Gender is from Latin genus meaning kind or sort. The difference of sex in nature is called the difference of gender in grammar. We know all living things are normally either of the male or female sex.
The noun that denotes male is called Masculine Gender; as, man, husband, brother, son, boy king, hero, lion, etc.
The noun that denotes female is called Feminine Gender; as, woman, wife, sister, daughter, girl, queen, heroin, lioness, etc
The noun that denotes either male, as well as the female, is called Common Gender; as, friend, child, pupil, parent, servant, thief, baby, infant, neighbour, monarch.
The noun that denotes a thing of no sex, that is, a thing without life is called Neutral Gender; as, book, pen, room, tree, window, street, door, table, desk, etc.
Neutral literally means ‘neither’.
Objects without life are often personified especially in poetry or elevated prose. They are spoken of as if they were living beings. We then regard them as masculines or feminines as per the following rules:
The masculine gender is often applied to objects known for strength or violence; as, sun, summer, winter, ocean, thunder, death, time, war, etc
The sun shed his beams on rich and poor alike.
Winter had spread his white blanket everywhere.
The feminine gender is often applied to objects remarkable for beauty, gentleness, or grace; as, moon, earth, spring, autumn, nature, liberty, justice, mercy, peace, hope, virtue charity, modesty, etc.
The moon has hidden her face behind a cloud.
Spring had spread her mantle of green over the earth.
Note: Ship is often spoken of the feminine as;
The ship lost her boats in the storm.
WAYS OF FORMING THE FEMININE
There are four ways of forming the feminine of masculine nouns, these are given as follows:
1. By using an entirely different word.
2. By using a prefix or adding a word before or after.
3. By using a suffix -ess to the masculine.
4. Foreign feminines
By using an entirely different word.
By using a word before or after.
By adding the suffix -ess to the muculine
In the following examples, the suffix -ess is added after omitting the last syllable of the masculine.
Note The suffix -ess is the commonest suffix used to form feminine from masculine and is the only one which we now use in forming a new feminine noun.
In this post, I am discussing one of the classifications of nouns. This classification states whether the nouns are ‘countable’ or ‘uncountable’.
Countable Nouns: Nouns which can be counted but not measured are called countable nouns. They are also called count nouns, e.g. boy, pen, book, cat, toy, door, garden, etc
He is a smart boy.
I like this pen.
The book is informative.
I have a cat.
He gave me that toy.
Open the door.
He entered the garden.
Uncountable Nouns: Nouns which cannot be counted but measured or weighed are known as uncountable nouns. Some examples are given as under:
Carry this luggage to my room.
Corruption is cancer in society.
The news about his sudden death is just a rumor.
You should drink pure water.
Blood is red.
The italicized words in the above sentences are uncountable nouns. IMPORTANT POINTS
Countable Nouns take plural forms when we refer to more than one of these e.g. boys, pens, books , cats toys, doors, etc . While uncountable nouns are not used in the plural. We can not say milks, educations, rices, musics bloods, etc.
Countable Nouns can be used in the way as one book, two books, three books, etc. While in case of uncountable nouns, we can not say one rice , two rices, bone sand, two sands, etc
We can use a/an with singular countable nouns e.g., a beach, a student, an apple. We can not normally use a/an with uncountable nouns. We do not say ‘a sand’ or ‘a music’.We can say:
a speck of dust.
a drop of water.
a piece of music.
a game of tennis.
a sheet of paper.
a pile of rubbish.
a lump of sugar.
a bar of chocolate.
a block of concrete/ice.
a piece of land/paper.
a grain of rice.
a blade of glass.
Observe the are linked to each other by ‘of’.
POSITION IF NOUNS OR NOUNS PHRASES
Rahil is handsome.
The girl in the green dress run away.
The boy who is dancing is a dancer.
OBJECT ( Direct)
I know Asif.
They completed their work quickly.
She likes the garden full of flowers.
She loves the man who was singing.
Father gave Mohsin a new pen.
He teaches us grammar.
He found her a good pencil.
He has curved hair.
OBJECT OF A PREPOSITION
She sat on the wooden log.
We went to Gulmarg.
The grammar of a language teaches the learners and follow the masters
Common Errors in English
Rule: There are some nouns which look singular but in fact, they are plural. Such nouns like policy, poultry, people, gentry, and cattle are always used in the plural. Here are some usage examples:
1.The police were informed on time. Not The police were informed on time. 2. We get eggs from the poultry. Not We get eggs from poultries. 3. Poultry lay eggy. Not Poultries lay eggs. 4. Many people are going to the fair. Not Many peoples are going to the fair.
Note: But people also mean ‘a nation’. Then it can be made plural by adding ‘s’.
5. The population of the world can be divided into many races and peoples. Not The population of the world can be divided into many races and people.
6. There are no gentry in the town. Not There are no gentries in the town.
7. The gentry of the town is are very fashionable. Not The gentry of the town are very fashionable.
8. Many cattle were grazing in the field. Not Many cattles were grazing in the field.
Rule: Nouns like scenery, machinery, work, poetry, furniture, information, luggage, and advice are used only in the singular.
1. Kashmir is famous for its beautiful scenery. Not Kashmir is famous for its beautiful sceneries. 2. There is much beautiful beautiful scenery in Kashmir. Not There are much beautiful beautiful scenery in Kashmir. 3. He deals in machinery.Not He deals in machinery. 4. Machinery often goes out of order. Not Machineries often goes out of order. 5. I have much urgent work to do.Or I have many pieces of urgent work. Not I have many urgent works to do. 6. Tourists have sent their luggage by train. Not Tourists have sent their luggages by train. 7. I have bought much new furniture. Not I have bought many new furnitures. 8. He gave me much information.Not He gave me many informations. 9. My father gave me much good advice. Not My father gave many good advices. 10 . Keats has written much fine poetry. NOT Keats has written many fine poetries.
Rule: Nouns like news, gallows, innings,mathematics, hair, economics, physics politics,statistics, stylistics metaphysics and summons seam to be plural in form as they have an added -s but in fact they are always singular. Look at the following examples:
1. This news was very good Not These news were very good. 2. The murderer was hanged on this gallows. Not The murderer was hanged on these gallows. 3. The Indian team won the match by one innings and fifty runs. Indian team won the match by one inning and fifty runs. 4. Mathematics is very difficult. Not Mathematics are very difficult. 5. His hair is curly and black. No His hair are curly and black. 6. Economics deals with money matters. Not Economics deal with money matters 7. Physics deals with nature and natural phenomenon. Not Physics deal with nature and natural phenomenon. 8. Politics is dirty game. Not Politics are dirty game. 9. Statistics is a dull subject. Statistics are a dull subject. 10 Metaphysics is the study of the ultimate reality of things. Not Metaphysics are the study of the ultimate reality of things. 11.The summons has been issued by the court. Not The summons have been issued by the court.
Rule: Nouns like clothes, jeans, vegetables, scissors, spectacles, trousers, pants, shorts, socks,measles, tidings,ashes, belongings alms, savings, contents, riches, glasses, binoculars and circumstances are always used in the plural. These nouns look like any other plural but in fact it is not possible to remove the ‘s’ of these nouns to change them in singular form.If needed, a counting expression, such as a piece of or a pair of, can be used to make them countable such as a piece of clothes, a pair of scissors. Such nouns usually refer to items of clothing or tools but there are many other such nouns like arms, authorities, congratulations, contents, goods, grounds, surroundings, thanks, troops. Have a look at the following usage examples: 1. Vegetable are quite cheap these days. NOT Vegetables is quite cheap these days. 2. My scissors are quite sharp. NOT My scissors is quite sharp. 3. Where are my spectacle? NOT Where is my spectacle? 4. He wears tight trousers. NOT He wears tight trouser. 5. His pants are very loose. NOT His pant is very loose. 6. He wears shorts in the playground. NOT He wears short in the playground. 7. Socks keep the feet warm. NOT Sock keeps the feet warm. 8. He is the suffering from measles. NOT He is suffering from measle. 9. Every act of kindness deserves thanks. NOT Every act of kindness deserves thank.. 10. Have you heard the happy tidings? NOT Have you heard the happy tiding? 11.Please check your belongings before leaving the cinema hall. NOT Please check your belonging before leaving the cinema hall. 12. The beggar asked for alms. NOT The beggar asked for alm. 13. I have invested all my savings in business. NOT I have invested all my saving in business. 14. The contents of this book are printed on the first page. NOT The content of this book are printed on the first page. 15. Riches have wings. NOT Riches has wings. 16. My circumstances do not permit me to go to England. NOT My circumstance do not permit me to go to England.
