Grammar

The Subjunctive in English – exercises

In our last grammar class we learned about the Subjunctive Tense in English.

(See the last post “The subjunctive tense in English” if you haven’t seen it yet!)

For homework we had to complete some exercises using this tense.

Here are the exercises, and you will find the answers below so you can check your work:

Change the verbs in parentheses into the subjunctive form when necessary.

1. My sister is requesting that I ______________________ her clothes anymore.  (borrow, not)

2.  Mr. Jacobs plans to ask that she _____________________ late tonight.  (work)

3.  Our teacher advises _____________________ extra homework. (do)

4. Drinking and Driving is something that is _______________________.  (recommend, not)

5. The president proposed that American citizens ____________________ a tax break next year.  (get)

6.  Does your mother recommend ____________________ in the morning or after dinner?  (study)

7.  The substitute teacher said that the students ____________________ their projects. (finish)

8.  The father advised that his children ___________________ their snacks quickly. (eat)

9.  The girl’s parents urged her _________________ friends as quickly as possible.  (make)

10.  The CEO recommended the employees ___________________ the proposal right away.  (write)



Answers:

1. My sister is requesting that I not borrow her clothes anymore.

2.  Mr. Jacobs plans to ask that she work late tonight.

3.  Our teacher advises doing extra homework.

4. Drinking and Driving is something that is not recommended.

5. The president proposed that American citizens get a tax break next year.

6.  Does your mother recommend studying in the morning or after dinner?

7.  The substitute teacher said that the students didn’t finish their projects.

8.  The father advised that his children eat their snacks quickly.

9.  The girl’s parents urged her to make friends as quickly as possible.

10.  The CEO recommended the employees write the proposal right away.

Culture, Recipes

Thanksgiving Dinner

This year I celebrated Thanksgiving a few days late.  It’s on the 4th Thursday in November in the US, but in France it’s just a normal day, so we moved Thanksgiving to Sunday instead.

So today I wanted to share with you some recipes for the different dishes we ate.

Click the photos to find the recipes!

Of course the main dish was a big, delicious turkey!

Turkey-Picture

Inside the turkey we put a stuffing.  There are loads of different stuffing recipes with all different ingredients.  Every family has their own tradition.  Here is the stuffing we made this year, with leeks, celery, granny smith apples and chestnuts.  It was delicious!

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For the side dishes, (like the stuffing) they vary from family to family.  This year we made sweet potato casserole, with a cruncy brown sugar and pecan topping.  It was a hit!  I definitely recommend trying this one if you haven’t tasted sweet potatoes before!

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Another dish that we always make for my family Thanksgiving dinner is a green bean casserole.  This is a very simple dish, but it’s a tradition that I grew up with, and Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without it.

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So after we stuffed ourselves with all of these delicious dishes we moved on to the dessert!  We tried two typical desserts.  The first one is the pecan pie:

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And the second was the pumpkin pie:

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Next year I’m tempted to try this recipe for a pumpkin pecan pie, combining these two traditional desserts into one:

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Let us know if you try out any of the recipes, and what you think about them!!

Culture

Thanksgiving Traditions

What is Thanksgiving?

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I don’t think many people really know the history of Thanksgiving, or what this day is about.  We think vaguely about Pilgrims and Indians but mostly about eating ourselves into a turkey coma.  So what is the point of this day?  What are we doing?  What are we celebrating?

To me, Thanksgiving, like the name implies, is a time to give thanks.  To be thankful for our family and friends, to be thankful for our home, our job, everything we have and everything we can do.  We should take a second to realize how lucky we really are.  It’s a family day too.  A day when everyone is there together around the table sharing a good meal and a good laugh.

We grew up thinking this day was special, untouchable.  Today, sadly enough it’s becoming less about family and more about shopping.

Thanksgiving is on the 4th Thursday of November, and the Friday that follows is called Black Friday.  This is a day with huge sales, people camping out over night to be the first ones in the shops, people getting trampled (and sometimes even killed!) to buy a video game or a smart phone.  But now our sacred day, one of the only real days off in the US is starting to disappear.  Shops are starting their “Black Friday” deals on…. Thanksgiving day.  Shops that were all closed on this day in the past are starting to open their doors.  People who used to spend their Thanksgiving with their families are now either working or shopping.  Both of which are sad…

So today Thanksgiving is losing it’s meaning…  But wait!  Where does it come from anyway??

The “first Thanksgiving” in America was apparently celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims and Indians to celebrate a good harvest.  The Pilgrims arrived in The New World in harsh conditions; nearly half of them died during the first winter.  The second year, however, the Indians helped them and taught them how to grow and harvest plants.  To give thanks, the Pilgrims threw a 3-day feast to thank God for their harvest and to celebrate with their Indian friends.

On this website you can find a lot of information and interesting videos about Thanksgiving – history, traditions, food, etc..

Travel

Staycations

What is a staycation you ask?

It’s when you take some days of work, but instead of travelling, you stay at home.

For some of you this may sound boring, but for me, I can definitely see some advantages!  This summer I took a trip to Croatia. We went there by car, which was a little long, and we were a group of 6 friends, which was a little much.  Each day we took an excursion, driving around and visiting different parts of the country, walking / hiking, swimming, boat riding, etc.  It was action packed to say the least.  We had a great time and I have some really good memories from this trip.

But what I remember more than the trip, unfortunately, was my running start that I took back at work!

