Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 177 | Grammar | Verb Patterns

Two common verb patterns used in academic English are:

Verb + preposition + gerund

It works by adding particles to the cloud that attract water vapor.

Verbs that usually follow this pattern include admit to, believe in, benefit from, care about, concentrate on, cope with, decide against, depend on, disagree with, and object to.

Verb + object + to + base form

Chinese officials claim to have used the technique to trigger snowstorms in arid northern regions.

Verbs that usually follow this pattern include advise, allow, ask, encourage, expect, order, permit, persuade, remind, and warn.

Choose the correct form of the verbs to complete the sentences using the rules above.

  1. It’s essential that we allocate resources to support / supporting disaster victims.
  2. Limited people may be willing to make a change, but the whole of society will benefit from make / making these alterations.
  3. In general, governments don’t try to persuade people to make / making significant lifestyle changes.
  4. Due to a lack of empirical data, the government decided against building / build the proposed desalination plants.
  5. The company rules don’t permit / isn’t permitting employees to take their car to work.
  6. Controversially, the government decided against close / closing the nuclear power plant.


A nominal clause is a group of words that performance the same function as a noun. They can be the subject or object of a sentence; Example: Families are getting smaller (= subject) // The UN estimates that by 2030 the world will need 50% more food. (= object)

Nominal clauses include clauses which follow that, if/whether, and questions.


We’re back with a special review of something that I had already recovered in the previous season. There’s no harm in reviewing! So, with that being said, more emphasis can be placed on the result of unreal past conditionals using the following inverted construction; had + subject + (not) + past participle.

Had upbringing been taken into account, the importance given to genetics may have been lessened.

Had they not been raised in such an unstable environment, the twins may not have had such propensity for crime.

This can also be a useful structure for commenting on the results of someone else’s research;

The research suggests that had the group received a better education, they wouldn’t have gone on to exhibit criminal tendencies.

Use the prompts to write inverted conditional sentences.

  1. negative influence of her peers / might not develop criminal tendencies

I’d ague that _____________________________________________________________________.

2. Roberts not be labeled a criminal / he not go on to a life of crime

Lebert would argue that __________________________________________________________.

3. subjects raised in a more stable environment / they cause fewer problems at school.

It seems highly likely that _________________________________________________________.

4. they grow up in a more affluent area / far less likely to turn to crime.

This implies that __________________________________________________________________.

5. the study be conducted today / results may be different

Critics argue that __________________________________________________________________.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 106 – Grammar – Making Comparisons while Speaking

Yes! We’re back with making comparisons! Instead of doing the basic grammar stuff that I normally do, in this podcast (and blog) I’ll be talking about how you can make comparisons while speaking.


In spoken and written English, people often use the + comparative + the + comparative to mean, “if is more X, it will be more Y.”

Establishing the mass transit system is a good start for Bangkok. The sooner, the better. (it is best to start right away).

The longer I waited, the harder it was to change (as time passes, it became harder to change.)

Comparative forms of compound adjectives.

If the first word of the compound is an adjective (open minded, long lasting), use –er or more to make the comparative form. If the first word is not an adjectives (badly behaved), use more.

First, at the bottom, are the lower-level physiological needs.

I’d like a more expensive-looking watch.

A more culturally-driven approach is necessary.

Complete the sentences with more, the, or -er. If nothing is needed in a blank, write X.

  1. A problem for people is that ___________ messier their homes are, ______________ agitated they feel.
  2. Money can make you happy for a short time, but _____________ long ________-lasting happiness comes from friends and family.
  3. To use your time most wisely, experts advise us to do our _________________high____________-priority tasks earlier in the day, when we are more alert.
  4. According to a theory, ________________high______________a need is on the pyramid, ______________valuable it is.
  5. To overcome their problems, most people need the support of their family and friends. ______________more,_____________better.

Complete the sentences with your own ideas and opinions. Use comparative forms with The……the.

  1. In my opinion, the richer you are,……
  2. The older you are,…….
  3. The bigger your family is,……
  4. The more stressful your job is,….
  5. The more beautiful/handsome you are……

Complete the questions with the comparative form of the compound adjective in the parentheses.

  1. Would you do a ______________(low-paying) job if it was really interesting?
  2. If you could improve one thing about yourself, would you rather be ___________(good-looking) or _____________(well educated)?
  3. Are you _______________(open-minded) now than when you were a child?
  4. Which is a ________________(high-priority) need for you, your career or family?
  5. Which experience do you think is _____________(life-changing): starting university, starting a new career, or starting a family?


