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Showing posts with label VOCABULARY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VOCABULARY. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

BASIC STRUCTURES 2: PARTS OF SPEECH

In English, like in Spanish, a word is a single unit that has full meaning and can stand alone or be part of a larger structure (spoken or written). 

Words can be classified according to their meaning and function and divided into different categories or parts of speech. Some books list up to 8 or 9 parts of speech depending on whether they take determiners as adjectives or as a separate category. Others divide verbs into lexical verbs and auxiliary verbs. In my posts, I’ll be taking determiners as adjectives and treating verbs as a single part of speech, so the 8 major parts of speech in English grammar are noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, conjunction, preposition, and interjection.

NOUN: A noun names a person, thing or quality: E.g. boy, John, brick, beauty, decision, etc.

It can be further classified as common (book, chair) or proper (Italy, Mary), abstract (intuition, love) or concrete (house, table), countable (cup, car) or uncountable (mass: advice, work), collective (group: staff, team), compound (father-in-law, coursebook), etc. Moreover, countable nouns can have regular (adding -s/-es) or irregular plural forms.

PRONOUN: A pronoun replaces a noun (to avoid repeating the noun): E.g. he, him, me, it, they, them, you, anyone, who, whom, etc. As a pronoun replaces a noun, which is called the antecedent, proper pronoun usage requires that this antecedent should be clear and agree in person and number with the pronoun if applicable.

Pronouns can also be classified as personal (he, she, them), relative (who, whom), demonstrative (this, those), interrogative (who, which), indefinite (none, some), reflexive (myself, yourselves), etc.

ADJECTIVE: An adjective modifies = describes a noun (or a word working as a noun, such as a pronoun or a gerund). It can either stand in front of a noun (attributive position) or refer back to it (postpositive or predicative position): E.g. a black cat, your story, the quick brown fox, the students present; Tom is clever.

Adjectives can be further classified as descriptive (large, interesting), possessive (my, our), demonstrative (that, these), quantitative (one, many), interrogative (which, whose, what), articles (a, the), distributive (every, either), etc. They can also be divided into gradable and non-gradable or extreme.

ADVERB: An adverb usually modifies = describes a verb, telling how, where, when or why an action is done: E.g. Tom speaks Spanish fluently. I truly believe he can win. I usually go to the beach in the summer.

However, an adverb
 can also describe an adjective (I’m truly sorry) or another adverb (You speak Spanish very well.)

VERB: A verb expresses an action or state of being: E.g. run, be, become, go, have, etc.

Verbs can be classified according to different criteria and deserve a post of their own (or several) to explain and discuss the different classes. Broadly speaking, a verb can be classified as transitive, intransitive or ergative (labile); dynamic (action) or stative; main (including linking verbs), auxiliary or modal; finite (conjugated) or non-finite (verboid or verbal).

In this post, I’m going to include only finite and non-finite verbs because I think this classification is the most relevant regarding parts of speech:

The FINITE or CONJUGATED VERB works as a verb in a clause, and it has voice (active / passive) + aspect (continuous / perfect) + tense, which shows the time (present / past / future), continuance or completion of the action: E.g. When I arrived (active voice/past simple) at the party, John had left (active voice / past perfect simple.)

A NON-FINITE VERB (verboid or verbal) also expresses an action; however, although it can have voice (active / passive) + aspect (perfect / continuous), it never has tense, i.e. it is not conjugated, and therefore, it never works as a verb in a clause (it will always work as a noun, an adjective or an adverb). Non-finite verbs are:
  • The to-infinitive: to break, to be broken, to have been writing, etc.
  • The infinitive without to, bare infinitive or base form: be, be broken, etc.
  • The gerund: studying, having studied, writing, etc.
  • The present participle: studying, having studied, writing, etc.
  • The past participle: written, studied, broken, etc.
Notice that there is no difference in form between a gerund and a present participle (they both are '-ing' forms); however, they are different in terms of function: the gerund always works as a noun in a phrase/clause, while the present participle is always an adjective or an adverb, or is used in continuous /progressive forms: to be writing

CONJUNCTION: A conjunction (linking word, connector, connecting word, etc.) connects words, phrases or clauses. There are two types of conjunctions:

COORDINATING CONJUNCTION: The action of joining similar structures is called coordination, so a coordinating conjunction joins similar structures, i.e. structures that are at the same level (clause with clause; noun phrase with noun phrase; adjectival phrase with adjectival phrase, etc.): E.g. fish and chips, poor but honest, for better or worse.

There are 7 coordinating conjunctions: For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so; a mnemonic for these conjunctions is FANBOYS.

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION: A subordinating conjunction introduces a subordinate clause, i.e. links the subordinate clause to the main clause: E.g. Tom played well although he was injuredI went to bed because I was tiredIf I were you, I’d apply for that job.

