Sunday, 31 July 2011

Tips And Tricks - English (Part-1)


See some areas in English Grammar which often confuse most of us!

1.      “If I was” or “If I were”?
Wrong: If I was an elephant, I would give you a ride.                               
Correct: If I were an elephant, I would give you a ride.                             

Wrong: If I were rude, I apologize.
 Correct: If I was rude, I apologize.

If I were” is more for situations when you are imagining things, usually followed by a sentence on what you would do in that situation whereas, “If I was” is more for things that could have happened in the past or now.

Here is another example of the differences between “If .. were” and “If .. was”.

If she was hard working, she would be a famous singer by now. <– I’ve only met her once and all I know is she wants to be a famous singer.
If she were hard working, she would be a famous singer by now. <– I know her very well; she wants to be a famous singer but she’s very lazy.

2.     Lie down, don’t lie to me, and birds lay eggs
These 3 words are perhaps the most confusing. Lie has two completely different meanings. The first meaning is to rest in a horizontal position. The second is to bear false witness. Lay means to put into a position of rest or bring forth eggs.

Here are the tenses of the words:

Lie down                       – lie, lay, lain.
Don’t lie to me              – Lie, lied, lied.
Lay eggs                       – lay, laid, laid.

That’s why they are confusing! They sound similar and you can easily have them mixed up! Here are some examples of common mistakes when using those words.

Wrong: I have lied on the grass all morning.                                           
Correct: I have lain on the grass all morning.

Wrong: I laid on the couch.
Correct: I lay on the couch.

So, here are three things to remember when you’re not sure how to use those words:

Remember that lie (as in don’t lie) and lay are regular verbs, which mean they add the usual suffix “-d” to form the past tense (lied, laid). Their past participles (have lied, have laid) are the same.

Remember that the word lie (as in lie down) is the most complicated; an irregular verb; doesn’t use “-d”; past tense is lay, and past participle is lain.

Remember that the word lay is the only transitive verb – You can’t “lay” on the bed; you must lay something. You can lay yourself on the bed, though.


3.     Take and bring
Though these seems to be simple, probably one of the most confusing confusions in grammar!

Whether to use bring or take all depends on the perspective. You use take when the item is going away from the perspective and bring when the item is coming to the perspective.

For example, you and your friend are going to a place. You might ask your friend, “Are you going to bring your cell phone?”
If you’re not going but your friend is, you might ask your friend, “Are you going to take your cell phone?”

But still, it can be confusing. So, use substitutes instead. “Are you going to carry your cell phone with you?”  Problem solved.

Watch this space for more tips…

1 comments:

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