English Grammar Quiz

Hello English Students! The end of the year is fast approaching  and I wonder how you have all managed with your English studies. Are you happy with your progress? Perhaps it’s time to test your grammar skills?

I am more than halfway through watching a Turkish TV Series called Magnificent Century. (There are more than 130 episodes!) I am enjoying it immensely; however, I don’t speak Turkish so I have been reading the English sub-titles. 

Translating a fast-paced TV Series is a huge undertaking. The people responsible for translating Magnificent Century into English did a remarkable job in limited time. I was impressed with their advanced level of grammar. Nonetheless, I noticed that as with other non-English films, the English sub-titles contain the same familiar errors repeatedly, most of which are lower level grammar and are used in everyday conversation. 

If your English level is Pre-intermediate or above, you should be able to find some, or all, of the mistakes in the following quotes from the TV Series. Cambridge students should ace this quiz! Check the answers at the end. Click on the links for grammar explanations. 

https://www.criticsatlarge.ca/2015/05/the-magnificent-century-muhtesem-yuzyil-harim-sultan.html

The main cast of Magnificent Century

Grammar Quiz

Can you find one mistake in each example?

1. The news are not good.

2. Lufti Pasha has the experience for this promotion. He has many services in every government position.

3. Ibrahim Pasha has protected you for many years. (*Note: Ibrahim Pasha is dead.)

4. I want to raise my children in your own home!

5. Get all my stuff out of here and clean them.

6. Now you live in this chambers.

7. I’m working on it since a long time.

8. For a long time, there is a senseless malice between us.

9. I will not let me get rid of them!

10. There will always be people who wants to dig a pit for you.

11. Find her and take her here.

12. The gold were in a purse with Hatice Sultana’s name written on it.

13. The investigation is continuing. If they will be arrested, they’ll pay for it.

14. How dare she wants something from me!

15. These are serious accusations. Does he have a proof?

16. Unfortunately, there are still no news from Cafer Aga.

17. You will be notified of everything that will happen here.

18. Is there a bad news?

19. What are these, Ibrahim’s gold?

20. If the treasure will be found, we’d be blamed.

21. Everything you heard about me are slanders and lies.

22. I should to go.

23. Let’s hope they find him and take him back here.

24. Take my son to me immediately!

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25. When the preparations will be finished, he will start the India campaign.

26. Raresh rioted against our Sultan by killing Alvise Gritte who serves the Ottoman Empire.

27. I know her since many years.

28. From what he told me, some of our soldiers harrasses and steals from people.

29. Leave now and bring this letter to his majesty.

30. It is ever a problem in the palace.

https://unsplash.com/photos/qUey2pOvbvc

Mistakes & Corrections

1. The news are not good.
1. The news is not good. (‘News’ is an uncountable noun.)

2. Lufti Pasha has the experience for this promotion. He has many services in every government position.
2. Lufti Pasha has the experience for this promotion. a) He has provided  many services in every government position. b) He has worked (in many services) in every government position.

3. Ibrahim Pasha has protected you for many years. (*Note: Ibrahim Pasha is dead.)
3. Ibrahim Pasha protected you for many years.  

4. I want to raise my children in your own home!
4. I want to raise my children in my own home!

5. Get all my stuff out of here and clean them.
5. Get all my stuff out of here and clean it. (‘Stuff’ is an uncountable noun.)

6. Now you live in this chambers.
6. Now you live in these chambers. (this chamber / these chambers)

7. I’m working on it since a long time.
7. I have been working on it for a long time. 

8. For a long time, there is a senseless malice between us.
8. For a long time, there has been a senseless malice between us.

9. I will not let me get rid of them!
9. I will not let them get rid of me!

10. There will always be people who wants to dig a pit for you.
10. There will always be people who want to dig a pit for you. (‘People’ is a plural noun.)

11. Find her and take her here.
11. Find her and bring her here. ( Bring here. Take there.)

12. The gold were in a purse with Hatice Sultana’s name written on it.
12. The gold was in a purse with Hatice Sultana’s name written on it. (‘Gold’ is an uncountable noun.)

13. The investigation is continuing. If they will be arrested, they’ll pay for it.
13. The investigation is continuing. If they are arrested, they’ll pay for it.

14. How dare she wants something from me!
14. How dare she want something from me! (In this sentence, ‘dare’ is a finite verb: Present Simple Tense. ‘Want’ is a non-finite verb: Base Infinitive.)

15. These are serious accusations. Does he have a proof?
15. These are serious accusations. a) Does he have any proof?
     b) Does he have proof?
(‘Proof’ is an uncountable noun.)

16. Unfortunately, there are still no news from Cafer Aga.
16. Unfortunately, there is still no news from Cafer Aga. (‘News’ is an uncountable noun.)

