20 years old. In Japan, 20 is the age when adolescents officially become adults and can legally smoke, drink, and vote. The young people gather in formal wear at government buildings and listen to many important speakers. They also receive money.
Begins January or early February
Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year
This is a two week festival beginning on the first day of the lunar year. Just prior to the holiday, families clean their houses carefully in order to bring good luck into their homes. Families gather for a reunion dinner on New Year's Eve. Lucky amounts of money are distributed to family members in red envelopes. Each day honours something different, such as parents, gods, or wealth.
February 14
Valentine's Day
Couples celebrate their love by exchanging cards, chocolate, flowers, and other gifts. Many go on romantic dates. Children give Valentine's cards to friends and relatives.
Saturday before Ash Wednesday (7 weeks before Easter), Mardis Gras (last day of Carnival)
Carnival and Mardis Gras
A two-week festival before the Christian period of Lent, celebrated annually in many parts of the world, especially Rio de Janeiro. The festivities include colourful street parties, parades, and dancing.New Orleans is famous for its Mardis Gras parties.
March 17
St. Patrick's Day
Traditionally an Irish celebration. People with Irish roots (or not) worldwide wear green and drink Irish beer and eat Irish food on this day. Parties and parades feature Irish music and dancing.
March 20, 21 or 22
Iranian New Year. (There are various other spellings such as Norouz, Narooz, Nawruz, Newroz, Newruz, Nauruz, Nawroz etc.)
March/April (15th day of Hebrew month Nisan)
7-day Jewish holiday marking the birth of a free Jewish nation. As told in the Book of Exodus, the Children of Israel were freed from Pharaoh and began to follow God. Many Jews avoid eating or having bread products in the home during this time. This is symbolic of the Jews leaving Egypt so quickly that their bread did not have time to rise.
Late March or early April
Good Friday, Easter
Christian holiday honouring the crucifixion of Jesus (Good Friday) and celebrating the resurrection (Easter Sunday). Also a commercial holiday in which children search for chocolate and gifts left by the Easter Bunny.
April 1
April Fool's Day
Friends, relatives, and co-workers play tricks and practical jokes on each other. Media outlets sometimes publish or broadcast elaborate April Fool's Day hoaxes. One of the most famous was the BBC's Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax.
Watch Swiss Spaghetti Harvest video
UN To Ban "Unnecessary" Languages
May 5
Cinco de Mayo (Mexico, US)
Annual celebration of Mexico's victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. The battle became a symbol of Mexican unity. Festivities include parades, parties, and dancing with Mexican food and mariachi music.
June 23-24
Midsummer's Eve and Day, (primarily Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia)
Often considered the beginning of summer holidays. Celebrated with lakeside bonfires, parties, and dancing around a maypole.
July 1
Canada Day
Canadians honour their country and celebrate independence with fireworks, parades, and parties. Most people wear red and sport the maple leaf emblem.
July 6-14
Fiestas of San Fermin: Running of the Bulls (Spain)
Annual 9-day festival in Pamplona, Spain, which is famous for the running of the bulls. The event has prompted worldwide attention since being mentioned in Hemmingway's novel, The Sun Also Rises.
July or August, depending on lunar calendar
Raksha Bandan (India)
Hindu celebration among brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a special bracelet around their brothers wrists to demonstrate love and honour. Brothers offer gifts to sisters and promise to protect and care for them.
August 9
Women's Day (South Africa)
National holiday acknowledging August 9, 1956 when 20,000 women marched to the government buildings in Pretoria to protest the law that required black women to carry passes.
Mid September-Mid October (10th day of Hebrew month Tishrei)
Yom Kippur
Annual Jewish holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Jewish people fast for 25 hours, and refrain from working. They spend much of the day in prayer. Many Jews wear white on this day to symbolize the freedom they acquire as their sins against God are forgiven. Leather shoes are forbidden.
Falls between Mid-September and Mid October
Mid Autumn Festival, a.k.a Moon Festival (China)
Families unite to watch the full moon rise and to eat moon cakes. Couples enjoy evening romance under the light of the full moon.
Two weeks between late September and early October
Oktoberfest (Germany)
The world's largest fair. The mayor of Munich taps a keg of beer to start the festival each year. Beer and traditional German food is served. Party goers enjoy traditional music and dancing.
October 31
Children carve pumpkins and decorate homes with spooky scenes. After dark they dress up in costumes and go door to door collecting candy from neighbours. Adults have costume parties.
November 1
All Saint's Day (Day of the Dead)
Originally celebrated the death of martyrs and saints. Today All Saint's Day is often the day families honour deceased relatives by bringing flowers and other offerings to graves.
November 5
Guy Fawkes Night (UK), a.k.a Bonfire Night
Commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605; an attempt by Guy Fawkes and other conspirators to blow up the parliament houses in Westminister. The celebration includes fireworks and bonfires. A dummy of Guy Fawkes is typically burnt.
Fourth Thursday of November (US), Second Monday of October (Canada)
Thanksgiving Day
Marks the end of harvest. This is a time to give thanks for food, and is celebrated by large feasts (especially turkey, pumpkin pie, and fall vegetables) and family get togethers. Other countries such as Korea (Chusok in mid August) celebrate the harvest at other times of the year.
December 25
Christmas Day
Traditionally a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Now also a commercial holiday with card and gift exchanges throughout December. Children wait for Santa Claus to bring gifts. Houses, businesses and streets are decorated with trees, lights and other Christmas symbols. People sing Christmas carols.
December 31
New Year's Eve
Citizens gather in urban centres or friends' homes on the last evening of the year to count down to midnight together. New Year's Eve parties often include dancing, listening to rock bands and watching fireworks after the clock strikes twelve. See also New Year's Day (January 1).

