Past Perfect Continuous Tense
I had been singing
How do we make the Past Perfect Continuous Tense?
For negative sentences in the past perfect continuous tense, we insert not after the first auxiliary verb. For question sentences, we exchange the subject and first auxiliary verb. Look at these example sentences with the past perfect continuous tense:
subject _____ auxiliary verb _____ auxiliary verb ________main verb
+ _____ I __________ had ___________ been ___________ working.
+ ____You __________ had ___________ been __________ playing tennis.
- _____ It _________ had not __________ been __________ working well.
- _____ We ________ had not __________ been __________ expecting her.
? _____ Had you ___________________________________ been drinking?
? _____ Had they __________________________________ been waiting long?
When speaking with the past perfect continuous tense, we often contract the subject and first auxiliary verb:
I had been _____ I'd been
you had been _____ you'd been
he had _____ he'd been
she had been _____ she'd been
it had been _____ it'd been
we had been _____ we'd been
they had been _____ they'd been
How do we use the Past Perfect Continuous Tense?
The past perfect continuous tense is like the past perfect tense, but it expresses longer actions in the past before another action in the past. For example:
Ram started waiting at 9am. I arrived at 11am. When I arrived, Ram had been waiting for two hours.
Ram had been waiting for two hours when I arrived.
Here are some more examples:
John was very tired. He had been running.
I could smell cigarettes. Somebody had been smoking.
Suddenly, my car broke down. I was not surprised. It had not been running well for a long time.
Had the pilot been drinking before the crash?
You can sometimes think of the past perfect continuous tense like the present perfect continuous tense, but instead of the time being now the time is past.
For example, imagine that you meet Ram at 11am. Ram says to you:
"I am angry. I have been waiting for two hours."
Later, you tell your friends:
"Ram was angry. He had been waiting for two hours."
to be continued (Future Simple Tense)
Simple Future Tense
The simple future tense is often called will, because we make the simple future tense with the modal auxiliary will.
How do we make the Simple Future Tense?
For negative sentences in the simple future tense, we insert not between the auxiliary verb and main verb. For question sentences, we exchange the subject and auxiliary verb. Look at these example sentences with the simple future tense:
subject ______ auxiliary verb _______ main verb
+ ______ I ____________will ____________ open the door.
+ _____ You __________ will ____________ finish before me.
- _____ She _________ will not ___________ be at school tomorrow.
- ______ We ________ will not ______________ leave yet.
? _____ Will you ________________________ arrive on time?
? _____ Will they ________________________ want dinner?
When we use the simple future tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb:
I will _____ I'll
you will _____ you'll
he will _____ he'll
she will _____ she'll
it will _____ it'll
we will _____ we'll
they will _____ they'll
For negative sentences in the simple future tense, we contract with won't, like this:
I will not _____ I won't
you will not _____ you won't
he will not _____ he won't
she will not _____ she won't
it will not _____ it won't
we will not _____ we won't
they will not _____ they won't
How do we use the Simple Future Tense?
We use the simple future tense when there is no plan or decision to do something before we speak. We make the decision spontaneously at the time of speaking. Look at these examples:
Hold on. I'll get a pen.
We will see what we can do to help you.
Maybe we'll stay in and watch television tonight.
In these examples, we had no firm plan before speaking. The decision is made at the time of speaking.
We often use the simple future tense with the verb to think before it:
I think I'll go to the gym tomorrow.
I think I will have a holiday next year.
I don't think I'll buy that car.
We often use the simple future tense to make a prediction about the future. Again, there is no firm plan. We are saying what we think will happen. Here are some examples:
It will rain tomorrow.
People won't go to Jupiter before the 22nd century.
Who do you think will get the job?
When the main verb is be, we can use the simple future tense even if we have a firm plan or decision before speaking. Examples:
I'll be in London tomorrow.
I'm going shopping. I won't be very long.
Will you be at work tomorrow?
Note that when we have a plan or intention to do something in the future, we usually use other tenses or expressions, such as the present continuous tense or going to.
to be continued (Future Continuous Tense).
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Future Continuous Tense
How do we make the Future Continuous Tense?
subject _____ auxiliary verb _____ auxiliary verb _____ main verb
+ _____ I __________ will _____________ be __________ working at 10am.
+ ____ You ________ will _____________ be __________ lying on a beach tomorrow.
- ____ She ________ will not ___________ be __________ using the car.
- ____ We ________ will not ___________ be __________having dinner at home.
? ____ Will you ______________________ be __________ playing football?
? ____ Will they _____________________ be __________ watching TV?
When we use the future continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and will:
I will ____ I'll
you will ____ you'll
he will ____ he'll
she will ____ she'll
it will ____ it'll
we will ____ we'll
they will ____ they'll
How do we use the Future Continuous Tense?
The future continuous tense expresses action at a particular moment in the future. The action will start before that moment but it will not have finished at that moment. For example, tomorrow I will start work at 2pm and stop work at 6pm:
At 4pm tomorrow, I will be working.
When we use the future continuous tense, our listener usually knows or understands what time we are talking about. Look at these examples:
I will be playing tennis at 10am tomorrow.
They won't be watching TV at 9pm tonight.
What will you be doing at 10pm tonight?
What will you be doing when I arrive?
She will not be sleeping when you telephone her.
We 'll be having dinner when the film starts.
