środa, 16 października 2013

And here's another thing ...

Here's another determiner to watch out for, because we use different forms depending on whether it goes with a countable singular noun, on one hand, or an uncountable or countable plural noun on the other.

This determiner is ... well, in singular form, it's the second word in the first paragraph.  Another. 

When used with an uncountable or plural noun, it's other.

Another is actually an other, put together to form one word.  Since we can only use an (which basically means one) with singular countable nouns, we can only use another with the same group.

I'll have another glass of beer.

She's not talking about The Sun Also Rises.  She's talking about another book.

The problem usually appears when we use an uncountable or plural noun, in which case the word is not another, but other.

We need to find other sources for our raw materials.

Laura is relying on other information.

Let's try some other restaurants next month.

Note that for plurals, and sometimes for uncountables, we can use some other instead of just other alone.  We can also use a few other, several other, etc.

Next time, we'll look at the difference between other and different.

wtorek, 15 października 2013

These and Those

Generally, English, unlike other languages, does not change its adjectives to match singular or plural forms.

a good book
good books
a delicious meal
several delicious meals

Note how good, delicious, etc. are the same for singular and plural nouns.

However, there is a class of words called determiners which are similar in some ways to adjectives.  Some of these do change.  Here's an important example, which in my experience many Polish student of English are unaware of.

I like this book.    I like these books.

I don't know that man.   I don't know those men.

The plural form of this is these.  The word these rhymes with sneeze and please. 

We use this with countable singular and uncountable nouns, such as this money, this tree, this information, this milk, this television set, this stupid reality show.

We use these with countable plural nouns, such as these trees, these bananas, these crazy students, these days, these films, these drunken football hooligans, etc.

The rule is similar with that and those.  The word those rhymes with froze and chose.

I'm in love with that girl.   I'm in love with those girls.

I can't stand that idiot.   I can't stand those idiots.

Notice that we use this and these to identify things which are nearby, or are under consideration at the moment, while we use that and those to identify things which are more distant, or which we have already discussed and rejected, or which we view unfavourably.

I think you should take this one (here) and leave that one (there).

We shouldn't waste any more time on that solution.  This one is much more logical.

poniedziałek, 14 października 2013

It's October

While we're at it [an English way to say, przy okazji], the same principle we wrote about in the last blog entry applies to time expressions like days, months, or years.  We don't say,

We have October


It's October.

It's Monday.

It's 2013.

It's autumn.

And remember--the same applies when we're talking about our age, height, or weight:

I'm thirty-eight (years old), NOT I have thirty-eight (years)

I'm 194 cm [tall].   I'm 88 kilos  OR  I weigh 88 kilos.