terça-feira, 31 de julho de 2012

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns (who, which and that)

... describe people or things. That is less formal.

Who and whom or that describe people. Who is used for the subject (he / she...) and whom is used for the object (him / her), but a lot of English speakers now just use "who" in all situations.
Nick married a doctor. He met her on holiday.
Nick married a doctor whom he met on holiday.

Which or that describe things.
He gave me flowers. The flowers died the next day.
He gave me flowers which died the next day.

Other useful words are ...

Whose to talk about possessions (his/her/my ... + noun).
Nick married a doctor. Her father didn't like him.
Nick married a doctor whose father didn't like him.

Where to talk about places (meaning in/on/at/to which).
I can't remember the house where I was born.
I can't remember the house in which I was born.
I can't remember the house which I was born in.

When to talk about times (meaning in/on/at which).
My birthday is the only day when I eat cake.
My birthday is the only day on which I eat cake.
My birthday is the only day which I eat cake on.

Finally, we use what to mean "the thing(s) which".
I liked the flowers which he gave me.
I liked what he gave me.

I remembered the things that he told me.
I remembered what he told me.

From: The Tiny TEFL Teacher

segunda-feira, 30 de julho de 2012

Non-defining Relative Clauses


Non-defining Relative Clauses

We use non-defining relative clauses to give extra information about something. In the first sentence below "who work very hard" is extra information - we are talking about all teachers. In the second sentence "who work very hard" is necessary - it explains which teachers we are talking about.
Teachers, who work very hard, should get paid more.
(non-defining relative clause: we think all teachers work hard)
Teachers who work very hard should get paid more.
(defining relative clause: only the hard-working teachers should get paid more, the lazy ones shouldn't)

A non-defining relative clause can also give extra information about a whole idea, not just one noun.
Last night my sister ate a steak, which was very unusual.
Here, the steak isn't unusual - my sister eating the steak is unusual - maybe she is vegetarian.

Note that non-defining relative clauses need commas (,) around them, while defining relative clauses don't. It's important to understand the difference between non-defining and defining relative clauses, because their grammar is different.

Defining RCs can use 'that' instead of 'which/who'.
The singer who/that sang "Holiday" is still making music.
(Defining RC. The information about the song helps us to know which singer we are talking about We can say who or that.)
Non-defining RCs never use 'that'.
Madonna, who sang "Holiday", is still making music.
(Non-defining RC. We know who Madonna is, so the information about the song isn't necessary. We can't say that.)

Defining RCs don't always need 'who' or 'which'.
That's the man (who) I'm going to marry.
(Defining RC. We don't need the word 'who').
Non-defining RCs always need 'who' or 'which'.
This is Andrew, who I'm going to marry.
(Non-defining RC. 'Who' is necessary.)
(The teacher isn't tired today, which is very unusual!!!)

From: The Tiny TEFL Teacher

domingo, 29 de julho de 2012

Relative Clauses


Defining Relative clauses ...

... are used to give information about a person, place or thing. The information is necessary - without this information we don't know what you are talking about!
I hate the man who is talking to Sarah.

Relative Pronouns (and related words)

For things we say which and for people we say who. For places, we say where and for possessions (e.g. my car, his brother) we say whose + noun.
I like the dress which your sister is wearing.
I like the man who your sister is talking to.
I like the shop where you bought that dress.
I like the woman whose brother I met.

Other Information

  1. Often, we say 'that' instead of which or who.
  2. I like the dress that your sister is wearing.
  3. You don't need to say 'who' or 'which' if there is a noun after it.
  4. That's the man who I love = That's the man I love.
    That's the man who loves me - 'who' is necessary here.
(The teacher likes students who buy her presents.)

