Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Main verbs

Main verbs include:

      believe               read 

      break                  see   

      destroy                run 

      eat                      sleep

      go                       teach

      love                     walk

      meet                   work

We distinguish them here from the auxiliary verbs such as
can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would. Main verbs can occur as the only verb in a sentence:
       Caroline eats pizza.

In contrast, an auxiliary verb such as will cannot occur alone:

     *Caroline will pizza.

Instead, an auxiliary verb always occurs with a main verb:

      Caroline will eat pizza.

  The five verb forms

Verbs have five forms:

       1 the base form Amy decided to walk to school.

       2 the -s form Amy walks to school.

       3 the past form Amy walked to school.

       4 the -ed form Amy has walked to school.

       5 the -ing form Amy is walking to school.

The endings -s, -ed, and -ing are called inflections . The inflections
are added to the base form of the verb.
In regular verbs, two of the forms are identical: the past form (walked)
and the -ed form (walked). However, we must distinguish between these two forms because they are not always identical. For example,the irregular verb write has the following five forms:

       1 the base form Amy loves to write poetry.

       2 the -s form Amy writes poetry.

       3 the past form Amy wrote a poem.

       4 the -ed form Amy has written a poem.

       5 the -ing form Amy is writing a poem.

See the Appendix for a list of irregular verbs, together with their five forms.
In the following sections, we look at each of the five verb forms in turn.

    The base form

The base form of a verb is used:

      1 After to:
                       We decided to walk.

                       Amy loves to write poetry.

The combination of to and the base form of a verb is called the

       2 In the present tense, with all subjects except he, she, or it  (the third-person singular pronouns :

                        I walk we walk

                        you walk they walk


he/she/it walks (= the -s form – )

3 In imperative sentences :

                      Walk quickly.

                      Don’t move.

                      Leave your coat here.

4 In the subjunctive 
                       I insist that she resign immediately.

The -s form

The -s form of a verb is produced by adding -s to the base form.     It is used only in the present tense, when the subject of the verb is he, she,or it (the third-person singular pronouns) :

                      She walks to school.

                      Amy writes poetry.

                      I walk to school. (= the base form, )

The past form
The past form of a verb is produced by adding -ed to the base form. It is used for the past tense, with all subjects:

                     I cooked dinner last night.

                     You cooked dinner last night.

                     David cooked dinner last night.

                     We cooked dinner last night.

                    The children cooked dinner last night.

The -ed form

Like the past form , the -ed form of a verb is produced by
adding -ed to the base form. The -ed form is used:

1 After the passive auxiliary be :

                     The play was directed by Trevor Nunn.

                     The Queen was shown to her seat.

                     Our suitcases were stolen from the hotel.

                     Two new scenes were written for the final version.

2 After the perfective auxiliary have :

                     Trevor Nunn has directed many plays.

                     The Mayor has shown the Queen to her seat.

                     Someone had stolen our suitcases.

                     The scriptwriter had written two new scenes.

3 In subordinate clauses :

                      Published in 1998, the book became a best-seller.

The term ‘-ed form’ is a just a cover term. Only regular verbs actually end in -ed in this form (e.g. was destroyed). Irregular verbs display  a very wide variety of endings in the -ed form
 (e.g. begun, written, brought,shown, stolen). 

  The -ing form

The -ing form of a verb is produced by adding -ing to the base form. The-ing form is used:

1 After the progressive auxiliary be :

             She is walking to school.

             Alan was sleeping when I arrived.

2 In subordinate clauses :

           Paul slammed the door, bringing the ceiling down.

 Irregular verbs

Many of the most common verbs in English are irregular. This means that their past form and their -ed form are not produced in the usual way (that is, by adding -ed to the base form).               For instance, the verbs bring, choose and think are irregular:

Base             -s               Past                -ed               -ing        

bring            brings        brought           brought         bringing

choose         chooses      chose              chosen          choosing

think            thinks         thought          thought          thinking

The irregular verbs display a great diversity of spelling in the past formand in the -ed form . However, we can distinguish the
following major groups:

1 The base form ends in d, and the past form and the -ed form end

in t:

Base             -s                Past                -ed                 -ing       

bend             bends          bent               bent             bending   

build            builds          built               built            building  

send             sends          sent                 sent             sending   

spend          spends         spent               spent           spending 

2 The base form has i, the past form has a, and the -ed form has u:

Base            -s                 Past                -ed              -ing          

begin         begins           began             begun         beginning

drink         drinks           drank              drunk         drinking    

sing           sings            sang                sung           singing     

swim swims swam swum swimming

3 The base form has ee or ea, and the past form and the -ed form
have e:

Base         -s                  Past                -ed               -ing          

bleed       bleeds           bled               bled              bleeding   

feed         feeds             fed                 fed                feeding    

keep        keeps             kept               kept              keeping   

leave       leav                left                  left              leaving    

The base form is identical to the past form and the -ed form:

Base          -s                Past                 -ed                 -ing        

cut             cuts            cut                   cut                 cutting    

hit             hits             hit                    hit                  hitting    

put            puts            put                   put                 putting   

quit          quits           quit                  quit                quitting  

5 The past form and the -ed form are identical, and end in ought or

Base         -s               Past                  -ed                   -ing        

bring        brings        brought            brought            bringing 

buy          buys           bought             bought              buying   

catch       catches       caught              caught             catching  

teach       teaches       taught               taught              teaching 

 Regular and irregular variants

   Some irregular verbs have regular variants, which may be used for boththe past form and the -ed form. In the following examples, both theregular dreamed and the irregular dreamt are used as the past form:

Regular: She dreamed she was on a hill overlooking Alexandria.

Irregular: I can’t remember what I dreamt last night.

Similarly, the two variants learnt and learned are used as the -ed form in these examples:

Regular: Saddam Hussein ought to have learned from his

Irregular: Rajiv may have learnt a lesson from this episode.

The following verbs also have regular and irregular variants:

burn        burned / burnt        dive              dived / dove       

knit          knitted / knit           lean              leaned / leant     

leap         leaped / leapt           prove            proved / proven

smell       smelled / smelt         spell             spelled / spelt     

spill         spilled / spilt             spoil             spoiled / spoilt  

In general, American English tends to prefer the regular variants 
 (eg .I dreamed last night rather than I dreamt last night).

 The verb be

The verb be is very irregular, and exhibits a total of eight different forms.These forms are shown here:

Base        Present-tense            Past-tense       -ed              -ing  
form        forms                        forms              form           form  
be             I am                         I was                been           being 

                 you are                    you were      

                 he/she/it is               he/she/it was

                 we are                      we were       

                 you are                     you were     

                 they are                    they were    

Many of these forms are contracted in informal use:

                  I                               ’m = am

                  he/she/it                   ’s = is    

                 you/we/they              ’re = are

Some of the forms also have contracted negative counterparts:

                he/she/it                       isn’t          = is not    

               he/she/it                        wasn’t      = was not 

               you/we/they                  aren’t       = are not  

              you/we/they                   weren’t    = were not

In British English, the form aren’t is used as a contraction of am not in tag questions:

              I am right, aren’t I?

 Multi-word verbs

Multi-word verbs are combinations of a verb and one or more other words.The combinations function like a single verb. We distinguish three types:

1 Phrasal verbs are combinations of a verb and an adverb:

      The music faded away as we left the station.

      The engine cut out just before landing.

      Weigh up all the factors before making a decision.

      Jeremy has been trying out the car in the Alps.

2 Prepositional verbs are combinations of a verb and a preposition: 

       I’ll look into the matter immediately.

      Amy doesn’t approve of smoking.

      The barrister called for a unanimous verdict.

      Paul is looking after his sister.

3 Phrasal-prepositional verbs are combinations of a verb, an

adverb and a preposition:

      I won’t put up with this noise any longer.

      I went along with their ideas for the sake of peace.

      Members of the Huntu tribe shy away from violence.

      Don’t give in to his demands.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


  Nouns  denote both concrete objects and abstract entities:

           Concrete                                              Abstract
             book                                                   anger      
             chair                                                  difficulty  

             dog                                                    eagerness  

             grass                                                   history      

             lake                                                    information

            house                                                   progress    

            tree                                                       terror        

Many nouns can be identified by their characteristic endings:
       -ence        absence, difference, evidence, experience
       -ment       embarrassment, experiment, government, treatment

       -tion         education, information, situation, vegetation

       -ism          defeatism, optimism, populism, symbolism

    Singular and plural nouns

Most nouns have two forms, a singular form and a plural form. Regular nouns form the plural by adding -s to the singular:

             Singular                                     Plural
             boy                                                  boys

             table                                                tables

However, some very frequent nouns have irregular plurals:

             Singular                                    Plural
            man                                              men    

            woman                                        women 

            child                                            children

            foot                                              feet      

            goose                                           geese   

            mouse                                          mice    

            tooth                                            teeth    

            sheep                                           sheep   

The distinction between singular and plural is called number contrast.

