Friday, January 29, 2010

seem - look

We call "seem, look" as link verb.
We use them without an object. So they are always in active voice.
We use them with the present simple tense.
They give the idea about appearance but "seem like" refers to a concept, "looks like" refers to the appearance of a person, place or thing.

You seem happy. (You were singing all day. I guess you are happy, but you might not be smiling.)
She seemed to like me. (No eyesight is needed for the observation.)
"Seem like" seems less certain that "look like".
"seem" it takes a little time to make a judgement.

Ahmed seemed to be asleep.
The man seems to be quite ill.
It seems silly not to tell him.

You look happy. (I see you smiling. I know very easily and quickly that you are happy.)
He looks old. (You notice it with your eyes, or quickly understand.)
He looks just like a baby.

And definitely not "usually"! "chance" or "lukc" are exactly what communicated by that expression.
I happen to, have just the answer you're looking for.
It just so happens that I have the answer you're looking for.
As luch would have it, I have just the answer you're looking for.
These there are generally speaking, equivalents.
To happen to + infinitive is a special construction:
- I happend to be X = it is a coincidence that I am X.
- The bus crashed, and many people were wounded; they survived only because there happened to be a nurse in the bus as well.
(It was not a plan that the nurse was there.)
- My brother did not use to work in the WTC; he just happened to be nearby when the towers collapsed: that's when he died. (ıt was not to be expected that should have been there at that time.)
It can also be used ironically:
- You know nothing about Brazil: I have been there a few times, and I speak Spanish.
- Oh, that is quite interesting. They happen to speak Portuguese in Brazil.

Did you happen to see Ahmed, while you were in the bar?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It is about time...

" It is high time the goverment took action."

The expression "it is (high/about) time + past verb test "is used to complain about or criticise something or someone:

- It is time that the government took action.

- It is about time that the govenment took action.

- It is hight time that the government took action.

The words about or high make the criticism even stronger. Note that it is also correct to say:

- It is time for the government to take action.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Adverbs are words that modify

  • a verb (He drove slowly. — How did he drive?)
  • an adjective (He drove a very fast car. — How fast was his car?)
  • another adverb (She moved quite slowly down the aisle. — How slowly did she move?)

As we will see, adverbs often tell when, where, why, or under what conditions something happens or happened. Adverbs frequently end in -ly; however, many words and phrases not ending in -ly serve an adverbial function and an -ly ending is not a guarantee that a word is an adverb. The words lovely, lonely, motherly, friendly, neighborly, for instance, are adjectives:

  • That lovely woman lives in a friendly neighborhood.
If a group of words containing a subject and verb acts as an adverb (modifying the verb of a sentence), it is called an Adverb Clause:

  • When this class is over, we're going to the movies.

When a group of words not containing a subject and verb acts as an adverb, it is called an adverbial phrase. Preprositional phrases frequently have adverbial functions (telling place and time, modifying the verb):

  • He went to the movies.
  • She works on holidays.
  • They lived in Canada during the war.

And Infinitive phrases can act as adverbs (usually telling why):

  • She hurried to the mainland to see her brother.
  • The senator ran to catch the bus.

But there are other kinds of adverbial phrases:

  • He calls his mother as often as possible.

Adverbs can modify adjectives, but an adjective cannot modify an adverb. Thus we would say that "the students showed a really wonderful attitude" and that "the students showed a wonderfully casual attitude" and that "my professor is really tall, but not "He ran real fast."

Like adjectives, adverbs can have comparative and superlative forms to show degree.

  • Walk faster if you want to keep up with me.
  • The student who reads fastest will finish first.

We often use more and most, less and least to show degree with adverbs:

  • With sneakers on, she could move more quickly among the patients.
  • The flowers were the most beautifully arranged creations I've ever seen.
  • She worked less confidently after her accident.
  • That was the least skillfully done performance I've seen in years.

The as — as construction can be used to create adverbs that express sameness or equality: "He can't run as fast as his sister."

A handful of adverbs have two forms, one that ends in -ly and one that doesn't. In certain cases, the two forms have different meanings:

  • He arrived late.
  • Lately, he couldn't seem to be on time for anything.

In most cases, however, the form without the -ly ending should be reserved for casual situations:

  • She certainly drives slow in that old Buick of hers.
  • He did wrong by her.
  • He spoke sharp, quick, and to the point.

