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Backlog Analysis
Backlog Analysis: unlearn typical English mistakes
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Backlog Analysis: unlearn typical English mistakes

Isn’t it frustrating: it is always the same mistakes that
prevent you from getting that better mark in your English tests.
How can you unlearn those mistakes?

Don’t try too much at a time. Instead, concentrate on just one
typical mistake. Go through the explanations and exercises in
your grammar reference or textbook. When reading English texts,
look out for that specific grammar aspect.

Our backlog analysis contains 26 typical problems. We show you
where on ego4u you'll find relevant explanations, exercises and
tips. Take the print out of our analysis and your last English
test and consult your English teacher. Look through the test
together and pick out one problem. Write down the category … and
start unlearning that problem.
If you’ve unlearned the mistake by the next test, you can tackle
the next problem.

What’s the problem?

Click on a topic to see all relevant explanations, exercises and
tips, we have on ego4u.

Print Version of our Backlog Analysis (PDF format) (60,33 KiB)
1. Singular and Plural Form of Nouns
2. Article
3. Pronouns
4. some/any and much/many
5. Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers
6. Date and Time
7. Prepositions
8. Comparison of Adjectives
9. Form and Comparison of Adverbs
10. Adjectives and Adverbs
11. Affirmative Sentences (Word Order)
12. Positions of Adverbs
13. Negative Sentences
14. Questions
15. Use of Tenses
16. Form of Tenses
17. Conditional Sentences (if clauses)
18. Auxiliary Verbs
19. Short Answers
20. Phrasal Verbs
21. Infinitive
22. Gerund
23. Participles
24. Relative Clauses
25. Reported Speech
26. Passive Voice

Backlog Analysis: unlearn typical English mistakes

1. Singular and Plural Forms of Nouns

Check out the following sites to find explanations, exercises
and tips on singular and plural forms of nouns.

Nouns - Plural
Singular or Plural?

Nouns - Articles, Plural und Possessive Case

Important things to keep in mind when using nouns are which
article to use and how to form the plural and how to form the
possessive case.

Direct article - the

example: the house

Indirect article a / an

a - if the first letter of the following word is pronounced like
a consonant

example: a car, a university

an - if the first letter of the following word is pronounced
like a vowel

example: an apple, an hour


general rule: singular form + s

example: a car - two cars

after s, ch, x, z the plural is formed by adding es

example: a box - two boxes
y after a consonant is changed to ie before the plural s

example: a city - two cities

But: y after a vowel is not changed

example: a boy - two boys

After o the plural is usually formed by adding es (this is not
the case, however, with words used for electric gadgets and
music: radio, video, disco)

example: a tomato - two tomatoes

Possessive Case of Nouns

adding 's of phrase

usually used for usually used for
people things

Ronny's brother the name of the

If there is a relation to people when using the possessive case
with unanimated things, often the s is added instead of using an
of phrase.

example: Germany's economy or the ecomony of Germany

When using the possessive case with a time, s is added.

example: a three week's holiday

Exercise on indirect articles
Exercise on direct articles
Exercise - singular or plural?
Exercise on the possessive case of nouns

Exercise and Answer: - IV

I. Indirect Articles
Which indirect article is correct?

1. a key
2. a bus
3. an orange
4. an apple
5. a watch
6. an ice-cream
7. an umbrella
8. a university
9. an 8-year-old girl
10. an hour

II.Direct Article

Decide whether you must or must not use the direct article.

1. We went to the cinema.
2. We usually have - dinner at seven o'clock.
3. He plays - tennis very well.
4. Can you play the guitar?
5. This is my last year at - school.
6. Jane loves listening to the radio.
7. They went to London by - plane.
8. We are going to see my cousins on - Sunday.
9. Last night at eight we were watching the news on BBC.
10. That was an important day in - history.

III.Singular or Plural?

