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

 

 

 

Advertisements
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.

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗

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.

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗

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.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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 

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

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

A Song with Relative Clauses: #8, Noun Clauses & Adverb Clauses

Song: Stressed Out by 21 Pilots

As you know, songs are often short stories about real life experiences and emotions. As such, songs are an effective way to learn natural, everyday English collocation and usage. Even when the language seems simple and easy to understand, the grammar may be complex. In other words, complex grammar can be easy to understand.  That should make you feel better about learning English! Click on the picture below and watch the amusing youtube video of the song Stressed Out. I’m sure you’ll get the gist (main idea) of the story. Then, read on.

For this post, I’ve chosen the song Stressed Out by the band 21 Pilots to discuss the grammar typically found in songs and everyday English.  I have highlighted some of the lyrics in the following colours:
Relative Clauses – Red,
Noun Clauses – Pink, and
Adverbs/Adverb Clauses – Blue.

Under the lyrics, I will explain some of the grammar.

Stressed Out – 21 Pilots

I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard.
I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words.
I wish I found some chords in an order that is new.
I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang.

I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink
But now I’m insecure and I care what people think.
My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.
My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.

Chorus
(I) Wish we could turn back time to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.
(I) Wish we could turn back time to the good old
days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

Don’t be confused by all the grammar terms. We are looking at what makes up a sentence: a sentence must have at least one Independent Clause. If it also has a Dependent Clause, then it is a Complex Sentence. There are only 3 types of Dependent Clauses: Relative (adjective) Clauses, Noun Clauses, and Adverb Clauses.

 CLAUSES

♠ A Clause is a group of words which includes a Finite Verb. All sentences include a Finite Verb and it is the verb closest to the subject. Finite verbs are the following verbs only:

All Present Simple Verbs (positive form):
when I get older … what people think

All Past Simple Verbs (positive form):
when our momma sang us to sleep

All Auxiliary Verbs: am, is, are, was, were, has, have, had, do, does, did:
no-one’s (has) ever heard … I didn’t have to rhyme …

All Modal Verbs: can, could, would, should, may, might, shall, will, must, ought (to):
∗ all my fears would shrink … we could turn back time

∗∗ Note that Modal Verbs are always Auxiliary Verbs.

∗∗ Present Simple and Past Simple Tense Verbs are Finite Verbs in the positive form only. In negative sentences and questions, the auxiliary verb is the Finite Verb. For example,

∗ Some people don’t think … Our momma didn’t sing us to sleep

∗ What do you think? … Did your momma sing you to sleep?

∗∗∗∗ All other verbs are Non-Finite:

1) Infinitives (with ‘to’) & Base Infinitives (without ‘to’), 

2) … ING Participles/Gerunds,

3) Past Participles:

∗ The singer wants to turn back time. Infinitive: to turn

∗ I wish we could turn back time. Base Infinitive: turn

∗ What do you think? Base Infinitive: think

∗ ’21 Pilots’ have been singing some fabulous music lately.
  … ING Participle: singing;  Past Participle: been

Writing music is what they do best. Gerund: writing

Can you see that all verbs in English are either Finite or Non-Finite? Non-Finite Verbs have no tense. They need a Finite Verb to complete them. There are no other verb forms; just those I’ve listed above. Isn’t that good news?!

Have a look at the Peanuts cartoon and text below. (Click on the picture for more cartoons.) It is easy to understand. The language is simple but the grammar is complex. There are two noun clauses – so two subordinating conjunctions. There are two co-ordinating conjunctions. There are three Independent Clauses and two Dependent Clauses. There are five finite verbs and no non-finite verbs. Can you see all this grammar? If you can, it means that you will be able to write lovely complex language! So that you can check, I will write the answers at the bottom of this post.

Now, lets look at the Dependent Clauses in the song:

Relative Clauses

♣ Relative Clauses are just long adjectives. They give information about (relate to) the noun. They are introduced by a Relative Clause Marker: who, that, which, whose, or whom, but these can often be left out. As you can see in the above song lyrics, the singer wishes that he had found some better sounds. What kind of sounds? Sounds that no one’s ever heard. The Relative Clause (that) no one’s ever heard describes the sounds. It’s an adjective. Because it includes a finite verb (has), it’s an adjective clause. It’s a Relative Clause.

He wishes that he had a better voice. What king of voice? A voice that sang some better words. The Relative Clause that sang some better words describes the voice. It’s an adjective. It’s an adjective clause. It’s a Relative Clause.

He wishes that he found some different chords. What kind of chords? … chords (that are) in an order that is new. The Relative Clause in an order that is new describes the chords. It’s an adjective. It’s an adjective clause. It’s a Relative Clause. Because the marker ‘that’ and the BE verb ‘are’ have not been included, we call this a Reduced Relative Clause.

Did you notice that the Relative Clause (that are) in an order that is new is actually two Relative Clauses? That is new describes an order. So there is a Relative Clause inside another Relative Clause!

Adverb Clauses

♠ In the next line, I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang, the singer is not describing anything. He is talking about ‘when’ he sings. The answer to when? is an adverb. … every time I sang is an Adverb. It’s an Adverb Clause.