This is the Muslim pilgrimage (special journey) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage at least once during their lifetime. Also called Haj or Hadj. Originally from the Arabic "al-hajj", meaning "The Great Pilgrimage". It takes place during the 12th month of the Islamic lunar year, which does not coincide with the Gregorian calendar above (in fact it falls about 11 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar).

Glossary of English Grammar Terms
This glossary of English grammar terms relates to the English language. Some terms here may have additional or extended meanings when applied to other languages. For example, "case" in some languages applies to pronouns and nouns. In English, nouns do not have case and therefore no reference to nouns is made in its definition here.

one of two voices in English; a direct form of expression where the subject performs or "acts" the verb; see also passive voice
eg: "Many people eat rice"
part of speech that typically describes or "modifies" a noun
eg: "It was a big dog."
adjective clause
seldom-used term for relative clause
word or phrase that adds information to a sentence and that can be removed from the sentence without making the sentence ungrammatical
eg: I met John at school.
word that modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb
eg: quickly, really, very
adverbial clause
dependent clause that acts like an adverb and indicates such things as time, place or reason
eg: Although we are getting older, we grow more beautiful each day.
statement that expresses (or claims to express) a truth or "yes" meaning; opposite of negative
eg: The sun is hot.
language unit (morpheme) that occurs before or after (or sometimes within) the root or stem of a word
eg: un- in unhappy (
prefix), -ness in happiness (suffix)
(also known as "concord")
logical (in a grammatical sense) links between words based on tensecase ornumber
eg: this phone, these phones
word, phrase or clause that is replaced by a pronoun (or other substitute) when mentioned subsequently (in the same sentence or later)
eg: "Emily is nice because she brings me flowers."
noun phrase that re-identifies or describes its neighbouring noun
eg: "Canada, a multicultural country, is recognized by its maple leaf flag."
determiner that introduces a noun phrase as definite (the) or indefinite (a/an)
feature of some verb forms that relates to duration or completion of time; verbs can have no aspect (simple), or can have continuous or progressive aspect (expressing duration), or have perfect or perfective aspect (expressing completion)
auxiliary verb
(also called "helping verb")
verb used with the main verb to help indicate something such as tense or voice
eg: I do not like you. She has finished. He can swim.
bare infinitive
unmarked form of the verb (no indication of tense, mood, person, or aspect) without the particle "to"; typically used after modal auxiliary verbs; see also infinitive
eg: "He should come", "I can swim"
basic form of a verb before conjugation into tenses etc
eg: bespeak
form of a pronoun based on its relationship to other words in the sentence; case can be subjectiveobjective or possessive
eg: "I love this dog", "This dog loves me", "This is my dog"
causative verb
verb that causes things to happen such as "make", "get" and "have"; the subject does not perform the action but is indirectly responsible for it
eg: "She made me go to school", "I had my nails painted"
group of words containing a subject and its verb
eg: "It was late when he arrived"
comparative adjective
form of an adjective or adverb made with "-er" or "more" that is used to show differences or similarities between two things (not three or more things)
eg: coldermore quickly
part of a sentence that completes or adds meaning to the predicate
eg: Mary did not say where she was going.
compound noun
noun that is made up of more than one word; can be one word, or hyphenated, or separated by a space
eg: toothbrush, mother-in-law, Christmas Day
compound sentence
sentence with at least two independent clauses; usually joined by a conjunction
eg: "You can have something healthy but you can't have more junk food."
another term for agreement
structure in English where one action depends on another ("if-then" or "then-if" structure); most common are 1st2nd, and 3rd conditionals
eg: "If I win I will be happy", "I would be happy if I won"
to show the different forms of a verb according to voicemoodtensenumber andperson; conjugation is quite simple in English compared to many other languages
eg: I walk, you walk, he/she/it walks, we walk, they walk; I walked, you walked, he/she/it walked, we walked, they walked
word that joins or connects two parts of a sentence
eg: Ram likes tea and coffee. Anthony went swimming although it was raining.
word that has meaning in a sentence, such as a verb or noun (as opposed to astructure word, such as pronoun or auxiliary verb); content words are stressed in speech
eg: "Could you BRING my GLASSES because I've LEFT them at HOME"
(also called "progressive")
verb form (specifically an aspect) indicating actions that are in progress or continuing over a given time period (can be past, present or future); formed with "BE" + "VERB-ing"