Take your umbrella. It will be raining when you return.
to be continued (Future Perfect Tense)
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Future Perfect Tense
The future perfect tense is quite an easy tense to understand and use. The future perfect tense talks about the past in the future.
How do we make the Future Perfect Tense?
Look at these example sentences in the future perfect tense:
subject ______ auxiliary verb _______ auxiliary verb ______ main verb
+ ______ I ____________ will ____________ have ____________finished by 10am.
+ ____ You ___________ will ____________ have ____________forgotten me by then.
- ____ She _________ will not ____________ have ____________ gone to school.
- ____ We __________ will not __________ have ________________ left.
? _____ Will you ______________________ have ____________ arrived?
? _____ Will they ______________________ have __________ received it?
In speaking with the future perfect tense, we often contract the subject and will. Sometimes, we contract the subject, will and have all together:
I will have _____ I'll have _____ I'll've
you will have _____ you'll have _____ you'll've
he will have _____ he'll have _____ he'll've
she will have _____ she'll have _____ she'll've
it will have _____ it'll have _____ it'll've
we will have _____ we'll have _____ we'll've
they will have _____ they'll have _____ they'll've
How do we use the Future Perfect Tense?
The future perfect tense expresses action in the future before another action in the future. This is the past in the future. For example:
The train will leave the station at 9am. You will arrive at the station at 9.15am. When you arrive, the train will have left.
"The train will have left when you arrive."
Look at some more examples:
You can call me at work at 8am. I will have arrived at the office by 8.
They will be tired when they arrive. They will not have slept for a long time.
"Mary won't be at home when you arrive."
"Really? Where will she have gone?"
to be continued (future perfect continous tense)
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Future Perfect Continuous Tense
How do we make the Future Perfect Continuous Tense?
For negative sentences in the future perfect continuous tense, we insert not between will and have. For question sentences, we exchange the subject and will. Look at these example sentences with the future perfect continuous tense:
subject + auxiliary verb + auxiliary verb + auxiliary verb + main verb
+ I will have been working for four hours.
+ You will have been travelling for two days.
- She will not have been using the car.
- We will not have been waiting long.
? Will you have been playing football?
? Will they have been watching TV?
When we use the future perfect continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb:
I will I'll
you will you'll
he will he'll
she will she'll
it will it'll
we will we'll
they will they'
For negative sentences in the future perfect continuous tense, we contract with won't, like this:
I will not I won't
you will not you won't
he will not he won't
she will not she won't
it will not it won't
we will not we won't
they will not they won't
How do we use the Future Perfect Continuous Tense?
We use the future perfect continuous tense to talk about a long action before some point in the future. Look at these examples:
I will have been working here for ten years next week.
He will be tired when he arrives. He will have been travelling for 24 hours.
(`'•.¸(`'•.¸ ¸.•'´) ¸.•'´)
(¸.•'´(¸.•'´ `'•.¸)`' •.¸)
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Parts of Speech
A noun is a word that names a person, place, or thing. Nouns, like house guests, come in different varieties. House guests include those you want, those you hate, and those you're stuck with regardless. Nouns come in these varieties: common nouns, proper nouns, compound nouns, and collective nouns.
1. Common nouns name any one of a class of person, place, or thing.
2. Proper nouns name a specific person, place, or thing.
New York City
3. Compound nouns are two or more nouns that function as a single unit. A compound noun can be two individual words, words joined by a hyphen, or two words combined.
individual words: time capsule
hyphenated words: great-uncle
combined words: basketball
4. Collective nouns name groups of people or things.
Say you wrote this sentence:
Mr. Hufnagle gave Mr. Hufnagle's pen to Mr. Hufnagle's wife, Mrs. Hufnagle; Mrs. Hufnagle was grateful for the pen.
You would be reduced to this sorry state were it not for the delightful and ever useful little pronoun. Thanks to Mr. Pronoun, you can write this graceful sentence instead:
Mr. Hufnagle gave his pen to his wife, Mrs. Hufnagle; she was grateful for it.
Now, I know you have to agree that the pronoun is a thing of beauty indeed.
A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun or another pronoun. Pronouns help you avoid unnecessary repetition in your writing and speech.
A pronoun gets its meaning from the noun it stands for. The noun is called the antecedent. Here's an example:
Although Seattle is damp, it is my favorite city
Of course, there are different kinds of pronouns. Most of them have antecedents, but a few do not. Meet the pronoun family.
1. Personal pronouns refer to a specific person, place, object, or thing. Here are the major players:
__________________ Singular ______________ Plural
First person __________ I, me, mine, my ___________ we, us, our, ours
Second person _________you, your, yours __________ you, your, yours
Third person ____________her, hers, it he, _____________ theirs, its
________________________him, his, she, ______________they, them, their,
2. Possessive pronouns show ownership. The possessive pronouns are yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, whose.
Is this nice dead cat yours?
Yes, it's ours.
3. Reflexive pronouns add information to a sentence by pointing back to a noun or pronoun near the beginning of the sentence. Reflexive pronouns end in -self or -selves.
Herman bought himself a life-size inflatable woman.
They all enjoyed themselves at Herman's expense.
4. Intensive pronouns also end in -self or -selves, but they just add emphasis to the noun or pronoun.
Herman himself blew up the doll.
Herman said that he would be able to deflate the doll himself.
5. Demonstrative pronouns direct attention to a specific person, place, or thing. Not to panic—there are only four demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, and those.
