Tag Archives: Grammar

#GrammarTrivia: Possessives with Gerunds

adolescent blur child close up
“I love you singing” or “I love your singing?” Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

We all have that one friend who sings beautifully, albeit never considering singing as a professional career. What should we say to compliment him/her? Do we say, “I love you singing,” or do we say, “I love your singing?” Which one is correct, fellas?

@ghaniginanjar: The second one. I love your singing.

@KushalRJoshi: Second one?

@endang_yl: I love your singing.

@XxKit_kat: The 2nd one ‘I love your singing’ = ‘I love the sound of your voice when you sing’.

 

On one fine afternoon, you and a friend are out for a walk. You pass a bus stop where a woman seems to be crying. Do you say to your friend, “Did you see that woman crying?” or do you say, “Did you see that woman’s crying?”

@Goyoomin: Did you see that woman crying?

 

So, what is the difference between these two situations? Why do we use the possessive form ‘your singing’ in the first example, but then we use ‘see that woman crying’ in the second example?

Let’s go back to what gerund is. Gerund is a verb that has transformed into and functions as a noun. Therefore, the way we use gerund should always be in line with the way we use a noun, including combining it with a possessive form.

If we see a sentence like the one in the first example, “I love your singing,” it’s very likely that the thing we love is ‘the singing that belong to you.’ ‘Singing‘ here is something owned by ‘you,’ or in other words, ‘your singing.’

What about the second example? Does it make sense if I modify the sentence into, “Did you see that crying woman?” Does the sentence still have the same meaning?

Crying‘ in the second example is not a gerund. It is in fact an adjective, modifying ‘that woman.’ Therefore, we do not need to use a possessive form like we did with the first example.

Two tips to determine whether a verb -ing should come with a possessive form or not:

  1. Check the object of our action. In the first example, is it the ‘you’ that you love or is it the ‘singing that belongs to you?’
  2. Try switching the sentence’s structure. Modifying the first sentence into ‘I love singing you’ does not quite make the same sense as modifying the second sentence into ‘Did you see that crying woman?’

 

Exercise:

  1. Do you mind (me/my) asking questions?
  2. No, not at all. I appreciate (you/your) coming to me.
  3. I heard about the (project/project’s) being cancelled.
  4. In fact, we anticipate the possibility of (it/its) succeeding.

 

Answer:

  1. “Do you mind my asking questions?”
    Checklist:
    – What will the other person mind about?
    The action ‘asking questions’ that belongs to the speaker. ‘Asking questions’ here is a gerund.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “Do you mind asking me questions?” or “Do you mind asking my questions?” which does not have the same meaning as the primary sentence.
  2. “No, not at all. I appreciate your coming to me.”
    Checklist:
    – What does the speaker appreciate?
    The action ‘coming to me’ that belongs to the interlocutor. ‘Coming to me’ here is a gerund.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “I appreciate coming you to me,” which does not have any clear meaning.
  3. “I heard about the project being almost cancelled.”
    Checklist:
    – What did the speaker hear about?
    The project is being almost cancelled. ‘Being almost cancelled’ here is an adjective.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “I heard about the almost-cancelled project,” which has the exact same meaning as the primary sentence.
  4. “In fact, we anticipate the possibility of its succeeding.”
    Checklist:
    – What does the speaker anticipate?
    The success of the project. ‘Succeeding’ here is a gerund.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “In fact, we anticipate the possibility of succeeding it,” which creates double meanings. It can mean that the project is being successful or it can mean that the project is being followed by another project. The phrase ‘its succeeding’ will remove the ambiguity.

 

Special shout-out to one of our fellas who sent us a question about how to use possessives with gerunds during our LINE chat session. If you would like a one-one-one consultation as well, add us on LINE .

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 16 May, 2018.


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#EngTrivia: ‘On one’s mind’ vs. ‘in one’s mind’

What do you have in mind, fellas? You’ve been on my mind lately and I hope you all are doing well. There are two different phrases in the previous sentence. Can you spot the difference? Yup! It’s ‘on one’s mind’ and ‘in one’s mind.’

On one’s mind

This phrase indicates worry or preoccupation. It may imply: thinking a lot.

Example:

  • “You’ve been on my mind lately.”
    • Meaning: I’ve been thinking about you.
  • “You look worried. What’s on your mind?
    • Meaning: What is bothering you?

In one’s mind

This phrase is used to mean: in your imagination.

  • Example:
    • A: Dad! I just saw an UFO passing by on the sky.
    • B: Oh, boy. It’s just in your mind.

The meaning of ‘in your imagination’ doesn’t apply in all cases. ‘In one’s mind’ can be used to convey our thoughts.

  • Example:
    • In my mind, Civil War is better than Age of Ultron.”

In mind

There is another phrase: ‘in mind.’

We can use ‘in mind’ when asking for someone’s opinion or what they’re thinking of doing.

