Category Archives: Tips & Help

Compound Nouns (8 of 10): You use this guy every day!

One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, in Chinese, a tap is called: ‘water-dragon-head’ (‘shwei-long-to’). Well, there’s a bit of imagination used there, but I do understand the logic. A tap looks a bit look a dragon’s head. [See picture above]. Put these three nouns together, and it becomes a big noun. However, in English, it’s just called a ‘tap’ (although the Americans may use the word ‘faucet’). However, English also has many compound nouns, so let’s practise some of them. Match a noun in A with a noun in B to form a compound noun. A B alarm opener car recorder traffic lighter tooth quake cigarette lights can paste tape port earth clock   I’ll give you all the answers in the next post. By the way, you…

Compound Nouns (7 of 10): Hey, I’m a compound noun!

One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, in Chinese, the animal in the above picture is called a ‘long-neck-deer’ (‘chong-jin-lu’). Okay, ‘long’ is an adjective, but it makes the noun ‘long-neck’, which is added to ‘deer’. Hence, a compound noun. But in English, it’s just called a ‘giraffe’. However, English also has many compound nouns, but the rules abut when to use hyphens (‘-‘) and whether to write them as one or two words are confusing. For example, why is screwdriver one word, but word processor two? In the previous post, I began discussing this, and let’s continue this discussion now. Sometimes the way we write the compound noun is just about the look of the noun. Parking meter looks good, but parkingmeter just looks wrong (and is wrong)….

Compound Nouns (6 of 10): A tale of two hairdressers.

One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, look at the picture above. This crazy hairstyle was created by a ‘hairdresser’. In Chinese, a ‘hairdresser’ is called a ‘hair-shape-design-master’ (‘fa-shing-sherji-sher’). Wow, that’s four nouns in a row! Well, in English ‘hair’ + ‘dresser’ is also a compound noun – but with just two nouns, it’s a bit simpler than the Chinese word, right? And ‘hairstyle’ is another compound noun. Yes, just join the nouns together, and you can often make more words, and English also has many of these. However, there is a little grammar involved with these compound nouns. At the end of the previous two posts, I asked you these questions. 1 Why do some words use hyphens, and others not? 2 Why is ‘rush hour’ written as…

Compound Nouns (5 of 10): I hope that’s not your house!

  One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, in Chinese, a radio is called: ‘recording sound machine’ (‘lu-ing-ji’). But in English, it’s a radio – however, English also has many compound nouns, so let’s practise some of them. Match a noun in A with a noun in B to form a compound noun. A B hair processor fire driver sun drier screw post word time arrival bin rubbish engine/truck sign set   The answers to the previous post are bookcase, noticeboard, rush hour, seat belt, departure lounge, pocket money, timetable, and raincoat. …

Compound Nouns (4 of 10): Do go out in this weather!

One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, in Chinese, a storm is called: ‘wild-wind-rain’ (‘bau-fong-uwi’). That’s exactly what it is. Just look at the above picture. So, the name is perfectly logical. But in English, we say ‘storm’. But don’t be misled: English also has many compound nouns, so let’s practise some of them. Match a noun in A with a noun in B to form a compound noun. A B book belt notice case rush board seat hour departure money pocket coat time table rain lounge            …

Compound Nouns (3 of 10): You put this in your coffee, you know?

One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, in Chinese, a computer is called: ‘electricity brain’ (‘dien-nau’). It is indeed a brain which uses electricity. That’s exactly what it is, so the name is perfectly logical. But in English, we say ‘computer’. But English does have many compound nouns – just not as many as in Chinese. So, let’s practise some compound nouns. Match a word in A with a word in B to form a compound noun. A B dining in-law film sitter brother machine income book writing room washing star cheque paper baby tax   …

Compound Nouns (2 of 10): This bark can save your life!

