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Common Irregular Plural Nouns in English

October 1, 2017

Do you know the difference between plural and singular nouns (and which plural nouns in English are irregular)? Read on to find out!

Common Irregular Noun Plurals in English

Making singular nouns plural

Most singular nouns in English are easy to make plural: simply add an “-s.”

  • One dog
  • Two dogs
  • One bottle
  • Five bottles

For nouns that end in s, x, z, ch, and sh, we add “-es.”

  • One bus
  • Two buses
  • One watch
  • Two watches
  • One fox
  • Two foxes

For nouns that end in consonant + y, we remove the y and add “-ies.”

  • One baby
  • Two babies

However, there are some irregular nouns in English that do not follow these simple rules. The following list includes the common irregular noun plurals in English.

Common Irregular Noun Plurals in English


Singular                  Plural

Analysis                    Analyses

Basis                          Bases

Child                         Children

Crisis                        Crises

Data                          Datum

Deer                         Deer (or deers)

Diagnosis               Diagnoses

Fish                          Fish (or fishes)

Goose                      Geese

Half                          Halves

Loaf                          Loaves

Man                          Men

Moose                     Moose

Mouse                     Mice

Scarf                        Scarves

Self                           Selves

Series                      Series

Sheep                      Sheep

Thief                       Thieves

Tooth                      Teeth

Wife                         Wives

Wolf                        Wolves

Woman                   Women

Common Irregular Noun Plurals in English

Practicing Common Irregular Noun Plurals in English

Can you complete the chart?

 

Analysis                  ________

________           Bases

Child                       ________

Crisis                      ________

Data                        ________

Deer                       Deer (or deers)

________          Diagnoses

Fish                        Fish (or fishes)

Goose                     ________

Half                        ________

________          Loaves

Man                       ________

Moose                   ________

________          Mice

Scarf                      ________

Self                        ________

________         Series

Sheep                   ________

________        Thieves

________        Teeth

Wife                     ________

Wolf                    ________

________        Women

California Life Featured Grammar San Francisco Travel Tips Suggested student activities Writing

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

September 1, 2017

Do you know the basic English capitalization rules? Stick with these simple guidelines and you will understand the majority of the times that we capitalize something in English.

Basic English Capitalization Rules

The first letter of the first word of a sentence

This basic rule is something we always follow in English.

  • The thing I enjoy most about living in San Francisco is the city at night.
  • She said she loves living in California because of its beautiful sunsets.

If the sentence begins with a number, be sure to spell the number (not begin a sentence with the number).

  • Fifty states are in the United States. (correct)
  • 50 states are in the United States. (incorrect)

The word “I”

The word “I,” the first person singular subject pronoun, is always capitalized.

The first word of direct speech

Direct speech (the exact words a person says, which are in quotation marks) should be capitalized.

  • She turned to him and said, “Do you want to hear a joke?”
  • He responded, “Only if it’s a good one!”

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns (the names of people and places) are always capitalized.

There are many types of proper nouns: here are a few.

The names of people

The names of people are always capitalized.

  • Andrea and Whitney are coming to dinner on Friday evening.
  • Tim needs to respond to my email.
  • Has Mark called you yet?

Continents, countries, cities, and regions

Does a place have an official name? Capitalize it!

  • I would like to study in North America, but I can’t decide between the U.S. and Canada.
  • Where is she from in Central America?
  • We are going to Puglia, Italy next summer.
  • I had a wonderful time studying in Southern California.

Planets, mountains, oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes

Are you talking about a natural formation that has an official name? It should be capitalized.

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Buildings

Buildings that have official names are capitalized.

  • The San Diego Convention Center hosts ComicCon every year.
  • I think the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco is so lovely.
  • Have you ever been to Pier 39 in SF?

Businesses, organizations, programs, and sports teams

Officially formed groups and programs are capitalized.

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Days and months (but not the seasons)

This simple rule is always followed. Note: the seasons are capitalized when talking about semesters in college.

  • I will see you on Wednesday.
  • My birthday is in October.
  • I love the spring. The air smells so good!
  • I will attend Grossmont College for Fall 2018.
    English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Religions

Religions are always capitalized.

  • My family is Catholic.
  • My neighbors practice Islam.
  • We are learning about Buddhism in school.

Languages

Languages are capitalized when written in English.

  • I will be studying English in San Francisco this fall.
  • She speaks Farsi and German.
  • I would love to improve my English phrasal verbs.

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Holidays and festivals

Official holidays, festivals, and celebrations are capitalized.

  • What are your plans for Thanksgiving?
  • I love dressing up for Halloween. It’s my favorite time to be in the U.S.!
  • San Diego’s Little Italy hosts the Art Walk every spring.

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Periods of time

Periods of time that have official names are capitalized.

  • Dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era.
  • I enjoy art from the Middle Ages.
  • When did World War II officially end?

