How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English

Useful tips for writing letters, essays in English.

How to Write a Successful Cover Letter


How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 1

How to Write Informal Letters


How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 2

Useful Words and Phrases for Writing Formal Letters


How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 3

Writing a Letter or an Email


How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 4

How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 5


How to Write a Great Essay Quickly


How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 6


How to End a Letter in English


How to Write a Letter or an Essay in English 7

Verb Tenses in English

English tenses are of three types: Present, Past and future. Tenses are divided on the basis of time.

Past Simple & Present Perfect Tenses


Verb Tenses in English 8

The Past Continuous Tense


Verb Tenses in English 9

The Past Perfect Tense


Verb Tenses in English 10

Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous


Verb Tenses in English 11

Present Simple & Present Continuous Tenses


Verb Tenses in English 12

Present Perfect Simple & Present Perfect Continuous Tenses


Verb Tenses in English 13

The Future Continuous Tense


Verb Tenses in English 14

Future Tense: Will or Be Going to


Verb Tenses in English 15

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories

1.MOTHER Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 16


  • A mama’s boy

E.g. I thought I loved him until I realized he was a momma’s boy who can’t do anything without his mother’s permission or approval.

  • At your mother’s knee

E.g. I learned how to bake at my mother’s knee when I was just a girl.

  • Everyone and his mother

E.g. I’m so jealous, everyone and his mother is going on a vacation this summer except for me.

  • A mother hen

E.g. Jenny can be a bit of a mother hen when we’re out at the bars.

  • Be tied to (one’s) mother’s apron strings

E.g. Can you make a decision on your own, or are you tied to your mother’s apron strings?

  • Like mother, like daughter

E.g. My mother loved sweets, and everytime my father saw me with a cookie in my hand, he would sigh, “Like mother,like daughter.

  • The mother of all (something)

E.g. Wow, that is the mother of all sandwiches.It’s a foot high!

  • Mother Nature

E.g. Look at all the wonders that Mother Nature provides, from fruit and vegetables to beautiful mountains and oceans.

  • A face only a mother could love

E.g. The poor baby has a face only a mother could love.

  • Expectant mother

E.g. I know the subway’s crowded, but you should really give your seat to the expectant mother standing by the door…

2. PEOPLE Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 17

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 18

  • Born optimist

Eg: I admire Jamal because he always sees the sunny side of life. He’s a born optimist.

  • Culture vulture

Eg: John spends most of his weekends reading books or attending art exhibitions. He’s a real culture vulture.

  • Eager beaver

Eg: She always does her English grammar homework and even asks for extra exercises on the weekend. What an eager beaver!

  • Early bird

Eg: In her senior years, when she finally had the luxurious freedom to sleep in, Delores became an early bird and got up every morning at 5:00 am.

  • Earth mother

Eg: Even as a young girl, Ida showed herself to be an earth mother. She always helped her mother to look after her younger brothers and sisters.

  • Family man

Eg: Since the birth of his twins, Harvey has become a family man. He spends all of his spare time with his children.

  • Go-getter

Eg: It isn’t surprising that Isaac has made it to the top of the corporate world. He was always someone who went after what he wanted, a real go-getter.

  • Good egg

Eg: Marry was the type of person who would have helped anyone – a real good egg.

  • Jack-of-all-trades

Eg: From auto repair to hairdressing, Frank can do it all. He is a jack-of-all-trades.

  • Man of his word / woman of her word

Eg: You can trust Samuel. He is a man of his word…

3. FRUIT Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 19

  • The apple of your eye

E.g. She has three children, but her youngest son is the apple of her eye.

  • Go bananas

E.g. She’ll go bananas if she sees the house in this (dirty) condition.

  • A bite at the cherry

E.g. He definitely wants a bite of the cherry.

  • Not give a fig

E.g. You can do what you want. I don’t give a fig.

  • Apples and oranges

E.g. My mom and my mother-in-law are just apples and oranges.

  • Lemon

E.g. The car dealer sold me a lemon.

