Blog post #2
This post is divided into three parts: Grammar Builder, Idioms and Recommended Reading.
I. GRAMMAR BUILDER
Competence in grammar is important for clear and appropriate communication, and it conveys a professional image of ourselves and of the companies or organisations we represent.
Verbs with infinitives and gerunds
We often use a verb directly after another verb to show our attitude to an action.
The infinitive comes from the base form of the verb, and can be used after to (He wants to read the sports results in the newspaper) or without to, (She lets us use a company car whenever we like).
To create a gerund, add -ing to the base form (I prefer reading to watching films).
Gerunds are formed in the same way as present participles of verbs, but they are used as nouns.(Smoking is bad for your health).
1. Verbs + to-infinitives only
These verbs include: arrange, decide, expect, deserve, hope, learn, manage, offer, plan, pretend.
Examples: I’ll arrange to have the meeting postponed until Friday.
They’re hoping to get the contract signed tomorrow.
She said she’d manage to finish the report by midday.
2. Verbs + gerunds only
These verbs include: avoid, carry on, delay, finish, involve, justify, mind, suggest.
Example: We must avoid getting stuck in the rush hour.
Frequently made mistake(s): We must avoid to get stuck in the rush hour.
3. Verbs + infinitives or gerunds
Some verbs can be followed either by infinitives or gerunds, with or without changes in meaning.
With the verbs love, like, hate, prefer there is little difference in meaning.
Example: John likes to play (or likes playing) golf on Sundays, but I prefer to go (or prefer going) to the beach.
With the verbs remember, forget, regret, try, stop, mean, need, there is a difference in meaning.
Example: You must remember to call the travel agent before you go home.
I remember meeting you last year at the conference.
When the remembering happens before the action, use the to-infinitive, and when it happens after the action, use the gerund.
For a more detailed study of the structures used in this third category, you need to consult a good grammar book.
An idiom is a group of words in a fixed order whose meaning is different from the meanings of each individual word. Idioms are often colloquial expressions, but can also be used in formal style, in poetry, in Shakespeare and even in the Bible.
The word "Point"
The word point is used in a large number of expressions as a noun or as a verb. Here are three expressions using the word as a noun.
1. up to a (certain) point - partly, or to a limited degree
Example: There’s some truth in what he says, but only up to a point.
Suggested translation into French: jusqu'à un certain point (or) dans une certaine mesure.
2. point taken - used to say you accept what somebody has said, possibly after disagreeing with them.
Example: Point taken. Now let’s drop the subject.
Suggested translation into French: D’accord, je te le concede.
3. make a point of doing something - make sure you do something because you think it’s important.
Example: He always makes a point of remembering his children’s birthdays.
Suggested translation into French: ne pas manquer de faire quelque chose.
III. RECOMMENDED READING (for lovers of Shakespeare).
“Shakespeare's skill was in his grammar not his language”, academic claims
Note: This post was first published on Linkedin on 21 June 2014.
© Copyright Essential English 2005-2016
Thank you to my friends, students and former students, and family members who have been giving me valuable feedback on this language learning blog. Please continue to comment on the posts - your feedback is ‘très précieux’.
This post is divided into two parts: English Idioms and Vocabulary Builder.
In this first post, I would like to explain the meaning of the title of the blog, which itself is an idiom:
" KEEP YOUR ENGLISH UP TO SCRATCH "
So what is an idiom?
An idiom is a group of words in a fixed order whose meaning is different from the meanings of each individual word. Idioms, which are commonly used in English, are often colloquial expressions but are also used in formal style, in poetry, in Shakespeare and even in the Bible.
Here are three idioms using the word SCRATCH.
1. up to scratch - reaching an expected or required standard
Synonyms : satisfactory, acceptable
Examples: I’m going to spend a few weeks in London to keep/bring my English up to scratch.
I need to talk to him because his work isn’t up to scratch these days.
Suggested translation into French:
maintenir /emmener quelque chose au niveau voulu.
2. from scratch (informal)
a. with no previous knowledge
Example: She learned Mandarin Chinese from scratch in six months.
b. to do something from the beginning, without using any earlier work
Examples: If they’d been involved in the project from scratch, they’d realise how much work’s gone into it.
Suggested translation into French: à partir de zero.
3. you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours
This is a saying or proverb used to tell somebody that if they do something for you, you’ll do something for them in return, even if it’s unfair to other people.
Suggested translation into French: un service en attire un autre.
II. VOCABULARY BUIDER
Building and widening your vocabulary will improve your English and help you to speak with more confidence.
There are certain words and phrases in English which non-native speakers often have particular difficulty with. Two of these words which spring to mind are the verbs “forget” and “want”.
1. The verb forget should not be used in a phrase when a place is mentioned.
Example: I forgot to bring the brochures. I left them at the office. (correct)
Frequently made mistake(s): I forgot the brochures at the office. (incorrect)
2. The verb want is often followed by a direct object, and not a that-clause. This also applies to would like/love etc.
Example: She wants me to help her with the paperwork.(correct)
Frequently made mistake: She wants that I help her with the paperwork. (incorrect)
Example: I would like you to visit the new premises.(correct)
Frequently made mistake: I would like that you visit the new premises. (incorrect)
3. False Friends (faux amis) English vs French
In language terms, false friends are words which are frequently confused with similar looking or sounding words in other languages, but which have different meanings. There are true false friends and partial false friends.
Here are some examples of true false friends.
Note: This post was first published on Linkedin on 13 June 2014.
© Copyright Essential English 2005-2016