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(IormerlyTutor in English). Department oI English
University oI Yangon
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I do not pretend to be a grammarian my-
selI. but in t eachi ng Engli sh l anguage t o my
pupils. I have used books wri tten by such Ia
mous grammarians as P.C. Wren. H. Martin. J.
C. NesI i el d. C. E. & J . M. Ecker sl ey. W.
Stannard Allen. Harold E. Palmer. A. S Hornby.
Eric Partridge. A. J. Thomson. A.V. Martinet.
Llwelyn Tipping. and the like. I owe a debt oI
gratitude to these masters. and also to my teacher
and mentor Saya U Khin Maung Latt. who has
very kindly gone through my notes and corrected
them where necessary. My thanks are also due
to my Iriend U Chit Hlaing (Iormerly a school
teacher himselI) Ior having very kindly read my
script and made very useIul suggestions. Last
but not least. I must also thank Ko Mya Kyaing
Ior helping me with all the clerical work much
needed in making this little booklet.
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CONTENTS
lntroduction
PART l (Grammar) 1
Parts of Speech
Noun: Kinds of noun 1
Number 2
Gender 2
Case 5
Countable/uncountable 6
Pronoun: Kinds of pronouns 6
Case of pronouns 8
Adjectives: Noun-determiners 10
Noun-describers 11
Noun-modifiers 11
Forms of adjective 11
The verb: Basic verbs of predication 12
Full verb/helping verb 13
Three parts of a verb 15
Verb rules 18
Tense forms 20
Voice 21
Mood 22
Transitive/intransitive 23
Adverb: Forms of adverbs 24
Prepositon: 25
Conjunction: Coordinating conjunctions 26
Subordinating conjunctions 26
lnterjection: 27
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PART ll (Composition) 28
Kinds of statement 28
Forms of sentences 29
Conjunctions and their work 30
Coordinating conjunctions 33
Subordinating conjunctions 33
Relative pronouns and their work 37
Defining and non-defining clauses 39
Transformation of sentences 42
Nouns in apposition 44
Participial construction 45
Pattern-making verbs 47
Basic patterns of English sentences 49
Usage patterns (Variety) 50
Adjective patterns 51
Adverb patterns 53
Emphatic patterns 57
Position of adverbs 59
Adverb clauses 63
Direct speech/indirect speech 64
PART lll (Usage) 70
Some aspects of English usage 70
Kinds of determiners and their use 70
The use of English tenses 78
The conditional statement 89
The subjunctive 92
Voice of English verbs 93
The use of auxiliary verbs 98
The propositional idiom 109
The use of some prepositions 119
Some idiomatic expressions 121
(metaphorical (similes) 124
Appendix 127
lrregular verbs 127
Punctuation 132
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Introduction
The grammar of a language is the system of that
Language recorded form usage in actual speech. Rules
laid down in the grammar of a language are drawn from,
made in accordance with, the accepted, correct usage.
Therefore, if an accepted correct usage disagrees with
the grammar rule, it is the rule that is to be ignored; and
this fact leaves the problem to future grammarians.
This booklet is not a compete course of English
grammar, composition and usage; it is far from being
one. But it is the intention of the compiler to help the
learners with the essentials of grammar, composition and
usage in learning English as a second language. ln a
way, it is a compilation of English grammar lessons given
to students at different levels during my thirty years of
continuous teaching assisting my teacher Saya U Khin
Maung Latt in his English Tution Classes at Hledan-hteik,
Kamayut, in Yangon.
The grammar rules in this compilation are made
as simple as possible so that the beginning learner of
the English language can understand. lt is hoped that
this booklet will be of some use to those who are help-
ing their children out with the English language in their
own homes. However, a self-teaching learner is advised
to use this booklet in consultation with his teacher or a
friend who has had some knowledge of grammar and
who can help him in understanding the rules and instruc-
tions contained therein.
U.T.M
No. 10, Aungchantha Street
Hledan-hteik Kamayut,
Yangon
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PART I GRAMMAR
What is grammar?
Grammar is the system of a language. lt gives
the class of words, their nature and forms.
First, we learn the class or kind of words. There
are eight kinds of words in English grammar. They are:
i. Noun (A noun is a name)
ii. Pronoun (A pronoun is a noun-substitute.)
iii. Adjective (An adjective is a noun-modifier)
iv. Verb (A verb is a telling word. lt tells us
action, state, or being. lt tells us what some-
thing or someone is, or has, or does)
v. Adverb (An adverb is a verb-modifier)
vi. Preposition (A preposition shows the rela-
tive position of nouns or pronouns.)
vii. Conjunction (A conjunction is a joining word.
viii. Interjection (An interjection is an utterance
of emotion.)
NB. Words within brackets will be explained later.
1. Noun
What is a noun?
A noun is a name. i.e. the name of a person,
thing or place. There are many different kinds of names.
i. Some names are names given to shapes and
forms, or a particular description. They are called
common nouns.
ii. Some names are names given to a group. They
are called coIIective nouns.
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iii. Some names are names given to the material
as different from shape or form. They are called
materiaI nouns.
iv. Some names are names given to individual
things, persons or places. They are called
proper nouns (i.e. Private names)
v. Some names are names that are not tangible,
but that occur in ideas only. They are called
abstract nouns.
So there are five kinds of nouns: common noun,
coIIective noun, materiaI noun, proper noun, and ab-
stract noun.
2. A noun has number. There are two numbers:
SinguIar number = (One)
PIuraI number = (More than one)
Number in grammar is important. The learner
should practise with the singular and the plural forms of
English nouns and pronouns. Plurals are formed normally
by adding -s or -es to the singular, but that is not always
so. Learn the formation of plurals from singular.
3. A noun has gender (or sex)
i. MascuIine gender = (Male)
ii. Feminine gender = (Female)
iii. Common gender = (Either male or female)
iv. Neuter gender = (neither male nor female)
Gender is important with nouns, and more so with
pronouns.
The following list of English nouns with distinct
gender may be useful for the learner.
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MascuIine Feminine
abbot .... abbess
actor .... actress
author .... authoress
bachelor .... spinster
baron .... baroness
bear .... she-bear
beau .... belle
Billy-goat .... Nanny-goat
boar .... sow
Boy Scout .... Girl Guide
boy .... girl
bridegroom .... bride
brother .... sister
buck .... doe
buck-rabbit .... doe-rabbit
bull .... cow
bull-calf .... cow-calf
bullock .... heifer
cock-sparrow .... hen-sparrow
cock .... hen
colt .... filly
conductor .... conductress
count .... countess
deacon .... deaconess
dog .... bitch
don .... donna
drake .... duck
duke .... duchess
earl .... countess
emperor .... empress
enchanter .... enchantress
excuter .... executrix
father .... mother
father-in-law .... mother-in-law
friar .... nun
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gander .... goose
gentleman .... lady
giant .... giantess
god .... goddess
governor .... matron
grandfather .... grandmother
hart .... hind
headmaster .... headmistress
he .... she
he-goat .... she-goat
hero .... heroine
heir .... heiress
host .... hostess
hound .... brach
hunter .... hundress
husband .... wife
instructor .... instructress
jack-ass .... jenny-ass
jew .... jewess
king .... queen
lad .... lass
landlord .... landlady
lion .... lioness
lord .... lady
male .... female
male-child .... female-child
mallard .... wild-duck
manservant .... maidservant
manager .... manageress
man .... woman
marquis .... marchioness
master .... mistress
mayor .... mayoress
Mr. .... Mrs.
murderer .... murderess
Negro .... Negress
nephew .... niece
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ogre .... ogress
papa .... mama
patron .... patroness
peer .... peeress
poet .... poetess
postman .... postwoman
postmaster .... postmistress
prince .... princess
proprietor .... proprietrix
prophet .... prophetess
ram .... ewe
shepherd .... shepherdess
sorcerer .... sorceress
stag .... hind
steer .... heifer
step-father .... step-mother
step-son .... step-daughter
steward .... stewardess
sire .... dame
sir .... madam
son .... daughter
son-in-law .... daughter-in-law
sultan .... sultana
tailor .... tailoress
tiger .... tigress
traitor .... traitress
tutor .... governess
uncle .... aunt
waiter .... waitress
wodewer .... widow
wizard .... witch
4. A noun has case. Case is the position of a noun
(or a pronoun) in a sentence. A noun (or pronoun) in the
place of the subject is in the subjective case; a noun
(or pronoun) in the place of an object is in the objective
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case; and a noun (or pronoun) showing ownership or
possession is in the possessive case.
Case is important when using nouns in a sen-
tence. They have their meaning according to their posi-
tion in a sentence, e.g.
•Maung Hla hit Maung Mya.Ž
Here, the noun Maung HIa is in the subjective
case, and he is the doer of the verb hit; Maung Mya in
this sentence is in the objective case; he is the one who
receives the action shown by the verb hit. Just change
their positions and the meaning will be quite different; if
you say Maung Mya hit Maung HIa, it will be the re-
verse of the first sentence Maung HIa hit Maung Mya.
lt is more important with pronouns because pro-
nouns have different forms for different cases. (See - case
of pronouns)
5. A noun is either countabIe or uncountabIe. ln
plain use, a name given to shape or form or a particular
description, and a name given to a group (i.e. common
noun and collective noun) are countable, and others are
uncountable.
lt is important for the learner to know whether a
noun is countable or uncountable, especially in the use
of noun-determiners such as much and many, IittIe and
few, a IittIe and a few, and the like.
ll. Pronoun
What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is a noun substitute. A pronoun is used
in place of a noun to avoid its unnecessary repetition.
There are many different kinds of pronouns classified ac-
cording to their function.
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i. PersonaI pronoun - standing for persons. There
are three Persons in grammar: The First Per-
son (The speaker - singular and plural); The
Second Person (The one spoken to - singular
and plural and the Third Person (Other than
the speaker and the one spoken to - singular
and plural).
The First Person = l. We
The Second Person = You
The Third Person = he, she, it, they
ii. ImpersonaI pronouns - Some pronouns stand-
ing for nature (e.g.lt rains. lt is getting late.
etc.) or expletive (i.e.standing for no particular
person or thing e.g.lt doesnŽt matter. ltŽs a pity)
iii. ReIative pronouns - doing two things at the
same time, i.e. serving as a connective as well
as a pronoun. lt is a double-function word. (lt is
a conjunction as well as a pronoun.)
iv. Demonstrative pronouns - used in pointing out
certain things or people; This, that these, those
(when they are used by themselves. i.e. not
with nouns after them.)
v. Distributive pronouns - used when speaking
of many one by one. Each, every, either, nei-
ther (When they are used by themselves. i.e.
not with nouns after them.)
vi. NumericaI pronouns - standing for quantity of
countable nouns: One, ones (These pronouns
may be used with attributive adjectives and de-
terminative, e.g. a one, the one, the ones, the
big ones, a pretty one, etc.)
A pronoun is in the same number, person, gen-
der, and case as the noun for which it stands. (The noun
for which it stands is called its antecedent.)
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A pronoun, like a noun, has case. The case of a
pronoun is the same as the case of a noun, i.e. the
subject case, the possessive case and the object case,
but a pronoun has different forms for each case.
ln the possessive case, there are two forms, i.e.
the possessive adjective and the possessive pronoun. The
possessive adjective modifies a noun and therefore it
comes attached to a noun, and a possessive pronoun
stands by itself alone, e.g.
This is my book, (• MyŽ in this sentence is a
possessive adjective because it has a noun •bookŽ to modify.
lt is not a pronoun.)
This book is mine. (•MineŽ in this sentence is a
possessive pronoun because it stands alone standing for
the noun •my bookŽ)
Again, a pronoun in the object case has two forms:
The simple form, and the reflexive form. The simple form
is the form of the ordinary object, and the reflexive form
is the form of a pronoun where the subject and the ob-
ject refer to one and the same person or thing, e.g.
John saw me in a bus. (•MeŽ in this sentence is a
simple object or ordinary object.)
l saw myself in the mirror. (•MyselfŽ in this sen-
tence is a reflexive object.)
(Note: The reflexive form of a personal pronoun
is also used for emphasising, e.g. l myself, we ourselves,
you yourself, he himself, she herself, they themselves.)
The case of personal pronouns (summary):
The leader may test his knowledge of adjectives
and pronouns of the possessive case by supplying the
correct word in the following blanks:
This doesnŽt look like ... book; it must be ....
Have you done ... homework? l have finished .....
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Person Adjective Pronoun Simple Reflexive
First Person l my mine me myself
We our... ours us ourselves
Second you your yours you yourself
you your yours you yourselves
He his his him herself
She her hers him himself
Third Person lt lts lts lt ltself
they their theirs them themselves
George has lost ... pencil; perhaps you can lend
him ...
John is coming here next week; ... father and ...
are friends.
lll. Adjective
What is an adjective?
An adjective is a noun-modifier. lt adds something
to the meaning of a noun. Adjectives may be roughly
divided into three kinds: noun-determiners, noun-describ-
ers, and noun-modifiers.
i. What is a noun-determiner? A noun-determiner
is an adjective which determines a noun. lt de-
termines a noun by saying which or how much
or how many or whose.
ii. What is a noun-describer? a noun-describer is
an adjective which describes a noun. lt tells
what kind or description of a noun. e.g. a
good book; pretty girl; a new car; a chair with
a broken leg; etc.
iii. What is a noun-modifier? A noun-modifier is
an adjective which enlarges the meaning of a
noun, e.g. The man from Mandalay. The boy
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who brought this Ietter, the most interesting
stories; etc.
Noun-determiners
i. Articles -
1. The indefinite article (a or an)
2. The definite article (The)
ii. Adjectives of quantity - one, two, three, etc;
some, any; much, many; little, few; a little, a
few; plenty (or), a lot (of), a great deal (of), a
large amount (of); etc.
iii. Demonstrative adjectives - This ___, That ___,
These ___, and Those ___ (i.e. when they
are used with nouns; Do not mistake them for
demonstrative, pronouns which are used by
themselves, not with nouns.)
iv. Possessive adjectives - My ___, Our ___,
Your ___, Hi s ___, Her ___, l t s ___,
Their ___.
v. Distributive Adjective - Each ___, Every ___,
Either ___, Neither ___, (i.e. when they are
used with nouns; they are pronouns when they
are used by themselves.)
(More of this will come in the usage section.)
Noun-describers
Noun-describers are most of them simple adjec-
tives (i.e. one-word adjectives) which give the quality or
description of a noun. lt describers a noun in two ways:
1. Attributively - attached to a noun, e.g. This is a
good book.
2. Predicatvely - as part of the predicate, e.g. This
book is good.
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Noun-modifiers (adjective)
Noun-modifiers are words, phrases and clauses
that enlarge the meaning of a noun in any other way
than determining or describing a noun. (ln fact, all are
adjective. The differentiation is made to make it easier for
the learner to put them to practical use.)
Forms of adjectives
The learner is to know an adjective as a word, a
phrase, or a sentence that determines, describes or modi-
fies a noun. Therefore an adjective may be (i) a simple
adjective, or (ii) a phrase adjective, or (iii) a clause ad-
jective.
i. A simple adjective - (A one-word adjective which
may be used attributively or predicatively.)
ii. A phrase adjective - (The preposition and its
object doing the work of an adjective.)
iii. A clause adjective - (A relative clause, i.e. a
sentence doing the work of an adjective.)
This will be explained more fully in the composi-
tion section.
lV. Verb
What is verb?
A verb is a telling word. lt tells us action, state
or being. That is, a verb tells us what someone or some-
thing does, or has, or is. lt is called the predicate word.
We speak or write in sentences. What is a sen-
tence? A sentence is the basic unit of speech, consist-
ing of a subject (naming part - naming what you are
talking about), and a predicate (telling part - telling what
that subject does, or has, or is).
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Basic verbs of predication
i. Verb •to beŽ - (am, is, are, was, were) for telling
what someone or something is, or what the
matter is with someone or something, or where
someone or something is.
ii. Verb •to haveŽ - (have, has, had) for telling what
someone or something has (or possesses.)
iii. Verb •to doŽ - (do, does, did) for telling what
someone or something does. (All verbs of ac-
tion come under this class.)
The learner is advised to practise with this basic
division of verbs by making a list of all verbs he has
learnt and saying to which class each very belongs. lt
may not be as easy as it seems, because the verb to
have in its plain sense is a class by itself, and •haveŽ
has other uses in the idiomatic sense. •HaveŽ in its basic
sense belongs to verbs •to haveŽ and •haveŽ in its idiom-
atic sense belongs to verbs •to doŽ, e.g.
l have a car. (verb •to haveŽ)
l have a sister. (verb •to haveŽ)
l have some work to do. (verb •to haveŽ)
l have something to tell you. (verb •to haveŽ)
But
l have my breakfast early. (verb •to doŽ)
We had a good time at the party last night. (verb
•to doŽ)
Mary has a cold. (verb •to doŽ)
(Let me) have a look at it. (verb •to doŽ)
ln the first set are four verbs •to haveŽ. When we
negate them, we just add the negative adverb •notŽ after
•haveŽ e.g.
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l have not a car. (or l havenŽt a car.)
l have not a sister. (or l havenŽt a sister)
l have not any work to do, (or l havenŽt any work
to do.)
l have not anything to tell you. (or l havenŽt any-
thing to tell you.)
But, when we negate the verbs in the second set,
we use do, does, or did before putting in the negative
adverb •notŽ before the verb.
e.g.
l do not have my breakfast early.
We did not have a good time at the party last
night.
Mary does not have a cold.
Do not (let me) have a look at it.
NB. ln American English, there is no distinction be-
tween these two uses. All verbs •to haveŽ are
classed as verbs •to doŽ, e.g.
l have a car. l do not have a car.
l have my breakfast early. l do not have my break-
fast early.
Mary has a sister. Mary does not have a sister.
Mary has a cold. Mary does not have a cold.
FuII verb and heIping verb
A full verb is a verb that carries its own meaning.
ln other words, a full verb has a full meaning in itself.
A helping verb is a verb that does not carry a
meaning, but helps a full verb to have different forms for
different situations; it is a structure word.
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(The idea of a full verb and helping verb can
easily be understood in the following expressions in My-
anmar.
«ÎÛµº §º °³¬µ §º ©°º ¬µ §º ðôº±²º
ñ ñ ñ ®²º
ñ ñ ñ ¿»±²º
ñ ñ ñ ú®²º
ñ ñ ñ Û¼µ ·º±²º
ñ ñ ñ ¨³å±²º
ln these expressions, we see two kinds of verbs.
One is ðôº which carries the meaning, and the others
±²º ®²º ¿»±²º Âú®²º ÂÛ¼ µ ·º ±²º and ¨³å±²º whi ch do
not carry a particular meaning, but show the situation of
the full verb ðôº )
Let us look at these expressions in English:
l buy a book.
l shaII buy a book.
l am buying a book.
l must buy a book.
l can buy a book.
l have bought a book.
ln these expressions, buy, buying, bought are
full verbs carrying the meaning in themselves. ShaII, am,
must, can, and have are helping verbs showing the situ-
ations of the verb •buyŽ.
Some verb may be found as helping verbs as
well as full verbs. But their sense may not be the same.
Study the following examples;
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As full verb As helping verb
l am a student. l am learning English
Mary is in Yangon. Mary is living in Yangon now.
John has many friends. John has gone out with a friend.
l have a book. l have read it twice.
John did his work well. John did not go home early
He did something to the dog. He did not like dogs.
l need money for my book. l need not borrow money from you.
PureIy heIping verbs
Shall should ought (to)
Will would used (to)
can could would rather
may might had better
must
These verbs have no other forms.