Rule: Some nouns like sheep, deer, swine and price have the same form both in the singular and plural. Look at the examples: 1. The wolf has killed many sheep. NOT The wolf has killed many sheeps. 2. The hunter killed two deer. NOT The hunter killed two deers. 3. Swine are wallowing in the mire.NOT Swines are wallowing in the mire. 4. One cigarette costs three pice. NOT One cigarette costs three pices.
Rule: Nouns like pair, dozen, score hundred, thousands and million are used in the singular after numerals and otherwise in the plural
1.I bought two pair of shoes. NOT I bought two pairs of shoes 2. Give me two dozen eggs. NOT Give me two dozens eggs 3. A century is equal to five score years.NOT A century is equal to five scores years. 4. Five hundred men were present at meeting. NOT Five hundreds men were present at meeting. 5. Hundreds of men went to see the fair. NOT Hundreds men went to see the fair. 6. Thousands of people greeted the Prime Minister. NOT Thousands people greeted the Prime Minister. 7. Millions of men live in poverty. NOT Millions men live in poverty. 8.It is a hundred rupee note.NOT It is a hundred rupees note. 9. She is a seven year old girl.NOT She is a seven years old girl. 10. I ran a five mile race.NOT I ran a five miles race.
Rule: Sometimes words like house, shop, school and temple are omitted after a possessive case. 1.The police were informed on time. Not The police were informed on time. 2. We get eggs from the poultry. Not We get eggs from poultries. 3. Poultry lay eggy. Not Poultries lay eggs. 4. Many people are going to the fair. Not Many peoples are going to the fair.
Rule: There are some nouns that refer to groups of people, called ‘collective’ nouns. Such nouns can be plural or singular, depending on whether they are considered as a single group or as a collection of individuals. Some examples are committee, jury, enemy, family, government, team. 1a. Her family has produced many politicians. 1b. Her family have threatened to disown her. 2 a. The jury is unanimous in its decision. 2b.The jury divided in its opinion.
The plural is the normal choice with the names of football teams because they are regarded as a collection of individuals: Manchester United are coming to play here.
The relationship between nouns (as subjects) and verbs is called ‘agreement’.
Transition words are the words that provide connection, unity and coherence between ideas, sentences and paragraph. They increase the logical organisation of the text and readability by enhancing the connection between thoughts. They indicate the relations within the text in a sentence, paragraph or article. In this way, they help the readers to read the text more smoothly and simultaneously make the reader flow more smoothly from one point to the next. They turn disconnected fragments of ideas into a unified whole and help a reader in understanding the needed knowledge in an easier way. Here is an exclusive list of transitional words and phrase for you. Read and add your own ideas:
Exemplification: For instance, in this case, namely, to illustrate this, in fact, for example, chiefly, markedly, that is, indeed, of course, such as, like, specifically, especially, particularly.
Cause and Effect: Above all, because, therefore, because of the reason, consequently, hence, as a result, thus, otherwise, thereupon, accordingly, thus, for this reason, so then, thereby, since, wherefore.
Restatement: To summarize, in brief, to sum up, to put it in another way, in other words, that is.
Sequence and order: In the first place, too, next, furthermore, what’s more, then, in addition, subsequently, likewise, firstly, finally, further, in the first place, and, besides, again, additionally, too, for the most part, including, together with, by the way, lastly.
Comparison or Contrast: Otherwise,while, whereas,on the contrary, by the same token, similarly,though, although,yet, opposite to, in the same way, on the other hand, otherwise, at the same time, compared to, in comparison to, but, in contrast, nonetheless, nevertheless, despite, notwithstanding, even so, still, however, simultaneously, rather.
Direction: there, here, above, below, under, over there, to the right, in the far end, in the distance, beyond, nearly, opposite.
Time or Location:To begin with, earlier, previously while, now, nearby, in the meantime, as soon as, prior to,till now, to the present, at present, before, after, later, afterwards, lastly, immediately, opposite to next to, meanwhile, there, farther on, to the west, then, since, for, soon, later on, eventually.
Purpose: for this reason, so, so that, in order to, for this purpose, with this object, to this end.
Generalisation: Usually, generally, as a rule usually, commonly, normally, for the most, ordinarily, on the whole, in most cases,
as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally speaking, popularly.
Diversion: Incidentally, in any way, by the way, all of a sudden.
Qualification: almost, with this in mind, possibly.
Useful Transition Words and Phrases to Start a New Paragraph
It is very common practice to use transition words and phrases also at the beginning of a new paragraph. The reason is simple as they help to link what you have said in the previous paragraph to what you are about to say in the new paragraph.
Notwithstanding such criticism….,
Its popularity remains largely undiminished…..,
Keeping in view….,
It is not possible…..,
To be able to understand…., Undoubtedly…..,
A contrary explanation is that….,
as a consequence……,
Taking advantage of this….,
This also suggests….,
at the same time….,
as a result….,
All this might be different….,
The day is not far….,
another significant factor in….,
An equally significant aspect of….,
By the same token….,
It may be useful….,
but we should also consider…., Conversely…..,
These technological developments have Greatly increased the growth in…..,
A significant feature of….,
To put it in a nutshell….,
Has focused on the….,
Despite these criticisms….,
The popularity of X remains largely undiminished….,
Noting the compelling nature of this new evidence….,
Has suggested that….,
Remains a growing problem…..,
Keeping all this aside, Nonetheless…..,
The number of….,
Has continued to expand at an exponential rate….,
The current high profile debate with regard to….,
Have also suggested that….., Subsequently….,
By the way….,
The sentiment expressed in the quotation…..,
Embodies the view that…..,
What is more….,
Its popularity remains high…..,
Despite these criticisms….., In that case…., Each of these theoretical positions makes an important contribution to our understanding of…..,
Evidence for in support of this position…., Can be found in…. ,
For this reason….,
At that he….,
When at last…..,
For these reasons….,
Before considering this it is important to note….,
That may be a bit surprising ….,
Despite these criticisms…..,
There is no shortage of disagreement within.…,
In any case….,
Having considered X…..,
It is also reasonable to look at…. ,
There are times….,
In addition, too…..,
In this way….,
In this manner….,
In the final analysis…..,
Its popularity remains high….,
The use of the term….,
It is quite surprising that….,
The other dimension is….,
That about that….,
the advantages of…..,
Outlined in the previous paragraph…..,
It is quite predictable that…..,
This point is also sustained by the work of….,
This counter-argument is supported by evidence from…..,
In the face of such criticism,
It is important to note….,
There is also….,
A further point to be considered…., Important to note the limitations of….., This interpretation of…..,
Though it concerns….,
Has not been without its detractors….,
It is important however not to overemphasis the strengths of……,
After a careful examination…., However…..,
That, It is important however not to assume the applicability of…..,
In all cases…..,
It could also be said that….,
Notwithstanding these limitations….,
Its worth of situation….,
On the other hand… ,
Point to its blindness….,
With respect to….,
Of central concern….,
Sociologists are explaining how social processes and institutions….,
This approach is similar to the….., knowing all this…..,
If that had been the case….,
Implies a singular cause of…..,
It can be seen from the above analysis….
