Grammar Mondays: modals 5

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Might reflects possibility. We use this modal if we are unsure that something will or will not happen.

For example, if you’re unsure of your plans for the evening, you could say: I might go out, but I’m not sure.

If you’re unsure if you’d like to go out, you could also say: I might not go tonight, we’ll see.

Whether you use the affirmative or negative form is really up to you and how you want to spin your sentence. Do you want to emphasize that you might NOT do something (you’re leaning towards no)? Or that you might do something (you’re leaning towards yes)?

Give it a try, and don’t forget, if you have questions, give us a shout!

Friday Idiom: cut corners

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Cutting corners is often tempting, but also often leads to disasters. Whenever you try to save time by either not putting in a full effort, or by omitting some seemingly unimportant details, it will come back and bite you!

A few examples of cutting corners:

  • Not taking the time to properly proofread a document.
  • When you don’t document your work well.
  • Ignoring the basics when you learn a new skill.

So, don’t cut corners!

Word of the Day: essence

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The essence is really the most important aspect of something. It is what makes it it.

You can talk about essence when describing a very important feature of a problem, a team, the core goals or raison d’être of a company or school.

You will find many more examples on the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary online:

  • The essence of the matter is that we must show our good will.
  • Its ability to make you feel is the essence of this painting.
  • The essence of drama is conflict.

Word of the Day: sharp

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Of course, many people already know that sharp means: having a cutting or piercing edge. But, it’s interesting to note that we can also use the word in other ways.

A couple more definitions include but are not limited to: sudden and rapid, for example, a sharp increase; clear and definite, as in, the mood is in sharp contrast to last year.

I particularly like the definition from our word of the day: quick to understand, notice or respond. You can use this word to describe a person whom you consider to be particularly clever and quick-witted.

Any questions? Leave them in them in the comments and we’ll get back to you!

Grammar Mondays: modals 4

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We often use should to offer advice, or indicate something that is good or not good to do.

Should is never conjugated, and is used with another verb, in the infinitive.

Here are some more examples:

  • Mary should play more often if she wants to get better.
  • You should see your doctor every year for a health check up.
  • People should pay more attention to their diets.
  • You should exercise regularly.

In question form, simply invert the modal and the subject:

  • Should I take these pills with a meal?
  • Should you be doing that?
  • Should we leave now?
  • Shouldn’t you be at the theatre by now?

Have you got any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments!

Friday Idiom: it’s not rocket science

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I find myself saying this a little too often I think! Usually to my son, when he’s doing something super simple and making out as if it’s the hardest thing in the world. Or, when I see someone say or do something dumb on TV.

So really, you can say this whenever you feel that something really isn’t that hard. For example, when my mom can’t figure out how to switch to a video call on what’s app, I might say to her: oh come on, it’s not rocket science!

Be careful though not to vex anyone!

Word of the day: groom

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Groom can, of course, mean a few different things. You can groom a horse: brush it and clean it. A person can be groomed as well, if they look like they really take care of their physical appearance.

However, the one that interests us today is the sort of grooming one does in order to prepare you for something specific.

As in the example, you can groom you child to take over your business. You can groom someone to take the reigns of your talk show. So really, grooming here means teaching a person to do something a specific way in preparation for a particular role.

Can you think of any real life examples?

Parenting and entrepreneuring: episode 2

It’s a quarter past 4pm, the baby-sitter will be back soon with our son, and we have nothing to eat, and I need to get to the cash machine to pay her.

The eternal question: what on earth is for dinner today?

Quesadillas? Why not… But what to put in them that our 4 year old will deign to swallow?! Urgh.

Of course, into the mix flies the Newsletter I haven’t written yet, and the fear that there is a typo I’ve missed in my publications today. I can’t afford typos, I’m an English teacher. But I’m human, and I always miss things! I have to read them 10 times to be sure, yet I still come back to work I’d done a long time ago and see mistakes.

Is this due to inattention? Sloppiness? Fatigue? A lack of time? Does it matter?

On Wednesdays (today) and on strike days (yesterday) my son has to fend for himself (only in the mornings on Wednesdays though, yay). It sounds awful, considering he’s only 4, but he’s pretty cool about it, so long as I can tolerate the noise emanating from his make believe universe. And he makes up some awesome stories! There he is, sometimes, building a spaceship that looks like a banana, or playing with his pirates when suddenly Ninjagos and superheroes come to save the day! But oh no! The cars are falling off the precipice and falling into the abyss of the floor! AAAAHHHH!

Okay, I don’t think he actually says all of those things, but it sounds like it, and the few phrases I catch from his adventures make them enviable!

On a more serious note. How do you organize yourselves? Particularly those of you homeschooling young kids? When do you work?! I’m so glad that tomorrow school picks up again. And so is my little guy. No more TV while mommy is in a class. No more Khan Academy while she’s in a meeting.

Yesterday, he came with me while I was giving a class at a local high school. He was so well behaved I bought him a chocolate ice cream right before lunch to say thank you!

Grammar Mondays: modals

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Have to is also a modal verb, though unlike the others, we must conjugate it in whatever tense you intend to use.

It indicates an obligation to do something, if used in the affirmative. So:

  • Amber has to play the guitar every day. = Amber must play the guitar every day.

However, in the negative, it indicates a lack of obligation:

  • Amber doesn’t have to do the laundry at home, her mom takes care of it. = Amber doesn’t need to do the laundry.

This rule is opposed to « must » which, in the negative, indicates that something is not allowed. For example, if someone says, « You mustn’t run by the poolside. » This means that you’re not allowed to run by the poolside.

Have you got any questions? Leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you!