Adverbs often function as intensifiers, conveying a greater or lesser emphasis to something. Intensifiers are said to have three different functions: they can emphasize, amplify, or downtone. Here are some examples:

  • Emphasizers:
    • I really don't believe him.
    • He literally wrecked his mother's car.
    • She simply ignored me.
    • They're going to be late, for sure.
  • Amplifiers:
    • The teacher completely rejected her proposal.
    • I absolutely refuse to attend any more faculty meetings.
    • They heartily endorsed the new restaurant.
    • I so wanted to go with them.
    • We know this city well.
  • Downtoners:
    • I kind of like this college.
    • Joe sort of felt betrayed by his sister.
    • His mother mildly disapproved his actions.
    • We can improve on this to some extent.
    • The boss almost quit after that.
    • The school was all but ruined by the storm.

Adverbs (as well as adjectives) in their various degrees can be accompanied by premodifiers:

  • She runs very fast.
  • We're going to run out of material all the faster

This issue is addressed in the section on degrees in adjectives.

Using Adverbs in a Numbered List

Within the normal flow of text, it's nearly always a bad idea to number items beyond three or four, at the most. Anything beyond that, you're better off with a vertical list that uses numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). Also, in such a list, don't use adverbs (with an -ly ending); use instead the uninflected ordinal number (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.). First (not firstly), it's unclear what the adverb is modifying. Second (not secondly), it's unnecessary. Third (not thirdly), after you get beyond "secondly," it starts to sound silly. Adverbs that number in this manner are treated as disjuncts (see below.)

Adverbs We Can Do Without

Review the section on Being Concise for some advice on adverbs that we can eliminate to the benefit of our prose: intensifiers such as very, extremely, and really that don't intensify anything and expletive constructions ("There are several books that address this issue.")

Kinds of Adverbs

Adverbs of Manner
She moved
slowly and spoke quietly.

Adverbs of Place
She has lived
on the island all her life.
She still lives
there now.

Adverbs of Frequency
She takes the boat to the mainland
every day.
often goes by herself.

Adverbs of Time
She tries to get back
before dark.
It's starting to get dark
She finished her tea
She left

Adverbs of Purpose
She drives her boat slowly
to avoid hitting the rocks.
She shops in several stores
to get the best buys.
Position of Adverbs

One of the hallmarks of adverbs is their ability to move around in a sentence. Adverbs of manner are particularly flexible in this regard.

  • Solemnly the minister addressed her congregation.
  • The minister solemnly addressed her congregation.
  • The minister addressed her congregation solemnly.

The following adverbs of frequency appear in various points in these sentences:

  • Before the main verb: I never get up before nine o'clock.
  • Between the auxiliary verb and the main verb: I have rarely written to my brother without a good reason.
  • Before the verb used to: I always used to see him at his summer home.

Indefinite adverbs of time can appear either before the verb or between the auxiliary and the main verb:

  • He finally showed up for batting practice.
  • She has recently retired.
Frank and Ernest
Order of Adverbs

There is a basic order in which adverbs will appear when there is more than one. It is similar to The Royal Order of Adjectives, but it is even more flexible.



Beth swims / enthusiastically/in the pool/ every morning/ before dawn/ to keep in shape.

Dad walks / impatiently / into town / every afternoon / before supper / to get a newspaper.

Tashonda naps/ in her room/ every morning/ before lunch.

More Notes on Adverb Order

In actual practice, of course, it would be highly unusual to have a string of adverbial modifiers beyond two or three (at the most). Because the placement of adverbs is so flexible, one or two the modifiers would probably move to the beginning of the sentence: "Every afternoon before supper, Dad impatiently walks into town to get a newspaper." When that happens, the introductory adverbial modifiers are usually set off with a comma.

As a general principle, shorter adverbial phrases precede longer adverbial phrases, regardless of content. In the following sentence, an adverb of time precedes an adverb of frequency because it is shorter (and simpler):

  • Dad takes a brisk walk before breakfast every day of his life.

A second principle: among similar adverbial phrases of kind (manner, place, frequency, etc.), the more specific adverbial phrase comes first:

  • My grandmother was born in a sod house on the plains of northern Nebraska.
  • She promised to meet him for lunch next Tuesday.

Bringing an adverbial modifier to the beginning of the sentence can place special emphasis on that modifier. This is particularly useful with adverbs of manner:

  • Slowly, ever so carefully, Jesse filled the coffee cup up to the brim, even above the brim.
  • Occasionally, but only occasionally, one of these lemons will get by the inspectors.
Inappropriate Adverb Order

Review the section on Misplaced Modifiers for some additional ideas on placement. Modifiers can sometimes attach themselves to and thus modify words that they ought not to modify.

