The basic unit of English grammar is the clause:

[An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]

[when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.]

[William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother]

[and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.]

Clauses are made up of phrases:

[An unlucky student] + [almost lost] + [a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]

[when] + [he] + [left] + [it] + [in the waiting room of a London station.]

[William Brown] + [inherited] + [the 1698 Stradivarius violin] + [from his mother]

[and] [had just had it valued] + [by a London dealer] + [at £180,000.]

We can join two or more clauses together to make sentences.

An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000 when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.

William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.




Which one of the following is correct?
1. What does he doesn't do?
2. What does he don't do?

A word of explanation will be thankfully appreciated.

Hi Adya's,

Neither of those are correct. You haven't provided a context so I have to guess what you are trying to say but I would guess that the form you are looking for is as follows:

What does he not do?

We form questions with the base form ('do') and we can make a negative base form by adding 'not' ('not do').


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I am so confused about a grammartical exercise that I did yesterday. it required me to choose the right form of verbs to complete the sentence and I had to choose one between simple present and present continuos. here is context :
We never (expect) many birthday presents. We always (receive)some presents but this year father (give) us a cheque, instead.
Apparently, the first two are not problem for the sign is so clearly : we never expect.. and we always receive.... all in the simple present. but when it come to the third , it really get me on the fence. The time ''this year'' for the action "give" to happen could possibly define in 2 situations :
1. The birth day of these children has not come yet ->> use present continuous or the structure " to be going to do something" to express the future.
" instead" means " alternative plan"-- the father planned to give them money before the time of the birthday
---> so : this year, father is giving us a cheque instead ( he prepared the money, decided when to give them to his children)
or : This year, father is going to give us a cheque instead ( it came up in his mind, he thought about it for sometime, but not yet prepared the money )
2. The birth day of these chilren is over, they had a party already somewhere in the past ---> so here is the past simple : this year father gave us a cheque instead.
?!!!!! please help me to clarify this. I already had my own answer but it's not really convinced and concrete!
thanks a lot !
I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Hello northern96,

Several forms are possible here, depending on the context. For example, you could use gave, has given, will give, is giving, will be giving, is going to give and was going to give, amongst others.

Some of these are more likely and others less, but all are possible. Without a context there is no single clear correct answer.


Please note that in general we do not provide explanations of exercises from elsewhere. We're happy to help with explanations of our own material, of course, but for help with other tasks you need to ask the authors of those tasks, or else your teacher. We are a small team and don't have the resources to do this.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot! I really appreciate your help!

Hi there! I am an editor for a national publisher in Taiwan. I'm currently writing lesson plans for junior high school English books and came upon a grammar concept that is causing me some consternation. Would you please be able to provide some input or help me clear this up once and for all?

The grammar is using the (ing) form of adjectives boring/exciting/interesting/surprising/tiring and the prepositions TO and FOR.

Studying for tests is boring to Charlie. <-- this sounds wrong to me. I think it should be "Studying for tests is boring FOR Charlie." since he's doing the action and its effect is the boredom.

Similarly, you'd say "My husband's snoring is annoying TO me" because someone else is doing the action and you're relating your opinion about it.

Someone else I spoke to said that it matters not who is doing the action, but what the subject-object relationship is. This is very confusing. Please help.

Hello Teacher_Leila,

This is a complex question and I don't think I can give you a clear-cut, definitive answer. In fact, I'm fairly sure that there is no clear-cut, definitive answer. I did some searches in the British National Corpus to see what kinds of patterns are most common but there is no obvious rule in operation. There are examples with 'to' as well as 'for' where the action is performed by the same person as the object of the preposition:


Searching for papers can be annoying to the person being called. [the person searching is also the person being called]


Studying the effects of the medication is far more interesting to her than the patient's health. [the person studying is also 'her']


I'm afraid there does not appear to be a grammatical rule for this. It appears to me to be a question of convention and collocation (certain adjectives may be more or less often used with certain prepositions) than grammar.

I suggest looking at the copus linked above and using it to analyse the relative frequency of different prepositions with each adjective.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there,

'I would go wherever you will go' - 'I would go wherever you go'

'I would go wherever you would go' - 'I would go wherever you went'

Does the first sentence refer to the future (as in I will go anywhere you go) or it have a modal verb use (willingness)?

Could the fourth sentence be referring to something counterfactual (past subjunctive) like ''would'' in the third sentence?

Thank you in advance.

Hello MCWSL,

The first sentence seems highly unlikely to me as it mixes a hypothetical form ('would') with a real form ('will'). Although it might be possible to imagine a context in which this is feasible it seems highly unlikely to be used in normal conversation. The second sentence 'I would go wherever you go'  refers to the future and has a hidden if-clause ('if you asked me' / 'if I could' etc).

The difference between the two sentences in the second pair is that the first includes elements of volition in both halves, conveying something of a sense of 'choose to go'. Again, a hidden if-clause can be imagined here. The second sentence does not have this element in the second half. Both sentences have a future time reference.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team