Insufficient Funds

August 30, 2007

Contents

1) Insufficient Funds
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Comparison of Adjectives

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Insufficient Funds

A young college co-ed came running in tears to her father. “Dad, you gave me some terrible financial advice!”

“I did? What did I tell you?” said the dad.

“You told me to put my money in that big bank, and now that big bank is in trouble.”

“What are you talking about? That’s one of the largest banks in the state,” he said. “There must be some mistake.”

“I don’t think so,” she sniffed. “They just returned one of my checks with a note saying, ‘Insufficient Funds’.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– Co-ed is a female student in a college with male and female students.

– To sniff means to speak in an unpleasant way, showing that you have a low opinion of something.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Comparison of Adjectives

We often compare or contrast things with others. Two people or things can possess some quality in the same degree (equality), or in different degrees (superiority or inferiority). We can also state the supremacy of one person or thing over others.

Every time we compare things or people, we use adjectives with different degrees of omparison. In English, there are three degrees of comparison: positive degree, comparative degree, and superlative degree.

In today’s lesson, we will study how these degrees are formed.

The positive degree is not really a degree of comparison because no comparison is indicated when the positive degree is used. The positive degree is the simple form of the adjective.

Examples: hot, cold, careful, funny, silly.

The comparative degree of the adjective is used when a comparison is made between two persons or things. The comparative degree shows that one of the two people or things that are being compared possesses some quality to a greater or to a lesser degree than the other.

The comparative is formed:

– by adding ‘-er’ to the positive:

clear – clearer
sweet – sweeter
pretty – prettier
simple – simpler

This rule applies to one-syllable adjectives, two-syllable adjectives that end in ‘y’, ‘er’, ‘ow’, le (e.g. pretty, simple, narrow, clever) or have the stress on the last syllable (e.g. polite).

– by using ‘more’ with the positive:

beautiful – more beautiful
interesting – more interesting
hopeful – more hopeful
fertile – more fertile

As you can see from the above examples, adjectives of two or more syllables are usually compared by using ‘more’ with the simple form of the adjective.

The superlative degree of the adjective is used when more than two people or things are compared. The superlative degree indicates that the quality is possessed to the greatest or to the least degree by one of the persons or things included in the comparison.

The superlative is formed:

– by adding ‘-est’ to the positive:

clear – clearest
sweet – sweetest
pretty – prettiest
simple – simplest

This rule is followed by one-syllable adjectives, two-syllable adjectives that end in ‘y’, ‘er’, ‘ow’, ‘le’ (e.g. pretty, simple, narrow, clever) or have he stress on the last syllable (e.g. polite).

– by using ‘most’ with the positive:

beautiful – most beautiful
interesting – most interesting
hopeful – most hopeful
fertile – most fertile

This method is used with adjectives of two or more syllables.

In the end, I would like to point out some spelling changes undergone by adjectives adding ‘-er’ and ‘-est’.

– adjectives ending in ‘y’ preceded by a consonant, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’

happy – happier – happiest
silly – sillier – silliest
dirty – dirtier – dirtiest

– one syllable adjectives with the spelling consonant + single vowel+ consonant double the final consonant

fat – fatter – fattest
big – bigger – biggest
sad – sadder – saddest

– adjectives ending in silent ‘e’ drop the ‘e’ and add ‘-er’ and ‘-est’

ripe – riper – ripest
large – larger – largest
fine – finer – finest

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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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A Belated Divorce

August 27, 2007

Contents

1) A Belated divorce
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Present Perfect Tense

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Belated Divorce

An old man and his wife decided to divorce.

At the hearing, the magistrate was perplexed.

Looking from one another in confusion, he said, “Mrs. Law, you’re 94. Mr. Law is 96. You’ve been married for 70 years, since 1900. Now, at such a venerable age, you want to divorce. Why? I don’t understand.”

The old man shook his head and said, “That woman and I have loathed each other for 66 years.”

No less confused, the magistrate asked, “Why didn’t you divorce earlier then?”

“It was the children, you see,” answered the old man.

“We didn’t want to hurt them, so we decided to wait until the last one died.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– Belated means coming later than expected.

– A hearing is a legal proceeding.

– A magistrate is a person who acts as a judge in a law court that deals with crimes that are not serious.

– The magistrate was perplexed, that is he was puzzled, confused.

– When you loath someone, you really hate, detest him/her.

– The meaning of hurt in today’s joke is to cause emotional pain to someone.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Present Perfect Tense

The Present Perfect is difficult to understand for ESL learners because it is a combination of past and present. Last time we talked about the form of Present Prefect tense, this lesson will explain to you the most important uses of the present perfect.

When do we use Present Perfect?

Below I have listed four situations which require the use of present perfect. All the theoretical explanations are followed by examples and additional information.

