Sunday, January 21, 2018


Adjectives express a quality or attribute of a noun:

       a happy child      a surly person       toxic waste

       an old man         defective brakes    a greedy child

       a red flag           a dangerous road     a large hotel

Typical adjective endings include:

-ble   accessible, comfortable, possible, responsible, terrible

-ive   constructive, deceptive, defective, furtive, interactive

-ous  continuous, delicious, enormous, rigorous, serious

-y   funny, greedy, happy, rainy, tasty, weary

Most adjectives can occur before a noun, or after a linking verb :

       a violent storm                  ~the storm was violent

       a delicious meal                ~the meal is delicious

However, a small number of adjectives are restricted to just one position.The adjective afraid, for instance, can only appear after
 a linking verb:

      the children were afraid     ~the afraid children

Conversely, the adjective chief can only occur before a noun:

      the chief result                 ~the result is chief

In a small number of fixed expressions, an adjective appears immediately

         after the noun:

         the people responsible

        the Princess Royal

        the heir apparent

        the roadway proper

Adjectives can modify a small number of pronouns ( see 2.6). They always follow the pronoun:

         something terrible

         someone new

         nobody special

         nothing unusual

 Gradable adjectives

Most adjectives can take a modifying word, such as fairly, very or
extremely, before them:

    fairly cold      very cold             extremely cold

The modifying word locates the adjective on a relative scale of intensity.
In this example, the scale is from fairly cold to extremely cold. This characteristic of adjectives is called gradability.

The modifying words (fairly, very, extremely) are called intensifiers 

Comparative and superlative adjectives

The adjective cold has two other forms, colder (the comparative formand coldest (the superlative form). The form cold is called the base orm. Most adjectives have these three forms.
 Here are some more examples:

Base                 Comparative              Superlative 
form                  form                          form             

new                   newer                        newest            

old                    older                          oldest              

dark                  darker                        darkest            

big                    bigger                        biggest            

The comparative form is produced by adding an -er ending to the base
form. The superlative form is produced by adding an -est ending, again to the base:

       Base cold       + -er         = comparative colder 

       Base cold       + -est        = superlative coldest  

Some adjectives form the comparative and superlative using more and most respectively:

  Base                    Comparative              Superlative    
  form                     form                          form               

 recent                  more recent                most recent     

 important            more important          most important

In general, adjectives with one syllable in the base form take the -er and -est endings, while longer words use more and most:

  Base                 Comparative             Superlative           
  form                 form                          form                     

 warm                warmer                     warmest                 

 hopeful               more hopeful            most hopeful       

 beautiful             more beautiful          most beautiful     

 complicated        more complicated    most complicated

The adjectives good and bad have irregular comparative and superlative forms:

  Base                    Comparative            Superlative      
  form                    form                         form                

  good                    better                       best                  

  bad                      worse                      worst                

 Participial adjectives

Participial adjectives have the endings -ed or -ing that we normally associate with verbs :

         a complicated process       an amazing achievement

         a crazed expression           a boring book

         a disabled person              a confusing account

         an embarrassed smile       a fascinating photograph

         an experienced driver       a rewarding experience

         a talented singer                a staggering result

Most participial adjectives have a corresponding verb                    (to complicate, toamaze, etc, but some do not.
 For example, there is no verb to talent,
corresponding to a talented singer.

Like other adjectives, participial adjectives may be gradable:

        a very complicated process

        an extremely rewarding experience

They also have comparative and superlative forms:

       complicated       more complicated         most complicated

       rewarding          more rewarding             most rewarding

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.