Phrasal Verbs with ‘Down’

to back down: to move away from an original idea Stand up for your rights and don’t back down! to break down: when communication between two parties stops Unfortunately, our on-going business agreement broke down after two years. to play down: to make something seem less imporatant He played down the fact that he had just won a million dollars. to set down: to put into writing The terms and conditions are yet to be set down in the company’s handbook. to note down: to write something briefly Why don’t I note down your cell number and we’ll go for coffee sometime? to hand down: to inherit something from another individual Peter was kind enough to hand down his father’s watch to Henry. to kneel down: to crouch close to the floor Quick, kneel down so Bill doesn’t see us! to settle down: to become calm or establsih stable living The Jacobson’s were so pleased to finally find a house and settle down. to stand down: to resign or give up one’s working position After a successful ten years at the top, the CEO finally decided to stand down. to wind down: to start coming to an end The match was winding down and the trophy was in their sight.

Grammar Lesson: Inversion and Emphasis

    Although we’d love to see you in person at EC San Francisco, we know not everyone can make it. That’s why we launched EC Virtual, our Online English courses, so you can experience the same great EC experience from home! We can shape our use of English to add emphasis in a number of different contexts. For example, to give strong advice, to express opinions clearly, to disagree, to show concern, to entertain. The list is endless. One of the most effective ways to make language more emphatic when using English is by inverting a sentence’s regular word order. Emphasis in this way is often presented through written language and is of a highly formal register. Let’s take a look at the following sentence: 1) She had never seen such an impressive live performance The sentence above displays a regular, relatively common word order in English. We have our subject (She), followed by a negative verb form in the past (had never seen) and a modified object (such an impressive live performance). Now let’s look closely at a second example: 2) Never had she seen such an impressive live performance Our second sentence clearly demonstrates a shift in the first example’s word order. Never is what is known as a ‘Negative Adverbial’. Above, Never has been taken away from the sentence’s main verb phrase and inserted at the beginning. Additionally, the past auxiliary had is placed in front of the subject, she. The basic formula for transforming common sentences into more emphatic statements is as follows: Negative Adverbial or ‘Only’/’No’ Expression + Auxiliary or Modal Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object 3) Never had we heard such a fascinating story Despite using the past perfect in sentences 2) and 3), this formula remains reliable with the … Read more

Grammar Lesson: Imperatives

Why do we use imperatives? Imperatives are used for a number of different purposes: to give out orders: Tidy your room! to give someone instructions: Take the first turning on the left to give informal advice: Stay a little longer, its the weekend after all! to offer something: Have some cake, it’s delicious How do I form an imperative sentence? Main Verb (Infinitive) + Object or Complement The subject of a sentence is not required! For example, take a look at the following: 1. You play tennis to stay fit and healthy (Incorrect) 2. Play tennis to stay fit and healthy (Correct) 3. You wear a jacket, its cold outside! (Incorrect) 4. Wear a jacket, its cold outside! (Correct) By looking at the second sentence in each pair, we can see that by leaving out the subject, we are able to make the meaning of a sentence more emphatic through both the verb and the object. How do I form negative imperatives? Do + Not (Don’t) + Main Verb (Infinitive) + Object or Complement 5. Don’t smoke in front of the children 6. Don’t forget to walk the dog Extra Emphasis Imperative sentences can be emphasized dramatically through the use of Always and Never, which are used before the main verb. This use of adverbs helps to reinforce strong advice in everyday situations. 7. Never drive without a seatbelt 8. Always wash your hand before handling food

Grammar Lesson: Passive Voice

Why do we use the passive voice? The passive form is an emphatic tense, which dramatizes the main ‘action’ of a sentence. When using English, it is usually the subject which causes the ‘action’ of the sentence and as a result, directly affects the object. These are known as ‘active’ sentences. Let’s take a look at the following examples: 1. Josh hit the tennis ball 2. Ashley ate an an apple In sentences 1. and 2., we can see both subjects (Josh and Ashley) having a direct impact on the objects of each sentence (the tennis ball and an apple). However, by using the passive voice we can shift the emphasis in each sentence by making the object become the subject as follows: 3. The tennis ball was hit by Josh 4. An apple was eaten by Ashley By looking at 3) and 4), it is clear that the the items in the sentence receiving the action have become more important than the people providing it. Yes, both Josh and Ashley remain ‘active agents’, however, our focus has moved towards the actual ‘things’ being affected. The tennis ball and An apple are ‘passive’ and have become the more important elements in in each sentence. How do we form the passive voice? The grammatical structure to form passive sentences is simple! Subject (Passive) + Aux. Verb (to be) + Past Participle + Object (Active) 5. Traffic in London city centre was heavily affected by the recent snow storm More often than not, we find these passive sentences in newspapers, or even, hear such language when listening to current affairs. For example, although a terrible hurricane hit New Orleans, the passive voice can display a shift in emphasis, from the destructive hurricane to the city of New Orleans itself: 6. New Orleans … Read more