This being said, let’s face the challenge.

We use it:

– to talk about experiences. It is important if we have done it in our lives or not. It is not important when we did it.

I have never been to Brazil.
Have you seen that movie?
She has never flown a plane.
Have you ever drunk sake?

All these events took place in the past, but they are connected with the present because I have a memory of the event now, I have experience of it. Note the use of ‘never’ and ‘ever’.

– to talk about an action which started in the past and continues up to now.

I have been a lawyer for more than five years.
We haven’t seen Jim since Friday.
How long have you been married?
We have lived in New York since 1986.

The examples above describe actions that started in the past and continue in the present and will probably continue into the future. We usually use ‘for’ (a period of time – 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 6 years) or ‘since’ (a point in past time – 9 o’clock, 1st January, Monday) with this structure.

– to talk about past actions that have an effect in the present

I’ve missed the 11 o’clock train. I have to wait for the next one.
I have lost my keys. I can’t enter my apartment.
He has gone to Spain. He can’t help you with this problem.
She has broken her arm. She can’t take part in the competion.

In this case, the action happened at some time in the past, but the effect of the action is important now, in the present.

– to talk about actions which happened at some unknown time in the past

He has written ten novels and I’ve read all of them.
She hasn’t slept much recently.
I have already explained that.
Have you finished your soup yet?

It’s important to say that something happened or didn’t happen, not when it happened. We often use the words ‘already’ and ‘yet’ along with the present perfect.

______________________________________________________

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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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Dollar Bills Talking

August 24, 2007

Contents

1) Dollar Bills Talking
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Present Perfect Tense

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Dollar Bills Talking

A one-dollar bill met a twenty-dollar bill and said, “Hey, where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you around here much.”

The twenty answered, “I’ve been hanging out at the casinos, went on a cruise and did the rounds of the ship, back to the United States for a while, went to a couple of baseball games, to the mall, that kind of stuff. How about you?”

The one dollar bill said, “You know, same old stuff … church, church, church.

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– Hang out means to spend a lot of time in a place.

– A cruise is a journey on a large ship for pleasure, during which you visit several places.

– If you do the rounds of people, organizations, or places, you visit or telephone them all.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect is one of the tenses in English that gives students a difficult time, because it uses concepts that do not exist in other foreign languages. The structure of the present perfect tense is very simple, but problems arise when students use this tense.

In this lesson we look at the form and next time we shall focus on the use of the present perfect. My advice is to learn to think this tense rather than try to translate it into you language.

The affirmative form of present perfect is:

Subject + have/has + past participle

The past participle often ends in ‘-ed’, but many important verbs are irregular.

Here are some examples of the present perfect tense:

He has been to Rome.
We have lived in London since 2002.
They have taught English for ten years.
I have read ‘Crime and Punishment’.

In order to change sentences into interrogations, we simply have to place the auxiliary verb (have/has) in front of the subject.

Have/Has + Subject + past participle

Has he been to Rome?
Have we lived in London since 2002?
Have they taught English for ten years?
Have I read ‘Crime and Punishment’?

The negative structure of present perfect is:

Subject + have/has + not + past participle

He hasn’t been to Rome.
We haven’t lived in London since 2002.
They haven’t taught English for ten years.
I haven’t read ‘Crime and Punishment’.

When we use the present perfect tense in speaking, we usually contract the subject and auxiliary verb. We also sometimes do this when we write.

I have – I’ve
You have – You’ve
He has – He’s
She has – She’s
It has – It’s
We have – We’ve
You have – You’ve
They have – They’ve

Be careful! The ‘s contraction is used for the auxiliary verbs ‘have’ and ‘be’.

For example, “He’s finished” can mean:

He has finished. (present perfect tense, active voice)
He is finished. (present tense, passive voice)

However it is usually clear from the context.

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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Eye Testing

August 22, 2007

Contents

1) Eye Testing
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: The Causative Use of Have

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Eye Testing

A man went to the optician’s to have his eyes tested.

The optician showed him a card.

“Can you read that?” he asked.

“No,” said the man.

The optician moved a little closer.

“Can you read it now?” he asked.

“No,” said the man.

So the optician came right next to him and said,

“Surely, you can read it now!”

“No”, said the man.” I can’t read.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– An optician is someone whose job is examining people’s eyes.

– The optician came right next to the man, that means he was very close to him .

– Surely means certainly, without any doubt.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Causative Use of Have

Reading the joke once again, you can notice right in the beginning the phrase ‘to have his eyes tested’.

In this lesson you will learn about the causative use of the verb ‘have’ and we shall start by defining causative verbs.

Causative verbs express the idea of someone causing someone to do something. Note that the causative construction can be similar in meaning to the passive voice.

The construction ‘have + object + past participle’ is used to show that we arranged for other people to do something for us.

