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Thursday, 08 February 2007

Catching Up

Dear Lemlem

Hello! Nice to catch up with you! You sound incredibly busy, so I appreciate the time you took out to send in your blog. Your job must be very demanding: do you travel around the whole of Ethiopia? How many people are on your project team? Can you tell us a little more about the HIV prevention programme itself? Do you use English in your work, by any chance?

I see that you have used “blog” as a noun and a verb in your opening sentence, but unfortunately you have mixed up the middle letters. I think this may just be a typing error though. I found out the other day on the BBC Learning English site that “blog” is made from the words “web” and “log”. Web, of course, means the world wide web, and log means record or diary. So the two words merged into one. Despite being so busy, you have used some really great vocabulary: up-to-standard services, non-governmental organisations, technical capacity assessment: wow! (Notice the hyphens - - - I have added). Did you know that non-governmental organisations are also known as NGOs? I think you must type very quickly, as some of your sentences are very l-o-n-g, almost like elastic! (Your opening sentence, for example). In your next entry, focus on writing one main idea in each sentence. Next week, we will look at linking your sentences together logically in a paragraph.

Congratulations to everyone who sent in the full version of the sentence from “Ellipsis”!!! Give yourself full-marks if you had something like this:

I’m still teaching international students, who mainly come from Asia and Europe
I’m still teaching international students, who are mainly from Asia and Europe

I should have know this question was too easy for you, afterall, you are all veterans, and I'm the new one! So what’s going on? Are we allowed to write a sentence like my original one I’m still teaching international students, mainly from Asia and Europe? The answer to this question, is of course, “yes” as many of you may already know. I can see that some of you checked your dictionaries to look up ellipsis! Ellipsis refers to words which are omitted from a sentence. So you see, words can go missing in grammar as well as in cyberspace! However, with grammatical ellipsis, you can understand the meaning of the sentence because of the context (the rest of the information included in the sentence). I wish it were as easy in cyberspace!

We often use ellipsis in conversation (a) because we are lazy, and we can use fewer words, and (b) because the pace of the conversation would be slow and tedious if we included every single word. So what about ellipsis in writing? Well, ellipsis is featured in professional and academic writing, and it makes your writing style punchy and sophisticated.

In this entry, I have marked ten verbs in bold. Can you tell me (i) the name for this group of verbs and (ii) why we use them? Send in your comments to the site, answers tomorrow!

Best wishes

I hope your son is feeling better, now Hyoshil. By the way, he banged his mouth not his mouse!


catch up with someone (phrase)
To have news from someone about their life, person-to-person, or by phone, e mail or text!

up-to-standard services (noun)
This means services that are of a certain quality, or services that meet specific regulations.

non-governmental organisations (noun)
These organisations may be charities or community based projects run by volunteers. NGOs are run independently of governments.

technical capacity assessment (noun)
Perhaps Lemlem can correct me if I am wrong! As I understand this noun, it means an audit or check of the technical resources available.

ellipsis (noun)
This word is used to describe words that have been omitted from a sentence. The sentence still has meaning, and other people can understand it.

cyberspace (noun)
The world wide web, the internet.

context (noun)
Background information that we use to understand something.

tedious (adjective)
Boring, irritating, drawn-out.

punchy (adjective)
Using a style that is sharp, effective and interesting.

sophisticated (adjective)
Clever and stylish.


Hi Samantha! Thank you for the explaination of your quizze. It was very instructived. Many thanks for a new vocabulary too. In aswer to your question, the verbs what you are asking for, are of course modal verbs. We use them to emphasis our emotions and feelings. I hope I am right. Best wishes !!!

Hi samanatha, Can, may, should, must are all modal verbs. We used them before other verbs to express certain meanings

I think the name for this group of verbs should be Auxiliary Verbs,in the further,should be modal auxiliary ,We use the auxiliary to make negatives, questions and short answers. and we use the modal auxiliary to express necessity, obligation, or possibility. I dont know whether I'm right,I am looking foward your comments. I even don't know whether my comments will appear on the website,because my comments are always missing.

