niedziela, 11 marca 2012

True vs The Truth

Now that we know the difference between a verb, a noun, an adjective, etc., let's take a look at a confusing issue.

We have two words in English that students often confuse.  One is truth and the other is true.

Using them correctly is fairly easy once we realise that truth is a noun (which can be countable or uncountable) and true is an adjective.

In other words, something can be true (or its opposite, false) just as something can be black or white, large or small, beautiful or ugly.

Is the story about John true? 

But we don't always use the adjective true.  Sometimes we use the noun truth, as in the following examples:

Tell the truth.  (Whatever you say should be true.)

I'm looking for the truth.  (I want to find out what is true in this situation.)

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?  (This is used in courts of law in the U.S.  When the court "swears in" a witness, it wants that witness to talk about the incident in question--to say what is true, to leave nothing out, and not to add any false statements.)

We cannot say, Tell me the true, or This is a truth story, because we would be mixing up the functions of a noun and an adjective.

poniedziałek, 5 marca 2012

Nouns, Verbs, etc.

Before we go any further, it might be a good idea to look at some of the technical terms we use when talking about English grammar.  Take a look at the glossary below.  The English word is on the left, the Polish equivalent on the right.

noun                  rzeczownik
verb                   czasownik
determiner       zaimek wskazujący
conjunction     spójnik
pronoun           zaimek
adjective          przymiotnik
adverb              przysłówek
preposition      przyimek
article               przedimek

You don't have to know these words--either in English or in Polish--to use English correctly.  But if you need help using English, it's sometimes a lot easier to use these words than to give 1,000 examples.  We'll be using these expressions in future posts.