17. You will be notified of everything that will happen here.
17. You will be notified of everything that happens here.

18. Is there a bad news?
18. Is there bad news? (‘News’ is an uncountable noun.)

19. What are these, Ibrahim’s gold?
19. What is this, Ibrahim’s gold? (‘Gold’ is an uncountable noun.)

20. If the treasure will be found, we’d be blamed.
20. If the treasure is found, we’d be blamed. 

21. Everything you heard about me are slanders and lies.
21. Everything you heard about me is slanders and lies. (‘Everything’ is a singular noun.)

22. I should to go.
22. I should go.

23. Let’s hope they find him and take him back here.
23. Let’s hope they find him and bring him back here.

24. Take my son to me immediately!
24. a) Bring my son to me immediately! b) Take me to my son immediately!

25. When the preparations will be finished, he will start the India campaign.
25. When the preparations are finished, he will start the India campaign.

26. Raresh rioted against our Sultan by killing Alvise Gritte who serves the Ottoman Empire.
26. Raresh rioted against our Sultan by killing Alvise Gritte who served the Ottoman Empire.

27. I know her since many years.
27. I have known her for many years.

28. From what he told me, some of our soldiers harrasses and steals from people.
28. From what he told me, some of our soldiers harrass and steal from people. (‘Soldiers’ is a plural verb.)

29. Leave now and bring this letter to his majesty.
29. Leave now and take this letter to his majesty.

30. It is ever a problem in the palace.
30. It is always a problem in the palace.

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Posted in Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

English Words that are often Confused #1

I have written two posts on Spelling Mistakes that Ruin your Writing. They are a small number of mistakes which are easily fixed as soon as you understand the grammar. Don’t worry! The grammar is basic and easily understood.

Today, I’m focusing on other common mistakes. These are words that native speakers use incorrectly. I hope you find my explanations helpful.

I will list the confusing words in alphabetical order. Today, I’m dealing with ‘A’. If you would like to receive all my future posts explaining confusing words, just click on ‘Follow’.

https://unsplash.com/photos/-9JAqVxg3vs

Looking at baby animals, especially baby elephants, usually has a positive effect on people.

Let’s have a look at some confusing words:                  

a) advice, advise           
     b) affect, effect
c) agree with, agree to, agree on
     d) alternate, alternative           
e) among, between
     f) anticipate, expect           
g) approve, approve of

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

a) advice, advise

advice  –  noun

Do you think this is good advice?

My advice is to look at the spelling. The word ‘advice’ contains the word ‘ice’ which is also a noun.

We often need advice from an expert.

We sometimes receive the best advice when we least expect it.

     

         ♦ advise  –  verb

Did your parents advise you to save your money?

Who advises the football coach?

I advise you to keep reading.

 

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 b) affect, effect


affect   verb (used with object: this means that the subject  affects something or someone)

In France, the extremely cold winter of 2018-2019 affected many vineyards
Do you believe that your thinking affects your actions?         樂 

 

effect   noun

Looking at baby animals, especially baby elephants, usually has a positive effect on people.

Were you impressed with the special effects used in the movie Avatar?

 

Note: ‘Effect’can also be used as a verb but take care. While ‘affect means ‘to change’, ‘effect’ means ‘to bring about/cause’ a change. It is usually used in formal speaking and writing. I advise consulting a dictionary if you wish to use ‘effect’ as a verb.

The President hopes to effect new laws to deal with drug trafficking.

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c) agree with, agree to, agree on

Do you agree with Satya Nani that a little progress each day adds up to big results?

agree with  someone

I agree withSatya Nani that “A little progress each day adds up to big results”.

agree to  something, usually a plan or scheme.

I should never have agreed to look after his stupid dog!

agree on a choice or result with other people

Sheldon and Amy agreed to get married but they couldn’t agree on when or where, nor could they agree on whom to invite to their wedding.

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d) alternate, alternative

alternate – verb meaning to change first one, then the other; repeatedly and regularly

https://unsplash.com/photos/3TRdlKU-3II

LETHARGY

Many of us alternate between motivation and lethargy.

alternate adjective

I do shopping and housework on alternate weekends.

 

alternative noun which indicates a choice

There are many alternatives for when we are overcome with lethargy. We could follow Satya Nani’s advice and try to make a little progress each day.

alternative adjective

There are several alternative courses of action for when we lack motivation.  There is no shortage of advice online. 

People who want to escape the demands of modern life are often attracted to alternative lifestyles.

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

e) among, between

among – preposition which links more than two 

https://unsplash.com/photos/3jRGSA2IH0c

Is your favourite book among these?

I love wandering among the bookshelves in libraries.