From: The Tiny TEFL Teacher

sábado, 28 de julho de 2012

Reported speech

Reported Speech (also referred to as ‘indirect speech’) refers to a sentence reporting what someone has said. It is almost always used in spoken English.
As a rule when you report something someone has said you go back a tense: (the tense on the left changes to the tense on the right). This is because when we use reported speech, we are usually talking about a time in the past (because obviously the person who spoke originally spoke in the past). The basic rules for backshift when transforming direct speech into reported speech are:
Direct speechIndirect speech
Present simple 
She said, “It’s cold.”
Past simple 
She said it was cold.
Present continuous 
She said, “I’m teaching English online.”
Past continuous 
She said she was teaching English online.
Present perfect simple 
She said, “I’ve been on the web since 1999.”
Past perfect simple
She said she had been on the web since 1999.
Present perfect continuous 
She said, “I’ve been teaching English for seven years.”
Past perfect continuous 
She said she had been teaching English for seven years.
Past simple 
She said, “I taught online yesterday.”
Past perfect 
She said she had taught online the day before.
Past continuous 
She said, “I was teaching earlier.”
Past perfect continuous 
She said she had been teaching earlier.
Past perfect 
She said, “The lesson had already started when he arrived.”
Past perfect 
NO CHANGE – She said the lesson had already started when he arrived.
Past perfect continuous
She said, “I’d already been teaching for five minutes.”
Past perfect continuous 
NO CHANGE – She said she’d already been teaching for five minutes.
Exceptions –> In up-to-date reporting and when reporting a universal truth or law of nature, the verb tenses can either change or remain the same. For example: He said Paris is/was the capital of France.

Modal verb forms also change:

Direct speechIndirect speech
She said, “I’ll teach English online tomorrow.”
She said she would teach English online tomorrow.
She said, “I can teach English online.”
She said she could teach English online.
She said, “I must have a computer to teach English online.”
had to 
She said she had to have a computer to teach English online.
She said, “What shall we learn today?”
She asked what we should learn that day.
She said, “May I open a new browser?”
She asked if she might open a new browser.
Note! – There is no change to could, would, should, might and ought to.

Time change

If the reported sentence contains an expression of time, you must change it to fit in with the time of reporting.
For example we need to change words like here and yesterday if they have different meanings at the time and place of reporting.
Today+ 24 hours – Indirect speech
“Today’s lesson is on presentations.”She said the lesson of the day before was on presentations.
Expressions of time if reported on a different day
this (evening)that (evening)
todaythat day…
these (days)those (days)
(a week) ago(a week) before
last weekendthe weekend before last / the previous weekend
next (week)the following (week)
tomorrowthe next/following day
In addition, if you report something that someone said in a different place to where you heard it you must change the place (here) to the place (there). For example:
At workAt home
“How long have you worked here?”She asked me how long I’d worked there.

Pronoun change

In reported speech, the pronoun often changes to match the subject of the sentence. For example:
teach English online.”She said she teaches English online.
There are special reported sentences one needs to be careful with:


Reporting questions are usually introduced by ask, inquire, wonder, want to know, etc. When reporting questions, it is especially important to pay attention to sentence order. When reporting yes/ no questions connect the reported question using ‘if’. When reporting questions using question words (why, where, when, etc.) use the question word.
For example:
  • She asked, “Do you want to come with me?” BECOMES She asked me if I wanted to come with her.
  • Dave asked, “Where did you go last weekend?” BECOMES Dave asked me where I had gone the previous weekend.

Commands, requests, suggestions

To report commands, instructions, requests or suggestions, we use an appropriate introductory verb – ask, order, beg, suggest, tell, etc – and the to-infinitive, -ing form or that-clause depending on the verb. Check this list of reporting verbs if in doubt.
For example:
  • “Stop the car!”the policeman said to him BECOMES The policeman ordered him to stop the car.
  • “How about going to the cinema?”, I said to them BECOMES I suggested going to the cinema.
Did you say you need any further practice? Find it at ESL tests
Following the unit, I’d like you to practise your reported speech by quoting some of our politicians. Check this web www.brainyquote.com to see some of their most memorable quotes. John F. Kennedy, for example, said:
When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

From: Your English Lessons Blog

sexta-feira, 27 de julho de 2012

Modal verb: Ought to

"Ought to" is used to advise or make recommendations. "Ought to" also expresses assumption or expectation as well as strong probability, often with the idea that something is deserved. "Ought not" (without "to") is used to advise against doing something, although Americans prefer the less formal forms "should not" or "had better not."