Fill the gaps with the correct form of the nouns (singular or

1. They ate some tomatoes .
2. You can put sugar in your tea.
3. We have to buy new furniture .
4. I need to wash my hair .
5. We had lots of fun .
6. The Milfords have a lot of money .
7. How many people were at the cinema with you?
8. Could you give some information on your project?
9. In this hotel, families are very welcome.
10. Those men seem to be very tired.

IV.Possessive Case

Fill the gaps with the possessive case of nouns. Decide whether
you have to use 's or an of phrase.

1. The boy has a toy. → It's the boy's toy .
2. Peter has a book. → It's Peter's book .
3. The magazine has my picture on its cover. → My picture is on the
cover of the magazine .
4. Our friends live in this house. → It's our friends' house .
5. There is milk in the glass. → It's a glass of milk .
6. This house has a number. → What is the number of this house ?
7. The walk lasts two hours. → It's a two-hours' walk .
8. John has a sister, Jane. → Jane is John's sister .
9. The film has a name, "Scream". → "Scream" is the name of the
film .
10. This school is for girls only. → It's a girls' school .

3. Pronouns
Check out the following sites to find explanations, exercises
and tips on pronouns.

Pronouns (personal, possessive, relative and reflexive
Personal Pronouns - Subject Form
Personal Pronouns - Object Form
Possessive Adjectives
Possessive Pronouns
Reflexive Pronouns I
Reflexive Pronouns II
Relative Pronouns (see relative clauses)

Pronouns (Personal, Possessive, Relative and Reflexive Pronouns)
Webtip: Check your grammar and spelling, analyze entire
sentences and enrich your writing with more then 600 letter

Pronouns are words like I, me (personal pronouns) or my, mine
(possessive pronouns).

Possessive Adjectives and
Personal Pronouns
subject object possessive possessive
form form adjective pronoun

I me my mine myself

you you your yours yourself

he him his his himself

she her her hers herself

it it its its itself

we us our ours ourselves

you you your yours yourselves

they them their theirs themselves

Personal Pronouns - Subject Form

example: We have got some books.

Exercise on personal pronouns - subject form

Personal Pronouns - Object Form

example: The books are for us.
Exercise on personal pronouns - object form

Possessive Adjectives

example: These are our books.

Exercise on possessive adjectives

Possessive Pronouns

example: The books are ours.

Exercise on possessive pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns

example: He can carry the bags himself.

Exercise on reflexive pronouns

Exercise on reflexive and reciprocal pronouns

Relative Pronouns

example: This is the man who lives next door.

Exercise on relative pronouns (see relative clauses)

Mixed Exercises

Exercise on personal pronouns and possessive adjectives

Exercise and Answer

Personal Pronouns - Subject

Replace the words in brackets by the correct personal pronouns.
Note that Sue is the person speaking. The (*) means that you are
asked a question.

1. My name is Sue. I am English. And this is my family.
2. My mum's name is Angie. She is from Germany.
3. Bob is my dad. He is a waiter.
4. On the left you can see Simon. He is my brother.
5. We are twins.
6. Our dog is a girl, Judy. She is two years old.
7. We live in Canterbury.
8. It is not far from London.
9. My grandparents live in London. They often come and see us.
10. What can you tell me about your family?

Personal Pronouns Object

Aaron was on a business trip to California. He shows you the
souvenirs he got for his family.

Fill in the correct pronouns.

1. My sister Jane loves books. This novel is for her.
2. My children like Disney films. The video is for them.
3. My brother Matt collects picture postcards. These postcards are
for him.
4. My parents like Latin music. The CD is for them.
5. I like watches. This nice watch is for me.
6. My wife and I love sweets. These sweets are for us.
7. My nephew likes cars. The toy truck is for him.
8. My neighbour wants to go to California next year. The guide book
is for her.
9. Here is another souvenir. I don't know what to do with it.
10. You know what? - It's for you.

Possessive Adjectives

Replace the personal pronouns by possessive adjectives.

1. Where are your friends now?
2. Here is a postcard from my friend Peggy.
3. She lives in Australia now with her family.
4. Her husband works in Newcastle.
5. His company builds ships.
6. Their children go to school in Newcastle.
7. My husband and I want to go to Australia, too.
8. We want to see Peggy and her family next winter.
9. Our winter!
10. Because it is their summer.