  • Example:
    • A: Want to go out and watching movie?
    • B: Sure. Do you have anything in mind?
    • A: Let’s watch Split.

Now, let’s take a look at this following sentence:

  • Example:
    • “Bear in mind that I don’t eat meat because I’m a vegetarian.”

In the previous sentence, ‘in mind’ or precisely ‘bear in mind’ means: to remember an information.

Compiled and written by @anhtiss at @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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#EngClass: Participial adjective – Comparative and superlative

Hello hey ho, fellas! Still following our previous discussion on ‘participial adjective’, we will talk about stating degrees of comparison.

Degrees of comparison are used when we compare one thing/person with another. There are three degrees of comparison:

  • positive,
  • comparative, and
  • superlative.

Comparative degree of comparison

Let’s start with the comparative degree. The comparative degree is used to compare
two persons or things having the same quality.

To form the comparative degree of adjectives, we usually add -er to adjective with two or less syllables. Example:

  • Taller
  • Lighter
  • Nicer

However, when forming the comparative degree of participial adjectives, we use the
word ‘more.’ Example:

Participial adjective

Comparative

Boring

More boring

Bored

More bored

Tiring

More tiring

Tired

More tired

Alarming

More alarming

Alarmed

More alarmed

 

More example:

Participial adjective

WRONG

Comparative

Relaxing

relaxinger

more relaxing

Relaxed

relaxeder

more relaxed

Interesting

interestinger

more interesting

Interested

interesteder

more interested

Confusing

confusinger

more confusing

Confused

confuseder

more confused

Superlative degree of comparison

Moving on to the superlative degree of adjective. Superlative degree denotes the existence of the highest degree of the quality. The superlative degree of adjective is used to single out one person or thing from all the rest.

To form the superlative degree of adjectives, we usually add ‘-est’ to adjective with
two or less syllables. Example:

  • Tallest
  • Lightest
  • Nicest

However, when forming the superlative degree of participial adjectives, we use the
word ‘most.
Example:

Participial adjective

Superlative

Boring

Most boring

Bored

Most bored

Tiring

Most tiring

Tired

Most tired

Alarming

Most alarming

Alarmed

Most alarmed

More example:

Participial adjective

WRONG

Comparative

Relaxing

relaxingest

Most relaxing

Relaxed

relaxedest

Most relaxed

Interesting

interestingest

Most interesting

Interested

interestedest

Most interested

Confusing

confusingest

Most confusing

Confused

confusedest

Most confused

 

That’s a wrap, fellas! I hope the explanation was clear enough. However, if you have any question on the topic, feel free to leave a message in the comment box.

 

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, April 8, 2017

 

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#EngQuiz: Participial adjective

In short, participial adjectives are present and past participles which are used as adjectives. Present and past participles adjectives are used in slightly different ways. One talks about something that causes of the feeling , and the other talks about how someone feels.

Find a recap on that session here: #EngClass: Participial adjective (3)

Moving on, this time around, we’re having a quiz on present and past participle adjectives. Let’s start, shall we?

1. He was (terpesona) to hear his little son singing in the bath.
amuzed
amusing
amuse
amused
Correct! ‘Amused’ means ‘terpesona.’ Therefore, “He was amused.” means “Dia merasa terpesona.”
2. I find these instructions very (membingungkan)! Could you come and help me?
Confusing Correct! ‘Confusing’ means ‘membuat bingung.’ Therefore, “It is confusing.” means “Ini membingungkan.”[/explanation][/answer]
Confused
Confuse
Confuzed
3. I was feeling (tertekan), so I stayed at home with hot chocolate and a good book.
(Pic)
Depressed
Correct! ‘Depressed’ means ‘merasa tertekan.’ Therefore, “I am feeling depressed.” means “Saya merasa tertekan.”
Depressing
Impressed
Impression
4. That is the most (memalukan) photo! I look terrible!
embarrassing
Correct! ‘Embarassing’ means ‘membuat malu.’ Therefore, ’embarassing photo.’ means ‘foto yang membuat malu.’
embarrassed
embarassment
embarassingly
5. Julie was so (kelelahan) after her exams, she spent the next three days sleeping.
exhausted
Correct! ‘Exhausted’ means ‘merasa lelah.’
Therefore, “I was exhausted.” means “Saya kelelahan (merasa lelah).”
exhausting
exhaust
exhaustion
6. I tried all morning to send an email, but it wouldn’t work. I was so (frustrasi)!
frustrated
Correct! ‘Frustrated’ means ‘merasa frustrasi.’ Therefore, “I was frustrated.” means “Saya merasa frustrasi.”
frustrating
frustrate
frustration
7. A nice hot bath is so (melegakan) after a long day.
Relaxing
Correct! ‘Relaxing’ means ‘membuat lega.’ Therefore, “It is relaxing.” means “Itu melegakan (membuat lega).”
Relaxation
Relaxes
Relaxed
8. I’m very (puas) that I managed to order the meal in French.
Satisfied
Correct! ‘Satisfied’ means ‘merasa puas.’ Therefore, “I am satisfied.” means “Saya (merasa) puas.”
Satisfication
Satisfying
Satisfy
9. It’s (mengejutkan) how many people don’t want to travel to another country.
Surprising
Correct! ‘Surprising’ means ‘mengejutkan.’ Therefore, “It is surprising.” means “Itu mengejutkan (membuat terkejut).”
Surprises
Surprised
Surprise
10. My job is really (melelahkan). I don’t get home until 10pm sometimes.
Tiring
Correct! ‘Tiring’ means ‘melelahkan, membuat lelah.’ Therefore “It is tiring.” means “Itu melelahkan (membuat lelah).”
Tires
Tire
Tired