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 78 – Grammar – Advanced Future Forms

Advanced grammar for the future?! Oh, yes! You guys will be happy about this. This is the upper-intermediate version, so check out the rules, tune in and do some of these exercises down below!

Present continuous for future

We use the present continuous to talk about future arrangements; plans that have been confirmed.

Experts from around the world are meeting next month.

Present simple for future

We use the present simple to talk about the future when the action is part of a timetable or routine.

My train leaves at 9pm tomorrow.

Future continuous

We use the future continuous to talk about activities in progress at a particular time in the future. The activities are in progress and so they are unfinished.

At this time tomorrow, he’ll be flying to the US.

Future simple

We use the future perfect to talk about activities that will be finished by a certain time in the future.

I will have gone to bed by midnight.

We often use the preposition by with the future perfect. It means ‘some time before.’

Future perfect continuous

We use the future perfect continuous to talk about how long an activity will be in progress before a particular moment in the future.

By 8pm, I’ll have been revising history for five hours.

Be on the verge/point

We use be on the verge/point of to talk about something that is going to happen soon.

They are on the verge of winning the national championship.

Today’s podcast on Advanced Future Forms

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 30 – Grammar – Using Can for Universal Truths

Can is used to talk about things that are often true or that are possible.

(Be able to cannot) be used as a synonym for can in the sense.)

Handmade items are very beautiful.

Writers often hedge their use of can with adverbs such as sometimes, often, usually, and phrases such as in some cases, in some circumstances, and in some situations. This shows that the situation is not necessarily always true.

Handmade items can sometimes be very expensive.

Handsome items can be very expensive in some cases.

In some cases, handmade items can be very expensive.

Sentence Work

Rewrite the sentences with can to express a universal truth.

  1. It is relaxing to create art by hand. It can be relaxing to create art by hand.
  2. People are sometimes reluctant to pay more for imperfect items.
  3. Machinery is used to create things more quickly.
  4. Factories are located in both cities and small towns.
  5. Quilts are made by machine as well as by hand.
  6. People usually understand why handmade items cost more.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 15 – Grammar Skill – Past Simple, Continuous & Perfect

Welcome back to another podcast/blog on grammar!  Today I’m combining all three and putting it in bulk so you guys can do the exercises down below.  Here are the rules!

a. When I had gone to the store, I ran into one of my friends.

b. I went to the store and I bought some food for the Superbowl party.

c. While I was walking down the street, a woman asked me a question in regards to getting back to Bangkok.



  1. We use the ______to talk about actions that happened before another action in the past.
  2. We use the ______ to describe finished actions or situations in the past, or to say that one thing happened after another.
  3. We use the ______ to talk about activities in progress at moment in the past, to describe scenes in a story or description, or to talk about an activity in progress in the past that is interrupted by another action.

Additional Practice

Rewrite these sentences, first in the negative, form and then in question form. 

  1. He bought food.
  2. I was walking.
  3. She had gone to the store.


Complete the sentences with the past simple or past continuous form of these verbs: buy, catch, hear, look, ride, shine, snow, wait

  1. When I went for a run around 6:45 in the morning, the sun was __________________.
  2. I ___________ the 11:30am train to meet Frederick at the Opera House.
  3. When I got in line during the Black Friday sales, a lot of many were ______________ electronics.
  4. While I was ___________________ an elephant, I realized how unbelievable the sunset in Tanzania truly was.
  5. While I was _____________ in my bad, a lady swindled me.
  6. There was a massive delay heading into Hokkaido International Airport because it was ______________ pretty hard, reducing the visibility to 5 meters.
  7. As she was sitting on the chair, she _____________ her name called.
  8. She heard a loud bang when she was _____________ for the moped taxi to come, only to realize that it was the Tuk-Tuk driver’s exhaust pipe from across the road.

Task II

Write explanation in the past perfect.

  1. Example: Why was she crying? miss the plane

Because she had missed the plane.

2. Why couldn’t he find his car? somebody steal it

3. Why did they buy a new car?  have the old car for 5 years

4. Why were you scared of flying?  never fly before

5. Why was everything white in the morning? snow the night before

6. Why didn’t she pass her exam? not study much

7. Why didn’t she board the plane? lose passport

8. Why didn’t Shelia have any money? spend it

9. Why did you miss the bus? didn’t leave on time