Have responded in a number of ways….,
It could easily perceive that….,
Tags: Useful Transition Words and Phrases to Start a New Paragraph
In recent times there has been a noticeable change in the frame of mind of the linguists towards this aspect of English. The theoretical linguist has approached the nature of the idiom through lexical collocation and syntactic structure and has aimed at a formal framework of description. The applied linguist has realised the importance of drawing the learner’s attention to the idiom by providing collections of idiomatic expressions both as reference and exercise material. The spurt of interest may be due to an increasing awareness that the teaching and learning of idioms is an integral part of the teaching and learning of a language, as also an awareness that no language is static and there are always changes taking place where the process of ” absorption” of new expressions and normal feature “rejection” of certain idiomatic old hackneyed ones is expressions and phrases which were the common features of English, say fifty years ago, have undergone a change in their form and usage or have become obsolete.
Image credited to Pixalbay
Newer and newer expressions are being introduced into the language to cater to the ever-increasing demands of the language. These expressions form an essential core of the living language as it is spoken by millions of native speakers all over the world. One can safely state that there is no discourse in modern English which does not contain idiomatic expressions.
A content analysis of popular newspapers, magazines, journals and texts prescribed in schools and colleges would support the view that idiomatic expressions have a place in all types of compositions in English. It is important for an L2 learner to know that idioms form an essential part of the general vocabulary of L2.
Despite the foregoing facts regarding the importance of idioms, a large number of people still hold the view that it is possible to carry on meaningful communication without the use of idioms. Informal discussions with non-native speakers in general and teachers of English, in particular, have revealed they are rather a lukewarm attitude towards the subject. Many of them believe that idioms make a language look overdressed and they seem to be in favour of simplicity and directness of expression. But idioms and phrases can also be simple and even more effective because quite often they are capable of conveying difficult ideas in such a dramatic and picturesque manner, that the learner can relate them to his everyday experience. For instance, “Don’t rush in at the eleventh hour” is more effective and economical than “Don’ t rush in at the very last moment”.
Not only in conversational language but also in natural science or medical science texts one comes across plenty of idioms. For instance, ” on-going research creates a complex and warm debate about last-ditch use of barbiturates” (Sunday: 1985). Or to take another example “The stockpile of nuclear weapons with the superpowers has become the sword of Damocles hanging over humanity” (Sunday 1986). Or here is one in the context of a weather forecast “Right now it is a chicken and egg situation” (India Today: 1988). These example s justify that “Idiomatic expressions are usually forceful, terse, and vivid; the same meaning could be set forth in some other way, but not with equal force and brevity”.(McMordie, Graffin, 1961 6).
Thus, it is not only the ubiquitous nature of the idioms but also their role in effective communication that makes them an essential and important fact of language in general and for L2 learners in particular.
While we are discussing the role of idioms in effective communication, it is necessary to add that a vast quantity of the material is being produced in the area of communicative language teaching and learning. A recent publication on a bibliographical survey of resources on communicative language teaching shows that in the last decade much work has been done in the area of curricular development, course design, classroom techniques, spoken English, English for a special purpose, error analysis, developing communicative competence, testing competence and so on. “One argument for making language teaching communicative is that learners will otherwise not be able to use the language they learn, for real-life, practical purposes…. ‘Communicative teaching’ means enabling learners to engage successfully is oral, social interaction” (Ramaiah, 1985: XI ).
Success in such interaction demands not only grammatical competence but also the ability to use certain expressions like excuse me, how do you do, on the one hand, etc., in the appropriate situations and contexts. This is applicable also to the idiomatic expressions like by and large,
ups and downs, a cock-and-bull story, to take over, to put up with and so on which are undoubtedly an integral part of the communicative language. In the everyday use of the language, these expressions occur frequently and their importance cannot be overlooked. But it is significant to note that precious little has been written or researched on this aspect of language teaching or the language per se.
Here is the list of idioms that English speakers use in current times. Learn these idioms and make your English speaking and writing more beautiful:
51. Get the ball rolling=to to make something start happening: We need to get the ball rolling to prepare our presentation for next week’s meeting.
Start/get off on the right foot=to start a relationship in a positive way: Everyone hopes to get off on the right foot when they start a new job.
Bring something to the table = to contribute something of value (to a company): She brings a great deal of experience to the table.
From the ground up= to do something from the start/very beginning: Our boss built this company from the ground up
Get down to business= to start focussing on a specific task (after introductions/small talk): We only have a limited time to discuss this today, so let’s get down to business.
Think outside the box = to think creatively and develop new and original ideas: To be successful in our industry, we need staff who think outside the box.
Think Out of Box
By the book: to do things according to the rules or the law: Our accountant does everything by the book so there are no problems in the future.
Rock the boat = to do something which changes a stable routine and may cause problems: I told the new manager not to rock the boat before she gets to know her team.
On the ball= to be competent, alert and quick to understand new things: Your team are really on the ball and getting great results.
Throw in the towel=to quit or give up something: One of the applicants competing for the new position has just thrown in the towel.
On the same page= to be in agreement or thinking in a similar way: We made a proposal to expand globally and the CEO is on the same page.
Word of mouth=to communicate or tell people about something verbally (not in writing): Word of mouth is more reliable than adverts.
Behind the scenes=describes things that happen which the public don’t know about or see directly: We have a successful presentation and I need to thank all those behind the scenes.
Hit the nail on the head=to be exactly right when you describe something (e.g. the reason for a problem): You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding what has caused our drop in sales.
Raise the bar=to increase standards or improve quality in something: Mobile phone manufacturers raise the bar every year with their new products.
Back to square one=describes when you need to start a project again from the beginning: Every aspect of our proposal was rejected by the CEO, so we are back to square one.
Straight from the horse’s mouth=to obtain information directly from the original or a reliable source: I heard straight from the horse’s mouth that the CEO is going to retire this year.
Keep you on your toes=to describe something that makes you remain alert, energetic and ready: Management make regular checks to keep everyone on their toes
Read between the lines=to find a hidden meaning in something said or written (e.g. feelings/intentions): Reading between the lines, I don’t think my colleague actually wanted to resign.
Give the thumbs up=to show support and give approval: I got the thumbs up from my boss about working from home every Friday.
Back to the drawing board= to start something again because the previous attempt was unsuccessful: The client rejected our first proposal, so we have gone back to the drawing board.
Give someone a pat on the back=to praise someone for an achievement: Our line manager gave us all a pat on the back for finishing the project early.
Twist someone’s arm=to encourage/pressure someone to do something that they don’t want to: Can you twist her arm to work overtime today?
Keep one’s eye on the ball=to give your complete attention to something: I need to keep my eye on the ball because this industry is so competitive.
Do something/go behind someone’s back=to talk about someone or take action without their knowledge: My team went behind my back and complained to the boss before speaking with me.
Put all one’s eggs in one basket=to commit all your resources to a single idea or plan of action: I take some investment risks every year, but I never put all my eggs in one basket.
Cut one’s losses=to stop an activity that is unsuccessful to avoid losing more money: We’ve decided to cut our losses and close the restaurant.
Hands are tied= not able to act in a particular way because of external reasons: My boss said that she cannot give me a promotion because her hands are tied.
Off the top of your head=to speak about some something without thinking in detail or checking facts: Off the top of my head, I can’t give an exact number of complaints we’ve received.
Call it a day=to stop doing something (to leave work or do something else): I think we have spent enough time discussing this project. Let’s call it a day.
See eye to eye=to agree with another person: He doesn’t always see eye to eye with his colleague about future priorities.
Work against the clock=to aim to finish something before a specific time: We’re always working against the clock to meet urgent deadlines.
Goes the extra mile=to make more effort to achieve something that is expected: Companies benefit from staff who go the extra mile.
Learn the ropes= to learn how to do specific tasks or activities in a company: We all have to learn the ropes when we start a new job.