  • Peach

E.g. You brought me coffee? Ah, you’re a peach.

  • Go pear-shaped

E.g. What are we going to do this weekend if our plans go pear-shaped?

  • A plum job

E.g. He got a plum job in an insurance company.

  • The apple never falls far from the tree

E.g. Her daughter soon showed her own musical talent, proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Bad apple (especially US)

E.g. It is hoped the inquiry will pick out the bad apples in the police force…

4. LOVE Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 20

  • Fall In Love With Somebody

Eg: I think I’m falling in love with my best friend. What should I do?

  • Love At First Sight

Eg: My wife and I met at a party. It was love at first sight.

  • Be An Item

Eg: I didn’t know Chris and Sue were an item. They didn’t even look at each other at dinner.

  • Match Made In Heaven

Eg: “Do you think Matt and Amanda will get married?” – “I hope they will. They’re a match made in heaven.”

  • Be Head Over Heels (In Love)

Eg: Look at them. They’re head over heels in love with each other.

  • Be Lovey-Dovey

Eg: I don’t want to go out with Jenny and David. They’re so lovey-dovey, I just can’t stand it.

  • Blinded By Love

Eg: She is so blinded by love that she can’t see him for who he truly is. He is not a good person, he is rude and disrespectful to everyone around him, including her.

  • Blind Date

Eg: My sister keeps organising blind dates for me. She’d just love to fix me up with someone.

  • Tie The Knot

Eg: “When are you and Jenny going to tie the knot?” – “This year, but we haven’t set a date yet.”

  • Love Rat

Eg: Don’t even think about asking Jane out. How could you look your wife in the eye? Don’t be a love rat…

5. BOOK Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 21

  • A closed book

Eg: I’m a scientist, so art will always be a closed book to me.

  • An open book

Eg: Ask me anything, I’m an open book.

  • Read someone like a book

Eg: There are a number of books on the market which suggest that it is possible to learn to read a person like a book.

  • The oldest trick in the book

Eg: Look, you can fix it by threading a paper clip through the hole. Oldest trick in the book!

  • In someone’s good books

Eg: I cleaned the bathroom yesterday so I’m in Mum’s good books.

  • By the book

Eg: The lawyers want to make sure we’ve done everything strictly by the book.

  • Bring someone to book

Eg: Police should be asked to investigate so that the guilty can be brought to book soon.

  • Take a leaf out of someone’s book

Eg: I think I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and start going for a run first thing in the morning.

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover

Eg: The candidate did not look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.

  • Cook the books

Eg: My partner had been cooking the books for years, but because I was the CEO, I got the blame for our company’s collapse…

6. CAT Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 22

  • Has the cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Why are you not saying anything?

  • Put the cat among the pigeons

Meaning: Say or do something that causes trouble or controversy

  • Like the cat that got the cream

Meaning: Looking particularly self-satisfied, often to the annoyance of others

  • Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: Mistakingly allow a secret to be known

  • Fight like cat and dog

Meaning: Continually arguing with each other

  • When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Meaning: When the person of authority is away, people will behave badly

  • Fat cat

Meaning: A negative description of a rich and powerful person

  • Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: Being too curious can get you into trouble

  • Not have a cat in hell’s chance

Meaning: When some something has no chance of success, it doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance.

  • Look like something the cat dragged in

Meaning: When someone looks very untidy and messy, they look like something the cat dragged in…

7. WEATHER Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 23

  • A storm in a teacup

Eg: Our argument was no big deal – just a storm in a tea cup

  • It never rains but it pours

Eg: I lost my wallet and now I’ve lost my phone. It never rains but it pours!

  • Take a rain check

Eg: No thanks. I’ll take the rain check. Enjoy the party!

  • Be snowed under

Eg: I’m snowed under with work. I’ve got so much to do.

  • Be/feel under the weather

Eg: I can’t finish my work today. I feel under the weather.

  • Have your head in the clouds

Eg: I can’t talk sense into him. He has his head in the cloud.