Reading takes me to another world where I’m always among friends.

♦between – preposition which links two only

Can you see Errol the Peril? It’s between two blue books.

Between you and me, I don’t think children read enough books nowadays.

Note: Among and between must be followed by a plural noun or singular nouns which can be replaced by a plural pronoun

Reading takes me to another world where I’m always among friends. (among them)

Can you see Errol the Peril? It’s between two blue books. (between them)

Between you and me, I don’t think children read enough books nowadays. (between us)

Incorrect: I love wandering among each bookshelf in libraries. ‘Each bookshelf’ is a single unit so I cannot wander among one thing.

Incorrect: There is a famous quote between each chapter. Again, ‘each chapter’ is a single unit, so a quote cannot be between one thing. 

Correct: There is a famous quote between the chapters. (between 1 & 2,  2 & 3,  3 & 4 etc.)

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

f) anticipate, expect 

anticipate – verb meaning ‘to be aware of something that has not yet happened, or believe will happen, and (perhaps) to take appropriate action’ 

I recently booked into a highly recommended health retreat. Happily, they anticipated my every need.

A good public speaker anticipates the mood and bias of the audience.

https://unsplash.com/photos/7ixEp6004ts

Guess what? We’re expecting twins!


expect – verb, to think or assume or predict
that something might or should happen

We expect everyone to arrive before the soccer match starts.

Your employer naturally expects you to start work on time.

“We should not expect something for nothingbut we all do and call it Hope” (Edgar W. Howe).

 


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

g) approve, approve of

approve to give permission for, accept

At last, after six months, the council approved our plans to renovate our house.

Your application for a Blue Card has been approved.

 

♦ approve of – to view positively

Juliet knew that her family would never approve of Romeo.

It was much more difficult in Shakespeare’s time for people to get married without the approval of their parents. 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063518/videoplayer/vi2776891673?ref_=tt_ov_vi

Juliet knew that her family would never approve of Romeo.

Click here for English Words that are often Confused #2

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Song with ‘going to’ (gonna) for Future Predictions based on Evidence & ‘had better’ for Warnings

Today, I’m focusing on the  song, Street Boy, by Rodriguez to highlight the use of ‘going to’ for future predictions: predictions based on evidence.

Click on the picture for the video. Rodriguez has an amazing voice and you will hear every word clearly.

I’ll also explain some common idioms in the song and the collocation ‘had better’.

1. BE + going to + base infinitive for Predictions based on Evidence


First, some revision from an earlier post on ‘going to’:

♦ *We OFTEN use BE + going to + base infinitive for Future Plans (see my post April 8, 2013).

♦ When we use   BE + going to + base infinitive, it often sounds like ‘gonna + base infinitive. You see  gonna‘ written a lot in songs.  This is okay for song writers. However, it is NOT okay to write ‘gonna’ in your English writing.

♦ *We ALSO use BE + going to + base infinitive for Predictions based on evidence (when there is evidence.)  For example,

  • you look at the sky and see dark clouds: you say “Oh no, it’s going to rain!” – You know it’s going to rain.
  • you’re feeling sick because you drank too much beer: you say ” I’m going to be sick!” You know you’re going to throw up (vomit).
  • you’ve gambled a lot of money on a horse race and while you are watching the race, you can see that your horse is winning easily: you say ” He‘s going to win!” You know he’s going to win.

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ 

In the song, Street Boy, Rodriguez predicts that the street boy is ‘going to end up alone’ if he continues to live a ‘dead-end life’ on the streets, (evidence – he knows what’s going to happen).

He also predicts that the boy will never find or meet a street boy who has beaten the streets. However, Rodriguez has no evidence so he uses ‘will’. He also uses ‘will’ for a promise when he states, ‘There’s one last word then I’ll conclude …’ He has one last word of warning for the boy, a bet, and then he will stop giving advice. He keeps his promise. 

Song: Street Boy by Rodriguez

Chorus
Street boy,

You’ve been out too long.
Street boy,
Ain’t you got enough sense to go home?
Street boy,
You’re gonna end up alone.
You need some love and understanding,
Not that dead-end life you’re planning
Street boy.

You go home but you can’t stay
Because something’s always pulling you away.
Your fast hellos and quick goodbyes,
You’re just a street boy
With the streetlights in your eyes.
You’d better get yourself together;
Look for something better.

Chorus

Your sister says that every week
You just come home to eat and go to sleep,
And you make plans you never keep
Because your mind is always in the streets.
You’d better get yourself together;
Look for something better.

Chorus

There’s one last word then I’ll conclude
Before you pick up and put on your attitude.
Bet you’ll never find or ever meet
Any street boy who has ever beat(en) the streets.