eg: "They are watching TV."
shortening of two (or more) words into one
eg: isn't (is not), we'd've (we would have)
thing that you can count, such as apple, pen, tree (see uncountable noun)
eg: one apple, three pens, ten trees
dangling participle
illogical structure that occurs in a sentence when a writer intends to modify one thing but the reader attaches it to another
eg: "Running to the bus, the flowers were blooming." (In the example sentence it seems that the flowers were running.)
declarative sentence
sentence type typically used to make a statement (as opposed to a question or command)
eg: "Tara works hard", "It wasn't funny"
defining relative clause
(also called "restrictive relative clause")
relative clause that contains information required for the understanding of the sentence; not set off with commas; see also non-defining clause
eg: "The boy who was wearing a blue shirt was the winner"
demonstrative pronoun
demonstrative adjective
pronoun or determiner that indicates closeness to (this/these) or distance from (that/those) the speaker
eg: "This is a nice car", "Can you see those cars?"
dependent clause
part of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb but does not form a complete thought and cannot stand on its own; see also independent clause
eg: "When the water came out of the tap..."
word such as an article or a possessive adjective or other adjective that typically comes at the beginning of noun phrases
eg: "It was an excellent film", "Do you like my new shirt?", "Let's buy some eggs"
direct speech
saying what someone said by using their exact words; see also indirect speech
eg: "Lucy said: 'I am tired.'"
direct object
noun phrase in a sentence that directly receives the action of the verb; see alsoindirect object
eg: "Joey bought the car", "I like it", "Can you see the man wearing a pink shirt and waving a gun in the air?"
embedded question
question that is not in normal question form with a question mark; it occurs within another statement or question and generally follows statement structure
eg: "I don't know where he went," "Can you tell me where it is before you go?", "They haven't decided whether they should come"
finite verb
verb form that has a specific tense, number and person
eg: I work, he works, we learned, they ran
"if-then" conditional structure used for future actions or events that are seen as realistic possibilities
eg: "If we win the lottery we will buy a car"
incomplete piece of a sentence used alone as a complete sentence; a fragment does not contain a complete thought; fragments are common in normal speech but unusual (inappropriate) in formal writing
eg: "When's her birthday? - In December", "Will they come? - Probably not"
purpose or "job" of a word form or element in a sentence
eg: The function of a subject is to perform the action. One function of an adjective is to describe a noun. The function of a noun is to name things.
future continuous
(also called "future progressive")
tense* used to describe things that will happen in the future at a particular time; formed with WILL + BE + VERB-ing
eg: "I will be graduating in September."
tense* used to express the past in the future; formed with WILL HAVE + VERB-ed
eg: "I will have graduated by then"
tense* used to show that something will be ongoing until a certain time in the future; formed with WILL HAVE BEEN + VERB-ing
eg: "We will have been living there for three months by the time the baby is born"
tense* used to describe something that hasn't happened yet such as a prediction or a sudden decision; formed with WILL + BASE VERB
eg: "He will be late", "I will answer the phone"
genitive case
case expressing relationship between nouns (possession, origin, composition etc)
eg: "John's dog", "door of the car", "children's songs", "pile of sand"
noun form of a verb, formed with VERB-ing
eg: "Walking is great exercise"
adjective that can vary in intensity or grade when paired with a grading adverb ; see also non-gradable adjective
eg: quite hot, very tall
adverb that can modify the intensity or grade of a gradable adjective
eg: quite hot, very tall
hanging participle
another term for dangling participle
helping verb
another term for auxiliary verb
form of verb used when giving a command; formed with BASE VERB only
eg: "Brush your teeth!"
pronoun does not refer to any specific person, thing or amount. It is vague and "not definite".
eg: anythingeachmanysomebody
independent clause
(also called "main clause")
group of words that expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence; see also dependent clause
eg: "Tara is eating curry.", "Tara likes oranges and Joe likes apples."
indirect object
noun phrase representing the person or thing indirectly affected by the action of the verb; see also direct object
eg: "She showed me her book collection", "Joey bought his wife a new car"
indirect question
another term for embedded question
indirect speech
(also called "reported speech")
saying what someone said without using their exact words; see direct speech
eg: "Lucy said that she was tired"
base form of a verb preceded by "to"**; see also bare infinitive