  • Soak up the sun

Eg: Let’s go out and soak up some sun

  • Catch some rays

Eg: yesterday, I lay on the beach and catch some rays.

  • Dog days of the summer

Eg: It has been at least 50 degrees every day this week!. The dog days of summer are here!

  • On cloud nine

Eg: When my boyfriend proposed to me, I was on cloud nine.

  • In the dark

Eg: I was kept in the dark about the intervention until a few minutes before it was a reality.

  • Heavens open

Eg: Let’s come back soon before the heavens open!…

8. COUNTRY Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 24

  • Take French leave

Eg: The driver had taken French leave

  • To go Dutch

Eg: Sally said she wouldn’t let a man pay for her meal on a first date. She prefers to go Dutch.

  • Dutch courage

Eg: I think I’ll have a glass of whiskey for Dutch courage before I ask that girl if she wants to dance with me.

  • It’s all Greek to me

Eg: I tried to watch a TV show about physics last night, but I gave up. It was all Greek to me.

  • Chinese whispers

Eg: All this talk about the President resigning is just Chinese whispers. There’s no truth to this rumour at all.

  • A Mexican Standoff

Eg: There seems to be a Mexican standoff in the talks as neither the buyer or seller can agree on a price.

  • When in Rome (do as Romans do)

Eg: I don’t love cotton candy, but we are at a carnival. When in Rome, right?

  • Talk for England

Eg: I’m so sorry I’m late. I couldn’t get away from Linda. She can talk for England!

  • Indian Summer (UK)

Eg: Much as I love this Indian Summer,  I wish we had this warm weather in the summer rather than in October…

9. NUMBER Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 25

  • All in one piece

E.g. He got home from the party all in one piece.

  • Back to square one

E.g. The project failed, we’re back to square one.

  • Have one too many

E.g. I can’t drive, I had one too many.

  • On cloud nine

E.g. When my mom bought me a computer, I was on cloud nine.

  • One for the road

E.g. Let’s have one for the road!

  • Six feet under

E.g. I’m going to be six feet under by 2100.

  • Ten to one

E.g. Ten to one I’m going to win.

  • Kill two birds with one stone.

E.g. I’ll drop you off on the way to work, we’ll kill two birds with one stone.

  • A million and one

E.g. I have a million and one ideas…

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 26

10. HUMAN BODY Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 27

  • Head start

E.g. You’ve got a head start over / another’s trying to get the job because you’ve got relevant work experience.

  • Sight for sore eyes

E.g. You’re a sight for sore eyes!

  • A weight off your shoulders

E.g. Talking over my problem with my close friend was a weight off my shoulders.

  • Pain in the neck

E.g. This calculus homework is a real pain in the neck.

  • Gut feeling

E.g. Jennifer’s mother had a gut feeling that something was wrong when her daughter wasn’t home by 10 o’clock.

  • Hands are tied

E.g. I’d like to raise people’s salaries but my hands are tied.

  • Joined at the hip

E.g. Amy and her boss were joined at the hip; you never saw one without the other.

  • Week at the knees

E.g. The thought of kissing him made me go weak at the knees.

  • Achilles heel

E.g. Maths has always been my achilles heel.

  • Find your feet

E.g. Did it take you long to find your feet when you started your new job?

11. TIME Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 28

  • Buy time

E.g. She is just stalling to buy time.

  • Do time

E.g. He did time in a California prison.

  • A race against time/the clock

E.g. It’s a race against time to complete the construction.

  • A whale of a time

E.g. The kids had a whale of a time at the theme park.

  • Time flies

E.g. Look how fast our children grew up, how time flies.

  • It’s high time

E.g. It’s high time he met with me to resolve this issue.

  • Third time’s a charm

E.g. I had to ask her out three times before she said yes. Well you know… Third time’s a charm.

  • Beat the clock

E.g. Although she was late to the exam, she managed to beat the clock and finished all of it 10 minutes before the end.