Street boy x 6
Sweet boy

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2.
Idioms

IDIOMS MEANING
You’ve been out To be ‘out’ is to be outside a particular building, usually the home, as in this song. It could be your work place. Click here for more meanings and sentence examples.
end up (alone) To ‘end up alone’ means to be alone at the end of one’s life. ‘End up’ means finish/ result in. Click here for more meanings and sentence examples.
dead end life A ‘dead end life’ is a life with no positive future as suggested in the song. ‘Dead end’ can mean no exit, boring, monotonous, hopeless, with no possibility of progress.
something’s always pulling you The street boy always feels the ‘pull’ or ‘attraction’ of the street life. It pulls him away from his home and away from a better life.
the … in your eyes To have something ‘in your eyes’ means that the ‘something’ is all you see, your top priority.
get yourself together Rodriguez advises the street boy to ‘get yourself together’- to take action to improve his life; to change his ‘dead end’ lifestyle.

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3.
had better & base infinitive

Had better‘ includes the meaning and advice ‘should’. However, it is always used as a warning: ‘It would be better if … ‘  It means that if you don’t follow the advice, something bad will or could happen. The unfortunate result of not following the advice is sometimes stated, and usually understood:

You’d better not drive home. (You’ve had too much to drink.)

We’d better not be late for the theatre or we’ll be locked out.

My boyfriend had better remember my birthday! (or I’ll never forgive him!)

You’d better take your studies seriously or you won’t pass.

The warning may be very mild:

You’d better take some fruit with you or you’ll get hungry.

I’d better go to bed now or I’ll be tired tomorrow.

We’d better clean the house before your mother arrives.

We usually use the contraction – ‘d better – perhaps because this collocation is used for warnings when speaking, and contractions are common when speaking. Written warnings use more formal or academic styles. The contraction is difficult to hear and as a result many people (yes, even native speakers) think the expression is just – you better, we better, he better, etc.

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful song and I hope it helps you understand how to use  BE + going to + base infinitive for predictions based on evidence. For another song featuring BE + going to + base infinitive for predictions, check out an earlier post here.

Sixto Rodriguez has other equally wonderful songs which will help you in your English-learning journey. My favourite is I Wonder. Click here for the music video I Wonder. You will also see a playlist of his other songs.

🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸 🎸🎸 🎸

Posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Song with Second Conditional & Present Tenses

We often use the Second Conditional to talk about how we would like things to change (our life, other people, the world). Sometimes, we are not satisfied with a current situation and imagine how it could/would improve, if …

‘If I earned a lot of money, I would buy a car.
If I had a car, I wouldn’t have to walk to work.’

Frequently, the wished-for result is the opposite of what is true now. The above speaker does not have a car. He/she has to walk to work.

The Second Conditional describes hypothetical situations and their hypothetical results. How would you express the above situations in your language? Surely every language has a structure for expressing hypothetical situations?  Thinking about how we could change and improve our lives is a very common human trait! For the English rules and practice exercises, check out my earlier post, here.

Today, to give you an example of how we use Second Conditional, I am featuring a song, If You Could See Her Through My Eyes, from the movie Cabaret. The movie is set in Berlin, in 1931, under the growing presence of the Nazi Party.

The lyrics of this song point out how human relationships would be  improved if people were more tolerant – if they could see a person through the singer’s eyes. The situation is hypothetical – people do not see her the way the singer sees her. The result is also hypothetical – it is the opposite of what is true now. Present Simple and Present Continuous explain what is real and what is happening now.

The Second Conditional If clause is in bold print with the main clause underlined. The Present Simple is pink and the Present Continuous is blue.

Song: If You Could See Her Through My Eyes

M.C.:

I know what you’re thinking.
You wonder why I chose her
Out of all the ladies in the world.
It’s just a first impression.
What good’s a first impression?
If you knew her like I do,
It would change your point of view.

If you could see her through my eyes,
You wouldn’t wonder at all.
If you could see her through my eyes,
I guarantee you would fall,
Like I did.
When we’re in public together,
I hear society moan,
But if they could see her through my eyes,
Maybe they’d leave us alone.

How can I speak of her virtues?
I don’t know where to begin.
She‘s clever; she’s smart; she reads music.
She doesn’t smoke or drink gin,
Like I do.
Yet when we’re walking together,
They sneer if I’m holding her hand,
But if they could see her through my eyes,
Maybe they’d all understand.

Why don’t they leave us alone?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you:
Is it a crime to fall in love?
Can one ever choose where the heart leads us?
All we ask is ‘Ein bißchen Verständnis’, a little understanding!

Why can’t the world ‘Leben und leben lassen’,  live and let live?

