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English Grammar – Top 7 Commonly Confused Uncountable Nouns

A noun is a word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality.  Seems simple enough but nouns can also be very confusing. For example, some people have a tough time distinguishing countable nouns and uncountable nouns. Certain words in the English language seem countable but are actually uncountable nouns. Let’s look at seven of them: 

1  Equipment 

♦  All medical equipment must be sterilised before use. 

♦  The photographer arrived at the venue early to set up his equipment.

NOTE: As ‘equipment’ is uncountable, we cannot say ‘an equipment’ or ‘equipments’. To refer to a single item of equipment, we say a piece of equipment. The same applies to ‘furniture’ and ‘luggage’.

2  Furniture 

♦  He likes to collect antique furniture

♦  We need to buy a few more pieces of furniture for the guest room. 

3  Luggage 

♦  You should never leave your luggage unattended. 

♦  Let’s drop our luggage off at the hotel and go sightseeing. 

4  Accommodation (mainly UK)

♦  There’s a shortage of affordable accommodation in major cities like London.

♦  The cost includes flight, accommodation and meals. 

NOTE: ‘accommodations’ (plural) is used in the US.

5  Feedback 

♦  The new programme received a lot of positive feedback from viewers. 

♦  Please give us your feedback by completing this questionnaire. 

6  Evidence 

♦  Scientific evidence shows a link between smoking and lung cancer.

♦  Two pieces of evidence incriminating him were found last week.

7  Research 

♦  They are conducting some fascinating research on animal languages. 

♦  It was a useful piece of research

 

Finally, in case you didn’t know, money is uncountable BUT dollars, pounds and other monetary units are countable. 🙂

 

Sponge ME, English Tuition (Singapore)

Testimonials from Ethan, Junyi, Darrell, Yishan, Wan Qing and Rui Yang (English Tuition)

English Tuition O-Level Class 2019

Teacher Adeline is the best English teacher I’ve ever had. She is patient and puts in great effort in explaining / teaching / enlightening me while making the class interesting with her humour. Thank you, teacher!

Ethan Lim, Anglo-Chinese School Independent

 

This tutor is a responsible, funny, logical, practical, passionate and sleep-deprived workaholic. 😂

Guo Junyi, Bukit View Secondary School

 

Adeline is able to get the class to listen. She is also very good at making us laugh. I feel that her English tuition has helped me a lot, especially when it comes to planning situational writing and answering different types of comprehension questions.

Darrell Cher, Montfort Secondary School

 

This is a very engaging class. All areas are well-covered and clearly explained. Feedback on homework is especially helpful. Thank you! 😊

Koh Yishan, CHIJ St. Joseph

 

A very good and useful tuition conducted by a funny, knowledgeable and wise tutor. 😊

Tan Wan Qing, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School

 

Everything is good and the tutor is very cool. 😄

Goh Rui Yang, Canberra Secondary School

Note from Rui Yang’s mother — Thank you very much! I will definitely highly recommend your tuition center! Your materials are good, not like usual tuition materials.

English Vocabulary – Five Pairs of Commonly Confused English Words

Commonly Confused English Words

1. Beside vs Besides

Beside (preposition): next to or at the side of someone or something 

The girl standing beside Tom is Mary. 

Besides (preposition): in addition to/apart from someone or something

Besides working as a teacher, she also writes freelance for a fashion magazine.

 

2. Principle vs Principal

Principle (noun; usually plural): a moral rule or a strong belief that influences your actions

Lucy will not lie as she has high moral principles. 

Principle (noun): a law, a rule or a theory that something is based on

The syllabus covers basic principles of accounting. 

Principal (adjective): most important; main

Tourist revenue is the country’s principal source of wealth.

Principal (noun): the person who is in charge of a school

John is the principal of Hillview High School. 

 

3. Compliment vs Complement

Compliment (noun): a remark that expresses praise or admiration of someone 

It is a great compliment to be asked to be the guest-of-honour. 

Compliments (noun; plural): polite words or good wishes, especially when used to express praise and admiration

Please give my compliments to the wonderful chef.

