English for beginners

Guys, I must ask the question finally: one of (many) things that keep me bound to this forum is that I can talk to native English speakers. I have hardly any opportunities to speak English: twice a year a group from Israel in my office; a business trip to Sweden/Denmark every 2 years; twice I managed to go to London.

Could you spend any time to teach us (non-native speakers) live English? I mean answering simple questions, e.g.:

Nah, just saw it posted at /r/unixporn

I was taught that just usually goes together with have, like I've just seen.

Thanks for understanding, if possible.

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I was being lazy. I should have written No, I have just seen that at /r/unixporn

is a sufficient explanation. Thank you!

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Nice thread.

Can someone explain to me the differences between present perfect and past simple in this one expamle:

I read this book.
I have read this book.

Teacher told me that present perfect, underline this action like: “No jokes, I really read that book, I swear” and I was like wtf, is that true?

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Not exactly; it’s more of a subtle difference as to when the action occurred. Both those statements are grammatically accurate in that you have read a particular book.

Simple past usually means you have recently completed some action.

Q: Did you do the homework?
A: I read the book.

So you read the book as part of the current assignment.

Present perfect the time of the action is indefinite.

Q: Did you do the homework?
A: I have read the book.

Can mean you have already read the book, but not necessarily as part of the current assignment.


Q: What did you do for Winter Break?
A: I traveled to Spain, and Negata showed me around Madrid.

Q: Have you ever been to Europe?
A: I have traveled to Spain.

English verb conjugation is the most difficult.. It’s barely taught in schools any more.


LOL, come to Poland! Our English teachers consider this the basic knowledge. :smiley:

What the hell does “present perfect” mean? :confused:

Most native English speakers don’t really know the rules and make it up as they go along. This confounds the rule-makers because they have to keep changing the “rules” to reflect modern usage.

Pro Tip: ignore the rules.


You bet, same thing in French where I live, they keep changing them, even the teachers don t know how to spell or write it themselves !


lol, pretty much it @Head_on_a_Stick !

Use to be that way here in the US as well. Schools started dropping it in the late 1970’s early 1980’s.

Most schools only teach past, present, future tense for verb conjugation.

In many ways, that is the root of many issues non-native English speakers have in an English language forum. You have been taught proper English, but then have to reconcile it with colloquial English. As an average American, I can say with confidence we don’t typically speak or write the way you’re being taught.

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I know. This was the main reason why I opened this thread. If it comes to rules: one does not need them to learn their native language. I know English grammar much better than the Polish one. No other way to learn a language at school.

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As a Kiwi, I agree with this statement.


Bet that it s like that at most places.

Do you have access to American television shows in English? YouTube maybe.

Watch a game show ( but not Jeopardy), a comedy, and a police show. It will be like emersion therapy.

Jeopardy is not the show to watch because it is backwards. You’re given the answer, then respond with the question.

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Sure, but I can’t turn off the Polish voiceover before my wife goes to bed. It’s usually 2 am, and at this hour I only understand python. :wink:



Ok, there is around 12 tenses, do you use them all? or which one?

No, just past, present, future.

I have been taught that past (for example) divides on:
Past simple
Past continous
Past perfect
Past perfect continous

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Sir, I read this and thought you might had forgotten about Past Perfect. Since it occured, I have also been thinking about Present Perfect Continuous. :rofl:

Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re using a certain tense.