Possessive Pronouns
Replace the personal pronouns by possessive pronouns.

1. This book is yours.
2. The ball is mine.
3. The blue car is ours.
4. The ring is hers.
5. We met Paul and Jane last night. This house is theirs.
6. The luggage is his.
7. The pictures are hers .
8. In our garden is a bird. The nest is its .
9. This cat is ours.
10. This was not my fault. It was yours.

Reflexive Pronouns

Fill in the correct reflexive pronouns.

1. I did not want to believe it and then I saw the UFO myself.
2. The girl looked at herself in the mirror.
3. Freddy, you'll have to do your homework yourself.
4. You don't need to help them. They can do it themselves .
5. I introduced myself to my new neighbour.
6. Boys, can you make your beds yourselves ?
7. She made herself a pullover.
8. What happens when a fighting fish sees itself in the mirror?
9. The father decided to repair the car himself.
10. We can move the table ourselves .

Reflexive and Reciprocal Pronouns

Decide whether you have to use the reflexive pronoun, the
reciprocal pronoun (each other) or nothing.

1. John hurt himself when climbing the tree.
2. Peter and Sue helped each other with the homework.
3. I feel - much better today.
4. Did she make herself a cup of tea?
5. The wild monkey looked at itself in the mirror.
6. Brigit and Billy smiled at each other .
7. We're meeting - at the station.
8. During the meeting, Jane and Mary were talking to each other.
9. I don't remember - where we spent our holiday last year.
10. We need to concentrate -.

Relative Pronouns (who / which / whose)

Choose the correct relative pronoun (who, which, whose).

1. This is the bank which was robbed yesterday.
2. A boy whose sister is in my class was in the bank at that time.
3. The man who robbed the bank had two pistols.
4. He wore a mask which made him look like Mickey Mouse.
5. He came with a friend who waited outside in the car.
6. The woman who gave him the money was young.
7. The bag which contained the money was yellow.
8. The people who were in the bank were very frightened.
9. A man whose mobile was ringing did not know what to do.
10. A woman whose daughter was crying tried to calm her.
11. The car which the bank robbers escaped in was orange.
12. The robber whose mask was obviously too big didn't drive.
13. The man who drove the car was nervous.
14. He didn't wait at the traffic lights which were red.
15. A police officer whose car was parked at the next corner
stopped and arrested them.

Exercises “Little Red Riding Hood” – Teil 1

Fill the gaps with the correct pronouns.

1. Once upon a time there was a girl called Little Red Riding Hood.
Together with her mum, she lived in a big forest.
2. One fine day, Little Red Riding Hood’s mother said, “ Your
grandma is ill. Please go and take this cake and a bottle of
wine to her. Grandma’s house is not too far from our house, but
always keep to the path and don’t stop!”
3. So, Little Red Riding Hood made her way to Grandma’s house.
4. In the forest she met the big bad wolf.
5. Little Red Riding Hood greeted him and the wolf asked:
6. “Where are you going, Little Red Riding Hood?”
7. “To my grandma’s house.” answered Little Red Riding Hood.
8. “Can you tell me where your grandma lives?”
9. “ She lives in a little cottage at the edge of the forest.”
10. “Why don’t you pick some nice flowers for her?” asked the wolf.
11. “That’s a good idea.” said Little Red Riding Hood and began
looking for flowers. Meanwhile, the wolf was on his way to
grandma’s house.
12. The house was quite small but nice and its roof was made out of
13. The wolf went inside and swallowed poor old Grandma. After that
he put Grandma’s clothes on and lay down in her bed.

Exercises “Little Red Riding Hood” – Teil 2

Fill the gaps with the correct pronouns.