I returned home late on Saturday evening after 16 or 17 hours in the car.  I was exhausted and a little sick to my stomach from the drive!

Monday we had to go back to work, so we would have liked to rest a bit on Sunday, but it was impossible!  We had to unpack, do the laundry, clean up around the apartment, and of course, prepare for Monday!

So I went back to work after my holidays not feeling rested at all, but feeling tired and ready for a break!

I think it could be a good solution to have it both ways (if possible).  That is, to go on vacation (to travel somewhere) but then, after the holidays, to enjoy a few more days off at home.  To have time to relax, to do nothing, to read, to catch up on any odds and ends around the house (I have some curtains I’ve been wanting to hang since July…..)

Maybe I’ll try it out next summer 😉

Now, to practice your listening, here is a video about “Staycations” on the rise in Singapore.

Grammar

Passive Voice – exercises

Hello Everyone,

As you know, we have been working a lot on the passive voice and some people have asked that we put the answers to our homework on the blog so you can check your work.

So for the assignment, you had some paragraphs in the active form and it was necessary to change them to the passive form.  If you haven’t seen them yet, here are the paragraphs.  The answers will come after 😉

Paragraphs

Change to the passive form

1.  Some people saw a UFO in the sky above London last night.  They reported it to the police.  The army sent a helicopter to look at it more closely.  The UFO shot the helicopter down and killed both men in it.  People have given photographs of the UFO to the police.  Experts are looking at them now.

2.  Someone broke into a local jewellery shop yesterday.  The owner had just locked up the shop when a robber with a gun threatened him.  The robber told him to unlock the shop and give him all the diamonds in the safe.  Then the robber tied him up.  The police have organised a search for the robber.  They hope they will find him in a few days.  Doctors are treating the owner of the shop for shock.

3.  My uncle painted this picture.  Someone has offered him a lot of money for it.  He will deliver the painting tomorrow.  When they give him the money, he will tell them the truth.  He painted it one night while he was sleepwalking.

4.  Our school is organising a contest. The teachers will choose the best project about the environment.  The students must include pictures and drawings in their projects.  The students will also have to do all the writing themselves.  The school will give the winner a set of encyclopaedias.

——

Answers:

1.  A UFO was seen in the sky above London last night.  It was reported to the police.  A helicopter was sent by the army to look at it more closely.  The helicopter was shot down by the UFO and both men in it were killed.  Photographs of the UFO have been given to the police.  They are being looked at by experts now.

2.  A local jewellery shop was broken into yesterday.  The shop had just been locked up by the owner, when he was threatened by a robber with a gun.  He was told to unlock the shop and give the robber all the diamonds in the safe.  Then he was tied up.  A search for the robber has been organised by the police.  They hope he will be found in a few days.  The owner of the shop is being treated for shock.

3.  This picture was painted by my uncle.  He has been offered a lot of money for it.  It will be delivered tomorrow.  When my uncle is given the money, they will be told the truth.  It was painted one night while sleepwalking.

4.  A contest is being organised by our school.  The best project about the environment will be chosen by the teachers.  Pictures and drawings must be included in the student’s projects.  The writing will also have to be done by the students themselves.  The winner will be given a set of encyclopaedias.

** In some cases, there is more than one possibility.  If you have come up with a different solution, leave it in the comments, and a teacher will correct it for you!!!

See you soon!

Grammar

The Passive Voice

In our Grammar Lesson, we have been working a lot on the Passive Voice.

Here are some materials for you to continue working on this grammar point at home!

In an active sentence, we begin with the subject, the person doing the action.

Then we follow by the verb and then the object (the person or thing the action is being performed on.)

For example:

Lisa broke the vase.

But in a passive sentence, we begin with the object.

The vase was broken (by Lisa).

In the passive voice it is not always necessary to say WHO did the action.  We often use this tense when we don’t know who did the action, when it is obvious who did the action, or it is not important who did the action.

For example:

She was arrested (by the police).

In this case, it is enough information to say:  She was arrested.  Why?  Because who arrests people?  The police.  So it is not necessary to say who did the action.

And another example:

She was robbed (by a theif).

When you are robbed, you don’t usually know who robbed you!  So we use the passive voice.

To see how to form the passive voice in the different tenses, check out this useful video:

After you have watched that video, here are some exercises for you to practice:

Culture

Cellphone Etiquette

This week in our English club, our theme is “Cell Phone Etiquette.”  We will be talking about when you should or shouldn’t use your mobile phone and also sharing experiences that we have had with other people who lack proper cell phone etiquette.

Now that we can bring our mobile phones anywhere, and at the tip of our fingers we have access to internet, to social networking sites, to games and applications, people tend to have trouble DISCONNECTING.

Do you talk on your phone while driving?  While waiting in line to check out at the supermarket?  Do you check your emails or your Facebook page while eating at a restaurant with friends?  Are you addicted to your mobile device?

To help you prepare for this theme and also improve your English, here are a few different materials for you:

First check out this video (listen for the American accent and expressions:  “You wouldn’t wanna be..”)

If you want some more practice, here is a nice little article “Cell Phone Etiquette: 15 rules to follow”  It includes pictures and descriptions.

Cell Phone Etiquette Article

See you soon in the English Club and we will discuss your point of view about Cell Phone Etiquette!  Otherwise, feel free to leave comments to share your point of view!