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, April 1, 2017

 

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#EngClass: Participial adjective (3)

One of our followers asked the question above on Twitter. Do you have a similar question? Do you get confused as to when you should use present or past participle adjective? Kalau kamu masih tulis/bilang: “I’m interesting” saat mau menyatakan “Saya tertarik,” yuk baca lagi artikel ini sampai selesai.

Participle adjectives are verbs, often ends in -ing and -ed, which are used as adjectives.  There are two types of participles: present participles (v-ing) and past participles (v2). Example:

Present participle

Past participle

Boring

Bored

Relaxing

Relaxed

Tiring

Tired

Confusing

Confused

Exciting

Excited

We use present particular adjectives (v-ing) to talk about person, thing, or situation which caused the feeling. Example:

  • “I am boring.”
    • “Aku membosankan, aku menimbulkan rasa bosan.”
  • “They are confusing.”
    • “Mereka membingungkan, mereka menimbulkan kebingungan.”
  • “The book is exciting.”
    • “Bukunya menarik. Bukunya membuat orang tertarik.”

We use past participle adjectives (v2) to talk about how someone feels. Example:

  • “I am bored.”
    • “Aku merasa bosan. Yang kurasakan adalah bosan.”
  • “They are confused.”
    • “Mereka kebingungan. Yang mereka rasakan adalah bingung.”
  • “She is very excited.”
    • “Dia sangat bersemangat. Yang dia rasakan adalah semangat.”

If we were to compare the two side by side:

Present participle

Past participle

Penyebab perasaan

Perasaan yang dirasa

[Me- -kan]

[ter-], [ke- -an]

Entertaining

Entertained

Menghibur

Merasa terhibur

More examples:

Present participle

Past participle

Boring

(Membosankan)

Bored

(Merasa bosan)

Relaxing

(Membuat santai)

Relaxed

(Merasa santai)

Tiring

(Melelahkan)

Tired

(Merasa lelah)

Confusing

(Membingungkan)

Confused

(Merasa bingung)

Exciting

(Menarik)

Excited

(Merasa tertarik)

So, what do you think? I hope the explanation was clear enough. If you still have any question, feel free to leave a comment down below, or you can also mention us on twitter.

How about having a short quiz to see how well you understand the explanation given above? Look at these sentences and choose the correct answer.

  1. I was really (boring/bored) during the lecture. It was really (boring/bored).
  2. I bought a really (interesting/interested) book last night. If you’re (interesting/interested), I can lend it to you.
  3. I heard an (alarming/alarmed) noise last night, and it kept me (alarming/alarmed) all night.

Answer:

  1. bored; boring.
  2. interesting; interested.
  3. alarming; alarmed.

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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#EngClass: Modal verb – Must

To continue our discussion on modal verb, this time, we’ll talk about “must”. “Must” is commonly used to express:

  • personal obligation,
  • necessity,
  • strong recommendation,
  • certainty.

Instead of “must”, native speakers from America usually prefer the more flexible form “have to”.

 

When to use “must”?

People generally use “must” to express personal obligation, something that the speaker thinks is necessary. Other than that, “must” is also used for the following purposes:

slide7

  1. To express obligation or duty.
    • Example:
      • You must wear a seat belt at all times.
  2. To emphasize the necessity of something.
    • Example:
      • You must give up smoking. It’s bad for you.
  3. To say that you’re sure that something is true.
    • Example:
      • It must be cold outside. It’s raining hard.
  4. To express positive logical assumptions.
    • Example:
      • She must have been at home. Her lights were on.
  5. To make a strong recommendation.
    • Example:
      • The ice cream here is delicious. You must try some.

 

How to use “must”?

slide8

  • Like every other modal verbs, “must” is followed by a main verb.
  • And to form a negative sentence, “not” is placed after the word “must”, before the main verb. It expresses prohibition.
  • “Must” is generally not used in interrogative sentences. For questions, it is more common to use “have to”.

