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Everything posted by SarahRTW

  1. If you want to help improve your writing and grammar, englishgrammar101.com is a good (free) resource. It covers everything from teh basics to more complicated concepts and confusing word pairs. I"m a native speaker and found the comma section quite useful. Another good resource is Grammar Girl offers good articles with useful tips to mastering tricky Grammar topics.
  2. As others have said, the answer is "Does he cause any problems for you?" For causes to be correct, you'd have to use it as a statement "He causes problems for you." or, you could using a rising inflection in your voice to make it a question "He causes problems for you?" (this would indicate some surprise on the part of the person asking the question. "He causes problems for you? Wow! He was great when I worked with him.")
  3. I love this term, it's so comical. The question is:what is it? A Modifier that needs glasses Not quite A modifier are words, or sets of words (a phrase) that provide information about other words or phrases. A Modifier can be an adjective or adverb or a phrase/clause that contains either of these. There are several errors that can be made when using modifiers. A squinting one is when the modifier is ambiguous, and could modify either the word that is before or after it. In a sense, you have to "squint" in order to understand what the phrase means. Sound confusing? It's easier to understand when you see examples: "Cats who get chased by dogs quickly climb up trees" The modifier is 'quickly'....but there are two phrases it could modify: 1. Chased by dogs (The dogs are chasing the cats quickly) 2. climb up trees (The cat climbs up the trees quickly) To correct the phrase, you'll need to re-write it. For example: A cat that is being chased by a dog will quickly climb up a tree A cat will run up a tree when he is quickly chased by a dog. In the first example, we know that the cat is climbing a tree quickly In the second example, we know the dog is quickly chasing the cat. Hope this helps!
  4. I am so used to mistakes on the 'net that I sometimes see the proper word and momentarily think it's incorrect! I'm not a grammar Nazi, but it bothers me when people (Intelligent people who speak English as a first language) can't be bothered to use the proper word. Grammarly, a paid spell and grammar service (much better than the standard Word one) posted a sign that said: "I'd rather cuddle then have sex" and commented "People with good grammar will get it." That was a clever one I can't think of anything that spelling or grammar changed a post meaning that I saw, but absolutely, it can!
  5. There are many confusing word pairs in English that is easy to mix up. Advice vs Advise is one of them: Advice is what you give when you advise someone "I asked my friend for advice. She advised me never to take advice from anyone" "If you ask my advice, I don't advise staying at that hotel." Affect and Effect is one that I sometimes mix up, Affect means to influence or change something "The flu affected my ability to perform at the Olympics" Effect refers to the result of something "The effect of the flu was that I did not win a medal. I find when I am writing I usually know which one to use, but when I try to explain or deliberately chose, that's when I get mixed up. A good resource is EnglishGrammar101. They have free lessons on confusing word pairs and many other aspects of grammar. (I'm not in any way affiliated with them; I just know its a good resource that I've used)
  6. oooh yes If I am not nervous, I am fine. However, if I feel put on the spot or nervous, I freeze. My pronunciation gets worse and more accented and I forget even the simplest words. Mind you, I forget words something when I am nervous and speaking English but its event worse when its a language I am studying.
  7. D is the active sentence. It seems to structurally resemble the others, but it's actually different when you break it down Q: What is an active sentence? A: In an active sentence, the subject is doing (ie: is ACTIVE) the action. The subject, therefore, is front and center in the sentence: "I eat cookies as a snack. Yum!" "The dog chased the cat across the park." Q: So, what is a passive sentence A: In passive sentences, the action is happening to someone; the focus is not who did the action, but to whom the action is happening. The same sentences as passive ones: "The cookies are eaten by me as a snack. Yum!" The cookies are the focus. The are experiencing the action of being eaten. "The cat was chased across the park by the dog" The cat is the victim of the dogs pursuit. It gives the impression that the cat just allowed himself to be chased. You'll most often find passive sentences in the past tense, but don't be tricked into assuming that past tense = passive. That is not always the case. Passive is more wordy and more difficult to understand (because of the extra wordage). Overall, active is the preferred format; however, at times you'll want to use passive. For example the subject may not be where you want to focus attention. On the receiver of the action, rather than the do-er: "The masked bandit robbed the bank" vs "The banked was robbed by the masked bandit" "Cheryl wrote the report" vs "The report was written by Cheryl" So all this helps us understand the sentences you gave as an example: a) I was denied admission into the school. = passive...the school is the subject and they did the action of denying you. Meanies I was wheeled into the operating theater. The nurses, doctors or someone else did the action of the sentence: wheeling you into the operating theater. Therefore the action is happening to you. = passive. c) I was informed of the dangers involved. Someone else did the action of informing you about the risks. You just received the information. Thus, this is again passive. d) I was tired by the end of the day. This is the tricky one. The use of past tense gives the impression of passive voice, but you are doing the action of being tired. The day is not tiring you, nor is it tired because of you. Therefore, this is the active sentence. Two more examples: "SarahRTW wrote this very long post" "This very long post was written by SarahRTW" Hope this helps!