1. Some time later, Little Red Riding Hood came to the little
cottage. She went inside and was shocked by the sight of her
2. “Oh grandma, what big eyes, hands and mouth you have got!”
Little Red Riding Hood said.
3. There, the wolf jumped out of bed and swallowed her, too.
4. Then he lay down again and fell asleep.
5. After a while, the hunter passed by Grandma’s house. He heard
somebody snoring, thought that there was something wrong and
consequently went inside.
6. In the bedroom, he saw the wolf.
7. First, the hunter wanted to shoot him, but then he saw the
wolf’s big belly.
8. So, the hunter took out his knife and cut the belly open.
9. Out came Little Red Riding Hood and her grandma.
10. “Thank you for saving us,” whispered Little Red Riding Hood.
11. Then, all of them went to fetch some stones and put them in the
wolf’s belly.
12. Soon the wolf woke up. He was very thirsty and went to the well
in the garden to drink some water.
13. When the wolf wanted to lean over and drink, the stones in his
belly were too heavy and pulled him down into the well.
14. Grandma, the hunter and Little Red Riding Hood were happy, ate
their cake and drank the wine.
15. But the wolf in the well thought, “Why do such things always
happen to me?”
4. Some/Any, Much/Many
Check out the following sites to find explanations, exercises
and tips on some/any and much/many.

Some and Any
Much and Many

Some / any

Exercises on some and any

The words some and any are used for countable and uncountable
nouns. In general, we could say that some means a few / a little
and any means none in negative clauses or a few / a little in

Positive Clauses

In positive clauses, we usually use some.
I have bought some bread.
I have bought some apples.

Negative Clauses

In negative clauses, we use any. Note, however, that any alone
is not a negative - it must be not ... any
I have not bought any bread.
I have not bought any apples.


In questions, we usually use any.
Have you bought any bread?
Have you bought any apples?

Compound Words with some / any

Some / any can also be part of compound words such as:
 something / anything
 someone / anyone
 somewhere / anywhere
Note that some / any have to be used with a noun while compound
words with some / any can stand on their own.
I have bought some bread.
I have bought something.

However, some and any need not stand directly before the noun.
Sometimes, the noun appears somewhere before some or any and is
not repeated. So if you are not sure whether to use some or
something for example, check if there is a noun in the sentence
that you can place after some.
I do not have to buy bread. Rachel has already bought some


Positive Clauses with Any

We usually use some in positive clauses. But after never,
without, hardly, we use any.
We never go anywhere.
She did her homework without any help.
There’s hardly anyone here.

Also in if clauses, we usually use any.
If there is anything to do, just call me.

Questions with Some

We usually use any in questions. But if we expect or want the
other to answer ‚yes‘, we use some.
Have you got any brothers and sisters?
→ some people have brothers or sisters, others don't - we
cannot expect the answer to be ‚yes‘
Would you like some biscuits?
→ we offer something and want to encourage the other to say

Exercises on Some and Any
 Some / Any Exercise 1, Exercise 2
 Someone / Anyone
 Something / Anything
 Somewhere / Anywhere

Mixed Exercises
 Exercise 1
 Exercise 2
 Exercise 3

Exercises with Exceptions
 Exercise 1 - Exceptions in positive clauses
 Exercise 2 - Exceptions in positive clauses
 Exercise 3 - Exceptions in positive clauses and questions
 Exercise 4 - Exceptions in positive clauses and questions

Exercise and Answer:

Exercises on some / any

Exercise 1

Fill in the correct word (some or any).

1. Sue went to the cinema with some of her friends!
2. Jane doesn't have any friends.
3. Have you got any brothers or sisters?
4. Here is some food for the cat.
5. I think you should put some flowers on the table.
6. Could you check if there are any calls on the answering
7. I don't want any presents for my birthday.
8. Did they have any news for you?
9. I'm hungry - I'll have some sandwiches.
10. There aren't any apples left.

Exercise 2

Fill in the correct word (some or any).
1. I need a hammer and some nails.
2. He does not want any help.
3. There are some sheep in the garden.
4. Do you know any famous people?
5. They often invite some friends to their home.
6. Do you have any idea what they are doing there?
7. Charly doesn't have any pets.
8. My little brother already knows some words in English.
9. My mum doesn't speak any foreign languages.
10. I've got some sweets for you.

someone / anyone

Fill in the correct word (someone or anyone).