Oh, I understand your objection,
I grant you, the problem’s not small;
But if you could see her through my eyes,
She wouldn’t look Jewish at all!

           

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , | 1 Comment

English Idioms in Pictures #10

Click on the picture below to find out the meaning of the idiom HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE.

Once on the site, you can click on Follow at the bottom of the page to receive more pictures and explanations of idioms FREE.

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

          

Posted in Elementary (Level 2), Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Vocabulary | 2 Comments

Gerunds & Infinitives – What is the difference?

GERUNDS

Gerunds are usually nouns but they are different from other nouns because they are made from verbs.

Changing verbs into other forms: nouns or adjectives, for example, is common in many languages. Think about how your language changes verbs into other forms as you continue reading. 

♦ Gerunds are always singular: Cooking dinner takes a long time.
                                                         Cooking is hard work.
♦ The ‘ing’ form of the verb is always used: However, I love cooking

♦ Gerunds are the names of activities: eating, drinking, playing, watching, skiing, horse-riding. Can you see a pattern here? When we want a word to name the activity (noun) caused by the verb, we often use a gerund.

Cooking is LOVE you can taste.

If you can replace a gerund with a pronoun, for example, ‘it’, then the gerund must be a noun! Pronouns can only replace nouns. (pro = for) Here are the above three sentences with the gerund, cooking, replaced with ‘it‘:

It takes a long time.

It is hard work.

I love it!

♦ Gerunds are very common in everyday spoken English. They can be the Subject, the Object, or the Complement in a sentence:

Changing verbs into other forms is common in many languages. (Subject: ‘Changing verbs into other forms’ is a gerund phrase. You can replace all of it with the pronoun ‘it’: It is common in many languages.)

Skiing is a popular winter sport. (Subject)

Children seem to learn skiing easily. (Object of ‘learn’)

The most popular winter sport in many countries is skiing. (Complement of ‘is’)

In the sentence, “Anthony saw some sharks when he was snorkelling in the Philippines last year.”, “snorkelling” is a participle part of the verb “was snorkelling”. 

In the sentence, “My children love snorkelling“, “snorkelling” is a noun. It is the object of “love“. An object is a noun. 

∗  Note that in the above sentence, there is no indication that the children are actually snorkelling, unlike Anthony who was no doubt swimming very quickly after he saw the sharks. All we know is that the children love that activity. “My children love it.” The word “it” is the object of “love”. The pronoun “it” replaces “snorkelling” in the above sentence, so “snorkelling” must be a noun. It is a Gerund.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


INFINITIVES

Infinitives are the names of verbs: TO + BASE VERB. For example: to be, to have, to go, to look, to swim. When you look up a verb in a dictionary, it is the Base form that is listed first. Infinitives and Base verbs have no tense. 

It is very common to use more than one verb in a clause.  However, only one tense per clause is permitted! Again, think about your language and the rules for verbs. Infinitives have no tense, so they are used to add information without affecting the tense of the verb, without affecting ‘when’:

I want to study Architecture at University. (want = Present Simple Tense)

I wanted to study Architecture at school, but it wasn’t a school subject. (wanted = Past Simple Tense)

Photo by Alex Vasey Unsplash.com

I have wanted to study Architecture ever since I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (have wanted = Present Perfect Tense)

In the main clause of the above three sentences, the different forms of the verb ‘want’ show tense. The infinitive ‘to study’ adds meaning only.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

 

It is important to know when to use Gerunds after verbs and when to use Infinitives after verbs.

♦ Some verbs can be followed by a Gerund or an Infinitive:

I love going out on Saturday nights with my friends.

I love to go out on Saturday nights with my friends.

 

♦ Some verbs cannot be followed by an Infinitive. If you want to follow the verb with another verb, you have to use a Gerund:


I finished cleaning the house at 10pm.  I finished to clean the house at 10pm.                                               
 I enjoy going out with my friends. I enjoy to go out with my friends.


Of course, you can follow ‘finished’ and ‘enjoy’ with other word forms:

I finished my exams yesterday. (verb + noun + adverb)

I enjoy funny movies. (verb + adjective + noun)

♦ Other verbs cannot be followed by a Gerund. If you want to follow the verb with another verb, you have to use an infinitive:


Rou decided to study English in Australia.  Rou decided studying  English in Australia.

After that, she is planning to continue her studies in Taiwan. After that, she is planning continuing her studies in Taiwan.

Of course, you can follow ‘decided’ and ‘is planning’ with other word forms:

Rou decided on a holiday in Spain. (verb + preposition + noun)

After that, she is planning further study. (verb + adjective + noun)

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There is no easy rule to help you know if a verb is followed by a Gerund or an Infinitive. The way I see the difference is (usually) this:

Gerunds describe an activity (IT). It might not happen.