eg: "You need to study harder", "To be, or not to be: that is the question"
change in word form to indicate grammatical meaning
eg: dogdogs (two inflections); taketakestooktakingtaken (five inflections)
common word that expresses emotion but has no grammatical value; can often be used alone and is often followed by an exclamation mark
eg: "Hi!", "er", "Ouch!", "Dammit!"
(formal) sentence type (typically inverted) normally used when asking a question
eg: "Are you eating?", "What are you eating?"
pronoun that asks a question.
eg: whowhomwhich
verb that does not take a direct object; see also transitive verb
e.g. "He is working hard", "Where do you live?"
any reversal of the normal word order, especially placing the auxiliary verb before the subject; used in a variety of ways, as in question formation, conditional clauses and agreement or disagreement
eg: "Where are your keys?","Had we watched the weather report, we wouldn't have gone to the beach", "So did he", "Neither did she"
verb that has a different ending for past tense and past participle forms than the regular "-ed"; see also regular verb
eg: buy, boughtbought; do, diddone
lexicon, lexis
all of the words and word forms in a language with meaning or function
lexical verb
another term for main verb
verbs that connect the subject to more information (but do not indicate action), such as "be" or "seem"
main clause
another term for independent clause
main verb
(also called "lexical verb")
any verb in a sentence that is not an auxiliary verb; a main verb has meaning on its own
eg: "Does John like Mary?", "I will have arrived by 4pm"
modal verb
(also called "modal")
auxiliary verb such as can, could, must, should etc; paired with the bare infinitive of a verb
eg: "I should go for a jog"
word or phrase that modifies and limits the meaning of another word
eg: the house => the white house, the house over there, the house we sold last year
sentence type that indicates the speaker's view towards the degree of reality of what is being said, for example subjunctive, indicative, imperative
unit of language with meaning; differs from "word" because some cannot stand alone
e.g. un-, predict and -able in unpredictable
verb that consists of a basic verb + another word or words (preposition and/or adverb)
eg: get up (
phrasal verb), believe in (prepositional verb), get on with (phrasal-prepositional verb)
form which changes a "yes" meaning to a "no" meaning; opposite of affirmative
eg: "She will not come", "I have never seen her"
nominative case
another term for subjective case
non-defining relative clause
(also called "non-restrictive relative clause")
relative clause that adds information but is not completely necessary; set off from the sentence with a comma or commas; see defining relative clause
eg: "The boy, who had a chocolate bar in his hand, was still hungry"
adjective that has a fixed quality or intensity and cannot be paired with a grading adverb; see also gradable adjective
eg: freezing, boiling, dead
non-restrictive relative clause
another term for non-defining relative clause
part of speech that names a person, place, thing, quality, quantity or concept; see also proper noun and compound noun
eg: "The man is waiting", "I was born in London", "Is that your car?", "Do you likemusic?"
noun clause
clause that takes the place of a noun and cannot stand on its own; often introduced with words such as "that, who or whoever"
eg: "What the president said was surprising"
noun phrase (NP)
any word or group of words based on a noun or pronoun that can function in a sentence as a subject, object or prepositional object; can be one word or many words; can be very simple or very complex
eg: "She is nice", "When is the meeting?", "The car over there beside the lampost is mine"
change of word form indicating one person or thing (singular) or more than one person or thing (plural)
eg: one dog/three dogsshe/they
thing or person affected by the verb; see also direct object and indirect object
eg: "The boy kicked the ball", "We chose the house with the red door"
case form of a pronoun indicating an object
eg: "John married her", "I gave it to him"
one of the classes into which words are divided according to their function in a sentence
verb form that can be used as an adjective or a noun; see past participlepresent participle
one of two voices in English; an indirect form of expression in which the subject receives the action; see also active voice
eg: "Rice is eaten by many people"
past tense
(also called "simple past")
tense used to talk about an action, event or situation that occurred and was completed in the past
eg: "I lived in Paris for 10 years", "Yesterday we saw a snake"
tense often used to describe an interrupted action in the past; formed with WAS/WERE + VERB-ing
eg: "I was reading when you called"
tense that refers to the past in the past; formed with HAD + VERB-ed
eg: "We had stopped the car"
tense that refers to action that happened in the past and continued to a certain point in the past; formed with HAD BEEN + VERB-ing
eg: "I had been waiting for three hours when he arrived"
past participle
