Idiomatic expressions – Ground

Written by Nigina Dustova

Meanings
The ground is one of the most basic things we know. It is not surprising then if ground rules are basic rules. In a similar way, if you have a good grounding in a subject, you know the basics.
Hundreds of years ago, everyone had to hunt animals to stay alive. If you wanted to know if there were any large animals around, you put your ear to the ground and listened. Today if you keep your ear to the ground you are trying to be aware of any ideas or rumors which are around.
Flying is a more modern idea. A plane literally gets off the ground. This can be applied to a new project in business.

Examples:

1. Paul’s good with people; he’s patient; he’s organized. Personally, I think social
work will suit him down to the ground.
2. Another boring meeting! They’re a waste of time. We always cover the same old ground.
3. I knew I hadn’t stolen anything in the shop, so I just stood my ground and eventually they believed me. They had mixed me up with someone else!
4. The best advice my grandmother ever gave me was to keep my feet on the ground even if my head was in the clouds!

Exercises: Use these idiomatic expressions in the sentences below:
a. ground rules
b. on dangerous ground
c. a bit thin on the ground
d. keep your ear to the ground
e. a good grounding
1. – Excuse me, I’m thinking of changing my PC for an Apple Mac. Have you got any
second-hand ones?
Sorry, we haven’t. Second-hand Macs are __________ at the moment.

2. – We’ve got to do something to reduce our costs.
– Well, if you start talking about cutting staff, you’re ___________.

3. – Thanks for letting me stay with you. You’re doing me a big favor.
– That’s OK, but there are one or two ___________ : no smoking, shoes off at the front door and everyone does their own washing up.

4. – You’re doing a computer course, aren’t you?
– Yes, it’s nothing special but it gives you __________ in the basics.

5. You want to move to the Personnel Department, don’t you? I’ve heard there might
be a job there soon so ____________.

Answers:
c; 2. b; 3. a; 4. e; 5. d;

How to Write Order of Adjectives

Written by Nigina Dustova

We can use more than one adjective before a noun. The order of adjectives in front of a noun is as follows:

1.) quality / opinion + size, etc. The most general adjective usually comes first:
a beautiful large French handmade teak cupboard

2.) size / age / shape / color + where from? + past participle:
a large French handmade cupboard

3.) Where from? + past participle:
a French handmade kitchen cupboard

Or: past participle + where from?
a handmade French kitchen cupboard

We order adjectives according to their meaning. This is the normal order:
1. Opinion (how good?)
2. Size (how big?)
3. Age (how old?)
5. Color (which?)
6. Origin (where from?)
7. Material (made of?)
8. Type (what kind?)
9. Purpose (what for?)

Examples:
a small green insect (size, color)
Japanese industrial designers (origin, type)
a wonderful new face cream (opinion, age, purpose)
a long boring train journey (size, quality, type)

Exercises: Put the adjectives in proper order. Begin each sentence with I’m looking for…

  1. clock radio – white – Taiwanese – cheap – for my bedside table
  2. polished – beautiful – antique – dining-table – mahogany – English
  3. canvas – American – a pair of – trainers – grey and red – which I can use for jogging
  4. cottage –stone-built – small – old – country
  5. cotton – dress – summer – pink and white – for my holiday

Answers:

  1. a cheap white Taiwanese clock radio for my bedside table
  2. a beautiful antique English polished mahogany dining-table
  3. a pair of grey and red American canvas trainers which I can use for jogging
  4. a small old stone-built country cottage
  5. a pink and white cotton summer dress for my holiday

A Summary of the Perfect Progressive Tenses

Written by Leny Ortega

Now that we are done with the discussion on the perfect progressive tenses: past perfect progressive, present perfect progressive, and future perfect progressive. Below are practice exercises to test your mastery of the previous lesson. Answers are provided after the exercises for easy self-checking.

Write the correct form of the perfect progressive tense used in each given sentences.

1. Senate probe on Maguindanao clash (go) on for several months now.

2. I (clean) the kitchen when my friend (arrive).

3. She (receive) negative comments from social media since last week.

4. A few weeks from now, Korean singers (perform) in front of many Filipino fans.

5. When I (arrive), the principal (talk) to students about the incident.

6. George (edit) his speech when the emcee (tell) him he is the next speaker.

7. Jeanne (tell) her friends that the project is long over due since last week.

8. By next week, the doctor (check) the condition of the pregnant woman.

9. A few weeks from now, she (reveal) her real health condition.

10. Annsly (apply) for a job since last month.

Answer key

1. Has been going

2. had cleaning, arrived

3. Has been receiving

4.will have been performing

5. Arrived, had been talking

6. Had been editing, told

7. Has been telling

8. Will have been checking

9. Will have been revealing

10. Has been applying

Grammar Tutorial: Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Future perfect progressive is used to state an action that is perceived to be continuously happening when a certain time comes.