PREPOSITION: A preposition introduces a phrase and is followed by a noun or a word working as a noun (such as a pronoun or a gerund), which is the object of the preposition; it also expresses a relation to another word or element in the clause: E.g. the pencil on the table, travelling by air, between you and me.

INTERJECTION: An interjection is a short exclamation or remark, especially as an interruption or as part of speech: E.g. Oh! Ouch! Wow! Aha!

💡Notice that some words may belong in more than one word class or part of speech: increase is both a noun and a verb, yet is an adverb and a conjunction, over is a preposition and an adverb, etc.

👉The contents of these posts comply with formal grammar rules. Take into account that, in a language that is constantly changing, there is always some conflict between current usage and established practice. Similarly, there are differences between what is permissible in popular speech and what is expected in formal writing. I’ll be describing structures and full forms as they are used in standard written English.

📌ONLINE EXERCISES:
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💡More on sentence structure:

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

RECOMMENDED: Skills 360 – Business English Pod (More than business English)

🔺IMPORTANT: This is NOT an advert! This is just my honest (and free) opinion. 

I've already recommended other interesting websites, tools and videos, and I'll keep on doing so in the future as long as I come across things worth recommending. 😊

Why do I recommend this website? Simply because find it useful. Business Skills 360 podcast lessons provide essential tips and language for communicating in English, along with free transcripts, vocabulary quizzes and PDF downloads. (Lessons are listed on the website by the date published, with the more recent lessons at the top.)


💡Below is a brief podcast lesson overview:

PODCAST: Skills 360 – Levels of Formality in English (Part 1) There are different things you can do:

🎧You can click on the link above and just listen to the podcast:








💡Or you can use the free resources below:
👓🎧Click on "Lesson Module" and listen to the podcast while reading the transcript:


















📝Click on "Quiz and Vocab" for online exercises and a full glossary:


















Or download the audio file or the pdf file, which includes discussion questions, a useful vocabulary list, the full transcript and an exercise + answer key)

💡Here are just a few podcast lessons:

Monday, April 22, 2019

RECOMMENDED Website + Blog: THE EMOTIONS LAB

🔺IMPORTANT: This is NOT an advert! This is just my honest (and free) opinion.

I've already recommended other interesting websites, tools and videos, and I'll keep on doing so in the future as long as I come across things worth recommending. 😊

Why do I recommend this website? Simply because I think it is interesting, useful and fun, and it contributes to our understanding of our own feelings and those of people around us.

💡Below is a brief website overview







The Emotions Lab uses the study of the past to help us understand our feelings in the present. 

It was launched in March 2019 and was created by Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London. You can visit our Centre’s website to find out more about who we are, and also check out our podcasts, follow us on Twitter, and read our blog, which has been publishing posts on all things emotional since 2011.”














You can get started by choosing an emotion to learn more about, or by listening to one of the ‘Emotional Shorts’ podcasts. You can also listen to AUDIO and watch VIDEOS.









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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

USAGE: "Compare With" Or "Compare To"? (From Oxford Lexico Usage)

In general terms, either preposition is correct, but the choice depends partly on meaning and partly on grammar. 

In addition, American English generally prefers to when there is a choice, whereas in British English the two different constructions are more evenly spread.

💡Let’s look first at the meaning of each phrase. To compare can be defined broadly as "to estimate the similarity or difference between things." For example:
  • Individual schools compared their facilities with those of others in the area.
  • It is difficult to compare our results to studies conducted in the United States.
In this meaning, either preposition can be used.

💡However, when compare is used to say that one thing resembles another, or to make an analogy between two different things, to is obligatory:
  • Her novel was compared to the work of Daniel Defoe.
  • He compared children to young trees, both still growing and able to be shaped.
A Shakespearean example ⇒ One of the most famous lines in English poetry, from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, uses compare to in this way:
  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Shakespeare is likening the addressee to a summer’s day, even though in the end he shows his beloved to be lovelier than such a day.

💡Intransitive uses

British English prefers with when compare is used intransitively, because similarities are being evaluated:
  • His achievements do not compare with those of A. J. Ayer.
  • No other English painter can compare with Sutherland in the subtlety of his vision.
In American English, however, compare to is possible and slightly more frequent:
  • None of those birds compare to L.A. pigeons.
  • No, today’s calamities don't compare to the Great Depression or even to the agricultural troubles of the 1980s.
💡Compared to...

