English proverb of the day

"The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in turn destroys the vision and the dream "

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  • Topic of this Week: "ATTENTION (July 5, 2020)"

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    language concept 3

    (02:26:02 AM 26/03/2014)

     

    Non sequitur

     

    non sequitur is when you say something that's not related to the topic of conversation. For example, if you're having a conversation with a friend about work and then she suddenly says:

    love cheese.

    That's a non sequitur.

    People usually try to avoid non sequiturs in conversation, but as an English learner you will probably say some things that don't fit the conversation from time to time. For example, someone might ask:

    How're you doing?

    But you might misunderstand the question as "What are you doing?" and answer:

    I'm drinking a coffee.

    Some people also say non sequiturs to be funny. Not everyone agrees that this is a funny type of joke.

    Objects

     

    What are objects?

    The "object" of a sentence is a noun which usually comes after the verb in English. Here are some examples:

    love you.

    Did you pay the rent?

    The object receives the action of the verb.

    Sometimes a sentence doesn't have an object:

    I want to rest!

    Not many men know how to cook well.

    Sometimes there are two objects in a sentence - a direct object and an indirect object. In this sentence, "you" is the direct object and "those flowers" is the idirect object:

    Who sent you those flowers?

    Why are objects important?

    Objects are important because each verb in English has an "expectation" when it comes to objects.

    Some verbs expect to have no object. These are called intransitive verbs. Examples include:

    • run
    • sleep
    • cry
    • wait
    • die
    • fall

    Other verbs expect to have a direct object or both a direct and indirect object. These are called transitive verbs. Examples include:

    • eat (something)
    • break (something)
    • cut (something)
    • make (something)
    • send (someone)(something)
    • give (someone)(something)

    It's important to know whether a verb expects to have an object or not! If you don't know, you'll make mistakes like:

    She's crying it.

    I broke.

    Some verbs are harder to pin down.

    The line between transitive and intransitive verbs is not always clear. There are a lot of verbs that are often used both transitively and intransitively, like:

    • eat
    • eat (something)

    However, it's usually possible to tell which version is more basic.

    Consider the example "eat". You can't eat without eating something. So "eat" is basicallya transitive verb which we sometimes use intransitively.

    Now think about the verb "send". You can use "send" with just a direct object:

    I sent an email.

    But "send" really expects two objects: one for the thing that someone sends, and another for the person who receives it:

    I sent her an email.

    Whenever you learn a new verb in English, pay attention to how it's used in sentences and try to figure out how many objects it "expects" to have.

    Perfect Aspect

     

    In the mind of an English speaker, there's a difference between talking about something that happened in the past and talking about something that has happened. The difference is whether there's an effect on the speaker right now:

    perfect aspect visualization

    Here's how English speakers imagine the simple past tense:

    simple past tense: I ate.

    It's just a fact - you ate at some time in the past. It doesn't have any connection to how you feel right now. But if you say "I've eaten", that expresses the idea that you ate something, and now you probably feel full. You probably don't want to eat another meal. The speaker is not only talking about the past action, but also about the present effect of that action:

    present perfect tense: I've eaten.

    The name for this way of speaking and understanding sentences is the "perfect aspect". Perfect aspect is used in a few different kinds of situations:

     

    1. Perfect Aspect for experiences

    Use "I've ___ed" when you're talking about an experience that you have. The event happened in the past, but the experience of it is still "with" you in some way. For example, you might say "I've seen the Rolling Stones in concert" or "He's been to L.A. twice":

    present perfect tense for experiences: He's been to L.A. twice

    If the experience wasn't meaningful, or it's not important for the conversation right now, you use the simple past tense instead:

    simple past tense: He went to L.A. twice

     

    2. Perfect Aspect for things that haven't finished

    When you're talking about something that started some time in the past and is stillhappening now, you can use "have ___ed". If it's already finished, use the simple past:

    present perfect: I've been waiting for him since 5:00.

    simple past: I waited for him for a few hours.

    When you say the time period for something, and that time period hasn't finished yet, you use "have ___ed" or "haven't ___ed":

    present perfect: I haven't seen her all day

    When the time has already finished, use the simple past tense:

    simple past: I didn't see her all day.

     

    3. Perfect Aspect for expectations

    When you expect someone to do something, you ask "Have you ___ed?". For example, if someone gives you the message that your brother called you, they might want to check later to see if you called your brother back. If the person wanted you to call back, and expected it, she'll say "Have you called him back?" If she doesn't care, she'll ask "Did you call him back?":

    Have you called him back?

     

     

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