Which Is Which?

September 1, 2007

Contents

1) Which Is Which?
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Present Perfect Continuous

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Which Is Which?

“That man has been fiddling around for an hour wasting his time?”
“How do you know?”
“I’ve been watching him.”

Fighting Again!

“You’ve been fighting again! You lost two of your teeth!”
“I haven’t lost them, Mum. They are in my pocket.”

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

– To fiddle around means to move about with no particular purpose.
– To waste your time means to spend your time carelessly, doing nothing.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Present Perfect Continuous Tense

For today’s lesson I’ve chosen two short jokes to illustrate the form and function of Present Perfect Continuous tense.

Present Perfect Continuous is also called the Present Perfect Progressive. I want to underline this fact because it gives us a hint about the use of this tense.

We are going to talk about the situations when we use this tense in the second part of this lesson. Now let’s have a look at the way Present Perfect Continuous is formed.

The structure of the present perfect continuous tense is:

Subject + have/ has + been + present participle of the main verb (verb + ing)

Here are some examples:

I have been waiting for two hours.
She has been talking too much.
It has been raining.
They have been playing football for two hours.

When we use the present perfect continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and the first auxiliary. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.

I’ve been reading all morning.
He’s working two hard.
We’ve been watching TV for three hours.
It’s been snowing a lot this week.

The negative form of Present Perfect Continuous is:

Subject + have/ has + not (haven’t/hasn’t) + been + present participle of the main verb (verb + ing)

She has not been living here since 2005.
They haven’t been playing tennis recently.
I haven’t been smoking for two months.
We haven’ t been jogging lately.

We form the interrogative by inverting the subject and the auxiliary verb “have/has”:

Has he been seeing her lately?
Have you been running?
Has she been sleeping?
Have been doing your homework?

We often use “How long” in questions.

How long have you been learning English?
How long have you been living here?
How long has she been waiting?
How long have they been working?

And there is one more question we haven’t answered yet.

When do we use Present Perfect Continuous tense?

Well, there are two situations:

1. We use Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about an action or event that started in the past and are still in progress now. What we want to emphasize is the duration of that action or event.

Here are some examples:

She has been studying English for several years.
I’ve been working on this report since ten o’clock this morning.
We have been waiting for you all day.

And don’t forget the first joke I’ve selected for today’s lesson.

2. We use Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about the effect of recent events. What is important is the result of these recent events

She has been cooking since last night. The food looks delicious.
I feel tired. I’ve been repairing my car all afternoon.
You don’t understand because you haven’t been listening.

Add here the second joke I’ve picked out for this lesson.

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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.

______________________________________________________

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.
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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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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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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.
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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’.

_______________________________________________________

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.
_______________________________________________________


The Other Bidder

August 8, 2007

Contents

1) The Other Bidder
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Forming the Past Tense

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TODAY’S JOKE
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The Other Bidder

A man who wanted to buy a parrot went to an animal auction.

He found just what he wanted – a beautiful African bird – and decided to bid for it.

The bidding went higher and higher, but finally the man was the winning bidder.

He went excitedly to collect his bird and suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to ask the most important question about the parrot.

‘Does it talk?’ he asked the auctioneer anxiously.

‘Of course he talks,’ replied the auctioneer.

‘Who do you think was bidding against you?’

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain the words that you might find difficult!

– A parrot is a bird which has the ability to mimic human speech or other sounds.

– An auction is a public sale of goods or property, where people make higher and higher offers of money for each item, until the item is sold to the person who will pay most.

– To bid means to offer a particular amount of money for something which is for sale and compete against other people to buy it, especially at a public sale of goods or property.

– Suddenly means quickly, unexpectedly.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Forming the Past Tense

Today we are going to learn how the Past Tense Simple is formed in
English. Basicaly there two types of verbs: regular and irregular.
These two categories form the Past Tense in a different way.
First let’s start with regular verbs.

Regular verbs add ‘-ed’ to the base form of the verb for the past simple. If we read the joke again we can spot the following examples of regular verbs.

want – wanted
decide – decided
remember – remembered
ask – asked
reply – replied

In the examples above two verbs ‘decide’ and ‘reply’ have undergone
some spelling changes. The past form of ‘decide’ is ‘decided’ and not
‘decideed’ and that of ‘reply’ is ‘replied’ instead of ‘replyed’. In order
to spell certain regular verbs correctly, we have to observe some
spelling rules. These are:

1. verbs ending in e, just add -d

move – moved
love – loved
dance – danced

2. one-syllable verbs ending in a single vowel + consonant, double the
final consonant and add ‘-ed’,

plan – planned
stop – stopped
fit – fitted

3. verbs with two or more syllables ending in a single vowel + consonant, double the final consonant and add ‘-ed’ only when the stress is on the final syllable

prefer – preferred
refer – referred
regret – regretted, but enter – entered (the last syllable isn’t stressed)
visit – visited

4. verbs ending in a consonant + y change the y to i and add ‘-ed’

try – tried
cry – cried
dry – dried, but play – played ( y is preceded by a vowel)
annoy – annoyed

The other category, irregular verbs, have various forms and each form
needs to be learned. Here are some examples extracted from the joke.

go – went
find – found
be – was

My advice is to learn these irregular verbs step by step. Start with the most common ones and expand your vocabulary gradually. Make a list of verbs and repeat them on a daily basis. When you know them very well, go on to the next level.

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This newsletter is sponsored by:

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Solo, Top Sponsor, Classified Ads in Multiple Ezines

_______________________________________________________

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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