 

  1. “Must” in expressing obligation or duty.
    • Example:
      • You must wear a seat belt at all times.
      • She must cook dinner every evening.
  2. “Must” in emphasizing the necessity of something.
    • Example:
      • You must give up smoking. It’s bad for you.
      • You must study the last two chapters before the test.
  3. “Must” in saying that you’re sure that something is true.
    • Example:
      • It must be cold outside. It’s raining hard.
      • She must be home. The lights are on.
  4. “Must” in expressing positive logical assumptions.
    • Example:
      • She must have been at home. Her lights were on.
      • There’s a missed call on my phone. He must have called last night.
  5. “Must” in making a strong recommendation.
    • Example:
      • The ice cream here is delicious. You must try some.
      • We really must get together for dinner sometime.

 

Present certainty and deduction

“Must” can also be used when you’re certain that something is true, based on evidence. In order to express present certainty, “must” is followed by “be” and a noun or an adjective.

S + must be + noun/adjective/v-ing/prepositional phrase.

Example:

  • She must be a teacher. She’s so wise. (noun: a teacher)
  • She must be cold. She’s shivering. (adjective: cold)
  • She must be singing. I can hear her voice. (present participle: singing)
  • She must be at her friend’s. Nobody is answering the door. (prepositional phrase: at her friend’s)

 

Logical assumptions and past certainty

“Must” is also used in expressing logical assumptions. To express logical assumptions, “must” is followed by “have” and “past participle”.

S + must have + V3

Example:

  • This must have been the book she was talking about. There is no other book with a red cover.
  • She must have won the lottery. She suddenly got a brand new car.

 

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, January 25, 2017


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#EngTrivia: Restrictive and Non-restrictive clause

In this article, we will talk about restrictive and non-restrictive clause; also known as defining and non-defining clause. What exactly are they?

They are types of relative clause which define a noun. They usually contain relative pronouns such as who, which, that, where, and when. For examples:

  1. “The cake which I bought from Breadtalk was delicious.”
  2. “This is the dress which I wore last week.”
  3. “I will go to the beach with Rina, who was my school mate, this weekend.”

From the examples, I would say sentences number 1 and 2 contain restrictive clauses while sentence number 3 contains a non-restrictive clause . Why?

Let’s start from number 1. What if ‘which I bought from Breadtalk’ is removed from the sentence? It will be ‘The cake was delicious.’ Then try to remove ‘which I wore last week,’ the sentence will turn to ‘This is the dress.’ The meaning of the sentence changed, didn’t it?

which I bought from Breadtalk’ and ‘which I wore last week’ are restrictive clauses because they add an important information. They explain and define the cake and the clothes we talk about. That is why it is also called defining clause.

How about sentence number 3? Read the sentence and avoid ‘who was my school mate.’ It will be ‘I will go to the beach with Rina this weekend.’

The sentence still have the same meaning because the clause we removed is just an additional explanation of the object, Rina. And that is why ‘who was my school mate’ is called non-restrictive clause.

Practice

Now I will give you some samples and you should determine it whether the sentences below contain restrictive or non-restrictive clause.

  1. My eldest son, who is 27, is studying in Australia.
  2. Her aunt who lives in Sulawesi visited her last week.
  3. I found your book on the bench which is in the park you visited yesterday.
  4. He wrote the review of Up, the movie which I have just watched, and posted it in his blog.

Answer

  1. It contains non-restrictive clause: who is 27
  2. It contains restrictive clause: who lives in Sulawesi
  3. It contains restrictive clause: where in the park you visited yesterday
  4. It contains non-restrictive clause: the movie which I have just watched

In a simpler way, non-restrictive clauses are always separated by commas while restrictive clauses are not.

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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#EngClass: Direct and indirect object

In this post, we are going to learn about what direct object and indirect object are, and how to identify and use them in a sentence.

Direct object

A direct object is a noun, a phrase, or a pronoun that follows a transitive verbA simple sentence containing a transitive verb and a direct object usually follows this formula:

  subject + transitive verb + direct object
  • Example:
    Sally buys a watch.

Sally

buys

a watch

subject

transitive verb

direct object

A direct object answers the question “what?” or “who?” in a sentence. The direct object in the example sentence above answers the question, “What does Sally buy?”

Indirect object

Pay attention to this sentence:

Evan gives his mother a gift.

“Evan” is the subject, “gives” is the transitive verb, but which is the direct object “his mother” or “a gift”? Let’s identify the direct object by asking the question “What does Evan give?” The answer is, “Evan gives a gift,” not “Evan gives his mother.”

So what is the role of “his mother” in that sentence? Yup, you guessed it, fellas, “his mother” acts as the indirect object of that sentence.

The indirect object of a sentence is the recipient of the direct object. It always comes between a transitive verb and a direct object. If a sentence contains an indirect object, it usually follows this formula:

  subject + transitive verb + indirect object + direct object 

An indirect object answers the question “to what/whom” or “for what/whom” an action is done. Let’s ask, “To whom Evan gives the gift?” The answer would be, “to his mother”. You can also see in the example sentence that “his mother” comes between the verb and the direct object. So, that is how you identify that “his mother” is the indirect object of that sentence.

