A Song with Relative Clauses #10 & Noun Clauses

There is a lovely new song called Something just like this by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay. It has two verses and a chorus. The first verse is one long Compound Sentence. The chorus is a series of Noun Clauses, some of which contain Relative Clauses. The second verse is one long Complex Sentence.

Song: Something just like this

Verse #1:
I’ve been reading books of old,      

The legends and the myths,
Achilles and his gold,
Hercules and his gifts,
Spiderman’s control
And Batman with his fists,
And clearly, I don’t see myself upon that list.   

Chorus:
She said *”Where’d you wanna go?        * (Where do you want to go?)
*How much you wanna risk?                  * (How much do you want to risk?)
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts,
Some superhero, some fairytale bliss;
Just something I can turn to;
Somebody I can kiss.
I want something just like this.”            

Verse #2:
I’ve been reading books of old:
The legends and the myths,
The testaments they told,
The moon and its eclipse,
And Superman unrolls
*A suit before he lifts,                                 * (a superman suit ….. he flies)
But I’m not the kind of person that it fits.

** Many thanks to Rachael Crowe for the use of this photograph.** http://www.rachaelcrowe.com

 

Verse #1:
I’ve been reading books of old:
The legends and the myths,
Achilles and his gold,

Hercules and his gifts,
Spiderman’s control

And Batman with his fists, 
and clearly,
I don’t see myself upon that list.  

Verse #1:
A Compound Sentence
has two or more Independent Clauses joined by a Co-ordinating Conjunction.

1st Independent Clause: I’ve been reading books of old: the legends and the myths, Achilles and his gold, Hercules and his gifts, Spiderman’s control and Batman with his fists

Co-ordinating Conjunction: and

2nd Independent Clause: clearly, I don’t see myself upon that list

Chorus:
She said “Where’d you want to go?   
How much do you want to risk?
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts,
Some superhero,

Some fairytale bliss;
Just something I can turn to; Somebody I can kiss.
I want something just like this.”
The Chorus is a series of Noun Clauses introduced by, She said.

Noun Clauses:
She said,

“Where’d you want to go?
How much do you want to risk?
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts,
Some superhero,
Some fairytale bliss;
Just something I can turn to; Somebody I can kiss.
I want something just like this.”

Chorus:
She said “Where’d you want to go?   
How much do you want to risk?                   
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts,
Some superhero,

Some fairytale bliss;
Just something I can turn to;
Somebody I can kiss”.

I want something just like this.”
 

 

 

 

 

Verse #2:
I’ve been reading books of old:
The legends and the myths,
The testaments they told,
The moon and its eclipse,
And Superman unrolls
A suit before he lifts
But I’m not the kind of person that it fits.

 

To watch the Youtube video with handy subtitles, click here.

Because Noun Clauses can be whole sentences and questions, we can find Adverb Clauses and Relative Clauses inside Noun Clauses. Inside the Noun Clauses in this song, we find the following Relative Clauses:

1. …  (which/that) I can turn to;
2. …  (who/that) I can kiss.
3. …
(which/that is) just like this.”

In the examples of Relative Clauses 1. and 2. we can omit the Relative Clause marker: who/that. In example 3. we have omitted the Relative Clause marker ‘which/that’ as well as the BE verb ‘is’, so we call this a Reduced Relative Clause.


Verse #2
:

A Complex Sentence contains at least one Independent Clause and at least one Dependent Clause. Relative Clauses are Dependent Clauses and there are two in Verse #2:

1 … (which/that) they told,

2 …  that it fits.

There is also an Adverb Clause in Verse #2:

… before he lifts (Adverb Clause of Time.)
Adverb Clauses are always Dependent Clauses:

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

 

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Posted in Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Songs, TOEFL, TOEIC | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pictures of Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

I have recently come across (phrasal verb: come across = found by accident) a very helpful website called idiomic.com which helps you understand and remember idioms and phrasal verbs by using amusing pictures. I have featured just one idiom below: BIG CHEESE

If you would like to see more of this wonderful website, just click on the picture of the BIG CHEESE. Once on the site, you can click on Follow at the bottom of the page to receive lots more pictures of idioms and phrasal verbs FREE.