1. I know someone who is 100 years old.
2. There is someone at the door.
3. Did anyone call?
4. There wasn't anyone at home.
5. I think there is someone in the bushes.
6. I won't tell anyone about your secret.
7. I didn't know the way, so I had to ask someone .
8. Has anyone seen my keys?
9. I would not give my bike to anyone .
10. This jacket does not belong to anyone of us.

something / anything

Fill in the correct word (something or anything).

1. Is there anything I could do for you?
2. There is something in your hair.
3. He said something stupid.
4. Did you buy anything ?
5. There isn't anything in the fridge.
6. Do you know anything about Ireland?
7. I couldn't see anything in the dark.
8. Bob asked her something .
9. I haven't heard anything of Sue for ages.
10. Has anything happened while I was away?
somewhere / anywhere

Fill in the correct word (somewhere or anywhere).

1. Have you seen my necklace anywhere ?
2. The restaurant must be somewhere around here.
3. My friend lives somewhere in Spain.
4. I cannot find my glasses anywhere .
5. Did you travel anywhere last weekend?
6. We have been somewhere near London.
7. Is Jane anywhere around?
8. I haven't seen her anywhere .
9. Have you parked your car anywhere near?
10. Let's go somewhere next weekend.

Mix - Exercise 1

Fill in the correct word.

1. Phil is watching something on TV.
2. Can you see Simon anywhere ?
3. My little sister doesn't eat anything with carrots.
4. My grandfather is someone who doesn't go anywhere near a
5. The accident happened somewhere near our school.
6. Does anyone speak Japanese?
7. Someone will wait for you at the station.
8. Your cup is somewhere in the kitchen.
9. Your room is still a mess. Have you cleaned up anything yet?

Mix - Exercise 2

Fill in the correct word.

1. I didn't know anyone at the party and they weren't playing any
good songs either.
2. Let's go somewhere and eat something .
3. I bought some cheese in the shop.
4. ' Anything else?' the shop assistant asked when she gave me the
5. I cannot see Charles anywhere . Are you sure he is here?
6. Laura is meeting some friends at the club tonight.
7. Will someone take you home or shall I pick you up?
8. Do you need any help?

Mix - Exercise 3

Fill in the correct word.

1. I would not go anywhere without you.
2. There is something I want to tell you.
3. The plates are somewhere in the cupboard.
4. Let's buy some postcards here, they are so nice.
5. Someone has left a message for you.
6. Did anyone call a taxi?
7. Do you know any songs by the Beatles?
8. I'm so hungry - I haven't eaten anything for hours.
9. I must find someone who can explain this to me.
10. There isn't a supermarket anywhere near us.

Exercise 1 - Exceptions in positive clauses

Fill in the correct word (some or any).

1. Danny has got some cool computer games.
2. I can do this exercise without any help.
3. Noreen never has any time.
4. There are some ice-creams in the freezer for you and your
5. I get hardly any pocket-money from my parents.
6. In the zoo, we saw some strange creatures.
7. Some windows were open.
8. Stuart never reads any books in his freetime.
9. My friend has a garden without any trees.
10. We hardly ever eat any junk food.

Exercise 2 - Exceptions in positive clauses

Fill in the correct word.

1. Gerald bought some flowers for me on the market.
2. He usually comes without any flowers.
3. Linda has never been anywhere abroad.
4. There was hardly anyone at the club last Saturday.
5. I must ask you something .
6. Sally works somewhere in town.
7. Tony can spend all day in a shopping centre without spending any
8. Jamie never does anything in the household.
9. Harry has been learning French for some years, and he speaks the
language without any problems.

Exercise 3 - Exceptions in positive clauses and questions

Fill in the correct word (some or any).

