Thursday, July 28, 2016

Idioms to do with the Arts

Here's another entry in our series on idioms. This time we're looking at idioms to do with the arts. What better way to colour your sentences and show your abilities with the English language than by peppering your speech with these tasteful gems? These can really work wonders on people and might just make the difference between making a lasting impression as someone who can express themselves wonderfully well.

Artsy-fartsy: pretentiously or affectedly artistic
Our younger brother isn’t really into ballet; he thinks it’s a bit artsy-fartsy.

No oil painting: not physically attractive
She has a wonderful mind, but she’s no oil painting.

A blank canvas: something or someone that can be filled with new things
I want to get away from here and find a blank canvas.

Tar (a group of people or a person) with the same brush: believe wrongly that someone or something has the same negative qualities of another which is similar
You can’t tar all Scots with the same brush. He’s just a drunk!

(Have) got something down to a fine art: mastered to a high degree
Usain Bolt’s got running down to a fine art.

Poetic Justice: ironic or fitting punishment
It is poetic justice that the economic crisis is affecting the bankers who are blamed for causing it in the first place.

Poetry in motion: something that is very elegant or beautiful, especially in art or dancing
The young girl was like poetry in motion when she took to the floor.

Stage whisper: A whisper that is meant to be heard
 She told him in a stage whisper, "I am fed up with your behavior"

State of the art: The most developed in technology

Our new convertible is totally state of the art.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to form questions in English.

Question Form

What is this? What is that? Do you know? Have you found out yet?

The formation of questions in English is a source of much confusion for many learners. Why do we sometimes use do and sometimes not? We're going to break down how we form questions and fix  some common mistakes that seem to plague so many of our sentences.

1 Questions using be, have, auxiliary verbs, and modal verbs.

Questions whose main verb is be do not use do, but do require inversion. What is inversion? Inversion is when you swap the order of words.
Ex. You are a doctor. (statement)   Are you a doctor? (question)
The same thing goes for have ONLY when have is an auxiliary verb.
Ex. You have finished your chores. (statement)      Have you finished your chores? (question)

Inversion also happens with modal verbs
Ex. He could run for office. (statement)    Could he run for office?
*Sentences which use have as a main verb or any other main verb need do which brings us to our next rule.

2 Questions using main verbs

For questions using main verbs we have to insert do.
Do you know how to get to the station?
*Don't forget we ONLY conjugate the auxiliary verb
Does he come here often?

3 Subject/Object questions

When we have a question word that asks about the subject of the answer we do not usually use do.
Ex. Who runs this place?      Who and he are the same person (Subject question—Do not use do)
        -He runs this place.
Where do you live?                  Where and I are not the same (Object question—use do)
I live in Edinburgh.

4 Do for emphasis

Sometimes we can insert do into subject questions when we want to emphasize or are clarifying a piece of information
Ex. If I didn't leave the light on, and you didn't leave the light on, then who did leave the light on?

I do love this town (emphasized)