This is the invisible car that came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.
That was the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman who bounced off the roof of my car.
6. Relative pronouns begin a subordinate clause. Only five, folks: that, which, who, whom, and those.
Mr. Peepers claimed that the other car collided with his without giving warning of its intention.
Louise was the driver who had to swerve a number of times before she hit the other car.
7. Interrogative pronouns ask a question. High fives: what, which, who, whom, and whose.
Who claimed he was coming home when he drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree he doesn't have?
Which insurance adjuster had these headaches?
8. Indefinite pronouns refer to people, places, objects, or things without pointing to a specific one.
Here are the most common indefinite pronouns:
Singular ___________ Plural ____________________Singular or Plural
another _________________ both ______________________ all
anyone __________________ few ______________________ any
each ___________________ many ______________________ more
everyone ________________ others ____________________ most
everybody _______________ several ____________________ none
everything __________________________________________ some
Verbs are words that name an action or describe a state of being. Verbs are seriously important, because there's no way to have a sentence without them.
While we're on the topic, every sentence must have two parts: a subject and a predicate.
There are four basic types of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs, helping verbs, verb phrases.
Action verbs tell what the subject does. For example: jump, kiss, laugh.
The mobsters broke Irving's kneecaps.
Some people worry about the smallest things.
An action verb can be transitive or intransitive. Transitive verbs need a direct object.
The boss dropped the ball.
The workers picked it up.
Intransitive verbs do not need a direct object.
Icicles dripped from his voice.
Linking verbs join the subject and the predicate. Linking verbs do not show action. Instead, they help the words at the end of the sentence name and describe the subject. Here are the most common linking verbs: be, feel, grow, seem, smell, remain, appear, sound, stay, look, taste, turn, become.
Although small in size as well as number, linking verbs are used a great deal. Here are two typical examples:
The manager was happy about the job change.
He is a fool.
Many linking verbs can also be used as action verbs. For example:
Linking: The kids looked sad.
Action: I looked for the dog in the pouring rain.
Helping verbs are added to another verb to make the meaning clearer. Helping verbs include any form of to be. Here are some examples: do, does, did, have, has, had, shall, should, will, would, can, could, may, might, must.
Verb phrases are made of one main verb and one or more helping verbs.
They will run before dawn.
They do have a serious problem.
Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Adverbs answer the questions “When?” “Where?” “How?” or “To what extent?” For example:
When? left yesterday, begin now
Where? fell below, move up
How? happily sang, danced badly
To what extent? partly finished, eat completely
Fortunately for us, most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective. This makes recognizing an adverb fairly easy. Of course, we don't want things to be too easy, so there are a bunch of adverbs that don't end in -ly. Here are some of the most common non-ly adverbs:
Now, what can you do with an adverb? Try this: Use an adverb to describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
1. Use an adverb to describe a verb.
Experiments using dynamite must be done carefully.
2. Use an adverb to describe an adjective.
Charles had an unbelievably huge appetite for chips.
3. Use an adverb to describe another adverb.
They sang so clearly.
Conjunctive adverbs are used to connect other words. Therefore, conjunctive adverbs act like conjunctions, these wily devils—even though they are not technically considered to be conjunctions. Despite their tendency to be mislabeled, conjunctive adverbs are very useful when you want to link ideas and paragraphs. Here are the fan favorites:
Adjectives are words that describe nouns and pronouns. They're the color commentators of language, the words that give your writing and speech flavor. Adjectives answer the questions “What kind?” “How much?” “Which one?” and “How many?” For example:
What kind? red nose, gold ring
How much? more sugar, little effort
Which one? second wife, those nuts
How many? several wives, six husbands
Spice Up Your Sentences with Adjectives
There are five kinds of adjectives: common adjectives, proper adjectives, compound adjectives, articles, and indefinite adjectives.
1. Common adjectives describe nouns or pronouns.
2. Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns.
3. Compound adjectives are made up of more than one word, like these two examples:
4. Articles are a special type of adjective. There are three articles: a, an, and the.
The is called a “definite article” because it refers to a specific thing.
A and an are called “indefinite articles” because they refer to general things. Use a when the word that follows begins with a consonant sound; use an before words that begin with vowel sounds.
5. Indefinite adjectives don't specify the amount of something. Instead, they describe general quantities. Most of the indefinite adjectives were pronouns in their first lives. For example:
Adjectives for Non-Native Speakers
The indefinite articles a and an are grammatically the same. They both mean “one of many.” They are used only with singular nouns. As you learned earlier, use a when the word that follows begins with a consonant sound; use an before words that begin with vowel sounds. Here are some additional guidelines:
1. A is sometimes used with the words “little” and “few.” The meaning is slightly different, depending on whether you use the article a before the words “little” and “few.” Study these examples:
a little, a few = a small amount of something
little, few = less than expected
a few carrots, few carrots
a little sugar, little sugar
2. A and an are rarely used with proper nouns.
Now that you know what adjectives are, it's time to learn how to use them. Follow these easy-as-pie guidelines:
1. Use an adjective to describe a noun or a pronoun
2. Use vivid adjectives to make your writing more specific and descriptive.
3. Use an adjective after a linking verb. A linking verb connects a subject with a descriptive word. Here are the most common linking verbs: be (is, am, are, was, were, and so on), seem, appear, look, feel, smell, sound, taste, become, grow, remain, stay, and turn.