  • You ought to stop smoking.  recommendation
  • Jim ought to get the promotion.  It is expected because he deserves it.
  • This stock ought to increase in value. probability
  • Mark ought not drink so much.  advice against something (notice there is no "to")

Using "Ought to" in Present, Past, and Future

Most modal verbs behave quite irregularly in the past and the future. Study the chart below to learn how "ought to" behaves in different contexts.

Modal UsePositive Forms
1. = Present   2. = Past   3. = Future
Negative Forms
1. = Present   2. = Past   3. = Future
You can
also use:
ought to
recommendation, advice
1. Margaret ought to exercise more.
2. Margaret ought to have exercised more so she would be better prepared for the marathon.
3. Margaret ought to come to the fitness center with us tonight.
1. Margaret ought not exercise too much. It might cause injury.
2. Margaret ought not have run the marathon. She wasn't in good shape.
3. Margaret ought not stay at home in front of the TV. She should go to the fitness center with us.
ought to
assumption, expectation, probability
1. She ought to have the package by now.
2. She ought to have received the package yesterday.
3. She ought to receive the package tonight.
"Ought not" is used primarily to express negative recommendations. (See above.)should

Notice "Ought not"

Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." "Ought not" is more commonly used in British English. Americans prefer "should not."

  • You ought not smoke so much.
  • She ought not take such risks while skiing.
  • They ought not carry so much cash while traveling.

quinta-feira, 26 de julho de 2012

Modal verb: Should


Should is an auxiliary verb, a modal auxiliary verb. We use should mainly to:
  • give advice or make recommendations
  • talk about obligation
  • talk about probability and expectation
  • express the conditional mood
  • replace a subjunctive structure

Structure of Should

subject + should + main verb

The main verb is always the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to").

 subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
-Heshould notgo.

Notice that:
  • Should is invariable. There is only one form of should.
  • The main verb is always the bare infinitive.
The main verb is always the bare infinitive. We cannot say:
He should to go.
There is no short form for should. The negative should not can be shortened to shouldn't.

Use of Should

should: Giving advice, opinions

We often use should when offering advice or opinions (similar to ought to):
  • You should see the new James Bond movie. It's great!
  • You should try to lose weight.
  • John should get a haircut.
  • He shouldn't smoke. And he should stop drinking too.
  • What should I wear?
  • They should make that illegal.
  • There should be a law against that.
  • People should worry more about global warming.
People often say "They should..." Usually, the "they" is anonymous and means the government, or the company, or somebody else - but not us!

should: Obligation, duty, correctness

Another use of should (also similar to ought to) is to indicate a kind of obligation, duty or correctness, often when criticizing another person:
  • You should be wearing your seat belt. (obligation)
  • I should be at work now. (duty)
  • You shouldn't have said that to her. (correctness)
  • He should have been more careful.
  • Should you be driving so fast?

should: Probability, expectation

We use should to indicate that we think something is probable (we expect it to happen):
  • Are you ready? The train should be here soon.
  • $10 is enough. It shouldn't cost more than that.
  • Let's call Mary. She should have finished work by now.

should: Conditionals

We sometimes use should (instead of would) for the first person singular (I) and first person plural (we) of some conditionals:
  • If I lost my job I should have no money.
    (If he lost his job he would have no money.)
  • We should be grateful if you could send us your latest catalogue.
This is not a very important distinction. (More about the use of shall/will and should/would.)

should: (If I were you I should...)

We often use the conditional structure "If I were you I should..." to give advice.
  • If I were you, I should complain to the manager.
  • If I were you I shouldn't worry about it.
  • I shouldn't say anything if I were you.
Note that we can omit "If I were you..." and just say:
  • I should complain to the manager.
  • I shouldn't worry about it.
  • I shouldn't say anything.
In these cases, the phrase "I should" really means something like "you should".

should: Pseudo subjunctive

We often use a special verb form called the subjunctive when talking about events that somebody wants to happen, hopes will happen or imagines happening, for example:
  • The president insists that the prime minister attend the meeting.
However, this is much more common in American English. British English speakers would probably convey the same idea using should:
  • The president insists that the prime minister should attend the meeting.
Here are some more examples:

typically American English
Using should
typically British English
The president is insisting that pollution be reduced.The president is insisting that pollution should be reduced.
The manager recommended that Mary join the company.The manager recommended that Mary should join the company.
It is essential that we decide today.It is essential that we should decide today.
It was necessary that everyone arrive on time.It was necessary that everyone should arrive on time.

should: Why should..? | How should..?

