I hope you have a good day tomorrow Antonio. How will you pass the time before the match starts???
Your three-hour train delay sounds frustrating. Is it worth complaining to Ferrovie dello Stato? Are they likely to apologise? Could you get a refund on your ticket?
I went to Harrogate today, a market town about half an hour by train from York, to do some IELTS speaking tests. My mum looked after the children, and took them to the park to play football and cricket with some of their school friends. When I got home we watched ‘Dr Who’; a BBC TV science fiction drama series and our favourite TV programme at the moment. Unfortunately, it was the last episode in this series and we have to wait until Christmas for the next episode….
BBCTV Dr Who: Final Episode - Doomsday
I’ve got a couple of language points to make and then will list some of the points made in earlier posts this week. I don’t know whether it will be a useful reminder for any readers or not, we’ll see!
Going back to Ferrione dello Stato… you say that the delay was unacceptable, and that the company should be ashamed of their service. Instead of, ‘That’s simply ashamed!’, you could say, ‘They (FDS) should be ashamed!’. ‘Shame’ (uncountable noun) is a strong word that means feeling very, very bad because of immoral behaviour, inability or failure. You can tell FDS that they should feel bad by saying ‘Shame on you FDS!’. You can also use ‘shame’ as a verb, following it with an object and either ‘into’ or ‘out of’; for example, ‘We tried to shame FDS into refunding Antonio’s ticket’.
Now, ‘ashamed’ (adjective) means feeling shame or guilt, or feeling stupid and uncomfortable about something you have done. ‘Ashamed’ can be followed by ‘of’, ‘that’ or ‘to + verb’ (for example, ‘FDS should be ashamed of their customer service’).
OK….I think we’ve said enough about FDS now!!
One more small point, ‘we all look forward to the World Cup Final’, would be better expressed as, ‘we are all looking forward…’ Using the continuous aspect, not the simple, makes it clear that ‘look forward’ is a temporary action. Tomorrow the time for ‘looking forward’ will be over!!
Now I’ll list some of the other language points that have came up in the blog this week.
Simple and continuous aspect
In general, the differences between the continuous and simple aspects are:
continuous = used to talk about a repeated or temporary or continuous/extended action. Also, actions that continued up to a moment in the past we are thinking about, or until shortly before.
simple = used to talk about a single or permanent or completed action.
(NB: some verbs are not normally used in the continuous, for example 'know'.)
The difference in meaning between a past perfect continuous verb and one in the past perfect simple is often very small. Both forms are often possible in the same situation, with only a slight difference in emphasis.
Past perfect verb forms
When describing two things that happen in the past, one before the other, you can use the 'past perfect' verb form for the earlier action. For example, 'I realised I hadn't eaten anything...' (had + third form of the verb/past participle). The past perfect is common in English after past verbs of saying or thinking, for example:
- I thought I had seen the film before
- He told me that the exam had finished
- I wondered who had forgotten to tell her
In these examples, we are describing things which happen BEFORE the thinking or saying takes place.
Vocabulary – compound nouns
The verb is just 'kick off' (without the hyphen joining the two parts of the noun). My dictionary spells the noun as a single word 'kickoff', but I notice the BBC Sport website uses the same spelling as you, 'kick-off'. Other compound nouns on the website with 'kick' are 'free-kick' and 'goal-kick'. In fact, hyphens are becoming less used in English and for most compound nouns, except very common ones like 'bathroom', it's OK to separate the words, as in 'kick off'. It's an area of confusion for English people though!
Vocabulary – gradable and extreme adjectives
'Ridiculous' is an adjective like 'astounded', astonished' and is different from an adjective like 'surprised'. You can be more or less surprised, like you can be more or less 'old' or 'hot' and these words can be modified with 'very': very surprised, very old, very hot. These adjectives are known as 'gradable' adjectives.
In contrast, 'ridiculous', 'astonished', astounded, ancient (very old) and boiling (very hot) are not gradable. They are all examples of extreme adjectives; they already mean 'very........'. To modify extreme adjectives, you need 'absolutely', 'utterly', 'extremely' etc. Unfortunately, some of these are fixed phrases, so 'extremely ancient' sounds OK, but 'utterly ancient' sounds wrong. A good dictionary will show which combinations of adjective and modifier are OK.
Some verbs are 'gradable' too. Instead of saying 'I absolutely don't like it...', try 'I really don't like it...' Other gradable verbs include: dislike, enjoy, want, annoy and 'I really (don't) verb' can also be used with these.
If you have read this far, then it is probably time for the World Cup Final kick-off!! I look forward to reading your reaction to the match on Monday….
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