BIG CHEESE

big cheese

Definition: The most important person/ the boss.

Example: Sir Bigglesworth-Smythe was a big cheese in the world of moustache grooming products, having created the world’s best-selling tash wax.

Origin:

Big cheese has undergone a series of changes over the centuries. Originally, just a simple ‘the cheese’ meant something top notch. Even the word ‘cheesy’, which now represents something tacky and embarrassing, once meant something of quality.

In the early 20th century, big cheese stood for wealth or fame. It wasn’t until 1922 that its current usage came into being.

So Iddy, where did this ridiculous phrase come from in the first place?

Some attribute it to literal big cheeses created as showpieces in those same years of the 20th century.

A truly monstrous cheese was created in the 1799 by dairy farmers from Cheshire, Massachussets and sent to President Thomas Jefferson as a gift. It weighed 1250 pounds, was four feet in diameter, and had to be carried in a wagon. Legend has it that it was still being served five years later. That’s a lot of cheese. Iddy’s not sure if this particular fromage gave birth to the idiom, but it’s a great anecdote nevertheless.

Some sources claim it derives from a Persian/Urdu word ‘chiz’, which means ‘thing’. It was probably absorbed into the UK English language by returning soldiers in the Victorian age and Indian emigrants in later decades. In this way, the phrase is a corruption of ‘big chiz’ or ‘big thing’.

Interestingly, big cheese can be used with respect (though quite informally), or in a sarcastic way. If somebody calls you a big cheese, listen carefully to their tone!

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

Phrasal Verbs: 3 Easy Rules

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verbs: come back, run off with, go around, wear out, ………. http://www.anglonautes.eu/learning%20english

There are just 3 things to know if you want to understand and remember Phrasal Verbs:

1. Phrasal Verbs are Vocabulary.

2. There are two types: a)Separable and
b)Non-separable.

3. When they are Separable, the pronoun must always go in the middle.

Phrasal Verb: get up ..................... https://www.google.com.au/search?q=peanuts+cartoons

Phrasal Verb: get up ………………… https://www.google.com.au/search?q=peanuts+cartoons

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Phrasal Verb: give up ………………….. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

 

1. Phrasal Verbs are Vocabulary.

Phrasal Verbs are verbs plus one or more words which change the meaning of the verb. Think of them as one vocabulary unit with one meaning

You know the meaning of the verb give.

1. Please give me that football.

 You also know the meaning of give up.

2. I’m not a great football player but I’m never going to give up!

Sentences 1. and 2. both use the word give, but the meaning is different.

It’s important to learn and remember that the Phrasal Verb give up means *to stop an activity or effort : to admit that you cannot do something and stop trying It has no connection with the word give or the word up. No-one is giving anything. No-one is looking up.

*This is a link to the definition of give up in the online dictionary www.learnersdictionary.com You will need to scroll down, down, down to the phrasal verb section to find the definition that I’ve included above. You may have to click on give verb first.

How can you learn all these Phrasal Verbs? Well, how do you learn other vocabulary? Here are my suggestions. Check:

♦  www.learnersdictionary.com

♦  Google – Images

♦  Google.com

♦  http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com

Don’t worry if it takes you a long time to work out the meanings of the Phrasal Verbs. While you are trying to work out the meanings (using my suggestions), you are learning much more than you realise. You are learning how to use the new vocabulary in context.

When you look up Phrasal Verbs like give up, you will see how the word give has multiple meanings. You will see that give up is not the only Phrasal Verb that starts with the word give. The two minutes you spend looking up give up will be a mini lesson; you will learn so much more than just one phrasal verb.

For a list from http://www.englishclub.com of the 200 most common Phrasal Verbs, with explanations and example sentences, click here.


2. There are two types: a)Separable and
b)Non-separable.

Sometimes you can separate the words that make up a Phrasal Verb:

I really need to give up smoking.

Everyone tells me that I need to give smoking up.

Everyone tells me that I need to give it up.

Sometimes, you cannot separate the words that make up a Phrasal Verb. (‘Non-separable’ means that you must not separate the words.)

You should stick to your exercise routine.

I can’t go around like this! (go around = to go here and there; move from place to place)

Charlie Brown looks after his dog Snoopy.