Pull the plug=to stop a task or activity from continuing: The directors have decided to pull the plug on the project to expand in Asia.
All in the same boat=to be in the same difficult or unpleasant situation: We’re all in the same boat because our company is closing and we need new jobs.
Hot off the press=describes something that has just been released or printed: Our new brochure is hot off the press with all the latest products and special offers.
The buck stops here=emphasises who is ultimately responsible for something: My team is responsible for meeting the deadline. The buck stops here with us.
The ball is in your court=emphasises who is responsible for making the next decision: I’ve submitted our proposals to the CEO and now the ball is in his court.
Go down to the wire=describes something that is not decided or certain until the very last minute: Discussions went down to the wire, but we finally reached an agreement.
Up in the air=describes when something is still undecided and plans are not yet finalised: everything is still up in the air about our company relocating to another office.
Latest English Idioms
Way ahead of the pack =describes someone who performs better than others in their team: We’ve got five interns at the moment, but he is way ahead of the pack.
Holds the fort =to be responsible for something when someone else is unavailable: He needs to hold the fort while the managing director is on maternity leave
Get your foot in the door=to take the first step with the aim to progress further in the future: He took an entry-level job to get her foot in the door and got promoted after 1 year.
Go belly up = describes a company that fails or goes bankrupt: Several of our competitors went belly up during the last recession.
Give someone the green light=to authorise or allow someone to do something: The directors have finally given us the green light to increase spending.
Cut corners=to do a task to a lower standard to save time or money: Companies should never cut corners with regards to health and safety.
Strike while the iron is hot=to take action without delay when there an opportunity to do something: I’m confident that this client will sign the contract if we strike while the iron is hot.
“Idioms are beautiful but illegitimate children of a language”
Idioms are the fixed expressions peculiar to a language. These contain groups of words with fixed order and a different meaning from the meaning of the words they are comprised of. These are the patterns woven into the texture of a language. The idioms do not have literal meaning but their meaning is figurative. They beautify writing and adorn expression.They are called the ornaments of the language. English language through centuries of evolution has assimilated idioms and phrases from almost every language of the world. With the passage of time, however, new meanings and significance have been acquired by idioms and phrases. While learning idioms, students should use them in their speech as well as in their writing. Given below is a list of popular idioms and phrases which are in common and current usage, illustrated through simple, forceful sentences which shall serve as models for students when they choose to make parallel sentences in order to assimilate them in the system of their linguistic knowledge.
Idioms in Human Language
There is a set of idioms and sentences in each language that is specific to this particular language. If these phrases are properly used, they enable language speakers to express their ideas more effectively than one can do with prose. They put the stuff in a nutshell. As with proverbs, the origins of idioms can be difficult to trace. They may have their origin in the social, political and cultural ethos. They may come from the history of the country in which language is spoken, flora and fauna, geographic features, religion and community social practices, events, personalities, famous utterances, literacy, myths and legends, and folklore. Sometimes foreign languages contribute to the language in which they come into contact with their own idiomatic expressions. These foreign languages are eventually adopted and become part of the host language. The idioms are not just the ornaments of a language. They add a touch of cultured elegance to the language. For example, no less than 25,000 language entries were anticipated in the standard Russian phraseological dictionary under preparation. For this reason, idioms become essential expressions, giving “a significant individual and national colourization” to every language( Fernando, 1983: 3).
The Role of Idioms in English
What happens in nearly all languages is also true for English, which draws elements from numerous sources freely. This explains the abundance of the English vocabulary and its great power to express subtle differences of meaning. The language is rich in language expressions that are peculiar to certain words, phrases, or expressions. These expressions have become part of the language habits of native English speakers through constant use over a period of time, and now remain an important element of the language.
The Study of Idioms
The study of languages is an enriching experience not only from the linguistic point of view but from the point of view of human interests. Idioms have to be mainly treated as reflectors for a wide range of human activity as the term of revelations of the human heart. For idioms, historical and psychological indices are actually exciting. “They become truly significant when they are regarded as a means of investigating the tradition and character of a people. Anatole France wrote once, “is the universe in alphabetical order,” and idiomatic usage is that part of a dictionary which reveals the hopes, desires and ambitions of countless unknown men and women down the ages, “in which their fears, eccentricities and advice are immortalised.” These strong expressions perpetuated throughout the centuries in their language provide us with invaluable insights into the history of the human being. Each language has to be seen as a microcosm of the whole way of life of a nation, “the spirit and life” of a language and of a nation.
POPULAR IDIOMS IN ENGLISH
1. Apple of one’s eye = One’s dearest one: Haider being my only child in my family, is an apple of our eye.
An apple of one’s eye
2. Apple of discord= cause of quarrel: He became an apple of discord between them. 3. All and sandy= Everyone without any difference: The cultural show was open for all and sundry. 4. At daggers drawn= to be enemy or on bad terms: The two families are at daggers drawn over the issue of some land.
5. At an arm’s length= To keep someone away or at a distance: Always keep the bad people at an arm’s length. 6. At one’s beck and call= at one’s command: The US keeps many countries at her beck and call. 7. At the outset= in the beginning: The successful people met with many challenges at the very outset. 8. All agog= happy and excited: We are all agog that our team won the match. 9. An Axe to grind =Selfish purpose: I think you have an axe to grind in this matter. 10. At a stone’s throw= Very near: Her house is located at a stone’s throw from mine. 11. To add fuel to fire= to excite or encourage further: He added fuel to fire instead of bringing a solution to the problem. 12. On the air= wireless broadcasting: The news bulletin will be on the air at 8 p.m. 13. At one’s fingers tip= to be expert or talented in With all the important knowledge at my fingers tip, I am confident of success. 14. To bear the brunt of= To bear the shock: The areas near the border have to bear the brunt of the enemy. 15. A burning question= an important issue: The burning question before the government is how to establish peace.
16. A feather in one’s cap= an achievement to be proud of: Her selection in MBBS has added on more feather in her cap. 17. To foot the bill= to pay the bill: Let us go to the hotel and foot the bill. 18. From hand to mouth= a miserable and hard existence: The teachers live from hand to mouth in India. 19. To go to the wall= to be ruined: In the struggle for existence,the weak always go to the wall. 20. To bring to the book= To punish, to scold: The man was brought to book for his misbehaviour with a girl. 21. At a low ebb= in the state of decline: The popularity of the party is at ebb these days. 22. To bury the hatchet= end enmity, be friends: They soon buried the hatchet and came to good terms.
23. To burn midnight oil= to study very hard: Success in exams smiles at those who burn the midnight oil. 24. A bed of roses= full of happiness and ease: Life is not a bed of roses but a hard struggle.
25. To build castles in the air=to only dream things: You should not build castles in the air instead you should do something practical. 26. To beat about the bush= not to touch the point: Please do not beat about the bush, say clearly what you have to say. 27. To cut a sorry figure= To create a poor impression: The leader cut a sorry figure in his first speech. 28. To curtain lecture= A lecture given by a wife to her husband in bed: An irregular husband has often to listen to a curtain lecture. 29. To carry the day=to win: Our team played well and carried the day. 30. To curry favour = to win favour: He is trying to curry favour with his boss by praising him.
31. A cat and dog life= a life with frequent quarrels: A cat and dog life spoils the happiness of a home. 32. To chew the cud= reflect, recall: It not useless to chew the cud of past events. 33.A turncoat= one who changes sides in political affiliations: The modern politicians are turncoats, they are not trusted. 34. To cool one’s heel= to wait for somebody patiently: You should have to cool your heels before you can see him.
Idioms in English
35. To call spade a spade= to speak in plain terms: He is not coward, he calls a spade a spade. 36. To clip one’s wings= to make a person weak: The government is clipping the wings of minorities for political gains. 37. To come off with flying colours= to succeed with honour: My sister came off with flying colours in the exam.
