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Grammar: Passive voice with modals for good ideas and absolute necessities

The difference between a good idea and a necessity is in the modal or auxilliary. We use must, has to and needs
to for absolute necessities, and should and ought to for good ideas. This is because must, has to and needs to are
very strong modals. Should and ought are strong modals too, but not as strong.
So a good idea is: Something should be done about it.
And an absolute necessity is: Something has to be done about it.
Observe the structure;
modal or auxilliary + (not) + be + past participle
Remember that if the modal or auxilliary is followed by to, e.g. has to, ought to, and the sentence is negative,
then not should come between the modal or auxilliary and to i.e. hasn't to, ought not to.
It is important to note that the structure is not enough to make your sentence passive on its own. As is always the
case, your sentence is only passive, if the subject is not doing the action.
Example: Change the sentence, "The government should introduce a law that makes river pollution illegal," from
active voice to passive voice.
Analysis: Subject (The government) + modal (should) + main verb (introduce) + object (a law that makes river
pollution illegal).
Answer 1: The government should be introduced a law that makes river pollution illegal.
This is wrong because the person or thing doing the action is still the subject.
Answer 2: A law that makes river pollution illegal should be introduced.
This is correct even though the person or thing doing the action is not in the sentence.
Answer 3: A law that makes river pollution illegal should be introduced by the government.
This is also correct because the person or thing doing the action is not the subject.
Vocabulary: Social Issues
Note: these are all nouns/nound phrases, except bullying, which is a gerund.
Bullying - The repeated harrassment or threatening of another person, normally who is unwilling or unable to
retaliate. A person who does this is a bully, pronounced buli.
Company outsourcing - When a company process is performed by another company. This may be done to take
advantage of the cheaper labour or more relaxed business regulations (or human rights) in another country.
Gender discrimination - Also known as sexism. This is when decisions are made, such as hiring an employee or
providing a scholarship to a student, partly or entirely on the basis of a person's sex. If the decision is in the
person's favour, this is known as positive discrimination.
Graffiti - Paint or other visible substances deliberately applied to buildings or other public structures (e.g
monuments). Graffiti can take the form of a written message or illustration. Somebody who regularly creates
graffiti is known as a graffiti artist e.g. Banksy, whose graffiti art contains political messages and is often worth
significant amounts of money.

Gun violence - Any act of violence involving firearms. This can include intimidation and does not require the
firearms to be discharged.
High sales tax - Sales tax is the money that a company must pay the government when a product or service is
purchased. High, in this context, means excessive.
Homelessness - The problem of people not having a "fixed abode" (permanent place to live). It includes people
who regularly live outdoors in public spaces, and people who live temporarily in shelters, or with friends.
Inadequate health care - Provision of health care e.g. hospitals, dentists, which are insufficient in number or
quality.
Lack of affordable child care - When there is no or little provision of low-cost child care e.g. nurseries, nannies,
babysitters, after school clubs.
Noise pollution - High levels of sound created by people, animals, traffic or machines, especially a problem in
residential areas and at night.
Stray animals - Animals, especially normally domestic animals such as cats and dogs, who live in urban areas and
do not have owners.
Street crime - Illegal acts that typically take place on the streets; theft, robbery, assault, excessive drunkenness,
drug crime, gang or organised crime, etc.
Unemployment - The state of not having a job. This includes people who have been out of work for a long time as
well as those who are temporarily between periods of employment.
Grammar: Tag Questions
Tag questions are always placed at the end of a statement and have the effect of persuading the listener to agree
with us. The structure of the tag question is entirely dependent on the statement;
is/are + (not) + pronoun + ? e.g. Those boys are talking about us, aren't they?
modal/auxilliary + (not) + pronoun + ? e.g. We shouldn't be late, should we?
There are six rules for tag questions;
1. If the statement is affirmative (positive), the tag question is negative, and vice versa.
2. Whichever form of to be i.e. is or are, or modal e.g. should, could, or auxilliary e.g. have, need is used in the
statement, should be used in the tag question.
3. If there is no form of to be, or modal or auxiliary in the statement, use the appropriate form of do, i.e. do, does,
don't, doesn't.
4. Always put a question mark (?) at the end.
5. Always put a comma (,) between the statement and the tag question.
6. The pronoun in the tag question should match the subject in the statement. So, if the subject is a pronoun, we
can copy it, whereas, if the subject is one of the below, we should use the following;
If the subject is one person
If the subject is female, we use she e.g. Oprah Winfrey is really interesting, isn't she?
If the subject is male, we use he e.g. Barack Obama isn't as popular as he was, is he?