If we don't understand (or agree with) something, we may use "Why should..?":
  • Why should it be illegal to commit suicide? It's your life.
"Why should..?" and "How should..?" can also indicate anger or irritation:
  • "Help me with this." | "Why should I?"
  • "Where are my keys?" | "How should I know?"
From: EnglishClub.com

quarta-feira, 25 de julho de 2012

Modal verb: Would


Would is an auxiliary verb, a modal auxiliary verb. We use would mainly to:
  • talk about the past
  • talk about the future in the past
  • express the conditional mood
We also use would for other functions, such as:
  • expressing desire, polite requests and questions, opinion or hope, wish and regret...

Structure of Would

subject + would + main verb

The main verb is always the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to").

 subjectauxiliary verbmain verb 
-Shewould notlikewhisky.

Notice that:
  • Would is never conjugated. It is always would or 'd (short form).
  • The main verb is always the bare infinitive.
The main verb is always the bare infinitive. We cannot say:
I would to like coffee.
Be careful! Would and had have the same short form 'd:
He'd finished. (He had finished.)
He'd like coffee. (He would like coffee.)

Use of Would

would: Talking about the past

We often use would as a kind of past tense of will or going to:
  • Even as a boy, he knew that he would succeed in life.
  • I thought it would rain so I brought my umbrella.
Using would as as a kind of past tense of will or going to is common in reported speech:
  • She said that she would buy some eggs. ("I will buy some eggs.")
  • The candidate said that he wouldn't increase taxes. ("I won't increase taxes.")
  • Why didn't you bring your umbrella? I told you it would rain! ("It's going to rain.")
We often use would not to talk about past refusals:
  • He wanted a divorce but his wife would not agree.
  • Yesterday morning, the car wouldn't start.
We sometimes use would (rather like used to) when talking about habitual past behaviour:
  • Every weekday my father would come home from work at 6pm and watch TV.
  • Every summer we'd go to the seaside.
  • Sometimes she'd phone me in the middle of the night.
  • We would always argue. We could never agree.

would: Future in past

When talking about the past we can use would to express something that has not happened at the time we are talking about:
  • In London she met the man that she would one day marry.
  • He left 5 minutes late, unaware that the delay would save his life.

would: Conditionals

We often use would to express the so-called second and third conditionals:
  • If he lost his job he would have no money.
  • If I had won the lottery I would have bought a car.
Using the same conditional structure, we often use would when giving advice:
  • I wouldn't eat that if I were you.
  • If I were in your place I'd refuse.
  • If you asked me I would say you should go.
Sometimes the condition is "understood" and there does not have to be an "if" clause:
  • Someone who liked John would probably love John's father. (If someone liked John they would probably love John's father.)
  • You'd never know it. (for example: If you met him you would never know that he was rich.)
  • Why don't you invite Mary? I'm sure she'd come.
Although there is always a main verb, sometimes it is understood (not stated) as in:
  • I'd like to stay. | I wish you would. (would stay)
  • Do you think he'd come? | I'm sure he would. (would come)
  • Who would help us? | John would. (would help us)

would: Desire or inclination

  • I'd love to live here.
  • Would you like some coffee?
  • What I'd really like is some tea.

would: Polite requests and questions

  • Would you open the door, please? (more polite than: Open the door, please.)
  • Would you go with me? (more polite than: Will you go with me?)
  • Would you know the answer? (more polite than: Do you know the answer?)
  • What would the capital of Nigeria be? (more polite than: What is the capital of Nigeria?)

would: Opinion or hope

  • I would imagine that they'll buy a new one.
  • I suppose some people would call it torture.
  • I would have to agree.
  • I would expect him to come.
  • Since you ask me I'd say the blue one is best.

