Jumat, Desember 11, 2009

Grammar Lesson Part 1

Using the Conditional

We use the conditional to show a possible situation based on another situation. For example:
If A happens, then B will happen.
The first conditional shows that something could possibly happen. Its structure is like this:
If + subject + present tense (or present progressive) ----, subject + will/may/can + base verb ----.
For example:
If it rains tomorrow, I will take my umbrella.
If you help me, we can finish earlier.
If the boys give the monkey a coin, it may dance for them.

Notice that each sentence above uses the present tense on the if side. But we could also use the present progressive if something is happening right now.

If he isn't working right now, he may want to come over for dinner.
We can also change the order of the sentence and put the if side on the second half. The only difference is that there is no comma.
I will take my umbrella if it rains tomorrow.
We can finish earlier if you help me.
The monkey may dance for the boys if they give it a coin.
He may want to come over for dinner if he isn't working right now.

More on using The
On November 26 we talked about the difference between using A and The. Here is a little more specific information on how to use The.
Use the after you have talked about it the first time. For example:
This is a cat. The cat is brown
Use the when the person you are talking to already knows what you are talking about. For example:
I am going to the bank.
There is someone knocking at the door. It must be the computer repairman. I called him to come help fix my computer.
Use the when you talk about general places in nature like the lake, the mountains, the ocean, the beach, etc. For example:
Let's go to the beach.

I love to camp in the mountains.

Use the when you are talking about something that there is only one of and everyone knows about it. The sky, the earth, the stars (as a group). For example:

How many people are there on the earth?

The sky is so beautiful today.

Using the Past Continuous with the Simple Past Tense
The past continuous tense uses:

was/were + (verb) + ing
was eating or were going

It is used to show something that happened in the past and continued for a while. For example:

From 8:00 to 8:30 I was taking a bath.

We use the past continuous tense with the simple past tense when we want to show that one thing happened in the middle of another thing.

I was taking a bath and the telephone rang.

During a period of time (8:00-8:30) I was taking a bath. At one time (let's say 8:17) someone called on the telephone.

We can also connect the past continuous and simple past together by using the words when, while, and as.

When I was taking a bath, the telephone rang.
The telephone rang when I was taking a bath.

While I was taking a bath, the telephone rang.
The telephone rang while I was taking a bath.

As I was taking a bath, the telephone rang.
The telephone rang as I was taking a bath.

Notice if you use when, while, or as at the beginning of the sentence, you need to put a comma (,) after the phrase.

Check Your Understanding

Make a sentence using the words given. Use the past continuous for things that happened over a period of time and the simple past for things that happened a one time. The first one has been done for you.

walk down the street (5:00-5:10)
see an old man (5:04)

While I was walking down the street, I saw an old man.
I saw an old man while I was walking down the street.

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