  8. I agree its not a good idea to "rely" on spellcheckers but there are some good ones that are helpful if used correctly, as part of a larger editing strategy. I used Ginger but didn't find it that useful. It only made one suggestion and that one didn't often make sense in the context. I currently use Grammarly and like it quite a bit. Yes a monthly subscription is required, but the cost isn't too much and (in my opinion) worth it. After the deadline is an app you can ad to browsers to check text boxers (such as this one)and is useful for that. overall, use them as part of your editing and proofing strategy not as the enitre process.
  9. For me it never felt like a decision. I love learning about cultures and I Love studying languages and how they work. Therefore language learning was always something that interested me. The decision was "what language to learn"....Spanish came to mind as a practical language, and when I was selected to study for 4 months in Spain, I had the perfect reason. I'm also interested in German and (just to be random) Swahili.
  10. 1inamillion Great summary of the way to use a semicolon. You rally nailed it in a way that's clear to understand for non-English speakers (and English speakers who didn't understand how to use it). Good job.
  11. I agree with the others. That was quite interesting; more so than I expected. There were real words mixed in with the fake-but-real-sounding English. The main difference is when you don't understand a language, you don't hear the pauses between words. That's why they always sound like they speak so fast. In this "fakelish" because it's familiar-sounding, we can differentiate between words. It also reminded me of when I was in Spain for 4 months. After a while, I kept swearing I was catching words in English indistinct but actual words. They sounded like this fake English. Really, there was no English...just Spanish It was an interesting auditory hallucination
  12. I agree that some of the words that are approved as 'real' or 'official' seem spurious but that is the great thing about English and any other living or flexible language. Words are constantly added as they become popularly used and known. It has always been this way and likely always will. At the time, we say "what kind of word is that?"...but in 10 years, no-one will question them. Think of how our language would be different if it didn't add new words at all..
  13. This is an important part of language that is easy to get mixed up, even for native speakers. For some things identifying the subject is easy other times, not so much. Best to examine af ew example to understand: The girl runs home from school. Subject: The Girl This is a simple subject, a girl. Singular. Therefore the verb is conjugated accordingly "runs" not "run To write "The girl run home from school" would be an example of incorrect subject-agreement. My hair is very long and thick This is a trickier one Subject: Hair. Just one strand? Obviously not. Hair is a collective noun; it refers to all the hairs on your head. Collective nouns are singular because its one noun to cover the collective group. The teams decide to go get ice cream Subject "The teams" Team is also a collective noun, and refers to all the players, from the captain to the rookie. In this case, there is more than one team...so the subject is plural. The verb must then be conjugated as "decide" rather than "decides" The two boys take the short-cut to the park Subject: The two boys This is a simple one again, there are two boys. This is not a collective, so the subject is plural. I hope this helps!
  14. I agree with all the "great topic comments. I read fiction and non-fiction. I love both. I found I enjoy reading books about theories and new science (explained at a non-scientist level), such as written by Malcom Gladwell. I also enjoy reading books about travel and history, and even had a blog about these a few years ago. Really, I'm a 'learnaholic' and 'bookaholic' so put learning and reading together and how can I lose?
  15. the rule of thumb... Women won't like this one: It was legal for a man to beat his wife with any object as long as it was no thicker than his thumb. Bakers Dozen (13 items, not 12) Bakers and other trades people were being inspected by government agents to ensure they weren't ripping off customers. To make sure their count and weight wasn't off, resulting in heavy fines, they would add an extra item to the order. So customers would get 13 items for the price of 12. This was, I think during the renaissance and later period. It's not an idiom, but the children's song "ring around the Rosy" comes from the plague Ring around the Rosie = the white ring that surrounded the red swelling ("rosie") Pocket full of posies = lots of corpses, so you'd carry posies (a small floral bouquet) to hold up to your nose to block the stench Achoo achoo = sick, have the plague we all fall down = you are dead from plague (Some people say "ashes ashes" instead of achoo...this might refer to burning the corpses, which I'm not sure they did, or "ashes to ashes, dust to dust") Sources: Rule of Thumb and Ring around the Rose I learned in University. Bakers dozen I don't know where I picked up. I must have read it somewhere.
