Verbs and their properties

December 24, 2010

Verbs are words like see, work, drink, sleep, wait, shoot and take off. Verbs are distinguished from other parts of speech by a number of properties. A verb can be marked for tense: I work (Present tense)/ I worked. (Past tense) She write. / She wrote. A verb can usually be preceded by an auxiliary […]

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Auxiliary verbs and their equivalents

December 18, 2010

Be able to instead of can Be able to often has the same meaning as can. He can walk on his hands. OR He is able to walk on his hands. I am unable to understand his motive. OR I can’t understand his motive. They were able to catch the thief. OR They could catch […]

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Uses of need

December 17, 2010

Need is used both as an auxiliary verb and as an ordinary verb. As an ordinary verb, need is used in the sense of require. I need help. We need more people to finish the work. I need some more time to decide the question. The auxiliary need is commonly used with not. It is […]

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Uses of Must and Ought (to)

December 15, 2010

Must remains unchanged whatever be the tense or the number and person of the subject. It can refer to the present or future. It can point to the past only when it is used with the present perfect tense of the principal verb. Compare: He must go home. (Future / present) He must have gone […]

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Uses of May and Might

December 14, 2010

Permission May is used to express permission. May not is used to deny permission. May I come in, sir? Yes, you may. May I go home now? No, you may not. Notes Now-a-days to deny permission we often use cannot instead of may not. This usage is probably encouraged by the fact that the contraction […]

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Uses of Can and Could

December 13, 2010

Ability Can expresses ability. Cannot (can’t) shows inability. She can speak ten languages. I can’t cook. Can you speak Spanish? Sometimes can is used in the sense of may to give permission. You can go. OR You may go. You can take one of these shirts. OR You may take one of these shirts. Now-a-days […]

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Uses of Would

December 11, 2010

Indirect speech Would is the past tense of will in indirect speech. Direct speech: John said, ‘I will wait until you return.’ Indirect speech: John said that he would wait until I return. Direct speech: The boy said, ‘I will not eat this cake.’ Indirect speech: The boy said that he would not eat that […]

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Uses of Should

December 10, 2010

Indirect speech Should is the past tense of shall in indirect speech. The officer said, ‘The scoundrel shall be given a good beating.’ The officer said that the scoundrel should be given a good beating. Duty and obligation Should can be used with pronouns of all the three persons to talk about duty and obligation. […]

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Uses of shall and will

December 9, 2010

With first person pronouns With first person pronouns shall simply expresses the strong possibility or near certainty of an action or event which is to take place in the future. We shall leave for Mumbai tomorrow. I shall invite them to dinner. With second and third person pronouns When used with second and third person […]

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What are copular verbs?

November 15, 2010

A copular verb is a special kind of verb used to join an adjective or noun complement to a subject.  Common examples are: be (is, am, are, was, were), appear, seem, look, sound, smell, taste, feel, become and get. A copular verb expresses either that the subject and its complement denote the same thing or […]

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