Infinitives describe an action (TO DO IT) which happens/happened/will happen. 

Have a look at these two sentences:

1. I love cooking.

2. I love to cook on the weekends when my parents visit.

My husband the chef. Photo by Mario 

 

1. I love cooking. (I love it.)

I love watching Masterchef and *cooking videos on Youtube. I have some excellent recipe books. I love food and trying new dishes. I do all the food shopping. However, I never cook because my husband is a chef! (*cooking = adjective gerund)

 

2. I love to cook on the weekends when my parents visit. (I love to do it.)

I do it when my parents visit. What do I do? I cook.

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Try to remember the difference between gerunds and infinitives the way you learn new vocabulary. Online exercises are a good way to practise and remember:

Click here for a website that categorizes which types of common verbs are followed by gerunds and which types of common verbs are are followed by infinitives. It is an excellent reference.
The site also lists songs which feature gerunds. However, not every word ending in ‘ing’ is a gerund! Some are participles; some are part of reduced Relative Clauses. I have focused on one of the songs, ‘Feel’ by Robbie Williams. Watch the video below and then check the lyrics. I have highlighted the gerunds in bold pink and the infinitives in bold blue.

Click here to see a list of verbs followed by Infinitives. This link will take you to verbs followed by Gerunds

• For more information and practice exercises click here.

Song: FEEL by Robbie Williams

Come and hold my hand.
I *wanna contact the living.    (*wanna contact = want to contact)
Not sure I understand
This role I’ve been given.
I sit and talk to God
And he just laughs at my plans.
My head speaks a language
I don’t understand.

I just *wanna feel     (wanna feel = want to feel)
Real love; feel the home that I live in,
‘Cause I’ve got too much life
Running through my veins,
Going to waste.
I don’t *wanna die     (*wanna die = want to die)
But I **ain’t keen on living either.     (**ain’t = am not)
Before I fall in love,
I’m preparing to leave her.

(I) Scare myself to death.
That’s why I keep on running.
Before I’ve arrived,
I can see myself coming.

I just *wanna feel    (wanna feel = want to feel)
Real love; feel the home that I live in,
‘Cause I’ve got too much life
Running through my veins,
Going to waste;
And I need to feel
Real love and the love ever after.
I cannot get enough.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | 1 Comment

A Song with Past Simple Tense & Past Continuous Tense

* First, let’s look at the form (conjugation / spelling) of English verbs. They follow very simple patterns. English verb forms are much easier than many European languages like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and German. The Turkish language also has many more verb forms than English. 

There are patterns in every language which, if you can see, make it so much easier to learn a new language than you think. If you can read this post, you are ready to see and understand the patterns in English verbs. Congratulations! Read on!

https://unsplash.com/photos/KI30hJUooGE

Patterns are Everywhere!

 

PATTERNS in English verbs:

Regular verb  TO WAIT: wait, waits, waited, waiting – only 4 forms!

• ALL regular verbs have the same 4 forms.

 

Semi-regular verb TO CRY: cry, cries, cried, crying – only 4 forms!

• ALL semi-regular verbs ending in consonant + y have the same 4 forms.

Semi-regular verb TO FADE: fade, fades, faded, fading – only 4 forms!

• ALL semi-regular verbs ending in consonant + e have the same 4 forms.

 

Irregular verb TO KNOW: know, knows, knew, known, knowing – only 5 forms!

• ALL irregular verbs have at most 5 forms. Some have fewer:

For example, TO MEET: meet, meets, met, meeting 4 forms.

For example, TO CUT: cut, cuts, cutting – only 3 forms!

https://unsplash.com/photos/GOMhuCj-O9w

Of course, there is  an exception:   the verb TO BE.

English is no different. The verb TO BE is an exception in many languages.

Irregular verb TO BE: be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being8 forms. However, there is some good news: this is the only verb with more than 5 forms.

https://unsplash.com/photos/2vdkNvgbgno

TO BE or NOT TO BE

Irregular verbs are often the same verbs in every language: BE, HAVE, DO, GO etc. This is because they are the old, original verbs that everyone used hundreds or thousands of   years ago and the spelling has not changed very much. Verbs like to type, to email, to text, to skype, are not irregular, are they? The good news is that all new verbs will be regular. The number of irregular verbs is limited. Once you learn them, that’s it. Also, even irregular verbs follow patterns. Every other verb is regular – only 4 forms. Easy peasy! All English verbs, regular and irregular use the same auxiliary verbs.

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* Next, let’s look at the form (spelling) of Past Simple and Past Continuous:

Past SimpleRegular verbs end in ‘ed’.  

  Base infinitive + ed: Romeo talked to Juliet’s dad.