Popular Idioms in English
38. To cry over spilt milk=to feel sorry for some loss that can not be repaired: It is of no use crying over the spilt milk. 39. A close-fisted man= a miser: He can not help you, he is a close-fisted man. 40. Dance to one’s tune= to carry out orders: The modern girls refuse to dance to their husband’s tune. 41. Damocle’s sword= an impending story: The fear of third World War hangs like the Damocle’s sword over our heads. 42. To eat the humble pie= to suffer humiliation: Those who quarrel have to eat the humble pie at last. 43. To eat one’s word= to back out: A true friend never eats his word. 44. A fool’s paradise= a state of joy based on false hopes: She is living in fool’s paradise if does thinks to get high marks without hard work. 45. To flog a dead horse= to waste time and energy: To ask a miser for help is like to flog a dead horse. 46. To fight shy of= to try to avoid: The brave never fight shy of difficulties. 47. To fan the flames= to increase anger or excitement: Her silly remarks fanned the flames of his anger.
48. To the finger nail= Completely: He is a rascal to the fingernail. 49. To follow suit: to follow the example of: Some workers left him, some followed suit. 50. Fit as a fiddle= in good condition: He is ninety but still, he is fit as a fiddle.
NOTE: More idioms will be added soon. If you know some commonly used beautiful idioms, you can also share with us. Sharing is caring!
What is the difference between a letter and an alphabet?
Many people get confused between a letter and an alphabet. It seems our Indian English education has messed up the two because most of the people use them interchangeably. They are perhaps not knowing these are two different things.
The Alphabet: The “alphabet” refers tothe collection of all letters from A-Z in English language and whatever to Whatever in other languages. Every language has its own alphabet. We can say “the Hindi alphabet” or “the Greek alphabet”, which refer to the collection of all the letters used in Hindi or Greek, respectively. If we allude to “a Hindi letter” or “some Greek letters”, we are not referring to the whole alphabet, but just one or more letters in an alphabet.
A letter and an Alphabet
Thus simply put, the alphabet is the set of available letters that are used to represent the words of our language, whatever it is. The word ‘alphabet’ has a Greek derivation- ‘Alpha – beta’ are the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. Just trim off the last ‘a’ or alpha.
The alphabet is the backbone of any language. It is needed to read and write a language, and it comprises both the vowels as well as the consonants. The English language was first made using Anglo-Saxon alphabet because of the alphabets of Angles and Saxons who came from German and inhabited a part of England. Missionaries, however, introduced the Latin alphabet to the English language that gradually replaced the Anglo-Saxon alphabet and formed the basis of new English.
The letter: The term “letter” refers to each individual written symbols of the alphabet. They are the building blocks of a language. In English, there are 26 letters from A to Z that are enough to read and write the English language. Each letter has its own sound that helps in recognition during the conversation. Without these letters, the writing of a language is not possible. Every letter in English has its own name and as well as the sound. Every letter is placed in the alphabet in order. This order is called in alphabetical order and it helps to put words in a dictionary in alphabetical order. Letters have indivisible sounds in the sense that words have a composite sound composed of the sounds of these letters.
Punctuation: Definition, Types and Usage Rules
Punctuation or sometimes also called point is the use of conventional symbols such as full stop, comma, capital letters and apostrophe etc in the orthographic language to make sentences flow smoothly and express meaning clearly. It mentions when to pause or add a certain feeling to our words; it separates different ideas so that sentences are clear, it points out titles, quotes, and other Paramount parts of the language. punctuation is important! They are called traffic signals of the language.
Punctuation: Definition, Types and Usage Rules
Ask Your Question?
It is said that there was no punctuation in any languages of old times. With time slowly it was introduced in the written form of the language to help a reader distinguish words and ideas from each other and to mirror the natural rhythms of the spoken language. In this article, we cover the appropriate use of some of the basic punctuations marks.
End Marks: Full stop, Note of Interrogation, Note of Exclamation
The full stop, exclamation point, and question marks are used at the end of a sentence. The following post is intended to help your punctuation marks.
Full Stop (.)is also called period in America. A full stop declares the end of a sentence. It also separates the sentences so that the readers cannot mix up different sentences. A full stop is used at the end of a sentence which is complete and not a question or an exclamatory sentence.
Ali was a little boy when he first saw a person dying. He was so annoyed and panicked that he could not sleep for several days. He still fears the sight of someone’s death.
The period is also used in abbreviations.
Saint = St.
Exempli gratia = e.g.
Nota bene = N.B.
Note of Interrogation (Question Mark) (?)
The sign of interrogation is used to complete sentences that form an interrogative sentence. Indirect questions are regarded as statements, and they take a full stop, not question marks.
Have you had your breakfast?
Where are you going?
I don’t know where he is going. (A statement, not a direct question)
Do you know he was watching TV all day long while I was cleaning the house for the party that we want to throw on this weekend? (It’s a long sentence, yet it is a direct question.)
Did you once think about your family? Your career? Your future? Your life? (Series of questions using the same subject and verb)
What? – So? – Right? (Single word questions are used only in informal writing.)
Note of Exclamation (Exclamation mark/point) (!)
The note of exclamation expresses excitement, either positive or negative. It can also be used for giving additional emphasis to sentences, phrases, or single words, and especially to commands and interjections.
Wait! Don’t take another step!
I can’t believe she could say that!
What a gorgeous house!
Note: It is best to avoid using a note of exclamation whenever the excitement can be described in words. You should be meticulous in using this punctuation in any form of writing.
The comma is the most useful and common punctuation mark in English. It has many important roles in making a written form of English easy to read.
Commas usually add breathing scope for the readers in sentences, so that their thoughts cannot get all jumbled up. A comma has many uses.
i. Comma between Independent Clauses
Usually, a comma separates two independent clauses when they are connected by certain coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, or for). However, if the clauses are very short, no comma is needed.
They finished dinner in pin-drop silence, but Alex knew that he would have to apologize.
I wanted to watch a movie after dinner, but I could not tell her as I was confused about her reactions.
We had dinner and then I watched a movie. (No comma is needed between these clauses)
ii. Comma after Introductory Clauses, Phrases, and Expression
Commas are used not only between independent clauses but also after introductory clauses and phrases. Some expressions and connectors which are placed at the beginning of a sentence also require a comma after them.
If you take off your jacket, you’ll catch a cold. (If the subordinators are used at the beginning of the sentences, the comma marks the separation of the two clauses)
Being insulted, the piper went to the hill. (Participial phrases are always separated from the clauses by commas.)
Before start riding it, you should read the instructions.
When you came here, Alex was the general manager.
Well, I cannot play in the next match.
However, Ali will play in the next match.
In winter we usually stay at home most of the time. (Short phrases like “in winter” don’t need commas.)
Note: A good way to clear the confusion about commas is to read the sentence aloud to make sure whether there is enough pause taken or not for using a comma.
iii. Series Comma
Commas are shorter pauses than a full stop. They are used to separate multiple items of the same category in a series. These items can be a series of words, phrases, or clauses.
We brought pizzas, burgers, chocolate, and a chocolate cake on tour.
The batsman set up his pads put on his helmet and played a good knock. (verb phrases)
He is a player, a singer, an actor, and a director.
iv. Comma before Tag Question
Commas are used before a tag question which is usually a reassuring statement of a sentence’s overall idea.
They’re ready to go, aren’t they?
They’ll never do it, will they?
He loves you, doesn’t he?
v. Comma in Direct Address
Commas are used in vocative uses. Calling someone by name or directly referring to them requires separation by commas.
Hey, Joe, what are you doing?
Listen, Lee, you have to bowl well today.
You know, kid, when I was your age, I used to go out a lot.
vi. Comma for Adding Nonessential Ideas and Nonrestrictive Clauses
Commas can be used to add nonessential ideas or facts in the form of words, phrases, or clauses into a sentence. Usually removing these ideas from sentences does not affect the grammatical accuracy of the sentences.
