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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE








WHAT IS A PREPOSITION OF PLACE?

Prepositions are words that show a PLACE or POSITION. They indicate where something is located. 

E.g. 
The cat is on the mat.





The cat is in the box.






IN and On are prepositions. 

HERE IS A PICTURE WITH SOME PREPOSITION (THIS IS NOT THE COMPLETE LIST)





 
Now you can watch the following video about preposition if you want to learn more!!






IT'S YOUR TURN NOW!! LET'S PRACTISE!!
Click on the exercises below to learn prepositions:

EXERCISE 1

EXERCISE 2

EXERCISE 3

EXERCISE 4

EXERCISE 5 

EXERCISE 6

EXERCISE 7

EXERCISE 8

EXERCISE 9 

 

Friday, 17 August 2012

WRITE & LISTEN


Do you want to know how to pronounce something perfectly well? 

Click HERE and type a text in the box. Click 'SAY IT' and listen to it! You can even choose different voices and accents.

Enjoy it!


HOW THE MONA LISA GOT HER SMILE




Click HERE and listen to the story of Mona Lisa. You couldn't possibly find more weird facts!!


Click HERE and read this article of ScienceNetLinks. You can also listen to it while reading the transcript. There is a questionnaire at the bottom of the article. Copy the questions and answer them to hand in!



LEARNING VOCABULARY

Check out this great dictionary to learn and practise vocabulary. Just choose the topic, listen to the words and play the games to memorize them!

  
Click HERE to work with the dictionary


ANIMAL FLIP BOOK


Go through the pages of this book and check how much you know about animals:



CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BOOK



PASSIVE VOICE

WHAT IS PASSIVE VOICE?


English has two voices: active and passive

The active voice is used when the subject does the action of the sentence. E.G. The dog ate my homework. 
 
The passive voice is used when the subject does not do the action of the sentence. E.G. My homework was eaten by the dog. 

We can only form a passive sentence from an active sentence when there is an object in the active sentence (transitive verbs).
 
The passive is formed with any verbal tense of the verb TO BE + the  PAST PARTICIPLE


WHEN IS PASSIVE VOICE USED?

1.  When the agent of the action is unknown:
E.G. My wallet was stolen last night. (we don't know who stole the wallet)

2.  When the agent is unimportant:
The new students’ centre was completed last week. (the people who built the centre are unnecessary information for the meaning of the sentence)

3. When the agent of the action is obvious from the context:
I was born in March of '55. (Everyone knows that it was my mother bore me then)

4.  To emphasize (put importance on) the recipient (receiver) of the action:
a. Only Jane was injured in the accident; the remainder of the passengers were unhurt. (we want Jane to be the subject of the sentence and at the beginning to emphasize her importance)
b. Erina was chosen as best student, and of course this made her happy. (the teacher who chose Erina is not what we want to emphasize)

5. To connect ideas in different clauses more clearly:
a. Pharmacologists would like to study the natural ‘pharmacy’ known as the rainforest, if this can be done before clear-cutting destroys it. (in this sentence, keeping THIS near the first clause makes the sentence's meaning clearer)
b. The music was being played too loud by the students, who were finally asked to turn it down.

6.  To make generic statements, announcements, and explanations:
a. Something should be done about the traffic jams in this town.
b. Patrons are asked not to smoke.
c. It's said that it's going to rain tonight.(Often, people will say, 'They say that it's going to rain tonight', the they being the weatherman.)

HOW DO WE FORM PASSIVE VOICE?

The passive form is created by combining a form of the VERB TO BE with the PAST PARTICIPLE of the main verb. 

In the passive voice the object of the active sentence becomes subject in the passive sentence. The subject of the active sentence becomes the agent of the passive sentence or is left out.
In fact, the agent of the passive sentence is not mostly written: we are not normally interested in the doer of the action in the passive sentence or the doer is unimportant or obvious. When we need to mention the doer of the action, we use the preposition BY.
example:

Active: Peter a house.
Passiv
Passive: A house is built by Peter.


The passive can be used in different verbal tenses. Let's take a look at the passive forms of the verb write.

Tense Subject Verb Object
Simple Present Active: Ritawrites a letter.
Passive: A letteris writtenby Rita.
Simple Past Active: Ritawrotea letter.
Passive: A letterwas writtenby Rita.
Present Perfect Active: Ritahas writtena letter.
Passive: A letterhas been writtenby Rita.
Future Active: Ritawill writea letter.
Passive: A letterwill be writtenby Rita.
Modals Active: Ritacan writea letter.
Passive: A lettercan be writtenby Rita.