Non-separable Phrasal Verbs are not hard to remember and students don’t make the mistake of separating them. I have never heard a student separate a non-separable Phrasal Verb. I have never, ever, ever heard anything like:

You should stick your exercise routine to .

I can’t go like this  around.

I look my dog after.

There is a good reason why English learners don’t make the mistake of separating Non-separable Phrasal Verbs. They sound really bad if you separate them! This is an easy rule to remember. However, you need to know it because of rule #3.


3. When  Phrasal Verbs are Separable, the pronoun must always go in the middle.

cheers-me-up

I’ll wear out my sock!

I’ll wear my sock out!

I’ll wear it out.                                      

Buying records cheers up my friends.

Buying records cheers  my friends up.

Buying records cheers them up.

You should give up smoking.

You should give smoking up.

You should give it up.

Phrasal Verbs like wear out, cheer up, and give up can be separated. If you use a pronoun, you must, must, must, put it in the middle. You cannot put it after the Phrasal Verb. You cannot say:

I’ll wear out it .   

Buying records cheers up them.

You should give up it .

Have a look at the 200 examples of common Phrasal Verbs with explanations and example sentences at English Club. Take note of the Non-separable Phrasal Verbs. They are the ones  with pronouns after the Phrasal Verbs. For example:

We called on you last night but you weren’t home.

I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.

Now, take note of the Separable Phrasal Verbs. They are the ones  with pronouns in the middle of the Phrasal Verbs.

For example:

My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.

This sad music is bringing me down.

His wife gave him away to the police.

So, there you have it. Remember the three rules and don’t worry. You already know a lot of phrasal verbs. They are just more vocabulary. Look at the list of 200 Phrasal Verbs. Read the explanations and examples. It won’t take long to learn the meanings. The main thing to remember is: do not put the pronoun after a separable Phrasal Verb! If you can put it in the middle, you must put it there!

Have fun and just think of how much you are improving your English knowledge every time you learn a new Phrasal Verb!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Posted in Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary, Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Write a Sentence #6: A Summary

In posts How to Write a Sentence #1, 2, 3, 4, & 5, I explained how to put words together to make a sentence.

In this post, I’m going to break it all down in a different way. This will be a summary so if necessary, click on the grammar terms for explanations. I will be using sentences/clauses/phrases/words from Taylor Swift’s song Blank Space as examples.

SENTENCES

A sentence is made up of (at least one) clause and sometimes phrases.
♦  So, it’s *gonna be forever or it’s *gonna go down in flames. (*gonna = going to)

♦ You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=taylor+swift “So, it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames.”

CLAUSES

A clause is a group of words with a subject (usually) and a finite verb:
♦ it’s going to be forever
♦ it’s going to go down in flames
♦ because we’re young

PHRASES

A phrase is a group of words that does not have a finite verb:
in flames
♦ to be forever
♦ to go down
♦ dressed like a daydream

Anything that is not part of a clause or phrase is usually a conjunction, a transition,  or a one-word adverb:

♦ or
♦ however
♦ yesterday
 

INDEPENDENT & DEPENDENT CLAUSES

There are 2 types of clauses: Independent and Dependent.

◊ The first thing to do when you examine a sentence is find the Main Clause (the Independent Clause).  Simple sentences have just one Main Clause:

        ♦ I’ve got a long list of ex-lovers.

Compound Sentences have two or more Main/Independent Clauses and are joined by a Co-ordinating Conjunction.

         ♦ (So) it’s *gonna be forever or it’s *gonna go down in flames.

Complex Sentences have at least one Independent Clause and at least one Dependent Clause.

‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless, we’ll take this way too far.

◊ After you have found the Independent Clause/s, everything else is just extra “stuff” which does not affect the grammar in the Independent Clause. This stuff is almost always one or both of the following: #1. DEPENDENT CLAUSES  #2. PHRASES


◊◊ #1. DEPENDENT CLAUSES. The following sentence has an Independent Clause (in bold) and a Dependent Clause (in blue):

Because we’re young and we’re reckless, we’ll take this way too far.

The following sentence has two Independent Clauses joined by a co-ordinating conjunction and two Dependent Clauses.

