Friday, 23 February 2018

Verbs 2

There are 2 kinds of verbs: Lexical verbs and Auxiliary Verbs

Lexical verbs are what we consider as 'normal' verbs, they reflect action like so :

I drink tea.
She ran the 200-metre hurdles race.
They thought about the proposal for a while.
The Doctor forgot about the appointment.

The others are Auxiliary verbs which are used in the forming of tenses, moods, and voices of other verbs. They are further divided into:
1) Primary - be, do and have
2) Modal - can, could, may, might, shall, should, will and would. 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

'As', 'because' and 'since'

These three words, when used as a conjunction to convey the meaning " for the reason that" are all interchangeable.
'As everyone has a vehicle, let's go in a convoy'
'Because the teenagers were bored they decided to go for a movie'
'Since we have time, let us prepare for the trip'

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Business Management and English

One thing every student of English will have to wrap their head around is that a word or a group of words (phrases or clauses) can be a different part of speech depending on what it does within a sentence. In that sense, every word or group of words is like an employee, you can understand its worth, by understanding its function in the sentence. If you have read my previous blog, you will know that pronouns can also be determiners. And this is just one example. 
If you were running a business, you would have tasks to perform and you would want to know the role of each employee, so too with words ( I will use 'words' to represent phrases and clause also) and their function in a sentence.
So every time you use a word in a sentence treat it like an employee, determine clearly what you want it to do to help you convey the meaning you intend to convey and you will be well on your way to communicating perfectly.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Types of Pronouns

There are 7 types of pronouns, all of which have different uses. They are different from 'determiners' which change nouns, not replace them, as pronouns do. 

1) Personal pronouns: These take the place of people, places or things. They vary with the noun being replaced, depending on whether it is a 'subject' or an 'object'.
                                        Subject                    Object
                                             I                             Me
                                            You                         You
                                            He                           Him
                                            She                          Her
                                            It                              It
                                            We                           Us
                                            You                          You
                                            They                        Them
eg: They gave him a gift.

2) Possessive Pronouns:  These pronouns show ownership and replace possessive noun phrases. Some examples are 'mine', 'yours', 'his', 'hers', 'its', 'ours', 'yours', 'theirs'.
eg: The bicycle is his.

3) Relative Pronouns: These link one part of a sentence to another by introducing a relative clause that describes and earlier mentioned noun/pronoun. Some examples are 'who', 'whom', 'whose', 'which', 'that', 'what'.
eg: Tom is the person who taught me to play chess.

4) Reflexive Pronouns: These pronouns are used to show that the action done by the subject reflects back on the subject, with the pronoun playing the role of the object. They are 'myself', 'yourself','himself','herself', 'ourselves', 'themselves'.
eg: He saw the experiment for himself.

5) Demonstrative Pronouns: The pronouns behave as subjects in a sentence, replacing nouns. They are 'this', 'that', 'these', 'those'.

eg: That is my car.

6) Interrogative Pronouns: These are used to ask questions and represent an unknown subject/object. They are 'who', 'whom', 'what', 'which', 'whose'.

eg: Who is speaking?

7) Indefinite Pronouns: These do not refer to any specific person or thing, yet take the place of nouns in a sentence. They are 'somebody', 'someone', 'something', 'anybody', 'anyone', 'anything', 'nobody', 'no one', 'nothing', 'all', 'another', 'both', 'each', 'many', 'most', 'other', 'other', 'some', 'few', 'none', 'such'.
eg: Has anybody come yet?

Monday, 12 February 2018

Verbs 1

Verbs have various forms:
The base form is the bare verb - 'hear'
The infinitive has the word 'to' in front of the base form- 'to hear'
Then you have the participles-
The Present Participle: 'hearing'
The Past Participle: 'heard'
To add to this you have the conjugation in the various tenses- the present tense is given below:
I hear.
You hear.
He/She hears.
We hear.
You hear.
They hear.
I will talk about regular and irregular verbs later.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Transferred Epithets

transferred epithet is a figure of speech in which an adjective grammatically qualifies a noun other than the person or thing it is actually describing. An epithet is a name, sometimes descriptive, which one gives to a person, whether complimentary or abusive.
'Just a few more miles to tote the weary load' 
These are words from a well-known song, in which the load is not 'weary', but it is the bearer who is weary. The adjective is meant to describe the bearer but is placed so it describes the load.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The suffix 'ment'

This suffix makes nouns out of verbs when added to them.
Alignment: The verb align is about setting things into a line. Alignment is the act (noun) of doing so.
Aggrandizement: To aggrandize something means to increase its size, derived from the French adjective 'grand' which means 'big'.
Amendment: The verb form is 'amend', or  'to change'. 'Amendment' is the noun form.
Enforcement: The act of enforcing.
Attainment: The act of attaining.
and so on.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


The word 'realm', pronounced "rellm", is derived from the French word 'reaume' which itself was derived from 'roiaume'. It refers to the kingdom of a monarch.  

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Verb preposition collocations

The preposition 'at'

The verbs that go along with this are :
Aim: You must aim at the target.
Gaze: Tom gazed at the masterpiece in the Art gallery.
Glance: She shot an angry glance at the offending student.
Hint: The National Budget hinted at a new focus on health.
Jeer: The Opposition jeered at the politician mired in the scandal.
Jump: The businessman jumped at the opportunity to make a profit. 
Laugh: Susan laughed at the ridiculous proposition.
Look: Let's look at your proposal tomorrow.
Peck: The patient, who had no appetite, pecked at his food. 
Smile: He smiled at the joke.
Stare: Bystanders stared at the acrobatics of the young street performer.
Wonder: I wonder at your temerity in bringing up such a ludicrous suggestion.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Suck it up

A dear friend visited me from Auckland, after visiting India. He happened to use this phrase, about  the common man in India getting used to "sucking it up" about the non-governance that successive governments have indulged in so far. I got to thinking about the origins of this phrase. Here it is: when pilots in the World War 2  happened to vomit into their Oxygen masks, they had two options - suck up the vomit and continue breathing or die of the acidic fumes. Naturally, those braves made the sensible choice and lived to fight another day. 

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The adopted children of English

Calabash: This was a Turkish word called 'kharabuz', corrupted by Spanish to 'calabaza', the French to 'carbusse' and the English to 'Calabash'
It is a kind of gourd which is dried to form a bottle like vessel to carry liquids.

Gung-ho: Originally from Chinese meaning ' work together' in English this has come to mean 'very enthusiastic about' something.

Plaza: This is borrowed from Spanish, meaning an open public area.

Jodhpurs: These riding pants are from the Indian city of Jodhpur where polo was played.

Bungalow: A corruption of 'Bangla' from Hindi.

Singapore: A corruption of Simhapur from Sanskrit.

Safari:  Stolen word from Arabic