A Miracle

September 7, 2007

Contents

1) A Miracle
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Must

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Miracle

An old lady had been to Lourdes, and as she went through the customs on her way home, the customs officer found a bottle in a suitcase.

“This must be whisky,” he said.

“Oh no,” said the old lady. “It’s holy water from Lourdes.”

The customs officer opened the bottle to smell the liquid.

“That is whisky,” he said.

“Praise be to God!” said the old lady.
“Another miracle!”

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

– Lourdes is a major place of Christian pilgrimage (a journey made to special places for religious reasons).

– A customs officer is a person whose job is to look inside travellers’ bags to make certain they are not taking goods into a country without paying taxes.

– Holy means sacred.

– The meaning of the verb ‘to praise’ is to honour, to worship.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Must

Today we shall continue our journey into the world of modal verbs. Our guest is the modal verb “must”. The story of “must” is simple, but I am sure that our joke and the following examples will make it more exciting and interesting.

Let’s make the introductions:

Affirmative: S + must + the short infinitive of the verb
Negative: S + must not/mustn’t + the short infinitive of the verb
Interrogative: Must + S+ the short infinitive of the verb?

He must pay the rent by Wednesday.
You must eat here.
Must I eat all that cake?

We can use ‘must’ in the present or future, but not the past. Its substitute, ‘have to’ can be used in all forms, but we are going to talk about ‘have to’ next time.

Now that introductions are made, let’s get to know ‘must’ better.

We use ‘must’:

– to express obligation imposed by the speaker. The following general example will help you understand this better.

You must do something. = I (the speaker) say it is necessary.

I must stop smoking.
You must phone her.
We must hurry. It’s late.
He must wear a suit tonight.

– to express necessity

You must have a visa to visit this country.
Students must pass a test to enter this college.
Father must take these pills. He’s sick.
You must fill this form.

– to express certainty

This must be the right address.
This must be the answer to our question.
That must be John. He said he would be here by five.
That must be the royal palace.

Add today’s joke as an example.

We use ‘must not/ mustn’t’:

– to express prohibition

You mustn’t walk on the grass.
Students must not use dictionaries in the exam.
You mustn’t park here.
You must not cross the road on the red light.

________________________________________________

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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 Counterfeiter

September 5, 2007

Contents

1) A Counterfeiter
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Could

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Counterfeiter

A counterfeiter decided that the easiest way to pass off his phony $18 bills would be to unload them in some small rural town, so he drove until he found a tiny town with a single general merchandise store.

He entered the store, went up to the counter, and handed one of the bogus bills to the man behind the counter.

“Could you change this for me, please?”

The store clerk looked at the bill for a few seconds then smiled at the man.

“Of course I can. Would you prefer two $9 bills or three $6 bill?”

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

– A counterfeiter is someone who makes copies, usually for dishonest or illegal purposes.

– To pass something off as something means to pretend that something or someone is a particular thing or person when they are not.

– Phony means not real, false. Bogus has a similar meaning.

– The meaning of ‘to unload’ is to dispose of, to get rid of.

– Merchandise are goods sold and bought.

– You can say a tiny town or a small town.

– A clerk is someone who sells things in a shop.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Could

In our previous lesson, we learnt that ‘could’ is the past form of ‘can’. Today we are going to see that we can also use ‘could’ in a number of other ways. Below I have listed the situations when we use ‘could’.

We use ‘could’:

– to express a general ability in the past

She could ski when she was only three.
I couldn’t see him clearly because of the fog.
He spoke in a very low voice but I could understand what he said.
They could speak three foreign languages.

But when we talk about what happened in a particular situation, on a special occasion, we use ‘was/were able to’.

The police officer chased the thief, but he was able to escape.
The fire spread quickly, but he was able to escape through a window.
The boat overturned, but we were able to swim to the bank.
They left twenty minutes later, but they where able to the airport.

– to express possibility in the present or future. It is similar in meaning to ‘might’.

It could rain later. Take an umbrella.
She could arrive anytime now.
Could he be any happier?
The phone is ringing. It could be Jim.

– to say that something was possible in the past, but it didn’t happen. The pattern is could + have + past participle.

I was so hungry. I could have eaten a horse.
She was really lucky. She could have broken his leg.
The situation was bad but it could have been worse.
Be careful with that stick – it could have gone in my eye!

– to ask permission or to make requests. ‘Could’ is more polite than ‘can’.

Could we leave our bags here?
Could you tell me where the bank is, please?
Could I bother you for a moment?
Could you turn the music down a little?

– to make suggestion and offers

We could go to the cinema.
You could stay with Mary.
You could hire a car for Sunday.

___________________________________________________

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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 Useful Warning!

September 3, 2007

Contents

1) A Useful Warning!
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Can

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Useful Warning!

“When you go diving,” said the Caribbean instructor, “always take a friend with you.

If you run out of air, your friend can help you.

If you forget which way is the surface is – it may sound silly, but it does happen – your friend can help you.

If you have problems with your equipment, your friend can help you.

Most important of all, though, is that if a shark turns up, your chance of survival is 50%, not 0!”

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

– To go diving means to swim under water, usually with breathing equipment.

– If something runs out, all of it has been used or it is completely finished.

– You can say it sounds silly or it seems stupid. They have the same meaning.

– To turn up means to come, to arrive in this context.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Can

Today’s lesson will teach you how to use the modal auxiliary verb ‘can’. ‘Can’ is one of the most commonly used modal verbs in English. It can be used to express ability, to make requests, to ask for or give permission, and to show possibility or impossibility.

Here are the basic properties of ‘Can’:

1. It are always followed by the bare infinitive of the verb (infinitive without ‘to’).

I can ride a horse.
You can cook.

2. It has only two forms can (present) and could (past). So sometimes it is necessary to use ‘be able to’.

I haven’t been able to sleep recently. (‘can’ has no present perfect)
I’ll be able to do that when I feel better. (‘can’ has no future)

3. Negatives are formed by putting ‘not’ immediately after the modal. The negative of ‘can’ is written as one word ‘cannot’, more usually shortened to can’t.

She cannot see you on Wednesday.
I’m afraid I can’t help you.

4. Questions are formed by placing ‘can’ before the subject.

Can I ask a question?
Can you pass me the salt?

When do we use ‘can’?

You already know the answer to this question, but in order to make things clear I suggest we exemplify all the situations when we use ‘can’.

– to talk about ability

She can drive a car.
We can speak German.
I cannot hear you.
Can you see that man?

– to make requests

Can you make a cup of coffee, please?
Can you turn off the lights?
Can you give me lift?
Can you hurry up, please?

– to ask for or give permission. Note that he use of can for permission is informal.

Can I smoke in this room?
Can I make a suggestion?
You can take my dictionary.
You can sit here if you want to.

– to show possibility or impossibility

Learning Chinese can be a real challenge.
You can get rich if you work hard.
She can’t be at home.
He can’t be forty. He looks so young.

___________________________________________________

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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.
_______________________________________________________


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.

___________________________________________________

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.
_______________________________________________________


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.
_______________________________________________________


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.
_______________________________________________________


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.

______________________________________________________

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.
_______________________________________________________