  16. In linguistics there are two 'camps'\ of grammar. The first is prescriptive. These are the 'grammar police" who say X is right or Y is wrong. IT's very hard and fast and inflexible "never use a preposition to end a sentence with" for example in English, this camp originated in the past when a writer decided the lower class and upper class were talking too much alike So he wrote a book of "how to speak properly' to instruct the upper class how to use English properly and therefore distinguish themselves from the rabble. Interestingly, much of this came from Latin grammar; a language far removed from English and whose rules don't always make sense for English Conversely, descriptive grammar simply encodes and describes the rules that are used (or not) by a language. It doesn't say what is right or wrong. This camp would recognize, unlike prescriptive grammarians, that its OK to use slang when talking to friends; just avoid said terms when making a formal presentation. I tend to be descriptive; though professionally I need to be prescriptive. Where are you? Do you thin that some things are right and others wrong, period? Or do you make allowance according to situation? (I have references for this post. I can look them up if anyone wants)
  17. Nice summary A semi-colon can add to your writing if it is used properly A semi-colon is to connect two connected ideas. Otherwise, use a period GOOD: I know I shouldn't misuse semicolons;punctuation abuse is wrong. BAD: I don't like grammar police; Look a squirrel. GOOD: I hope it doesn't rain;that would ruin my parade BAD: I'm going to the parade;I have school tomorrow.
  18. A combination of both is ideal. I lived for 4 months as a student in Murcia, Spain. This part of Spain isn't touristy, so English is uncommon. I was immersed and had to speak Spanish all time. I was also taking lessons as part of my studies, which helped my speaking and comprehension. It was the perfect combination. I was able to practice what I learned in class. Immersion without any knowledge will just be overwhelming; classes without any real-life practice will be lost. By putting the two together you get a balance that works perfectly
  19. There are a lot of great portmanteau words. The ones Lewis Carroll invented are the best, but some new ones also have a quirkiness about them: chillax = chill and relax (adolescences use it mostly : "Chilax, dude!" Fantabulous = fantastic and fabulous (also a more 'youthful' word) "It was FANTABULOUS winning gold at the Olympics" frabjous= fabulous and jubilant (one of the L.C. originals) "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Advertorial = advertisement and editorial (an ad that's made to resemble an editorial) Galumphing = galloping + Thumping (another LC original) "He went gallumphing back"
  20. Learning a language, especially a complicated one like English or French, is definitely frustrating. I find the most frustrating period is when I know enough to understand what is being said, but not enough to properly respond. I feel so inadequate but also encouraged that I do understand what's being said.
  21. Overall, proper grammar is definitely very important to me. For one thing, I am studying in a field where it is critical to use language properly. Second, it just makes you sound more intelligent if you speak/write correctly. However, if someone is learning a language, there is much more latitude for error. Learners are allowed to make errors; it's part of learning. I think learners should do their best to speak properly, or they could get into the habit of improper grammar and syntax...but it is more important to practice the new language. Ebonics (the black dialect in the USA) doesn't count as bad grammar in my books, either. It's a recognized language or dialect, with its own syntax and rules. So, overall . Yes - very important...but situation can affect the degree to which it is critical.
  22. This is an interesting discussion. I've seen the ads and checked-out the website for the Pinsleur method; I even almost bought it a few times. However, something always made me feel skeptical. I am listening to the YouTube video as I type this (Thanks for posting it) and I can find many claims or statements with which I disagree. It seems more interested on showing the deficiencies of other systems than showing how theirs is better. Language training has changed a lot over the years, I studied it as part of my ESL teacher course. This sounds like an old method. One that is no longer considered ideal. SO, thanks everyone for your input. If the program works for you, great. But I don't think it's for me.
  23. Thanks the the "they're/there/their" one, Daedalus. I was going to post that, as its a pet peeve of mine! Wander vs Wonder (this one annoys me too, because my mom always gets it wrong) Not exactly the same, but pronounced close enough that it counts: Both are verbs. To "Wander" means to walk about aimlessly" "All who wander are not lost" "To Wonder" means to "ponder or question" "I wonder why the sky is blue?" Both in a sentence together "I wandered about the field, wondering how long the warm weather would last"
  24. Figurative langauge often crosses boundaries, there are similar ones is Spanish and English too. It does make it easier to learn. Idioms (discussed on a different thread) are more difficult for a couple of reasons. One, there is no implied similarity of relation between what it says and what it means. Unlike metaphors or similes, two of the most common figures of speech, when there's a more or less logical connection. Its best not to worry about Idioms, except for a few simple ones, until you reach a more advanced level of English - in my opinion, anyway.
  25. Sweet Serendipity is correct. They are essentially the same. Here in Canada, people generally say while. "Whilst" is an older form of the word and more or less obsolete. It is used sometimes in formal writing or speeches. On a side note, there are other words with similar forms too among/amongst; amid/amidst etc. MY SOURCES: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-5498,00.html http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-whi2.htm
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