Hi,Samantha Oops and ho ho ho!! You should have seen see my red face when I was reading and found your correction of my misspelled word 'mouth' not 'mouse' Millions thank you and I won't forget the word forever and ever.May I answer your questions? Here you are, They are called modal auxiliary or modal verbs.The reason of using these verbs is to express ideas such as possibility,advice,suggestions and so on...and this is my answer for you.Hope not mess up a lot! be true(must) 2.reguestion(can) 3.possibility(may) 4.very likely to have happened(must) 5.expected thing(should) polite express(may) 7.possibility(can) 8.ability(can) 9.allowed(can) 10.requestion(can) P.S:He is fine and actually he went to the school around lunchtime.He really really wanted to have a lunch with his best frieds.What a boy! Have a fabulous day

Hi Samantha, I like your blog very much. You always give us a chance to think and work on our English. I won't try to answer the question in your latest blog, about the verbs, because I agree with all the friends who have already answered it. I hope they are right, because then, I will be as well. Weather here in Brazil is very hot as we are in the summer season. Today the sun is shinning very hard, but we've had some very rainy days recently which caused us some trouble. By the way did the predicted snowstorm you mentioned in the last blog really came? Best wishes.

Hi! It is nice to greet you here. I am still down with weak hand and leg. I hope for others get all the best! I see they learned hard allready. I ´ll take your stories to read them but now. I´ve read blogs day by day so long and miss them these days. It became my very delight to spend with learning English most of time. I hope to go ahead with your help!

Hello Samantha, You are doing great, thanks for the questions and the new expressions and words. Regarding your question, the names of these verbs are model auxiliaries and they are used to indicate possibility, suggestions, ability, permission, polite questions, expressing necessity, expressing lack of necessity, prohibition, making logical conclusions, giving instructions, stating preferences. I study that, I hope I didn’t miss one! And I hope this time I did it right, unlike that first question. Bye…

Hello, I don't understand the reason why ellipsis featuring in academic writing can really be considered as sophisticated. I mean, may I write "I should have know(n?) this question was too easy for you ?" in academic writing ? Won't it be seen as too informal, or even too lazy in such cases ? Regards

Dear Smantha, I would like to say that reading your remarks, advices and explanations is so pleasant! Mostly because of your narration style, and inevitably your teacher experiences. I am comletly new in this web and I am sure I will peep here often. I do not ansver your question - previous bloggers did it; and to be quite honest I am not exactly sure... (grammtic is not my strong point). I wish you good time, and I am looking forward your next entry!

Luckly, the blog ellipsis in our cyberspace has been solved! I assume by this that you are now in full command of the ropes! My goodness, I'm becoming hooked on this blogging business.It's so nice to be able to practice my English interactively.I agree with you using ellipsis makes our speech sound punchy. However, I feel that my English is so bookish that I inevitably sound tedious. I wish I had the chance of living abroad at least for 6 months. Well, now back to the nitty-gritty, my answer to your questions are: These verbs are called modal verbs. The exist to add flexibility to your speech. Through them you insert many different elements to your speech such as probability and possibility(may, might,can, could), certainty(must, can't), advice(should),suggestion(should) , request( may, can ), regret(should have), and so forth.I've noticed that you use them very often,much more than we do here in Brazil, that's why you sound more flexible and polite. I may be wrong but that's the impression I get. Cheerio, Monica

Dear Samantha, many thanks for your interesting entries.They're clear, simple and therefore highly understandable. The modal verbs posted in your blog have been invented and being used to express ability, possibility, permission etc as well as cause problems for international students in exams for they always remember not to use "to" with those verbs after having the test page turned in and never before, which is a pity. All the best!

Dear Samanthan, How are you and you loveones today? Are you enjoying the bitterly cold weather? Now, let me come to today's lesson. The words can ,must,may and should are called modal auxillary words. 1.(can)Request 2.(may)possibility 3.(must)certainly4.(should)expressing regret 5.(may)possibility 6.(can)probability 7.(can) ability 8.(can)possibility 9.(last can)request.Sorry, I missed one. Thank you Samantha for your degree verbs and modal auxillary verbs and its aspects.I like your teaching style which motivate us to learn more and clear. Thanks for that. Have a good weekend. I can't wait to see your next blog.What is your weekend plan? Mine is I have to make a dress for my daughter to a music concert. I don't think that I can finish that project by monday.Kind regards

Hello Samantha! Thanks for your explanation about Ellipsis. Now it is clear to me. The verbs may, must, can, should are modal verbs.They are used to express modality, and make our speech more polite. I´m think that is. I´m waiting eagerly for your explanation. Regards. PS- I can´t see your picture yeat. I don´t know how you look like.What a pity! One of the students wrote in his comment that you have a kind face. I hope there isn´t anything wrong with my computer.

thanks for your programes

i am really intersted in catching up and i've found some vocabulary which i see for my first time and this program can really help the english learners since it reflects to real context of life that most of the people are living

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

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