Compliment (verb): to tell someone that you like or admire something he/she has done, etc.

He complimented Betsy on her new hairstyle.

Complement (verb): to add to something in a way that improves it or makes it more attractive

The excellent menu is complemented by a good wine list.

 

4. Access vs Assess

Access (noun): a way of entering or reaching a place

The burglars gained access through a broken window.

Access (verb): reach, enter or use something

This room can only be accessed by authorised personnel.

Assess (verb): to make a judgement about the nature or quality of someone/something

The government will assess how well the new system works.

 

5. Emigrate vs Immigrate 

Emigrate (verb): to leave your own country to go and live permanently in another country

The family left India in 1975 and emigrated to the United States.

Immigrate (verb): to come and live permanently in a country after leaving your own country

About 6.6 million people immigrated to the United States in the 1970s.

Sponge ME, English Tuition (Singapore)

Testimonials from Vernon, Bing Han, Phoebe, Joey, Haley and Sharlene (English Tuition)

English tuition class 2019 Group 3

All I can say is this tutor is much better than all my school teachers. 👍

Vernon Siew, Chong Boon Secondary School

 

Adeline is an excellent communicator who conducts the most enlightening class. Her English tuition has helped me in both my studies and holistic development. The friends here are very nice too. Had a lot of fun learning together. 😊

Lew Bing Han, Peirce Secondary School

 

A really fun class — makes me not dread tuition at all. 😄 A very dedicated, hardworking tutor — a lot of effort put into her notes. 👍

Phoebe Lim, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School

 

Learning is fun and interesting here unlike the lessons in school which are all so boring. 😄 Even though we are in a class of 9, Teacher Adeline still pays attention to each and every one of us. She notices the areas that we are weak at and provides us with the advice and help we need to improve. Thank you! 😊

Joey Ho, Outram Secondary School

 

Teacher Adeline is relatable, positive and patient. Her class is also very engaging. Everyone participates and answers questions instead of just sitting down and copying notes. 😊

Haley Sia, CHIJ Katong Convent

 

Kind and understanding teacher. Very funny and good at telling jokes but also serious when needed. She’s also super knowledgeable. I really like the stories she tells! 😄

Sharlene Sim, Yio Chu Kang Secondary School

Teacher’s Day Card from Vera

Couldn’t resist posting this self-made Teacher’s Day Card from Vera (Secondary 1, 2021). Such talent and that hamster… OMG it’s way too cute! 😍 Is that suppose to be Tutor Leon on his motorcycle? He’s definitely no cutie hamster! 🤣 Thank you, Vera, for your heartwarming Teacher’s Day gift! 😘

Personal Recount Model Essay #4

Personal Recount Model Essay - I felt Liberated

“I felt liberated.” Write about a time when you felt this way. 

“Don’t be afraid, Rachel. You can tell me everything.” 

Mrs Sim’s warm chocolate eyes stared into mine, her soft, soothing voice filled my ears. 

The sea of calm inside me turned into chaos as I made eye contact with the “monsters” standing behind her. 

One of them mouthed to me, “Don’t… or else…” 

If looks could kill, I would have withered there and then. 

I ran as fast as my legs could carry me — left, right, left, left, right. I did not know where I was heading, but definitely away from my bullies. I did not have to turn back to know that they were hot on my heels. 

“You can run, but you can’t hide,” they taunted me from behind. 

Suddenly, my hair was yanked and immediately, I fell to the ground with a loud thud. Seconds later, three sinister figures towered over me, snickering. Tears rimmed my eyes as they stood there, calling me names, making faces and laughing at me. 

“Okay, okay, girls. Remember that’s not what we came here for today,” Stella, the leader of the three, held her hands out, silencing the other two. 

“So, Rachel, we need you to vandalise the canteen and blame it on the auntie from the chicken rice stall. 

My head shot up, eyes widened. 

“But… but that’s really evil,” I muttered. 

“Do it or I’ll ask my father to suspend you from school,” she said in a cold, contemptuous voice. 

I knew it was a promise, not a threat. Stella’s father was the chairman of the school board and he doted on her very much. If anyone got in her way, all it took was for Stella to tell him and that student would be suspended from school. 