They are always finite (often called special finites)
They have no other forms because you cannot
put -s or -ed or -ing to them though they are finite.
They are always finite, and they come nearest the
subject, and no verb comes before them. They have their
own importance as finite verbs. This will be explained
later.
They carry no meaning of their own, but they show
the situation of a full verb (as explained above.)
Three parts of a verb
Each of the verbs, other than purely helping verbs
shown above, has three forms:
i. The infinitive form __ is the original form of
the verb (which we find as head-word in a dic-
tionary entry.) The •infinitiveŽ means •the unlim-
itedŽ. i.e. this form of the verb is not limited to
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number and person of the subject, or to time.
The infinitive is used with •toŽ (as in •to goŽ to
come etc.) or without •toŽ (as in •shall goŽ •will
goŽ etc.)
ii. The finite form ___ is the form modified for
use in a sentence in agreement with the num-
ber and person of the subject, or with the time.
A sentence has a finite verb in it.
iii. The participIe form ___ is the form which
has the meaning of the verb and the function
of an adjective or a noun; it is also used as a
partverb with another finite verb. There are two
participles; The present participle (verb + ing
form), and the past participle (verb + ed, + en
etc. form)
The learner is advised to learn these three parts
of a verb with every verb he is going to use. The regular
way of changing from infinitive to finite is by adding +ed
for past tense, and the past participle is the same form
as the past tense, but there also are irregular ways.
Study the following table.
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Three parts of verb
The fini te The participle
The infinitive Present Past Pr.part. Pa.part
tense tense
Regular verbs
to ask asks, ask asked asking asked
to bake bakes, bake baked baking baked
to cry cires, cry cried crying cried
to play plays, play played playing played
to beg begs, beg begged begging begged
to lay lays, lay laid laying laid
Regular verbs make their past tenses and past participles by adding +ed.
or +d, or +ied, or + id. to the infinitive form.
lrregular verbs (strong)
to be am, is are was, were being been
to break broke broken
to blow blew blown
to choose chose chosen
to do did done
to go went gone
to hide hid hidden
to know knew known
to lie lay lain
to see saw seen
to take took taken
to write wrote written
lrregular verbs are so called because they change in an irregular way;
they are called strong verbs because they change perceptibly.
IrreguIar verbs (weak)
to burst burst burst
to cast cast cast
to cost cost cost
to cut cut cut
to hit hit hit
to let let let
to put putput
to read read read
to set set set
to split split split
to spreadspread spread
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They are irregular verbs as they do not change to
make their past tenses and past participles the regular
way; they are called weak verbs because they do not
change perceptibly. Their infinitive, the past tense and
the past participle forms are the same. (See - Appendix)
The learner is advised to learn the three parts of
every verb he intends to use. The irregular verbs are to be
learnt in a set (e.g. blow - blew - blown; grow - grew -
grown; fly - flew - flown; hide - hid - hidden; set - set -
set; spread - spread - spread; etc.)
Verb ruIes
1. The ruIe of agreement
(i) Number-person agreement
A finite verb agrees with its subject in number
and person;
Number; Singular number - (one)
Plural number - (more than one)
Person: The First Person - (l, we)
The Second Person - (you)
The Third Person - (Other than l, we, you)
lf the subject is in the first person, and singu-
lar number, the verb also is in the first person,
and singular number. e.g.
- I am a student. We are students. You are
a student.
- You all are students. He is a student. She
is a student.
lt is their school. They are all students.
(ii) Time-tense agreement
The finite verb has tense, and tense agrees
with time. e.g.
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- Mary goes to school every day.
- l went to school yesterday.
- John wiII go to school tomorrow.
The learner should practise writing simple sen-
tences with subjects and verbs in agreement in
number and person, and tense forms in agree-
ment with the time factor in the sentence. Re-
peated usage is the best way to learn a new
language.
ll. The ruIe of foIIowing verbs (verb order)
When there are two or more verbs in the same
verb-form, only the foremost (nearest the subject) is finite,
and the rest non-finite. (i.e. infinitive or participles.) The
following is the rule:
(i) When a verb •to beŽ is used with another
verb or other verbs, the verb coming immedi-
ately after it is always a parti ciple (either
present or past.)
Be (am, is, are, was, were) followed by a
present participle is a continuous tense.
Be (am, is, are, was, were) followed by a
past participle is a verb in the passive voice
(See voice section)
(ii) When a verb •to haveŽ is used with another
very or other verbs, the verb coming immedi-
ately after it is always a past participle.
Have (have, has, had) followed by a past
participle is a verb in the perfect tense. (See
tense )
(iii) do, does, did;
shall, will, can, may, must;
should, would, could, might;
ought (to), used (to);
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would rather; had better; need; dare.
When one of these verbs is to be used with an-
other verb or other verbs, the verb coming im-
mediately after it is always an infinitive. Study
these sentences:
- l shaII come tomorrow.
- Mary also wiII come tomorrow.
- John wiII have lunch with us today.
- My sister can swim across the lake.
- You had better see the doctor.
- She wouId rather go alone.
- She need not be accompanied home.
Learn these rules thoroughly. Learn the rules
by heart; they will come in useful when you
are doing verb-forms (tenses and voice)
Tense forms
What is tense?
Tense is the form of the verb the shows time.
There are three tenses in English:
The present tense.
The past tense, and
The future tense.
ln each of these three tenses, there are four
different forms for different situations.
Therefore, there are twelve different tense forms
(in the active voice). Study them:
1. Present simple
Mary lives ..................
2. Present continuous
Mary is living ..................
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3. Present perfect
Mary has lived ..................
4. Present perfect continuous
Mary has been living ..................
5. Past simple
Mary lived ..................
6. Past continuous
Mary was living ..................
7. Past perfect
Mary was living ..................
8. Past perfect continuous
Mary had been living ..................
9. Future simple
Mary will live ..................
10. Future continuous
Mary will be living ..................
11. Future perfect continuous
Mary will have been living ..................
Voice forms
What is voice?
Voice is the form of the verb that shows its rela-
tion to its subject. There are two voice (for transitive
verbs.) in. English: The active voice, and the passive
voice.
lf the verb show the action done by the subject,
then, it is said to be in the active voice. (The subject
does something.)
lf the verb shows the action done to the subject,
then it is said to be in the passive voice.(Something is
done to the subject.) Study these sentences:
The dog bit the man.(Here, the verb bit shows
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the action done by the subject The dog. €lt is in the
active voice.)
The man is bitten by the dog. (Here, the verb is
bitten shows the action done to the subject The man.
lt is in the passive voice.)
Mood
What is mood?
Mood is the manner in which a verb is used.
There are three main moods for English verbs
the indicative mood, the imperative mood,
and the subjunctive mood.
i The indicative mood - This is the ordinary form
of a verb that shows a fact, e.g.
- She has Ieft schooI.
or asks a question.
e.g. Has she Ieft schooI?
ii The imperative mood - This is the infinite form
of the verb which expresses a command or
request. (Telling someone to do or not to do
a certain thing.) e.g.
- Come here! DonŽt open the window, please!
iii The subjunctive mood - The verb in the sub-
junctive mood expresses a state, event or act
as possible, conditional, or wished for, rather
than actual. (lt is used for suppositions con-
trary of fact.)
The practical use of mood will be dealt
with in the composition section and the usage
section.
Transitive and intransitive verbs
Verbs are either transitive or intransitive.
The verb that shows an action done by the sub-
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ject by itself, (i.e. the action stops with the doer) and
does not need an object, is an intransitive verb. The ac-
tion does not pass over to someone or something else.
e.g. The baby sIept well. (Here, the verb sIept is done
by the subject by itself and it does not need an ob-
ject. lt is an intransitive verb.)
The verb that shows an action done by the sub-
ject to someone or something also (i.e. the action
passes on to something or someone else) and needs
an object, is a transitive verb. The action passes on to
someone or something else. e.g. The mother rocks the
cradle. (Here, the verb, rocks is the action done by the
subject The mother to the object the cradIe. lt is a
transitive verb.)
ln a dictionary, you will find transitive verbs
marked vt (verb-transitive), and intransitive verbs marked
vi (verb-intransitive). Some verbs which may be used
both transitively and intransitively may be marked vi &
t (verb in transitive & transitive).
The learner should know the transitive or intransi-
tive nature of the verb he is using. This is important in
composition because a transitive verb without the nec-
essary object (n) will not convey the desired meaning,
and an intransitive verb followed directly after it by a
noun or pronoun in the objective case will be equally
absurd.
Examine these sentences:
Did you go pagoda festival last night? (here, the
verb •goŽ is intransitive, and when the noun •pagoda fes-
tivalŽ follows directly after it, it comes in like an object.)
The question should be Did you go to the pagoda festi-
val last night?
Did you enjoy? (here, the verb •enjoyŽ is transi-
tive, but not followed by any object.) The question should
be •Did you enjoy yourself? or •Did you enjoy the show?
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More about this will come in the Usage section:
Voice.
V. Adverb
What is an adverb?
An adverb is a verb-modifier. lt enlarges or ex-
tends the meaning of a verb (and a simple adverb does
more.)
Forms of adverb
1. Simple adverb -- A simple adverb (a one-word
adverb) modifies (i) a verb, (ii) an adjective, or (iii) an-
other adverb, e.g.
- This car runs smoothIy. (verb-modifier)
- This car runs very smoothly. (adverb-modifier)
- The surface of the road is quite smooth. (ad-
jective-modifier)
•SmoothlyŽ modifies the verb •runsŽ •veryŽ modi-
fies the adverb •smoothlyŽ and •quiteŽ modifies the
adjective •smoothŽ They are all adverbs.
2. Phrase adverb __ (A phrase is a group of
words formed by the preposition and its object)
A phrase doing the work of an adverb is a
phrase adverb.
3. Clause adverb__ (A clause is a sentence which
is part of a larger sentence. (A sentence doing
the work of an adverb is a clause adverb.)
Study these sentences and get the idea of
what an adverb is.
We shall go home soon. (•SoonŽ in this sen-
tence is a simple adverb modifying the verb •goŽ.)
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We shall go home in the evening. (•ln the
eveningŽ in this sentence a phrase adverb modi-
fying the verb •goŽ)
We shall go home when the cIass is over.
(•When the class is overŽ a clause adverb modi-
fying the verb •goŽ.)
More about this will come in the Composition
section: Order of adverbs.
Vl. Preposition
What is a preposition?
A preposition is a word that show the relative
position of nouns or pronouns. (lt is a word placed be-
fore a noun or a pronoun to show its relation to some-
thing else.)
A preposition, like a transitive verb, takes an
object after it. The prepositional object is in the same
form as the object of a transitive verb.
Read the following sentences carefully:
- The book is on the table.
- The book is under the table.
- The book is near the table.
Here, we see the relative position of •the bookŽ
and •the tableŽ as shown by the words on under and
near. They are prepositions. A preposition is a struc-
ture word: it is indispensable in making a sentence.
The preposition presents a special difficulty in
English, because a greater part of the English idiom is
formed with the preposition. (More of this will come in
the Usage section: The prepositional idiom).
Vll. Conjunction
What is a conjunction?
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A conjunction in grammar is a joining word. A
conjunction joins words, phrases, or sentences
(cIauses)
1. Coordinating conjunctions
i. and, or, but, for, (and so), (simple conjunctions)
ii.both... and..., not only ... but also...,
either.... or..., neither.... nor....
(These are known as correlative conjunctions
or pair conjunctions because they are depen-
dent on each other and nearly always used
together.)
2. Subordinating conjunctions
i. as, as if, as though, as soon as, although,
though, if, after because, before, since, while,
etc.
ii. (Relative pronouns) who, whose, whom; which
that.
iii. (lnterrogative relatives) whether, if, what which,
where, when, why, how, how much, how
many, on what purpose, etc. (All question-mak-
ing words: i.e. When making a question, they
are question-making words, but when used as
a conjunction or link, they are called interroga-
tive links.)
Coordinating conjunctions make compound sen-
tences, and subordinating conjunctions make complex
sentences. The learner should at this stage ask him-
self: How many of these conjunctions have l learnt to
use correctly? (More of this will come in the Composi-
tion section: Sentence forms and patterns.)
Vlll. Interjection
What is an interjection?
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An interjection is a word or a group of words
thrown into a sentence to show the emotion of the
speaker. The function of an interjection is to give the
natural feeling of the speaker.
The statement •He is deadŽ is just information. i.e.
without the feeling of one who utters these words. But,
the expression •Alas! he is dead.Ž is something more
than mere information; it contains the feeling of the
speaker. Similarly, •l am late for school.Ž may be just a
piece of information, but, Oh! l am late for school.Ž may
convey that the speaker is somewhat alarmed on his
being late for school.
Among the most usual interjections are: Oh! (ex-
pressing pain or surprise), Ah! (expressing surprise or
satisfaction), HeIIo! (greeting or surprise), Hey! (to at-
tract attention), AIas! (a literary form expressing sorrow,
disappointment).
The dividing line between an interjection and an
exclamation is thin. Such expressions as Good! Bravo!,
Shame!, SiIence!, Nonsense!, Stop!, I say!, Hurrah!,
WeII done!, Just my Iuck!, and a variety of expres-
sions ranging from the mild (and rather characteristically
feminine) Oh dear!, Goodness!, Gracious!, Dear me!,
WeII I never!, Oh bother!, to the more robust (and
masculine) Good Iord!, BIess my souI!, No fear! and,
less sociably acceptable, Dash! BIast!, Damn! are ex-
clamations.
PART II COMPOSITION
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What is composition?
Composition is the arrangement of words in the
formation of sentences in human speech.
What is a sentence?
A sentence is the basic unit of speech made up
of a subject and a predicate. The subject is the nam-
ing part ___ naming what you are speaking about, and
the predicate is the telling part ___ telling what that sub-
ject is, or has, or does.
Study these statements:
- Birds are in the tree.
- John is my friend.
- Our classroom has six windows.
- Mary has a sister.
- The hot season comes in February.
- The 9.30 train leaves from Platform No. 1.
These are basic sentence, in each, the subject
comes first, and then the predicate (i.e. the verb and
its extension). ln practical use, the subject may or may
not come first, (i.e. the order of words may change as
required.) Study these statement:
- There are birds in the tree.
- ls John your friend?
- How many windows has your classroom?
- Has Mary a sister?
- ln February comes the hot season.
- From which platform does the 9.30 train leave?
Kind of statement.
ln the direct speech (i.e. as spoken by the origi-
nal speaker), four kinds of statements are possible.
i. Assertive statement: Telling someone something.
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ii. lmperative statement: Telling someone to do or
not to do a certain thing.
iii. lnterrogative statement: Asking a question.
iv. Exclamation ___ Expression of a sudden feeling.
(See ___ lnterjection in Grammar section.)
N.B Wishes and prayers may be a class by them-
selves, but generally they are classed amongst impera-
tives.
Of these statements, we speak or with in proper
grammatical sentences only in making assertive state-
ments and interrogative statements. (They are in the in-
dicative mood). The imperative statement is a class by
itself (the imperative mood); it is not a senates. The ex-
clamation may or may not be in proper sentences.
This section deals with •sent nce-makingŽ sen-
tences, their forms and patterns.
Forms of sentences
1. Simple sentence
- A simple sentence is a sentence with only one
subject and one predicate. (lt expresses only one
thing about someone or something.)
2. Compound sentence
- A compound sentence is one made up of two or
more simple sentences put together by coordina-
tion conjunctions.
(See •conjunctionsŽ in the Grammar section.)
3. Complex sentence
- A complex sentence is one made up of two or more
simple sentence put together by subordinating con-
junctions.
(See •conjunctionsŽ in the Grammar section.)
1. Mixed sentence
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- lt is a sentence made up of three or more sen-
tences put together by both coordinating and sub-
ordinating conjunctions.
Conjunctions and their work
And - This conjunction joins together two words, two
phrases, or two clauses just by adding one to the other.
The clauses are quite independent of each other, (i.e.
One does not depend on the other for completeness in
meaning.)
ExampIes:
- John went to Bago yesterday.(simple sentence)
- Mary went to Bago yesterday. (simple sentence)
- These two simple sentences may be put together
by and thus: John and Mary went to Bago yester-
day. (This sentence may be called a simple sen-
tence with a compound subject.)
- John went to Bago yesterday. (simple sentence)
- John visited his aunt yesterday. (simple sentence)
- These two simple sentences may be put together
by and thus: John went to Bago and visited his
aunt yesterday. (This is not a simple sentence; it
is a compound sentence; there are two finite verbs
in it.)
- Sometimes Mary goes to school by bus.
- Sometimes Mary goes to school on foot.
- These two simple sentences may be put together
by and thus: Mary goes to school sometimes by
bus and sometimes on foot. (This may also be
called a simple sentence with two adverbs.)
And need not be repeated when doing together
three or more simple sentences; one before the last
ExampIes:
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- John stopped at the door.
- John put the key in the lock.
- John turned the key.
- John opened the door.
- John entered the house.
All these five simple sentences may be put to-
gether by and thus: John stopped at the door, put the
key in the lock, turned the key, opened the door, and
entered the house. (Common factors are left out.) This
is a compound sentence. Clauses in it are quite inde-
pendent of one another except that the subject John,
being a common factor, is left out in the four subse-
quent additions to the first one.
But __ This conjunction puts together two words,
phrases or clauses having different or opposite idea or
qualities.
ExampIes:
- John is intelligent.
Jhon is lazy.
•lntelligentŽ and •lazyŽ are two different qualities (not
similar in nature).
We use but when we wish to put these two simple
sentences together thus:
- John is intelligent but lazy.
ln the same way, several sentences may be put
together as their sense suggests by using one or the
other of the coordinating conjunctions:
- Mary is rich.
- Mary is young.
- Mary is beautiful.
- Mary is bad-tempered.
These four simple sentences may be put together
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thus:
Mary is rich, young and beautiful, but (she is) bad-
tempered
Or - This conjunction is used when there is a
choice or aIternative.
ExampIes;
- John may be in the garden.
- John may be in the house.
- John may be in the garden or in the house.
- Mary will come tomorrow.
- Anne will come tomorrow.
- Mary or Anne will come tomorrow.
- We shall visit toe zoo on Sunday.
- We shall go to lnsein on Sunday.
- We shall visit the zoo or go the lnsein on Sunday.
For ___ This conjunction is used in giving a rea-
son. (lt is similar in meaning to •becauseŽ, but •forŽ and
•becauseŽ belong to different classes of conjunctions)
ExampIes:
- Mary is absent today.
- Her grandmother is very ill.
- There is no one to look after her.
- Mary is absent today, for her grandmother is very
ill and there is no one to look after her.
N.B But and for given here are conjunctions. There also
are prepositions •butŽ and •forŽ, (but = except, for =
for the sake of or for the benefit of.)
CorreIative conjunctions (pairs)
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Each of the two components of a correlative con-
junctions is placed immediately before each of the
parts to be joined, e.g.
- John is my friend.
- Mary is my friend.
- Both John and Mary are my friends.
- He is friendly with his superiors.
- He is friendly with his subordinates.
- He is friendly not onIy with his superiors but aIso
with his subordinates.
- John will come by train.
- John will come by bus.
- John will come either by train or by bus.
- Mary is not English.
- Her mother is not English.
- Neither Mary nor her mother is English.
Subordinating conjunctions.
As ___ This word as a conjunction has a similar
meaning to •becauseŽ in its broadest sense. But there
are other uses:
ExampIe:
i. in the same degree:
lt is not so difficult as l expected.
l am as tall as you.
ii. When/whiIe
l saw him as he was getting off the bus.
