There's always a possibility...


There’s one little two letter word in English that carries a lot on its shoulders. It mixes with possibilities, probabilities and conditions. It may be small but it certainly gets around a lot and where would we be without it? And the word I am talking about is ‘if’. If (there it goes again) you want to find out more, have a look at this: … y-185.html


that’s absolutely right always there is a possibility, but I am not sure that I have got the whole idea of the essay because I am a bit confussed about the first paragraph and the rest of the essay.

Hi Alan!first of all I want to thank you for your wonderful lessons is a real help for me and not only.About this letter i will really appreciate IF you can explain to me the meaning of this verse from the poem ;" If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.
Thanking you in advance and wishing you a good day I’m waiting for your replay . Regards Claudia!

Hi Claudia,

These lines:

are taken from a poem entitled IF, written by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) a prolific writer in prose and poetry. The poem is addressed to his son giving him advice on how to live his life. The thought in those lines is that he should occupy every minute of his life making each 60 seconds worthwhile and he compares life to a race (distance run) as he goes through the stages of life. There are other things that he should do, he tells his son and if he does all these things, he will be a man.

The sad part of this story is that Kipling’s son had poor eyesight and failed to get into the army but his father, who was an influential figure, managed to persuade the authorities to allow his son, Jack to enlist. Jack was however killed in the First World War at the age of 18 and Kipling never really got over the shock.


Alan, If you don`t mind let me tell you that I like this essay a lot. so please if that´s all right with you send me many more assays


Thank you for your comments. I continue to write them regularly.


Dear Alan, i like your lessons, really I enjoyed them. I am loking forward to be very fluent in speaking and understandng english. Keep sending me your lessons.

Salma Aslam

Hi Alan.
It was wonderful. Recently, I was reading an article about postage stamp. The first one had the idea of a postage stamp with glue on the back, was Rowland Hill, a British teacher. Thanks to him because of this great invention.

However, I am agree with you that there is always a possibility, and also there is always a way! But I think that looking around carefully will lead us to find these ways. Asking why and telling ‘ifs’ will help us to find those ways. What do you think Alan?

Thank you for the newsletter. It is wonderful. I enjoyed reading that.


If you don’t get it fast as you supposed to try to read again and again that’s what I do every time I got an difficult assay

Good lesson, I just realized that I was forgetting the moods…

Thanks Alans
I really enjoyed your essay especially Rudyard,s poem I have discover also the meaning of imperative eta eta. but I will like to know the fulstand of eta eta?
best regard


Hello guys,

I did read the whole story. I truly enjoyed the essay with deep meanings.

I’m still wondering who the author of all these brilliant stories is… reading them should be made obligatory at all kinds of learning English

Thank alot for ur lesson , really i useful and improver my language ,i read ur lesson about grammer and test for the meaning of english ,but i need more lesson about it ,

Hello sir thank for lesson my English is better after I learn on line by your net work

dear alan . i´ve received your lessons regularly and I´ve enjoy them very much .I am a senior who is trying to be absolutely bi lingual English and Spanish,( my native language). Do you remember that old song " in the mood " .? I think they meant in a happy mood . Kind regards Tomas 700.

Hello :slight_smile:

Many thanks for essay Alan and once more it`s so good rhyme to learn for teenagers at my school :slight_smile:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.

Anyhow, if you can do all these things and more, you will have grown up into an adult, says Rudyard.

I want to know how will I use It has been .
It has been a long time since we met.
instead of the aboce can we sat it is been a long time since we met.
Can we say It has been two hours we have been standing in the line.
Please clarify my doubts.

We cannot say ‘it is been’ because ‘has been’ talks about the past. ‘Is being’ is present tense, but we wouldn’t say ‘it is being a long time…’ either.
It has been two hours that we have been standing in line (and we are still standing in line now.) doesn’t sound as natural as ‘We have been standing in line for two hours’.

Writing Numbers
Rule 1. Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.
Correct Examples: I want five copies.
I want 10 copies.