One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’. For example, in Chinese, an ambulance is called: ‘help-protect-car’ (‘jo-hu-chir’). It is indeed a car which helps and protects. That’s exactly what it is, so the name is perfectly logical. But in English, we say ‘ambulance’. But English does have many compound nouns – just not as many as in Chinese. So, let’s practise some them. A B credit glasses table ring T meter ear tennis sun aid parking crossing first card pedestrian shirt   In the first post, I asked where the drug ‘quinine’ comes from. The answer is it comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. [See the above picture]. This bark provided the first cure to the horrible disease: malaria – which had killed millions of people. So,…

Compound Nouns (1 of 10): Introduction

  In the previous 10 posts, I looked at stative verbs – that is, a grammar-based aspect of the English language. Now, let’s move on to vocabulary – but I’d like to look at nouns – specifically, compound nouns. The first question you may have is … what’s a compound noun? A compound noun takes the form …. (n) + (n) …

Stative Verbs: Some Extra Thoughts (6 of 6): “I regret smelling that chemical.”

In the previous posts, I looked at the four sorts of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. The four sorts of verbs are verbs of Senses (smell, hear, sense), Ownership (have, contain, belong), Mind (believe, trust, know), Emotion (love, hate, adore). I remember these by thinking ‘SOME verbs are stative’. In this final post on the subject of stative verbs, let’s look at two grammar points. The first grammar point is that if a verb is used after a preposition, these verbs take the ~ing form, and these verbs can be stative. For example, … You can achieve more by trusting me. [correct] I’m interested in knowing more about you. [correct] …

Stative Verbs: Some Extra Thoughts (5 of 6): I’m loving it ???

  In the previous posts, I looked at the four sorts of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. The four sorts of verbs are verbs of Senses (smell, hear, sense), Ownership (have, contain, belong), Mind (believe, trust, know), Emotion (love, hate, adore). I remember these by thinking ‘SOME verbs are stative’. But in the last three posts, I also mentioned that, when thinking about stative (SOME) verbs, it is not just the meaning of the verb which matters, but also the way it is used, and this can depend on the specific situation. Let’s look at the verb ‘love’. Isn’t this a verb about the emotion? That’s the E in SOME? So, it must be stative, right? Right! …

Stative Verbs: Some Extra Thoughts (4 of 6): Can you smell the durian?

In the previous posts, I looked at the four sorts of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. The four sorts of verbs are verbs of Senses (smell, hear, sense), Ownership (have, contain, belong), Mind (believe, trust, know), Emotion (love, hate, adore). I remember these by thinking ‘SOME verbs are stative’. But in the previous two posts, I mentioned that it is not just the meaning of the verb which matters, but the way the verb is used. But it can also depend on the situation. Let’s look at the verb ‘smell’. Isn’t this a verb about the senses? That’s the S in SOME? So, it must be stative, right? Right! Look at the picture at the top of this post. It’s a fruit called a ‘durian’, and you probably know that it has a very strong smell. And if someone walked into that room, they would not…

Stative Verbs: Some Extra Thoughts (3 of 6): What is he thinking?

  In the previous posts, I looked at the four sorts of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. The four sorts of verbs are verbs of Senses (smell, hear, sense), Ownership (have, contain, belong), Mind (believe, trust, know), Emotion (love, hate, adore). I remember these by thinking ‘SOME verbs are stative’. But in the previous post, I mentioned that it is not just the main meaning of the verb which matters, but the way the verb is used. English often uses verbs flexibly. Let’s look at the verb ‘think’. Isn’t this a verb about the mind? That’s the M in SOME? So, it must be stative, right? Well, yes and no. Often it is indeed stative. I am thinking I know the answer. [incorrect] …

Stative Verbs: Some Extra Thoughts (2 of 6): Let’s have a drink.

  In the previous posts, I looked at the four sorts of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. The four sorts of verbs are verbs of Senses (smell, hear, sense), Ownership (have, contain, belong), Mind (believe, trust, know), Emotion (love, hate, adore). I remember these by thinking ‘SOME verbs are stative’. However, in that last post, I mentioned that there are a few apparent exceptions to this SOME rule – that is, times when stative verbs ARE used with an ‘ing’ in the continuous tense. Let’s look at the verb ‘have’. Isn’t this a verb about the ownership? That’s the O in SOME? So, it must be stative, right? Yes, right! We can’t say, …

Stative Verbs 3: I trust you, but ….

  In the previous two posts, we studied two kinds of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. Let’s move on to another kind. Look at the following 10 verbs, then answer the three questions which follow. 1 Run 2 Talk …