As a boy, l lived in Shwebo.
iii. (expressing reason) since/seeing that
- As it was still early, we went into a restaurant
and had lunch.
- As he was taking so long in dressing, we went
without him.
iv. (Preposition) Iike
- The little girl was dressed as a man.
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- They treated us as their own children.
v. (Introducing a concessive cIause) AIthough
- l am worried about my motherŽs health, young
as l am.
(AIthough I am young)
Much as l like you, l cannot take you in as my
assistant.
The learner is advised to study these examples and
use them when ever similar occasions arise.
As it/as though - These conjunctions are used in
introducing a subjunctive clause. e.g.
- He talks as if he knew all about it. (ln fact, he
doesnŽt seem to know anything.
- His heart is beating as though it would burst out
of his body. (ln fact, his heart will not burst out of
this body.)
lf ___ This conjunction is used in conditional state-
ments.
(See ___ Conditional statements: Three types of
condition)
- lf you ask him, he will help you.
- lf it should be necessary, l could come at six.
- lf l had known, l could have come earlier.
Though/aIthough __ These conjunctions are used
in introducing a concession. = (in spite of the fact)
As a conjunction •thoughŽ is the same as •although;
but •althoughŽ is not used as an adverb like •thoughŽ e.g.
- Although it was very cold, he went out without an
overcoat. (Here, •thoughŽ can take the place of •al-
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thoughŽ.)
- Though they are very poor, they are always neatly
dressed, (Here, •althoughŽ can take the place of
•thoughŽ)
Though as adverb (for comparison)
- He will probably agree; you never know, though.
- He said he would come; he didnŽt, though. (Here,
although can never take the place of though.)
After __ This is a multi-purpose word. lt is used
as (i) a preposition. (ii) an adverb, and (iii) a conjunc-
tion:
ExampIes:
- Shut the door after you. (preposition)
- lŽll see you after lunch. (preposition)
- He fell ill on Monday, and died three days after.
(adverb)
- Tell me what comes after. (adverb)
- l arrived after he had left. (conjunction)
- He will go home after he has finished his work.
(conjunction)
Brfore ___ This word, like •afterŽ is a multi-pur-
pose word.
ExampIes:
- Put the books before the teacher. (preposition)
- lŽll let you know before Monday. (preposition)
- l have never seen him before. (adverb)
- you should have told me so before. (adverb)
- l must do it before it gets dark. (conjunction)
- Do it before you forget. (conjunction)
Because ___ This is a conjunction that gives
reason. e.g.
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- l did it because they asked me to do it.
- John was absent because he was ill.
Just because l donŽt complain, you mustnŽt sup-
pose that lŽm satisfied.
(Note that when the reason is obvious, or is thought to
be known, it is preferable to use as or a construction
with so e.g. As it is raining, youŽd better take a taxi.)
Since __ This word, like after and before, has a
variety of uses.
ExampIes:
- We have lived here since 1954. (preposition)
- l have known him since his childhood. (preposition)
- He left school in 1950, and has not been seen
since. (adverb)
- The town was destroyed by fire ten years ago, and
has since been rebuilt. (adverb)
- Since we have not enough money, we cannot buy
it. (conjunction)
- Where have you been since l last saw you? (con-
junction)
WhiIe ___ This word also has a variety of uses.
Even as a conjunction, it is used in different shades of
meaning:
(i) during the time that
-He fell asleep while (he was) reading a book.
-She fell down while (she was) crossing the road.
(ii) Whereas
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- Jane was dressed in brown while Mary was
dressed in light blue. (whereas is preferred.)
(iii) aIthough
- While l admit that the problems are difficult,
l donŽt think that they cannot be solved.
- As a verb, while (to while) has the meaning
•to pass the time in a leisurely wayŽ e.g.
- l am doing this just to while the time away.
- While as a noun indicates (period of) time,
e.g.
- We are going away for a while.
- l visit the zoo once in a while. (Occasionally)
Where have you been all this while?
This learner is advised to study the grammar of
words, i.e. the same word being used in different parts
of speech, and in different shades of meaning.
ReIative pronouns
Relative pronouns are classed among conjunctions
because they are conjunctions as well as pronouns.
They are words doing two things at the same time, i.e.
as pronouns they stand for nouns, and they also join
subclasses to main clauses. There are three kinds of
relative pronouns:
1. Who (whose, nd whom) __ for men and women,
boys are girls (children and babies not included)
2. Which ___ for things and animals (including ba-
bies)
3. That ___ for all (animate and inanimate) in a
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general sense.
The work of a relative pronoun can easily be seen
in the following examples.
- Mr. Brown teaches us English.
- Mr. Brown lives in lnsein.
These two statements may be put together by
using a relative pronoun thus:
Mr. Brown, who teaches us English, lives in lnsein.
or Mr. Brown, who lives in lnsein, teaches us En-
glish.
The clause (sentence) with the relative pronoun at
its head is called •the relative clauseŽ or •the adjective
clauseŽ The relative pronoun •whoŽ stands for, and relates
back to •the antecedentŽ •Mr. BrownŽ.
RuIe: The relative pronoun proceeds its clause, and is
placed as near as possible to its antecedent.
More exampIes for study
- Mr. Brown is a very good teacher.
- We all love Mr. Brown.
- Mr. Brown, whom we all love, is a very good teacher.
- or We all love Mr. Brown, who is a very good
teacher.
- Mr Brown is my fatherŽs assistant.
- Mr. BrownŽs daughter is my friend.
- Mr. Brown, whose daughter is my friend, is my
fatherŽs assistant. (Only one way)
- l bought a book yesterday.
- That book contains interesting stories.
- Yesterday, l bought a book which contains interest-
ing stores.
- The care is a red one.
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- The car ran over our dog.
- The car which ran over our dog is a red one.
- My uncleŽs house is a large building.
- My uncleŽs house is in Kyimyindine.
- My uncleŽs house, which is in Kyimyindine, is a
large building.
- The boys should not be given to children.
- The toys are dangerous to pay with.
- The toys that are dangerous to play with should not
be given to children.
Defining and non-defining cIauses
A relative clause may be defining or non-defining.
A defining clause is an adjective clause which
comes together with and is inseparable from its ante-
cedent. lf the adjective clause is separated from its an-
tecedent by a comma, the antecedent will lose its sig-
nificance; the adjective clause is essential in the mean-
ing of the whole sentence, e.g.
The book which contains pictures in it is good for
children. (Here, the adjective clause which contains pic-
tures in it is inseparable from the antecedent The book.
The main clause The book is good for children without
the adjective clause is quite absurd.
Similarly, in The man who wrote this book died last
year, the main clause The man died last year will be
absurd without the defining clause who wrote this book.
A non-defining cause, on the contrary, is not es-
sential in the meaning of the whole sentence. lf just de-
scribes a non or pronoun. The main clause is complete
in itself and the meaning is quite clear.
e.g.
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ln Dagon Shwe Hmyar, who wrote this book, died
last year, the main clause Dagon Shwe Hmyar died last
year is quite clear in meaning in itself, even without the
adjective clause who wrote this book. This kind of an
adjective clause is a non-defining clause.
A defining clause comes in the sentence as an in-
separable whole without being separated by commas
from the main clause.
A non-defining clause comes in the sentence as an
extra description, which is not essential, and therefore
it is separated from the main clause by commas.
A learner should remember that commas are very
important in using relative clauses.
Note : A relative pronoun in the objective case in a de-
fining clause is usually left out, e.g.
- The car (which) my uncle bought yesterday is quite
new. (which) is left out.
- The man (whom) you have have sent for is here.
- The book (that) l bought from a station book-stall
is left on the train.
- A relative pronoun standing for a prepositional ob-
ject takes the preposition with it, e.g.
- U Mya Han is a successful lawyer. l bought this
car form him.
- U Mya Han, from whom l bought this car, is a suc-
cessful lawyer.
- This dictionary is not a very good one. l paid a hun-
dred kyats for it.
- This dictionary, for which l paid a hundred kyats,
is not a very good one.
Sometimes, the preposition may be preceded by
some word or phrase inseparably attached to it; then,
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the relative pronoun standing for the object of that prepo-
sition takes the whole group with it, e.g.
The almond tree had been cut down. The branches
of the almond tree were spreading over our house.
The almond tree, the branches of which were
spreading over our house, had been cut down.
This book is kept as a souvenir. The authorŽs au-
tograph is on the first page of the book.
This book, on the first page of which is the authorŽs
signature, is kept as a souvenir.
Note : This last portion of the lesson is given in order
to give the learner some idea of the relative pro-
noun and its scope. But he is advised not to
pay great attention to difficult constructions like
this. Simple English is always the best English.
Some ruIes
A relative pronoun precedes a relative clause.
A relative pronoun is in the same number, person
and gender as its antecedent.
A relative pronoun is placed as near as possible
to its antecedent.
To test your knowledge of relative pronouns, try to
correct the following absurdities;
Johnnie is the youngest son of our teacher who is
now five years old.
The old lady wore a gold chain round her neck
which is about three foot long.
My wallet holds thirty ten-kyat notes which l have
bought for twenty kyats.
This book is brought from the darkest corner of the
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library in which there are many interesting stories.
Transformation of sentences
Sentences may be changed from one form to an-
other without changing much in the meaning. The learner
is advised to practise transformation of sentences using
different kinds of conjunctions, adverbs and prepositions,
and exercising his knowledge of parts of speech, as in
the example given:
Mary was absent. (simple sentence)
Mary was ill. (simple sentence)
These two simple sentences may be put together
into:
1. a compound sentence., e.g.
Mary was absent, for she was ill.
2. a complex sentence, e.g.
Mary was absent because she was ill.
3. a simple sentence, e.g.
Mary was absent because of her illness.
Mary attended her classes.
Mary was ill.
These two simple sentences may be put to-
gether into:
1. a compound sentence, e.g.
Mary was ill, but she attended her classes.
2. a complex sentence, e.g.
Mary attended her classes although she was ill.
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3. A simple sentence, e.g.
Mary attended her classes in spite of her illness.
John had an accident.
He drove the car carelessly.
These two simple sentences may be put together
into:
1. A compound sentence, e.g.
John had an accident, for he drove the car care-
lessly.
2. A complex sentence, e.g.
John had an accident because he drove the car
carelessly.
3. A simple sentence, e.g.
John had an accident because of his careless
driving (or, because of his carelessness in driv-
ing the car).
Practise with these sentences:
1. Few students came. lt was raining hard.
2. A few students came. lt was raining hard.
3. We cancelled our pionic. The weather was bed.
4. l warned him repeatedly. He made the same
mistake again.
5. He did not understand the lesson. He did not
pay proper attention.
6. The weather was rather bad. He went out for a
walk.
7. Everybody likes Mary. She is good-natured.
8. My uncle retired from service. He settled down
to a quite life.
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9. John visited Bagan last year. He took some pho-
tographs of pagodas.
10. He made many mistakes. The teacher scolded
him.
Nouns in apposition
Transformation of sentences may be done by us-
ing what is known as •noun in appositionŽ in grammar.
A noun in apposition is a noun-equivalent which is added
to another noun to explain it, e.g.
Mr. Brown is a very tall man. Mr. Brown is our new
English teacher.
Mr. Brown, our new English teacher, is a very tall
man.
(Here, the two nouns Mr. Brown and our new En-
glish teacher are nouns in apposition.)
Our neighbor is a very helpful person. His name is
U Ba Maung.
U Ba Maung, our neighborly, is a very helpful per-
son.
(The nouns U Ba Maung and our neighbour are
nouns in apposition.)
My sister has now retired from her service. She
was formerly a Senior Assistant Teacher.
My sister, formerly a Senior Assistant Teacher, As-
sistant Teacher are nouns in apposition.)
U Paw U Was a minister of BodawpayaŽs Court.
He was a native of Taze, He is famous for his wit and
humor.
U Paw U, a nati ve of Taze, a mi ni ster of
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BodawpayaŽs Court, is famous for his wit and humour.
(Here, there are three nouns in apposition; U Paw
U, a native of Taze, and a minister of BodawpayaŽs Court
are nouns in apposition.
ParticipiaI construction
Sentences may be transformed by using what is
known as •participial constructionŽ.
This is done simply by reducing a finite very to a
participle and thus making the original clause an append-
age (an added part) to a main clause. e.g.
- Mary looked out of the window. She saw her
friends. coming.
- Looking out of the window, Mary saw her friends
coming.
Looking out of the window in this sentence is no
longer a clause because the finite verb looked is reduced
to a participle looking. Call it a phrase for want of a
better name.
lt still holds the original meaning of the •clauseŽ but
it is not a •clauseŽ.
lt is attached to •a proper subject of referenceŽ, i.e.
•MaryŽ.
Study the following sentences:
John had not much work last Monday. He went out
for a walk.
Having not much work last Monday, John went out
for a walk.
He stood by the roadside. He was knocked down
by a car.
Standing by the roadside, he was knocked down
by a car.
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They have visited all the pagodas in Bagan. They
came back to Yangon.
Having visited all the pagodas in Bagan, they came
back to Yangon.
The hunter took a very careful aim with his gun.
He pulled the trigger.
Taking a very careful aim with his gun, the hunter
pulled the trigger.
Tom was very poor. He could not afford to buy
books.
Being very poor, Tom could not afford to buy books.
This book is written in simple English. lt is suit-
able for beginners.
This book, (being) written in simple English, is suit-
able for beginners.
Note:1. ln these participial phrases •beingŽ, when it is
followed by another participle (i.e. a past parti-
ciple), is omitted and only the past participle
may be used.
Note:2. A participial phrase must have a proper subject
of reference, and when the subject of the main
clause is different, then the subject of the •par-
ticipleŽ is given with it.
This is called an •absolute participial construc-
tionŽ (i.e. complete with its own subject) e.g.
There were no lights that night. We just sat to-
gether and talked.
There being no lights that night. we just sat together
and taked.
The weather was fine that evening. They had their
tea in a the garden.
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The weather being fine that evening, they had their
tea in the garden.
His work was far from satisfactory. He was not con-
sidered for promotion.
His work being far from satisfactory, he was not
considered for promotion.
Note: 3. ln some cases, this participial construction
may be replaced by a prepositional phrase with a ger-
und, e.g.
John made silly mistakes in the class. The teacher
scolded him.
The teacher scolded John for making silly mistakes
in the class.
The did not carry much money on the journey. The
were afraid of being robbed.
They did not carry much money on the journey for
fear of being robbed.
They did not go to Ngapali last year. lnstead, they
visited their relatives in Upper Myanmar.
Last year, they visited their relatives in Upper
Myanmar instead of going to Ngapali.
Pattern-making verbs
English verbs are either transitive or intransitive (as
seen in the lesson on verbs.) They are again divided into
subclasses as follows:
1. lntransitive verb (complete predicate)
This is the kind of verb that makes a predicate by
itself because it has a complete meaning in itself, e.g.
- Birds fly (in the air)
- Dogs bark (n the night)
- l go (to school every day)
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- Mary lives (in Yangon).
- The car stops (in front of our house)
Each verb in these sentences has a complete
meaning in itself, the words within brackets are just ad-
verbs.
2. Intransitive verb (incompIete predicate)
This is the kid of verb that does not make a
predicate by itself alone because it does not have a
complete meaning, and therefore it needs a complement,
e.g.
- Birds are (in the tree)
- Dogs seem (to be angry)
- l am (a student).
- Mary looks (very pretty).
- The car becomes (troublesome).
Each verb in these sentences needs something else
to be said to make a complete predicate; the words
within brackets are complements to these verbs.
3. Transitive verb (with one object)
This is the kind of verb that makes a complete
predicate with one object only, e.g.
- Mary makes a cake.
- John washed the car.
- We painted our house.
- They let me (into the house).
- l saw John this morning.
4. Transitive verb (with two objects)
As matter of fact, this verb is the same as the
transitive verb with one object, but the dative object, i.e.
the prepositional object is placed directly after the verb
(to eliminate the preposition) and thus there are two ob-
jects that the verb takes, e.g.
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- lŽ gave a book to him.Ž in practical use be-
comes.
- lŽ gave him a book.Ž
Similarly,
- •We bought some presents for MaryŽ. becomes
- •We bought Mary some presents.Ž
- The teacher told a story to us.Žbecomes
- Mary showed her necklace to me.Žbecomes
- •Mary showed me her necklace.Ž
- They sent Christmas cards to their friends.Ž be-
comes.
- They sent their friends Christmas cards.
4. Transitive verb (with one object and a compIe-
ment)
Some transitive verbs, which normally are tran-
sitive verbs with one object, are used in a different sense
with a complement, e.g.
- Mary makes us happy. (Compare this with •Mary
makes a cake.Ž ln No. 3 above.)
- John washed the dishes clean.
- John painted our house green.
- They let me do as l please.
- l saw John coming into the house.
These are the five pattern-forming verbs which form
the basic patterns of English sentences.
Basic patterns of EngIish sentences
The basic pattern means the basic formation of a
sentence with minimum requirements. ln other words, the
basic pattern of a sentence may be a frame or a skel-
eton to which other words may be added as necessary.
The basic patterns are:
l. Subject + verb. (verb No. 1)
ll. Subject + verb + complement. (Verb No. 2)
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lll. Subject + verb + object. (Verb No. 3)
lV. Subject + verb + indirect object + direct object.
(Verb No. 4)
V. Subject + verb + object + complement. (Verb
No. 5)
The learner is advised to study the patternforming
verbs first, and then work out the basic patterns with
the sentences which are well within his knowledge, and
get the idea of English sentence patterns.
Basic patterns as seen above begin with the sub-
ject, but this word-order may be altered in practical use.
Usage patterns (pattern variety)
Basic patterns of sentences are not always used
in their original form.
They are modified or altered as required by the oc-
casion.
Study these sentences:
Basic pattern:
A box is on the table. (Pattern ll)
Usage pattern:
On the table is a box.
On the table, there is a box.
There, on the table, is a box.
There is a box on the table.
There in these sentences is •expletiveŽ (i.e. serving
to fill out in place of the subject; it is often called the
empty subject.)
These patterns have the same basic meaning, but
each may suit a different situation in composition or
speech.
Contextual relevancy will select which of these pat-
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terns to use.
The learner is advised to practise this pattern vari-
etyŽ. He may arrange the patterns is this form:
1. Subject + verb + adverb (of place) = (Basic P.)
2. Adverb (of place) + verb + subject.
3. Adverb (of place) + there + verb + subject.
4. There + adverb (of place) + verb + subject.
5. There + verb + subject + adverb (of place.)
ExampIes:
1. A little white-washed pagoda is on a small hill
above the town. (Basic pattern)
2. On a small hill above the town is a little white-
washed pagoda.
3. On a small hill above the town, there is a little
white washed pagoda.
4. There, on a small hill above the town, is a little
white washed pagoda.
5. There is a little white-washed pagoda on a small
hill above the town.
Generally, Pattern No. 1 is just information Pat-
tern No. 2 is emphatic, Pattern No. 3 is indication (point-
ing out). Pattern No. 4 is indication and emphatic. Pat-
tern No. 5 is narrative (telling the story)
Adjective patterns
Degrees of comparison: An adjective has three de-
grees of comparison: The positive degree, the compara-
tive degree, and the superlative degree.
1. The positive degree ___ (The simple form)
2. The comparative degree ____ (Which is more in
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comparing)
3. The superlative degree ____ (The utmost)
ExampIes
- This book is good. (positive degree)
- The book is better than this book. (comparative de-
gree.)
- This book is the best amongst all. (superlative de-
gree)
- Adverbs may also have these three degrees of com-
parison:
ExampIes
- The small boy ran fast. (positive)
- The smaller boy ran faster than the taller one.