An indirect object is basically a prepositional phrase in which the preposition “to” or “for” is not stated. If a sentence contains an indirect object, you can reform it following this formula:

  subject + transitive verb + direct object + to/for indirect object

So, you can also modify the example sentence into this form:

Evan gives a gift to his mother.

This modification is useful when the direct object is a pronoun instead of a noun. For example, you might say, “My sister doesn’t use her blue purse anymore, so she handed me it,” because you want to follow the first formula.

she

handed me it
subject transitive verb indirect object

direct object

You follow a valid formula, but that sentence sounds a little weird, doesn’t it, fellas? That’s when the second formula can be useful to smooth out your sentence so that it sounds more natural.

You can modify that sentence like this, “My sister don’t use her blue purse anymore, so she handed it to me.” Now the sentence sounds more natural and can be easily understood.

she

handed it to me
subject transitive verb direct object

prepositional phrase

So now you know what direct object and indirect object are, how to identify them, and how to form a sentence using both types of object. Understanding these grammar terms also helps you deal with grammar more easily in the future.

 

Compiled and written by @Fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, January 12, 2016

 

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#EngClass: Modal Verbs

In today’s discussion on modal verbs, we’ll talk about the following points:

  • What are modal verbs?
  • How are modal verbs different from normal verbs?
  • What modal verbs are there in English?
  • What do modal verbs express?
  • How to use modal verbs?

What are modal verbs?

Modal verbs are special verbs which behave very irregularly in English. They behave very differently from normal verbs. Modal verbs modify main verbs which are positioned next to them.

How are modal verbs different from normal verbs?

Verb is the part of speech that expresses existence, action or occurrence. And the following are the differences that modal verbs have from normal verbs:

  1. Modal verbs do not take “-s” in the third person.
    • Example:
      She can sing very well.
      He should take a seat.
  2. We use “not” to make modal verbs negative, even in Simple Present and Simple Past.
    • Example:
      She might not call you tonight.
      We should not be here.
  3. Modal verbs are followed directly by another verb.
    • Example:
      He must finish his work soon.
      She will be home at 7 pm.
  4. They make questions by inversion.
    • Example:
      Affirmative: She can go…
      Interrogative: Can she go… ?
  5. Many modal verbs cannot be used in the past tenses or the future tenses.
    • Example:
      Wrong: He will can go with us.
      Wrong: She musted study very hard.

What do modal verbs express?

We use modal verbs to express various things, such as:

  1. We use “can” and “could” to talk about a skill or ability.
    • Example:
      He can build a house.
  2. We use “can”, “could” and “might” to talk about possibility and impossibility.
    • Example:
      We might get there at 9.30.
  3. We use “must”, “could”, “should” and “ought to” to say when something is necessary or unnecessary, whether it is an obligation.
    • Example:
      They must not be late to school.
  4. We use “could”, “should” and “ought to” to give advice.
    • Example:
      She should speak louder.
  5. We use “can”, “could” and “may” to ask for and give permission. We use them to say something is not allowed.
    • Example:
      He may not leave the house tonight.
  6. We use “will” and “would” to talk about habits or things we usually do or did in the past.
    • Example:
      You will always be in my heart.

What modal verbs are there in English?

Here’s a list of them:

Can                    Could                 Must

Should              May                    Might

Will                   Would                Shall

Ought to

Last but but not least,…

How do we use modal verbs?

  • Modal verb is followed directly by the infinitive of another verb.

slide16

  • To form a negative statement, “not” is added right after modal verb, right before the main verb.

slide17

  • We form an interrogative statement by inversion. Reverse the word structure by inverting the subject and the verb.

modal-verbs

Sya: However, some also say that “need” is also often considered as modal.

Nowadays, this is not a common practice. Some would call “need” a semi-modal. Some other would think it’s outdated and formal.

“Need”, as a semi-modal, is mostly used in the negative form. It is to say that there is no obligation or necessity to do something. Example:

  • She need not thank me.

Notice how “need” does not take -s, and the verb which follows is a bare infinitive.

That’s a wrap for today’s discussion on “modal verbs”. In-depth discussions on each and every modals will be shared in the coming weeks.

Also check out past discussions on “modal verbs”, titles are listed below.

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, January 11, 2017


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#EngTrivia: “Can” vs “Be Able to”

In this post, we will talk about the use of “can” and “be able to”. “Can” and “be able to” are often interchangeable, but there are some occasions where only one of them is correct.

Both “can” and “be able to” is used:

1. In the present tense to talk about an ability to do things. In this case, “can” is more common, while “be able to” sounds more formal and less natural.