1. Would you like some biscuits?
2. No, thank you. But I'd like some orange juice, please.
3. I'm sorry. I don't have any orange juice. And there is hardly
any apple juice there, either. Would you like some milk?
4. I never drink any milk. Could I just have some water?
5. Of course. But why don't you want any biscuits?
6. I'm not hungry. I had eaten some sandwiches just before I came
7. I see, but I will put some on the table, anyway.

Exercise 4 - Exceptions in positive clauses and questions

Fill in the correct word.

1. When I am on holiday, I always buy something for my relatives.
2. When my brother is on holiday, he never sends a postcard to
anyone .
3. Do you know any punk groups?
4. Cindy speaks hardly any German.
5. Would you like some tea?
6. Yes, please. And could I have some sugar as well?
7. He left the house without having eaten anything .
8. Someone has sent you a letter.
9. I cannot go anywhere this afternoon.
10. She never told us anything about her journeys.
Much / many

Exercises on much and many

The words much and many mean a lot of.
 If a noun is in singular, we use much
much money
 If a noun is in plural, we use many
many friends

Use of much / many

In everyday English, we normally use much / many only in
questions and negative clauses.
How much money have you got?
Carla does not have many friends.

In positive clauses with so, as or too, we also use much / many.
Carla has so many friends.
She has as many friends as Sue.
Kevin has too much money.

In all other positive clauses, however, we prefer expressions
like a lot of / lots of.
Carla has a lot of / lots of friends.
Kevin has a lot of / lots of money.

In formal texts, however, much / many are also common in
positive clauses. This you will notice for example when you read
English news.

Countable / Uncountable Nouns

In connection with much / many people often speak of countable
nouns and uncountable nouns.
Countable nouns have a singular and a plural form. In plural,
these nouns can be used with a number (that's why they are
called 'countable nouns'). Countable nouns take many.
100 friends – many friends

Uncountable nouns can only be used in singular. These nouns
cannot be used with a number (that's why they are called
'uncountable nouns'). Uncountable nouns take much.
100 money – much money

Note: Of course you can count money – but then you would name
the currency and say that you have got 5 euro (but not
„5 money“).

Exercises on much and many
 Much / Many - Exercise 1
 Much / Many - Exercise 2
 Much / Many - Exercise 3
 Much / Many - Exercise 4
 Much / Many - Exercise 5

Exercise and Answer

Exercise 1

Decide whether you have to use much or many.

1. many cars much music
2. many pictures many flowers
3. much milk many numbers
4. much money much tea
5. many girls many pencils

Exercise 2

Decide whether you have to use much or many.

1. much food many evenings
2. many websites much sugar
3. many women much cheese
4. many children much time
5. many mice much information

Exercise 3

Decide whether you have to use much or many.

1. Jane hasn't got much time.
2. Do you know many words in English?
3. He didn't eat much meat.
4. There isn't much butter in the fridge.
5. How many eggs did the hens lay?
6. Samantha has as much money as Bruce.
7. How many lessons do you have on Mondays?
8. There was too much noise in the streets.
9. I cannot see many stars in the sky tonight.
10. Do you have many friends abroad?

Exercise 4

Decide whether you have to use much or many.

1. There is too much water in the bath tub.
2. How many brothers and sisters has Anne got?
3. I don't receive many letters nowadays.
4. How much rice do you eat per week?
5. I put too much salt in the soup.
6. How many people were at the party?
7. It doesn't make much sense.
8. There wasn't much traffic on the motorway.
9. My grandfather does not have much hair, anymore.
10. How many plates do we need?

Exercise 5

Decide whether you have to use much or many.

1. She has so many friends!
2. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
3. Hurry up. I don't have so much time.
4. We went to a dairy yesterday.I had never seen so many
cows before.
5. It's also quite amazing how much milk these cows
produce every day.
6. You have too much money. Won't you share it with me?
7. There are so many poor people in the world.
8. There are too many children in the house.
9. My father doesn't drink much coffee.
10. How many of you have ever been to London?

5. Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers

Check out the following sites to find explanations, exercises
and tips on cardinal and ordinal numbers.

