Rowa Douglas

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Relative Clauses

Posted by on April 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)


Relative clauses give us more information about someone or something. We can use relative clauses to combine clauses without repeating information.


Sentence 1: The couple posted a Christmas present to their daughter.

Sentence 2: Their daughter lives in South Africa.

The couple posted a Christmas present to their daughter, who lives in South Africa.

 Using a relative clause means that there is no need to repeat ‘their daughter’.

We can use relative clauses to give focus to something or someone.

 She’s the woman who I was talking about. =  I was talking about the woman.

This is the book which we’re reading at the moment. =   We’re reading this book at the moment.


Types of relative clause:

There are two types of relative clause: one type refers to a noun or noun phrase (these are defining and non-defining relative clauses) and the other type refers to a whole sentence or clause, especially in speaking.

 Defining and non-defining relative clauses

Defining and non-defining relative clauses define or describe the noun (or noun phrase) that comes before them (In the examples, the relative clause is in bold, and the person or thing that is referred to is underlined.):

He’s going to show you the rooms that are available. (that are available defines the rooms; it tells us which rooms)

Steve, 22, who boxed in two Olympics, will be managed by his close friend Colin McFarllan. (who boxed in two Olympics describes Steve; it is extra information about him).



Defining relative clauses

We use defining relative clauses to give essential information about someone or something – information that we need in order to understand what or who is being referred to. A defining relative clause usually comes immediately after the noun it describes.

We usually use a relative pronoun (e.g. who, that, which, whose and whom) to introduce a defining relative clause (In the examples, the relative clause is in bold, and the person or thing being referred to is underlined.):

They’re the people who want to buy our house.

Here are some cells which have been affected.

They should give the money to somebody who they think needs the treatment most.

[talking about an actress]

She’s now playing a woman whose son was killed in the First World War.



Non-defining relative clauses

We use non-defining relative clauses to give extra information about the person or thing. It is not necessary information. We don’t need it to understand who or what is being referred to.

We always use a relative pronoun (who, which, whose or whom) to introduce a non-defining relative clause (In the examples, the relative clause is in bold, and the person or thing being referred to is underlined.)

Clare, who I work with, is doing the London marathon this year.

Not: Clare, I work with, is doing the London marathon this year.

Doctors use the testing kit for regular screening for lung and stomach cancers, which account for 70% of cancers treated in the western world.

Alice, who has worked in Brussels and London ever since leaving Edinburgh, will be starting a teaching course in the autumn.


Regular & Irregular verbs

Posted by on March 2, 2014 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)



The Simple Past Tense

Posted by on March 2, 2014 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Used to express an action that happened in a specific time in the past and finished. It has no longer existence. Ex. I went to theatre yesterday.



(+) Positive statement:    

1) REGULAR VERBS- We add –ed or –d to the base form of the  verb.--    Ex. I worked/ I played

2) IRREGULAR VERBS --  Ex. write -wrote / eat- ate / go- went

                                                                                       S+Past Verb2

                                                                  Ex. I played football yesterday .

(-) NegativeS+did+not+V1(base form)    Ex. I didn’t play football yesterday. (did+not)=didn't

(?) Question/ Interrogative :  Did+S+V1+complement+?   Ex. Did you play football yesterday?




I bought my car last month. (+)

I didn’t buy my car last month. (-)

Did you buy your car last month? (?)

When did you buy your car?

WH + AUX (Did) + S+ V1+ COMP+?


















Pronunciation of -ed

Posted by on July 25, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Making your writing formal .

Posted by on July 24, 2013 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

While communicating with business people, the language you use must be consistently appropriate in style and tone.

The following are the basic features of formal writing.

Write all verbs in full. Do not use contracted forms like don’t or can’t.

Do not use abbreviations such as info (for information) and asap (for as soon as possible).

Limit the use of passive voice. However, there are some situations where passive verb forms are preferred to active forms. For example, active verb forms used with the first person singular are not considered appropriate in formal or academic writing. Write ‘A copy of the document will be mailed to you as soon as possible’ instead of ‘I will mail you a copy of the document asap’.

Watch your vocabulary. Certain words are considered informal. Examples are: fix, begin, start, OK, thanks etc. Avoid them in formal writing. Instead use words like repair (for fix), commence (for start / begin), in order / all right (for OK) and thank you (for thanks).

Avoid informal intensifiers like really and so. Instead use more sophisticated ones such as extremely, highly, entirely etc.

Limit the use of phrasal verbs. As far as possible avoid using them, but if that is not possible limit their use. It is usually possible to express the same idea using standard verb forms.

Certain discourse markers are considered informal. Avoid using them. For example, write incidentally instead of by the way.

Do not leave out words. Ellipsis is not acceptable in formal writing. Write ‘I hope to see you soon’ instead of ‘Hope to see you soon.’


Be on pins and needles/ Idiom

Posted by on July 21, 2013 at 2:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Be on pins and needles/ (US) Idiom

Meaning : To be nervously waiting to find out what is going to happen.

Egg Idioms

Posted by on July 17, 2013 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.(Idiom)

Posted by on July 16, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (3)

This means that you should not criticize other people for bad qualities in their character that you have yourself.


Idioms In English Using Nationalities and Countries/ Thanks for Shanthi Cumaraswamy Streat

Posted by on July 13, 2013 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)


1) It’s all Greek to me – we use this expression when we cannot understand something we read or hear.

“I recently read this book on Metaphysics. Did you understand it, because it was all Greek to me”.


2) Go Dutch – we go Dutch when we go to a restaurant and share the bill.

“Rachel does not like her male companion to offer her dinner. She always prefers to go Dutch”.


3) Chinese Whispers (UK) – this expression is often used as a metaphor for mistakes and inaccurate information which comes from rumours of gossip.

“All this talk about the Prime Minister resigning is just Chinese Whispers. There’s no truth in the rumour”


4) Talk for England – when someone can talk for hours and hours

“I’m so sorry I’m late. I couldn’t get away from Linda. She can talk for England!”


5) Dutch Courage – when you need a little alcohol to give you the courage or confidence to do something.

“I think I’ll have a quick drink for Dutch Courage before I ask that girl to dance with me”.


6) Pardon My French (UK) – we use this expression before or after we have said something rude, for example, a swear word.

” If you’ll pardon my French, but I think you’re stupid!


7) A Mexican Standoff – this expression is often used in a business situation when two sides cannot agree.

” There appears to be a Mexican Standoff as neither party can agree on the terms of the merger”.

8 )Indian Summer (UK) – a period in late autumn when the weather is unusually warm

“Much as I love this Indian Summer, I wish we had this warm weather in the summer rather than in October”.


9) Slow Boat to China – we use this expression to describe something that is very slow and takes a long time. It comes from an American song.

“Waiting for the architects to produce their plans was like taking the slow boat to China”.

10) Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians – this is often used to describe a company where there are too many managers and not enough people doing the actual work.

“The trouble with that company is that there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians”.