I get drunk on jealousy but you’ll come back (1) each time you leave (2) ’cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

There are only 3 types of Dependent Clauses:

         Relative  (Adjective) Clauses
         ♦ Adverb Clauses
         ♦ Noun Clauses

 

I can’t see any Relative Clauses in the song Blank Space so let’s look at the Adverb Clauses first and then the Noun Clauses. (For songs with Relative Clauses, click here.)

ADVERB CLAUSES

        ♦ Adverbs answer how, where, when, & why. If the answer does not include a finite verb, it’s just an Adverb: with a nasty scar, down in flames

If the answer includes a subject and a finite verb, it’s an Adverb Clause: Because we’re young.
Adverb Clauses answer how, where, when, & why. They can also give other information about the verb in the Independent Clause: conditions and contrasts.

Here are the Adverb Clauses (in blue) in the chorus :

So, it’s gonna be forever
Or it’s gonna go down in flames.
You can tell me when it’s over                   When?
If the high was worth the pain.                  Condition?
(I’ve) Got a long list of ex-lovers.
They’ll tell you (that) I’m insane
‘Cause you know *(that) I love the players           Why insane?
And you love the game.

NOUN CLAUSES

♦ Nouns answer who and what. If the answer does not include a finite verb, it’s just a Noun: love, game, my next mistake, the bad guys. 

If the answer includes a subject and a finite verb, it’s a Noun Clause: (that) I’m insane.
*(that) I love the players = a Noun Clause as part of an Adverb Clause!

Noun Clauses, like any noun, can be the subject, object or complement in a sentence. This means that a Noun Clause (which is always a Dependent Clause) can be inside an Independent Clause. In the following sentences, the Noun Clause is the object of the verb and is part of the Independent Clause. You know the Noun Clause is part of the Independent Clause because if you take it out, there is no Independent Clause left.

I know *(that) you heard about me.          I know what?

I’m dying to see how this one ends.            to see what?

They’ll tell you *(that) I’m insane.              tell you what?

* Note that the Noun Clause marker ‘that’ is the only  Noun Clause marker that can be left out of a sentence (unless it is the first word in the sentence).

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

◊◊ # 2 PHRASES. You’ve probably realised that phrases are often part of  clauses. In the following sentence, the Independent Clauses are bold, the Dependent Clauses are blue, and the phrase is underlined.

I get drunk on jealousy but you’ll come back (1) each time you leave (2) ’cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

You could point out that ‘a long list’, ‘a blank space’, ‘your name’ are also phrases because they are more than one word and there is no verb. It’s  better just to think of them as  nouns and adjectives in the Independent Clauses and focus on the extra stuff in the Dependent Clauses. 

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

I hope that you can see how to identify the different parts of a sentence.

♦ First, find the Independent Clause.
♦ Then, ask yourself if there are any more clauses. If there are,
♦ what kind of clauses are they? They can only be either more Independent Clauses or Dependent Clauses.
♦ The Dependent Clauses can only be Relative, Adverb, or Noun Clauses. You can often identify them by their Clause Markers.
♦ Anything else will be phrases and single words like conjunctions or one-word adverbs like ‘below’, ‘there’, ‘yesterday’.

You can find the lyrics to the song Blank Space below. The Independent Clauses are in bold, the Dependent Clauses are blue, and the Noun Clauses are underlined.

Continue reading

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged | 2 Comments

How to Write a Sentence: #5 Adjectives & Adverbs

There are nine parts of speech in English. This means that every word in an English sentence belongs to one of the nine parts (or groups). Remember that words can often belong to more than one group; for example: verbto demand, to guide, to order;  noun – a demand,  a guide, an order. Click on the parts of speech headings for more information.

NOUNS students, difficulty, Indonesia, happiness, music, Pedro
PRONOUNS I, me, they, them, mine, hers, everybody, these, who
ADJECTIVES difficult, easy, Indonesian, careful, extreme, my, your 
ARTICLES the, a, an
VERBS runs, is, has, wanted, (modals: can, would, might etc.)
ADVERBS easily, quickly, soon, already
CONJUNCTIONS and, but, because, while, although, after
PREPOSITIONS for, in, at, with, beside, on, below, near
INTERJECTIONS Wow! Hi!