verb form (V3) - usually made by adding "-ed" to the base verb - typically used in perfect and passive tenses, and sometimes as an adjective
eg: "I have finished", "It was seen by many people", "boiled eggs"
verb form (specifically an aspect); formed with HAVE/HAS + VERB-ed (present perfect) or HAD + VERB-ed (past perfect)
grammatical category that identifies people in a conversation; there are three persons: 1st person (pronouns I/me, we/us) is the speaker(s), 2nd person (pronoun you) is the listener(s), 3rd person (pronouns he/him, she/her, it, they/them) is everybody or everything else
pronoun that indicates person
eg: "He likes my dogs", "They like him"
multi-word verb formed with a verb + adverb
eg: break upturn off (see 
phrasal verbs list)
NB: many people and books call all multi-word verbs "phrasal verbs" (see 
multi-word verbs)
two or more words that have a single function and form part of a sentence; phrases can be noun, adjective, adverb, verb or prepositional
of a noun or form indicating more than one person or thing; plural nouns are usually formed by adding "-s"; see also singularnumber
eg: bananasspoonstrees
grammatically correct placement of a word form in a phrase or sentence in relation to other word forms
eg: "The correct position for an article is at the beginning of the noun phrase that it describes"
basic state of an adjective or adverb when it shows quality but not comparative orsuperlative
eg: nicekindquickly
possessive adjective
adjective (also called "determiner") based on a pronoun: my, your, his, her, its, our, their
eg: "I lost my keys", "She likes your car"
case form of a pronoun indicating ownership or possession
eg: "Mine are blue", "This car is hers"
pronoun that indicates ownership or possession
eg: "Where is mine?", "These are yours"
one of the two main parts (subject and predicate) of a sentence; the predicate is the part that is not the subject
eg: "My brother is a doctor", "Who did you call?", "The woman wearing a blue dress helped me"
affix that occurs before the root or stem of a word
eg: impossible, reload
part of speech that typically comes before a noun phrase and shows some type of relationship between that noun phrase and another element (including relationships of time, location, purpose etc)
eg: "We sleep at night", "I live in London", "This is for digging"
multi-word verb that is formed with verb + preposition
eg: believe inlook after
present participle
-ing form of a verb (except when it is a gerund or verbal noun)
eg: "We were eating", "The man shouting at the back is rude", "I saw Tara playingtennis"
present simple(also called "simple present")
tense usually used to describe states and actions that are general, habitual or (with the verb "to be") true right now; formed with the basic verb (+ s for 3rd person singular)
eg: "Canada sounds beautiful", "She walks to school", "I am very happy"
present continuous(also called "present progressive")
tense used to describe action that is in process now, or a plan for the future; formed with BE + VERB-ing
eg: "We are watching TV", "I am moving to Canada next month"
tense that connects the past and the present, typically used to express experience, change or a continuing situation; formed with HAVE + VERB-ed
eg: "I have worked there", "John has broken his leg", "How long have you been in Canada?"
tense used to describe an action that has recently stopped or an action continuing up to now; formed with HAVE + BEEN + VERB-ing
eg: "I'm tired because I've been running", "He has been living in Canada for two years"
another term for continuous
word that replaces a noun or noun phrase; there are several types including personal pronounsrelative pronouns and indefinite pronouns
eg: youhehimwhowhichsomebodyanything
noun that is capitalized at all times and is the name of a person, place or thing
standard marks such as commas, periods and question marks within a sentence
eg: , . ? ! - ; :
determiner or pronoun that indicates quantity
eg: somemanyall
final part of a tag question; mini-question at end of a tag question
eg: "Snow isn't black, is it?"
question word
another term for WH-word
pronoun that indicates that two or more subjects are acting mutually; there are two in English - each other, one another
eg: "John and Mary were shouting at each other", "The students accused one another of cheating"
reduced relative clause
(also called "participial relative clause")
construction similar to a relative clause, but containing a participle instead of a finite verb; this construction is possible only under certain circumstances
eg: "The woman sitting on the bench is my sister", "The people arrested by the police have been released"
pronoun ending in -self or -selves, used when the subject and object are the same, or when the subject needs emphasis
eg: "She drove herself", "I'll phone her myself"
verb that has "-ed" as the ending for past tense and past participle forms; see alsoirregular verb
eg: work, worked, worked
relative adverb
adverb that introduces a relative clause; there are four in English: wherewhen,whereverwhenever; see also relative pronoun
relative clause
dependent clause that usually starts with a relative pronoun such as who or which, orrelative adverb such as where