(comparative)
- The smallest boy ran (the) fastest. (superlative)
Note: Things compared must be of the same class.
Comparison of equals may be made by using
the as... as pattern, and opposite of this (i.e. inequal-
ity) may be made by using the not so... as pattern, e.g.
- This book is as good as that book. (equal)
- This book is not so good as that book. (unequal)
The positive degree has only one aspect, but a
comparative degree has two aspects, e.g.
- This book is better than that book is the same as
- This book is not so good as this book.
The superlative degree has three aspects, e.g.
- This is the best book l have ever readŽ is the same
as •This book is better than any other book l have ever
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readŽ, and •No other book l have ever read is as good
as this bookŽ.
By practising these adjective patterns and degrees
of comparison, the learner will gain skill in transforma-
tion of sentences.
Summary
Comparison of equal things: as ... as pattern
Comparison of unequal things: Not so ... as pat-
tern.
... er ... than ... pattern
more ... than ... pattern
Adverb patterns
The adverb in this lesson is the adjectivemodifier.
Some adjectives in their positive degree do not have the
definite degree or extent, and thus are not clear in their
meaning. Look at these sentences:
- l am quite old.
- John is quite old.
- Mary is quite old.
- My father is quite old.
- My son is quite old.
- My son is quite old.
The adjective •oldŽ in these sentences is rather
vague. Each of these statements need the clarification
•how oldŽ. (•quiteŽ is not enough) Here is the clarifica-
tion.
- l am quite old. l can book after myself.
- l am old enough to look after myself.
- John is quite old. He can go to school
- John is quite old. He can go to school.
- Mary is quite old. She can marry.
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- Mary is old enough to marry.
- My father is quite old. He can retire from work.
- My father is old enough to retire from work.
- My son is quite old. He can ride a tricycle.
- My son is old enough to ride a tricycle.
The second part of the sentence gives the degree
or the extent of the adjective used in the first part.
ln each of the sentences, the adjective is in the
affirmative, and the extent also is in the affirmative. But
sometimes, the extent (the second part) is given in the
negative, e.g.,
- l am quite old, l cannot play football in the street.
- l am too old to play football in the street.
- John is quite old. He must not ride a trickle.
- John is too old to ride a tricycle.
- Mary is quite old. She should not marry.
- Mary is too old to marry.
- My father is quite old. He cannot work.
- My father is too old to work.
- My son is quite old. He need not wear bibs.
- My son is too old to wear bibs.
Note the use ofŽ ... enough to ...Ž and •too...to
...Ž in the examples given.
There also are pattern in which adjectives are
in the negative, and the extent in the affirmative, e.g.
- l am not yet old. l can still drive.
- l am not too old to drive.
- John is not yet old. He can still work.
- John is not too old to work.
- Mary not yet old. She can marry.
- Mary is not too old to Mary
- My father is not yet old. He can ride a bicycle.
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- My father is not too old to ride a bicycle.
- My son is not yet old. He may still play with toys.
- My son is not too old to play with toys.
Similarly, there are patterns in which the adjec-
tive is in the negative, and the extent also is given in
the negative, e.g.
- l am not yet old. l need not retire from service.
- l am not old enough to retire from service.
- John is not yet old. He does not know much.
- John is not old enough to know much.
- Mary is not yet old. She cannot help her mother.
- Mary is not old enough to help her mother.
- My father is not yet old. He need not give up driv-
ing.
- My father is not old enough to give to driving.
- My son is not yet old. He cannot go to school.
- My son is not old enough to go to school.
Summary
Adjective Extent Pattern
Affirmative Affirmative ... enough to ....
Affirmative Negative too... to ...
Negative Affirmative not too ... to ...
Negative Negative not ... enough ... to...
The learner is advised to practise using these Ad-
verb patterns with sentences given below:
- The fruits are quite ripe. They can be picked.
- My uncle is very rich. He can live in a grand
house.
- John is very strong. He can lift that heavy box.
- This Shan bag is rather big. lt can hold all my
books.
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Some difficuIties
So far, there does not seem to be any difficulty in
doing these •adverb patternsŽ.
That is because the part that gives the adjective
and the part that extent have the same subject.
lf the subject of the extent part is different,that sub-
ject is inserted with •for ...Žin the construction, e.g.
- Our school is quite near.We can walk to it.
- Our school is near enough for us to walk to.
- This book is rather difficult. The children cannot un-
derstand it.
- This book is too difficult for the children to under-
stand.
- The Post Office is nor very far. You can walk to it.
- The Post Office is not too far for you to walk to.
This novel os nor very good. You should not read it.
- This novel is not good enough for you to read.
Now, practices with these sentences:
- This coffee is rather hot. l cannot drink it.
- My office is quite near. l can walk to it.
- My taxi was not quite fast. l did not catch the
train.
- That watch is very expensive. l cannot buy it.
- The new is very good, it cannot be true.
- lt is not yet late. You can start a new life.
- That man is very angry. He cannot be polite.
- The mountain is rather high. We cannot climb it.
- The book is quite big.lt wonŽt go into my pocket.
- You are quite old. You should know better.
Note: Enough follows an adjective, but precedes a
noun, e.g.
- U Ba Htay is quite rich. He can buy that house.
- U Ba Htay is rich enough to by the house.
- U Ba Htay has a kot of money.He can by htat
house.
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- U Ba Haty has enough money to by that house.
- He is very brave. He hunts tigers.
- He is brave enough to hunt tigers.
- He has great courage. He hunts tigers.
- He has enough courage to hunt tigers.
- John is very strong. He can lift that heavy box.
- John is strong enough to lift that heavy box.
- John has a great strength. He can lift that heavy
box.
- John has enough strength to lift heavy box.
Emphatic patterns
ln speaking or writing we often need to lay stress
on a certain point.
We do this by making some modifications to the
basic pattern of the sentence.
Emphatic verbs: When we want to emphasize (to
put more weight in) the verb, we do so by intonation
streets on the verb Žto beŽ and the verb •to haveŽ, and
with •do, does, didŽ on the •doingŽ verbs, e.g.
John is my friend. (Laying stress on the verb •isŽ
__ to convince those who doubt and ask •ls John really
your friend?)
John has a sister. (With a stress on •hasŽ it may
mean that beyond all possible doubt John has a sis-
ter.)
John does work in an office. (•DoesŽ here empha-
sizes the verb •workŽ. lt means: l assure you that John
works...)
Emphatic adverbs (in reversal pattern): Emphasis
can be put on a certain expression by reversing the po-
sition of the adverb, the verb and the subject, e.g.
(Basic pattern: l have never seen such a thing in
my life time.)
Emphatic pattern: Never in my life time have l seen
such a thing.
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(Basic pattern: He answered my question only when
l had repeated it three times.)
Emphatic pattern: Only when l had repeated it three
times did he answer my question.
(Basic pattern: A variety of books lay piled up on
a small table at his bedside.)
Emphatic pattern: Piled up on a small table at his
bedside lay a variety of books.
(Basic pattern: An old man and his wife lived in a
small hut at the foot of the hill.)
Emphatic pattern: ln a small hut at the foot of the
hill live an old man and his wife.
(See ___ Basic patterns of English sentences and
their usage patterns ___ pattern variety)
Emphatic pattern (for different parts of a sentence:)
There is another way of putting stress on different parts
of a sentence. For this purpose we use the pattern:
lt is/was ...(E) who/that ... the rest of the sentence)
For example, we have this sentence in the basic pat-
tern.
Mary saw a flying saucer in the sky last night.
This sentence has five parts: The subject Mary the
verb saw, the object a flying saucer, and the adverbs in
the sky, and last night. Each part may be emphasized
thus:
1. On the verb:
Mary did see a flying saucer in the sky last
night (This stress on the verb is to convince
those who doubt about MaryŽs seeing the flying
saucer...
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2. On the subject.
lt was Mary who saw a flying saucer in the sky
last night. (lt was nobody else.)
3. On the object:
lt was a flying saucer that Mary saw in the sky
last night. (This emphasis is to answer the
question of those who doubt about what Mary
saw last night.)
4. On the adverbs:
lt was in the sky that Mary saw a flying sau-
cer last night. (This is in answer to those who
ask: Was it in the sea or on land that Mary
saw...?
lt was last night that Mary saw a flying saucer in
the sky. (This is to put more weight on the fact that it
was only last night that Mary saw...)
The learner may test his knowledge of this em-
phatic pattern by putting the various parts of the follow-
ing sentences into •lt is/was ... (E) ... who/that ... (the
rest of the sentence) ... form:
Columbus/discovered/the new world/in 1492.
John/went/to England/last year/on a study tour.
Chinese people/invented/paper making/two thousand
years ago.
U Mya Han/bought/a new car/last Friday.
Mary/Lived/with he aunt/in Kyimyindine/ when she
was in High School.
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Adverb (syntax)
Position of adverbs
Simple adverbs and some phrase adverbs have their
normal positions in a sentence, though there is no hard
and fast rule for it.
Some adverb are placed at the beginning of a
sentence, and they are classed as front position
adverbs( FPA). The interrogative adverts, i.e. Question-
making words, (how, when, where, why, etc.) are front
position adverbs. But other adverbs also may be used
as front position adverbs for emphasis or contract, e.g.
Last Summer we went to Ngapali; this summer we
are going to Taunggyi.
Once upon a time, an old man and his wife lived
in a hut at the foot of a small hill.
Never in my life-time have l seen this kind of thing.
(Emphasis)
Some adverbs are placed with the verb, and they
are called mid position adverbs (MPA). e.g.
- l always go to school by bus.
- Mary occasionally goes to the cinema.
- John is never in time for his class.
- Henry sometimes goes to bed early.
- Mrs. Green rarely uses her typewriter.
- They seldom find time for reading.
Some adverbs are placed after the verb, often
at the end of a sentence. (Convenience rather than rules
is the guide here.) They are called end position adverbs
(EPA), e.g.
- Mary speaks English well.
- Henry drives the car very carefully.
- We shall go home soon.
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- They are going to Mandalay next week.
- l will be there early.
- My friends visit our farm once a week.
- They say they enjoy the trip very much.
These are suggestions, not rules, in the use of
adverbs. Variations in the order of adverbs are possible.
Order of adverbs
There are several kinds of adverbs classified accord-
ing to the nature of the work they do in a sentence.
Adverbs usually tell us the direction, the manner, the
place, the time, the reason or purpose, etc. of a verb.
The most frequently used Adverbs are:
(1) The adverb of direction ... (where to?/from?)
(2) The adverb of manner ... (how?)
(3) The adverb of place ... (where?)
(4) The adverb of time ... (when?)
(5) The adverb of reason of purpose (why?/on what
purposed?)
When there are two or more adverbs in the same
sentence they are placed in this order for clarity of
meaning, e.g.
May went to Bago by train yesterday to visit her
aunt. ln this sentence. Mary is the subject, and
went is the predicate word (the verb); these two
words make up the basic patron of the sentence.
The rest are adverbs: to Bago is the adverb of
direction, by train is the adverb of manner, yes-
terday is the adverb of time, and to visit her aunt
is the adverb of purpose.
This is the illustration of the normal order, but
this order may be altered if care is taken not to spoil
the clarity of meaning.
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The relative position of the verb and its adverb is
important, As a rule, an adverb is placed as near as
possible to the verb it modifies. ln a sentence with only
one very, there is less chance of the meaning being con-
fused by the position of the adverb, but in a sentence
with two or more verbs, the position of the adverb should
be carefully chosen as it can cause confusion., e.g.
l saw a man running from my house.
From my house, l saw a man running.
ln these two sentences, the adverb from my house
has a different verb to modify in each, and thus chang-
ing the meaning of the sentence considerably.
When there are two or more adverbs of the same
kind, the more exact one comes before the less exact
one, e.g.
l was born at 5.30 am, on Friday, the 9th day of
May, 1919.
ln this sentence, there are five adverbs of time ar-
ranged in order of exactness.
l live at No. 10, Aungchantha Street, Hledanhteik,
Kamayut, Yangon, Myanmar.
Here again, there are six adverbs of place arranged
in order or exactness.
The learner can test his knowledge of the order of
adverbs by rearranging the adverbs in the following sen-
tences.
John will go by air on business to Mandalay next
Monday at 7.30 am.
You can see me in Yangon, is Sangyoung, Mingala
Street, No. 10, tomorrow, early in the morning, before 8
oŽclock.
My fatherŽs office is located in Yangon, Merchant
Street, at No. 555, Kyauktada Township.
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Buses for the picnic party will leave in the morn-
ing from Yangon University Main Library, at 6 oŽclock,
on the 15th day of September, Monday, 1986.
We found a little house in the suburban area of
Yangon, in Mayangon Township, near the Psychiatric
Hospital on Kaba-Aye Pagoda Road.
Adverb cIauses
An adverb clauses is a sub-clause doing the work
of an adverb in a sentence. Like simple adverbs and
phrase adverse, they tell the direction, manner, place,
time, reason or purpose of a verb, e.g. lŽll go wherever
you go. (direction)
He talked in such a way that everybody thought he
was drunk. (manner)
He gets along with people wherever the happens to
be. (Place)
Mary is absent because she is ill. (reason)
John is working very hard so that he may pass his
examination with credit. (purpose)
Some adverbs of degree
1. fairIy and rather
These words are adjective modifiers. lf something
or someone is said to be •fairly goodŽ or •rather goodŽ,
it may mean that something or someone is •moderatelyŽ
good, Therefore, •fairlyŽ or •ratherŽ means •moderatelyŽ. But
in practical use, these two words may have a different
shade of meaning each, e.g.
This room is fairly warm may mean that the
speaker likes the warmth of the room. Maybe it is cold
outside.
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This room is rather warm may mean that the
speaker does no like the warmth of the room. Maybe it
is a hot day.
2. Quite
•QuiteŽ means •fullyŽ. But it is not always used
in this sense. Sometimes •quiteŽ may suggest •some-
thing lessŽ. e.g.
The classroom is quite fullŽ (i.e. All seats are
occupied and no more can be admitted.)
The box is quite empty.Ž (i.e. There is nothing
in it.)
But •This book is quite good,Ž does not mean
that this book is fully good, but it means less than good
but a shade better than fairly good.
3. hardIy bareIy scarceIy
These three adverbs are synonymous. They sug-
gest a negative meaning. Hardly means not fully, barely
means no more than, and scarcely means only just or
almost not. e.g.
- l have hardly any money. (i.e. very very little
money)
- l can hardly see these small prints. (i.e. l have
a poor eye-sight)
- She was barely seventeen when she got mar-
ried. (i.e. not quite enough).
- His income is barely enough to make both ends
meet. (i.e. not quite enough.)
- There were scarcely a hundred people present
at the annual meeting. (i.e. not even a hundred.)
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- He can scarcely write his name. (i.e. He is il-
literate.)
Note : (Scarcely combines the meanings of hardly and
barely.)
Direct speech and indirect speech
There are two ways of relating what a person has
said. One is the direct speech, i.e. giving the exact
words of the original speaker, e.g.
John said, •l have lost my umbrella.Œ
ln this construction, there are two component parts
One is the reporting part: •John said, and the other is
the reported part: •l have lost my umbrellaŒ. Here, the
reported part is given in the exact words of the original
speaker, i.e. •JohnŽ and it is separated from the report-
ing part with a comma, and it is put within inverted com-
mas. This is the direct speech.
ln the indirect speech, we give the exact meaning
of what is actually spoken by the original speaker, e.g.
John said that the had lost his umbrella.
Here, the reported part is changed in such a way
that only the exact meaning, but not what is actually
spoken by the original speaker, prevails. ln this (indirect)
sentence there still are two parts: the reporting part and
the reported part, but they are not separated by a
comma and inverted commas, but by a connective (link)
•thatŽ. So, in this construction, we must pay attention
to (1) the reporting part, (2) the link and (3) the reported
part.
The direct speech can be made in all the four kinds
of statements, i.e... the assertive, the imperative, the in-
terrogative and the exclamation. But the indirect speech
can be made only in the assertive from. Therefore, when
we change the direct speech into the indirect speech,
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it becomes necessary for us to change all other forms
of the direct speech into the assertive form.
The reporting verb: For the direct speech, the re-
porting verb can be say said said for for all kinds of
statements. For the indirect speech, the reporting verb
varies according to the kind of statement in the direct
speech .
Changes necessary in the direct speech:
(i) pronoun references, (ii) time references, (iii) place
references, (iv) tense of verb (according to the tense of
the reporting verb), and (v) the interrogative form is
changed back into assertive form. Study the table bel-
low:
Note that this is the table for general guidance of
the learner in practising the direct speech and the indi-
rect speech. The learner should first study the table thor-
oughly and understand the structure of sentences in the
direct speech and the indirect speech. Study each col-
umn in each item very carefully and being with •singleŽ
sentences (simple, compound or complex). lf the direct
speech is made up of two or more sentences, then each
sentence is reported (repeating the reporting verb if nec-
essary) and repeating the •linkŽ with each sentence.
Notes; Say and Tell: Say (say-said-said) is a verb which
makes Basic Pattern No.3.(i.e. Subject+ verb+
object) Tell (tell- told- told) is a verb which
makes Basi c Pattern No.4. (i .e. Subj ect+
verb+indirect indierct object+ direct object)
+ There are two types of interrogatives: (a) The el-
ementary type: i.e. The question is made by in-
version of the subject and the verb, and that
there is a verb at the beginning of the question.
This may be answered in •YesŽ or •NoŽ. (b)
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On changing from direct speech to indirect speech
The secondary type; i.e. an interrogative (a ques-
tion adverb) is added to the elementary type
question. This cannot be answered in •YesŽ or
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•NoŽ. but the question-word is answered. These
two types of question require each a different •linkŽ in
the indirect speech.
ln an interrogative statements, the verb comes be-
fore the subject. This order is changed back in the in-
direct speech.
Tense sequence: lf the reporting verb is in the
present tense the verb in the direct speech need not
be changed. But if the reporting verb is in the past
tense, then, the verb in the reported part is changed
accordingly.
Pronouns: On changing the direct speech to the
indirect speech, pronouns can cause confusion. The
learner must take care to avoid ambiguity of pronouns
(i.e. pronouns having doubtful references).
Time and pIace: Such time references as •nowŽ
]yesterdayŽ, •todayŽ, •tomorrowŽ, •next week/year/etc. and
place references as •hereŽ, •thereŽ, are freely used in the
direct speech. They may not be relevant to the time of
reporting (i.e. according to the reporting verb). They must
be changed if irrelevant.
Some exampIes:
Direct: Last Monday John said, •Mary is coming to
day.Œ
Indirect: Last Monday John said that Mary was com-
ing that day.
Direct: John just now said , •Mary is coming to day.Œ
Indirect: John just now that Mary was coming
today.
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Direct: Mary said, lŽll come tomorrow.Œ
Indirect: Mary said that sheŽd (she would) come the
next day.
Direct: The men said, •we did it yesterday.Œ
Indirect: The men said that they had done it the day
before.
Direct: The teacher said, •Sit down, boy.Œ
Indirect: The teacher told the boys to sit down.
Direct: My father said, •Mary, donŽt bite your finger-
nails.
Indirect: My father told Mary not to bit her finger-nails.
Direct: The stranger said, •Where is the Post Office?Œ
Indirect: The stranger asked where the Post Office was.
Direct: Mr. Brown said, •ls your father a teacher,
Mary?Œ
Indirect: Mr. Brown asked Mary whether her father was
a teacher.