Chicken made this way tastes more delicious (not deliciously).
Conjunctions connect words or groups of words and show how they are related. There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions. Let's look at each one.
1. Coordinating conjunctions link words or word groups. Here are the seven coordinating conjunctions:
And now for some examples:
Eat one live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
2. 2. Correlative conjunctions also link similar words or word groups, but they are always used in pairs. Here are the correlative conjunctions:
both … and
either … or
neither … nor
not only … but also
whether … or
He lost both his shirt and his pants.
Either you come with us now, or you will miss the boat.
3. Subordinate conjunctions link an independent clause (a complete sentence) to a dependent clause (a fragment). There are only seven coordinating conjunctions and five correlative conjunctions, but you have more subordinating conjunctions than Custer had Native Americans. Here are the most often used subordinating conjunctions:
as long as
as soon as
in order that
so, so that
And a few examples culled from actual insurance forms:
The guy was all over the road so I had to swerve a couple of times before I finally hit him.
I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
Zap! Pow! Wow!
Unlike movie stars Steven Seagal and Morris the Cat (okay, so he's dead), interjections show strong emotion. Because interjections are not linked grammatically to other words in the sentence, they are set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma or an exclamation mark.
Oh! What a shock you gave me with that gorilla suit.
Wow! That's not a gorilla suit?
With interjections, a little goes a long way. Use these marks of punctuation as you would hot pepper or hysterics, because they are strong and edgy.
Prepositions are the mighty mites of grammar and writing, small but powerful little puppies. Prepositions are words that link a noun or a pronoun to another word in the sentence.
Use this list to help you recognize some of the most common prepositions:
A noun always follows a preposition. A prepositional phrase is a preposition and its object. A prepositional phrase can be two or three words long, as these examples show:
on the wing
in the door
However, prepositional phrases can be much longer, depending on the length of the preposition and number of words that describe the object of the preposition. Here are two super-size prepositional phrases:
near the violently swaying oak trees
on account of his nearly depleted bank account
Prepositions for Non-Native Speakers
Using prepositions correctly presents special problems for people whose first language is not English. That's because so many prepositional phrases are idiomatic: They have evolved through use and do not necessarily make logical sense. Here are some guidelines:
1. Use in before seasons of the year. Also use in with months and years not followed by specific dates.
in the summer
2. Use on before days of the week, holidays, and months, if the date follows.
on July 20
3. Like is a preposition that means “similar to.” Therefore, it is followed by an object (usually a noun or pronoun).
4. Use the preposition of to show possession.
The preposition of is often used to show possession instead of the possessive form of a pronoun.
I hear a puppy's bark.
I hear the bark of a puppy.
Never use the preposition of with proper nouns.
Incorrect: I wore the dress of Nina.
Correct: I wore Nina's dress.
Following is a list of idiomatic prepositional phrases and examples. Always use these prepositional phrases as units; don't substitute other prepositions.
Prepositional Phrases ______________ Examples
acquainted with ______________ Nico is acquainted with my cousin Raul.
addicted to ______________ I am addicted to coffee.
agree on (a plan) ______________ They finally agreed on a plan.
agree to (someone else's proposal) ______________ Did Betty agree to their demands?
angry at or about (a thing) ______________ The commuters are angry about the fare hike.
angry with (a person) ______________ They are angry with the mayor.
apply for (a job) ______________ Apply for a job.
approve of ______________ Did she approve of the vacation plan?
consist of ______________ The casserole consists of squirrel and noodles.
contrast with ______________ The red shirt contrasts with the pink pants.
convenient for ______________ Is Monday convenient for you?
deal with ______________ How do you deal with that awful child?
depend on ______________ Everything depends on the bus schedule.
differ from (something) ______________ The airplane differs from the train.
differ with (a person) ______________ I differ with your argument.
displeased with ______________ Nina is displeased with the plan.
fond of ______________ We are all fond of Mrs. Marco.
grateful for (something) ______________ The child was grateful for a snow day.
grateful to (someone) ______________ We are grateful to the doctor.
identical with ______________ This cake is identical with hers.
interested in ______________ Chris is interested in martial arts.
interfere with ______________ Homework can interfere with your social life.
object to ______________ We object to the income tax hike.
protect against ______________ An umbrella protects against rain.
reason with ______________ You can't reason with a two-year-old.
responsible for ______________ I am responsible for bringing the salad.
shocked at ______________ We are shocked at your hair color!
similar to ______________ It is similar to a rainbow.
specialize in ______________ The hairdresser must specialize in humor.
take advantage of ______________ They surely take advantage of kids!
worry about ______________ I worry about you.
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Last edited by Sureshlasi; Friday, August 31, 2007 at 05:35 PM.
Pronouns & Case
When Quentin Crisp told the people of Northern Ireland that he was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, “Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?” Hey, we don't need religious strife—we have who and whom to contend with. And that's not to mention all the rest of the pronouns. You've got to figure out how to use them correctly, too.
Here you'll learn about the grammatical role a pronoun plays in a sentence. Armed with this knowledge, you can use all pronouns—even the dreaded who and whom—correctly, with skill and confidence
Why Can't a Pronoun Be More Like a Noun?
Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Between you and I, pronouns drive myself crazy, and I bet they do yourself, too. A quick look at the disastrous last sentence and a brief survey of English explains why pronouns are more maddening than a hormone-crazed teenager.