There’s a palace in London, just across the river, where I visited last week.
The new player, you know him, scored a brilliant century.
I suggest if that’s okay, that you let him go.
vii. Commas in Names and Dates
Commas are used to separate names of places and dates.
Jefferson City, Missouri, is one of the biggest cities in the world.
Brisbane, Queensland, is a big city.
They were married April 05, 2013, in Melbourne. (No comma is necessary only for month and day – g., they were married on April 5 in Melbourne.)
He was born June 24, 1993, in London.
viii. Commas in Dialog
Commas are used in the dialogue to set off the indirect speech from the direct speech.
I told him, “Don’t go there!”
“When we were going there,” she said, “we saw thousands of palm trees.”
“Please, give me that ball”, said the boy.
Common Mistakes with Commas
1. Commas do not separate two verbs or verb phrases joined by a coordinator.
Incorrect: I cleaned, and painted the box.
Correct: I cleaned and painted the box.
2. Commas are not used to separate two nouns, noun phrases, or noun clauses which are joined by a conjunction.
Incorrect: My coach and our board president both sent letters.
Correct: My coach and our board president both sent letters.
3. Subordinate clauses do not need commas when they are joined by a conjunction between them.
Incorrect: I’ll be late if you don’t let me go now.
Correct: I’ll be late if you don’t let me go now. (If you don’t let me go now, I’ll be late.)
Colon is very important but the least used punctuation mark. The usage of colours is limited. Yet, if you know how to use them, you will be able to use them in your writing.
i. Colons are used in the salutations of formal letters.
To whom it may concern:
To all members:
ii. Colons sometimes introduce a series/list to describe some new information after a complete sentence.
Incorrect: The fruit seller had: bananas, apples, and oranges.
Correct: The fruit seller had three kinds of fruit: bananas, apples, and oranges.
iii. A colon is also used to join two independent clauses where the first one explains the second clause or logically follows it. The first word after a colon usually is not capitalized unless the colon introduces a series of new sentences or independent clauses.
He was just thinking only one thing: what was his dog doing then?
I knew the clue: you just had to read it in the mirror.
iv. Colons are used for expressing TIME in figures.
1:30 AM (Not o’clock)
6:30 in the morning
Semicolons are almost like full stops, but they connect two independent clauses or sentences together instead of using a coordinating sometimes they can be replaced by coordinating conjunctions. Semicolons between the two clauses or sentences indicate that the clauses are closely related. Semicolons can be replaced by the coordinating conjunctions.
Example: We do not need a car now; we want to sell it. (This semicolon could be replaced by ‘and’.
Common transitional expressions such as therefore, for instance, namely, indeed, additionally, further, moreover, likewise, and finally are used after a semicolon to start a new clause.
We used to love hunting; however, it is not legal
He does not like me; likewise, I do not like him.
It’s too cold out here; indeed, it’s winter.
Hyphens combine words together to make Compound Nouns/Adjectives. Hyphens are also used with some suffixes and prefixes, such as -like, -wise, anti-, and post- to make new adjectives.
Compound numbers and continuous numbers require hyphen in them. A hyphen is used with compound numbers from 21 to 99 in words and with fractions which work as adjectives in the sentence. Fractions which are nouns don’t need hyphens.
Their age is 23-25.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Three-fifths full a glass
A dash hints a brief break in thought or helps to add information to a sentence. A dash has no space before or after it.
The man was running around the building—I couldn’t see his face—and disappeared down the alley.
This house—and every house on the street—will be connected by this wire.
Russel Crow—you know him, I think—is coming to our locality.
A dash can replace the conjunctions such as namely, that is, or in other words to add new information or explanation.
I was thinking about another road—the one through New York.
There’s only one way not to lose—don’t even participate in the game.
An apostrophe indicates possession and the exclusion of letters in contractions.
They’re going to Canada.
I’m not going.
Trees’ leaves (If there is an ‘s’ before the apostrophe, no ‘s’ is needed for it)
Quotation Marks (‘…’/“… … ..”)
Quotation marks are used for enclosing direct quotations of written or spoken words of others, or dialogue said by characters in fiction.
They are also called quote marks or just quotes for short. The first of the pair is the opening or open quote. It curves to the right: “ ‘. The second one is the closing or close quote. It curves to the left: ’ ”.
Have you seen the music video for the song “Despacito”?
“Play with aggression” shouted the coach.
Your exact words were “get out of my room.”
“I’d never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you”–this line from the song ‘Wicked Games’ always makes me sad.
Commas and periods must always be placed inside the quotation marks, according to most citation systems.
Colons, as well as, semicolons, on the other hand, should be placed outside the quotation marks.
Note of interrogation and note of exclamation should be placed inside the quotation marks when they are part of the quoted elements. Seemingly, when the note of interrogation and exclamation are not a part of the quoted materials, they are not placed outside the quotation marks.
Parentheses – ()
Parentheses block off materials that interrupt the text to add information.
The parks (in Boston) are always crowded.
We provide a lot of services. (See our website)
We provide a lot of services (see our website).
Brackets enclose the additional things in the quoted material. These additions are used for clarifications of the words or phrases of the quoted materials.
“It [the river] taught me all I ever knew about life.”
“Yeats used to love her [Maude Gonne], and he wrote many poems about her.”
“Every man[sic] must die one day.”
Morphology studies the way in which morphemes join to form meaningful words. Syntax studies the way the sequences of words are ordered into phrases, clauses, and sentences. Phonology studies the elementary speech sounds.
Thus, grammar is a set of constraints on the possible sequences of symbols expressed as a system of rules and principles for speaking and writing a language. The study of the internal structure of words (morphology) and the use of words in the construction of phrases, clauses, and sentences (syntax).
Fundamental Units of Language
There are five main units of grammatical structure: morpheme, word, phrase, clause, and sentence. A morpheme is the smallest unit. It is defined as the smallest meaningful unit that can not be further broken into meaningful constituents.
Morphemes join to form a word. Phrase and clause are groups of words. While phrase does not have subject and predicate, the clause does have its own subject and predicate. In a sentence, Ali sings, Joe is subject and sings is a predicate. The sentence is also an ordered string of words that convey some meaning. It must have subject and predicate. All these things will be discussed later as separate topics.
Note that what is described above is called traditional grammar. The subject, predicate, etc are called grammatical functions. Parts-of-speech such as verb, noun, the adjective is called grammatical categories or word classes.
A fourth aspect of language includes semantics, the study meaning of words and the combination of the words into phrases, sentences, and larger linguistic units.
The passive voice is formed with a suitable tense form of the verb’ be’ followed by the past participle, e.g., is broken, was discovered etc. So, in order to form a passive sentence of an active sentence;
➡ Move the action receiver from the position of the direct object of the sentence to the position of the subject of the sentence.
➡ Insert the verb BE in the corresponding number and tense with the new subject.
➡ Change the verb to its past participle form. Optionally, place the verb actor in the position of the object after preparation ‘by’.
Study the following examples to systemize your knowledge.
1. I break the glass.
The glass is broken by me.
2. I am breaking the glass.
The glass is being broken by me.
3. I have broken the glass.
The glass has been broken by me.
4. I broke the glass yesterday.
The glass was broken by me yesterday.
5. I was breaking the glass.
The glass was being broken by me.
6. I had broken the glass.
The glass had been broken by me.
7. I will break the glass.
The glass will be broken by me.
8. I will have broken the glass.
The glass will have been broken by me.
9. I am going to break the glass.
The glass is going to be broken by me.
10. Break the glass.
Let the glass be broken.
Please, break the glass.
You are requested to break the glass.
11. Sugar tastes sweet.
Sugar is sweet when tasted.
1. I do not break the glass.
The glass is not broken by me.
2. I am not breaking the glass.
The glass is not being broken by me.
3. I have not broken the glass.
The glass has not been broken by me.