Direct: Henry said, •Shall l pass this examination?Œ
Indirect: Henry wondered whether he would pass the
examination.
Direct: Peter said, •Shall l close the window for You?Œ
Indirect: Peter asked whether he should close the win-
dow for her.
Note: •Shall l ...?Ž may be (i) a pure future question,
in which •shallŽ becomes •wouldŽ in the indirect
speech, and (ii) asking for permission or con-
sulting, in which •shallŽ becomes •shouldŽ in the
indirect speech.
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PART III. USAGE
Some aspects of EngIish usage
Usage given in this section deals with how
English words, phrases and sentences are used. This
is just to give the learner a few hints on what usage
means. A learner of English is likely to find some diffi-
culty in the correct use of English words, phrases and
sentences. The learner at an early stage should be
aware of some idiomatic expressions which occur in his
everyday speech. What is idiom? As W. J. Ball, M.A.
defines it, idiom is •the use of familiar words in an un-
familiar senseŽ. This definition seems enough for a for-
eign learner of the English language.
Kinds of idiom
1. GrammaticaI idiom: Peculiarities in the rules of
grammar and syntax. e.g. the use of determiners, the
use of some special finites like •shallŽ and •willŽ, the
use of •tensesŽ •voiceŽ and •moodŽ, etc.
2. UngrammaticaI idiom: Accepted usage does not al-
ways agree with the rules of grammar. When there
is such disagreement, it is the rule that is to be ig-
nored. The question •who did you see in the house?
is not grammatically correct. lt should be •Whom did
you see in the house? But •Who did you see ...?
is accepted and used by many as correct usage.
Thus, the ungrammatical idiom sanctions our saying
•itŽs me.Œ instead of saying •ltŽs l.Œ in answer to the
question •WhoŽs there?Œ and saying •Nobody is to
blame.Œ instead of saying •Nobody is to be blamed.Œ
which is pedantic.
3. PrepositionaI idiom: The preposition presents a spe-
cial difficulty in English usage because it forms a
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greater part of the English idiom. The preposition on
in the phrase on the table is a plain preposition. But
on in the phrase on purpose is idiom. Similarly, in
a hurry, at ease, for good, through carelessness are
idiomatic phrases. There also are adjectives and
prepositions e.g. to be angry with; to be afraid of;
etc. Greater part of the prepositional idiom is found
with the •verb + prepositionŽ formations.
4. MetaphoricaI idiom: Metaphor is •application of
name or descriptive term to an object to which it is
not literally applicable, (COD), e.g. describing a camel
as the ship of the desert. A ship literally is a ves-
sel that travels over the sea; a desert is a waste
expense of sand; just as a ship is used to travel
across a sea, so also a camel is used to travel
across a desert of sand.
Note: The simile says merely that one thing is like
another; the metaphor says that one thing is
another.
Determiners and their uses
1. ArticIes:
(i) the indefinite article (•aŽ or •anŽ)
Countable nouns in the singular number take the
indefinite article a or an before them (a is for words
with consonant sounds, and an is for words with
vowel sounds.)
The indefinite article a or an is used.
1. ln the numerical sense of •oneŽ, e.g.
There is a house under that tree.
My uncle bought a house in Kyimyindine.
2. ln the general sense of •anyŽ, e.g.
A horse is a useful animal.
A house has a roof and walls.
ln (1) a horse refers to one particular house i.e.
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the one under that free. a house refers to one par-
ticular house. i.e. the one my uncle bought.
ln (2) A horse means any hose. and A house
means any house (generally) The indefinite article
a or an has other uses also.
Idiomatic uses
(1) With the name of a person, it means •a certain
person named...Ž (i.e. l know only the name) e.g.
- l met a Mr. Brown at the club last night.
- A Miss Green called while you were out.
(2) With a family name, it means •a member of that
familyŽ. e.g.
- Mrs. White was a Thomson. Her name was Mary
Thomson before she got married to John White.
- This lady happens to be a Coleridge. (i.e. This
lady is a descendant of the Poet Coleridge.)
(3) With the name of a famous person, it means •an-
other person like thatŽ, e.g.
- •He is a Shakespeare of the east,Ž = He is an-
other person like Shakespeare of the west.
- •HeŽ is an U Ponnya of our times.Ž = He is an-
other person like U Ponnya, a famous poet of the
nineteenth century in Myanmar.
(4) When it is necessary to use a or an with a pos-
sessive pronoun, the following form is used;
a friend of mine.
a neighbour or theirs.
an acquaintance of hers.
(ii) The definite article (the)
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The definite article is used with all nouns in
all numbers and genders which are known. Some
hold that the definite article (the) is short form of
•thisŽ, •thatŽ, •theseŽ, •thoseŽ. (lt is similar to the
Myanmar usage of or with nouns.)
The definite article (the) is used:
(1) With known things or peopIe, e.g.
Call for the doctor. •meansŽ Call for the par-
ticular doctor (who is known to the speaker
and the one spoken to.)
(2) With superIatives (in the degrees of compari-
son of adjectives). e.g.
(3) With unique things and peopIe, i.e. the only
one of its king, e.g.
The earth and the moon move round the sun.
He is the driver of our car. (i.e. We have only
one driver.)
(4) With ordinal numbers which are not preceded
by possessive adjectives, e.g.
My twentieth birthday falls on the twentieth
day of September, 1986. (The first ordinal num-
ber is preceded by a possessive adjective •myŽ
and so the definite article is not used. The
second ordinal number which is not preceded
by a possessive pronoun is used with the defi-
nite article.)
My younger brother is in the seventh standard.
We live in the 123rd. street. My friend lives in
the 7th. street,
Exception: She stood first/second/third/ in the monthly
test.
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(5) With some geographical names, e.g.
The Ayeyarwady; The Chindwin; The Thames;
The Nile; The Bay of Bengal; The Rakhine
Range; The Rockies; The Myeik Archipelago;
etc.
(6) With a family name in the plural number;
The Browns = (Mr. and Mrs. Brown or mem-
bers of the Brown family), e.g.
The Browns are great friends of the Whites.
The Latts often pay a visit to the Tuns in
Mandalay.
(7) With an adjective to make it a noun (usually
in the plural number), e.g.
(i.e. The rich people and the poor people...)
There are three kinds of women, the rich, the
intellectual, and the majority.
(8) With comparative degree of adjectives and ad-
verbs to form what is known as parallel con-
structionŽ; e.g.
The more, the merrier.
The more you have, the more you want.
The higher the mountain, the more difficult it is to
climb.
The more salty the water, the longer it takes to boil
The better the quality, the higher the price.
2. Adjectives of quantity
•SomeŽ and •anyŽ
•SomeŽ is used in the assertive statements (affir-
mative), and •anyŽ is used in the assertive statements
(negative) and in questions, e.g.
- l want some oranges. Have you any ripe ones?
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lŽm sorry sir, l havenŽt any oranges at present, but
l have some ripe juicy applesŽ. There is some tea in
tea-pot, but there arenŽt any cups on the table.Ž
•MuchŽ and •marryŽ
•MuchŽ is for telling the quantity of uncountable
nouns, and •marryŽ is for countable nouns, e.g.
- The doctor advised me to drink much milk and
eat many eggs every day.
Note : ln practice, however, •muchŽ and •manyŽ as ad-
jectives are usually replaced in the affirmative, and some-
times in the interrogatives by such expressions as a lot
of, plenty of and a great deal of. a lot of ... (replaces
much and many) plenty of ... (replaces much only) a
great deal of ... (replaces much only)
- l have a lot of bread; but l havenŽt much but-
ter.
- She has a lot of time to waste; l havenŽt much
- l drink plenty of milk and eat a lot to eggs
daily.
•LittleŽ and •fewŽ
Both these determiners are for telling a •small
quantityŽ. •LittleŽ is for uncountable nouns and •fewŽ is
for countable nouns, e.g.
- There is little light in this room because there
are few windows to let in light.
- He knows little because he reads few books.
Note: •LittleŽ and •fewŽ, except when preceded by •veryŽ
are seldom used in the affirmative. We use •not muchŽ
for •littleŽ, and •not manyŽ for •fewŽ. e.g.
lnstead of saying l have little time, we usually say
l havenŽt much time.
lnstead of saying •He has few books.Ž we usually
say •He hasnŽt many books. •But when •littleŽ and •few
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are preceded by •veryŽ , •tooŽ, etc. we use them in the
affirmative.
- l have very little time.
- We had too few books to read.
- Very few students came because it was reining
very heavily all day yesterday.
•A littleŽ and •a fewŽ.
•A littleŽ means •not much but there is someŽ used
with uncountable nouns. •A fewŽ means •not but there
are someŽ, used with countable nouns, e.g.
There is a little sugar left in the bowl. (lt has an af-
firmative sense)
A few students came in spite of the heavy rain. (•A
fewŽ here is the same as •someŽ.)
3. Demonstrative adjective:
There are four demonstrative words: •thisŽ, •thatŽ
•theseŽ, •thoseŽ. Only the demonstrative adjectives are
called determiners. (Examples will be given together with
the possessive adjectives.)
4. Possessive adjectives:
The attention of the learner is drawn to the case
of personal pronouns given earlier in these lessons. ln
the tabular form of pronouns, the third column marked
•possessive adjectiveŽ has these possessive adjective
forms (i.e. my ...; our ...; your ...; his...; her...; its...;
and their ...) These are possessive adjective which are
determiners. (For the convenience of the learner, the
table of •the case of personal pronounsŽ is reproduced
here.)
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Some exampIes:
This is my book. (Here, •ThisŽ is a demonstrative
pronoun, and •myŽ is a possessive adjective, which is a
determiner).
This book is mine. (Here, ThisŽ is a demonstra-
tive adjective, which is a determiner, and •mineŽ is a pro-
noun.
The learner is advised to practise •interchangeŽ of
determiners and pronouns:
Rewrite these sentences:
- This is our house.
- That car is theirs.
- These are our books.
- Those houses are hers.
- Whose books are those over there?
- Whose is this fountain-pen?
- Theirs is the biggest house in this street.
- Our car is the blue one in front of the school.
- These boxes are yours.
Person
Erist
Person
Second
person
Third
Person
subiect
case
I
We
You
You
He
She
It
They
subiect case Obiective case
adiective Pronoun Simple ReIlexive
My... mine me myselI
our... ours us ourselves
your.. yours you yourselI
your.. yours you yourselves
his his him himselI
her hers her herselI
its its it itselI
their theirs them themselves
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5. Distributive adjectives:
Here also, there are two kinds of distributively: The
distributive adjective and the distributive pronoun. Only
the distributive adjectives are called determiners. •Distribu-
tiveŽ means •speaking of many one by oneŽ, •Each ...Ž
•Every ...Ž Either ..Ž and •Neither...Ž are distributives. When
they precede a noun, they are adjectives (determiners),
and when they stand by themselves, they are pronouns,
e.g.
- Each boy in this class shall answer a question.
- Every house in this street is given a number.
- There is a road-sign at either end of the street.
- John said one thing and Henry said another.
- Neither statement was true.
- l have brought some oranges for everyone.
- Each of you will get one. (pronouns)
- Everybody knows everybody else in this town.
- He gave the boys five kyats each.
- l want to hear everything about it.
- Tom, Dick and Harry each had a different opinion.
The use of EngIish tenses
(See tense forms in the grammar section)
1. The simpIe present tense (Now and aIways)
This tense is known as •permanent presentŽ be-
cause it is generally used for events that take place now
and always, i.e. permanently, regularly, habitually, or
generally, e.g.
- l go to school every day.
- The sun always rises in the east.
- He snores when he sleeps.
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- Mr. Brown smokes a great deal.
- Mary likes ice-cream.
The verbs in these sentences are in the simple
present tense, and they agree with the time •now and
alwaysŽ. Study it in comparison with the present con-
tinuous tense.
2. The present continuous tense
(Now at this moment)
This tense is known as •real presentŽ because it
is used for events that is taking place only at this mo-
ment. i.e. the moment of speaking. e.g.
- Mary is living in Kyimyindine.
- l am learning English.
- The sun is rising in the east now.
- Look! Mr. Brown is smoking a cigar.
- Mary is sitting in the front row in the class today.
Compare these two sentences: •Mary lives in
Bago.Ž and Mary is now loving in Yangon. The first, i.e.
the one with a simple present tense, means that •Mary
has her permanent residence in Bago,Ž and the second,
the one with a present continuous tense, means that
•Mary is living in Yangon only at the present moment
(temporarily); she has not yet made Yangon her perma-
nent residence.Ž
Study these sentences:
Miss Green teaches us English, but today she is
teaching us Geography in place of Mr. Brown who
is on leave.
From this, we understand that Miss GreenŽs per-
manent job is that of teaching English (an English
teacher), and she is teaching Geography only tempo-
rarily while Mr. Brown is away for a white.
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Mr. Brown smokes a great deal, and even now he
is smoking a cigar.
From this, we understand that Mr. Brown is a ha-
bitual or heavy smoker (generally); the expression •he
is smoking a cigar.Ž refers only to the present moment.
Mary usually sits in the second row in the class,
but today she is sitting with her friend in the front
row.
Mother is cooking some food in the kitchen at
present; she always cooks in the morning.
3. The present perfect tense (Now compIete)
This tense is chiefly used for past events as spo-
ken of from now, i.e. without giving the time of that past
event, lt does not say when it happened, but it only
says that it is complete now, e.g.
- l have seen him before.
- l have been to Bagan twice.
- Mary has gone out.
- John has written two letters to me.
- We have lived in this street for twenty years.
- They have used this car since 1970.
This tense should be studied together with the
simple past tense which has its own time factor.
4. The present perfect continuous tense (PartIy com-
pIete and stiII in progress)
This tense is the combination of the present per-
fect tense and the present continuous tense. ln other
words, it is a continuous event with a starting point in
the past. e.g.
- We have been living in this street since 1957.
- John has been learning English for five years.
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- l have been waiting for the bus since four
oŽclock.
- Mary has been reading that book since she
came back from her office.
- lt has been raining off and on for at least three
hours.
This tense agrees with the same time factor as
the present perfect tense. The only difference is that this
tense, i.e. the present perfect continuous is a continu-
ous event, whereas the percent perfect tense tells us
of any past event as spoken of from now.
5. The simpIe past tense (past event + past time)
This tense is the most definite of the twelve
tenses in English. lt is used to express past events that
took place at a certain definite time in the past.
Note: A past event without giving the time is ex-
pressed in the present perfect tense. A past
even spoken of with its own time is expressed
in the simple past tense. e.g.
- l have written a letter to John. (The action of
writing in this sentence belongs to the past,
but no time is mentioned for this action; and
therefore it is put in the present perfect tense.)
- l wrote a letter to John yesterday. (Here, the
time of writing is given as yesterday and so
it is put in the simple past tense.)
SimiIarIy:
- l have visited Bagan many times. (present per-
fect)
- l visited Bagan once last year. (simple past)
- Mary has gone out for lunch. (present perfect)
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- Mary went out for lunch a few minutes ago.
- l have written three books in five years.
- l wrote a novel last year.
6. The past continuous tense
Continuity of an action in the past is not as easy
to understand as the continuous action of the present.
The expression l am reading a book can easily be un-
derstood as the tense agrees with the time now or the
time of speaking. But we cannot just say •l was read-
ing a bookŽ without giving the time of •readingŽ in the
past. lt is not enough to say just •thenŽ, we must say
•whenŽ is that •thenŽ. Therefore it is necessary for us to
say •whatŽ happened during that time.Ž As a rule, a past
continuous tense is used side by side with a •simple
past tense.Ž e.g.
- l was reading a book last night when the lights
went out.
- They were living in Bago when war broke out.
- She was sitting in her garden when l saw her.
- He fell down while he was crossing the street.
lt was raining hard when we left the house.
- The boy jumped off the train while it was still mov-
ing.
- The fire was still burning when the firemen arrived.
Exceptions
- My father was working in his office all day yes-
terday. (Here, the adverb all day is a stretch of
time in which continuity is quite possible; and so
no simple past tense is necessary to complete
the sentence.)
- When l had a dog, l always took him out for a
walk
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- When the storm broke, we ran for shelter under
the bridge.
(No continuous form is possible in these two sen-
tences.)
- My sister was playing the piano while l was read-
ing a book.
(Past continuous tenses are used side by side.)
7. The past perfect tense (EarIier past tense)
When we speak in the same breath of two
past events, one happening after the other, we put the
earlier event in the past perfect tense, and the later one
in the simple past tense, e.g.
- When we arrived at the station the train had left.
(lf means that we missed the train)
- The train left after we had arrived at the station.
(This means that we were in time to catch the
train.)
- The fire died down soon after the firemen had ar-
rived.
(i.e. The firemen put out the fire.)
- The fire had died down when the firemen arrived.
(lt was not necessary for the firemen to put the
fire out.)
- Mary had passed her examination when her father
retired from service.
- Mary passed her examination after her father had
retired from service.
- We heard that a fir had broken out in our quar-
ter.
- My friend had not seen me for many years when
l met him last week.
- Did you post the letter after you had written it?
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8. The past perfect continuous tense
This tense is the combination of the past perfect
tense and the past continuous tense. i.e. the event had
been in progress at a certain time in the past, e.g.
- Mary had been living with us for quite a long time
when she thought of leaving us. (She continued
living with us, though.)
- We had been learning English for three years
when the new English teacher came.
- The fire had been burning for at least one hour
when the firemen arrived.
9. The simpIe future tense
The simple future tense is one of the many differ-
ent forms for expressing actions (or events) that are to
take place at a future time. The simple future tense is
formed with shall or will followed by an infinitive. As a
rule, shall is used with the first person subjects (l/We).
SimpIe future tense
Simple Iuture (plain) Simple Iuture (coloured)
I I
We shall We will
go go
come come
see see
You hear You hear
He learn He hear
She etc. She etc.
It will It shall
They They
Mary Mary
ect. etc.
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and will with the second or the third person subject for
a plain simple future tense. But •willŽ with the first per-
son subject, and •shallŽ with the second or the third per-
son subjects make a colored simple future tense.
Collared future means that it has an added shade
of meaning. Simple future (plain) gives the simple infor-
mation of a future event. Simple future (coloured) i.e. •willŽ
with the first person subject, and •shallŽ with the sec-
ond or the third person subject gives an extra meaning
of •willingness, determinati on, or promiseŽ. •shallŽ
(coloured) has a sense of compulsion (like •mustŽ).
Study the example:Ž
- l shall come on Sunday. (simple futuro - plain)
- You shall come on Sunday. (simple future -
coloured)
- lt means, •lt is an order: You must come. lŽll make
you come.)
- Mary will come on Sunday. (simple future - plain)
- l will come on Sunday. (simple future - coloured)
- lt means, l promise to come ... or l am willing to
come ... or l will positively come.
- This is grammatical idiom. Study the following sen-
tences.
- After such a quarrel, he will not come here again.
(lt means: He is angry.)
- After such a quarrel, he shall not come here
again.
(lt means: l am angry. DonŽt let him come...)
- You asked for justice, and you shall have it.
- (ShakespeareŽs The Merchant of Venice)
- lŽ must and will have Katherine for my wife.
(ShakespeareŽs The Taming of the Shrew)
- •O noble Caesar! O most bloody sight! We will be
revenged.Ž (ShakespeareŽs Jullus Caesar)
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10. The future continuous tense
The future continuous tense in its simplest form
is used to describe an action (or event) that will be in
progress at a certain future time. e.g.
- John will be meeting us at the station.
- l will be seeing the headmaster tomorrow.
- What will you be doing in ten yearsŽ time?
- My nephew will be leaving in a few days.