Old English, like Latin, depended on word endings to express grammatical relationships. These endings are called inflections. For example, consider the Old English word for stone, “stan.” Study this chart.
Case ______________________ Word
Nominative and accusative singular ______________________ stan
Genitive singular ______________________ stane
Dative singular ______________________ stane
Nominative and accusative plural ______________________ stanas
Genitive plural ______________________ stana
Dative plural ______________________ stanum
Fortunately, contemporary English is greatly simplified from Old English. (Would I lie/lay to you?) Today, nouns remain the same in the nominative and accusative cases and inflect only for the possessive and the plural. Here's how our version of “stan” (stone) looks today: stone, stone's, stones, and stones'. Huh? Sounds like Greek? Not to worry. It will all be clear by the end of this section.
Pronouns, on the other hand, have retained more of their inflections, and more's the pity. The first-person pronoun, for example, can exist as I, me, mine, my, myself, we, us, our, ours, ourself, and ourselves—11 written forms! Because pronouns assume so many more forms than nouns, these otherwise adorable words can be a real pain in the butt.
Head Case OR The Three Cases
Case is the form of a noun or pronoun that shows how it is used in a sentence. English has three cases: nominative, objective, and possessive. The following chart shows the three cases.
Nominative ______________ Objective (Pronoun __________ Possessive
(Pronoun as Subject)______ Showing Object) ____________ (Pronoun as Ownership)
I ______________ me ______________ my, mine
you ______________ you ______________ your, yours
he ______________ him ______________ his
she ______________ her ______________ her, hers
it ______________ it ______________ its
we ______________ us ______________ our, ours
they ______________ them ______________ their, theirs
who ______________ whom ______________ whose
whoever ______________ whomever ______________ whoever
Let's review the rules for using pronouns so these little words won't make you crazy as you write and speak.
1. Use the nominative case to show the subject of a verb. Remember that the subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the action of the verb.
Question: I know of no other person in the company who is as smarmy as (he, him.)
Answer: He is the subject of the understood verb is. Therefore, the sentence would read: “I know of no other person in the company who is as smarmy as he.”
Question: (Who, Whom) do you believe is the best writer?
Answer: Who is the subject of the verb is. Therefore, the sentence would read, “Who do you believe is the best writer?”
Of course, anything associated with grammar can't be that easy. Here's the exception to the rule you just learned: A pronoun used as the subject of an infinitive is in the objective case. For example: “Billy Bob expects Frankie Bob and (I, me) to make squirrel stew.” The correct pronoun here is me, because it is the subject of the infinitive to make.
2. A pronoun used as a predicate nominative is in the nominative case. A predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun after some form of to be (is, was, might have been, and so on).
Predicate nominatives are the bad boys in the back row of homeroom because they equal trouble. Here's what I mean:
The verb to be, in all of its forms, is the same as an equal sign. Whatever comes before it (almost always a pronoun in the nominative case) must also follow it.
Question: It was (they, them) who first suggested getting the 90-pound puppy.
Answer: It was they who first suggested getting the 90-pound puppy.
3. Use the objective case to show that the noun or pronoun receives the action.
Question: (Who, Whom) can you send to help us?
Answer: Whom is the direct object of the verb can send. Therefore, the sentence should read: “Whom can you send to help us?”
Question: The taxidermist promised to notify Herman and (I, me) of his plans for the moose.
Answer: Me (together with Herman) is the object of the infinitive to notify. Therefore, the sentence should read: “The taxidermist promised to notify Herman and me of his plans for the moose.”
Question: It is always a pleasure for (we, us) employees to have a day-long meeting.
Answer: Here, us is the object of the preposition for. Therefore, the sentence should read: “It is always a pleasure for us employees to have a day-long meeting.”
Question: The Internet gave my sister and (I, me) some interesting ideas.
Answer: Me (together with my sister) is the indirect object of the verb gave. Therefore, the sentence should read: “The Internet gave my sister and me some interesting ideas.”
You can tell a word is an indirect object if you can insert to or for before it without changing the meaning. For example: The Internet gave (to) my sister and (to) me some interesting ideas.
4. A pronoun used in apposition with a noun is in the same case as the noun. An appositive is a noun or pronoun placed after another noun or pronoun to identify, explain, or rename it.
Question: Two bond traders, Alice and (she, her) were given bonuses large enough to buy their own banana republic.
Answer: The pronoun must be in the nominative case (she) because it is in apposition with the noun bond traders, which is in the nominative case. Therefore, the sentence should read: “Two bond traders, Alice and she, were given bonuses large enough to buy their own banana republic.”
5. Use the possessive case to show ownership.
Question: The manager refused to acknowledge that the memo was (her's, hers).
Answer: Hers is the correct spelling of the possessive case, which is needed her to express ownership (belonging to her). Therefore, the sentence should read: “The manager refused to acknowledge that the memo was hers.”
Be careful not to confuse possessive pronouns and contractions. To help you remember the difference, carve this chart into your desk at work.
6. Use the subjective case after linking verbs. Remember that a linking verb connects a subject to a word that renames it. This one actually makes perfect sense: Because a pronoun coming after a linking verb renames the subject, the pronoun must be in the subjective (nominative) case.
Question: The flasher of the month was (I, me).
Answer: Use I, because the pronoun renames the subject, the flasher of the month.
Question: The one who will benefit from this honor is they and (me, I).
