Category Archives: Vocabulary

Modal Mania: Employability abilities: Can you?

Employability SkillsAccording to the American business magazine, Forbes, the most important abilities or skills that employers want are as follows:
1. Can work in a team structure
2. Can make decisions and solve problems
3. Can communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organisation
4. Can plan, organise and prioritise work
5. Can obtain and process information
6. Can analyse quantitative data
7. Technical knowledge related to the job
8. Proficiency with computer software programmes
9. Can create and/or edit written reports
10. Can sell and influence others

So, do you have the above abilities?  Do you agree?

Experientially speaking, I can’t work in a team structure, I’m brilliant at making decisions but they aren’t always the right ones, I’m hooked on planning and organising but I couldn’t sell an igloo to an Inuit.  So, in a nutshell, it’s a good job I’m self-employed.

Modal Mania: Janette’s hosting a dinner party. She had better?

dinner partySo, despite my inability and reluctance to turn on my cooker, I’ve decided to host a festive formal dinner party.

With this in mind, I need to be reminded about the right way of doing things; the things that I am not supposed to do, and the things that I should or ought to do.

I did check on the Internet but, holy smokes, people take this form of entertainment far too seriously! Seriously, it’s mental, there are even books written about it!

So, so far this is my list:
Janette:

  1. You should check to see if any guests have a specific dietary requirement. SHOULD It’s a good thing to do.
  2. You ought not to invite a stripper for the evening’s entertainment. OUGHT NOT TO It’s not the right thing to do.
  3. You had better learn how to cook something because ordering a takeaway isn’t the right thing to do. HAD BETTER: It’s the best thing to do.
  4. You are not supposed to drink like a fish when you are the hostess. BE SUPPOSED TO. It’s not the right thing to do, but you probably will do it anyway.

So in a nutshell:

  1. Disinvite gluten-free people, lactose-free people, people allergic to nuts, meat eaters, fish eaters, teetotallers, people who blog about food.
  2. Cancel or postpone stripper.
  3. Throw away packaging so nobody knows I spent an arm and a leg at El Piano buying homemade vegetarian takeaway food.
  4. Pour vodka into water bottles.

Modal Mania: It’s the law Janette! You MUST, You MUST NOT

Public notices and laws express obligations with the modal verb MUST and MUST NOT.
So what do these public notices mean? Perhaps:Public Notices

  1. Police, you must look the other way, I’m growing some medicinal plant life.
  2. You must not enter this club if you have a heart problem.
  3. You must not buy a kangaroo for Christmas, they are wild ferocious animals and I can’t stand them!

road signsNow, this is a gentle reminder to my Spanish driving friends about road regulations.

  1. At a traffic light, you must stop at a red light; a red light does not mean you must accelerate.
  2. At a roundabout, you must pay attention to lanes and indicate to let everyone know what you are doing.
  3. Motorbikes must not drive on the pavement.
  4. You must not deliberately crash into the front or back of a car in order to make a parking space bigger
  5. You must not put on mascara, check your WhatsUp?-App, nor take your pants off.

I must, I have to: It’s an obligation, isn’t it?

Bird's nest or Janette's hair minus the eggs

Bird’s nest or Janette’s hair without the eggs?

In general the difference between Must and Have to is connected to personal opinion. If it is your personal opinion to do something then usually we use MUST + BARE INFINITIVE, and if it isn’t connected to your opinion, for example an external situation, then we usually use HAVE TO + BARE INFINITIVE.

MUST:

  1. My hair looks like a bird’s nest I must go to the hairdressers.
  2. I must phone my mother because I’ve not spoken to her for a month.

HAVE TO:

  1. My nephew has to go to school
  2. I had to walk home last night as I missed the last bus.

Sounds easy?! Well, test your knowledge here: Click here

Modal Verbs – What are you saying?

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

What are you saying? Seriously, I don’t understand you. Is it a question, a request, a suggestion, an obligation, an invitation, some advice, a complaint……..?????!!!!! Oh no, I have a headache! Help me, help me: where are the aspirin?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND MODAL VERBS

The English language is often very difficult to understand and sometimes seems to be completely illogical. Well don’t worry, as the British Government said after World War 2: ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’

THE BASICS
What are Modal Verbs?
Modal Verbs are auxiliary verbs that modify another verb in order to change the meaning of the expression: (i.e. what is being said)
Examples of Modal Verbs include:

  • Can, Could, Must, May, Might, Should, Shouldn’t, Ought To, Would

When do you use them?
To express the following language functions:

  1. Requests, Permission, Offers and Invitations
  2. Advice and Recommendations, Suggestions and Prohibition
  3. Obligations, Duties, Necessities and Ability
  4. The likelihood: Certainty, Possibility
  5. A complaint

General Rules:

  1. They do not have infinitives
  2. They don’t take s, ing or ed suffixes
  3. They are followed by the bare infinitive. The infinitive without To, for example: walk, eat, drink. Not: To walk, To eat, To drink
  4. They come before the subject in questions

EXAMPLES OF LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS
Look, learn and use:

  1. Requests, Permission, Offers and Invitations. Click here:modals_LF_orpi
  2.  Advice and Recommendations, Suggestions and Prohibition.Click here:modals_LF_arsp
  3. Obligations, Duties, Necessities and Ability. Click here:modals_LF_odna
  4. The likelihood: Certainty, Possibility. Click here:modals_LF_cpl

Relationship Problems: The Noisy Neighbours

party animalImagine you live next to a group of young fun-loving neighbours. You get on really well with them but their late night partying and obsession with rap music is disturbing your sleep and consequently your work performance. You are afraid of being fired. What would you do?

Relationship Problems: Dating

online datingImagine after 10 years of being happily single, you’ve decided that you would like to start dating. What would you do to find someone?

Relationship Problems: The Break Up

break upImagine you and your partner have not been getting on well for years and you’ve decided that your relationship is irreparable, i.e. it’s over! What would you do?

Formal expressions and phrases

It is widely accepted that using formal expressions and phrases, in both written and oral contexts, is a little more difficult than using informal expressions and phrases.  Wouldn´t you agree? However, as the well-known saying goes: ”Practice makes perfect!” So, with this in mind, why not try a few exercises from the Flo-Joe website.

Yoda is intelligent and wise, but his grammar is mental!

If you watch the Star Wars films, without a shadow of a doubt, you will learn a lot about life, power, greed and the delicious seduction of the dark side, (seriously, who doesn´t want to be Darth Vader?!)

On the other hand, if you copy Yoda´s speech patterns, and his use of grammar and word order, you are definitely going to confuse the hell out of native English speakers.  So Yoda, please, get back to basics and have a look at how to ask  a question.