Let’s look at some examples:

I had my house painted. (I arranged for somebody else to do it.)
She had her hair done last Sunday.
I was having my roof repaired when it happened.
Why didn’t you have you suit cleaned?
These trousers are too long. I must have them shortened.
I’m having a tooth taken out tomorrow.
His car always breaks down because he never has it serviced.

As you can see from the above illustrations, the causative can be used with a wide range of different tenses.

The same construction can also describe something unfortunate that happens to someone.

I had my pocket picked this morning.
She had her car stolen.
They had their house burgled last week.

In informal, spoken English, we also sometimes use the alternative ‘get something done’ instead of ‘have something done’. I must underline the word ‘sometimes’ because ‘get’ is commonly used when there is a feeling that something must be done.

Why don’t you get your hair cut?
I must get my car serviced.
Why didn’t you get that suit cleaned?
If he doesn’t get the roof repaired before winter, he’ll be in serious trouble.

______________________________________________________

This newsletter is sponsored by:

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________


Why Drink That Whisky

August 20, 2007

Contents

1) Why Drink That Whisky?
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Would rather

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Why Drink That Whisky?

A Scotsman went into a pub in London and asked for a glass of his favourite whisky.

Unfortunately they did not have any.

The barman proposed another whisky.

“Look,” he said, “this one is recommended by King George V, King George VI, Edward VI and Edward VII.”

“I’d rather not drink that,” said the Scot.

“Those men are all dead.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain the some words from today’s joke!

– A pub is place where alcoholic drinks can be bought and drunk.

– Unfortunately means regrettably, unluckyly.
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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Would rather

When we want to talk about specific preferences, we can use both ‘would rather’ and ‘would sooner’. There is no difference between the two expressions, but ‘would rather is more common in spoken English.

Today, we are going to focus on the use of ‘would rather’. It is often abbreviated to ‘d rather. It is used in this form with all personal pronouns:

Affirmative:

I’d / you’d / he’d / she’d / we’d / they’d rather

Negative:

I’d / you’d / he’d / she’d / we’d / they’d rather not

Let’s study some examples:

I’d rather drink beer than wine.
I’d rather stay at home than go to the cinema.
I’d rather read a good book than watch TV.
I’d rather play tennis than golf.

All these examples follow the same pattern or structure:

I + would rather + short infinitive + than + short infinitive

Or in other words

I + would rather + do something + than + do something

The rule that we have to keep in mind is that ‘would rather” is followed by the short infinitive (without ‘to’) when the subject of ‘would rather’ is the same as the subject of the following action.

He would rather sing than talk.

But what happens when the two subjects are different?

In this case, the pattern is the following:

Subject + would rather + Subject + past tense (subjunctive)

‘Shall I give you a cheque?’ ‘I’d rather you paid cash.’
‘Shall I come with you?’ ‘I’d rather you stayed here.’
‘Shall I tell him the bad news?’ ‘No. I’d rather you didn’t tell him.’

The negative is: S + would rather + S + didn’t +verb.

I’d rather you didn’t paint the room white.
I’d rather you didn’t smoke here.

In this structure we use the past, but the meaning is present or future, not past.

______________________________________________________

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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________


Recognition

August 17, 2007

Contents

1) Regnition
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Used to

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Recognition

Paul saw someone in the street he recognized as his friend Woodall.

“Woodall,” he said, “what happened to you? You used to be fat and now you’re thin. You used to have hair and now you’re bald. You used to have perfect eyesight and now you wear glasses.”

The man looked at him in astonishment.

“Listen, sir, my name is not Woodall. It’s Wain.”

“Oh!” Paul exclaimed. “You’ve changed your name too!”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s have a closer look at the words that you might find difficult to understand!

– The meaning of bald is with little or no hair.

– Astonishment means a very great surprise.

– When someone has a perfect eyesight, he/she can see very well.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Used to

Today we are going to learn about the form and the use of the verb ‘used to’. This verb has only a past form. Don’t forget, a repeated action in the present is expressed by the Simple Present tense.

Affirmative

I used to
You used to
He/she/it used to
We used to
You used to
They used to

Negative

I did not use to
You did not use to
He/she/it did not use to
We did not use to
You did not use to
They did not use to

Interrogative

Did I use to?
Did you use to?
Did he/she/it use to?
Did we use to?
Did you use to?
Did they use to?

We use ‘used to’ to talk about habitual or regular actions in the past which no longer happen now.

She used to live in Paris, but she moved to Orleans last year.
I used to smoke a packet a day but I stopped two years ago.
I didn’t use to like action films, but I do now.
Did you use to play football when you were at school?

‘Used to’ expresses past states which are no longer true.