eg: "The person who finishes first can leave early" (
defining), "Texas, where my brother lives, is big" (non-defining)
pronoun that starts a relative clause; there are five in English: whowhomwhose,whichthat; see also relative adverb
reported speech
another term for indirect speech
restrictive relative clause
another term for defining relative clause
"if-then" conditional structure used to talk about an unlikely possibility in the future
eg: "If we won the lottery we would buy a car"
largest grammatical unit; a sentence must always include a subject (except forimperatives) and predicate; a written sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop/period (.), question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!); a sentence contains a complete thought such as a statement, question, request or command
eg: "Stop!", "Do you like coffee?", "I work."
list of items in a sentence
eg: "The children ate popsicles, popcorn and chips"
of a noun or form indicating exactly one person or thing; singular nouns are usually the simplest form of the noun (as found in a dictionary); see also pluralnumber
eg: bananaspoontree
split infinitive
situation where a word or phrase comes between the particle "to" and the verb in an infinitive; considered poor construction by some
eg: "He promised to never lie again"
Standard English (S.E.)
"normal" spelling, pronunciation and grammar that is used by educated native speakers of English
structure word
word that has no real meaning in a sentence, such as a pronoun or auxiliary verb (as opposed to a content word, such as verb or noun); structure words are not normally stressed in speech
eg: "Could you BRING my GLASSES because I've LEFT them at HOME"
one of the two main parts (subject and predicate) of a sentence; the subject is the part that is not the predicate; typically, the subject is the first noun phrase in asentence and is what the rest of the sentence "is about"
eg: "The rain water was dirty", "Mary is beautiful", "Who saw you?"
subjective case
also called "nominative"
case form of a pronoun indicating a subject
eg: Did she tell you about her?
fairly rare verb form typically used to talk about events that are not certain to happen, usually something that someone wants, hopes or imagines will happen; formed with BARE INFINITIVE (except past of "be")
eg: "The President requests that John attend the meeting"
subordinate clause
another term for dependent clause
affix that occurs after the root or stem of a word
eg: happiness, quickly
adjective or adverb that describes the extreme degree of something
eg: happiestmost quickly
subject-verb-object; a common word order where the subject is followed by the verb and then the object
eg: "The man crossed the street"
sentence structure; the rules about sentence structure
special construction with statement that ends in a mini-question; the whole sentence is a tag question; the mini-question is a question tag; usually used to obtain confirmation
eg: "The Earth is round, isn't it?", "You don't eat meat, do you?"
form of a verb that shows us when the action or state happens (past, present or future). Note that the name of a tense is not always a guide to when the action happens. The "present continuous tense", for example, can be used to talk about the present or the future.
"if-then" conditional structure used to talk about a possible event in the past that did not happen (and is therefore now impossible)
eg: "If we had won the lottery we would have bought a car"
action verb that has a direct object (receiver of the action); see also intransitive verb
eg: "The kids always eat a snack while they watch TV"
uncountable nouns
(also called "mass nouns" or "non-count")
thing that you cannot count, such as substances or concepts; see also countable nouns
eg: waterfurnituremusic
way in which words and constructions are normally used in any particular language
referring to Verb 1, Verb 2, Verb 3 - being the base, past and past participle that students typically learn for irregular verbs
eg: speak, spoke, spoken
word that describes the subject's action or state and that we can change orconjugate based on tense and person
eg: (to) work, (to) love, (to) begin
form of a verb that shows the relation of the subject to the action; there are two voices in English: activepassive
question using a WH-word and expecting an answer that is not "yes" or "no"; WH-questions are "open" questions; see also yes-no question
eg: Where are you going?
(also called "question word")
word that asks a WH-question; there are 7 WH-words: who, what, where, when, which, why, how
word order
order or sequence in which words occur within a sentence; basic word order for English is subject-verb-object or SVO
question to which the answer is yes or no; yes-no questions are "closed" questions; see also WH-question
eg: "Do you like coffee?"
"if-then" conditional structure used when the result of the condition is always true (based on fact)
eg: "If you dial O, the operator comes on"
* note that technically English does not have a real future tense
** some authorities consider the base form of the verb without "to" to be the true infinitive