Tense Subject Verb Object
Present Continuous Active: Ritais writinga letter.
Passive: A letteris being writtenby Rita.
Past Continuous Active: Ritawas writinga letter.
Passive: A letterwas being writtenby Rita.
Past Perfect Active: Ritahad writtena letter.
Passive: A letterhad been writtenby Rita.
Future Perfect Active: Ritawill have writtena letter.
Passive: A letterwill have been writtenby Rita.
Conditional I Active: Ritawould writea letter.
Passive: A letterwould be writtenby Rita.
Conditional II Active: Ritawould have writtena letter.
Passive: A letterwould have been writtenby Rita.


For more explanation about to turn active sentence into passive clikc HERE.


WHAT SHALL I DO WHEN THE ACTIVE SENTENCE HAS TWO OBJECTS?

When there are two objects in an active sentence, there are two possible passive sentences.

E.G. The professor explained the exercise to the students.

There are two objects the example:
object 1 = indirect object: the students

object 2 = direct object: the exercise

An indirect object is very often a person, a direct object a thing. 

Each of the objects (direct and indirect) can be the subject in the passive sentence.
passive sentence - possibility 1
subject verb object (agent)
The students were explained the exercise. (by the professor).


passive sentence - possibility 2
subject verb object (agent)
The exercise to the students (by the professor).
Possibility 1 is sometimes called Personal passive and it is the most common used in passive voice.

CLICK ON THE EXERCISES BELOW TO PRACTISE PASSIVE VOICE

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

COUNTABLE & UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS


IS A NOUN COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE?


In English nouns are countable or uncountable


COUNTABLE NOUNS


Countable nouns are easy to recognize. They are things that we can count. For example: pen. We can count pens. We can have one, two, three or more pens. Here are some more countable nouns: 

  • dog, cat, animal, man, person
  • bottle, box, litre
  • coin, note, dollar
  • cup, plate, fork
  • table, chair, suitcase, bag

Countable nouns can be singular or plural:
  • My dog is playing.
  • My dogs are hungry.


We can use the indefinite article a / an with countable nouns: 
  • A dog is an animal. 


When a countable noun is singular, we must use a word like a / the / my / this with it:
  •  I want an orange. (not I want orange)
  • Where is my bottle) (not Where is bottle?)

When a countable noun is plural, we can use it alone:
  • I like oranges.
  • Bottles can break.

We can use some and any with countable nouns:
  • I've got some dollars.
  • Have you got any pens?

We can use a few and many with countable nouns:
  • I've got a few dollars.
  • I haven't got many pens.

UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

Uncountable nouns are substances, concepts, etc. that cannot divide into separate elements. We cannot count them. For example, we cannot count milk. We can count bottles of milk or litres of milk, but we cannot count milk itself. Here are some more uncountable nouns:
  • music, art, love, happiness
  • advice, information, news
  • furniture, luggage
  • rice, sugar, butter, water
  • electricity, gas, power
  • money, currency

We usually treat uncountable nouns as singular. We use a singular verbs. For example:
  • This news is very important.
  • Your luggage looks heavy.


We do not usually use the indefinite article a / an with uncountable noun. We cannot say an information or a music. But we can say a something of
  • a piece of news
  • a bottle of water
  • a grain of rice

We can use some and any with uncountable nouns: 
  • I've got some money.
  • Have you got any rice?

We can use a little and much with uncountable nouns:
  • I've got a little money.
  • I haven't got much rice.

Here are some more examples of countable and uncountable nouns: 

CountableUncountable
dollarmoney
songmusic
suitcaseluggage
tablefurniture
batteryelectricity
bottlewine
reportinformation
tipadvice
journeytravel
jobwork
viewscenery

NOUNS THAT CAN BE COUNTABLE OR UNCOUNTABLE

Sometimes, the same noun can be countable or uncountable, often with a change of meaning. Here are some examples of nouns that can be both countable or uncountable:

CountableUncountable
There are two hairs in my coffee!hairI don't have much hair.
There are two lights in our bedroom.lightClose the curtain. There's too much light!
Shhhhh! I thought I heard a noise.
There are so many different noises in the city.
noiseIt's difficult to work when there is too much noise.
Have you got a paper to read? (newspaper)
Hand me those student papers.
paperI want to draw a picture. Have you got some paper?
Our house has seven rooms.roomIs there room for me to sit here?
We had a great time at the party.
How many times have I told you no?
timeHave you got time for a coffee?
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's greatest works.workI have no money. I need work!

Watch this presentation about countable and uncountable nouns that will clarify this concept.

Countable and uncountable nouns from Inma Dominguez


LET'S PRACTISE!!


CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO PRACTISE ON COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS:


EXERCISE 1


EXERCISE 2


EXERCISE 3


EXERCISE 4


EXERCISE 5


EXERCISE 6


EXERCISE 7


Thursday, 26 July 2012

NAMES OF BRITISH TOWNS OR CITIES


DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE NAMES OF TOWNS OR CITIES IN BRITAIN COME FROM?

There are many towns or villages whose names contain the suffix -ford. Not only that, there is an important number of endings that get repeated over and over: -by, -ing, -ham, -bourne, -borough, -burg, etc. Why? These suffixes have a meaning.

The names of towns and cities in Great Britain reflect the history of this nation. We can find workds that come from the different languages that were spoken at a given time in the land. 


Some are Celtic in origin, others are of Latin root and most of them are Anglo-Saxon, but we cannot forget the influence of the Viking invasions, especially in the North-East of Britain. 

Let's have a look at the different name endings that have remained from the peoples that once inhabited Britain:


LATIN
The Romans stayed in Britain for several centuries, but the original inhabitants, the Celts, did not pick their language. 

However, the military influence of the Romans was so overpowering, that the names of their fortifications or “castra” have remained with different spellings. 
 Thus, we can find: Chester, Manchester, Colchester, Lancaster, Gloucester  /ˈglɒstə/, Leicester /ˈlɛstər/ etc.
From the word colonia, meaning settlement, we get the suffix -coln, as in Lincoln.
 
The element port can have two origins, the word porta, meaning gate, or the word portus, meaning harbour, thus, we can find towns inland and by the sea that contain that root: Portsmouth, Stockport. 
 
From the word strata, meaning street, we have the root strat, as in Stratford.


A Roman Castrum



CELTIC
Although the Celts were the oldest inhabitants, not many words of Celtic origin remain in the language. 
From the word aber, meaning mouth of a river, we have Aberistwith in Wales, and Aberdeen in Scotland, but nothing in England.
Other Celtic elements include coombe (deep valley), glen (narrow valley) and pen (hill): Coombe, Glenrothes, Penzance.


OLD ENGLISH

From the middle of the 5th century the Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded the British Isles. They were all Germanic tribes ad their language formed the base of the English language. Thus, the place names that contain Anglo-Saxon elements are numerous. Here are a few:
  • burg, borough, bury, indicate that these places were once fortified settlements. The word derives from Germanic and can be traced in most countries in western Europe, including Spain and Portugal. Edinburgh, Marlborough and Shaftesbury are some examples.
  • burna (-borne) a brook, stream: Winterborne
  • dun - a hill: Ashdon (meaning hill with ash trees)
  • eg (-ey) an island: Aldersey.
  • ford - shallow place where water can be crossed. Oxford was originally a place where oxen used to cross the river.
  • halh - a nook, corner of land, as in Bramhall
  • ham - a homestead. It is found in hundreds of place names. Tottenham, Clapham, Lewisham or Nottingham are just a few examples. The “h” is silent in many of these names.
  • ingas (-ing) the people of …: Charing, Kettering, Ealing. Sometimes -ing is combined with ham or tun: Birmingham, Wellington.
  • leah (-ley) a clearing: Crawley.
  • stede - a place, site of a building, as in Stansted.
  • tun - an enclosure, farmstead, is by far the most common ending of English place names: Luton, Norton.
  • well - a well, spring: Stanwell, Southwell.
  • wic - a farm or settlement: Keswick, Warwick, Norwich. Notice that the “W” is silent in these place names.
  • worth - an enclosure, homestead: Letchworth.

Edimburgh Fountain
OLD NORSE
The Vikings raided and finally settled in England in the 9th century, establishing the Danelaw in the North-East and East of the country. There are many Scandinavian place names, especially in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. These are the most typical endings:
  • by -  a farm, then a village: Grimsby
  • gil -  a ravine: Scargil
  • holmr (-holm) flat ground by a river. There are many places called Holme or containing this word in their names.
  • thorpe - a secondary settlement, farm: Althorpe.
  • thveit (-thwaite) a meadow, a clearing: Gunthwaite.
  • toft - a site of a house and outbuildings, a plot of land: Blacktoft.
Area of Danelaw

FRENCH 
After the conquest, the Normans changed very few place names in England. Most times they just added the name of the family that owned the land. Thus, Ashby-de-la-Zouch or Herstmonceaux state who their owners were in the past. 
Other French names are those beginning with Bel or Beau, meaning fair or beautiful: Beaulieu, Belgrave, Beaumont.
Richmond is also French, meaning strong hill (riche mont).
Richmond Castle
 

As you can see, the different endings or elemnts of place names give us a lot of information as to the origins and history of the place, relating it to the poeple that used to inhabit it long ago.


If you would like to know the original meaning of a place name in England, this website of the University of Nottingham can be of great help.