Answer: Again, go with I, because the pronoun renames the subject.
Who Versus Whom
Contemporary writer and humorist Calvin Trillin once claimed, “Whom is a word invented to make everyone sound like a butler. Nobody who is not a butler has ever said it out loud without feeling just a little bit weird.”
Trillin isn't alone in his frustration with who/whom. More than half a century ago, a professor named Arthur H. Weston voiced his feelings over who/whom this way:
It's hard to devise an appropriate doom
For those who say who when they ought to say whom.
But it's even more hard to decide what to do
With those who say whom when they ought to say who.
No one will argue that who and whom are the most troublesome pronouns in English. Anyone who has ever grappled with who and whom might use stronger language than that. Here are some reasons why who/whom are so perplexing:
We can't do much about the national debt, frown lines, or those Mets, but we can straighten out who/whom use. Even though I discussed who/whom earlier in this section, these little words cause such distress that they deserve their own subsection.
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Last edited by Sureshlasi; Monday, September 10, 2007 at 11:43 PM.
Adjectives Versus Adverbs
Adjectives and adverbs are describing words; the former describes a noun or pronoun; the latter, a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Here, you learn how to use these words with skill and confidence so you'll never again face the dreaded bad/well dilemma.
Both adjectives and adverbs are modifiers—words that describe other words. For example:
Adjective: The quick fox jumped.
Adverb: The fox jumped quickly.
Ah ha! you say. Adverbs end in -ly; adjectives don't, so that's how I can tell these suckers apart. Not so fast, kemosabe. Some adverbs end in -ly, but not all. Further, some adjectives also end in -ly, such as lovely and friendly. As a result, the -ly test doesn't cut the mustard. Instead, the key to telling the difference between adjectives and adverbs is understanding how they work:
As you learned in Parts of Speech, the only dependable way to tell whether you should use an adjective or an adverb is to see how the word functions in the sentence. If a noun or pronoun is being described, use an adjective. If a verb, adjective, or other adverb is being described, use an adverb. Here's an example to refresh your memory:
(The adjective skillful describes the noun driver.)
(The adverb skillfully describes the verb drove.)
Use the following table to keep adjectives and adverbs straight. That way, we'll all be reading from the same sheet music as we play together in the rest of this section.
In the Know: Adjective or Adverb?
Modifier ___________ Function ______________ Example
Adjectives ___________ Describe nouns ___________ The busy bee never rests.
(The noun is bee.)
Adjectives ___________ Describe pronouns ___________ She felt disappointed.
(The pronoun is she.)
Adverbs ___________ Describe verbs ___________ The child cried bitterly.
(The verb is cried.)
Adverbs ___________ Describe adverbs ___________ The child cried very bitterly.
(The adverb is bitterly.)
Adverbs ___________ Describe adjectives ___________ The child was truly annoyed.
(The adjective is annoyed.)
Three Degrees of Separation
Often, you'll want to compare things rather than just describe them. Not to worry; English has this covered. Adjectives and adverbs have different forms to show degrees of comparison. We even have a name for each of these forms of degree: positive, comparative, and superlative. Let's meet the whole gang.
Positive degree: the base form of the adjective or adverb. It does not show comparison.
Comparative degree: the form an adjective or adverb takes to compare two things.
Superlative degree: the form an adjective or adverb takes to compare three or more things.
The following table shows the three degrees of comparison with some sample adjectives and adverbs
Comparative Levels of Adjectives and Adverbs
Part of Speech ______ Positive _______ Comparative ______ Superlative
Adjective ______ low ______ lower ______ lowest
Adjective ______ big ______ bigger ______ biggest
Adjective ______ fat ______ fatter ______ fattest
Adverb ______ highly ______ more highly ______ most highly
Adverb ______ widely ______ more widely ______ most widely
Adverb ______ easily ______ more easily ______ most easily
As you can see from this table, the comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives and adverbs are formed differently. Here's how:
1. All adverbs that end in -ly form their comparative and superlative degree with more and most.
quickly, more quickly, most quickly
slowly, more slowly, most slowly
2. Avoid using more or most when they sound awkward, as in “more soon than I expected.” In general, use -er/-est with one- and two-syllable modifiers.
fast, faster, fastest
high, higher, highest
3. When a word has three or more syllables, use more and most to form the comparative and superlative degree.
beloved, more beloved, most beloved
detested, more detested, most detested
Size Does Matter
Now that you know how to form comparisons with adjectives and adverbs, follow these guidelines to make these comparisons correct.
1. Use the comparative degree (-er or more form) to compare two things.
Your memory is better than mine.
Donald Trump is more successful than Donald Duck, Don Ameche, or Don Ho.
2. Use the superlative form (-est or most) to compare three or more things.
This is the largest room in the house.
This is the most awful meeting.
3. Never use -er and more or -est and most together. One or the other will do the trick nicely.
No: This is the more heavier brother.
Yes: This is the heavier brother.
No: He is the most heaviest brother.
Yes: He is the heaviest brother.
Irregular Adjectives and Adverbs
Of course, life can't be that easy in the land of adjectives and adverbs. And so it isn't. A few adjectives and adverbs don't follow these rules. They sneer at them, going their own separate ways. Like errant congressmen, there's just no predicting what these adjectives and adverbs will do next.
The following table shows the most common irregular adjectives and adverbs. Tap the noggin and memorize these forms.