Housekeeping Vocabulary

Rooms in a House | Furniture and Decor | Appliances | Cleaning Supplies
Linen & Laundry
 | Describing Words | Action Words

Rooms in a House

storage room at the very top of the house
the lowest level of the house
bathroom, washroom
the room for bathing and using the toilet
the room where people sleep
dining room
room with a table and chairs for eating; in some houses this room is only used on special occasions
long narrow area that joins one room to another
place for preparing food; sometimes has a table and chairs for eating informal meals
living room; family room
place where family spends leisure time; often has a TV, also used for entertaining
area in the front entrance for hanging coats and placing shoes
master bedroom
the largest bedroom in the house; used by parents
room for baby or young child
room off the kitchen for keeping dry foods and storage items
outdoor area in front or backyard; usually sits slightly off the ground; often made of wood
room filled with toys; books and games; indoor area for kids to play
rec room
often in basement; extra room for watching TV and playing games such as billiards or ping pong
enclosed room with large windows; often used for relaxation, visiting, or reading

Furniture and Decor

long frame with a mattress on top for sleeping; has blankets and pillows for comfort
bookshelf, bookcase
tall wooden piece used for holding books
various types of furniture used for sitting on
change table
surface found in the nursery, used for changing a baby's diaper
long comfortable piece for sitting on; found in common rooms
surface in the kitchen; used for preparing food and holding small appliances
storage area with doors; used for holding food, dishes, cleaning supplies, etc.
piece used for doing work and holding papers, books, writing tools; usually found in an office
dresser, bureau
piece of furniture for holding folded clothing
entertainment centre
piece of furniture for holding television, stereo, and other electronic devices
square opening on a wall to hold a fire and warm up the home; may be electric, gas, or wood
special glass placed on a wall or counter, used for viewing one's self
pictures, paintings
decorations hung on walls or placed on surfaces; often framed
long surfaces for organizing and storing household items
tub, bathtub
found in bathrooms, a large area where you lie down and wash your body
window sills, ledges
long shelf-like surface beneath a window


electric appliance that washes dishes; can be "built-in" (under a sink) or "portable" (moved and attached to the sink when in use)
electric appliance used to dry laundry
electric appliance used for keeping food cold
electric appliance used for keeping food frozen (very cold)
garbage disposal
located inside a drain; chops up bits of food into small pieces to fit down the pipes
electric appliance for cooking food quickly
electric appliance for baking and heating food
stove, range
elements on top of an oven for heating, frying, and boiling food
washing machine
electric appliance for cleaning laundry

Cleaning Supplies

baking soda
white powder used for cleaning and removing odours
liquid added in small amounts to water; has strong chemicals that remove stains on white clothing; also used to clean bathrooms
brush with a long handle on it for sweeping floors
carpet cleaner
foam or liquid soap used on rugs and carpets
product that removes bad smells from a room; often scented
dishwashing detergent
liquid or powder soap that goes into a dishwasher
dust pan
flat container used for collecting dirt and dust swept up with a broom
a cleaning tool with a handle and feathers (or a soft cloth) used for wiping dust off surfaces
garbage or trash bag
large, heavy bag for collecting the household garbage
garbage or trash bin
container with a lid that holds large garbage bags
coverings for the hands, with separate holes for the fingers
a long tube that fills with water; often kept outside and used for outdoor cleaning
laundry detergent
powder or liquid soap used for cleaning clothes and linen
long stick with a sponge at the bottom that is soaked in water and soap; used for cleaning floors
recycling bin
a container that holds paper, tins, glass, and other garbage that can be reused
scouring pads
tough cleaning pads used for scrubbing pots, pans, and ovens
scrub brush
a brush with a handle on it; often used for cleaning toilets
a soft cleaning product that absorbs water and is used for washing surfaces
stain remover
laundry product used specifically on spots that regular laundry detergent cannot clean (stains include red wine or blood)
vacuum cleaner
a machine that sucks up dust and dirt on the floor as you push it around
a clear sour tasting liquid mixed with water and used for cleaning; environmentally friendly alternative to store bought cleaners