With that, the three bullies spun around and left, leaving me in my thoughts. I felt trapped and prayed for liberation from tyranny. 

“Maybe I am the coward they say I am,” I thought to myself, and soon enough, I was drowned in my negativity. 

That night, I put on my black hoodie and grey sweatpants and made my way to school. My mother had fought hard to get me a spot in this prestigious school and I could not afford to get suspended. When I reached there, I did what I was asked to do and placed the spray cans back in Stella’s locker. 

The next day in school, I was in the toilet when I was suddenly pushed into a cubicle. Pain shot through my back as it hit the toilet seat. 

“What’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you shut my locker properly? Are you trying to get me into trouble!” Stella shrieked. 

At that, her two minions grabbed my arms and she began slapping me. They only stopped after a good five minutes, leaving me in tears and misery.

“Stop! Let me go!” 

I heard the familiar high-pitched voice and stepped out of the toilet, wiping my tears with the back of my hand. What I saw was completely unexpected. The discipline mistress and two prefects were grabbing the trio’s arms and dragging them in the direction of the general office. 

“What’s going on?” I asked a student nearby. 

It turned out that the student had witnessed Stella and her minions abusing me in the toilet and reported it to Mrs Sim. 

“Rachel, come with us,” Mrs Sim called out to me. 

I thanked the student profusely before hurrying after Mrs Sim. 

“Rachel, are you all right? Rachel?” Mrs Sim’s gentle voice brought me back to the present. 

“It’s okay. You can tell me everything,” she reassured me. I looked into her caring eyes and back at Stella’s menacing glare. 

Should I tell the truth? 

Yes. 

No. 

Yes. 

No. 

Yes. It was time to pull myself free from the bullies’ clutches. 

“Where should I begin? I asked. 

I had put up with the abuse for too long and I had enough. The moment I made the decision to tell the truth, I felt liberated. 

Secondary 1, 2021, English Tuition

Testimonials from Damien, Sharis, Hong Kai and Ryan (English Tuition)

English tuition o-level class 2019

Lessons here are never dull. We will always learn something new and interesting every week. The tutor is extremely knowledgeable and diligent. Can tell just by looking at all the quality resources she provides. 

Damien Goh Wei Wen, Swiss Cottage Secondary School

Note from Damien’s mother – “Thank you, Adeline and Leon! Really appreciate it, especially for English! All along, he got B4 or C5, so A2 was a surprise! And his math was rock-bottom! Didn’t expect such good results!”

 

Teacher Adeline is one of those rare teachers who is very passionate about her job. She looks after all her students and tries her best to help us, even if it means replying our messages after midnight… haha… sorry! 😬 She is also very honest, e.g. sternly reminding us when we repeatedly made the same mistakes. Thank you for these three memorable years, Teacher Adeline! 😊 Your tuition class has not only taught me English, but also how to think by introducing different perspectives and broadening my knowledge on different issues! 😄

Sharis Kwang, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School

 

This is a very conducive environment for me to learn and study in. Teacher Adeline is really funny and engaging. She reads widely and is very knowledgeable about many things. She also knows the syllabus very well. I have learnt a lot from her, from essay writing skills to comprehension answering techniques. She is a really good English tutor😊

Aw Hong Kai, Nan Chiau High School

 

Hi teacher, thank you for teaching me for the last 3 years! 😊 I received an A2 for my English and I am really happy with my overall results too. I feel very lucky to have you as my teacher. 

Ryan Lim, St. Gabriel’s Secondary School 

Testimonials from Bing Han, Michael and Samantha (Maths Tuition)

This math tuition class has helped me gain a deeper understanding of many math concepts, especially on graphs which was my weakest topic. The notes and worksheets are very good and it helped me a lot. Plus the classroom environment was super conducive for learning.