Rule 2. Be consistent within a category. For example, if you choose numerals because one of the numbers is greater than nine, use numerals for all numbers in that category. If you choose to spell out numbers because one of the numbers is a single digit, spell out all numbers in that category.
If you have numbers in different categories, use numerals for one category and spell out the other.
Correct Examples: My 10 cats fought with their 2 cats.
My ten cats fought with their two cats.
Given the budget constraints, if all 30 history students attend the four plays, then the 7 math students will be able to attend only two plays. (Students are represented with figures; plays are represented with words.)
Incorrect Example:
I asked for five pencils, not 50.

Rule 3. Always spell out simple fractions and use hyphens with them.
Examples: One-half of the pies have been eaten.
A two-thirds majority is required for that bill to pass in Congress.

Rule 4. A mixed fraction can be expressed in figures unless it is the first word of a sentence.
Examples: We expect a 5 1/2 percent wage increase.
Five and one-half percent was the maximum allowable interest.

Rule 5. The simplest way to express large numbers is best. Round numbers are usually spelled out. Be careful to be consistent within a sentence.
Correct: You can earn from one million to five million dollars.
Incorrect: You can earn from one million to $5,000,000.
Correct: You can earn from five hundred to five million dollars.
Correct: You can earn from $5 hundred to $5 million.
Incorrect: You can earn from $500 to $5 million.
Incorrect: You can earn from $500 to five million dollars.

Rule 6. Write decimals in figures. Put a zero in front of a decimal unless the decimal itself begins with a zero.
Examples: The plant grew 0.79 of a foot in one year.
The plant grew only .07 of a foot this year because of the drought.

Rule 7. With numbers that have decimal points, use a comma only when the number has five or more digits before the decimal point. Place the comma in front of the third digit to the left of the decimal point. When writing out such numbers, use the comma where it would appear in the figure format. Use the word and where the decimal point appears in the figure format.

Examples: $15,768.13: Fifteen thousand, seven hundred sixty-eight dollars and thirteen cents
$1054.21: One thousand fifty-four dollars and twenty-one cents
Note: If the number has no decimal point, authorities disagree on whether to begin using the comma with four-digit numbers or to begin using the comma with five-digit numbers. When writing out these numbers, I recommend using the comma where it appears in the numerical form.
1,054 schools OR 1054 schools: one thousand, fifty-four schools OR one thousand fifty-four schools
12,154 schools: twelve thousand, one hundred fifty-four schools

Rule 8. The following examples apply when using dates:
Examples: The meeting is scheduled for June 30.
The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June.
We have had tricks played on us on April 1.
The 1st of April puts some people on edge.

Rule 9. When expressing decades, you may spell them out and lowercase them.
Example: During the eighties and nineties, the U.S. economy grew.

Rule 10. If you wish to express decades using incomplete numerals, put an apostrophe before the incomplete numeral but not between the year and the s.
Correct: During the '80s and '90s, the U.S. economy grew.
Incorrect: During the '80’s and '90’s, the U.S. economy grew.

Rule 11. You may also express decades in complete numerals. Again, don’t use an apostrophe between the year and the s.
Example: During the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. economy grew.

Rule 12. Normally, spell out the time of day in text even with half and quarter hours. With o’clock, the number is always spelled out.
Examples: She gets up at four thirty before the baby wakes up.
The baby wakes up at five o’clock in the morning.

Rule 13. Use numerals with the time of day when exact times are being emphasized or when using A.M. or P.M.
Examples: Monib’s flight leaves at 6:22 A.M.
Please arrive by 12:30 sharp.
She had a 7:00 P.M. deadline.

Rule 14. Use noon and midnight rather than 12:00 P.M. and 12:00 A.M.

Rule 15. Hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine.
Examples: Forty-three people were injured in the train wreck.
Twenty-three of them were hospitalized.

Rule 16. Write out a number if it begins a sentence.
Examples: Twenty-nine people won an award for helping their communities.
That 29 people won an award for helping their communities was fantastic! OR
That twenty-nine people won an award for helping their communities was fantastic!