  • Example:
    • “I can play guitar.” ✔
    • “I am able to play guitar.” ✔
  1. To talk about the ability to do something on a specific occasion in the future.
  • Example:
    • “I can do the interview tomorrow.” ✔
    • “I am able to do the interview tomorrow.” ✔
    • “When I’m done writing this essay, we can hang out.” ✔
    • “When I’m done writing this essay, we will be able to hang out.” ✔

3. To talk about an ability that someone doesn’t have anymore.

  • Example:
    • “I could stay up until 3 AM when I was a student.” ✔
    • “I was able to stay up until 3 AM when I was a student.”✔

 

We only use “can” or “could” in the present tense to talk about possibilities.

  • Example:
    • “With that much preparation, I think they can win the academic bowl.” ✔
    • “With that much preparation, I think they are able to win the academic bowl.” ✖

 

We only use “was/were able to” to talk about something we succeeded in doing on a specific time in the past.

  • Example:
    • “I was able to sleep last night.” ✔
    • “I could sleep last night.” ✖

 

However, it is okay to use either “could not” or “was/were not able to” in negative statements about something the past.

  • Example:
    • “I couldn’t ride a bike when I was a teenager.” ✔
    • “I wasn’t able to ride a bike when I was a teenager.”✔
    • “We couldn’t get tickets to the premiere yesterday.” ✔
    • “We weren’t able to get tickets to the premiere yesterday.” ✔

 

By the way, you can read more about the usage of “can” vs. “could” as well as other modal auxiliary verbs in this article. Feel free to drop a comment if you have any question.

 

Compiled and written by @Fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, December 29, 2016

 

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#GrammarTrivia: Compound possession

Which one of these two statements is grammatically correct?

“After the election, Dan’s and Miley’s businesses went bankrupt.”

Or

“After the election, Dan and Miley’s businesses went bankrupt.”

Before we answer the question, it was actually a trick question. Both sentences are grammatically correct depending on the context.

Possession by two people

If Dan and Miley own different businesses, “Dan’s and Miley’s” is the correct usage of possessive nouns. But if Dan and Miley share the same businesses, it should be “Dan and Miley’s”.

What if the businesses are owned by Dan and me (or any other possessive pronoun)? Then it should be “Dan’s and my businesses” regardless we share the same business or not. Or if you don’t have to explain that Dan is the other owner, simply use ‘our’.

Possession by more than two people

Let’s take it up a notch, shall we?

What if the businesses are owned by Dan, Miley, and me (or any other possessive pronoun)? The correct usage of compound possession is “Dan, Miley’s, and my business”. And if we don’t share the same businesses: “Dan’s, Miley’s, and my business”.

Compiled by @bintilvice at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, November 11, 2016


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#EngTrivia: Adjectival Phrase

Heyya, fellas! How did your day go? For me, today was a fairly great day.

Oh hey! Did you notice the adjective phrase in my last sentence?
slide1

Alright, fellas! As promised last Wednesday, the topic of today’s session will be on the adjectival phrase. Let’s get things going, shall we?

Before we start… What is a phrase?
slide2

Example of a phrase:

slide3

 

What is an adjectival phrase?

slide4

Adjectival phrase is a group of words that functions as an adjective in a sentence; it tells us something about the noun it is modifying.

Adjectival phrase has an adjective as its head and preceded and/or followed by other words.

If a group of words modifies a noun, then it is an adjectival phrase.

 

Where is adjectival phrase in a sentence?

slide5

An adjectival phrase can go before a noun. It can also go after a linking verb like ‘be’.

The adjective in adjectival phrase may be accompanied by other words such as modifiers, determiners, or intensifiers.
slide6

Modifier

Modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that functions as an adjective or adverb to provide additional information about another word or word group.

The pre-modifier of an adjective is:

  • positioned before the head adjective and,
  • always a simple adjective or an adverb phrase.

Example – simple adjective as modifier:

slide7

slide8

Example – adverb phrase as modifier: slide9

slide10

The post-modifier,

  • positioned after the head adjective,
  • can be an adverb phrase, a prepositional phrase, or infinitive.

Example – adverb phrase as modifier: slide11

 

Example – prepositional phrase as modifier:slide12

 

Example – infinitive as modifier: slide13

 

Determiner

Determiner is a word or a group of words that specifies, identifies, or qualifies the noun or noun phrase that follows it.

Common determiners which modify adjectives are:

  • articles,
  • qualifier,
  • distributive,
  • demonstrative adjective, and
  • possessive adjective.

Example – articles as determiner: slide14

 

Example – qualifier as determiner: slide15

 

Example – distributive as determiner: slide16

 

Example – demonstrative adjective as determiner: slide17

 

Example – possessive adjective as determiner:

slide18

 

Intensifier

Intensifier is a word or phrase which emphasize or down-tone an adjective.

Intensifiers: very, quite, rather, somewhat, so, almost, fairly, really, pretty, a bit, a little, kind of, sort of, etc.

Example – intensifier which emphasize:slide19

Example – intensifier which down-tone:slide20

 

Oh wow! This turned out to be a fairly long session. We’ve now come towards the end of the session. Let’s see how we can form sentences with adjectival phrase.

slide21

 

That’s a wrap, fellas! I hope the explanation was clear enough. If you have any question, feel free to mention us on Twitter or leave a comment below this post.

