- He took his hat off
- He took off his hat
Saturday, May 4, 2013
As you know, there are many phrasal verbs which can take a direct object, and where that direct object can come between the verb and the particle or after the particle. These are often known as seperable phrasal verbs:
We know that if the direct object is a pronoun we need to separate, but what about if it's a noun. Do native speakers usually separate or not? We'll look at some possible reasons for separating after the exercise.
So I thought I'd do a little experiment and see what Google came up with: how are separable phrasal verbs being used on the web? What I want you to do is decide which of each pair you think is more natural, and then we'll compare the results with the relative numbers of Google hits. All the sentences are grammatically possible, so there aren't really any wrong answers. Just compare your answers with what happens on the Internet.
Friday, May 3, 2013
I was recently doing some material in class on phrasal verbs. We were using a CAE course book, which told the students they needed to know whether a phrasal verb is transitive or intransitive (does it take an object or not). And if it's transitive, they should know whether it's separable or inseparable.
Personally I'm not so convinced students need to know the grammatical properties of each phrasal verb so much as seeing them in context and getting practice in using them. But that's another story.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
King's College, Cambridge - photo by Andrew Dunn at Wikmedia Commons
Complete the word families from the word given. Based loosely on the Academic Word List (AWL), these exercises will give you some practice in word formation.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
King's College, Cambridge - photo by Andrew Dunn at Wikimedia Commons
This post helps you find collocations and examples in context of the most common so-called academic words, based on The Academic Word List (see below). You can:
- look up the words in a selection of dictionaries
- look for collocations and real life example sentences with Just the Word
- look for real life examples on a variety of websites using Google Site Search.
But I'm not interested in academic English!
These words don't only appear in academic texts. They are more generally used in 'educated' English, and so appear frequently in newspaper and magazine articles, etc, and in TV news and documentary broadcasts. They are therefore useful for any advanced students wishing to increase their vocabulary, and especially useful if they are considering doing any advanced exams.
Friday, April 19, 2013
You are all no doubt aware of the double linking device - On the one hand ... on the other (hand) ... used to contrast two ideas, for example:
On the one hand we could try that new restaurant on Park Street. On the other, we could just stay at home and order a pizza.
But can we use just on the other hand without the introductory On the one hand? Can we say:
We could try that new restaurant on Park Street. On the other hand we could just stay at home and order a pizza.
I asked some of my students this question the other day. How do you think they answered? How would you answer?
There are a few phrasal verbs that take an object where that object must go between the verb and the particle, and not after the particle. The idea of this post is to try and list all of these, or at least as many as I know about.
I've taken the verbs from various sources, but mainly from English Phrasal Verbs in Use, published by Cambridge University Press. There are some verbs where not everybody agrees that they must be separated; these I've marked with ???. For example, English Phrasal Verbs in Use has ask out sb or ask sb out, where some websites have it as only being separated.
Clicking on most verbs will take you to a definition at the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
If you know of any I've missed, please let me know in the comments.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Oxford Dictionaries Online define homophones as "each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling". But in these exercises, we are only interested in when two (or more) words sound the same but are written differently and have different meanings. Remember that some spellings, such as read, bow can have more than one pronunciation.
Try these two exercises, the first based on a bank of over 300 homophones.