Visiting Sacramento, California’s Capital

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

The word “capital” is often confused with the word “capitol.” Do you know the difference? A capital is the government headquarters, but a capitol is the actual building.

The most famous cities in California are probably San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles . . . but the state’s capital, Sacramento, deserves some attention! Have you been to Sacramento? This beautiful city is located between two rivers and is known for its diverse population, tree-lined streets, historic Old Sacramento, incredible restaurants, and sports teams.

In honor of all things related to “capital and capitol” (in language, government, and architecture), we are looking at some of the highlights of Sacramento. Here are a few things you should see and do on a trip to Sacramento, California.

Old Sacramento

What did California look like in the 1800s? A trip to Old Sacramento will give you an excellent idea! This eight-block area has over 100 shops, restaurants, and many museums. Visit the old schoolhouse, take a ghost tour, ride a classic horse carriage, learn about the Gold Rush with the Gold Fever tour, and ride a riverboat before having dinner on the Delta King, a floating hotel and restaurant.

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Sacramento Capitol building

Before seeing the government at work, walk the beautiful parks of the Sacramento Capitol. Go inside for a tour and to visit the museum: you will learn about California’s history while seeing beautiful architecture. Afterwards, visit one of the many award-winning restaurants in the area . . . or take the quick walk to Old Sacramento.

Farm-to-fork dining

Sacramento is known for its restaurants, particularly the restaurants that use farm-to-table (also called “farm-to-fork”) dining. In this concept, the chef has close relationships with local farmers and buys the restaurant’s ingredients directly from the farmers. This allows the chef to control the quality of the ingredients.

English Capitalization Rules + A Trip to Sacramento, California’s Capital

Sacramento Kings and Sacramento River Cats

While in Sacramento, check out a basketball or baseball game! An evening at a Sacramento Kings game is full of excitement and energy. During the warmer months, enjoy beautiful Raley Field and a River Cats baseball game. Play ball!

Photos from Pixabay. River Cats photo from River Cats Facebook. 

 

Grammar

Prepositions of Time (AT, IN, ON) in English

August 1, 2017

Prepositions can be difficult for English language learners. One way to practice them is to learn them in stages: for example, learn English prepositions of location, then learn prepositions of time. Read on to learn about the prepositions of time AT, IN, and ON.

Prepositions of Time (AT, IN, ON) in English

Prepositions of Time (AT, IN, ON) in English

AT

We use the preposition AT to talk about a precise time.

  • I’ll see you at noon.
  • Let’s meet at 4 pm.
  • The show starts at 10:30.
  • CISL classes begin at 9 am.
  • At sunset, we always take a photo.
  • I went to bed at sunrise after a long night of traveling.

The preposition AT can also be used with many expressions.

  • at night
  • at the same time
  • at the moment
  • at present

Prepositions of Time (AT, IN, ON) in English

ON

We use the preposition ON to talk about specific days and dates.

  • I will see you on Sunday for brunch.
  • On Fridays, CISL has a graduation ceremony for students.
  • My daughter was born on October 8.
  • On January 1 the law will change.
  • On New Year’s Eve, we celebrate with champagne.
  • I’m going to eat a lot of cake on my birthday!

Prepositions of Time (AT, IN, ON) in English

IN

We use the preposition IN to talk about things that happen during a period of time, such as months, years, or centuries.

  • I am always happier in the summertime.
  • In the 80s my parents wore some crazy clothes!
  • In the past, we communicated less. Now, with technology, communicating is easy.
  • In the future, do you think we will have flying cars?
  • In September, we go back to school.
  • I’m going to eat a lot of cake on my birthday!

Prepositions of Time (AT, IN, ON) in English

IN vs. ON

Just as the preposition AT is used with specific expressions, IN and ON are also used with expressions. IN is used for general times and ON is used for the times of specific days.

  • in the morning vs. on Sunday morning
  • in the mornings vs. on Sunday mornings
  • in the afternoon vs. on Sunday afternoon
  • in the afternoons vs. on Sunday afternoons

For more on prepositions, check out our articles about Prepositions of Location and Prepositions of Time

 

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English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN) + SF’s Best Beaches

July 1, 2017

Prepositions are some of the most difficult aspects of English for many language learners: especially English prepositions of location such as AT, ON, and IN. (These are also called prepositions of place.) Learn how to use them properly to avoid confusion! Since CISL offers English courses in San Diego and San Francisco, we can’t think of a better way to practice English prepositions of location than to use examples of these prepositions in relation to something every Californian loves: the beach!

English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

She is AT the beach, ON the sand, and IN the sun. Lucky girl!

English uses AT, ON, and IN for prepositions of location.

AT

The preposition AT can be used for a location, to show a destination, and to show a direction that something moved.