  • Better late than never

E.g. Well hello John. Better late than never, huh? Class started half an hour ago.

  • At the eleventh hour

E.g. We barely made the deadline, there was so much to do in this project we turned it in at the eleventh hour…


What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples

Compound adjectives are adjectives that are made up of two or more words usually with hyphens (-) between them.

Compound adjectives can be formed as follows:

1. Adjective + Past participle

  • narrow-minded

I can’t stand narrow-minded people who are intolerant of new ideas.

  • high-spirited

The students gave a high-spirited musical performance.

  • old-fashioned

We had lunch in an old-fashioned restaurant.

  • short-haired

He was dancing with a short-haired woman.

  • absent-minded

His absent-minded comment hurt his sister’s feelings.

  • strong-willed

She’s a strong-willed woman who won’t stop until she gets what she wants.

  • quick-witted

The quick-witted detective solved the crime before anyone else had a clue.

  • kind-hearted

A kind-hearted stranger helped us find the train station.

2. Adverb + Past Participle

  • well-behaved

They have three well-behaved children.

  • well-educated

A lot of well-educated people are still having trouble finding jobs.

  • densely-populated

This densely-populated area has the highest crime rates in the country.

  • widely-recognized

She’s a widely-recognized expert in technology.

  • highly-respected

Our speaker tonight is a highly-respected scholar.

  • brightly-lit

We live on a brightly-lit street in the city center.

3. Noun + Past Participle

  • sun-baked

We strolled along the sun-baked streets of Naples.

  • child-wanted

I wanted to buy my daughter the most child-wanted toy.

  • middle-aged

A lot of middle-aged men are dissatisfied with their lives.

4. Noun + Present Participle

  • English-speaking

United Kingdom is an English-speaking country.

  • time-saving

These time-saving techniques will help you work more efficiently.

  • record-breaking

The athlete’s record-breaking performance won him the gold medal.

  • mouth-watering

There was a variety of mouth-watering desserts at the wedding reception.

  • thought-provoking

It was a thought-provoking novel.

5. Adjective + Present Participle

  • good-looking

Who’s that good-looking guy over there?

  • long-lasting

This long-lasting makeup will keep you looking lovely day and night.

  • slow-moving

I was stuck in slow-moving traffic for over an hour.

  • far-reaching

The new law will have far-reaching effects in the economy.

6. Adverb + Present Participle

  • never-ending

Learning a language seems to be a never-ending process.

  • forward-thinking

Some forward-thinking politicians are proposing reforms to the educational system.

7. Noun + Adjective

  • world-famous

We had dinner at a world-famous Italian restaurant.

  • ice-cold

There’s nothing better than drinking an ice-cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

  • smoke-free

This is a smoke-free restaurant.

8. Adjective + Noun

  • full-length

The director produced his first full-length movie in 1998.

  • last-minute

It was a last-minute decision.

9. Noun + Noun

  • part-time

We have 20 part-time members of staff .

10. Adjective + Adjective

  • fat-free

These fat-free cookies are delicious!

 What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples 29

A list of compound adjectives with their meanings:

  • Kind-hearted: kind; generous
  • Brightly-litfull of light
  • Old-fashionednot modern
  • Deeply-rooteddifficult to change
  • Good-lookingattractive
  • Labor-savingmaking work easier
  • Left-handeduses left hand for writing ≠ Right- handed
  • Short-sighted: unable to see far things ≠ Long-sighted
  • Well-knownfamous
  • Easy-goingeasy to accept things without worrying
  • Brand-newcompletely new
  • Part-time (job)carries fewer hours per week
  • Badly-writtenwritten in a bad or wrong way
  • Well-paidproviding or receiving good payment
  • Second-handnot new; used by someone before
  • Well-informedknows a lot
  • Open-mindedflexible
  • Red-handeddid a crime or something wrong
  • Tight-fistedmean; not generous with money
  • Well-earneddeserved
  • Self-reliantindependent
  • Self-centeredselfish
  • Ever-lastingeternal
  • Heart-brokendepressed
  • Narrow-mindedinflexible
  • Absent-mindedforgetful; likely to forget things
  • Middle-agedaround 40-50 years old
  • Quick-witted: intelligent, clever, fast at thinking and discovering things
  • Strong-willedstrong desires, stubborn, does not desist
  • High-spiritedwith a lot of energy

What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples 30

What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples 31

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English

Prepositional phrases act as single parts of speech. They usually act as adjectives or adverbs.

