quinta-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2010

Subject and Object Question

Hello Students and Flabbergasting English followers,

Due to the class I taught Thursday morning, we have decided to come up with this interesting and not difficult topic. You may have doubts because of the names. SUBJECT AND OBJECT QUESTIONS. However, it is simple when you put them into practice. I dedicate this post to my students: Lucas, Guilherme, Luis, Julia, and Ana. Hope you enjoy it.

Firstly, the one to analyse the sentence should know what SUBJECT and OBJECT are. In the sentence "She painted the wall.", She" is the subject and "the wall" is the object.

SUBJECT QUESTION is that question in which the SUBJECT is unknown. So, the subject question is used when the person who asks wants to know the SUBJECT.

In Subject Questions, the auxiliary verb MUST NOT come in the sentence.

Its structure is: WHO/WHAT + VERB (Simple Past/ Simple Present) + OBJECT

Who drove the bus last night?

What happened to Tarzan?

Who speaks English?

What makes you happy?

OBJECT QUESTION is that question in which the OBJECT is unknown. So, the object question is used when the person who asks wants to know the OBJECT.

In Object Questions, the auxiliary verb MUST COME in the sentence.

Its structure is: WHO/WHAT + auxiliary (did, do, does) + Subject + VERB (Simple Present-basic form)

What did you drive last night?

What did she study?

What language do American people speak?

What did she do make you happy?

That is all folks! I would like to remind all of you that Flabbergasting English Blog is your home. Enjoy it to the fullest.

Rodrigo Pelegrini Honorato
ESL Teacher

terça-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2010

Past Perfect - The Past Before the Past - A Further Past"

Hi there, Flabbergasting English followers,

We are very thankful for those who loyally come by and leave us e-mails with suggestions and topics they would like to learn about. Be sure that your presence and eagerness to brush up on your English is what motivates us to sit down, select the topics and post them. Keep on contacting us at rphingles@yahoo.com.br

So let us try to sort out any problem you may have had with PAST PERFECT so far. We had really decided to write about it when three of the followers requested it.

Past Perfect...

a.k.a the past of the past or a further past from the moment of the enunciation. If someone has stolen the wallet that was on the table, it is presumable that somebody had put that wallet on that table before it was stolen. That is, "putting the wallet on the table" happened before "It was stolen."

Thus, the sentence should be "Someone stole the wallet I had put on the table." or "I had put the wallet on the table and somebody stole it."
Now that you know the usage of Past Perfect, we can work on its structures. Firstly, you have to keep in mind that "HAD" and "HADN'T" or "HAD NOT", the past and negative forms of "HAVE", are the auxiliary verbs now. The main verb must be in its past participle form (third column).

i.e.: Van had chatted a lot with Rod before she crushed her bed.

Van hadn't done her homework when her mother arrived.

Had she done her homework when her mother arrived?
No, she hadn't.
Yes, she had.

That is all you need to know to start using the PAST PERFECT. For Portuguese speakers, it might be easier because it can be translated word-by-word and the meaning would be exactly the same.

Thank y'all for the visits, comments and suggestions,

Rodrigo Pelegrini Honorato
ESL Teacher

segunda-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2010

Modal Verbs - You MIGHT use them all the time!

What it do Flabbergasting English People?
Today's Fortune: Carpe Diem

It has been sometime I would like to write about Modal Verbs because my students, every now and then, come up with a question regarding their usage. However, Modal Verbs are not a tough nut to crack. That is the reason why I posted that photo. A relaxing topic must go with a relaxing picture.

Modal Verbs give more information about the function of the main verb that follows it. They indicate modality. These are:

Shall/shan't and Should/shouldn't - are both used when one is giving suggestion or a piece of advice. i.e.: If you got the flu, you shouldn't drink cold water or Let's go shopping, shall we?

Will/won't(future tense) and Would/wouldn't(conditional) - are both used as auxiliary verbs: Will (Simple Future) and Would(Conditional)i.e.: I promise I will be there. or I would travel if I had money to.

May(may not) and Might(might not) - are both used for permission and probability i.e.: She may be taller than you. or I might be coming late because of the traffic.

Can/can't(present tense) and Could/ couldn't(past tense) - are both used for permission and/or ability, according to the context. i.e.: I could swim when I was 6 years old. or Can I go out, mom?

Must/mustn't (present tense)- is used for obligation. Those situations in which something is mandatory. i.e.: You must be here by 6:00pm. or She must work now that she will have a baby.

General Rules of Modal Verbs

1. Modal Verbs are already auxiliary verbs.
2. The following verb comes in its basic form.
3. Modal Verbs have one conjugation for all persons.
4. No preposition is used after Modal Verbs.
5. Make the negative form of a Modal Verb by adding the word "not" after it.

So as to make this post more complete, we thought about the verbs that have characteristics in common with the Modal Verbs, but are not considered to be one of them. They are sometimes called Semi-Modal Verbs. These are:

ought to = should - You ought to go to the mall again so as to sort those things out with the clerk.
have to = must - I have to get going!
used to - I used to be a great horseback rider.
dare - How dare you?
need - Need you to go now?
Had better/'d better - You had better go now!

I should have gone back to school a while ago, but I got really excited about this topic. Could you understand everything? Hope you did.
See you guys soon,

Rodrigo Pelegrini Honorato
ESL Teacher

quarta-feira, 3 de fevereiro de 2010

"Better" or "Better off"

Hello Flabbergasting English People,

I am sorry I have been a bit distant. At the end of the year, there are plenty of things to solve so as to start the next year perfectly well. It happened. Great! So let us get back to work! I have chatted with my girlfriend about the two expressions: "better" and "better off" and we both deciced to come up with this topic. We will explain the difference between them both.

The word "better" is used in two situations: when you are comparing someone or something, and when you use it in sentences such as "The more you read, the better reader you become." You should check the topic COMPARISONS. Look at the examples below:

Definition: comparative of good - Greater in excellence or higher in quality.

*My car is better than his. It is faster and more beautiful.
*Who's better than Jordan? I don't think there is someone better than him at basketball.
*I have become a better person since my father passed away.

However, the expression "better off" is used differently. It is used in a situation which the person would feel more comfortable or would be successful if he/she were not in the present position. For example:

Definition: In a better or more prosperous condition: better off (somewhere) and better off (if one were somewhere else)

*Staying at home sucks! I would be better off at school.
*Why are you still working for this company? You'll be better off at an international plant.
*What should I do now? Mom said I would be better off in the USA.
*I think I would be better off if I were in Brazil right now.

I hope it has helped you out with any doubts you have. Hope to see you guys soon. I am so tired, I'm better off sleeping.

Rodrigo Pelegrini Honorato
ESL Teacher