Thanks for tuning in to today’s session. Have a good rest and see you again tomorrow. XOXO

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

 

Related post: #EngTrivia: How to use ‘Albeit’?

#EngClass: Time related adverb clause

Adverb clauses are subordinate clauses that show relationships between ideas related to time, cause and effect, contrast and condition.

 

Some common used time related adverb clauses:

  1.  After means after that moment. ‘After’ takes the present for future events and the past or past perfect for past events.
    • Example:
      • After she graduates, she will get a job.
  2. Before means before that moment. ‘Before’ takes after the simple past or the present.
    • Example:
      • l left before he came.
  3. When means at the moment, at that time. ‘When’ takes either the simple past or the present. The dependent clause changes tense in relation to the when clause.
    • Example:
      • When I got there, he had already left.

 

There are others time related adverb clauses like while as, by the time, since, until, etc. Okay, why don’t you try some exercises.

Practice:

1. We will finish after he ……….
comes
correct!
came
2. He was talking on the phone when I ……….
arrive
arrived
correct!
3. I will leave before he ……….
comes
correct!
came
4. When I was in Chicago, I ……….. the museums.
visit
visited
correct!
5. When it began to rain, I ………. under the tree.
stand
stood
correct!
6. I washed the dishes when my daughter ………. asleep.
fall
fell
correct!
7. When I ………. him tomorrow, I will ask him.
see
correct!
saw

 

Composed and written by @sherlydarmali for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, October 16, 2016

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#GrammarTrivia: ‘Good’ vs. ‘well’

Good vs. Well.JPG

When we meet somebody, we frequently ask or are asked how we are doing. To those questions, we often response with, “I’m good” or “I’m well.”

You might have wondered which one of those phrases is correct.

In this #GrammarTrivia article, we are going to discuss when to use ‘good’ and ‘well.’

 

Describing ‘good’ and ‘well’

‘Good’ is an adjective. We use it to describe noun as ‘pleasing’ or ‘of acceptable quality.’

Example:

  • “This sandwich is really good.”

‘Well’ is an adverb, used to describe an action that is done in a pleasing way.

Example:

  • “Jonah plays the violin really well.”

Thus, when telling about an event or action, we use ‘well.’

More examples:

  • “My day had been going so well prior to her call.”
  • “I get along well with my colleagues.”
  • “You sing very well.”

 

‘Good’ as adverb

What could be a little confusing now, fellas, is that ‘good’ can also work as adverb in informal speech or writing.

For example:

  • “The prescription works good with my diet. The new trainee is doing really good. “(informal)

However, please be reminded that the above sentence is informal. For formal use, ‘well’ will fit better.

For example:

  • “The prescription works good with my diet. The new trainee is doing really well. “(formal)

 

‘Well’ as adjective

At the same time, using ‘well’ as an adjective can also be acceptable. For example, somebody is asking us about how we feel after we recover from an illness.

Q: How are you? I heard you were admitted to the hospital.
A: I’m well now, thank you very much. Just a bad case of dehydration.

In this context, using “I’m well” is more suitable since it is more specific than ‘good,’ indicating that the speaker is in good health condition.

 

Is there any other examples in which ‘good’ and ‘well’ confuse you, fellas? Feel free to drop a comment!

 

Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 29 August, 2016

 

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#GrammarTrivia: ‘I’ and ‘me’

“Me and my friends went to local art festival yesterday. It was such an amazing experience for my friends and I.”

What do you think about the two sentences mentioned above? Are they grammatically correct? Although they don’t sound too weird, they are incorrect.

Both ‘I’ and ‘me’ are first person singular pronouns. It means both of them are used when a person refers to himself or herself.

What’s the difference, then?

  • ‘I’ is the subject pronoun. It’s used for the one doing the verb.
  • Meanwhile, ‘me’ is the object pronoun. It’s used as an object of the action of the verb.

Let’s try to use them in a sentence:

  • I wanted to go to business school but my mom asked me to go to medical school instead.”

It sounds too easy, doesn’t it? However, it gets a bit trickier when another subject/object is added to the context.

Example:

  • You and I should get dinner tonight.”
  • “That is a bad idea for you and me.”

The easiest way to determine the right form of pronoun is to remove the other subject/object and leave the ‘I/me’ intact.

Example:

  • I should get dinner tonight.” (correct)
  • “That is a bad idea for me.” (correct)

Practice

Let’s have a little bit of practice now, shall we?