Prepositional Phrases with AT

  • at the age of

E.g. I learned to drive at the age of 21.

  • at the beginning of

E.g. I joined a gym at the beginning of the year.

  • at the bottom of

E.g. There’s a shop at the bottom of this hill.

  • at all costs

E.g. I need to pass this exam at all costs.

  • at one’s desk

E.g. My manager spoke to me at my desk.

  • at the door

E.g. There’s somebody at the door.

  • at the end

E.g. I’m going to Madrid at the end of month.

  • at fault

E.g. Who was at fault for the accident?

  • at first

E.g. At first, I was happy here but now I’m not.

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 32

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 33

Prepositional Phrases with FOR

  • for nothing

E.g. I can’t believe it’s closed. I came all this way for nothing.

  • for once

E.g. Late again! For once, can you try to arrive on time?

  • for the rest of

E.g. I could live here for the rest of my life.

  • for safekeeping

E.g. At the gym, I put my stuff in a locker for safekeeping.

  • for somebody’s sake

E.g. Maria was upset so I had to be calm for her sake.

  • for the sake of

E.g. They stayed together for the sake of their children.

  • for sale

E.g. There’s a lovely house for sale at the end of this street.

  • for short

E.g. My name is John but my family call me J for short.

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 34

Prepositional Phrases with BY

  • by heart

E.g. At school we had to learn poems by heart.

  • by invitation

E.g. Membership to the club is by invitation only.

  • by land/sea/air

E.g. I get sick whenever I travel by sea.

  • by law

E.g. Dog owners must have a licence for the pets by law.

  • by luck

E.g. They played badly but won the match by luck.

  • by means of

E.g. I was able to afford the car by means of a bank loan.

  • by mistake

E.g. I chose the wrong road by mistake. Now we’re lost.

  • by nature

E.g. German people tend to be quite organised by nature.

  • by no means

E.g. It’s by no means certain that the economy will improve.

  • by now

E.g. If you don’t know me by now, you’ll never know me.

  • by oneself

E.g. I don’t mind spending time by myself.

  • by phone

E.g. Get in touch with me by phone if you need any help.

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 35

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 36

Prepositional Phrases with IN

  • in a hurry

E.g. I can’t talk right now as I’m in a hurry.

  • in a mess

E.g. The whole house is in a mess. We need to tidy it today.

  • in a way

E.g. Can money buy happiness? In a way, I think so.

  • in action

E.g. I went to Camp Nou to see Lionel Messi in action last week.

  • in addition (to)

E.g. In addition to feeling tired, I felt a bit sick.

  • in advance (of)

E.g. It’s a busy restaurant so we should book a table in advance.

  • in agreement with

E.g. I’m in agreement with many of the views of my classmates.

  • in any case

E.g. I don’t want to go and in any case, I wasn’t invited.

  • in brief

E.g. The interview was, in brief, a complete disaster.

in case (+ clause)

E.g. Take an umbrella in case it rains.

  • in case of (+ noun)

E.g. In case of emergency, dial 911.

  • in cash

E.g. I’d prefer to pay in cash, if you don’t mind.

  • in charge of

E.g. Our president is too incompetent to be in charge of the economy.

  • in common (with)

E.g. I have a lot of in common with my best friend.

  • in comparison with

E.g. The weather in Scotland is awful in comparison with Italy.

  • in conclusion

E.g. In conclusion, I believe we should do more to help the poor.

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 37

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 38

Prepositional Phrases with BY, AT, IN & FOR in English 39