Form: will have been + present participle

Examples:
1. By this afternoon, the teachers will have been arriving to attend the meeting.
2. Few months from now, politicians will have been preparing for the forthcoming national election.

Exercises:
Write the correct future perfect progressive form of the given verb inside the parentheses.

1. By tomorrow, the patient (recover) from the trauma.

2. Four years from now, my friend (complete) her papers to Australia.

3. By the next decades, scientists (explore) different planets.

4. A few weeks from now, teachers (train) for the K12 seminar for this coming school year.

5. By tomorrow, Myrna (visit) her sick mother for a long time.

Answers
1. Will have been recovering
This means that before tomorrow ends the patient already recovered from trauma.

2. will have been completing
The idea here is that before the four Years of preparation ends my friend already completed all papers document for Australia.

3. Will have been exploring
This sentence tells us that in the coming decades scientists will try exploring different planets.

4. will have been training

In this particular sentence, it gives us a picture of the teachers in the k12 seminar which will last for a certain week starting today.

5. Will have been visiting
This means that before the day tomorrow ends Myrna already came to visit her ailing mother for a long time.

Grammar Tutorial: Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Past perfect progressive tense of the verb is used to state an action that is continuous in the past when another past action occurred.

Form: had been + present participle

Examples:

1. We had been waiting for my brother to come when I received a phone call from a friend.

2. The program had been going on when I arrived.

3. The teachers had been preparing to welcome the new principal when the office received and advice for its postponement.

Always remember here that this tense of the verb requires two past actions. One is on going in the past uses the had plus been then, another past action( which is in simple past) happened.

Exercises: Write the correct form of each verb inside the parentheses.

1. The Philippine government (try) diplomatic tactics to solve territorial dispute over China when Visiting Forces Agreement (begin) its “Balikatan Exercises”.

2. The people (support) the call for peaceful settlement when the opponent country (start) aggressive action towards our military.

3. Before my brother (join) the band, he (sing) in a five star hotel.

4. When the rain (pour), my family (pack) our things to go home.

5. I (do) my laundry when my sister (ask) me to accompany her to the mall.

Answers:
1. Had been trying, began
2. Had been supporting, started

For sentence 1 and 2, the first past on-going action uses the past perfect progressive. For sentence 1, had been trying and sentence 2, had been supporting. Notice that the subsequent verbs are in the simple past tense began and started respectively.

3. Joined, had been singing
4. Poured, had been packing

For sentence 3 and 4, if you notice the simple past tense comes before the past perfect progressive. Here, careful attention is needed to identify which comes first before another one happens. In this case, you can tell that one cannot automatically say that the first verb given will always use the past perfect progressive.

5. Had been doing, asked
Please go back to the above explanation for this number.

Grammar Tutorial: Present Perfect Progressive Tense

Written by Leny Ortega

Now that we have finished discussing the progressive tenses, we now discuss present perfect progressive tense.

Present perfect progressive is used to tell an action that began in the past and continues up to the present time.

Form: Has been + present participle of the verb (for singular subject)
Have been + present participle of the verb (for plural subject)

Examples:
1. She has been teaching English since last year
2. They have been receiving complaints for two days now.
3. The government has been appealing for executive clemency for the convicted Filipina.

Exercises: Write the correct form of the present perfect progressive tense of the given verb inside the parentheses.

1. The president (express) sympathy over the imminent execution of the convicted Filipina since last week.

2. Different countries all over the world (donate) to help Nepal on the road to their recovery since the strong earthquake happened.

3. The couple (pray) to have a child for six years now.

4. The students (submit) requirements to avail of the scholarship grants since last month.

5. My Canadian friend (travel) Asian countries for five years now.

Answers:

1. In this sentence the subject is singular (the president) therefore, has is the correct auxiliary verb plus been followed by the present participle, expressing (Has been expressing). The idea here is that the expression of sympathy began last week and until now the same emotion is shown for the convicted Filipina.

2. The correct answer, have been donating. The subject is plural (countries). The Nepalese government began receiving donation after the earthquake hit the country and still continuing up to the present time.