I have listed examples for the parts of speech above. However, what you cannot see is that adjectives, and adverbs can be more than one word. They can be clauses (a group of words with a subject – usually – and a finite verb). A clause gives important  or extra information. Have a look at this sentence:

1. The beautiful tree that was damaged in the storm is gradually recovering.

You know that beautiful is an adjective, but what about damaged? It is a damaged tree, isn’t it? What do you think of the following sentence?

2. The beautiful, damaged tree is gradually recovering.

Sentence #2  uses obvious adjectives: beautiful and damaged, but sentence #1 provides more information about the tree by using an adjective clause: that was damaged in the storm. Think of the adjective clause (also called a relative clause) as just a long adjective which has a subject (the pronoun that) and a verb (was). Adjectives usually go before the noun they are modifying (describing) while adjective clauses always go after the noun they are modifying. For more information on adjective/relative clauses, click here.

The poinciana tree was damaged in the storm.

http://bdavidcathell.com

The tree is gradually recovering. http://bdavidcathell.com

Adverb clauses are just long adverbs with a subject – usually – and a finite verb. Have a look at this sentence:

1. Our poinciana tree was badly damaged in 2015 when we had a fierce storm, but it’s gradually recovering.

Can you see the adverbs in the above sentence? Remember that adverbs give information about verbs (add + verb). They tell us how, why, where, and when.

Q. How was the tree damaged? A. Badly – adverb

Q. How is the tree recovering?  A. Gradually – adverb

Q. When was the tree damaged?  A. In 2010 – adverb
                                                              A. When we had a fierce storm – adverb clause

2. The tree was damaged because we were not prepared for the storm.

Q. Why was the tree damaged?  A. Because we were not prepared for the storm – adverb clause

Adjective clauses and adverb clauses are always dependent clauses and when you use them, you are using complex sentences. For more information on complex sentences, click here.


ghandi

Adverb clause: If we want to reach real peace in this world

 

 

 

Posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

It’s that time again! The world has welcomed in 2017 and we all have high hopes for this New Year. At least the optimists among us have high hopes. What do you hope to achieve this year? What can you do better in 2017?

Do you need a little inspiration? Hmmm? I thought you might, so I decided to share some quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)  American essayist, lecturer, poet, and an inspirational speaker long before it became fashionable.

Here are a few of my favourites. For more, click here.

♣ Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

♣ What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

♣ Shallow people believe in luck. Strong people believe in cause and effect.

♣ To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

♣ Science does not know its debt to imagination.

Many thanks to Darius Soodmand for the use of his photograph… darius.soodmand@gmail.com Site: http://www.dariussoodmand.com/

♣ Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.

♣ You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
 
♣ All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

♣ Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
 
♣ Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

♣ Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

Many thanks to Kalen Emsley for the use of this photograph.
https://unsplash.com/@kalenemsley

 

♣ We aim above the mark to hit the mark.
 
♣ Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

♣ Every artist was first an amateur.

♣ People only see what they are prepared to see. 

♣ Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
 
♣ We are wiser than we know.

♣ No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.

♣ Self-trust is the first secret to success.

♣ Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.

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A lot of the above quotes may sound familiar yet they were written more than one hundred years ago! There’s a saying we have in English “There’s nothing new under the sun”. People have always wanted to be successful and the formula hasn’t changed at all, has it?

I hope you have a wonderful 2017 full of fun and adventures and I wish you continued success in your English studies.

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Reading, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , | 2 Comments

German girl does amazing accents!

A lot of English learners believe (have been told again and again) that if they don’t start learning a second language as a child, they will never get the accent right. A lot of ESL teachers and academics believe this.

Sound familiar?  

Well, I don’t agree. I know people who started learning English as adults and can speak it with a clear English accent – British, North American, Australian etc.                               

  Of course it can be done. 

The people who can copy accents most successfully are those who listen and practise, listen and practise, listen and practise. You get the idea?! Actors, especially non-English actors, often have to learn accents for the roles they play. They have Accent Experts to help them.

Opera singers have to learn the sounds of foreign languages so that they can sing them correctly. No-one would pay to hear them  otherwise. They don’t have to know the language to sing/speak it correctly. Also, translating is the enemy of listening. You need to listen to how English words are connected to other English words. You need to hear the timing and how the sounds are linked.