4. I did not break the glass yesterday.
The glass was not broken by me yesterday.
5. I was not breaking the glass.
The glass was not being broken by me.
6. I had not broken the glass.
The glass had not been broken by me.
7. I will not break the glass.
The glass will not be broken by me.
8. I will have not broken the glass.
The glass will have not been broken by me.
9. I am not going to break the glass.
The glass is not going to be broken by me.
10. Don’ t break the glass.
You should not break the glass.
Please, break the glass.
You are requested to break the glass.
11. Sugar does not taste bitter.
Sugar is not bitter when tasted.
1. Do I break the glass?
Is the glass was broken by me?
2. Am I breaking the glass?
Is the glass is being broken by me?
3. Have I broken the glass?
Has the grass been broken by me?
4. Did I break the glass yesterday?
Was the glass broken by me yesterday?
5. Was I breaking the glass?
Was the glass being broken by me?
6. Had I broken the glass?
Had the glass been broken by me?
7. Will I break the glass?
Will the glass be broken by me?
8. Will I have broken the glass.
Will the glass has been broken by me?
9. Am I going to break the glass?
Is the glass going to be broken by me?
From the above examples, we find the verb structure of passive sentences as;
He is going to teach me.
I am going to be taught by him.
He is going to play the piano.
The piano is going to be played by him.
She is going to make the piano.
The piano is going to be played by her.
It is also noticed that the object of an active verb ( the transitive verb) in the active voice becomes the subject of the verb in the passive voice. See the following examples also:
They use a spade for digging. ( a spade= object)
A spade is used for digging. ( a spade= subject)
She wrote the article.( the article=object)
The article was written by her. ( the article= subject)
Since the object of a verb in the active voice becomes the subject of the subject of the passive voice, it means only the transitive verbs can be used in the passive voice. As the intransitive verb has no object, they can not be changed to passive voice. Read the following examples:
She dusted the chair.( dusted = transitive verb)
She sat in the chair. ( sat = intransitive verb)
We can write ;
The chair was dusted by her. ( Passive)
But it is incorrect to say;
The chair was sat on by her.
Verbs which takes a direct object ( like dusted) to complete its meaning can be changed to passive voice.
➡ A verb such as sit, stand, jump, come, smile, laugh, do not take a direct object after them, we generally can not form the passive voice sentences with such intransitive verbs. It is but important to remember that besides above verbs, other verbs are not transitive or intransitive but can be used transitively or intransitively. At the place where they are used as intransitively the cannot be changed to passives. For example; ‘He runs’ Can not become ‘ He is run’.
➡ There are some transitive verbs which can not be changed to passives in certain of their meanings. These have, fit, resemble, contain, suit etc.
Have ( possession): He has a speaking parrot.
A speaking parrot is had by him. ( incorrect)
Have( experience): I was having a lovely time.
A lovely time was being had by me. ( incorrect)
Fit( suitable): This dress does not fit me.
I am not fitted by this dress. ( incorrect)
➡ Reciprocals ( each other, one another) and reflexives(myself, himself, herself ) cannot be changed to passives.
They stared at each other.
Each other was stared at. ( incorrect)
➡ There are some active verbs which have a passive meaning.
After the verbs need, want and require the present participle form is used with passive meaning, as;
Your head needs examining.
Your nails require cleaning.
Your trouser needs pressing.
Your words demand thinking.
➡ There are a few transitive verbs which even in an active form, are sometimes used in the passive sense, as;
These peaches taste sour. ( i.e., are sour when they are tasted)
You report reads well.
The rose smells sweet.
This shirt doesn’t wash well.
The cakes ate crisp.
➡ When the sentence is an imperative one, then the word “let” is used in the passive voice.
Break the glass.
Let the glass be broken.
Advertise the post.
Let the post be advertised.
Request and should etc can be sometimes used for making appropriate sense, as;
Please do not smoke. (Active)
You are requested/advised not to smoke.
Don’t encourage indiscipline. (Active)
Indiscipline should not be encouraged.
➡ In questions, the helping verbs should always precede the DOER of the action in the active voice and the RECIEVER of the action in the passive voice, as;
Did he break the glass?
Was the glass broken by him?
Do you know him?
Is he known to you?
➡ The personal pronouns ( nominative case) are changed to ( accusative case), as;
The sentences which contain stative verbs do not have an active voice or passive voice.
Voice defines the relationship between the action and the actor. In English, the same set of facts can be reported in two ways.
1. In the active voice
2. In the passive voice
Now, let us see what they mean.
For the purpose of illustration, let us write two sentences. Here are the two sentences.
1. Asif waters the garden. 2. The garden is watered by Asif.
In one sentence the subject is the doer of action and in another sentence, the subject is affected or targeted by the action.
1. Asif waters the garden.
This sentence is about ‘Asif’. Therefore, Asif is the subject and he is a doer of the action denoted by the verb ‘waters’.
2. The garden is watered by Asif.
In this sentence we talk about ‘the garden, and, therefore, the garden is subject and it is acted upon by the action denoted by verb phrase ‘ is watered’ performed by ‘Asif’.
Thus, we conclude voice is that form of the verb which shows whether the subject acts or is affected by the action denoted by the verb.
There are two voices:
Sentence 1 is active because in this sentences the subject is the doer of the action. It is Asif who waters the garden. When a person performs some actions he is said to be active. The doer of the action is also called agent. Hence, we can say when the subject of a sentence is an agent( doer of the action), the sentence is active. Here are some more examples of active sentences:
Saika plays the piano. ( Saika is subject and agent).
Tasleem wrote a wonderful essay. ( Tasleem is subject and agent).
She will sing a beautiful song. ( She is a subject and possible agent)
Active voice: The verb is said to be an active voice when the subject acts or in other words, the active form of the verb is used when the agent or actor is to be made prominent.
Sentence 2 is passive because in this sentence the sentence the subject( the garden ‘ is affected by the action of the verb performed by Asif. In this the subject is not doing the action, therefore it is a passive sentence. The subject which is affected it acted upon is called the patient. In other words, the sentence is passive when its subject is patient. Here are some more examples of passive sentences:
The piano is played by Saika. ( The piano is subject and patient)
An essay was written by Tasleem. ( An essay is subject and patient)
A song will be sung by her. ( A song is subject and patient)
Passive Voice: The verb is said to be in the passive voice when the subject is affected by the action of the verb. In other terms, passive refers to the way a sentence is structured so that there is a shift in focus from the subject of the action ( agent) to the receiver of the action.
In all sentences, the subject is the point of focus. Subject means the topic of the sentence. It is the prominent entity about which the sentence is. Therefore, if the subject is an agent ( doer of the action) the sentence contains an active verb. Whereas if the subject is patient ( receiver or bearer of action) the sentence contains a passive verb.
➡ The doer of action stated by the verb is called agent. ➡ The sentence is active when its subject is an agent. ➡ The receiver of the bearer of action stated by the verb is called the patient. ➡ The sentence is passive when its subject is an agent.
Now you should be able to answer the following questions:
What is an active voice in a sentence?
What does Passive Voice mean in grammar?
What is the difference between an active and passive voice?
Can you identify whether the following sentences contain active verbs or passive verbs:
The boy answered the question.
The people crowded in the park.
The man was killed by someone.
Quinine is bitter when tasted.
The flowers have been plucked today.
The building will be decorated tomorrow.
She gave a nice lecture.
I am studying your posts.
This post helped me a lot.
You were kicked badly.
Those who help themselves are helped by God.
In the next lesson, we are discussing the structure of actives and passives and the rule of changing actives to passives and vice-versa.