  • They reported that Giuseppe Balle, a European rock star, had died on the six o'clock news.

Clearly, it would be better to move the underlined modifier to a position immediately after "they reported" or even to the beginning of the sentence — so the poor man doesn't die on television.

Misplacement can also occur with very simple modifiers, such as only and barely:

  • She only grew to be four feet tall.

It would be better if "She grew to be only four feet tall."

Adjuncts, Disjuncts, and Conjuncts

Regardless of its position, an adverb is often neatly integrated into the flow of a sentence. When this is true, as it almost always is, the adverb is called an adjunct. (Notice the underlined adjuncts or adjunctive adverbs in the first two sentences of this paragraph.) When the adverb does not fit into the flow of the clause, it is called a disjunct or a conjunct and is often set off by a comma or set of commas. A disjunct frequently acts as a kind of evaluation of the rest of the sentence. Although it usually modifies the verb, we could say that it modifies the entire clause, too. Notice how "too" is a disjunct in the sentence immediately before this one; that same word can also serve as an adjunct adverbial modifier: It's too hot to play outside. Here are two more disjunctive adverbs:

  • Frankly, Martha, I don't give a hoot.
  • Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Conjuncts, on the other hand, serve a connector function within the flow of the text, signaling a transition between ideas.

  • If they start smoking those awful cigars, then I'm not staying.
  • We've told the landlord about this ceiling again and again, and yet he's done nothing to fix it.

At the extreme edge of this category, we have the purely conjunctive device known as the conjunctive adverb (often called the adverbial conjunction):

  • Jose has spent years preparing for this event; nevertheless, he's the most nervous person here.
  • I love this school; however, I don't think I can afford the tuition.
Some Special Cases

The adverbs enough and not enough usually take a postmodifier position:

  • Is that music loud enough?
  • These shoes are not big enough.
  • In a roomful of elderly people, you must remember to speak loudly enough.

(Notice, though, that when enough functions as an adjective, it can come before the noun:

  • Did she give us enough time?

The adverb enough is often followed by an infinitive:

  • She didn't run fast enough to win.

The adverb too comes before adjectives and other adverbs:

  • She ran too fast.
  • She works too quickly.

If too comes after the adverb it is probably a disjunct (meaning also) and is usually set off with a comma:

  • Yasmin works hard. She works quickly, too.

The adverb too is often followed by an infinitive:

  • She runs too slowly to enter this race.

Another common construction with the adverb too is too followed by a prepositional phrase — for + the object of the prepositionfollowed by an infinitive:

  • This milk is too hot for a baby to drink.
Relative Adverbs

Adjectival clauses are sometimes introduced by what are called the relative adverbs: where, when, and why. Although the entire clause is adjectival and will modify a noun, the relative word itself fulfills an adverbial function (modifying a verb within its own clause).

The relative adverb where will begin a clause that modifies a noun of place:

My entire family now worships in the church where my great grandfather used to be minister.

The relative pronoun "where" modifies the verb "used to be" (which makes it adverbial), but the entire clause ("where my great grandfather used to be minister") modifies the word "church."

A when clause will modify nouns of time:

My favorite month is always February, when we celebrate Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day.

And a why clause will modify the noun reason:

Do you know the reason why Isabel isn't in class today?

We sometimes leave out the relative adverb in such clauses, and many writers prefer "that" to "why" in a clause referring to "reason":

  • Do you know the reason why Isabel isn't in class today?
  • I always look forward to the day when we begin our summer vacation.
  • I know the reason that men like motorcycles.

A viewpoint adverb generally comes after a noun and is related to an adjective that precedes that noun:

  • A successful athletic team is often a good team scholastically.
  • Investing all our money in snowmobiles was probably not a sound idea financially.

You will sometimes hear a phrase like "scholastically speaking" or "financially speaking" in these circumstances, but the word "speaking" is seldom necessary.

A focus adverb indicates that what is being communicated is limited to the part that is focused; a focus adverb will tend either to limit the sense of the sentence ("He got an A just for attending the class.") or to act as an additive ("He got an A in addition to being published."

Although negative constructions like the words "not" and "never" are usually found embedded within a verb string — "He has never been much help to his mother." — they are technically not part of the verb; they are, indeed, adverbs. However, a so-called negative adverb creates a negative meaning in a sentence without the use of the usual no/not/neither/nor/never constructions:

  • He seldom visits.
  • She hardly eats anything since the accident.
  • After her long and tedious lectures, rarely was anyone awake.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Numbers as Adjectives

A subscriber recently wrote in with a question that’s a good followup to last week’s Tip of the Week, Writing Numbers:

“When are hyphens used with numbers? Is it 13 feet or 13-feet; 12 hours or 12-hours?”

