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The English Foundations

Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 03:20 PM by Shonali Samuel

How do we build a strong house that won’t crack or blow away in the wind? That’s right! We need a strong foundation. The same goes for learning a language. Grammar books sometimes go straight into the tenses but it’s the foundations that will help you to improve accuracy. Here are my top 5:

  • SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT or SUBJECT-TO BE-ADJECTIVE

In English, most ‘active’ sentences follow this structure. It is important to remember that after a full stop (.), the subject is repeated again.

 e.g. I love chocolate. It is delicious.
e.g. Global warming is a serious environmental problem. Lately, it has been getting worse.

  • ARTICLES – A/AN, THE or – and PLURAL (noun + S)

Small, but powerful things! There are plenty of great websites (and teachers!) that can help you with these.

e.g. I bought dress yesterday. X

I bought a dress yesterday.

e.g. The people often say that the technology is bad for us because it causes the addiction. X

- People often say that - technology is bad for us because it causes - addiction. √ *No articles here!

 

  • TO BE (am, is, are, was, were, has/have been, being, etc.)

There are fundamentally only 4 times we use the verb TO BE:

With adjectives – She is happy.

With jobs and existence- She is an artist. There are many schools in Melbourne.

With –ing (continuous verbs) – He is travelling now. They were sleeping yesterday.

With passive sentences- The letter was written by him = He wrote the letter (active).

 

  • BASE VERBS, INFINITIVE VERBS and GERUNDS

blog verbsDon’t panic! Here is a little summary:

Base – STUDY (a verb)
Infinitive- TO STUDY (a verb + to) *think of it as an intention
Gerund – STUDYING (an ex-verb + ing = a noun) *think of it as an activity 

*With modals (should, must, can, etc.):  I SHOULD STUDY (base)
*With some verbs: I NEED TO STUDY (infinitive)
*With other verbs: I ENJOY STUDYING (gerund)
*After prepositions (on, in, at, etc.): I am interested IN STUDYING (gerund)
*As a subject, e.g. STUDYING is recommended (gerund)

  • QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

While there are different question types, the ones we ask most follow this structure:

QUESTION WORD- What, Why, When, How much, etc.

AUX

 

ILIARY or MODAL

SUBJECT

VERB, ADJECTIVE or NOUN- Refer back to foundation #3 for TO BE

What

did

you

have

for breakfast?

How much

were

your shoes (noun)

-

?

How much

did

your shoes

cost (verb)

?

- *yes/no questions

Does

he

live

here?

                                               

IMPORTANT- Don’t forget the Auxiliary or Modal! (e.g. DO/DOES – present simple, CAN – ability, DID- past simple, etc.)

 That’s all for this time lovely readers. Take a deep breath, slow down and build yourself a strong foundation. All the best!

 

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