Positive _______ Comparative _______ Superlative
good _______ better _______ best
well _______ better _______ best
bad _______ worse _______ worst
badly _______ worse _______ worst
far _______ farther _______ farthest
far _______ further _______ furthest
late _______ later _______ later or latest
little (amount) _______ less _______ least
many _______ more _______ most
much _______ more _______ most
some _______ more _______ most
Keep Your Balance
In most cases, the comparative and superlative degree shouldn't present any more difficulty than doing pick-up brain surgery with a screw driver or dealing with your two-year-old. Upon occasion, however, the way the sentence is phrased may make your comparison unclear. You balance your tires and your checkbook, so balance your sentences. Here's how:
Compare similar items.
Finish the comparison.
No: Nick's feet are bigger than Charles's. (Charles's what?)
Yes: Nick's feet are bigger than Charles's feet.
No: My wife's CD collection is larger than my son's.
Yes: My wife's CD collection is larger than my son's CD collection.
Other and Else
Another common error is illogical comparisons. Why bother creating new illogical situations, when the world is filled with existing ones that fit the bill so nicely?
Because the thing you're comparing is part of a group, you have to differentiate it from the group by using the word other or else before you can set it apart in a comparison. Therefore, to avoid adding to the world's existing stock of stupidity, when you compare one item in a group with the rest of the group, be sure to include the word other or else. Then, your comparison will make sense.
Dopey: The Godfather was greater than any modern American movie.
Sensible: The Godfather was greater than any other modern American movie.
Dopey: Francis Ford Coppola won more awards than anyone at the ceremony.
Sensible: Francis Ford Coppola won more awards than anyone else at the ceremony.
Using Adjectives After Linking Verbs
Remember that linking verbs describe a state of being or a condition. They include all forms of to be (such as am, is, are, were, was) and verbs related to the senses (look, smell, sound, feel). Linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence to a word that renames or describes it.
Sticky situations arise with verbs that sometimes function as linking verbs but other times function as action verbs. Life just isn't fair sometimes. As linking verbs, these verbs use adjectives as complements. As action verbs, these verbs use adverbs. For example:
Charlie looks cheerful.
(looks is a linking verb; cheerful is an adjective)
Charlie looks cheerfully at the buffet table.
(looks is an action verb; cheerfully is an adverb)
The adjective bad and the adverb badly are especially prone to such abuse. For instance:
No-No: The guest felt badly.
Yes-Yes: The guest felt bad.
No-No: The food tasted badly.
Yes-Yes: The food tasted bad.
Good News; Well News
Good and well are as dicey as bad and badly. That's because well functions both as an adverb and as an adjective:
1. Good is always an adjective.
You did a good job.
You're a good egg.
2. Well is an adjective used to describe good health.
You look well.
You sound well after your recent bout with pneumonia.
3. Well is an adverb when it's used for anything else.
You cook well.
They eat well
When you make comparisons using adjectives and adverbs, pay attention to elements that can be counted and those that cannot. As you read earlier, remember that less and fewer cannot be interchanged. Less refers to amounts that form a whole or can't be counted (less money, less filling), while fewer refers to items that can be counted (fewer coins, fewer calories).
1. For nouns that can be counted, use few, fewer, or fewest rather than little, less, or least to count down.
Incorrect: Carrot sticks have less calories than chocolate.
Correct: Carrot sticks have fewer calories than chocolate.
Because calories can be counted, use the adjective fewer rather than the adjective less.
2. For mass nouns (which cannot be counted) use little, less, or least rather than few, fewer, or fewest to count down.
Incorrect: There's fewer water in this bucket than I expected.
Correct: There's less water in this bucket than I expected.
Because water is a mass noun that cannot be counted, use the adjective less rather than the adjective fewer.
3. For nouns that can be counted, use the adjective many, not much.
Incorrect: Foi gras has much calories.
Correct: Foi gras has many calories.
Because calories can be counted, use the adjective many rather than the adjective much.
No Double Negatives
A double negative is a statement that contains two negative describing words. For instance:
Double negative: The shopper did not have no money left over after the binge.
Correct: The shopper did not have any money left over after the binge.
The shopper had no money left over after the binge.
To avoid this grammatical faux pas, use only one negative word to express a negative idea. Here are the most frequently used negative words:
Double negatives are sneaky little critters. They are especially likely to cause problems with contractions. When the word not is used in a contraction—such as isn't, doesn't, wouldn't, couldn't, don't—the negative tends to slip by. As a result, writers and speakers may add another negative.
Double negative: He didn't say nothing.
Correct: He didn't say anything.
He said nothing.
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Phrasal Verbs and other multi-word verbs
Phrasal verbs are part of a large group of verbs called "multi-word verbs". Phrasal verbs and other multi-word verbs are an important part of the English language. Multi-word verbs, including phrasal verbs, are very common, especially in spoken English. A multi-word verb is a verb like "pick up", "turn on" or "get on with". For convenience, many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. These verbs consist of a basic verb + another word or words. The other word(s) can be prepositions and/or adverbs. The two or three words that make up multi-word verbs form a short "phrase"—which is why these verbs are often all called "phrasal verbs".