For now, watch the video below of a German girl speaking in several different accents. She didn’t learn these accents overnight. She practised a lot. She worked hard at them and she had fun. She is still working hard and practising. She tells you that at the moment, she is working on an Australian accent. You can feel her sense of achievement. This video shows what you can do if you put your mind to it!

I will be creating more posts about how to practise your English so that you can feel confident when speaking in English. Sign up to receive email updates.

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Pronunciation Videos, Speaking & Pronunciation, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Season’s Greetings!

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

Season’s Greetings!!

It’s time to relax and enjoy yourself after all your hard work and study.

I hope you have a very happy Christmas!!

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a very happy holiday!!

If you’re not on holiday, I hope you have a very happy and prosperous New Year!!

Here are some of the most popular Christmas songs for you to enjoy. See you next year!

   Mary 

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Beginner (Level 1), Elementary (Level 2), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , | 2 Comments

A Song with Relative Clauses at …….. MONA??!!

A Song with Relative Clauses #9

Yes, it’s true. I heard a song with Relative Clauses at MONA ……. but that’s the end of the story! Let’s start at the very beginning …….

Last week, I went to Hobart, Australia for a few days with my two children, my two sisters and my husband. The occasion was to celebrate my birthday. (Don’t I have a lovely family?)

On Thursday, we caught the ferry to MONA – an acronym for Museum of Old and New Art. MONA has  one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world.

Overlooking the void, MONA http://www.prc-magazine.com

Overlooking the void, MONA
http://www.prc-magazine.com

We marvelled at ancient Egyptian and medieval art as well as contemporary art.  The latter had something to appeal to all tastes. There was an obvious focus on experiencing the art and the artistic environment, not just observing them. What impressed me the most was the architecture.

Saunders & Ward's welded steel staircase, MONA http://www.securityelectronicsandnetworks.com

Saunders & Ward’s welded steel staircase, MONA
http://www.securityelectronicsandnetworks.com

We felt like we had descended into the bowels of the earth and arrived at a subterranean city. There were vast heights and long, eerie, labyrinthine passages.

Detail from room installation Dots Obsession—Tasmania 2016 by Yayoi Kusama

My son Christopher experiencing the art. Note: the room is the artwork! Detail from room installation Dots Obsession—Tasmania 2016 by Yayoi Kusama

The art was displayed in a series of rooms and upon entering we had no idea what to expect. I wandered into one room and what should I see on the wall but a video of Australian singer/songwriter Gotye singing his hit song ‘Somebody that I used to know’. I have often watched and enjoyed the same video on YouTube and couldn’t have been more surprised and delighted to see it featured in MONA. I was so glad that such a clever creation had been recognized as art. As soon as I heard the words You’re just somebody that I used to know, I thought “Relative Clause! I’m sure my English students would enjoy this!”

Today, this post is all about enjoying English with art while focusing on just one Defining Relative Clausethat I used to know – from one line – You’re just somebody that I used to know from one song. 

Video of Gotye and Kimbra singing 'Somebody that I used to know'

From the video of Gotye and Kimbra singing ‘Somebody that I used to know’

Click on the picture above to watch and listen to living art. Do you agree that it deserves to be featured in an internationally recognized art museum?

It’s almost the end of the year. You have been working and studying hard and the last thing you need is more work and grammar, so please just enjoy the video. The tune is very catchy and you will easily remember the Relative Clause in the chorus (and title) without thinking about grammar.

If you would like to check out my earlier posts on Relative Clauses, click here.

One more thing: much as I love the Gotye version, there is a cover of this song by the band Walk Off The Earth which is creative and wonderful in a completely different way. Click here to watch their version which also has helpful subtitles.

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

Posted in Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Reading, Songs, TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to ask better questions

 How to ask better questions by An Idea For You

Do you ever find yourself with people who you want to speak English with, but you can’t think of what to say?  Do you find yourself just listening, and not joining in the conversation? Would you like to have a ready stock of questions that are easy to use and remember?  Well, help is here! Continue reading

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Reading, Speaking & Pronunciation, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged | Leave a comment