would: Wish

  • I wish you would stay. (I really want you to stay. I hope you will stay.)
  • They don't like me. I'm sure they wish I'd resign.
Note that all of these uses of would express some kind of distance or remoteness:
  • remoteness in time (past time)
  • remoteness of possibility or probability
  • remoteness between speakers (formality, politeness)

would: Presumption or expectation

  • That would be Jo calling. I'll answer it.
  • We saw a police helicopter overhead yesterday morning. | Really? They would have been looking for those bank robbers.

would: Uncertainty

  • He would seem to be getting better. (less certain than: He seems to be getting better.)
  • It would appear that I was wrong. (less certain than: It appears that I was wrong.)

would: Derogatory

  • They would say that, wouldn't they?
  • John said he didn't steal the money. | Well, he would, wouldn't he?

would that: Regret (poetic/rare) - with clause

This rare, poetic or literary use of would does not have the normal structure:
  • Would that it were true! (If only it were true! We wish that it were true!)
  • Would that his mother had lived to see him become president.
From: EnglishClub.com

terça-feira, 24 de julho de 2012

Modals: Shall versus Will

Shall versus Will

The rule below about shall/will also applies to should/would, as described at the end.

People may sometimes tell you that there is no difference between shall and will, or even that today nobody uses shall (except in offers such as "Shall I call a taxi?"). This is not really true. The difference between shall and will is often hidden by the fact that we usually contract them in speaking with 'll. But the difference does exist.
The truth is that there are two conjugations for the verb will:

1st Conjugation (objective, simple statement of fact)
SingularIshallI shall be in London tomorrow.I'll
youwillYou will see a large building on the left.You'll
he, she, itwillHe will be wearing blue.He'll
PluralweshallWe shall not be there when you arrive.We shan't
youwillYou will find his office on the 7th floor.You'll
theywillThey will arrive late.They'll
2nd Conjugation (subjective, strong assertion, promise or command)
SingularIwillI will do everything possible to help.I'll
youshallYou shall be sorry for this.You'll
he, she, itshallIt shall be done.It'll
PluralwewillWe will not interfere.We won't
youshallYou shall do as you're told.You'll
theyshallThey shall give one month's notice.They'll

It is true that this difference is not universally recognized. However, let those who make assertions such as "People in the USA never use 'shall'" peruse a good US English dictionary, or many US legal documents which often contain phrases such as:
  • Each party shall give one month's notice in writing in the event of termination.
Note that exactly the same rule applies in the case of should and would. It is perfectly normal, and somewhat more elegant, to write, for example:
  • I should be grateful if you would kindly send me your latest catalogue.
From: EnglishClub.com

segunda-feira, 23 de julho de 2012

Modal verb: Must not/Musn't

Must not, Mustn't (prohibition)

We use must not to say that something is not permitted or allowed, for example:
  • Passengers must not talk to the driver.

Structure of Must not

Must is an auxiliary verb. It is followed by a main verb. The structure for must not is:
subject + must not + main verb
The main verb is the base verb (infinitive without "to").

Must not is often contracted to mustn't.

Look at these examples:

subjectauxiliary must + notmain verb
Imustn'tforgetmy keys.
Studentsmust notbelate.

Note: like all auxiliary verbs, must CANNOT be followed by "to". So, we say:
  • You mustn't arrive late. (not You mustn't to arrive late.)

Use of Must not

Must not expresses prohibition - something that is not permitted, not allowed. The prohibition can be subjective (the speaker's opinion) or objective (a real law or rule). Look at these examples:
  • mustn't eat so much sugar. (subjective)
  • You mustn't watch so much television. (subjective)
  • Students must not leave bicycles here. (objective)
  • Policemen must not drink on duty. (objective)
We can use must not to talk about the present or the future:
  • Visitors must not smoke. (present)
  • mustn't forget Tara's birthday. (future)
We cannot use must not to talk about the past. We use other structures to talk about the past, for example:
  • We were not allowed to enter.
  • I couldn't park outside the shop.
From: EnglishClub.com