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What's That? - The Little Words
Do you know how many stars there are?

What's That? - The Little Words

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and serious at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “What’s That?” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Little Words quiz”! If you hear a specific term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

Each time when you don't know the English name for something, you may ask 'What's that?' In this quiz, we will check your knowledge on the little words and test that you know the difference between them.

1.
Which of these is the right way to say it in English?
It is much grass in your front garden.
It gives much grass in your front garden.
There is a lot of grass in your front garden.
There are a lot of grass in your front garden.
Remember, you can't really count grass ... you would waste an awful lot of time trying!
2.
Which of these is the correct version of the old song title?
'There is fairies at the bottom of our garden.'
'There are fairies at the bottom of our garden.'
'It is fairies at the bottom of our garden.'
'Has fairies at the bottom of our garden.'
Only one of these is the right way in English. If you take it apart word-by-word, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense ... but then, what is the real Subject (grammatically) of 'Il y a ...' (in French), 'Es gibt ...' (German), 'Hay ...' (Spanish)? We need to be able to express this idea every day, and we're well used to doing it, but when you pause and think about it, it's a rather strange expression in many languages!
3.
Which of these is the right way to talk about the weather in English? (Some people believe that the English spend all their time discussing such things!)
There is not raining so hard now, as it was this morning.
It is not raining so hard now, as it was this morning.
There are not such hard rains hard now, as this morning.
It rains no more so hard as this morning.
Most weather phrases in English start with 'it ...'.
4.
Which is the correct way to express this information?
Excuse me, there gives a problem with the bill.
Excuse me, there is a problem with the bill.
Excuse me, is problem with bill.
Excuse me, has problem with a bill.
This is very similar to one of the earlier questions in the Quiz.
5.
Which of these is the only right way of saying it?
There is twenty past five, so we'll be on our way home very soon!
Has twenty past five, so we'll be on our way home very soon!
There are twenty past five, so we'll be on our way home very soon!
It is twenty past five, so we'll be on our way home very soon!
As with the weather, most simple English time expressions start with 'It ...'. You certainly do NOT need to think in the plural, just because there happen to be a lot of hours or minutes.
6.
Which of these is the only right way of saying it?
Is no shame in making a mistake - if nobody is hurt, and someone can learn from it.
It is no shame in making a mistake - if nobody is hurt, and someone can learn from it.
There is no shame in making a mistake - if nobody is hurt, and someone can learn from it.
There are no shame in making mistakes - if nobody is hurt, and someone can learn from it.
'Shame' is an un-countable noun, like 'love', so at least it can't be plural. Remember the earlier examples!
7.
Which of these is the only right way of saying it?
Oh look, there are sheep on the side of that hill.
Oh look, there is sheep on the side of that hill.
Oh look, is sheep on the side of that hill.
Oh look, have sheeps on the side of that hill.
Be careful: 'sheep' is exactly the same word when it means more than one animal; so you are more likely to see a group of them. What phrase do we use to point out more-than-one- of something?
8.
Which is the most correct way to finish this sentence (even if it may not be the most polite, or helpful!)?
However many Euros you lost down that drain, ...
... there are not my problem.
... there is not my problem.
... it is not my problem.
... are not my problem.
There may have been a lot of Euros, but the problem is one single thing: so you should not be looking at plural-form answers.
9.
Which is the best way to end this question?
Do you know how many stars ...
... there is?
... it is?
... there are?
... it has?
Hint: 'Stars' (the word, here) is clearly plural; and that will mean a change of form in English, even if not in your own language.
'Il y a 36 Etoiles' (not 'il y ont' !!); 'Es gibt 99 Sterne' (not 'es geben ...') ... but in English, with plural things we DO make a change.
The idea in this question comes from the first line of a German song for little children ('Weisst Du, wie viele Sterne steh'n ...?').
10.
Finally a quotation from a very famous English poem, 'The Old Vicarage, Grantchester' written in 1912 by Rupert Brooke:
'Stands the church clock at ten-to-three, and ...
... are there honey still for tea?'
... is it honey still for tea?'
... is there honey still for tea?'
... is some honey still for tea?'
Honey is un-countable, so the answer can't contain any reference to the plural. Otherwise this works just like three of the earlier examples, except that the phrase turns round because we are asking a question. You may never need to ask this exact question yourself, but you may well have to ask similar-shaped ones to find out if something exists, or is available - such as a queue, or even a/the Loch Ness Monster!
Author:  Ian Miles

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