He wishes that he could turn back time. To when?to the good old days when our momma sang us to sleep. The answer to when? is an adverb. … to the good old days is an Adverb. …when our momma sang us to sleep is an Adverb. It’s an Adverb Clause. … to the good old days when our momma sang us to sleep is an Adverb and Adverb Clause together.

♣ Noun Clauses

♣ In the line, I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard, the Noun Clause, (that) I found some better sounds, is the object of I wish. All the Noun Clauses written above are objects of verbs, mostly of the verb wish. He wishes for a lot of ‘things’, doesn’t he? ‘Things’ are nouns. The ‘things’ include a Finite Verb so the group of words is a Noun Clause.

The Noun Clause marker ‘that’ has been omitted in the ‘I wish … ‘ clauses. ‘That’ is the only Noun Clause marker that can be omitted and it often is. (However, it cannot be omitted when it is part of the subject and begins a sentence.)

All other Noun Clause markers must be included: … now I’m insecure and I care what people think. He wishes for things and he cares about things – nouns. There is a Finite Verb, think, so the group of words with the marker ‘what’ is a Noun Clause: what people think

♦ ♦  Answers to grammar questions

♦ Two noun clauses: 1) what happiness means   2) that it isn’t there
♦ Two subordinating conjunctions: 1) what   2) that

♦ Two co-ordinating conjunctions: 1) but   2) and

♦ Three Independent Clauses: 1) I’m not sure   2) I look in your eyes  
                                                       3) I know**  (I know that it isn’t there)

♦ Two Dependent Clauses: 1) what happiness means   2) that it isn’t there

♦  Five finite verbs: 1) am   2) means   3) look   4) know   5) is

** Because noun clauses are nouns, they can be the subject, object, or complement in a sentence. In the clause  ‘I know that it isn’t there’ the noun clause that it isn’t there is the object of ‘I know’. Even though I believe that the two words ‘I know’ are an Independent Clause, some grammarians might not agree. You can overcome this problem by just including the noun clause in your example of an Independent Clause. So, ‘I know that it isn’t there’ is an Independent Clause with a Dependent Clause inside it. That’s okay! It happens often.

Disagreement about such grammar occurs because of the type of verb. Is the verb ‘know’ transitive or intransitive? Does it sound okay without an object? The verb ‘sure’ is intransitive, so there is no problem with stating ‘I’m not sure’ without the noun clause. However, have a look at the following sentence which includes a noun clause.

Charlie Brown isn’t what Lucy wants.

If we take out the noun clausewhat Lucy wantswe are left with ‘Charlie Brown isn’t’. We can hardly call ‘Charlie Brown isn’t’ an Independent Clause. We need to include the noun clause complement ‘what Lucy wants‘.

For more information about Dependent Clauses, click here.

For practice exercises, click here.

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

TOEIC Listening Tests and More

If you are studying for a TOEIC test, or if you just want to improve your English, http://www.english-test.net has hundreds of listening tests, as well as grammar tests.Click here to start a listening test now.

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

Learn English in the Shower!

You can dramatically improve your English listening starting now if you are serious! You can learn English in the shower. Think of how much time you spend in the shower. That can be FREE English time, fun and so easy. The shower is just the beginning.

Continue reading

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

How to Write a Sentence: #4 Transitions

* First, read How to Write a Sentence #1,  How to Write a Sentence #2, and How to Write a Sentence #3.

Transitions are words or phrases that connect (link) ideas. The ideas may be in a sentence or in a longer text. Transitions help you to become a better writer (and communicator) because they help the reader (or listener) to follow what you are writing or saying. They help ideas flow smoothly and clearly. Transitions are often used to show:

contrast: however, nonetheless, on the other hand

cause and effect: therefore, thus, as a result

concession: of course, with this in mind, in view of …

example: to demonstrate, for instance, for example

addition: as a matter of fact, in addition, in the first place

(See below for links to extensive lists of Transitions.)

Now, have a look at the following two sentences:

Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. Fewer athletes use them.

How are attitudes shifting? Is drug usage becoming more or less acceptable? Using a transition can help the reader follow your thoughts.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. However, fewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. As a result, fewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. In conclusion, fewer athletes are using them.

Transitions are not conjunctions. The punctuation rules are different. There are two usual ways* to punctuate them:

  1. (As above)                              Transition + comma + independent clause
  2. (See below) semi-colon + transition + comma + independent clause

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting; however, fewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting; as a resultfewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting; in conclusion, fewer athletes are using them.

By the way, there are many useful transitions for you to use apart from those you may see in Transition lists like the ones I’ve listed below. A lot of expressions you may think of to link your ideas may be transitions. Use the punctuation rules above and see what you can come up with.

I use transitions when writing posts for this blog. My aim is to make these posts as easy to read as possible! I have used three transitions in this post:

  1. First, – This is the first word in this post (above the picture). It connects my ideas in the post to the heading, and to previous posts about how to write a sentence.
  2. Now, – This word connects my transition examples to sentences which show how to use them.
  3. By the way, – This transitional phrase is a common way to add more ideas to what you have already said. After explaining the rules and giving examples, I wanted to add that you can find more examples of transitions if you are interested.

∗∗ As you can see, none of the transitions I used connected sentences. Transitions do not connect sentences. Transitions connect ideas.

* For more ways to punctuate transitions … Continue reading

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