All Past Simple verbs, regular and irregular:
     Did + not + Base infinitive: Juliet did not know what to think.
   Did + Base infinitive: Did Juliet meet Romeo in town?

 

Past Continuous verbs all end in ‘ing’.  They all need an auxiliary verb (to make a complete verb) depending on the person: was for I, he, she, and it; were for you, we, and they.

+    Was / were + Base infinitive + ing: Juliet was crying on the staircase.
      Was / were + not + Base infinitive + ing: They were not waiting for permission.
?     Was / were + Base infinitive + ing: What was she waiting for?

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* Finally, read my earlier post on Past Simple Tense & Past Continuous Tense.

It’s always useful to find a song that features the grammar that you are trying to understand and remember. The song Love Story by Taylor Swift is, as the name suggests, a story and like many stories, it uses a variety of tenses: past, present, and future. For this post, I’m going to focus on the use of Past Simple Tense (red) and Past Continuous Tense (green) in the song.

The story starts in the present when Juliet has a ‘flashback‘ and remembers how it all began:                                                                              http://wilsona2mediabchs.blogspot.com/2016/10/intertextuality-analysis-taylor-swift.html

 I close my eyes and the flashback starts:       
I’m standing there on a balcony in summer air.
See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns,
See you make your way through the crowd,
And say hello
.   

The tense changes to the past and the events of the day when she fell in love with her Romeo:   

 Little did I know that you were Romeo.
You were throwing pebbles
And my daddy said “Stay away from Juliet”,
And I was crying on the staircase
Begging you “Please, don’t go”.
     
                                                                                             

http://wilsona2mediabchs.blogspot.com/2016/10/intertextuality-analysis-taylor-swift.html

I was crying on the staircase, begging you “Please don’t go”.

 Past Continuous Tense is the logical tense to use when you want to describe actions or states which were in progress (continuing, happening) at the same time as something else or during a specific time in the past.

When Juliet’s daddy told Romeo to stay away from her, (at the same time):

Juliet was standing on the staircase.

Romeo was throwing pebbles

When the above photo of Juliet was taken, (at a specific time):

Juliet was crying.

Juliet was begging Romeo not to go.

On the outskirts of town

 I got tired of waiting,
Wondering if you were ever coming around.
My faith in you was fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town.

At the same time as her faith in him was fading: 

 Romeo surprised her when he met her on the outskirts of town.

Past Continuous Tense describes real life. Life does not happen one action after another; there are always multiple things going on at the same time. We need the correct language to accurately connect and report all this activity. 

If we just use Past Simple Tense, we just have a series of photos.

If we use Past Simple Tense and Past Continuous Tense, we have a movie! Watch the video below and see what I mean. Click here for the video with lyrics.

For practice exercises, click here.

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Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Defining Relative Clauses: #6

For Grammar Rules about Defining Relative Clauses see my post  .

                                                                                                                       

  • RIHANNA  sings a song with Eminem called ‘Monster’. There are  Defining Relative Clauses in the chorus. Have a look:

Chorus

1. I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed.

2. (I) Get along with the voices inside of my head.

3. You’re trying to save me.

4. Stop holding your breath.

5. And you think I’m crazy.

6. Yeah, you think I’m crazy (crazy).

The Relative clauses in Lines 1 & 2 are clearly Defining Relative Clauses because they are obviously necessary in the sentence. You know they are necessary because if you take them out, the sentences have no meaning:

I’m friends with the monster. 

I get along with the voices.    

If a friend said to you, “I’m friends with the monster”, you would ask, “Which monster??”    

The Defining Relative Clause tells us which monster.    

If a friend said to you, “I get along with the voices”, you would ask, “Which voices??”

The Defining Relative Clause tells us which voices.

Also note that Rihanna sings about “THE monster”, “THE voices”. “THE” is the Definite (defining!) Article. We use THE when it is clear which noun we are talking about, but if we just say, “I’m friends with the monster”, it is NOT clear which monster. If we just say, “I get along with the voices”, it is NOT clear which voices. We need to define which monster and which voices. We need Defining Relative Clauses.

*** Defining Relative Clauses do not use commas because commas (like these brackets) separate the Relative Clause from the Independent Clause and we don’t want to separate the Relative Clause because the information is important for meaning. 

*** Non-Defining Relative Clauses use commas because the Relative Clause provides extra, separate information (like extra information we sometimes put in brackets).

The song ‘Monster’, which I like, is sung by Rihanna and Eminem.

‘which I like’ is a Non-Defining Relative Clause. It doesn’t tell us which song. It’s extra information.

Rihanna and Eminem, who are very successful, sing a song called ‘Monster’.

‘who are very successful’ is a Non-Defining Relative Clause. It doesn’t tell us who Rihanna and Eminem are. It’s extra information about them.