For location:

  • I’m at the store. Do you need anything?
  • I will call you when I’m at home.
  • Meet me at the coffee shop in Little Italy.

For a destination:

  • We will arrive at the final stop soon.
  • I thought the drive would be long, but before I knew it, we were at home!

For a direction:

  • Why are you looking at me?
  • In dodgeball, you have to throw the ball at the other players to try to hit them. (Notice how this is different than throwing a ball TO someone. When you throw a ball TO someone, they try to catch it. When you throw a ball AT someone, you are trying to hit them!)

ON

The preposition ON is used when we speak about the surface of a space. Imagine that something is on top of an area, not inside.

  • I was tanning on the beach when I saw dolphins!
  • I spilled coffee on my shirt.
  • They put some plants on the walkway of the house.
  • I was jumping on the bed and I fell.
English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

Do you get IN the water when you are AT the beach? Or do you stay ON the sand?

IN

The preposition IN is used when we speak about the area of a space. Imagine that something is inside of a space or area.

  • I am in my room.
  • She is still sleeping in her bed.
  • She won’t be in the office this week. She is sick.
English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

IN the wave or ON the wave? Both, actually!!!

Practice: IN or ON?

The prepositions IN and ON are often confused. Try this lesson to see if you understand the difference. Remember: when choosing the preposition, ask yourself if it is inside of a space or on top of a space.

  1. CISL is located __________ San Francisco and San Diego.
  2. The San Francisco location is __________ the top floor of a building.
  3. The school is also located __________ Market Street.
  4. Some students live __________ a hotel __________ San Francisco.
  5. The school is __________ Market Street; Market Street is __________ the Financial District.
  6. The other campus is __________ San Diego.
  7. The school is __________ a modern building.
  8. The building is __________ Broadway.

The answers are at the bottom of this page.

SF’s Best Beaches

San Diego gets all the credit for having beautiful beaches, but the truth is that all of California offers stunning coastline! Have you explored these five beaches that we consider to be SF’s best?

Ocean Beach

Surfers love Ocean Beach for its strong waves, and locals love it because it is a place where they have beach bonfires. Ocean Beach is also the perfect place to watch the sun set in SF!

wavy

A post shared by joe bennett (@tk.joe) on

How to get there:

Take the 5R bus to the La Playa and Fulton St. stop.

Baker Beach

Baker Beach provides visitors with a beautiful view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Yes, the beach is also a nude beach, but locals know that it is so much more: because fewer people visit Baker Beach than Ocean Beach, it’s a much quieter and more peaceful place for relaxing. Many couples come to Baker Beach to take their engagement or wedding photos, which prove that it’s a romantic beach spot!

How to get there:

Take bus 7 to Lincoln Way and 21st Ave,; transfer to the 29 Baker Beach bus and get off at Lincoln Blvd. and Bowley Ave.

Aquatic Park

Aquatic Park is actually a protected beach and swimming area in the San Francisco Bay. The protective cove makes it a safe place to swim, and Alcatraz and Marin are beautiful backdrops to your day at the beach. The best part? Across the street from the beach is Ghirardelli Square, so visitors have a delicious option for post-swimming dining!

How to get there:

Take bus 47 to Fishermen’s Wharf. Get off at Van Ness and North Point St.

Answers:

  1. CISL is located IN San Francisco and San Diego. (The school is inside the area of San Diego and San Francisco.)
  2. The San Francisco location is ON the top floor of a building. (The school is located on top of 
  3. The school is also located ON Market Street.)
  4. Some students live IN a hotel IN San Francisco. (The students live inside of the hotel; the hotel is located inside of the area of San Francisco.)
  5. The school is ON Market Street; Market Street is IN the Financial District. (The school is on the area of Market street and is located inside of the area of the Financial District.)
  6. The other campus is IN San Diego. (The school is inside the area of San Diego.)
  7. The school is IN a modern building. (The school is inside of a building.)
  8. The building is ON Broadway. (The school is on the area of Broadway St.)
California Life Featured Grammar San Diego

Omitting “That” in Relative Clauses + 10 Fascinating Facts about SD

June 1, 2017

We all know that San Diego is famous for its stunning beaches and amazing weather, but the city is also impressive for many other things! Before studying English at CISL in San Diego, check out these 10 fascinating facts about SD. They give you a fun look at what makes America’s Finest City so great!

1o Fascinating Facts about SD

#1: San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.

Maybe this is why we put avocado on everything? Especially burritos! Make sure you have the city’s famous California Burrito while visiting: read about California’s burrito culture before chowing down!

Fascinating Facts about SD

Not all burritos were created equal: a San Diegan wouldn’t touch this burrito until they added guacamole to it!

#2: Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened  in 1969.

Today, the bridge is a famous landmark and the entryway to beautiful Coronado . . . although you can also take the Coronado Ferry from the Embarcadero for a more fun way to arrive on Coronado Island!Fascinating Facts about SD

#3: San Diego has over 7,000 farms (more than any other city in the United States).

