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Functional English: Teaching English according to the function it used for, as opposed to its grammatical complexity.

For example, a lesson based on functional English might group together the phrases: Why don't you . . .? I think you should . . . If I were you, I would . . . All of these phrases, have differing grammatical complexity, but serve the same function of giving advice. Other common functions include: asking for advice, asking for directions, offering help, telling stories, talking about the past, talking about obligations. Clause: A group of words having both a subject and predicate. Independent clauses are clauses that can stand on their own. Subordinate clauses are clauses that cannot stand on their own as they do not express a complete idea. For example, I ate the bread, even though it was moldy. I ate the bread is a complete idea and so it is an independent clause, whereas even though it was moldy does not express a complete idea; it is a subordinate clause. Of particular interest to ESL teachers are clauses that act as other parts of speech such as the adverbial clause, adjective clause, and noun clause. Subordinate clause: A clause that has a subject and predicate but does not express an independent idea. Also referred to as a dependent clause. There are three kinds of subordinate clauses: adjective clauses, adverbial clauses, and noun clauses. Examples of subordinate clauses: While you were sleeping, Even though I am hungry, Noun clauses: Subordinate clauses that act as nouns: What I really hate is people who borrow money and don't pay it back. (Noun clause acting as a subject) I don't know who he is. (Noun clause acting as a direct object). Noun clauses are important for teaching embedded questions.

Adjective clauses: Subordinate clauses that act as adjectives. They modify nouns: I saw a man who I had never seen. Here are the items that you requested. I couldn't find the house where I lived as a boy. Here is an adjective clause modifying a noun clause with an adverbial clause thrown in as well: What he often does that really annoys me is interrupt me when I am speaking to someone. Adjective clauses can be restrictive or nonrestrictive. All of the examples above are restrictive clauses. Adverbial clauses: Subordinate clauses that act as adverbs. Adverbial clauses tell us when, where, how, why, and to what extent something happened. When: (Answers when something happened) While you were out, someone called. Before he came, he called. As soon as you are finished, call me. Why: (Answers why something happened) I ordered two pizzas as we were all hungry. I failed because I didn't study. I fixed it so that anybody could use it. Where: (Answers where something happened) This card is accepted wherever you go. How: (Answers how something happened) She talked as if she were a princess. He swam as if he were a fish in the sea. Ideas commonly expressed by adverbial clauses are:

time - when, as soon as, before place - where, wherever manner - as if degree - than, as ____ as _______ reason, purpose or cause - because, since, so that condition - if, unless concession - although, even though, Non-restrictive clauses: Adjective clauses that are not essential to the meaning of a sentence. While non-restrictive clauses do add information, the meaning of the sentence does not change if they are excluded from the sentence. For example: The captain, who was tired, stopped the march and set up camp. Mrs.Jones, who was furious with her husband, slammed the door. In both cases, the adjective clauses add color to the sentence, but are not necessary for the meaning; the reader still knows who did what. Note: Non-restrictive clauses like the ones above are punctuated by commas. Non-restrictive clauses can be contrasted to restrictive clauses, which are essential to the meaning of a sentence. Gerund: Gerunds are verb forms used as nouns. They are similar to participles in that they both use the same kinds of modifiers and complements. The key to understanding gerunds is knowing that gerunds act like nouns. Where you can place a noun, you place a gerund. Examples: Running is good exercise. (Gerund used as a subject noun) Walking to school is a good idea. My hobby is hiking. (Gerund used as a direct object) I reached him by calling his office. (Gerund used as the object of a preposition).

Note: the difference between: My hobby is hiking. and John is hiking. Litmus tests for gerunds: Can you put a noun there? Tennis is good exercise. The wheel was a good idea. My hobby is chess.

I reached him by email.

Modal: The auxiliary verbs or helping verbs such as will, shall, can, would, could, should, might, may, and ought to. Some authors consider have to, need to, and used to to be semi-modals, but they lack some or all of the structural properties of modals. Structurally, modals have several properties (Have to is compared in brackets). Modal rule 1: They do not have a third person plural 's'. I can swim. She can swim. (I have to go. She has to go). Modal rule 2: They invert in questions. I should go. Should I go? (I have to go. Do I have to go?) Modal rule 3: They do not require do for emphasis. You could do it. You COULD do it. (You have to do it. You DO have to do it.) Modal Rule 4: They cannot be linked. I will must do it. (I will have to do it). Modal Rule 5: They have their own negatives. I couldn't call him. (I don't have to call him). Modal Rule 6: Ellipsis I can do it and so can you. (I have to do it and so do you). Semi-modals pose problems for classification. Consider the semi-modal need. Need I go? He needn't call you. Clearly, it can behave like a modal.

Functionally, modals have several meanings each.


Examples: Can can be used to show permission, ability, or possibility. Can I go? I can swim. It can happen. Must can be used to show certainty or obligation. You have been working all day so you must be hungry. You must work harder.

Participle: participles are verb forms used as adjectives. They are similar to gerunds in that they both use the same kinds of modifiers and complements. The key to understanding participles is knowing that participles act like adjectives. There are three kinds of participles: the present participle, the past participle, and the perfect participle. Examples: The dancing bears escaped from their cages. (present participle modifying bears) I gave some peanuts to the neglected monkeys. (past participle modifying monkeys) Having killed the bull, the matador faced the audience. (perfect participle modifying matador) When a participle takes modifiers and complements it is called a participial phrase as in the example: Hearing a sound outside the window, Matt went to investigate.

Some common mistakes involving participles are the dangling participle and misplaced modifier. Perfect participle: This is the participle formed using have plus the past participle. For example: The army, having fought one battle, was marching into another. Having eaten, they were in a better mood for talking. In these examples, the perfect participles are modifying nouns. Having fought modifies army and having eaten modifies they. Present participle: All verbs come in four forms: base, past, past participle, and present participle. The present participle is the participle ending in 'ing': base ex. clean eat past cleaned ate past participle cleaned eaten present participle cleaning eating

There are several uses for the present participle:

As an adjective: I saw a flying bird. As a predicate adjective: She was crying. In a participial phrase: Walking quickly, he refused to answer any questions. Past participle: All verbs come in four forms. The past participle is the participle ending in 'ed': base ex. clean eat past cleaned ate past participle cleaned eaten present participle cleaning eating

The regular past participle has an 'ed' at the end. There are also many irregular past participles which should just be memorized. For a comprehensive list of irregular verbs, see the Georgia State University web site. Past participles have several purposes: Participial adjectives: The scared cat darted into the alley. I am scared of heights. Participial phrases: Fascinated by the view, she missed the turnoff. Passive voice: The apple was eaten by the princess. Perfect tenses: I have never been to Paris.

Restrictive clauses: Adjective clauses that are essential to the meaning of a sentence. If you take the restrictive clause out of the sentence, the meaning of the sentence changes. For example: I wanted to go to a place where I had been in my youth. The man who was looking for you earlier is over there. Without the adjective clause in the first sentence, we don't know where I wanted to go. The meaning changes if we leave out this clause. In the second example, the adjective clause tells us who is over there. Again, if we leave this clause the meaning of the sentence is different. Note: Restrictive clauses are NOT puncuated with commas. Restrictive clauses can be contrasted to nonrestrictive clauses, which are punctuated with commas and are not essential to a sentence. Zero conditional: This is an if/then statement where a general principle is described or something that is generally true is described. It is often used where you are describing scientific fact. If you drop ice in water, it floats. Note, both parts of the conditional use present tense: If + present tense sentence, then + present tense sentence. More examples: If you heat water to 100 degrees celsius, it boils. If you drop a piece of toast on the ground, it lands butter side down. First conditional: This is an if/then statement about the consequence of a possible or probable future event or action. If you build it, they will come. If she tries, she might succeed. If he touches my beer, I'm going to kill him. If + present tense sentence, then + future tense sentence. The first conditional describes the consequence of a possible if clause. This can be contrasted with the second conditional which describes the consequence of an unlikely, improbable, or imaginary if clause. Second conditional: This is an if/then statement about the consequence of an untrue, impossible, imaginary, or improbable future event or action. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would quit my job. (improbable) If I were invisible, I would play jokes on my friends. (imaginary)

If had a dollar for every time I heard that, I'd be rich. (untrue) If +past tense, then + would + present tense. The second conditional describes the consequence of an impossible or improbable if clause. This can be contrasted with the first conditional which describes the consequence of a possible or probable if clause. Note: just by choosing to use the first or second conditonal you are making a statement about how likely you think an event is.

If it snows tomorrow, we'll be stranded. If it snowed tomorrow, we would be stranded. In the first conditional sentence, I think there is at least some chance that it will snow, at least enough to worry about. But in the second I think it is really unlikely to snow, and I am not even worried about it. Third conditional: This an if/then statement used to talk about hypothetical or unreal situations in the past. In other words, it is used to examine what would have happened if the past had been different. If I had known you were coming, I would have cooked dinner. (In fact, I didn't know you were coming). I would have killed him, if he drank my beer. (He didn't drink my beer, lucky for him.) If he had studied harder, he might have passed. If + past perfect, then + would (could, might)+ present perfect However, in casual speach many speakers use a 'mixed-conditional' form, where the simple past is substituted for the past perfect. If I knew you were coming, I would have cooked dinner. If he drank my beer, I would have killed him.

Split infinitive: An infinitive is a verb of the form to do. It was considered improper to split the infinitive by placing an adverb in between the to and the verb, as in the following examples: To boldly go To quickly eat To fondly remember

If it is possible, it should be rearranged: To eat quickly To remember fondly

However, in recent years, many authorities have relented on calling this improper. Now, it is just bad style. But hey, if Kirk wants to boldly go somewhere, it's OK in my book. Rejoinder: A sympathetic/empathetic response such as that's too bad, that's great, or I'm sorry to hear that. Rejoinders do not convey any information as such, but they do keep the conversation going and show that the listener has understood, and is receptive. Some other rejoinders include: That's too bad. Sorry to hear that. You're kidding. That's great. No way! Get out of here! That's wonderful. You've got to be kidding.