Tutor Leon is very cheerful, helpful and is able to communicate well with all his students. He is very patient with us, especially with the weaker students. Whenever I have a question, I am able to get the answer right away. 👍😁

Lew Bing Han, Peirce Secondary School

 

Mr Leon is a cool and calm person. 😎 He is not fazed by any questions you throw at him and answers them in a succinct manner. His math class was very interactive. I joined the class at the end of Secondary 3, when I got F9 (39 marks) for my A math, EOY exams. I was a mess and needed help desperately. After joining Mr Leon’s class and with extra 1-1 lessons, my grade jumped to B4 for my Secondary 4 CA1. I subsequently got an A1 for my prelims! 💪😊

Michael Poh, Peirce Secondary School

 

Teacher Leon teaches simpler problem solving methods compared to school. This saves ‘thinking time’ and reduces careless mistakes. I was failing A math when I joined Teacher Leon’s class but he pulled me up into the B range by mid-year and eventually I scored A1 for both A and E math for my O-level exams! Thank you, Teacher Leon! 🙏

Samantha Guan, CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh)

Gratitude from Ryan’s Mom (English Tuition)

My boy joined Adeline’s class when he was in Secondary 2, all the way to his O levels.

Every week, he would look forward to the lesson. This spoke volumes of how much he enjoyed the lesson. Learning should be fun!

When learning is a joy, good grades naturally follow. He is in JC1 now and he still cherishes the notes from Adeline. When he needs to write something, he will still make reference to these notes.

Thank you Adeline for instilling in him the love for English. She has made English alive and opened the door for him to keep learning!

Aileen Chua (Ryan’s Mom)

Facebook Recommendation

Testimonials from Benjamin, Yi Heng and Daitein (Maths Tuition)

A Maths Tuition Class 2019 G1

Mr Leon’s class helps students truly understand math, instead of just ‘telling’ students: this is how it’s done, just follow it. His class is also very helpful for students who are weak in their basic foundation. Mr Leon is a rather fun guy who finds interesting ways to put across maths concepts through real life examples.

Benjamin Ng, Maris Stella High School

 

The math tuition class has provided me with sufficient practice every week. At the end of every topic, the class is given a topical test that re-caps on everything that was taught – I found this very useful. On top of that, the class is very entertaining and Teacher Leon always makes the new topics so easy to understand. All these factors and more have helped me pick up new information quickly and make revision extremely manageable. I personally feel the tuition is very effective and would highly recommend it! 👍👍

Teacher Leon is great at transferring knowledge to students as he is able to explain difficult concepts very well. He is also very engaging and often goes the extra mile to help us visualise diagrams better. For instance, he uses a 3D geometric set in class to help us visualise geometric shapes found in questions. Thank you, Teacher Leon for helping me get A1 for both maths! ✌️😁

Yuen Yi Heng, Maris Stella High School

 

I was never really interested in mathematics, but this tuition class has made me realise the scale and importance of mathematics. For me, it was very intriguing to learn the history of it and the origins of many of the formulas used in maths. It has made me appreciate those who can do and teach maths well. The tuition class was of a good size, nice physical environment and everyone in class was so motivated! 😆

Mr Leon paid equal attention to everyone in class, was very meticulous, clear in explanation, provided comprehensive notes, very polite, friendly and approachable. 😊

Kan Daitein, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School

 

Primary English Tuition Singapore

Primary English Tuition Singapore Sponge ME

Meet Mui Gek, our Associate English Tutor for Primary Level

Primary English Tutor Singapore Mui GekAn ex-school teacher and current private tutor, Mui Gek is passionate about helping all her students hone their writing skills as well as boost their confidence in the subject. Over the years, she has crafted a wealth of teaching materials for her lessons.

Education: Bachelor of Arts (National University of Singapore)
NIE Trained: Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
Teaching Experience: 9 years in secondary school (Lower Secondary English), 3 years in enrichment centre (Primary English and Creative Writing), 4 years as a private tutor (Primary English)

Contact us to find out more about Mui Gek’s small group primary English tuition.