Linen and Laundry terms

bath towel
large towel used for drying the body after a shower or bath
face cloth or wash cloth
small, square shaped towel or cloth used for washing the face and hands
fitted sheet
sheet with elastic that goes on top of the mattress and stays in place
make articles of clothing small and neat for storage
hand towel
a towel hung in the bathroom; used for drying hands
a wire or plastic hook used for hanging clothes in a closet
noun and verb
an electric appliance used for making clothes flat; to remove wrinkles
king size
the largest size bed or bed covering
do the laundry
the washing of clothing
pillow case
a covering similar to a sheet that protects the head cushion
queen size
large size bed and bed covering (smaller than king, larger than double)
a light cover on the bed
smallest bed or bed covering size; made for one person
a spot that is difficult to clean
top sheet
the sheet that goes on top of the fitted sheet and under a heavier blanket
twin size
bed or bed covering size that is larger than a single and smaller than a double; used for one person

Describing words for Housekeepers

Example sentence
when a person must stay away from a certain food or cleaning product because it can cause them to get very sick
Our daughter is allergic to that laundry detergent.
remove dirt and stains
When the kitchen is clean I will start on the laundry.
clogged, plugged
when something is blocking the hole of a tube or pipe
The kitchen drain is clogged with potato skins.
a little bit wet
I hung up your suit, but it is still a little damp.
opposite of clean
The floors are dirty because the kids walked through with their boots on.
when furniture and surfaces are covered with a small layer of matter
The office furniture upstairs is verydusty.
very dirty
The bathroom is filthy because we went away for the weekend and left the kids at home.
out of order, opposite of neat and tidy
The children's rooms are messy,but it's their job to clean them.
neat, tidy (often expressed as "neat and tidy")
in good order, opposite of messy
Thank you for leaving the house so neat and tidy.
surface that is wet or polished and is easy to fall on
I just mopped, so the floors are a bit slippery.
covered with lots of soap bubbles
Can you rinse the dishes again? They are still soapy.
filled or covered with water, opposite of dry
I put the dryer on twice but the clothes are still wet.
environmentally friendly
good for the world, doesn't contain strong chemicals
We only use cleaning products that are environmentally friendly.

Action words for Housekeepers

Example sentence
clean; clean up
remove dirt, dust, and other messes
After you clean up the kitchen you can take your break.
take the water out of something
Please dry the dishes fully before you put them away in the cupboards.
remove the dust from surfaces such as furniture
I'm sorry I forgot to dust the entertainment stand last week.
finish; complete
have no more work to do
I'm finished everything on the list, so I guess I'll be going home now.
freshen up
make a room smell and look more inviting
The master bedroom is relatively clean, but you could freshen it up a little.
hang; hang up
organize and store items (often clothes) by putting them on hooks and hangers
After you have folded the laundry, please hang the guest towels in the washroom.
mop; mop up
clean the floors with soap and water
The dishwasher flooded, so Imopped up the water.
sort or put away in a neat and tidy manner
I organized the indoor and outdoor shoes.
wipe with a special cleaner that makes something (such as floors) shine; remove smudges or prints
Make sure to polish the silverware before you put it away.
pour water over something for a long time to remove soap
You'll have to rinse the dishes a little better. My coffee tasted soapy today.
sanitize; sterilize
remove any bacteria or other harmful substances that could cause illness, often by using boiling water or a special cleaner
You have to sterilize the baby bottles in boiling water.
use a lot of physical energy and a heavy cleaning tool to remove dirt or stains
You'll have to scrub the upstairs tub because it's pretty dirty.
tidy; tidy up
make a room or area look neat by organizing and putting things away
You don't need to vacuum the family room, but you could tidy up the books and toys.
use a special hose that sucks up dust and dirt from the floors and furniture
Please pick up large items like coins before you vacuum the basement.
make clean with water and soap
Please wash the windows with water and vinegar.
pour water onto plants or grass
You forgot to water the indoor and outdoor plants.
wipe; wipe up
clean up a mess or spill
Don't use bleach to wipe the counters.
Vocabulary Quiz >


Popular posts from this blog