1. (me/I) played soccer on a concrete field but then (me/I) fell. Now the bruise is killing (me/I).
I – me – me
I – me – I
I – I – me
correct!
I – I – I
2. She and (me/I) will go to the bookstore tomorrow. The teacher told her and (me/I) to do some research on Western Culture.
I – I
I – me
correct!
me – I
me – me
3. Saras and (me/I) got C on Advanced Calculus last semester. It was devastating for (me/I) and Saras.
me – me
I – I
me – I
I – me

Compiled and written by @bintilvice for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, September 9, 2016

 

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#GrammarTrivia: Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

Good evening, fellas! We’re going to talk about punctuation today in #GrammarTrivia. I’m going to walk you through three types of dashes—hyphen, en dash, and em dash—and when to use them. So, let’s just cut to the chase!

hyp en em

The hyphen (-) is the shortest dash. We use hyphens to connect words and to indicate breaks in the middle of a word. A hyphen isn’t preceded or followed by space, e.g., upper-case, not upper – case. Since we have touched on the hyphen before, you can click here to read more about the use of the hyphen, and click here for a specific explanation on the role of hyphens in compound adjectives.

The en dash (–) is slightly wider than the hyphen; it’s the size of an upper-case N. Here are some uses of the en dash:

  • To represent a range. It usually replaces “to” between a range of numbers, e.g., page 45 – 53.
  • To report scores or results of contests, e.g., Epiphany won 30–27 against Maxwell.
  • To represent conflict, connection, or direction, e.g., Jakarta–Bandung route, the Obama–McCain debate

The em dash (—) is the widest of the three dashes—it’s the size of an upper-case M. And here are the uses of the em dash:

  •  To replace a colon, for instance, compare these sentences:

The en dash (–) is slightly wider than the hyphen; it’s the size of an upper-case N.

The em dash (—) is the widest of the three dashes—it’s the size of an upper-case M.

  • To replace a pair of commas or parentheses that surround additional information in a sentence. Em dashes emphasize the words inside them a little more than commas and parentheses do. For example, compare the sentences below. The clause the only bag looks more emphasized when we use em dashes, don’t you think?

This is the bag, the only bag, that lasts more than three years.

This is the bag—the only bag—that lasts more than three years.

  • To mark interrupted sentence:

Jack: “Jill, wanna go to —”

Jill: “I already have a plan.”

The spaces preceding and following the en dash and em dash is optional.

This is the bag—the only bag—that lasts more than three years.

This is the bag — the only bag — that lasts more than three years.

Notice the spaces before and after the em dashes in the second sentence? Both of those practices are correct. Whichever style you prefer, use it consistently.

I hope now you understand the difference of those three dashes, fellas. But don’t dash away yet. ;) Here are some handy ways to type the en dash and em dash:

  • In Microsoft Word, assuming the AutoCorrect is turned on, typing ‘space-hyphen-space’ (like – this) will automatically replace the hyphen with an en dash, and typing two hyphens without spaces between two words (like–this) will automatically render an em dash.
  • In a smartphone, you can type an en dash or em dash by long-tapping the hyphen key in the keyboard.

That’s all I can share today, fellas. I hope this has been useful for you. Thank you for joining this #grammarTrivia session. Have a good day!

Compiled and written by @fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on August 25, 2016.

#GrammarTrivia: Non-continuous verbs

Just like our days, English verbs are not all the same either. They are usually divided into 3 groups. One of the groups is called non-continuous verbs or stative verbs. Anyone knows any of these verbs?

A stative verb is one that describes a state of being, in contrast to a dynamic verb which describes an action. These verbs are usually the things you cannot see in someone.

Stative verbs include:

  • Abstract verbs, for example to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist, etc.
  • Possession verbs, like to possess, to own, to belong, etc.
  • Emotion verbs, such as to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear, to envy, to mind, etc.

Stative verbs are rarely used in continuous/progressive tenses.

  • Example:
    • “John knows the answer,” not “John is knowing the answer.”
    • “He wants a drink now,” not “He is wanting a drink now.”

That’s it for this session. Don’t miss our upcoming sessions.

 

Compiled and written by @EnglishTips4U for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 3 February, 2016

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#EngQuiz: Fix the punctuation

Study each question and option carefully and pick one with correct punctuation.

1. He has a _____ son.
two, year old
two year-old
two-year-old
When the adjectival phrase (2-year-old) comes before the noun it modifies (son), it’s hyphenated.
2. He got three A’s last semester but his one downfall was Physics.
semester but, his
semester, but his
We use a comma before conjunction to connect two independent clauses.
semester, but, his
3. This is what you’ll need to buy a notebook, a box of diskettes, and some paper.
to buy;
to buy,
to buy:
We use a colon [:] before a list or an explanation that is preceded by a clause that can stand by itself.
4. “My Old Kentucky Home a tune by Stephen Foster, is Kentucky’s state song.
Home” a tune
Home”, a tune
Home,” a tune
Periods and commas go inside quotation marks. And we need a comma here to set apart a parenthetical element. (“A tune by Stephen Foster”)
5. My pin number has two 5s. It’s easy to remember.
5s
We don’t need to use apostrophe [ ‘ ] in this sentence. Apostrophe is used to indicate possessive case, contractions, or omitted letters.
5’s
5s’

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