3. In this number the answer is, has been praying. We can conclude here that the couple has been married for six years. Since then probably they wanted to have a child but until now it is still their dream. Please take note that the subject here is the couple which is a singular that is why we use has here plus been then the present participle praying.

4. The answer here is, have been submitting. The subject, students, is plural. So, we use have plus been then, submitting. So, imagine here that the office started receiving requirements from last month until now.

5. The subject, friend, is singular therefore we use has plus been then; traveling (has been traveling). To get the idea in a clearer picture count five years back, that was the first time his friend traveled Asian countries until now.

Grammar Tutorial: Summary of the Progressive Tenses

To recapitulate the previous posts in progressive tenses (present, past, and future), the writer prepares related exercises to evaluate your mastery of this lesson. The run-down of practice exercises come after the brief discussion of each progressive tense. Just check your answer/s in the provided key to correction once you are done.

Let us begin our summary with the Present progressive tense. This tense of the verb is used to show an on-going action at the time of speaking. Here, we use the am/ is/ are + present participle or the verb in –ing (talking, walking, etc.) Sometimes it is also used to denote future action.

Next is past progressive tense. To express this tense correctly, you have to remember that there should be two past actions: One is going on at the time when another thing happened. The form is: was (singular) / were (plural) + present participle (walking, talking, etc.)

Lastly, the future progressive tense of the verb is used almost similar to the usage of the future perfect tense. It tells us continuous action in the future before another future action occurs. Time markers such as: by the year ends, by the start of the week, a week from now and so on are commonly used. To form the future progressive tense, we have to use the will be + present participle of the verb (will be celebrating, will be eating, etc.)

Write the correct form of each given verb in the parentheses. Check your answer /s below.
1. The students (protest) over the tuition fee hike.
2. By the time she (graduate), Melissa (receive) many job invitations.
3. Many people (file) their income tax returns when they (announce) the deadline.
4. She (come) home by the year ends.
5. The teacher (retire) next month.
6. She (tell) them the good news in a few weeks from now.
7. The principal (leave) her post by the time she (receive) complaints from the faculty members.
8. My mother (contemplate) on a possible change of career.
9. She (travel) to different places by the time she (reach) the age 40.
10. Melissa (read) the novel fifty shades of Gray when a friend (invite) her to watch its movie version.

Answer key
1. were protesting
2. graduates, will be receiving
3. were filing, announced
4. will be coming
5. is retiring
6. will be telling
7. will be leaving, receives
8. is contemplating
9. will be traveling, reaches
10. was reading, invited

Grammar Tutorial: Future Progressive Tense

Written by Leny Ortega

In the previous tutorials on tenses, we have learned about past progressive tense. We continue our tutorial by discussing future progressive tense.

Future Progressive Tense is used to express an action that is going on in the future before another action is about when a certain time comes. If you are going to analyze this tense of the verb is almost similar to the future perfect tense in idea.

Form: will be + present participle or verb –ing (will be sleeping, will be eating, etc)

Time markers, such as by the year ends, weeks from now, a few months from now, etc., are commonly used to express the future progressive tense.

Example:
1. By the time she retires, she will be participating in many civic activities.
2. I will be sleeping by 12 midnight.
3. He will be receiving many meritorious awards by the time he graduates from the academy.

Exercises: Use the correct form of the verb inside the parentheses.

1. By the time she (finish) cleaning the yard, the unexpected visitors (arrive) to give her a surprise
birthday party.

2. Students (flock) the public schools a few months from now.

3. The family (expect) another baby by the year ends.

4. By the time the candidate (file) his protest, the people (elect) a new president.

5. By the time she (submit) the report, the fact finding committee (release) its own report of the probe.

Answers:

1. The answers are finishes, will be arriving. The pronoun, she, is singular so, we use the s-form of the verb here. Then, the verb in –ing (arriving) is used after the will + be phrase to denote future progressive tense.

2. The future time expression, a few months from now, tells us futurity of the action. It is foreseen that during these months the students will be flocking the public schools.

3. Another time expression is used in this sentence: by the year ends. The family will be expecting another baby to be born before New Year comes.

4. The subject in the phrase, by the time, is the noun candidate which is singular. Therefore, the verb files, is used. Then, the correct future progressive form of the verb (elect), will be electing. The idea here is that before the filing of the protest the winner in the election has already been declared.

5. In this sentence, the by phrase uses the pronoun she, which is obviously a singular. So, submits is the correct form of the verb. Then, in the main sentence, the correct future progressive tense of the verb is will be releasing. Sentence 4 and 5 has almost the same idea.

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