Auxiliary verbs: An introduction
We have got various emails from many students who wanted us to discuss auxiliary verbs in detail. So we have decided to have a complete discussion on this wonderful concept of “Auxiliary Verbs” in simple and lucid language.No intricate terms will be used for they become an obstacle in the way of understanding the concepts properly. Within one month the students will feel quite at home in choosing and using auxiliary verbs. Let’s start:
Auxiliary verbs are also called helping verbs or special verbs. These are the verbs which are not used alone ( except primary auxiliary which can be used as an independent verb) but in conjunction with other verbs to form a tense, mood, question etc. Auxiliary verbs have certain features that distinguish them from main verbs. These salient features of auxiliary verbs are as under:
Auxiliary verbs are used to form negatives
1. He is not a good person.
2. A whale does not lay eggs.
3. Ali has not given me the book.
4. Muzamil cannot speak English well.
Auxiliary verbs are used to form questions
1. Is your friend married?
2. Does Irfan work hard?
3. Has he given you the book?
4. Can you drive a car?
5. Can a fish climb trees?
6. Are you going to school?
They verbs are used to form question tags
1. Your brother looks well, doesn’t he?
2. She is a nice person, isn’t she?
3. He has a smart personality, hasn’t he?
4. Can you drive a car,can’ t you?
5. You are not busy, are you?
6. She can’t play the piano, can she?
Note: For positive statements, negative question tags are used and for negative statements, positive question tags are used as per the following pattern:
i) Auxiliary + n’t + subject ( for positive statements)
ii) Auxiliary + subject ( for negative statements)
Auxiliary verbs are classified into three types. These are given as below:
1) Primary Auxiliary Verbs,
2) Modal Auxiliary Verbs and
3) Semi-modal Auxiliary Verbs.
Now let us discuss them one by one.
1) Primary Auxiliary Verbs:
Primary auxiliary verbs can be used both as lexical verbs( full verbs) as well as helping verbs.
She is a beautiful girl.
I have a new laptop.
She does her work daily.
In the above sentences, primary auxiliaries are used as independent verbs or we can say as lexical verbs. As auxiliary verbs they are used in the following sentences:
She is dancing very beautifully.
Abid is writing an article.
I have finished my work.
She does not run fast.
Did they go there?
There are three primary auxiliary verbs. They are “Be, Do and Have”.
a) “Be” is the First main auxiliary verb. It has different forms. They are “am, is, are, was, were, being and been”. It is the only verb in English which has eight forms.
b) “Do” is the second main auxiliary verb. It has different forms. They are “do, does and did”.
c) “Have” is the third main auxiliary verb. It has different forms. They have, has, had and have.
Let’s discuss the primary auxiliary verbs one by one first as lexical verbs and then as auxiliary verbs.
”Be” as a lexical verb
‘Be’ is a special verb in English. It is the only verb with eight forms. These eight forms are :
am ,is, are = present forms
was, were = past forms
be ,being ,been =non-finite forms
‘ Be’ as a lexical verb means:
i) To exist
Whatever is, it is right.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
Ali is here.
ii) To occupy a place or position
Mughal Gardens are in Kashmir.
Lakshadweep Islands are in the Arabian Sea.
iii) To ‘ take place’
The funeral was a day later.
The party is scheduled tonight.
‘Be’ as an auxiliary verb is used to form progressives with present participles (singing) and passives with past participles(sung).
Ali is playing the piano.
She is writing a book.
They are digging the land with the shovel.
The children were picking the butterflies.
The article is written by her.
The telephone was invented by Bell.
He is being taught by Ali.
Quinine is bitter when tasted.
Have as a lexical verb
Have as a lexical verb has various meanings. It is used to as;
I have the latest car.
Ali has a big house.
She had a beautiful gold necklace.
We are having a wonderful time here.
We had unforgettable days with you.
Do you have tea in the morning?
Does she have his advice?
A cat has four legs and a tail.
The garden has colourful flowers.
Note: When we use to have as a lexical verb to mean possession, we do not use it within. It is wrong to say:
What lovely hair you are having.
He is having a car and a bungalow.
Have as an auxiliary verb
i) Have is used with past participles ( third forms of the verb) to form perfectives. Some examples are hereunder:
I have completed this work.
She has read the book.
He has already passed the exam.
They had finished the meeting.
Ali had eaten the food when I reached his home.
” Have to” is used with the infinitive to indicate obligation:
I have to be there by 5 o’ clock.
He has to move the furniture by himself.
Ali had to join with them on time.
In negatives and questions, ”have to” and ” had to” are used with doing, does and did:
They have to go.
~ They do not have to go.
~Do they have to go.
Do as a lexical verb
Do as a lexical verb means to perform. Like “be” and “have”, it can be used as a verb with full meaning:
He did his work in time.
She does that you know.
Do as an auxiliary verb
Do, does, did as auxiliary verbs have no meanings. However, they have very important usage in the English language as follows:
i) Do is used to frame negatives of present simple and past simple sentences as follows:
Abid drives a car.~ Abid does not drive a car.
She likes the pigeons.~She does not like the pigeons.
I play the lyre.~ I do not play the lyre.
She liked mangoes.~She did not like mangoes.
Ali left last night.~ Ali did not leave last night.
ii) Do is used to form the question of the sentences that do not contain a helping verb as follows:
He likes mango juice.~ Does he like mango juice?
His methods bring success.~Do his methods bring success?
He left last night.~ Did he leave last night?
iii) Do is also used to form question tags as follows:
She likes tea, doesn’t she?
You play the piano, do you?
She does not like tea, does she?
She did not like tea, did she?
iv) Do is used to form negatives of imperatives. Some examples are given as below:
Shut the window.
Don’t shut the window.
Shot the fire.
Don’t shot the fire.
Don’t be silly.
Obey your teachers.
Don’ t obey your teachers
v) In some sentences do is used to persuade to do something:
Do come in.
Do be quiet.
Do have another pizza.
In such cases do is strongly stressed. Sometimes do is used when we want to be emphatic. Here are some examples;
You do look pale.
I told him not to go but he did go.
2) Modal Auxiliary Verbs:
Dear friends, the second type of Auxiliary verbs is “modal auxiliary verbs”. These are the helping verbs that can not be used as lexical verbs( independent verbs). They are sometimes called defective verbs because some other verbs( lexical verbs) are wanting in them. They have no third person singular form(- s form). Besides, they have also no infinitive or – ing forms. There are modal auxiliary verbs. They are “can, could, may, might, will, would, shall, should, must and ought to”. For each modal auxiliary verb, there are many structures and many usages. We will learn now Semi-modal auxiliary verbs.
3) Semi-modal Auxiliary Verbs:
The third type is Semi-modal auxiliary verbs. There are five Semi-Modal Auxiliary verbs. They are “need, dare, used to, have to and Had better”.
Friends, there is a controversy about the number of semi-modal auxiliary verbs. Some grammar books say “there are five semi-modal auxiliary verbs”. some grammar books say “there are only four. Some websites say” there are three”. But we will have no problem. Because we will discuss all the available semi-modal auxiliary verbs in the coming days. Be in touch. You can also subscribe for free to get notifications from the lessons that will be published from time to time.
“Auxiliary verbs” has another name. These are also called “helping verbs”. Auxiliary verbs are of three types.
1) Primary Auxiliary verbs. Its other name is “Main helping Verbs”.
2) Modal auxiliary verbs. It has two other names. They are “Modals or Modal verbs”.
3) Semi-modal Auxiliary verbs. It has two other names. They are “Semi-modals or Semi-modal verbs”.
Dear Friends, now we have a thorough discussion of the primary auxiliary verbs (Be, Do and Have). You should be able to give answers to the following questions
1)How many types of auxiliary verbs are there? And what are they?
2)How many primary auxiliary verbs are there? And what are they?
3)How many modal auxiliary verbs are there? And what are they?
4) How many semi-modal Auxiliary verbs are there? And what are they?
Dear Friends, write these questions in a notebook. Then write their answers too in your notebook. Please read this lesson again and again. Then you will be able to give answers to these questions wonderfully. Please don’t forget to send your thoughts in the comment section below.