Cardinal Numbers
Ordinal Numbers
Telephone Numbers
Zero, Nil, Nought, Oh or Love
Cardinal Numbers
Ordinal Numbers
Random Number Generator

Cardinal Numbers

Use our → number generator to see how to spell any desired

Table of Cardinal Numbers

Carcinal numbers from 1 through 1,000,000
1 one 11 eleven 21 twenty-one 31 thirty-one
2 two 12 twelve 22 twenty-two 40 forty
3 three 13 thirteen 23 twenty-three 50 fifty
4 four 14 fourteen 24 twenty-four 60 sixty
5 five 15 fifteen 25 twenty-five 70 seventy
6 six 16 sixteen 26 twenty-six 80 eighty
7 seven 17 seventeen 27 twenty-seven 90 ninety
8 eight 18 eighteen 28 twenty-eight 100 a/one hundred
9 nine 19 nineteen 29 twenty-nine 1,000 a/one thousand
10 ten 20 twenty 30 thirty 1,000,000 a/one million

Separation between hundreds and tens

Hundreds and tens are usually separated by 'and' (in American
English 'and' is not necessary).

110 - one hundred and ten
1,250 - one thousand, two hundred and fifty
2,001 - two thousand and one


Use 100 always with 'a' or 'one'.

100 - a hundred / one hundred

'a' can only stand at the beginning of a number.

100 - a hundred / one hundred
2,100 - two thousand, one hundred

Thousands and Millions

Use 1,000 and 1,000,000 always with 'a' or 'one'.

1,000 - a thousand / one thousand
201,000 - two hundred and one thousand

Use commas as a separator.


The Number 1,000,000,000

In English this number is a billion. This is very tricky for
nations where 'a billion' has 12 zeros. 1,000,000,000,000 in
English, however, is a trillion.
But don't worry, these numbers are even a bit problematic for
native speakers: for a long time the British 'billion' had 12
zeros (a number with 9 zeros was called 'a thousand million').
Now, however, also in British English 'a billion' has 9 zeros.
But from time to time this number still causes confusion (just
like this paragraph, I'm afraid). ;o)

Singular or Plural?

Numbers are usually written in singular.

two hundred Euros
several thousand light years

The plural is only used with dozen, hundred, thousand, million,
billion, if they are not modified by another number or
expression (e.g. a few / several).

hundreds of Euros
thousands of light years


Exercise on Spelling numbers

Ordinal numbers

Use our → number generator to see how to spell any desired

Table of Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal Numbers from 1 through 1,000,000
1 st first 11 th eleventh 21 st twenty-first 31 st thirty-
2 nd second 12 th twelfth
22 nd twenty-second 40 th fortieth
3 rd third 13 th thirteenth
23 rd twenty-third 50 th fiftieth
4 th fourth 14 th fourteenth
24 th twenty-fourth 60 th sixtieth
5 th fifth 15 th fifteenth
25 th twenty-fifth 70 th seventieth
6 th sixth 16 th sixteenth
26 th twenty-sixth 80 th eightieth
7 th seventh 17 th seventeenth
27 th twenty- 90 th ninetieth
8 th eighth 18 th eighteenth 28 th twenty-eighth 100 th one
9 th ninth 19 th nineteenth 29 th twenty- 1,000 th one
ninth thousandth
10 th tenth 20 th twentieth 30 th thirtieth 1,000,000 th one


Spelling of Ordinal Numbers

Just add th to the cardinal number:
 four - fourth
 eleven - eleventh

 one - first
 two - second
 three - third
 five - fifth
 eight - eighth
 nine - ninth
 twelve - twelfth

In compound ordinal numbers, note that only the last figure is
written as an ordinal number:
 421st = four hundred and twenty-first
 5,111th = five thousand, one hundred and eleventh


When expressed as figures, the last two letters of the written
word are added to the ordinal number:
 first = 1st
 second = 2nd
 third = 3rd
 fourth = 4th
 twenty-sixth = 26th
 hundred and first = 101st


In names for kings and queens, ordinal numbers are written in
Roman numbers. In spoken English, the definite article is used
before the ordinal number:
 Charles II - Charles the Second
 Edward VI - Edward the Sixth
 Henry VIII - Henry the Eighth

Exercise on Pronounciation of Ordinal Numbers

Phone Numbers

Each figure is said separately.