Maybe that is why our farmer’s markets are so great! CISL San Diego students who live in Little Italy are just one street away from the incredible Little Italy Farmer’s Market; students can also visit the Hillcrest Market on Sundays and the Ocean Beach Market on Wednesday evenings.Fascinating Facts about SD

#4: San Diego’s Embarcadero is home to the Star of India, the world’s oldest sailing ship.

The ship was built in 1863 and still is an active sailing ship! Visitors can check it out (and even ride on it)!

#5: It’s against the law to swim in any of the lakes in San Diego.

But they’re still worth a visit: the lakes are beautiful and you can still kayak, canoe, and fish. Check out our Guide to San Diego Lakes for more information.

Fascinating Facts about SD

Lake Cuyamaca

#6: The Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure.

It also was home to the first electric-lit outdoor Christmas tree in 1904. These days, it’s located on the #1 Beach in the U.S. and the hotel is still a popular Christmas destination thanks to its outdoor (beachside!) ice skating rink.Fascinating Facts about SD

#7: San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s through the late 1970s.

Many of the fishermen were Italian, and their charming homes can still be seen in Little Italy, which is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the United States.

Fascinating Facts about SD

The murals in Little Italy celebrate the neighborhood’s Italian history. 

#8: San Diego was home to famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

His real name was Ted Geisel. Would you like to read more in English? Check out our Guide to Novels in English for some suggestions.

#9: The San Diego Zoo is a large part of the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy.”

However, the scenes were actually filmed at the old Los Angeles Zoo, not at the San Diego Zoo. Check out our list of Movies Set in California for some more famous locations on the big screen!

#10: San Diego’s Museum of Man (in Balboa Park) houses one of the most important collections of Ancient Egyptian antiques in the country.

The museum has real mummies and seven painted wooden coffins! One of the coffins, the Ptolemaic child’s coffin, is one of only six in the world. Balboa Park is an excellent place to explore: read our Insider’s Guide to Balboa Park for some ideas.Fascinating Facts about SD

To read the full list of San Diego facts, visit Movoto.

Relative Clauses: Omitting “THAT”

Each of the above facts can be rephrased as a question in order to ask someone if they know a fact.

Did you know . . .

  • that San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.?
  • that Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened  in 1969? 
  • that San Diego has over 7,000 farms?
  • that San Diego’s Embarcadero is home to the Star of India, the world’s oldest sailing ship? 
  • that it’s against the law to swim in any of the lakes in San Diego?
  • that he Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure? 
  • that San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s through the late 1970s?
  • that San Diego was home to famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss?
  • that the San Diego Zoo is a large part of the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy?”
  • that San Diego’s Museum of Man (in Balboa Park) houses one of the most important collections of Ancient Egyptian antiques in the country?

Each of these sentences has the word “that.” However, this word can also be omitted and each sentence will still be grammatically correct.

Did you know . . .

  • San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.?
  • Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened  in 1969? 
  • San Diego has over 7,000 farms?
  • San Diego’s Embarcadero is home to the Star of India, the world’s oldest sailing ship? 
  • it’s against the law to swim in any of the lakes in San Diego?
  • the Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure? 
  • San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s through the late 1970s?
  • San Diego was home to famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss?
  • the San Diego Zoo is a large part of the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy?”
  • San Diego’s Museum of Man (in Balboa Park) houses one of the most important collections of Ancient Egyptian antiques in the country?

Why is this? THAT in these sentences is not necessary. Let’s see why.

These sentences have two parts. The main clause and the relative clause.

  • Did you know + that + subject + verb 
  • Did you know + subject + verb 

The main clause (“did you know”) is the main part of the sentence. It has a subject (you) and a verb (know). All clauses have a subject and a verb.

These relative clauses begin with a relative pronoun (“that”) and include a subject and a verb. (Relative clauses can also start with other words, such as “who” or “which,” but we are only focuses on relative clauses with “that.”) The relative clause works in relation to the main clause. In this case, the relative clause is the thing we are asking if the other person knows.

Why can we remove the word THAT from these sentences? Because the relative clause already has a subject and a verb.

  • Did you know San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.?

(“San Diego” is the subject and “produces” is the object.)

There are times when we cannot omit the relative clause (“that”). This happens when the word “that” is the subject.

  • Did you know that man who said hello to you?
  • Do you want that piece of cake?
  • Does she need that set of keys?

As you can see, these questions are different: they are not asking a person if they know pieces of information or facts.

What did we learn? We learned (that) we can omit the word “that” from questions about facts or information. And, as you can see from the last sentence, we also learned (that) we can remove the word “that” when reporting about things we learned!

For more information on relative clauses, check out some of our article on Defining and Non-Defining Relative Clauses.