Lessons

The subjunctive mood in English

January 30, 2014

The subjunctive mood is not very common in English. It was, but now it has lost most of its importance. However, it is still used in the following cases. a) When the dependent clause expresses a wish. I wish I were prettier. I wish she were here. b) In if-clauses that express an unreal or […]

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Yes / No questions

January 25, 2014

Yes / No questions are those questions that expect ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as answer. These questions do not take the question words when, what, where etc. Yes / No questions are used to check information or ask for confirmation. ‘Are you coming with us?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Has he returned the car?’ ‘No, he hasn’t.’ ‘Do you […]

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Direct and indirect objects

January 22, 2014

The direct object is the receiver of the action mentioned in the sentence. John hit the ball. (Direct object: the ball) Be careful to distinguish between a direct object and an object complement. They named the boy Christopher. In this sentence ‘boy’ is the direct object and ‘Christopher’ is the object complement. The object complement […]

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To, in order to, so as to

January 21, 2014

Compare the two sentences given below. I went to his office to meet him. I went to his office in order to meet him. Although the second sentence is technically correct, it sounds too formal and is usually avoided. Both to + infinitive and in order to + infinitive express the same meaning when expressing […]

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Determiners, articles and possessives

January 16, 2014

You will definitely have noticed those little words that precede and modify nouns. They are of three types: determiners, articles and quantifiers. Articles will tell the reader whether we are referring to a general or specific thing. A teacher needs patience. (General) I would like to talk to the head teacher. (Specific) Quantifiers tell us […]

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Faulty parallelism

January 14, 2014

Correlative conjunctions should be followed by grammatical structures of the same kind. Correlative conjunctions have two parts. Examples are: both…and…, not…but…, not only…but also…, either…or, neither…nor… etc. Incorrect:  It was both a long journey and tedious. Correct: The journey was both long and tedious. Incorrect: Either you must confess your involvement or prove your innocence. […]

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How to write complex sentences

January 12, 2014

A complex sentence consists of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses joined together with the help of subordinating conjunction(s). Two clauses connected by relative pronouns or relative adverbs are also examples of complex sentences. Writing a complex sentence is easy if you have a basic understanding of conjunctions and relative pronouns. Study […]

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Kinds of determiners

January 8, 2014

There are different kinds of determiners. Articles – a, an, the Possessive pronouns – his, yours, theirs, ours, whose etc. Numbers – one, two, three etc. Indefinite pronouns – few, more, each, every, either, all, both, some, any etc. Demonstrative pronouns – this, that, these, those, such Some Notes on Quantifiers Just like articles, quantifiers […]

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Using semicolon with transitional adverbs

January 3, 2014

A transitional adverb (e.g. however, therefore, consequently, nevertheless) usually starts a new sentence. However, sometimes writers separate the two clauses with a semicolon to enable a smoother transition. He had lost his appetite and was steadily losing weight. Therefore, he decided to consult a doctor. Here the sentence beginning with the transitional adverb is separated […]

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Inversion in conditional clauses

December 31, 2013

Had it not rained Contracted negative forms are not possible when we use an inverted word order to talk about an unreal or impossible situation in the past. Had she not helped me I would have been in bad trouble. (NOT Hadn’t she helped me I would have been in bad trouble.) This is actually […]

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