- When we get back home, they will be sleeping.
Note: There is not much difference in the use of the
simple future tense and the future continuous
tense, except in question forms where these
two tenses may mean two different things): e.g.
- Will you come again tomorrow? may be a polite form
of imperative.
- •Will you be coming again tomorrow? is a pure in-
quiry.
- Will you sleep here tonight? (polite imperative)
- Will you be sleeping here tonight? (pure inquiry)
- Will you make some coffee? (polite imperative)
- Will you be making some coffee. (pure inquiry)
11. The future perfect tense.
This tense is used to describe an action (or event)
that will be finished or complete by a certain future time
e.g.
- We shall have learnt all about tenses by the end of
this month. (We are still learning now.)
- We shall have lived in this street thirty years by next
month. (Thirty years is not yet complete)
- My brother will have come back from England by this
time next year. (He is now in England)
- Mary will have done her thesis by December this
year (Now she is doing it.)
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- My friends will have visited all the pagodas in Bagan
by the end if this month. (Now they are visiting pa-
godas in Bagan.)
12. The future perfect continuous tense
There is little or no need for us to use this tense
because future events and actions of all kinds can be
expressed quite fully by using other forms of future
tenses. This future perfect continuous tense may be
used for actions or events that will have begun at a fu-
ture time and by the time we have in mind it will be in
progress, e.g.
By this time next year we shall have been attend-
ing classes at the University. (i.e. We shall have become
University students at the beginning of the next academic
term, and we shall be attending classes at the Univer-
sity continuously.)
Mary will have been living in Myanmar three years
by next month. (i.e. Mary will have lived in Myanmar
three years by next month, and she will continue to
live in Myanmar.
Future substitutes
Future actions or events may be expressed by
using future tense forms. (i.e. future tense forms as have
been shown above) or by using tense forms other than
the four future tense forms.
1. The simple present tense may be used for a planned
future action or series of actions, particularly when these
concern a journey. lt is often used by travel agencies:
e.g.
- We leave here at six, arrive in Pyay at 12 noon,
spend the rest of the day there. (itinerary)
- The new academic term begins next month.
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2. The present continuous tense also may be used
for a definite future arrangement. This tense is often
called •an immediate futureŽ by grammarians, e.g.
My friend is leaving at the end of this week.
- l am seeing John tomorrow. (i.e. l have an appoint-
ment with him.)
- Mary is arriving on Monday. (i.e. l have received inti-
mation from her.)
- We are buying that house at the end of this month.
(i.e. We have talked about it with the owner.)
3. The going-to from
This is the present continuous tense form of the
verb •to goŽ and an infinitive with •toŽ. The going-to form
expresses the subjectŽs intention to perform a certain
future action, e.g.
- l am going to sell my car.
- They are going to stay with us when they come.
- They are going to travel first class by train.
Note: lt is not usual to put the verbs •goŽ and •comeŽ
into the •going toŽ form. lnstead we generally
use the present continuous form):
lnstead of saying l am going to go •we say l am
going, and instead of saying l am going to come we
say l am coming.
Sequence of tenses
Tense of a verb in the subordinate clause (i.e. a
sentence preceded by a subordinating conjunction) must
be in conformity with the tense of the verb in the main
clause, e.g.
- He thinks that it will rain.
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- He thought that it would rain.
- We see that we have taken the wrong way.
- We saw that we had taken the wrong way.
- John says that he is going to drive the car.
- John said that he was going to drive the car.
- She visited many places of interest when she was in
Yangon.
- He has done all that is to be done.
- He had done all that was to be done.
This rule about sequence of tenses applies also
to the direct/indirect speech, and conditional statements.
(She conditionals)
The conditionaI statement
A conditional statement is one with a •conditionŽ at-
tached to it. in other words, it is a statement with an
•if-clauseŽ in it. There are three types of conditional state-
ments:
1. The future condition: (probability of something on
the fulfillment of a certain condition at a future time,) e.g.
- lf l have enough money, l shall buy a new car.
(This refers to a certain future time)
Tense sequence in conditionaI statements
Use this tabIe when you are doing conditionaI
statements.
Type oI condition II-cleause Main clause Time Meaning
Ú«¬«®» Í·³°´» °®»-»²¬ Í·³°´» º«¬«®» Ú«¬«®» λ¿´
׺ × ¸¿ª» × -¸¿´´ Ю±¾¿¾´»
Ю»-»²¬ Í·³°´» °¿-¬ ݱ²¼·¬·±²¿´ Ю»-»²¬ ˲®»¿´
׺ × ¸¿¼ × ©±«´¼ б--·¾´»
п-¬ п-¬ °»®º»½¬ ݱ²¼·¬·±²¿´ °»®º»½¬ п-¬ ˲®»¿´
׺ × ¸¿¼ ¸¿¼ × ©±«´¼ ¸¿ª» ׳°±-ó
-·¾´»
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2. The present condition: (possibility but not probability
of a present situation), e.g.
- lf l had enough money, l would buy a new car, This
is just a supposition contrary to fact: l havenŽt
enough money at present, and l cannot buy a new
car though l want to buy one. (This refers to the
present time.)
3. The past condition: (an impossibility because the
statement refers only to the past), e.g.
lf l had had enough money, l would have bought a
new car. This also is a supposition contrary to fact:
•l hadnŽt enough money (at a certain time in the past,
and so l didnŽt buy a new car though l wanted to
buy one. (This belongs to the past and is irrevers-
ible.)
Now, let us think of some situation in which we
use these three types of conditional statements: Sup-
pose we were travelling in bus and we had come to a
shaky bridge over a stream in full spate, and before
crossing it someone said, •lf the bridge breaks, we shall
fall into the stream. •But the driver, who had crossed
this bridge many times said, •No. lt wonŽt break,Œ and
crossed the bridge slowly. White the bus was on the
bridge, someone said, •lf the bridge broke, we would fall
into the stream.ΠThe bridge did not break, and we did
not fall into the stream, and when the bus had safely
crossed the bridge, someone said, •lf the bridge had bro-
ken, we would have fallen into the stream.Œ
Note: ln No. 1 future condition, subjunctive verbs are
not used in modern English. but they are still
used in No. 2 present condition and No. 3
past condition. The simple past tense in the
if clause of the present condition is really sub-
junctive. The subjunctive past tense of verb •to
beŽ is were for all persons and numbers. Sub-
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junctive past tense form of other verbs is the
same as past tenses in the indicative mood.
Practise with these sentences: (Find out care-
fully the tense of the verb in each clause, and say which
of the three types of condition each belongs to).
- You will pass your examination if you work hard.
- lf it rained, l should stay at home.
- lf Mary comes, l will let you know.
- lf you had done as l told you, you would have suc-
ceeded.
- l shall go to Ngapali if l get long holidays.
- lf l were you if l can.
- l wonŽt open the door unless l know who it is.
- She would come if you invited her.
- He would have told you if you had asked him.
- l shall be very glad if you come.
- lf would have been better if you had waited.
- Unless you take a taxi, you wonŽt catch the train.
- l shall come and see you if l have time.
Note: The past condition (the third type) may be ex-
pressed by inversion of the verb and subject
and eliminating the •ifŽ, e.g.
- •lf you had come earlier, you would have got the job.Ž
This can be put thus: •Had you come earlier, you
would have got the jobŽ.
- lf l had known about his misfortune, l would have
gone to see him.Ž =
(•Had l know ............)
- •lf the bus had not stopped suddenly, the boy would
have been killed.Ž =
(•Had the bus not stopped.......)
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- Mary would not have got that job if you had not
helped herŽ. =
(Had you not helped her ........)
The subjunctive mod
(unreal situations)
The subjunctive forms of verbs that we have seen
in the present and the past conditional statements have
other uses also. ln essence, these verbs suggest un-
real situations, suppositions contrary to fact, wishes and
prayers.
They usually come with the expressions like l
wish, lf only, suppose, supposing, as if, as though, itŽs
(about/high) time and lŽd rather, e.g.
- l wish l were rich. = (lŽm not rich)
- Mary wished she were a boy.
- John wished he had not sold his motor-cycle.
- lf only the letter had arrived in time!
- lf only the questions werenŽt so difficult!
- lf only he had not eaten so much!
- Suppose you got there late! (What if you get there
late?)
- Supposing someone broke into your house!
- He felt as if his head were on fire.
- She is behaving as if she owned the place.
- The boy is talking as if he were a grown-up.
- ltŽs about time you got the tea ready.
- ltŽs time the children went to bed.
- ltŽs high time somebody did something about it.
- lŽd rather you paid me now. Suppose my landlady.
asked me for the money this evening.
- lŽd rather you went there yourself.
- lŽd rather you hadnŽt asked me to do this.
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Note: The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines •subjunc-
tiveŽ as •a verbal mood, obsolescent in En-
glish,...Ž lt means that the subjunctive mood of
English verbs is •going out of useŽ in modern
English. But the examples given here are
some of the remaining subjunctive expressions
taken form some of the English grammarians
who are teaching English grammarians who are
teaching English to the world.
Voice of EngIish verbs
What is voice?
Voice is the form of a verb that shows its rela-
tion to its subject. lf a verb show the action done by
the subject, it is said to be in the active voice. lf a very
shows the action done to the subject, it is said to be
in the passive voice. English verbs in the transitive use,
i.e. verbs with objects, have these two voices. Study the
examples:
- The dog bit the man. (active voice)
- The man was bitten by the dog. (passive voice)
- John drew this picture. (active voice)
- This picture was drawn by John. (passive voice)
- Maha Swe wrote this book in 1938. (active)
- This book was written by Maha Swe in 1938. (pas-
sive)
ln these examples the learner will see the sim-
plest forms of active and passive statements. The •ac-
tiveŽ statement has in it. •the subject + the verb + the
objectŽ in its construction. ln the •passiveŽ statement, the
object of the •activeŽ verb is the subject of the •passiveŽ
verb; the verb is made up of a verb •to beŽ and the past
participle from of the •activeŽ verb; then comes •by+doerŽ.
We begin with •activeŽ statements and then change
them into •passiveŽ statements, first paying a very care-
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ful attention to the structure of •activeŽ and •passiveŽ state-
ments.
Steps In changing from active to passive.
Step 1. Find the subject, the verb and its object in the
•activeŽ statement. (This is very important be-
cause if you cannot find the subject, the very
and its object in the active statement, our can-
not possibly make a •passiveŽ statement. ln-
transitive verbs have no •passiveŽ voice.)
Step 2. Use the object of the •activeŽ verb as the sub-
ject of the passive verb. Make necessary
changes in the case of pronouns.
Step 3. Supply a suitable verb •to beŽ in the same
tense and form of the •activeŽ verb.
Step 4. Add the past participle form of the •activeŽ verb
to the verb •to beŽ.
Step 5. Add •by+doerŽ making necessary changes in
the case of pronouns. (This part of a passive
statement is often omitted in the practical use
of passive voice.)
The rest of the sentence may not change.
This is the basic structure of •activeŽ and •passiveŽ
statements. The learner is advised to practise first with
simple forms of •activeŽ statements and changing them
(step by step as shown above into •passiveŽ statements.
The use of passive voice
Generally, we use •passiveŽ voice when we are
more interested in what is done than who does it. ln
other words we use passive voice when we are thinking
of the predicate rather than the subject in an active state-
ment. e.g.
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PeopIe speak EngIish aII over the worId (active)
ln this statement we are thinking about the En-
glish (language) rather than the •peopleŽ who speak it.
And so we say English is spoken all over the world and
the •subjectŽ (or doer) •peopleŽ is omitted.
Similarly, we leave out the •by + doerŽ part of the
•passiveŽ statement when the •doerŽ is not very impor-
tant or not essential in the meaning of the statement.
Study these sentences:
- People play football in many countries. (active)
- Football is played in many countries. (passive)
- They fought a big battle here 200 years ago.
- A big battle was fought here 200 years ago.
- Carpenters built this house in 1957.
- This house was built in 1957.
- A thief has stolen my watch.
- My watch has been stolen.
- They will publish the results tomorrow.
- The result will be published tomorrow.
- Anybody can do this work in an hour.
- This work can be done in an hour.
- You must not write your names on your answer books.
- Your names must not be written on you answer books.
- People will forget it in a few yearsŽ time.
- lt will be forgotten in a few yearsŽ time.
- We shall discuss the matter tomorrow.
- The matter will be discussed tomorrow.
- Somebody has forced the door open.
- The door has been forced open.
ln leaving out the •by + doerŽ part of a passive
statement, sometimes it may be necessary to retain
some words without which the meaning may not be com-
plete, e.g.
- Nobody invites him to the annual dinner. (active)
- He is not invited to the annual dinner. (passive)
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- Nobody heard a sound.
- Not a sound was heard.
- Some students cover their books with brown paper.
- Some books are covered with brown paper.
- No one fed the chickens this morning.
- The chickens were not fed this morning.
- Some parents send (their) children to Nursery Schools.
- Some children are sent to Nursery Schools.
Some difficuIties.
The learner may find some difficulties in doing pas-
sive statements with verbs in the continuous tenses,
question statements, infinitives and gerunds. Here are
some hints:
1. A verb in the passive voice always has its last word
in the formation of a past participle. A continuous
tense ends with a present participle. The ___ ing of
the verb in the continuous tense is transferred to the
verb •to beŽ of that tense and the main verb is or-
dered in the past participle form. e.g.
- They are moving the chairs into the hall.
- The chairs are being moved into the hall.
- People are building many new houses in this street.
- Many new houses are being built in this street.
2. ln changing the question statements into passive
voice, the learner must pay attention to the verb with
which to make a question, e.g.
- Will they consider your case favorably?
- Will your case be considered favourably?
- How are they going to cut the trees down?
- How are the trees going to be cut down?
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3. Infinitives and gerunds have their passive forms.
Active Passive Active Passive
to cut = to be cut cutting = being cut
to see = to be seen seeing = being seen
to kill = to be killed killing = being killed
ExampIes:
- l donŽt like people to tell me what to buy. (A)
- l donŽt like to be told what to buy. (P)
- He doesnŽt like people pushing from behind. (A)
- He doesnŽt like being pushed from behind. (P)
- We canŽt stand their treating you like that. (A)
- We canŽt stand you being treated like that. (P)
- The old man enjoys your talking to him like a friend. (A)
- The old man enjoys being taked to like a friend. (P)
- l want people to tell me all about it. (A)
- l want to be told all about it. (P)
Passive statements invoIving noun-cIauses
Noun-clauses (usually that-clauses) are really
nouns, and they can be used where nouns are used,
i.e. as subjects or objects in a sentence. But they are
not always convenient in their transposition like nouns
and pronouns. Study these examples.
- People say that parrots live longer than cats.
ln this construction •PeopleŽ is the subject, •sayŽ is
the verb, and •that parrots live longer than catsŽ is
the object (a non-clause). Thus, the passive state-
ment will be:
- That parrots live longer than cats is said.
But this construction is lop-sided with a long sub-
ject, and so we put it this way:
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- lt is said that parrots live longer than cats.
(Note the use of •itŽ. This is an expletive subject tak-
ing the place of the real subject which is a noun-
clause.)
Again, this sentence may be further modified thus:
- Parrots are said to live longer than cats.
(This last construction is the one most commonly
accepted as the best usage.)
More exampIes
- People generally assume that money brings happi-
ness. (A)
- Money is generally assumed to bring happiness.
- We believe that Mr. Brown has gone back to En-
gland.
- Mr. Brown is believed to have gone back to England.
- They consider that MaryŽs essay is the best amongst
all done by competitors.
- MaryŽs essay is considered to be the best amongst
all done by competitors.
- People say that the price of oil has gone down.
- The price of oil is said to have gone down.
- They think that English is easier to learn than
French.
- English is thought to be easier to learn than French.
Note: lnfinitive with to is generally used as a noun
and it is called an infinitive noun.
The ___ ing form of a verb may be a present par-
ticiple which may be used as part of a verb, or an ad-
jective, or a noun, When it is used as a noun it is called
a gerund.
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The use of auxiIiary verbs
Auxiliary verbs in English are also known as spe-
cial finites or •anomalous finitesŽ. They are really •help-
ing verbsŽ that help full verbs. (i.e. meaning-bearing verbs)
to have different forms for different situations. (See •full
verbŽ and •helping verbŽ in Grammar Section). They are
structure words (i.e. indispensable in the construction of
sentences.)
Apart from helping full verbs, they have other uses,
i.e. in giving short answers to questions, in addition to
remarks made, and in making •tag-questionsŽ.
Here is a list of these verbs:
Special finites
Be = am, is, are, was, were;
Have = have, has, had;
Do = do, does, did,
Need and dare
These verbs will be found to be used as full verbs
also.
shall should ought (to)
will would used (to)
can could would rather
may might had better
must
These verbs are purely helping verbs. They have
no other forms; they are always finite; and they have
no meaning of their own.
Study these first:
Negatives: ln negating a verb, the adverb
•notŽ is placed after these verbs. ln colloquial speech
(conversational English) the verb and the negative adverb
•notŽ are often contracted (made shorter) into one word:
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am no = arenŽt
will not = wonŽt
is not = isnŽt
cannot = canŽt
are not = arenŽt
may not = maynŽt
was not = wasnŽt
must not = mustnŽt
were not = werenŽt
should not = shouldnŽt
have not = havenŽt
would not = wouldnŽt
has not = hasnŽt
could not = couldnŽt
had not = hadnŽt
might not = mightnŽt
do not = donŽt
ought not = oughtnŽt
does not = doesnŽt
used not = usednŽt
did not = didnŽt
need not = neednŽt
shall not = shanŽt
dare not = darenŽt
They are used:
(i) in giving short answers to questions, e.g.
- Are you JohnŽs brother?
Yes, l am. = (l am JohnŽs brother)
No, lŽm not = (l am not JohnŽs brother)
(The contraction arenŽt for am not is used only in the
question tag; l am .... arenŽt l?)
- Have you a sister?
Yes, l have = (l have a sister)
No, l havenŽt = (l have not a sister)
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- Do you speak Myanmar?
Yes, l do. = (l speak Myanmar)
No, l donŽt = (l do not speak Myanmar)
- Does you mother speak Myanmar?
Yes, she does. = (She speaks Myanmar)
No, she doesnŽt. - (She does not speak Myanmar)
- Will Mary come tomorrow?
Yes, she will. = (She will come tomorrow.)
No, she wonŽt = (She will not come tomorrow.)
- Must you go so early?
Yes, l must = (l must go so early.)
No, l neednŽt = (l need not go so early)
(The opposite of must is of two kinds: One is prohi-
bition (= must not), and the other is No-obligation
(=need not or donŽt have toŽ) To be to also has the
same force as must with a stronger sense of com-
pulsion; and its negative to be not to also has a
stronger sense of prohibition than must not. e.g.
- Must we write our names on the answer books?
No, you mustnŽt. = (You must not write your names
on your answer books. lt is prohibited. You are not
to write you names on your answer books. is a stron-
ger prohibition.)
- Can l see the patient, Doctor?
Yes, you can. = (You can see the patient.) Here,
the doctorŽs can means permission, and so it may
be Yes, you may. instead of Yes, you can.
No, you canŽt. (You cannot see the patient just now
because the patient is under intensive care and no-
body is allowed to see the patient right now.) The
doctorŽs •NoŽ here is a prohibition, and so it may be
No, you mustnŽt instead of No, you canŽt. This is
also a prohibition: You are not to see the patient just
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now.
(ii) in making short additions to some statements, e.g.
- John is late today, (This is he statement made by
someone, and to this a short addition may be made):
So is Mary = (Mary also is late today.) •SoŽ in this
short addition is •alsoŽ and the verb and the subject
are reversed. The verb here is always a helping verb
(i.e. an auxiliary verb, or a special finite).
More exampIes:
- Mary has a car. So has John. = (John also has a
car.)
- They went to Bago yesterday. So did l. = (l also went
to Bago yesterday.
- Mary will go to England next month. So will my
brother.
= (My brother also will go to England next month.)
- Grass is green in the rainy season. So are trees.
- John must take this examination. So must you.
- John is not very tall. (This is a negative statement
made by someone, and to this, a short negative ad-
dition may be made: •Mary is not very tall, eitherŽ.)
This addition is negative and Neither or Nor is used
instead of •soŽ. The short addition will be: Neither is
Mary or Nor is Mary.
More exampIes:
- Mr. Brown is not English. Nor is his wife.
- Henry hasnŽt a car. Neither has Walter.
- This book is not very expensive. Neither is that book.
- Mary does not speak French. Nor does her sister.
- He did not listen to the lecture. Neither did l.
- Mary will not come tomorrow. Neither will Anne.
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- This clock does not show the right time. Neither does
my watch.
- l do not know the place well. Neither does my wife.
Contrary additions are introduced by a •ButŽ, e.g.
- They cannot come tomorrow. But l can.
- l donŽt like ice-cream. But my sister does.
- Mary plays the piano very well. But l donŽt.
- Their children are happy here. But they arenŽt.
- l must get there early. But you neednŽt.
- Her dress looked lovely. But she didnŽt.
- You neednŽt come tomorrow. But the others must.
- The teacher need not write in ink. But the pupils must.
Short additions in disagreement, and short an-
swers to a question (usually a •Why? question) in dis-
agreement are introduced by •Oh no,Ž or •Oh butŽ, e.g.
- Why did you tell her? Oh but l didnŽt.
- You were very angry last night. Oh no, l wasnŽt.
- Why didnŽt you write to me? Oh but l did.
- Mary does not seem to understand me. Oh but she
does.
- Why must l wait till the end? Oh but you neednŽt.
- Your friends will certainly lend you the money.
Oh no, they wonŽt.
(iii) in making tag-questions (tail-end questions)
A tag-question is also known as a tail-end ques-
tion because the question form comes only as a short
addition of the auxiliary verb and the subject in pronoun
form at the end of an assertive statement, e.g.
John went to Mandalay yesterday, didnŽt he? (The
question comes only as an addition to the statement
at the end. The verb in the statement is echoed in the
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•tagŽ. with a relevant helping verb-opposite the main verb
- and the subject is given in the pronoun form.
More exampIes:
- Mary is your friend, isnŽt she?
- Anne doesnŽt know French, does she?
- lt looks like rain, doesnŽt it?
- He used to live near our school, usednŽt he? (didnŽt
he?)
- You need not go so early, must you?
- lŽm afraid lŽm a little late, arenŽt l?
- l shanŽt be in your way, shall?
- John speaks Myanmar very well, doesnŽt he?
- l mustnŽt be late, must l?
- YouŽd better go now, hadnŽt you?
- YouŽd rather stay with us, wouldnŽt you?
- Come again tomorrow, will you? (imperative)
- LetŽs take a taxi, shall we? (consultation)
- Let us take a taxi, will you? (asking for permission)
Note: •Tail-endŽ addition to an imperative statement is
will you? because will you? is the polite form
of •imperativeŽ. The expression LetŽs ... is a
kind of •consultationŽ and so, the tag is... shall
we: and the expression let us... is like Allow
us to ... and it is asking for permission (i.e.
an imperative) and so, the tag is ... will you?
Other uses
Causative use of •haveŽ.
We often say that •we do a certain thingŽ whereas
•we causes someone to do it for usŽ. Study these sen-
tences:
- l have built a house.
(When you say this, we understand that you your-
self have built a house by yourself with you own hands.)
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- l have a house built.
(When you say this, we understand that you have
employed someone else to build a house for you.)
Causing something to be done by someone is ex-
pressed by have or get with a past participle, e.g.
- l had my shoes cleaned. (not •l had cleaned my
shoes.)
- We had our car repaired.
- Therefore, instead of saying l cut my hair we say l
had (or got) my hair cut; instead of saying l paint
my house we say l have (or get) my house painted.
(i.e. •l cause someone else to do it for me instead
of doing it myself.Ž)
More exampIes:
- l make a jacked. = ( l do it myself)
- l have a jacket made. = (l ask someone else to do
it for me.)
- Mary repaired her umbrella. = (she did it herself.)
- Mary had (or got) her umbrella repaired = (She asked
someone else to do it for her.)
- lŽll bring the papers to the meeting. = (l am going
to do it myself.)
- lŽll have the papers brought to the meeting. = ( l am
going to ask someone else to do it for me.)
- We must whitewash the ceiling = (We must do it
ourselves.)
- We must have the ceiling whitewashed. - (We must
employ someone to do it for us.)
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Can and couId
•CanŽ has two shades of meaning:
(l) ability (to be able to)
(ll) permission (to be permitted to)
ExampIes:
- •l can use my fatherŽs carŽ. (This sentence may
mean: l am able to drive my fatherŽs car. l am per-
mitted to use my fatherŽs car.)
Could is grammatically the past tense of can, but
it has its own significance, e.g.
l could use my fatherŽs car. ( This statement may
mean; l was able to drive my fatherŽs car, say, even
when I was a boy. or I couId use my fatherŽs car
if l wanted to.) (subjective)
A subjunctive could express • only the possibilityŽ
and it is conditionalŽ. lt is also used for •unreal situ-
ationsŽ and supposition contrary to fatŽ, e.g.
l wish Could help you.= ( l cannot help you, but
l have a great mind to.)
lf l had enough money, l could buy that house. =
(l havenŽt enough money and l cannot buy that
house, though l have a great mind to.)
(See - The conditional statement in usage.)
May and might
May also has two shades of meaning
(1) possibility, and
(2) permission (to be allowed to)
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ExampIe
-You may go now. ( permission)
-lt may rain tonight. (possibility)
-John may come tomorrow.( possibility)
-You may come to my office. (permission)
Might is grammatically the past tense of may,
but it has its own significance, e.g.
lt might rain tonight. • is quite similar to •lt may
rain tonight, •but might has a greater degree of doubt.
Might is less certain than may.
Might in a subjunctive (conditional) statement sug-
gests •an unreal situationŽ. e.g.
lf she had a lot of money, she might buy every-
thing fashionable.
lf he knew your troubles, he might give you some
money.
When asking for permission we use may/might for
politeness, e.g.
- May l use your telephone? or
- Might l use your telephone?
(Might is more polite)
May/might + perfect form is used in •guessing
what is possible (speculations)Ž about past events,
e.g.
Note: •might-have-beenŽ is a past possibility. e.g.
John might have been a writer. (He didnŽt become
one.)
May/might (just) as well = (be about the same
thing)
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e.g. You might (just) as well wait till Tuesday and go
by Express train instead of going by the slow one
on Monday. (YouŽll get there about the same time.)
Must (lts equivalents and opposites)
Must is a singular verb with a sense of obligation.
lt agrees with the present time and future time, but
not with the past time. lt has no other forms. Study
the following diagram:
Prohibition ObIigation No-obIigation
Must not must need not
= (have) to (do)nŽt have to
(be) not to (be) to
= (be) force to
= (be) compelled to
= (be) bogged to
= lt is necessary for ... to ...
The past tense equivalent of must is had to, or
was/were to, or need to, etc.
Must with a sense of obligation is used as fol-
lows:
You must abide by the law of the land.
(A legal obligation)
You must obey your parents and teachers.
(A moral obligation)
l must attend a friendŽs wedding this evening.
(A social obligation)
l must read this book without fail.
(A self obligation)
(Have to with a sense of obligation is used as fol-
lows:
l have to be there by five oŽclock. = (l am obliged
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to be ...)
Mary had to leave her studies on her being mar-
ried.= (She was compelled to ...)
U Sein had to retire at an early age. = (He was
forced to ... )
(Do)nŽt have to expresses ad absence of obliga-
tion, both present and past, e.g.
You donŽt have to attend this meeting.
= (You are not obliged to ... )
l didnŽt have to wait long to see the manager.
May doesnŽt have to pay for her room because she
lives in her auntŽs house.
=(She need not)
Need not has the same sense of absence of ob-
ligation in the present and future tenses, but in the
past tense, it had two situations; DidnŽt need to +
Infinitive, and neednŽt have + past participIe, e.g.
l misplaced my pen and found it only after l had
bought a new pen. l needŽt have bought a new
pen. (i.e. l bought a new pen, and knew only after-
wards that it was not necessary.)
SimiIarIy:
(Mary was writing out a telegram to her sister
when her sister arrived by train.) She didnŽt need to
send the telegram.
(Mary had already sent a telegram to her sister
when her sister arrived that same evening). She
neednŽt have sent the telegram.
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The prepositionaI idiom
ldiom is a form of expression peculiar to a lan-
guage. ldiomatic expressions are of four kinds: The
grammatical idiom, the ungrammatical ldiom, the prepo-
sitional idiom, and the metaphorical ldiom (as seen at
the beginning of the Usage Section.)
The prepositional ldiom is the peculiar use of
propositions in the English language. ldiom, in other
words, may be described as •the use of a word or
phrase, or sentence in its implied as •the use of a word
or phrase, or sentence in its implied meaning as differ-
ent form the plain meaning.
The grammatical definition of preposition is that it is
a word that shows the relative position of nouns and pro-
nouns. Therefore, if a preposition shows the relative po-
sition of nouns and pronouns, it is a plain preposition;
otherwise, it may be roughly classed as •idiomaticŽ e.g.
- l met John in a bus. (The preposition in this sen-
tence is a plain preposition.)
- He was in a hurry. (The preposition in this sentence
is an idiomatic preposition.)
- There is a book on purpose. (The proposition on in
this sentence is a plain preposition.)
- John has left it there on purpose. (The proposition
on in this sentence is an idiomatic preposition.)
- Mary was angry with me last night. (The preposition
with in this sentence is as idiomatic preposition.)
- Mary was angry with me last night. (The preposition
with in this sentence is an idiomatic preposition.)
- People ran out of a burning house. (plain)
- We ran out of petrol at Bago. (ldiom)
- The engine was out of order. (ldiom)
- People helped us out of pity. (ldiom)
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The idiomatic use of prepositions may be found
in the following combination:
1. Noun + preposition, e.g. (to have) a liking for; (to
have) an aversion to; (to have) a look it; (to take)
interesting; etc.
2. Preposition + noun, e.g. •on dutyŽ; •in a hurryŽ;
•through carelessnessŽ; •at homeŽ; •at warŽ •out of
spiteŽ; •out of curiosityŽ; •at varianceŽ; etc.
3. Adjective + preposition, e.g.Ž(to be) afraid ofŽ; •(to be)
angry withŽ; (to be) different formŽ; •(to be) kind to •;
•(to be) depended on/uponŽ; (to be) interested in •;
(to be) good atŽ; etc.
4. Verb + preposition: This combination takes up the
major portion of the prepositional idiom. Verbs in com-
mon everyday use have a variety of idiomatic expres-
sions with prepositions after them.
Some example will be given here, but the learner
is advised to use a good dictionary that gives such ex-
pression, e.g. The Advanced LearnerŽs Dictionary of Cur-
rent English (ALDCE) for a better understanding of these
formations.
Some exampIes
- to ask after: (to inquire about the health of)
MaryŽs father asked after my father.
(Her father and mine are friends.)
- to back out: (to withdraw)
He joined us when the work began, but soon he
backed out.
to back up: (to support morally or verbally)
Put up your case to the authorities.
lŽll back you up.
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to be over: (to be finished)
lŽll do this when the examinations are over.
to be up to: (it is the responsibility of)
lt is up to parents to teach their children manners.
to break down: (to collapse)
After years of overwork his health broke down and
he had to retire from service.
to break off: (to terminate)
The engagement broke off and the marrage was can-
celled.
to break out: (to being in one place and spread wide)
The Second Word War broke out in 1939.
A fire broke out in Kamayut last year.
Epidemics break out in the rainy season.
to break up : (to cause to disintegrate)
Divorce breaks up a lot of families.
Children suffer much when a family breaks up.
to bring up: (to educate and train children)
l was born and brought up in Upper Myanmar. Our
grandmother brought us up.
to call at: (to pay a short visit to a place)
My friends called at my house yesterday.
l called at the Post Office on my way home to buy
some postage stamps.
to cell on: (to pay a short visit to a person)
The visiting Prime Minister called on our Vice-Presi-
dent yesterday.
to call for: (to come and ask for)
Keep the book with you; lŽll call for it later.
Wait from you residence; lŽll call for you in my car.
to care for: (to like); (to look after)
l donŽt care for beer, but lŽll have some orange
squash.
Who will care for my children when l am dead?
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to carry on: (to continue)
l canŽt carry on alone; lŽll have to get an assistant.
to carry out: (to preform)
l want you to carry out the instructions exactly.
to catch up with: (to overtake; to come to the level)
l was absent from school for a week; and l had to
work hard to catch up with others in the class.
to come across: (o meet or find by change)
l came across an old friend on my way to school
this morning.
to come upon: (to find unexpectedly)
l came across an old friend on my way to school
this morning.
to come round: (to recover consciousness)
He was unconscious when we found him, but he
came round in half an hour.
to come to: (to regain consciousness)
He was knocked unconscious by a blow on the head
and didnŽt come to for some time.
to cut down: (to reduce in size or amount)
You must cut down expenses; the cost of living is
be coming higher every day.
Your article is too long.
Could you cut it down to 300 words?
to cut off; (to disconnect; to discontinue supply)
lf we do not pay our electricity bills the M.E.P.E will
cut us off.
All communication were cut off during the war.
to do away with: (to abolish; to get rid of)
You must do away with the habit of drinking too
much.
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to do without: (to manage in the absence of)
lt the condensed milk is getting scarce we shall have
to do without it.
to fall back on: (to use in the absence of something
better)
My wife keeps a book-shop at home, and that will
be something to fall back on in case l lose my job.
to find out: (to discover)
l canŽt find out what is wrong with my radio set.
to get about: (to circulate; to spread)
The news got about that he had won a first prize in
the State Lottery and everybody began to ask him
for money.
to get away with: (to do a wrong and go free without
being punished)
Do you think you can get away with cheating in the
examination?
to get on with: (to make progress)
He got on well with everybody.
How is your business getting on?
to get over: (to recover from)
He is just getting over a heart attack.
He never got over the loss of his job.
to get through: (to finish successfully)Ž
He got through his examination all right.
l am trying to call Mandalay but l canŽt get through;
l think the telephone lines are engaged.
to give (someone) away: (to betray him)
He said that he was an Englishman, but his accent
gave him away (i.e. reveal that he was not an En-
glishman.)
to give in: (to yield; to cease to resist)
At first he firmly refused to buy a new car but his
wife was so persuasive that he gave in.
to give up: (to abandon or discontinue)
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After trying very hard to repair his watch he gave up
and sent it to the watch-repairer.
l have given up smoking.
to go ahead: (to proceed; to continue)
lf you are not yet ready, we will go ahead.
You may go ahead with the work if l am late tomor-
row.
to go back on: (to withdraw or cancel a promise)
We can trust him; he never goes back on his prom-
ise.
to go out: (to be extinguished)
The lights went out while l was reading.
to go round: (to suffice)
We have enough food to go round.
to go through: (to suffer; to endure)
We went through great hardship during the war.
to go with: (to match; to agree)
This handbag doesnŽt go with the colour of your
dress.
to go without: (to do without; to endure the lack of)
We shall have to go without tea or coffee for the rest
of the week.
to hold on: (to wait; to stay)
Hold on a minute! (Stay as you are) l want to take
a snapshot of you two.
to hold out: (to endure hardship or danger)
We were short of food, but we could hold out an-
other day.
to keep on: (to continue)
Keep on trying and you will succeed.
He kept on talking and l didnŽt have a chance to ex-
plain.
to keep up: (to maintain)
We must keep up a good habit.
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We must keep up this lovely custom of paying re-
spects to parents and elders at Thadingyut.
to let (someone) down: (to disappoint him)
l had counted on him as a good friend, but he let
me down in my adversity.
to let up: (to become less strong)
We must wait till the rain lets up.
to live on: (to use as staple food)
What do cows live on? Cows live on grass.
to live up to: (to maintain a standard of oneŽs good
name or position)
He had high ideals and tried to live up to them.
to look after: (to take care of)
Who will look after your house when you are away?
to look for: (to try to find; to seek)
What are you looking for? l am looking for a book
to read in the train.
to look forward to: (to expect with pleasure)
We are looking forward to your coming to visit us
this summer.
l am looking forward to the holidays.
to look up to: (to respect)
New boys at school usually look up to their snor-
ers.
to look down on: (to despise)
She looks down on anyone who doesnŽt own a car.
to make for: (to see clearly; to understand)
l canŽt make out what he means.
At this distance, l canŽt make out who it is that is
driving the car.
to make out: (to see clearly; to understand)
l canŽt make out what he means.
At this distance, l canŽt make out who it is that is
driving the car.
to pull through: (to recover from a serious illness)
He is very ill but l think he will pull through.
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to put away: (to put tidily out of sight)
We put away our warm clothes when the cold sea-
son is over.
Teach the children to put away their toys when they
have finished playing with them.
to put off: (to postpone)
DonŽt put off to tomorrow what can be done today.
(A proverb)
to put up with: (to bear patiently)
We have to put up with a lot of noise when the chil-
dren are at home.
to run away with the idea: (to accept a. idea too hast-
ily)
DonŽt run away with the idea that l donŽt like ice-
cream.
to run down (vt): (to speak ill of; to disparage)
He is always running down his neighbours.
to run down (vi): (to become exhausted)
The car cannot be started because the battery in it
has run down.
Heavy work is telling on him; he looks a little run
down.
to run out of: (to exhaust oneŽs stock of)
l have run out of typing paper, and l shall have to
wait till the new supply comes.
to see about; (to make inquires arrangements)
lf you will see to the luggage, l will see about the
(hotel) rooms.
(to see to = to attend to)
to send for: (to summon)
We must send for a plumber to see to our faulty
water taps.
to set off/ out : (to start a journey)
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We set out very early and got to Bago before other
picnickers arrived.
to settle down: (to become used to a new life)
He didnŽt like the new job, but then soon settled
down.
to settle up: (to pay up a debt)
The eldest son settle up what his father had owed.
to show off: (to display skill or strength in order to im-
press others)
People show off what they have at society wedding.
to sit back: (to relax; to do no more work)
l have worked hard all my life and now l am going
to sit back and watch other people working.
to stand for: (to represent)
What does UNO stand for?
lt stands for United Nations Organization.
to stand out: (to be easily seen)
Does your work stand out from that of others?
(ls it obviously better?)
to take after: (to resemble)
The girl takes after her mother.
(She is very much like her mother.)
to take for: (to consider to be)
People often take him for his brother.
to take off: (to remove) to leave the ground for a fight)
He took of his coat when he got into the room.
The aeroplane to Bangkok will take off at 7 oŽclock
in the morning.
to take over: (to assume responsibility) for, or to take
control of)
Sales will be suspended until the new manager has
taken over.
to take to: (to get into a habit)
He has taken to drinking heavily since his wife left
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him.
to try on: (to put on and see if it fits)
When you buy a hat, you must first try it on and
see if it fits your head.
to try out: (to test)
They are trying out a new system of city transport.
to turn down: (to reject or refuse)
His application was turned down because he was too
young for the post.
to turn up: (to appear; to arrive)
The meeting had to be postponed because very few
members turned up; it was raining heavily.
to wear out: (to become useless as the result of use)
My shoes are worn out.
Cheap shoes soon wear out.
to wipe out: (to get rid of; to annihilate)
We must wipe out illiteracy from our country.
to work out: (to find by calculation or study)
This is the outline.
You can work out the details.
The use of some prepositions
to accompany with to be ashamed of
to accuse (someone) of to be conscious of
(something) to be content with
to affect with to be disappointed in
to agree to (something) (something)
to agree with (somebody) to be disappointed with
to aim at (somebody)
to be able to to be disgusted at (some
to be according to thing)
to be angry with to be disgusted with (some
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body)
to be equal to to divide among (many)
to be filled with to divide between (two)
to be full of to intend to
to be good at (= skill) to interfere with
to be good for (duration/use) to jeer at
to be good in (a subject) to jump at (a conclusion)
to be guilty of to keep off
to be indignant at (some to keep on
thing) to keep out
to be indignant with (some to keep up
body) to to lookat/for/out/etc
to be infested with to meddle with
to be inspired by to oppose to
to be interested in to part from (somebody)
to be opposite to to part with (something)
to blame (someone) for to pay for (something)
(something) to pay to (somebody)
to change for (something) to ponder over (something)
to change into (something) to pay for (something)
to change with (somebody) to pray to (God)
to charge at to protest against
to change for (cost) to recoil from
to charge with to recover from (an illness)
to comment on to rely on
to complain of to suffer from
to confer with to wait for
to descend from to wait upon (somebody)
to despair of to wire about (something)
to die of to write about (something)
to differ from (opinion) to write off (=cancel)
to differ with (somebody) to write to (somebody)
to disagree with
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Some idiomatic expressions (metaphoricaI)
A chip of the old block to have a feather in oneŽs
A wet blanket cap
An old salt to hit below the belt
The apple of oneŽs eye to hit the nail on the head
the man in the street to hold oneŽs tongue
to be a queer fish to keep oneŽs distance
to be a rough diamond to keep the pot boiling
to be all ears to kick up dust
to be armed to the teeth to lead a dogŽs life
to be at loggerheads very much like oneŽs father
to be hard hit a discouraging person
to be hard up an experienced sailor
to be ill-used somebody specially dear
to be in the same boat an ordinary man
to be lion-hearted to be an odd person
to be purse-proud a well-liked person of rough
to be thick in the head manners
to be under a cloud to be paying close attention
to be up to the mark completely armed
to bite the dust to be quarreling
to blaze the trail to be seriously troubled
to blow oneŽs own trumpet to be short of money
to burn the candle at both to be treated badly
ends to be in the same circuit
to bury the hatchet stances
to draw the line to be of great courage
to face into hot water to be stupid
to give the cold shoulder to be in trouble or disfavor
to have a bee in oneŽs bon to be good enough
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net to fall to the ground
to lead the way heels
to boast to sit on the fence
to overdo work and play to sling mud
to make peace to smell a rat
to fix the limit to tell it to the Marines
to meet the worst to throw cold water on
to get into trouble to throw dust in the eye
to show indifference/ignore to turn oneŽs coat
to have a crazy fancy to turnover a new leaf
to have something to be to wait till the clouds roll by
proud to tell what is a secret
to act unfairly to live in hardship
to be right to confess
to keep silent to manage financially
to stay aloof to be plain and outspoken
to keep going to cut off while young
to create a row to give tit for tat
to have a wretched life to act fairly
to let the cat out of the bag to start at the wrong end
to live from hand to mouth to rain very heavily
to make a clean breast of to be snobbish
to make both ends meet to escape by running
to make no bones about it to avoid taking sides
to nip in the bud to slander
to pay a man in his own to be suspicious
coin to express disbelief
to play the game to discourage
to put the cart before the to deceive
horse to change oneŽs principles
to rain cats and dogs to conduct oneself better
to ride the high house to wait for a suitable time
to show a clean pair of
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Some idiomatic expressions (simiIes)Ž
as agile as a monkey as good as gold
as black as coal as graceful as a swan
as black as soot as green as grass
as blind as a bat as happy as a king
as bold as a brass as happy as a lark
as brave as a lion as hard as horn
as bright as a button as hard as iron
as bright as a lark as hard as nails
as brittle as glass as harmless as a dove
as brown as a berry as heavy as lead
as busy as a bee as hot as a furnace
as busy as an ant as hot as fire
as changeable as the as hungry as a wolf
weather as industrious as a beaver
as clean as a new pin as large as life
as clear as a bell as light as a feather
as clear as crystal as like as two herrings
as cold as a cucumber as like as two peas
as crafty as a fox as mad as a March hare
as cunning as a fox as meek as a lamb
as dead as a doornail as obstinate as ample
as deaf as a doorpost as old as Methuselah
as dry as a bone as old as the hills
as easy as A.B.C as pale as death
as easy as winking as patient as Job
as fat as butter as playful as a kitten
as fierce as a lion as plump as a partridge
as fit as a fiddle as poor as a church moused
as fleet as a gazelle as proud as a peacock
as fresh as a daisy as quick as lighting
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as gentle as a lamb as regular as the clock
as right as rain as steady as a rock
as round as a barrel as straight as an arrow
as round as an orange as strong as a horse
as safe as houses as sturdy as an oak.
as sharp as a needle as sweet as honey
as sharp as a razor as swift as a deer
as silent as the grave as swift as a hare
as silly as a sheep as swift as a hawk
as slippery as an eel as tall as a giant
as slow as a snail as thick as thieves
as slow as a tortoise as tough as leather
as smooth as glass as true as steel
as smooth as velvet as warm as wool
as sober as a judge as white as a ghost
as soft as butter as white as a sheet
ass soft as down as wise as an owl
as sound as a bell as wise as Salmon
as sour as vinegar
Appendix
Refer to Section l (Grammar section): The Gram-
mar of verbs: Three parts of a verb: Tabular form and
explanations thereto.
Regular verbs make their •past tensesŽ and •past
participlesŽ by adding +ed, or +d, or +ied, or +id to the
infinitive form.
lrregular verbs are so called because they change
to their •past tensesŽ and •past participlesŽ in an irregu-
lar way as shown in the following list. Verbs that change
perceptibly are called •strong verbsŽ and verbs that have
their •past tensesŽ and •past participlesŽ the same form
as their infinitive forms are called •weak verbsŽ (i.e. They
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do not change perceptibly.)
IrreguIar verbs
Infinitive Past Tense Past ParticipIe
arise arose arisen
awake awoke awaken
be was/were been
bear bore born
beat beat beaten
become became become
begin began begun
bend bent bent
bind bound bound
bite bit bitten
bleed bled bled
blow blew blown
break broke broken
breed bred bred
bring brought brought
broadcast broadcast broadcast
build built built
burn burnt burnt
burst burst burst
buy bought bought
cast cast cast
catch caught caught
chide chided/chid/chided chid/chidden
choose chose chose
cling clung clung
come came come
cost cost cost
creep crept crept
cut cut cut
deal dealt dealt
dig dug dug
do did done
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draw drew drawn
dream dreamt/dreamed dreamt/dreamed
drink drank drunk
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
fling flung flung
fly flew flown
forbid forbade forbidden
forgive forgave forgiven
forsake forsook forsaken
freeze froze frozen
get got got
give gave given
go went gone
grind ground ground
grow grew grown
hand hung/hanged hung/hanged
have had had
hear heard heard
hide hid hidden
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
keep kept kept
kneel knelt knelt
know knew known
lay laid laid
lead led led
lean leant/leaned leant/leaned
leap leapt leapt
learn learnt/learned learnt/learned
leave left left
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lend lent lent
let let let
light lit/lighted lit/lighted
lose lost lost
make made made
mean meant meant
meet met met
mow mowed mown/mowed
pay paid paid
put put put
read read read
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
saw sawed sawed/sawn
say said said
see saw seen
sell sold sold
send sent sent
set set set
sew sewed sewed/sewn
shine shone shone
shoot shot shot
show showed showed/shown
shrink shrank shrunk
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
sit sat sat
sleep slept slept
slide slid slid
sling slung slung
slit slit slit
smell smelt/smelled smelt/smelled
sow sowed sowed/sown
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speak spoke spoken
spell spelt spelt
spend spent spent
spill spilt/spilled spilt/spilled
spit spat spat
split split split
spread spread spread
spring sprang sprung
stand stood stood
steal stole stolen
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stuck
stride strode stridden
swear swore sworn
sweep swept swept
swell swelled swelled/swollen
swim swam swum
swing swung swung
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
tell told told
think though thought
throw threw thrown
thrust thrust thrust
understand understood understood
undertake undertook undertaken
undergo underwent undergone
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
weave wove woven
wet wetted/wet wetted/wet
win won won
wind wound wound
wring wrung wrung
write wrote written
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The following are little used in modern English but may
be found in books.
abide abode abode
beget begot begotten
behold beheld beheld
beseech besought besought
bereave bereaved bereaved/bereft
bid bid/bade bid/bidden
cleave clove/cleft cloven/cleft
clothe clothed/clad clothed/clad
crow crowed/crew crowed
dare dared/durst dared/durst
dwell dwelled/dwelt dwelled/dwelt
flee fled fled
forbear forbore forborne
forgo forwent forgone
gild gilded/gilt gilded/gilt
gird girded/girl girded/girt
hew hewed hewed/hewn
knit knitted/knit knitted/knit
rend rent rent
rid rid rid
seek sought sought
shear sheared/shore sheared/shorn
shed shed shed
shoe shoed/shod shoed/shod
slay slew slain
slink slunk slunk
smite smote smitten
speed speeded/sped speeded/sped
spill spilled/spilt spilled/spilt
spin spun spun
strew strewed strewed/strewn
string strung strung
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sink stank/stunk stunk
strive strove striven
thrive throve/thrived thriven/thrived
tread trod trod/trodden
weep wept wept
Punctuation
lt is true that punctuation is very important in writ-
ten English. ln speaking we can punctuate our speech
by pauses, stops, and rise and fall of intonation. But in
writing these pauses, stops, and rise and fall of intona-
tion are shown with punctuation marks without which the
written words would be rather confused.
Punctuation in modern English usage, however, is
a little different from its use of earlier times. Therefore
old methods in the use of punctuation marks may not
be useful in modern writing. For instance, some say
that •commasŽ in a good sentence often causes a lot
of nuisance and they avoid the use of commas as much
as possible. Some of the punctuation methods found in
earlier uses are quite out of use now. Take for example
the use of the full stop with abbreviated words and ini-
tials. Modern use of these abbreviations and initials are
without full stops. e.g.
Mr and Mrs BrownŽ •John Brown, JrŽ •Dr WatsonŽ
(The idea is that if the abbreviation takes the first
and the last letters of the word, no full stop is used.)
UNO UNESCO UNlCEF
UNDP ASEAN OPEC
However, the use of punctuation marks is not al-
together dispensed with. Only, they are used in a dif-
ferent way. Some say that no punctuation marks are
necessary if the sense in a sentence is clear with or
without punctuation.
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ln such a sentence as Our neighbour U Ba
Maung is a kind old manŽ no commas are needed to
separate the nouns in apposition as there is no confu-
sion in the meaning with or without punctuation. The
leaner can discover all the main rules of punctuation by
examining a newspaper, using his powers of compari-
son, and applying a little common sense. The following
are general rules:
1. The fuII stop or period is used.
(a) at the end of a complete sentence;
(b) to indicate that a word is abbreviated.
e.g.
Rev., Esq., M.P., B.A., lnst., Ltd., Co., lnc.,
2. The comma is used to indicate a very short pause,
as in Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your
ears.Œ and •John, Mary and Henry are my friends.Œ
Note that commas are used more sparingly to-
day then in former years. The present trend is to use
them only when are necessary to make the meaning
clear. ln some statements, commas are really neces-
sary.
e.g.
Some men l know are very rich.
Compare this statement with:
Some men, l know, are very rich.
More examples for comparison:
All the books with pictures in them are sent to
the childrenŽs library. (Only books with pictures)
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All the books, with pictures in them, are sent to
the childrenŽs library. (All books)
l have read all the stories which are interesting
in this book. (Only interesting stories)
l have read all the stories, which are interesting,
in this book. (All stories)
(See also - Defining and non-defining clauses)
3. The coIon (:) is used:
(a) to introduce a quotation of some weight justifying
a longer pause than the comma provides, e.g.
Bacon says: •Reading makes a full man, writing
an exact man, speaking a ready man.Ž
(b) to enumerate or explain something, e.g.
The three parts of a verb are: The infinitive, the
finite, and the participle.
The word •successŽ can be used in two senses:
lt may apply to a man who serves a useful purpose to
the community; it may mean that he gets what he
wants.
4. The semicoIon ( : ) indicates a shorter pause than
a colon and a longer one than a comma, and its
use may be gathered from the following example from
Bacon:
The spend too much time in studies is sloth; to
use them too much for ornament is affectation; to
make judgment wholly by their rules is the humour
of the scholar.
5. The note of interrogation ( ? ) is used at the end
of a direct question, e.g.
Can you understand these rules?
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How long have you been learning English?
English language is quite interesting, isnŽt it?
ln an indirect statement the note of interrogation
is not used: (He asked me whether l could under-
stand those rules.) This is not a question.
6. The note of excIamation ( ! ) is used to express
an ejacuIation or to suggest surprise or emotion,
e.g.
•Oh God! •Oh dear!Ž •What a lovely sightŽ
•Marvellous! etc.
(This punctuation mark should be used sparingly.)
7. The inverted commas (•....Œ) or quotation marks
are used to encIose the exact words of a speaker,
or a quotation, e.g.
•l would rather die,Œ he exclaimed, •than do some-
thing sinfulŒ.
Quotation marks may be single (• ..... •) or double
(• .... •). lf double quotation marks are used for the main
quoting, then single quotation marks are used for •quo-
tation within quotation, • vice versa.
e.g.
•Well,Œ he said. •lt is quite well you say •an early
bird catches more worms,Ž but what about the •early
wormsŽ?Œ
The modern trend is to use •single quotation
marksŽ for the main statement, and double quotation
marksŽ for quotation within quotation. Study the follow-
ing dialogue.
•l must go home nowŽ l told my host.
•lt is very cold,Ž he said; •there is ice on the
puddles. Would you like to borrow my coat?
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•No,Ž l replied, •l am quite used to the cold.Ž
•l am glad of that,Ž he smiled. •We need more
men who do not expect life to be •roses, roses, all the
wayŒ and are not afraid to rough it.Ž
Note: Punctuation marks are placed inside the in-
verted commas at the end of the words spo-
ken. But this does not apply to casual quota-
tion of single words or phrases.
8. The apostrophe ( • ) the singIe cIose inverted
comma is used:
(a) ln contraction (making shorter) or a word of
words: The apostrophe denotes omission of a let-
ter or letters in reducing the number of syllables
in a word or an expression,
e.g.
l am (two syllables) = lŽm (one syllable)
is not (two syllables) = isnŽt (one syllable)
ever (two syllables) = eŽer (one syllable)
even (two syllables) = eŽen (one syllable)
it is (two syllables) = ltŽs (one syllable) (also
•tis)
Other contractions: six oŽclock: John OŽ London,
mother-OŽ part;
the •sixties (1960 to 1969)
•phone (for telephone)
•plane (for aeroplane)
(b) in forming possessive case of a noun: ln the sin-
gular it is shown by •s; and in the plural it is
shown in two ways: (i) by the apostrophe only
when the plural noun ends in •sŽ, and (ii) by the
apostrophe and •sŽ when the plural does not end
in •sŽ.
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e.g.
Possessive (singular) Possessive (plural)
the girlŽs dress the girlsŽ dresses
the ladyŽs bag the ladiesŽ bags
the manŽs pipe the menŽs pipes
the womanŽs box the womenŽs boxes
a dayŽs work seven daysŽ work
Note : As a rule, the possessive forms of •s
and sŽ are restricted to: (i) living things; (ii) per-
sonified things: (iii) certain expressions of time:
and such expressions as for heavenŽs sake. for
goodnessŽ sake. ln other nouns we use •ofŽ to
denote possession.
We say the legs of the table instead of the
tableŽs legs; the front of the house instead of say-
ing the houseŽs front; •the branches of the tree
instead of saying the treeŽs branches.
9. The hyphen ( - ) has a variety of uses:
(a) To link two or more words to form a compound
word:
father-in-law, men-at-arms, governor-general, (Pl;
governors-general), Stratford-on-Avon, ect.
(b) To indicate the break of a word at the end of a
(typewritten or printed) line. (There are rules in
breaking words at the end of the line.)
(c) To connect a prefix with the root word when the
latter begins with the same vowel letter as the end
of the prefix.
e.g. co-operative, re-enter, re-enamine, ect.
(d) To form compound adjective.
e.g. First-rate, well-known, full-fledged, lowpriced,
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(e) To link such prefixes as anti, ex, pre-and proto
noun,
e.g. anti-communist, ex-President, pre-war, pro-
government, etc.
(f) To connect the relevant words to avoid a wrong
interpretation,
e.g. •a Dutch-cheese importerŽ (The cheese, not
the importer, is Dutch); •an outstanding-rent col-
lectorŽ (the rent, not the collector, is outstanding);
•a pickled-onion merchantŽ (the onion, not the mer-
chant, is pickled); •a sweet-shop assistantŽ (the
shop sells sweets, not a sweet shop-assistant);
etc.
(g) To link up the two terminals of roads or rails,
e.g. Yangon-Mandalay railway line; Yangon-lnsein
Road; lnsein-Thanlyetsun bus; etc.
10. The dash ( ___ ), a punctuation mark longer than
a hyphen, is used:
(a) To mark a parenthesis instead of commas or
brackets, e.g. •these discoveries __ gunpowder,
printing press, compass, and telescope __ were
the weapons before which the old sci ence
trembled.
(b) To indicate an abrupt change of thought, e.g.
•The following year l went to college __ but that
is another story.Ž
(c) To indicate the omission of a word or part of it
when the use of the word in full is undesirable,
e.g. •D __ it! (•Damn it!Ž is rather rude);
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11. The capital letters are used:
(a) At the beginning of a sentence.
e.g. •He passed his examination that year. At first,
he thought of getting himself a job in yangon. But
his parents, who were getting very old now, called
him back.Ž
(b) At the beginning of a passage of direct speech,
even if it is not the beginning of the sentence.
e.g. After a while, Mary said, •Who will come to
the pictures with me?Œ
(c) As the initial letter or letters of words in a Proper
Noun,
e.g. U Mya Han, Kamayut, Shwebo, Sagaing,
Union of Myanmar.
U Ba Maung, who has sold his house in West
Kamayut, is now living in South Okkalapa.
(d) As the initial letter or letter of main words in the
titles of books, poems, films,
ect, e.g. •War and PeaceŽ, •Gone with the WindŽ,
•Ode the NightingaleŽ, •A farewell to ArmsŽ, etc.
(e) For titles, e.g. •The prince of KanaungŽ, •the Presi-
dentŽ, •the Prime MinisterŽ, etc.
(f) As terms of address to •Father and MotherŽ,
e.g. •May l use the car this evening. Father?Ž
•MotherŽ ThereŽs a letter for you on the table!
(g) For the pronoun •lŽ and the interjection •OŽ
e.g. •lt was l who shot the boar to death, O reat
King.
(h) To refer to •relationsŽ by name, e.g. •Uncle
GeorgeŽ, •Aunt MaryŽ, etc.
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