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Grammar Challenge


- Practice quiz 1


- Practice quiz 2


- Use the grammar
Use the grammar

Now is your chance to use this week's grammar!

Imagine you're as famous as Tom Cruise. How would a journalist write about your past, your achievements, as well as some of the things you'd rather the public didn't know about. We'll publish our five favourite comments.

Thank you for sending your comments. This topic has now closed.

R, Greece
Miss R is as famous as Tom Cruise. She was born in Athens on 3th August 1967. She has left in Paris since 1994. She has been great songer since 1997. She has sung very popular songs. Miss R has very often been the number 1 songer with the most records sales in World Box Office. Eventually, I thing is the greatest songer I've ever heard.

Nuala says:

Hello Miss R,

What a fabulous name for a fabulous star! Your life as a singing diva sounds simply divine, darling!

You've used a nice combination of the Past Simple and the Present Perfect - all correclty - in your piece. Well done!

Here are just a couple of vocabulary pointers for you:

We say 4th , 5th, 6th etc but for 'third' it's 3rd.

'She has left in Paris since 1994' should be 'lived'.

'I thing' should be 'think'.

And songer should be singer

Here's to your next hit record!


Rony, Bangladesh
Well, famous rony was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has lived in dhaka since he was born. He has passed ssc in year 2000 and hsc in 2002. After that he has admitted East west University.

Nuala says:

Hi Rony,

You say you're famous but you didn't tell us what you're famous for! I hope it's something exciting. With all those great exam results, maybe you'll go on to be a famous academic.

You've used the Present Perfect a lot in your piece and although some of your examples were correct you actually ended up overusing it – using it too many times. This is something which lots of students do when they learn a new piece of language. So don't worry about it too much. It's a perfectly natural part of the learning process.

So let's take a look at some of those examples:

'Rony was born in Dhaka' is exactly right – the Past Simple for a completed action in the past.

'He has lived in dhaka since he was born'. Again, just right - the Present Perfect shows us it's something that started in the past and continues now (you're still living in Dhaka).

But your next two examples are where you start to use the Present Perfect too much. Both are times when the Past Simple would be better because you're talking about something that happened (and finished) in the past.

'He has passed ssc in year 2000' should be 'He passed his exams in 2000'.

And 'After that he has admitted East west University should be 'After that he was admitted to East West University.'

Don't forget you need capital letters at the beginning of rony dhaka, ssc, hsc and west (when you're using it as part of the university name – East West University).

Good luck with your studies!


Charles, France
The journalist: I'd like to talk more about the famous person named Charles. He was born next to Paris in 80's and has grown up in France. His goal has always been to be a pilot and he's now on the way to satisfy his dream. He studied hardly for 3 years in high school and nowadays he has begun to wait for his results. Take care Charles!

Nuala says:

Hi Charles,

I'm sure your life as a pilot will be very exciting!

You used the Present Perfect 'His goal has always been to be a pilot' here and that's exactly right because you're talking about something – his dream of becoming a pilot - that started in the past and is still going on now.

'He has grown up in France isn't quite right. The Past Simple - 'He grew up in France' - would be better here because we think of his growing up as something he did when he was a child (so is something that's finished and in the past).

'He studied for 3 years in high school' is a correct example of the Past Simple because (like his growing up) it's something that's finished, in the past.

The Present Perfect here 'He has begun to wait ' would be better as the Present Continuous - 'He is waiting' - because it's something that he's doing right now or around now. (Look out for a Grammar Challenge, coming soon, on the Present Continuous).

And finally, a little note about the words 'hard' and 'hardly'. Both are adverbs but they have opposite meanings to each other!

'He works hard at school' means he studies a lot, does all his homework and is a good student.

'He hardly works at school' means he's lazy, he doesn't do his homework and is a very bad student.

And since we knew you're such a great guy, I think you mean 'studied hard'

Fly safe now!


Uche, Nigeria
My undoing is that I know neither JK Rowling nor Tom Cruise, as famous as you claim they are. I have been raised in my little village (Idembia) scarcely on the map of Nigeria, to recognize only the most famous two of all persons - mum and dad. Uche (11 years old)

Nuala says:

Hi Uche,

You're absolutely right! JK Rowling and Tom Cruise aren't the centre of everyone's universe!

It's lovely to hear that your parents are the most famous and most important people in your life. Thanks for writing in and telling us about them. They must be very proud of you.


Paula, Venezuela
Larry King: "Well, as you know The Wonderful Paula was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She has lived in her country since she was born. She has had a successfull career. Paula won her last grammy the past saturday. She is really wonderful. Wellcome to this show Paula...."(applause)

Nuala says:

Hi Paula,

What a great fantasy! It made me smile thinking of you on the Larry King show. And if it ever really happens, don't forget to let us know!

You used the Present Perfect and the Past Simple correctly here - 'She has lived in her country' and 'she has had a successful career' both refer to a time that hasn't finished yet (your fabulous life!) so you used the Present Perfect. But with 'Paula won the Grammy' since that action is complete and finished in the past (last Saturday), you correctly chose to use the Past Simple there. Well done!

A few things to watch out for are spelling, punctuation and word choice:

'Successfull' and 'wellcome' are misspelled. Both 'grammy' and 'saturday' should have capital letters but neither 'The' or Wonderful' need them. Finally, 'the past saturday' isn't quite right, although the meaning is perfectly clear. Instead you could say either 'this past Saturday' or 'last Saturday'.

Good luck with the rest of your singing career!


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