When the past participle compared introduces a phrase, the preposition is either to or with, although here usage is moving in favour of to:
  • This was a modest sum compared to what other people spent.
  • Compared to physics and astronomy, cosmology is a young science.
  • However, compared with the USA and Japan, Europe contains a group of separate nation states.
💡Comparable, comparison

Comparable is used with to or with in line with the previous discussion, with a marked preference in current usage for to:
  • We find ourselves in a situation comparable to mediaeval times.
  • Social mobility is, in fact, comparable with most countries in Europe.
Comparison as the noun equivalent of compare can be followed by either with or to:
  • Poussin’s approach bears closest comparison to Michelangelo’s.
  • Prices for real estate in Tbilisi cannot stand comparison with Western capitals or indeed Moscow.
The phrase in comparison to is more often used than in comparison with, but by comparison with is more frequent than by comparison to:
  • The film is utterly benign in comparison to some of the more violent movies of today.
  • The standard is pitiable in comparison with other countries.
  • By comparison with North Sea oil production, it is a drop in the ocean.
Essentially, both with and to are correct prepositions to use after compare, comparable, or comparison, although it may be worth checking the regional and grammatical context of the sentence when making your choice.


💡GO TO OXFORD LEXICO and See more from Usage

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Friday, March 01, 2019

USAGE: "Enquire" Or "Inquire"? (From Oxford Lexico Usage)


The traditional distinction between the verbs enquire and inquire is that enquire is to be used for general senses of ‘ask’, while inquire is reserved for uses meaning ‘make a formal investigation’.

In practice, however, enquire, and the associated noun enquiry, are more common in British English while inquire (and the noun inquiry) are more common in American English, but otherwise there is little discernible distinction in the way the words are used.

Some style guides require that only inquire or only enquire be used.
  • Could I enquire about your mother's health?
  • She inquired about the library's rare books collection.
  • Every enquiry is very welcome.
  • Adam helped the police with their inquiries.
'Enquire' or 'inquire'? (1:45 minutes)
Both words derive from the Old French enquerre, from a variant of the Latin inquirere, based on quaerere 'seek'. The same root word can be seen in various modern English words, including acquire, require, conquer, quest, request, inquest, and question.
👉GO TO OXFORD: "Enquire" Or "Inquire"?
💡GO TO OXFORD LEXICO and See more from Usage

enquire or inquire (2:00 minutes)

Friday, February 15, 2019

How well do you know your phobias? (From Oxford Dictionaries Blog)

Spiders. Heights. The dark. Small, enclosed spaces. When we think of phobias, our minds usually jump to the commons ones – including the aforementioned claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) and arachnophobia (fear of spiders). However, there’s a curious group of much rarer phobias out there as well. For example, how about iconophobia (fear of religious works of art)? Or apeirophobia (fear of infinity)?
From Oxford Dictionaries Blog

Etymologically, the names of these phobias are usually formed through two combining forms. The combining form -phobia comes (via Latin) from the Greek word 'phobos', meaning fear or dread. The combining forms that make up the first elements (claustro- or arachno-) come from Greek, Latin, or English origin. Some modern formations retain the elements separately, such as school phobia, and might be considered compound words.

Can you match the less common phobias in the quiz with their corresponding subjects? Take this 10-question quiz and find out!

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👉More QUIZZES:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

WEEKLY PICKS - 27

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills and have fun ENJOY!

📜READING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC TRAVEL: How France created the metric system, by Madhvi Ramani. It is one of the most important developments in human history, affecting everything from engineering to international trade to political systems. (Continue reading)

From BBC CAPITAL: Can you make money selling your data? By Sam Harrison. Tech giants make billions from our data, but what if there was a way to claw some of that control back – and make some money in the process? (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Why is yawning contagious? - Claudia Aguirre (4:28 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Body Language in an Interview - 3 Tips (9:05 minutes)
The Silk Road and Ancient Trade: Crash Course World History #9 (10:30 minutes)
💬 VOCABULARY PICKS:
Learners' Questions: Assure, ensure, insure (3:22 minutes)
💡 GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
Learners' Questions: 'When', 'if' and 'in case' (3:06 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

WEEKLY PICKS - 26

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills and have fun ENJOY!

📜 READING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC TRAVEL: Italy’s ‘practically perfect’ food, by Amanda Ruggeri.
Pound for pound, Parmigiano-Reggiano can compete with almost any food for calcium, amino acids, protein and vitamin A – and is prescribed by doctors to cure ailments. It’s also a dairy product… that can be eaten by the lactose-intolerant. (Continue reading)

From BBC CAPITAL: The cost of free public transport, by Marc Auxenfants. 
From March next year, commuters in Luxembourg will not be charged for trips on its trains, trams and buses. What’s the cost of such a move? (Continue reading)

BBC Reel: The amazing houses that build themselves At the touch of a button, these incredible homes of the future can self-deploy and build themselves in less than 10 minutes. (Go to videos + full article)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
What Is the Sunday Evening Feeling? (4:58 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
How parasites change their host's behavior - Jaap de Roode (5:13 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
Inside The Lives Of North Korean School Children (12:31 minutes)
💬 VOCABULARY PICKS:
Learners' Questions: Assure, ensure, insure (3:22 minutes)
💡 GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
Intermediate English grammar - Verb patterns, (verb + ing, verb + to) gerunds and infinitives (8:56 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

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