Take out the Non-Defining Relative Clauses and the sentences have meaning:

The song ‘Monster’ is sung by Rihanna and Eminem.

Rihanna and Eminem sing a song called ‘Monster’.

I highly recommend that you sing the chorus of ‘Monster’ (video below) a few times until you know it well. Then, whenever you need an example of a Defining Relative Clause, one will be easy to recall.

***************************************************************

  • Now, let’s look at two more Defining Relative Clauses.

Adam Levine & Maroon 5

  • MAROON FIVE sing a song called ‘This Love’. The first few lines contain Defining Relative Clauses:

1. I was so high I did not recognize

2. The fire (which/that was) burning in her eyes,

3. The chaos that controlled my mind.

Here you can see that the Relative Clauses are vital for meaning. Take them out and the song has no clear meaning:

I was so high I did not recognize the fire, the chaos .. Which fire?? Which chaos??

*Note again the use of the Definite Article: THE fire, THE chaos.

I highly recommend that you sing the chorus of ‘Monster’ (click here for the video) and the lines from ‘This Love’ (lyrics video) a few times until you know them well. Then, whenever you need an example of a Defining Relative Clause, you will be able to recall one or more easily.

You could also check other examples in songs by clicking here.

If you have any questions or would like more examples, just leave a comment  below.

 

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Posted in Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Relative Clauses, Songs, TOEFL, TOEIC | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Words to use instead of ‘When’

Here’s a lesson, with a delightful song, to help you remember some words and expressions you can use instead of ‘when’. They are highlighted below in green and blue.

I’m not going to even mention the G word (shhh! … grammar), but if you really must have a (grammar) fix, click on the green and blue links in the song lyrics.

The lyrics for the song, I say a little prayer, (by Burt Bacharach and Hal David)  are written under the video, which is my favourite version of the song, from the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding.

After the lyrics, I have provided more examples of words to use instead of ‘when’  with the same or similar meanings.

 Song: I Say a Little Prayer  

The moment I wake up, 
Before I put on my makeup,
I say a little prayer for you.
While combing my hair, now,
And (while) wondering what dress to wear, now,
I say a little prayer for you:

Chorus
Forever, and ever,
You’ll stay in my heart and I will love you.
Forever, and ever,
We never will part; Oh, how I love you.
Together, forever, that’s how it must be.
To live without you
Would only mean heartbreak for me. 

I run for the bus, dear.
While riding, I think of us, dear.
I say a little prayer for you.
At work, I just take time,
And all through my coffee break-time,
I say a little prayer for you.

Chorus

My darling, believe me.
For me, there is no one but you.
Please love me too.
Answer my prayer. (Answer his prayer.)
Answer my prayer now babe, oh-oh. (Answer his prayer.)

Chorus

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Song Lyrics

More examples

 

The moment I wake up, …

 


The moment
I saw you,…


 


The moment
I finish the test, …

 

 

The moment you buy a new computer,

As soon as I wake up, …

Immediately after I wake up, …

As soon as I saw you, …

The first time I saw you, …

The last time I saw you, …


After I finish the test …

Straight after I finish the test, …

Immediately after I finish the test, 

As soon as you buy a new computer, ..

Next time you buy a new computer, …

While combing my hair, …

 

 

While eating my lunch …

Whenever I comb my hair, …

As I comb my hair, …

Every time (that)I comb my hair, …


Every
lunch time, …

During lunch time, …

While riding (the bus), …

 

Whenever I ride the bus, …

Every time (that) I am on the bus,..

At work, I just take time …

 


At the market
, I always buy … 

While working, I just take time…

While I’m at work,I just take time..

Whenever I’m at the market, I buy ..

All through my coffee break time, …

 

 

All through the night, …

 


All through
my childhood, 

 

During my coffee break, …

Every coffee break, …

Whenever I have a coffee break, …


During
the night, …

Throughout the night, …


During
my childhood, …

Throughout my childhood, …

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Posted in Elementary (Level 2), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Vocabulary | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

20 English Idioms of Courage

On New Year’s Eve, many of us make New Year Resolutions in an effort to improve ourselves or make a positive change.  Maybe you want to exercise more, lose weight, or just get more organised. Not so easy! It takes a lot of determination and intestinal fortitude to change habits. After the year we’ve had, I admire anyone who has the energy to even think about New Year Resolutions!

So, to help you courageous types stick to your resolutions, I have found some superb idioms for you: 20 English Idioms of Courage by purlandtraining.com. Click on the picture below for inspiration and encouragement. Good luck! 

  Wishing you all a Happy & Prosperous New Year  
  filled with Love & Laughter!  

             

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Reading, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment