Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!


My English Book


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

  • Subscribe to my RSS

July 25, 2008

Types of Verbs Before you begin the verb tense lessons, it is extremely important to understand that NOT all English verbs are the same. English verbs are divided into three groups: Normal Verbs, Non-Continuous Verbs, and Mixed Verbs. Group I Normal Verbs Most verbs are "Normal Verbs." These verbs are usually physical actions which you can see somebody doing. These verbs can be used in all tenses. Normal Verbs to run, to walk, to eat, to fly, to go, to say, to touch, etc. Examples: * I eat dinner every day. * I am eating dinner now. Group II Non-Continuous Verbs The second group, called "Non-Continuous Verbs," is smaller. These verbs are usually things you cannot see somebody doing. These verbs are rarely used in continuous tenses. They include: Abstract Verbs to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist... Possession Verbs to possess, to own, to belong... Emotion Verbs to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear, to envy, to mind... Examples: * He is needing help now. Not Correct * He needs help now. Correct * He is wanting a drink now. Not Correct * He wants a drink now. Correct Group III Mixed Verbs The third group, called "Mixed Verbs," is the smallest group. These verbs have more than one meaning. In a way, each meaning is a unique verb. Some meanings behave like "Non-Continuous Verbs," while other meanings behave like "Normal Verbs." Mixed Verbs to appear, to feel, to have, to hear, to look, to see, to weigh... List of Mixed Verbs with Examples and Definitions: to appear: * Donna appears confused. Non-Continuous Verb Donna seems confused. * My favorite singer is appearing at the jazz club tonight. Normal Verb My favorite singer is giving a performance at the jazz club tonight. to have: * I have a dollar now. Non-Continuous Verb I possess a dollar. * I am having fun now. Normal Verb I am experiencing fun now. to hear: * She hears the music. Non-Continuous Verb She hears the music with her ears. * She is hearing voices. Normal Verb She hears something others cannot hear. She is hearing voices in her mind. to look: * Nancy looks tired. Non-Continuous Verb She seems tired. * Farah is looking at the pictures. Normal Verb She is looking with her eyes. to miss: * John misses Sally. Non-Continuous Verb He is sad because she is not there. * Debbie is missing her favorite TV program. Normal Verb She is not there to see her favorite program. to see: * I see her. Non-Continuous Verb I see her with my eyes. * I am seeing the doctor. Normal Verb I am visiting or consulting with a doctor. (Also used with dentist and lawyer.) * I am seeing her. Normal Verb I am having a relationship with her. * He is seeing ghosts at night. Normal Verb He sees something others cannot see. For example ghosts, aura, a vision of the future, etc. to smell: * The coffee smells good. Non-Continuous Verb The coffee has a good smell. * I am smelling the flowers. Normal Verb I am sniffing the flowers to see what their smell is like. to taste: * The coffee tastes good. Non-Continuous Verb The coffee has a good taste. * I am tasting the cake. Normal Verb I am trying the cake to see what it tastes like. to think: * He thinks the test is easy. Non-Continuous Verb He considers the test to be easy. * She is thinking about the question. Normal Verb She is pondering the question, going over it in her mind. to weigh: * The table weighs a lot. Non-Continuous Verb The table is heavy. * She is weighing herself. Normal Verb She is determining her weight. Some Verbs Can Be Especially Confusing: to be: * Joe is American. Non-Continuous Verb Joe is an American citizen. * Joe is being very American. Normal Verb Joe is behaving like a stereotypical American. * Joe is being very rude. Normal Verb Joe is behaving very rudely. Usually he is not rude. * Joe is being very formal. Normal Verb Joe is behaving very formally. Usually he is not formal. NOTICE: Only rarely is "to be" used in a continuous form. This is most commonly done when a person is temporarily behaving badly or stereotypically. It can also be used when someone's behavior is noticeably different. to feel: * The massage feels great. Non-Continuous Verb The massage has a pleasing feeling. * I don't feel well today. Sometimes used as Non-Continuous Verb I am a little sick. I am not feeling well today. Sometimes used as Normal Verb I am a little sick. NOTICE: The second meaning of "feel" is very flexible and there is no real difference in meaning between "I don't feel well today" and "I am not feeling well today."

July 12, 2008

Present Conditionals Present Real Conditional FORM [If / When ... Simple Present ..., ... Simple Present ...] [... Simple Present ... if / when ... Simple Present ...] USE The Present Real Conditional is used to talk about what you normally do in real-life situations. Examples: * If I go to a friend's house for dinner, I usually take a bottle of wine or some flowers. * When I have a day off from work, I often go to the beach. * If the weather is nice, she walks to work. * Jerry helps me with my homework when he has time. * I read if there is nothing on TV. * A: What do you do when it rains? B: I stay at home. * A: Where do you stay if you go to Sydney? B: I stay with my friends near the harbor. IMPORTANT If / When Both "if" and "when" are used in the Present Real Conditional. Using "if" suggests that something happens less frequently. Using "when" suggests that something happens regularly. Examples: * When I have a day off from work, I usually go to the beach. I regularly have days off from work. * If I have a day off from work, I usually go to the beach. I rarely have days off from work. Present Unreal Conditional FORM [If ... Simple Past ..., ... would + verb ...] [... would + verb ... if ... Simple Past ...] USE The Present Unreal Conditional is used to talk about what you would generally do in imaginary situations. Examples: * If I owned a car, I would drive to work. But I don't own a car. * She would travel around the world if she had more money. But she doesn't have much money. * I would read more if I didn't watch so much TV. * Mary would move to Japan if she spoke Japanese. * If they worked harder, they would earn more money. * A: What would you do if you won the lottery? B: I would buy a house. * A: Where would you live if you moved to the U.S.? B: I would live in Seattle. EXCEPTION If I were ... In the Present Unreal Conditional, the form "was" is not considered grammatically correct. In written English or in testing situations, you should always use "were." However, in everyday conversation, "was" is often used. Examples: * If he were French, he would live in Paris. * If she were rich, she would buy a yacht. * I would play basketball if I were taller. * I would buy that computer if it were cheaper. * I would buy that computer if it was cheaper. Not Correct (But often said in conversation.) IMPORTANT Only use "If" Only the word "if" is used with the Present Unreal Conditional because you are discussing imaginary situations. "When" cannot be used. Examples: * I would buy that computer when it were cheaper. Not Correct * I would buy that computer if it were cheaper. Correct EXCEPTION Conditional with Modal Verbs There are some special conditional forms for modal verbs in English: would + can = could would + shall = should would + may = might The words "can," "shall" and "may" cannot be used with "would." Instead, they must be used in these special forms. Examples: * If I went to Egypt, I would can learn Arabic. Not Correct * If I went to Egypt, I could learn Arabic. Correct * If she had time, she would may go to the party. Not Correct * If she had time, she might go to the party. Correct The words "could," should," "might" and "ought to" include conditional, so you cannot combine them with "would." Examples: * If I had more time, I would could exercise after work. Not Correct * If I had more time, I could exercise after work. Correct * If he invited you, you really would should go. Not Correct * If he invited you, you really should go. Correct