Rule: Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.

This rule can also be applied when a number and a measurement unit taken together form an adjective, that is, when they describe another object.

A 22-inch monitor is too big for my desk.
Nurses work 12-hour shifts.
Anthony swung his five-pound hammer.
In the previous sentences, the measurements, such as 22-inch, describe specific objects, such as monitor.

When measurements are not acting as adjectives, hyphens are not needed.

Suzanne won the race by 25 yards.
Twelve hours later, she was exhausted.
Anthony’s hammer weighs five pounds.

Pop Quiz: Choose A or B.

1. A. I can’t believe she wrote a 33-page treatise on how to screw in a light bulb.
1. B. I can’t believe she wrote a 33 page treatise on how to screw in a light bulb.

2. A. I can’t believe she wrote 33-pages on how to screw in a light bulb.
2. B. I can’t believe she wrote 33 pages on how to screw in a light bulb.

3. A. Harold found a 110-year-old book at the flea market.
3. B. Harold found a 110 year old book at the flea market.

4. A. Harold found a book that must have been 110-years-old at the flea market.
4. B. Harold found a book that must have been 110 years old at the flea market.


1. A.
2. B.
3. A.
4. B.

Also / Too / Either

The following is a mini-tutorial on the use of the words "also," "too" and "either."



"Also" is used in positive sentences to add an agreeing thought.


  • Jane speaks French. Sam also speaks French.
  • I love chocolate. I also love pizza.
  • Frank can come with us. Nancy can also come with us.


"Also" comes after "to be."


  • I am also Canadian.
  • I was also there.

With verbs other than "to be," "also" comes before single verb forms.


  • I also sing.
  • He also helped us.

In verb tenses with many parts, "also" comes after the first part and before the second.


  • I have also been to Hong Kong.
  • I am also studying economics.

Similarly, since modal verbs are usually followed by a second verb, "also" comes after modal verbs.


  • I can also speak French.
  • I should also be there.



"Too" is used in positive sentences to add an agreeing thought. It has the same meaning as "also," but its placement within the sentence is different.


  • Jane speaks French. Sam speaks French too.
  • I love chocolate. I love pizza too.
  • Frank can come with us. Nancy can come with us too.


"Too" usually comes at the end of a clause.


  • I am Canadian too.
  • I can speak French too.
  • I am studying economics too.
  • If he wants to go too, he should meet us at 8:00.


Although "too" is usually placed at the end of a clause, it can sometimes be used with commas after the subject of the sentence. This is usually only done in formal speech.


  • Mr. Jones wanted the contract. Ms. Jackson, too, thought it was necessary.
  • Donna is working on a solution to the problem. I, too, am trying to find a way to resolve the conflict.



"Either" is used in negative sentences to add an agreeing thought.


  • Jane doesn't speak French. Sam doesn't speak French either.
  • I don't love chocolate. I don't love pizza either.
  • Frank cannot come with us. Nancy cannot come with us either.


"Either" usually comes at the end of a clause.


  • I cannot speak French either.
  • I am not studying economics either.
  • I don't want to eat either.
  • I didn't like the movie either.

Confusing Sentences

Sometimes the first sentence is negative and the agreeing idea is positive.


  • The weather wasn't very appealing. I also wanted to stay home and finish my book. That's why I didn't go to the beach.
  • The car wasn't expensive, and I needed a way to get around town too. That's why I bought it.

Sometimes the first sentence is positive and the agreeing idea is negative.


  • Jane is too short. She is not a good athlete either. I don't think she would make a good basketball player.
  • He is lazy. He doesn't study either. That's why he doesn't do well in school.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Degree of Certainity

1. Strongly certain/very sure (almost positive)
Modal affirmative sentences
must, have to, have got to
You must be a Asian at the way you look.
Modal negative sentences (strongly certain)
must not(mustn't), could not (couldn't), can not(can't)
Chef must be very good. (Restaurant is packed.)
2. Should/Ought to (medium)
He should be at home. It is 8 o'clock. (He always goes home at seven.)
Should not (shouldn't)
The food should be good. (The food is probably not good.)
She probably doesn't have so many friend.
She should drive Toyoto. (She lives in Japan.)
You should be loyal and love to your country.
3. Not very certain/sure/positive
may, might, could
He might be in a cafee.
may not, might not
Stomach is growling, she might be hungry.