  Common and proper nouns

Proper nouns are the names of individual people and places, including geographical features such as roads, rivers, mountains and oceans:

                Patrick                             Hong Kong   

                 Nelson Mandela              Euston Road  

                 China                               Atlantic Ocean

                 Paris                                River Thames  

                 New Delhi                      Mount Everest 

The names of institutions, newspapers, buildings and ships are also proper nouns:

        The Wall Street Journal           London Underground

       The Royal Albert Hall              Titanic                       

       Harvard University                   Mayflower                

       Millennium Dome

Finally, proper nouns include the days of the week, the months of the year and other periods of the calendar:

       Monday                                        Christmas               

       Tuesday                                        Passover                 

       January                                         Ramadan                

       February                                       Thanksgiving         

Proper nouns are written with an initial capital (upper-case) letter. All other nouns are common nouns. Since proper nouns usually refer to unique individuals, places, or events in the calendar, they do not normally have a plural form. However, they may take a plural ending when numberis specifically being referred to:

      There are two Patricks in my class.

   Countable and uncountable nouns

Singular nouns denote just one instance, while plural nouns denote more than one instance:

      Singular                        Plural
      one boy                          two boys, three boys, four boys . . .  

     one day                            two days, three days, four days . . .   

     one computer                  two computers, three computers, four

                                              computers . . .                                    

These nouns are called countable nouns. In contrast, some nouns cannot be counted in this way:

       * one advice, two advices, three advices . . .

       * one furniture, two furnitures, three furnitures . . .

       * one software, two softwares, three softwares . . .

These nouns are called uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns refer to things which are considered as indivisible wholes, and therefore cannot be counted.

Uncountable nouns have two important grammatical features:

1 They have a singular form (advice, furniture, software), but no
    plural form (*advices, *furnitures, *softwares)
2 They do not take a or an before them (*an advice, *a furniture,
   *a software)

Other uncountable nouns include: fun, information, health, honesty, luck,luggage, mud, music, traffic.

    Genitive nouns

Genitive nouns denote possession:
           John’s car = the car belonging to John

           the baby’s toys = the toys belonging to the baby

The genitive (sometimes called genitive case) is formed:

1 By adding ’s (apostrophe s) to a singular noun:

           the baby the baby’s toys

           our son our son’s wife

           the President the President’s office

2 If the noun already has an -s ending because it is plural, we add
the apostrophe alone to form the genitive:

           the Farmers the Farmers’ Union

           two doctors two doctors’ reports

3 With irregular plural nouns , the genitive is formed by
adding apostrophe s, just as in (1) above:

          the children the children’s clothes

          the men the men’s toiletries

         the women the women’s group

         the people the people’s decision

4 Nouns ending in -s, in which the -s does not denote a plural,
generally take an apostrophe alone:

         Prince Charles Prince Charles’ children

         Martin Nichols Martin Nichols’ house

 However, apostrophe s is also sometimes added:

        Prince Charles’s children.

     Dependent and independent genitives

Genitives are either dependent or independent. A dependent genitive is followed by a noun:

            the child’s toys

           a student’s essay

           Caroline’s friend

An independent genitive is not followed by a noun:

          a friend of Caroline’s

          a colleague of Frank’s

          an old army pal of Jim’s

An independent genitive is often used in referring to relationships between people, as in these examples. Notice that this construction has a very specific meaning. The independent genitive a friend of Caroline’s does not mean the same as the dependent genitive Caroline’s friend:

      Independent:    We met a friend of Caroline’s in Spain.

     Dependent:        We met Caroline’s friend in Spain.

The independent genitive means ‘one of Caroline’s friends’, who may or may not be known to the hearer. In contrast, the dependent genitive means ‘one specific friend’, who is assumed to be known to the hearer.

Independent genitives are also used in references to places and businesses:

         She stayed at Rebecca’s = Rebecca’s house

         I ran into Jim in Sainsbury’s = Sainsbury’s supermarket

        I left my wallet in the barber’s = the barber’s shop

      The gender of nouns

The gender of nouns plays an important role in the grammar of somelanguages. In French, for instance, a masculine noun such as ciel (skyrequires the masculine form (le) of the definite article (le ciel = the sky). A feminine noun, such as mer (sea) requires the feminine form (la) of the definite article (la mer = the sea).

In English, however, nouns are not in themselves either masculine or feminine.They do not have grammatical gender, though they may refer to male or female people or animals:

      The waiter was very efficient.    The waitress was very efficient.

      The tiger roars at night.              The tigress roars at night.

These spelling differences (waiter/waitress, tiger/tigress) reflect distinctionsof sex, but they have no grammatical implications. We use the same definite article the whether we are referring to the waiter or the waitress, the tiger or the tigress.

Similarly, the natural distinctions reflected in such pairs as brother/sister, father/mother, and king/queen have no implications for grammar. While they refer to specific sexes, these words are not masculine or feminine in themselves.

However, gender is important in English when we replace a noun with a pronoun
        The waiter was very efficient.        ~He was very efficient.

        The waitress was very efficient.     ~She was very efficient.

Here, the choice of pronoun (he or she) is determined by the sex of the person being referred to. Gender differences are also seen in other pronoun pairs, including his/her and himself/herself.