If the sex of the subject isn't known, we use they e.g. Whoever wrote this is really clever, aren't they? N.B. The
verb has changed from is to are here because we never say isn't they? in English.
If the subject is more than one person
If the subject is a group of people not including the speaker or the listener, we use they e.g. The crowd are getting
angry, aren't they?
If the subject is a group of people including the speaker, we use we e.g. My friends and I are really crazy, aren't
we?
If the subject is a group of people including the listener, we use you e.g. You and your friends are going out, aren't
you?
If the subject is not a person
If the subject is a thing, we use it e.g. That Edwardian dressing table is beautiful, isn't it?
If the subject is an abstract idea e.g. happiness, or a location, we use it e.g. It hasn't stopped raining all day, has it?
If the subject is several things, abstract ideas or locations we use they e.g. Sliced apples go brown quickly, don't
they? N.B. As there is no modal, auxiliary or form of to be in this sentence, the verb in the tag question is do, as
per rule 3 above.
One final point about tag questions is that they can operate in the past and the future. However, the rules for tag
questions in these tenses are more complicated and not covered in the Advanced 2 course. Please ask me if you
would like to know more.

Vocabulary: Antonyms (words and definitions in italics will not be in the exam)
Adaptable - Flexible, able to adjust to any situation.
Compassionate - Kind, able to understand another person's problems.
Courageous - Brave, able to overcome fear.
Cynical - Pessimistic, inclined to be suspicious of good things.
Dependent - Needy, inclined to rely on people.
Generous - Willing to share things.
Insensitive - Unaware of, or disinterested in other people's feelings (not the opposite of

sensitive).
Intolerant - Not able to deal with different or unusual people or situations.
Resourceful - Able to find solutions to problems.
Rigid - Inflexible.
Selfish - Only concerned with themselves.
Self-sufficient - Independent, does need other people.
Timid - Easily frightened.
Tolerant - Able to put up with difficult people or situations.
Unimaginitive - Uncreative, unable to solve problems.
Upbeat - Optimistic, inclined to focus on the positives.

Grammar: Complex Noun Phrases Containing Gerunds


These are used to discuss the specific aspects of a particular action. In Advanced 2,
we will only use Complex Noun Phrases as the subject of the sentence.
The sentence structure is: complex noun phrase + is + gerund + ...
e.g. The most fantastic thing about making a parachute jump is floating out of the sky
like a feather.
The possible structures of the Complex Noun Phrase are;
i) The most/least + adjective + thing about + gerund e.g. The least enjoyable thing
about figure skating
ii) One of the most/least + adjective + aspects of + gerund e.g. One of the most
unusual aspects of investigating a homicide
iii) One of the most/least + adjective + things about + gerund e.g. One of the least
terrifying things about Bungee jumping
iv) The + comparative + thing about + gerund e.g. The trickiest thing about telling a lie
v) The + comparative + part of + gerund e.g. The weirdest part of clearing out the
basement
vi) One of the + noun + of + gerund e.g. One of the problems of becoming the
president of Ecuador
Other possible adjectives (for structures i, ii and iii) include; rewarding, interesting,
challenging, difficult, frustrating, exciting, annoying, boring.
Other possible comparatives (for structures iv and v) include; hardest, easiest, best,
worst.
Other possible nouns (for structure vi) include; rewards, challenges, drawbacks.
N.B. There are two gerunds in the sentence structure; one is part of the Complex Noun
Phrase, the other follows the verb 'is'.
Grammar: Accomplishments and Goals
Accomplishments are achievements at a specific time in the past. Goals are things you
plan to achieve within a specific period of time (in the future).
As we talk about achievements as events (rather than continuous actions), there are
only so many tenses which are suitable to describe them.
Accomplishments

We can ask about accomplishments with questions like: What have you achieved in
the past?
Simple past: I managed to finish planning my wedding last month. / I was able to swim
forty lengths* when I was 18 years old.
N.B. Events in the simple past can be at any time in history, so it is important to use a
complement which tells the reader exactly when the achievement took place.
*a length is about twenty-five metres in a normal swimming pool.
Present perfect: I've managed to build a garden shed while you were out. / I've been
able to collect every single Pokemon this year.
N.B. Events in the present perfect are actions which have continued up until the
present, so it's important that you use them to describe recent achievements.
Goals
We can ask about goals with questions like: What do you think/hope you'll have achieved in X
days/months/years time?
Future perfect: I hope I'll have visited my friend in Denmark.
N.B. The future perfect is an excellent tense to use with goals because it can be used to refer
to an event that will take place within a period of time.
would like to have + past participle: I'd like to have invented a left-hand screwdriver.
N.B. This structure is in the present simple. Even though the invention is in the future, the
main action in this sentence is the liking, which is happening now. Also, we are using 'would',
the modal that we use for an action with a condition; the condition in this case being if I could.