Thursday, August 24, 2006

Special case of Agreement

The words like "half" , "part" etc are singular or plural according to the meaning of the sentence. When these words refer to a mass or a section, they are singular. When they refer to a number of individuals or things, they are plural.

e.g -

1. Half of the boys are in camp. (number -- plural)
2. Half of the pie is left. (mass or section -- singular)
3. Part of the roof was destroyed. (mass or section -- singular)
4. Part of the guests have arrived. (number -- plural)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Do vs Make

1. Do - for indefinite activities e.g with words like thing, something, nothing, anything, what. e.g

a). Do something!
b). What shall we do?
c). Then Ram did a very strang thing.

2. Do - when we talk about work and jobs. e.g

a). I'm not going to do any work today.
b). It's time to do the accounts.
c). I would't like to do your job.

3. We use do...... ing structure to talk about activities that take a certain time, or are repeated. Usually there is a determiner (e.g the, my, some ) before the -ing form. Verb after do cannot have object in this structure.But do can be used with a compound noun that includes verb + object. e.g

a). During the holidays I'm going to do some walking and a lot of reading.
b). I'm going to watch some TV.
c). I want to do some bird-watching this weekend.

4. Make - we use make to talk about constructing, building, creating etc.e.g

a). My father and I once made a boat.
b). Let's make a plan.

5. Common fixed expressions

do good, harm, business, one's best, a favour, sport, exercise, one's hair, one's teeth, one's duty.

make a journey, an offer, arrangements, a suggestion, a decision, an attempt, an effort, an excuse, an exception, a mistake, a noise, a phone call, money, a profit, a fortune, peace, love, war, bed, a fire, progress.

6. After make + object, we use the infinitive without to. e.g

I made her cry. (not - I made her to cry. or I made her crying)

The infinitive must follow the object. e.g

I can't make the television work. ( not - I can't make work the television)

In passive constructions the infinitive with to is used. e.g

Ram was made to repeat the whole story.

7. In some cases make can be followed by myself, yourself etc and a past participle. This structure is common with understood and heard. e.g

She had to shout to make herself heard.

8. We can talk about an effect or change with make + object + adjective/noun . e.g

The rain made the grass wet. ( not - The rain made wet the grass).

We do not use make ... be in this structure.

You have made me a happy man. ( not - You have made me be a happy man).

Do - Substitute verb

Do - Substitute Verb - (auxiliary verb + do) - In British English (but not American), do can be used alone as a substitute verb after an auxiliary verb. e.g

a). He smokes more than he used to - American english
He smokes more than he used to do.- British English

b). Do you think Phil will come? ~ He might.- American english
Do you think Phil will come? ~ He might do.- British English

Do - auxiliary verb

The auxiliary verb "do" - followed by infinitives without "to". It has several uses, one of them -- Ellipsis

In cases where an auxiliary verb is used instead of a whole verb phrase, "do" is common in affirmative clause, questions and negatives. e.g

a). She doesn't like singing , but I do.
b). You saw Ram, didn't you?
c). Emil thinks there's something wrong with Ann, and so do I.


An auxiliary verb combines with another verb to help form the tense, mood, voice, or condition of the verb it combines with.
The verbs to have, to be, to do, will, shall, would, should, can, may, might, and could are the common auxiliary verbs in English.
Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called helping verbs.

Ellipsis - We often leave out words to avoid repetition, or in other cases when the meaning can be understood without them. This is called ellipsis.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Less vs Fewer

1). Less and Fewer -- Difference -

Less is the comparative of little ( used especially before uncountable nouns).

e.g - I earn less money than you.


Fewer is the comparative of few ( used before plural nouns)

e.g - I've got fewer problems than I used to have.

2). Less of and fewer of - used before determiners such as the,, my, this and before pronouns.

e.g - At the college reunions, there are fewer of us each year.
I'd like to spend less of my time answering mails.

* Before nouns without determiners, of is not used.

e.g - If you want to lose weight, eat less food. (NOT less of food)

3). Nouns can be dropped after less and fewer if the meaning is clear.

e.g - Some people go to church, but less/fewer than 20 years ago

* Less can be used as an adverb (the opposite of adverb more)

e.g - I worry less than I used to.

4). Lesser - used to mean "smaller" or "not so much"

e.g - the lesser of two evils.

GMAT Examples - Sentence No 49 at the link below

5) U
se less when referring to statistical or numerical expressions.
Sara is less than five feet tall
Your issue essay should be a thousand words or less

It's possible to regard the quantities as sums of countable measures