Hi Satya and everyone!
Hope you all had a great weekend, and thanks for all your stories of your school sports days – I really enjoyed reading them! Ana Paula, your description of the Brazilian version of the greasy pole was great; have you ever tried to do it?
I thought, since we’re on the subject of sport, I would continue talking about it today and tell you about the only time I’ve really had culture shock here in Oz. I’d only been here a few months, and Chris decided to introduce me to the wonderful world of rugby league by taking me to a live match between his team, the Cronulla Sharks, and their local rivals St George. Previous to this, I had only been to one other live sporting event before, which was a 1st division football match in England between – I can’t even remember! It must have been Sheffield United (because we saw it at their home ground) – but I can’t for the life of me think who the other team were!
Anyway, let me tell you about what happens at the football in England (maybe I should say “used to happen” because the time when I went was about 10 years ago!) and then you’ll see why the rugby here made such an impression on me. Firstly, tickets to the football in the UK are quite expensive and can be hard to come by. As football is played in the winter months, it’s absolutely freezing, usually rainy, so you have to wear several layers of warm clothing, and take a flask of tea or soup or something to keep you warm. English football fans are very vocal during the match – they sing, chant and yell at the opposing team, so the noise in the stadium is tremendous. To try and prevent violence, the stadiums are divided into areas for home team fans and areas for away team fans, and the entrances to these areas are separate. For the same reason, there is often a very large amount of police on patrol both inside and outside. You can’t buy alcohol at the stadium, and you can’t take any in with you – if you want a drink before or after the match, there are designated pubs for away fans where they can drink without any trouble from the home fans. I hope I haven't made it sound too negative, as I really enjoyed myself despite the cold – being surrounded by people who were passionate about one thing (their team winning) was really exhilarating.
So, with this as my only experience of live sport, we set off on the train down to Cronulla (it’s about an hour by train from the city centre). The train was full of fans from both sides, but they mainly kept to themselves and there was no trouble (I can’t even remember any police on the train). We had no problems getting tickets at the door, and (this was the most surprising part), supporters of both teams sat together! Next to each other, even! There was even a family area for people with children, who were sitting, watching the game and having picnics. Apart from one side of the stadium, which had designated seating, you could sit where you liked, or stand on the side. And they were selling beer! At a bar! Amazing! Oh, and the other thing – even though it was winter, it was sunny, blue skies, and lovely weather – no rain or sleet or biting wind in sight! What I really remember is how good natured it all was – some people were sledging the other team, but no-one got really wound up about it. Aussies tend not to sing and chant at sports matches, so compared to England it was very quiet.
So there you go – a Pom’s culture shock Down Under!
Right, let’s talk about gerunds and infinitives! (If anyone is really unenthusiastic about this, please feel free to stop reading now!)
As I mentioned last time, gerunds are the –ing form of the verb, and infinitives are the base form, and can be used with or without “to”.
Gerunds look like verbs, but they are actually nouns, which means they can be used:
• as the subject of a sentence:
Cooking is a really good way to relax
• as the object of a sentence:
I really like cooking
• after a preposition:
I’m good at cooking
Now, here’s the tricky bit: some verbs in English are followed by a gerund, and some by an infinitive, and, mostly, you just have to learn it. (Isn’t English horrible? Sorry!!)
If we have a look at the gerunds and infinitives I used last time and today, we might be able to sort them out a bit … I really recommend that you take some time to make a note of the headings below in your notebooks, and then every time you come across an example you can write it in.
So, let’s have a look at these examples from my last couple of posts and see which heading they fit under … I’ll do the first three with you, and then you can try the rest on your own and see how you do.
OK: number 1 - inspire me to start. Inspire is the verb, me is the object, and to start is an infinitive. So, inspire fits into pattern two: verb + object + infinitive.
Number 2 – can’t wait to hear. Can’t wait is the verb, and to hear is an infinitive. There’s no object in this example, so can’t wait fits into pattern one: verb + infinitive.
Number 3 – start writing. Start is the verb, and writing is a gerund, so start fits into pattern three – verb + gerund.
These verbs are followed by an infinitive:
These verbs are followed by an object + infinitive:
These verbs are followed by a gerund:
1. inspire me to start
2. can’t wait to hear
3. start writing
4. manage to pull
5. would really love to know
6. keep stopping
7. attempt to explain
8. love playing and watching cricket
9. tend to go
10. get Chris to read
11. enjoy reading
12. continue talking
13. decide to introduce
OK so far? I hope so! Here are a couple more things that might help you:
Look at these examples.
What part of speech are the highlighted words? Can you complete the pattern?
hard to come by
interesting to walk through
proud to be a Pom
………………… are followed by an infinitive
Do the same for these examples:
felt terrible about bombarding
thanks to Chris for reading
………………… are followed by a gerund
And one other thing – verbs that talk about how we feel (love, hate, enjoy etc) are usually followed by ………………………
And now for the nasty bit – some verbs can be followed by an infinitive or a gerund, and the meaning doesn’t change (start is one of these verbs). However, in some cases (not many, fortunately!) the meaning does change depending on whether we use a gerund or an infinitive. I won’t go into that today, as I think that’s probably enough grammar for now, but let me know if you’d like to look at those as well and we can do it some other time.
Well, once again I've stayed up too late, so I'll say goodnight for now!
Catch you all soon,
to sledge (vb – slang)
to be / get wound up (expr)
good natured (adj)
to come by (phr vb)
biting wind (collocation)
Down Under (n)
live (adj) (watch your pronunciation of this one – it rhymes with five, not with give)
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.