Hope the conference is going well and that you’ve managed to get your robot finished!
As I promised yesterday, I’m going to answer your questions – Owen is having a snooze (there’s no way I can use the computer when he’s awake as he takes over to go on the Thomas the Tank Engine website …) and I’ve set myself up like a true Pom with a cup of tea and a biscuit, so I’m ready to go!
* Is it October 2 or 2nd October or October 2nd?
You can actually use all three – 2nd October is British (and Aussie) English, whereas the Americans tend to say October 2nd. (Make sure you use a capital O for October.)
* Is everything okay with the sentence "It was my third day of waiting"?
Grammatically the sentence is OK, and I can understand what you mean. However, a more natural way to put it would be something like: I had been waiting for three days, or It was the third day I had been waiting.
* What's the difference between everybody and everyone? Any rules?
They’re both the same – just like somebody/someone, anybody/anyone.
It’s good that you used a singular verb, as that’s how the grammar works:
Everybody was watching them curiously.
If you’re using everyone / everybody with a possessive, it’s more formal to use a singular pronoun, and less formal to use a plural pronoun –
Has everyone finished his or her dinner? (more formal)
Has everyone finished their dinner? (less formal)
When everyone had finished eating, the waiters took their plates away.
( it needs to be plural here - you can't say his or her plates)
* I guess I really had problems using perfect tenses (present, past)... can I use 'had' there?
This was your sentence:
Everybody was watching them curiously. They had entered into the Manager's Chamber and placed all the flowers on his table.
I don’t think you need to use the past perfect, as you’re describing events that happened at pretty much the same time – they entered the room and put flowers on the table. You only really need to use past perfect to make it clear which event happened first.
* Where should I use "could" and "can"?? What's the difference between these two sentences:
I could not get that
I cannot get that
In the context you’re using it, the only difference is between the past (the first sentence) and the present (second sentence) to talk about your ability to do the homework. As I’m sure you know, could has several uses in English, which I’m happy to discuss with you if you’d like (just let me know!).
I am going to be a bit picky about the whole sentence, though – hope that’s OK!
You wrote: sorry for I could not allot much time to your homework.I just want to have a look at the way we use “sorry” – you could rewrite that sentence in a few different ways:
1. Sorry I could not allot much time to your homework. (without for)
2. Sorry that I could not allot much time to your homework.
3. Sorry for not being able to allot much time to your homework.
If you use for, you need to follow it with a noun or a gerund (-ing form).
I also wanted to comment on your blog entry about your journey to Chennai – your use of tenses was very accurate, so well done!
Satya, it’s great that you’re able to cast a critical eye over your writing and pick up on things that you’re not sure about – that’s definitely a good way to improve your English because it means you’re getting the feedback you need, so please keep asking questions and I’ll do my best to answer them for you! (To those of you who had a go at answering Satya’s questions, that’s fantastic!) I also wanted to say as well that if you’d prefer me to give feedback in a different way, just let me know – this is your month!
For everyone (everybody!) else who’s reading this, thank you so much for your comments and questions – as I said last night, I’ll get round to answering you all individually next week, so watch this space! And please keep up with the comments; I’m really enjoying hearing from you all.
Here’s some vocab from today’s post, and also some great expressions that Satya used in his first few posts (I’ve included the sentences that Satya used so you can see the context) …
watch this space! (informal expr)
get round to (phr vb)
keep up with (phr vb)
pick up on (phr vb)
cast a critical eye over (expr)
to be a bit picky (expr)
set myself up (phr vb)
takes over (phr vb)
snooze (vb/ /n)
(What a lot of phrasal verbs! Sorry!)
Here are Satya's ...
So, we have ample time to complete our robot.
Sorry I could not allot much time to your homework.
Please take pains to correct my language.
And seeing as this is a very language-heavy post, I was wondering how you all record the new vocab that you come across? It would be great if we could share ideas about recording vocab – I think that could be really helpful. Cambridge has a great website where you can check words online using the different dictionaries that they publish – Advanced, Phrasal Verbs, even American English! Here's the link for you:
Anyway, with his usual good sense of timing, my boy is waking up so I’d better go before he realises I’m on the computer! Next time I’ll tell you how we spent our public holiday on Monday – if you’re really lucky I might even publish some more photos!! (I’m working all day Saturday, so I’ll catch up with you all after that).
Satya, I’m looking forward to hearing all about your experiences in Chennai! Have a great weekend everyone!
Bye for now,
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