Work, work, and more work.
Hi James, and everyone else,
This is just a quick message to say hello, and sorry I’ve been so quiet for the last couple of days. This weekend is what we call a ‘bank holiday weekend’ in Britain, which means that on Monday the banks, and quite a lot of other shops, are closed (although the shopping never stops on Oxford Street, of course).
Many of my friends have taken the opportunity to get out of London for a couple of days. Not me, though – I have to move out of my house next week, so I’ve been spending the weekend packing up my belongings and lugging boxes around. Unfortunately, I’m going to be homeless for a while, as I haven’t found a place to rent yet. Accommodation in London is horribly expensive, and I’m just a poor teacher (please imagine sad violin music in the background as you read this), so it’s difficult to find a decent place to live. Fortunately, I have a very generous friend called Lottie, who has offered to let me stay in her spare room until I find a place of my own, so at least I won’t be sleeping on the streets!
Of course, I’m glad to see that you’re working hard too, James I’d like to have a look at your four example sentences in detail:
1) (The present perfect simple): I have been a good student since I was little. (We don’t know when it happened.)
This is a very good sentence – well done. However, you commented that ‘we don’t know when it happened’. I’d like to ask a question – are you a good student now? Yes, of course you are! So this sentence describes something which started in the past but isn’t finished yet. It also uses ‘since’. In this situation we normally use the present perfect continuous. However, we normally don’t use the present perfect continuous with the verb ‘to be’ – we use the present perfect simple, exactly as you did.
2) (The present perfect simple): I have tripped many countries (we don’t know when it happened.)
Again, you’ve chosen exactly the right grammar here. However, there is a vocabulary problem here. If we’re talking about travel and journeys, we can use the word ‘trip’ as a noun, but not as a verb. ‘To travel’ would be a good verb to use here, so we need to change ‘I have tripped’ to ‘I have travelled’. Also, we need the preposition ‘to’ after the verb, so the sentence should be like this:
‘I have travelled to many countries.’
Let’s look at the next one:
3) (The present perfect continuous): I have been knowing Junior Bush since he was a president of American, but he has not been knowing me. (It is still happening)
Remember what I said last time, about ‘state verbs’? These are verbs which we normally don’t use in the continuous form. ‘To know’ is a state verb, so in this case we wouldn’t choose the present perfect continuous, we’d choose the present perfect simple instead, like this:
‘I have known Bush since he became president of America…’
Note that we also need to use the verb ‘to become’ here, because ‘becoming the president of America’ is finished.
And finally, on to the last one.
4) (The present perfect continuous): I have been eating 3 meals a day. (It is still happening)
This is another good sentence. When we use the present perfect continuous, we very often use ‘for’ or ‘since’ in the same sentence, to show the period of time we’re talking about. So, a very natural sentence would be something like this:
‘I have been eating 3 meals a day since I was a child’.
However, we don’t always follow this rule, and I can certainly imagine situations in which your sentence would sound natural and appropriate.
I’m going to give you some formal homework today, James – but don’t worry, it’s only a very small amount of homework (and other readers are welcome to have a crack at it too). On Sunday you wrote this sentence, James:
‘I have to practice to expand many sentences.’
After the verb ‘to practice’ we use the –ing form, so the correct sentence is this:
‘I have to practice expanding many sentences.’
Also, you wrote,
‘As my dictionary, a celebrity is someone who…’
In this case, you need to use the phrase, ‘according to’, like this:
‘According to my dictionary, a celebrity is someone who…’
This means, ‘my dictionary says that…’. We can also use ‘according to’ with a person’s name – for example,
‘According to James, the 28th of September is Teachers’ Day.’
This means, ‘James says that the 28th of September is Teachers’ Day’.
Your homework is to write two more example sentences for me, on different subjects. One sentence should include the verb ‘to practice’ with the –ing form, and the other sentence should include ‘according to…’.
By the way, I’m very curious about Teachers’ Day. What happens on Teachers’ Day? Is it celebrated in any special way? We don’t have anything like that in Britain, I’m sad to say.
Well, I’d better say goodbye and go and pack some more boxes. Enjoy your homework, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from you soon.
All the best,
A little more vocabulary:
Your belongings are your possessions; the things that you own.
‘To lug’ is an informal British word meaning ‘to carry’.
If something is appropriate, it is good in this particular situation. It means almost the same as ‘suitable’, which I discussed in my blog the other day.
Finally, another British slang phrase: ‘to have a crack at something’ means ‘to try to do something’.
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