There used to be a little cottage here.
She used to have really long hair but she’s had it all cut off.
Helen didn’t use to be afraid of the dark.
I didn’t use to like opera, but now I do.

‘Would’ is sometimes used as a variant of ‘used to’ to express a repeated action in the past. ‘Would’ is more common in written language.

The old woman would go every day to the lake to feed the swans.
When he was at university, he would sleep until noon at the weekends.
The Browns would spend their holidays on the seaside.
She would always come late to the meetings.

But there is a difference between ‘would’ and ‘used to’:

– ‘would’ expresses actions or situations that were repeated many times, but never a past state.

– ‘used to’ expresses actions or situations that continued for a period of time in the past (including repeated actions or situations) and past states.

To make this clearer, let’s take some ‘used to’ sentences and try to change them into ‘would’ sentences.

They used to live in Vienna, but now they have a flat in Salzburg.

Can we use ‘would’ instead of ‘used to’ here?
No, we can’t, because ‘living in Vienna’ wasn’t repeated again and again. Therefore, only ‘used to’ is good in this sentence.

When he was a child he used to play football every Friday.

This is an action that was repeated many times, so we can also say:
When he was a child he would play football every day.

I used to like action films, but now I don’t.

In this case ‘used to’ expresses a past state, so it cannot be replaced by ‘would’.

_______________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________


Four Catholic Mothers

August 16, 2007

Contents

1) Four Catholic Mothers
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Ordinal Numbers

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Four Catholic Mothers

Four Catholic mothers are having coffee together discussing how important their children are.

The first one tells her friends, “My son is a priest. When he walks into a room, everyone calls him ‘Father'”.

The second Catholic woman chirps, “Well, my son is a bishop. Whenever he walks into a room, people say, ‘Your Grace'”.

The third Catholic woman says smugly, “Well, not to put you down, but my son is a cardinal. Whenever he walks into a room, people say ‘Your Eminence'”.

The fourth Catholic woman sips her coffee in silence.

The first three women give her this subtle “Well…?”

She replies, “My son is a gorgeous, tall, muscular stripper. Whenever he walks into a room, women say, ‘My God…'”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s try to explain the difficult words in the joke!

– To put down means to make something or someone seem less important or little.

– Birds chirp, but when people do the same thing they say something with a high, happy voice.

– The meaning of smugly is in an arrogant manner.

– When some sips his/her coffee, he/she drinks it, taking only a very small amount at a time.

– What the fourth woman means when she says that her son is gorgeous is that he is very handsome.

– A stripper is someone whose job is removing all their clothing to entertain other people.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal numbers tell the order of things in a set—first, second, third, etc. They do not show quantity. They only show rank or position.

Well, I suggest we first list them below and then we take a closer look at their spelling and use.

1st – first
2nd – second
3rd – third
4th – fourth
5th – fifth
6th – sixth
7th – seventh
8th – eighth
9th – ninth
10th – tenth
11th – eleventh
12th – twelfth
13th – thirteenth
14th – fourteenth
15th – fifteenth
16th – sixteenth
17th – seventeenth
18th – eighteenth
19th – nineteenth
20th – tweentieth
21st – twenty-first
30th – thirtieth
31th – thirty-first
40th – fortieth
50th – fiftieth
60th – sixtieth
70th – seventieth
80th – eightieth
90th – ninetieth
100th – one hundredth
1000th – one thousandth

It’s very easy to learn ordinal numbers because you just add “-th” to the cardinal number.

four – fourth
eleven – eleventh

However, you have to bear in mind the following exceptions:

one – first
two – second
three – third

Notice the irregular spelling of:

five – fifth
eight – eighth
nine – ninth
twelve – twelfth
twenty – twentieth
thirty – thirtieth
fourty – fourtieth
fifty – fiftieth
sixty – sixtieth
seventy – seventieth
eighty – eightieth
ninety – ninetieth

In compound ordinal numbers, note that only the last figure is written as an ordinal number:

721st – seven hundred and twenty-first
3,111th – three thousand, one hundred and eleventh

As you can see from above, when expressed as figures, the last two letters of the written word are added to the ordinal number:

first – 1st
second – 2nd
third – 3rd
fourth – 4th
twenty-sixth – 26th
hundred and first – 101st

When do we use ordinal numbers?

At least in two cases:

Dates are expressed by ordinal numbers, so when we speak we say:

August the sixteenth or the sixteenth of August

However, we can write them in a variety of ways:

August 16

August 16th

16 August

16th August

16th of August

August the 16th

In titles of kings and queens, ordinal numbers are written in Roman numbers. In spoken English, the ordinal numbers are preceded by “the”:

Charles II – Charles the Second

Edward VI – Edward the Sixth

Henry VIII – Henry the Eighth

_______________________________________________________

This newsletter is sponsored by:

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________