1. Suggestion - could/might
2. Advice/opinion - should/ought to - shouldn't (should-more common used in question.)
3. Expectation - be supposed to - not to be supposed
4. Warning - had better - had better not (for past- should have)
5. Necessity/Obligation - must/have to/have got to - musn't
6. Prohibition - can not/can't

Writing An Essay - Public Speaking

1. Topic Sentences-first sentences
2. Description
3. Answer the essay question.
4. Give reason/examples.
5. Speak only for the idea of yourself.
6. Use short sentences, be clear.
7. Don't forget about paragraph
8. A good conclusion/repeat your topic sentences

Topic: What/who is a hero?

- definition of a hero
- who - examples of hero
- why - reason
- conclusion

Public Speaking
1. Choose a topic
2. Analyze your audience
3. Identify a Specific purpose (informative, persuasive, entertaining...)
4. Organize your main points (organizational patterns, topical, chronological, spatial/geographical, problem-solution, cause-effect...)
5. Choose form of support (language, explanations, testimony "personal experience", examples, statistics, visual aids...)
6. Outline your speech (introduction, transition, body-3-4 main topic, conclusion-summary of main point, give a feeling of closure)
7. Analyze delivery (Don't forget to pause, visual aid, eye contact, gesture, a compelling speech, intonation, voice volume...)

Persuasive Writing - For and Against

Helpful Language

Expressing Both Sides

pros and cons
advantages and disadvantages
plus and minus

Providing Additional Arguments

What is more,
In addition to ..., the ...
Not only will ..., but ... will also ...

Showing Contrast

On the other hand,
Although .....,


First of all,


To sum up,
In conclusion,
In summary,
All things considered,

Expressing Your Opinion

In my opinion,
I feel / think that ...


Choose an for and against argument from one of the following themes

Attending College / University
Getting Married
Having Children
Changing Jobs

  • Write down five positive points and five negative points
  • Write down an overall statement of the situation (for introduction and first sentence)
  • Write down your own personal opinion (for final paragraph)
  • Summarize both sides in one sentence if possible
  • Use your notes to write a For and Against Argument using the helpful language provided

Friday, January 15, 2010


at - She kicked at the stone. (Her foot didn't touch the stone.)
she kicked the stone. (Her foot touched the stone.)
on- The umbrella is on the couch.
in - There are some people sitting in a row.
on top of
on bottom of
next to
across from
on the corner of
diagonal to
to left/right
straight ahead
side by side
against- The umbrella is leaning against the couch.
in front of
She arrived at 5:00 pm. (specific)
She arrived on Friday. (days/dates)
She arrived in October.( months, years, seasons, parts of the day, periods of times)
at night-at noon- at christmas - at new Year - at midnight -
at Easter- on Easter (with specific time), on Easter eve, on supertime, next october, every morning, last evening, this month etc.
on fifth of March
on new year's day
on the weekend
in the evening/morning/afternoon
in the prehistoric days
in the renaisance
in a few moment
in a few days
in a week
on the 4th of July
on the northwest corner of 34th st.
on fifth Ave.
in the museum at the information desk
on the southwest corner
in the 82nd corner
in his hand
on April 24th
in April
in the box
in the station
on 23rd st.
on the street
on the platform
in-within stg. inside
on the stage
on the upper right side
at/on the top/bottom
on the third floor
on the menu
in a line
on a line (NY)
in/at the back
in the theater
She is in the photo, and we are looking at the photo.
Our image is in the mirror.
I want to sit in the 7th row/in front of row.
Stay in the building.
packed and ready on the street
on the tracks
in/on the subway(if you are on the train, on the subway)
by taxi
by train
in the store
by bus

Personal Adjectives

smart cookie
superiority complex
interiority complex
wall flower

Democrats - Republicans

candidate - Barack Obama
Nominee Hillary Clinton
Money - It must be regular.
Enviromental control - yes
Military - no
Taxes - We need money to raise other issue - cut taxes
Education - yes
Health - yes
Guns - no
God - no
Gays - yes
Candidate - John Mccain
Nominee - Mike Huckaby
Money - Capitalism that has make us rich and powerful.
Enviromental control - no
Military - yes
Taxes - cut taxes
Education - no
Health - no
Guns - yes
God - yes
Gays - no

They are having slugfest. (Slugfest is a split decision.)
They are not having lovefest.
The toast of the town - very popular
You are a bad apple (This means you are not a good team member.
One bad apple can spoil the barrel. If you're in team, there is on "I", you have to think
about everybody. If you're not a good team player, you're a bad apple.)