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Structures and Tips

This section contains tips on words and parts of speech. Words like get and have and structural elements like adjectives and auxiliaries are explained in a easy way with examples.

In this section, Gavin's English Course also contains explanations on many variations for basic structures.

There is and There are.

This combination of two words expresses the presence of something. In some cases it can express the possession, but it normally refers to the presence. (E.g. 1)

It is a subject verb form and is inverted in questions and used with the word any. (E.g. 2)

The negative is expressed by adding the word not and also possible in a contracted format. We can also use these to express the absolute zero. It is also common to use the word any with the negative. (E.g. 3)

In the interrogative and negative cases we use the plural format for countable elements and the singular format for the uncountable elements. In these two cases we use the word any.(E.g. 2 and 3)

(E.g. 1)

  • There is a projector in the meeting room.
  • There are 7 people in the meeting room.
  • There is some water in the bottle.

(E.g. 2)

  • Are there any projectors in the meeting room?
  • Is there any water in the bottle?

(E.g. 3)

  • There arenít any projectors in the meeting room.
  • There isnít any water in the bottle.

Do, Make and Take

There are NO rules for the use of Do or Make or Take. There is an explanation in a very generic form which does not apply for all of the cases.

Do:

  • We always use DO to describe indefinite activities, duties, jobs or activities.
  • I did my homework last night. (This would be a duty or activity)
  • I have done a lot of research. (This would be an activity)

Make:

  • We tend to use MAKE when we are talking about constructing, creating, or performing something.
  • I made three suggestions in the meeting. (This would be a creation Ė formulating an opinion)
  • Iíve made all the arrangements. (This would be to perform.)

It is not as easy as suggested. It is often simply a matter of usage, of learning and knowing which of these two verbs collocate with which nouns. In most cases you can always check a good dictionary.

Be careful not just look at one word to decide if it is do or make. The word "shopping" can be used as a noun or as an adjective.

We are going to do the shopping. (Noun) Here we express the activity "to buy".

We are going to make a shopping list. (Adjective) Here we express the activity "to produce a list".

Take:

There is another verb in English that is often left out of this group. Take. This word is also used in a similar way for other interpretations. Here are some examples:

  • Take a break;
  • Take a day off;
  • Take a picture;
  • Take a bus or taxi.

Once again, it is the usage that determines the application of this word.

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