The important thing to remember is that a multi-word verb is still a verb. "Get" is a verb. "Get up", is also a verb, a different verb. "Get" and "get up" are two different verbs. They do not have the same meaning. So you should treat each multi-word verb as a separate verb, and learn it like any other verb. Look at these examples. You can see that there are three types of multi-word verb:
1. single-word verb:
look______ direct your eyes in a certain direction
"You must look before you leap"
2. multi-word verbs:
look after ____________ take care of
"Who is looking after the baby? "
look up ___________ search for and find information in a reference book
"You can look up my number in the telephone directory. "
look forward _________ to anticipate with pleasure
"I look forward to meeting you. "
Phrasal verbs are a group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. On these pages we make a distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs. On this page we look at phrasal verbs proper.
Phrasal verbs are made of:
Here are some examples of phrasal verbs:
phrasal verbs ______ meaning _______ examples _______direct object
intransitive phrasal verbs:
get up _____________ rise from bed _______ I don't like to get up.
break down _______ cease to function ____ He was late because his car broke down.
transitive phrasal verbs :
put off _________ postpone _________ We will have to put off ______ the meeting
turn down ________ refuse ________ They turned down my offer.
Separable Phrasal Verbs
When phrasal verbs are transitive (that is, they have a direct object), we can usually separate the two parts. For example, "turn down" is a separable phrasal verb. We can say: "turn down my offer" or "turn my offer down". Look at this table:
transitive phrasal verbs are
They turned down my offer.
They turned my offer down.
However, if the direct object is a pronoun, we have no choice. We must separate the phrasal verb and insert the pronoun between the two parts. Look at this example with the separable phrasal verb "switch on":
direct object pronouns must go between the two parts of transitive phrasal verbs
John switched on the radio
John switched the radio on.
John switched it on.
It would be wrong to say :
John switched on it.
Prepositional verbs are a group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. On these pages we make a distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs. On this page we look at prepositional verbs.
Prepositional verbs are made of:
prepositional verbs _____ meaning ___________ examples
believe in ________ have faith in ________ the existence of I believe in God.
look after ________ take care of _________ He is looking after the dog.
talk about _________ discuss _____________ Did you talk about me?
wait for ____________ await ______________ John is waiting for Mary.
Prepositional verbs cannot be separated. That means that we cannot put the direct object between the two parts. For example, we must say "look after the baby". We cannot say "look the baby after":
prepositional verbs are inseparable:
Incorrect: Who is looking the baby after?
Correct:Who is looking after the baby?
Phrasal-prepositional verbs are a small group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. On these pages we make a distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs. On this page we look at phrasal-prepositional verbs.
Phrasal-prepositional verbs are made of:
phrasal-prepositional verbs ______ meaning ___________ examples
get on with __________ have a friendly relationship with _________He doesn't get on with his wife.
put up with ___________ tolerate ____________ I won't put up with your attitude.
look forward ________ to anticipate with pleasure _______ I look forward to seeing you.
run out of ________ use up, exhaust ____________ We have run out of eggs.
Because phrasal-prepositional verbs end with a preposition, there is always a direct object. And, like prepositional verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs cannot be separated. Look at these examples:
phrasal-prepositional verbs are inseparable
We ran out of fuel.
We ran out of it.
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Active Voice, Passive Voice
There are two special forms for verbs called voice:
The active voice is the "normal" voice. This is the voice that we use most of the time. You are probably already familiar with the active voice. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:
The passive voice is less usual. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:
The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb:
Active : Everybody drinks water.
Passive : Water is drunk by everybody.
The passive voice is less usual than the active voice. The active voice is the "normal" voice. But sometimes we need the passive voice. In this lesson we look at how to construct the passive voice, when to use it and how to conjugate it.
Construction of the Passive Voice
The main verb is always in its past participle form.
Look at these examples:
subject _________ auxiliary verb (to be) ___________ main verb (past participle)
Water ______________ is _________________ drunk by everyone.
100 people __________ are _______________ employed by this company.
I ___________________ am ________________ paid in euro.
We _______________ are not _________________ paid in dollars.
Are they ____________________________________ paid in yen?
Use of the Passive Voice
We use the passive when:
give importance to active object (President Kennedy) : President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.
active subject unknown : My wallet has been stolen.
Note that we always use by to introduce the passive object (Fish are eaten by cats).
Look at this sentence:
He was killed with a gun.
Normally we use by to introduce the passive object. But the gun is not the active subject. The gun did not kill him. He was killed by somebody with a gun. In the active voice, it would be: Somebody killed him with a gun. The gun is the instrument. Somebody is the "agent" or "doer".
Conjugation for the Passive Voice
We can form the passive in any tense. In fact, conjugation of verbs in the passive tense is rather easy, as the main verb is always in past participle form and the auxiliary verb is always be. To form the required tense, we conjugate the auxiliary verb. So, for example:
Here are some examples with most of the possible tenses:
infinitive ______________________ to be washed
present : ____________________________ It is washed.
past : _______________________________ It was washed.
future : ______________________________ It will be washed.
conditional : __________________________ It would be washed.
present : _____________________________ It is being washed.
past : _________________________________ It was being washed.
future :________________________________ It will be being washed.
conditional : ____________________________ It would be being washed.
present : _________________________________ It has been washed.
past : ___________________________________ It had been washed.
future : __________________________________ It will have been washed.
conditional : _____________________________ It would have been washed.
present : ______________________________ It has been being washed.
past : _________________________________ It had been being washed.
future : _______________________________ It will have been being washed.
conditional : ___________________________ It would have been being washed.
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Last edited by Sureshlasi; Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at 06:42 PM.
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