wtorek, 1 maja 2012

Relax and Relaxation

Here's another example of confusion between parts of speech--in this case, the verb to relax and the noun relaxation (uncountable).

Polish students often say that something--a vacation, a day in the pool--is a wonderful relax.  However, we cannot use relax as a noun in English.  We need the noun form: relaxation.  Still, we cannot say that something is a wonderful relaxation, because the noun is uncountable and thus a relaxation is incorrect. Normally, then, we say something is a wonderful form of relaxation.

To relax is a regular verb.  We say I relax, you relax, she/he/it relaxes, adding an extra syllable for the -es ending.  The other forms are relaxing and relaxed (the -ed ending is NOT pronounced as a separate syllable).  We can also use relaxed as an adjective.

Here are some examples of sentences we might use:

You work too hard.  You need to relax more.
He has a very relaxed way of teaching, so nobody gets too stressed.
For me, reading is the best form of relaxation.
John?  He's relaxing out in the yard.

This is probably a good place to point out that many nouns end in -ation, such as relaxation, examination, demonstration, etc.  In many cases, these nouns are associated with verbs that end in -ate, such as demonstrate (demonstration) and calculate (calculation).  However, there are also many of these nouns associated with verbs that do NOT end in -ate.  One example is relax/relaxation.  Here are a few others:

perspire/perspiration
organise/organisation