Testimonials from Stella, Leonard, Joey and Xin Ying (English Tuition)

English Tuition Singapore GCE O-Level 2018 G3

I definitely learnt a lot from this class that was not taught in school. Although there was a lot of information to remember, Teacher Adeline made things really simple for us. For instance, a bombastic word or an important idea would appear in several model essays, not just one. This constant exposure really reinforced my learning and I didn’t have to make so much effort to memorise stuff. Teacher Adeline, thank you for being so helpful and approachable. Most of all, thank you for helping me get A1 for O-level! 😁

Stella Chua, Pasir Ris Secondary School

 

In sum, this tuition class has been extremely helpful. I picked up a lot of comprehension and writing techniques that were not taught in school. Teacher Adeline is also a very knowledgeable, responsible, dependable, helpful, engaging and humorous tutor who never fails to blow our minds away!

Leonard Goh, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School

 

This English tuition class has helped me tremendously as my English is definitely less broken now. Haha! 🤣 My vocabulary has also expanded and I no longer use the same words all the time. Teacher Adeline is one of the nicest teachers I have ever known and the best I can ever find! 😁

Joey Tai, Guangyang Secondary School

 

Teacher Adeline is a very funny and enthusiastic teacher. Her lessons are never boring and I love the way she teaches! 😁 Even though she has been feeling unwell, she tries her best to make every lesson fun and interesting. She is also very encouraging and she would never give up on us. I think her notes and ideas for composition and situational writing are really useful, and she makes it very easy for us to understand and remember the points with her clear explanation and funny stories. 😁

Kong Xin Ying, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School

Testimonials from Cassandra, Venice, Charissa, Zhi Yi and Celest (Maths Tuition)

Maths Tuition Singapore Class 2018

Leon’s math tuition class has exceeded all my expectations! His lessons has allowed me to learn more about the origins of the concepts used in mathematics which is one of a kind from all the tuition classes I have attended – a class I look forward to every week. The most eye-opening lesson I learnt from Leon was the need to truly understand the concepts behind each formula and not memorise the formula or method steps blindly.

Leon’s class is the most engaging tuition class I have ever attended, including those from school. He is the reason why I look forward to his lessons every Friday – he makes class so enjoyable! 😁

Cassandra Mahia, CHIJ St. Joseph Convent

Note from Cassandra’s Mother – “Hi Leon, thanks for all your help!! Cassandra scored distinctions for both A Math and E Math. I couldn’t believe it! 🙀 Frankly, I was expecting a B only. 😉 Thank you very much!!!”

 

The tuition class has helped me to better understand the different mathematical concepts that I did not understand and the worksheets provided really helped me gain more experience with the topics that I was unsure of. Tuition was fun and I made a lot of new friends! 😬 Teacher Leon is a very patient and understanding teacher. He makes lessons very interesting. A very amazing teacher!👍👍😊

Venice Tan, Chung Cheng High School (Yishun)

 

Teacher Leon has helped me to understand difficult chapters like binomials through practices in the worksheets. His worksheets are helpful as they separate the chapter into different parts and enable me to have a better grasp on the different aspects of each chapter. The worksheets also include concise and useful notes and formulae to help me recall concepts faster. The class environment and small class size encourages deeper discussion and more time is allocated for each student.

Teacher Leon is a very engaging teacher who can explain difficult concepts by relating them to real life examples or by breaking them down into simpler parts. He also makes time to address our questions and is patient while explaining and clarifying our doubts.

Charissa Cheok, Chung Cheng High School (Yishun)

 

After joining Teacher Leon’s tuition class, I gained interest in mathematics and became comparable to my other level mates. The worksheets provided have different level of difficulties which guide me on how to improve one level at a time. Class is always very fun and interesting!✌️😁

Teacher Leon is very patient and understanding. When it comes close to exam period, he will give us more time to complete his homework assignments, as he is aware that we have many other subjects to focus on as well. He also ensures that every single one of us attempt, practise and understand all the important exam questions.

Lew Zhi Yi, Mayflower Secondary School

 

Teacher Leon has helped me with my weaker A math topics like integration and trigonometry. He has also helped clear many of my doubts in other topics. He uses fun facts about math to get us interested in the subject and is loud (not in a bad way 😬) and engaging which prevents me from sleeping.😜

Celest Sim, Xinmin Secondary School