24 - two four

The figure 'O' is called oh.

105 - one oh five

Pause after groups of 3 or 4 figures (last group).

376 4705 - three seven six, four seven oh five

If two successive figures are the same, in British English you
would usually use the word double (in American English you would
just say the figure twice)

376 4775 - BE: three seven six, four double seven five
376 4775 - AE: three seven six, four seven seven five

The Figure »0«
nought - in general (British English)
zero - in general (American English)
- in measurements of temperature (British and
American English)
- in count-downs (British and American English)
- score in team games, e.g. football (American
oh - when each figure is said separately (e.g. in phone
numbers, account numbers etc.)
nil - score in team games, e.g. football (British
love - in tennis and similar games

6. Date and Time

Check out the following sites to find explanations, exercises
and tips on date and time.

What's the time? - ways to tell the time in English
Date - ways to write the date in English
Months and Days of the Week
Date - ways to read the date in English
Date - years
How to tell the time
How to read the date
How to write the date
Origin of the Names of the Months
Origin of the Days of the Week
Days of the Week
Date Generator (written and read)


Exercise on Telling the Time


There are two common ways of telling the time.

Formal but easier way

Say the hours first and then the minutes.

Example: 7:45 - seven forty-five

For minutes 01 through 09, you can pronounce the '0' as oh.

Example: 11:06 - eleven (oh) six

More popular way
Say the minutes first and then the hours. Use past and the
preceding hour for minutes 01 through 30. Use to and the
forthcoming hour for minutes 31 through 59, but .

Example: 7.15 - fifteen minutes past seven

Example: 7.45 - fifteen minutes to eight

Another possibility of saying '15 minutes past' is: a quarter

Another possibility of saying '15 minutes to' is: a quarter to

Another possibility of saying '30 minutes past' is: half past

Example: 5:30 - half past five



Use o'clock only at the full hour.

Example: 7:00 - seven o'clock (but 7:10 - ten past seven)

In English ordinary speech, the twelve-hour clock is used.

Beispiel: 17:20 - twenty past five

For times around midnight or midday you can use the expressions
midnight or midday / noon instead of the number 12.

Beispiel: 00:00 - midnight

Beispiel: 12:00 - midday or noon

To make clear (where necessary) whether you mean a time before
12 o'clock noon or after, you can use in the morning, in the
afternoon, in the evening, at night. Use in the morning before
12 o'clock noon, after 12 o'clock noon use in the afternoon.
When to change from afternoon to evening, from evening to night
and from night to morning depends on your sense of time.

Example: 3:15 - a quarter past three in the morning OR a
quarter past three at night

More formal expressions to indicate whether a time is before
noon or after are a.m. (also: am - ante meridiem, before noon)
and p.m. (also: pm - post meridiem, after noon). Use these
expression only with the formal way of telling the time.

Example: 3:15 - three fifteen a.m.

It is not usual to use a.m. and p.m. with past/to.

Example: 3:15 - fifteen minutes past three OR a quarter past

American English

Beside past Americans often use after.

Example: 06:10 - ten past/after six

But: in time expressions with half past it is not usual to
replace past by after.

Beside to Americans often use before, of or till.

Example: 05:50 - ten to/before/of/till six-

Dates in Written English

British English

In British English the day is usually put before the month. If
you wish, you can add the ending of the ordinal number. The
preposition of before the month is usually dropped. You can put
a comma before the year, but this is not common anymore in
British English.

Example: 5(th) (of) October(,) 2004

American English
In American English the month is usually put before the day. If
you wish, you can put the definite article before the day. It is
common to write a comma before the year.

Example: October (the) 5(th), 2004

You can also write the date by using numbers only. The most
common forms are:

Example: 5/10/04 or 5-10-04