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The rules concerning the use of apostrophes in written English are very simple:
1. They are used to denote a missing letter or letters, for example:
I can’t instead of I cannot
I don’t instead of I do not
it’s instead of it is or it has
2. They are used to denote possession, for example:
the dog’s bone
the company’s logo
Jones’s bakery (but Joneses’ bakery if owned by more than one Jones)
This applies to all nouns, so the correct versions are Jesus’s disciples, Keats’s poems and so on.
Please note that “Its”, which is usually used as a possessive adjective (like “our”, “his” etc), does not take an apostrophe:
the dog ate its bone and we ate our dinner
… however, if there are two or more dogs, companies or Joneses in our example, the apostrophe comes after the ‘s’:
the dogs’ bones
the companies’ logos
3. Apostrophes are NEVER ever used to denote plurals! Common examples of such abuse (all seen in real life!) are:
Banana’s for sale which of course should read Bananas for sale
Menu’s printed to order which should read Menus printed to order
MOT’s at this garage which should read MOTs at this garage
1000’s of bargains here! which should read 1000s of bargains here!
New CD’s just in! which should read New CDs just in!
Buy your Xmas tree’s here! which should read Buy your Xmas trees here!
Note: Special care must be taken over the use of “your” and “you’re” as they sound the same but are used quite differently:
your is possessive as in this is your pen
you’re is short for “you are” as in you’re coming over to my house.
The conditional mood is a grammatical mood used to express a proposition whose validity is dependent on some condition, possibly counterfactual. It thus refers to a distinct verb form that expresses a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances. An example of a verb in the conditional mood is the French aimerait, meaning “would love” (from the verb aimer, “to love”).
Conditional mood often refers to an inflected verb form, like the example just given. However the term is also sometimes used in relation to an analytic construction that performs the same function. Thus a construction like the English would love will sometimes be described as representing the conditional mood. In some informal contexts, such as language teaching, it may be called the “conditional tense”.
The conditional mood is generally found in the independent clause (apodosis) of a conditional sentence, namely the clause that expresses the result of the condition, rather than the dependent clause (protasis) expressing the condition. The protasis will often use a different verb form, depending on the grammatical rules of the language in question, such as a past tense form or the subjunctive mood. This is exemplified by the English sentence “If you loved me you would support me” – here the conditional would support appears in the apodosis, while the protasis (the condition clause) uses instead the simple past form loved.
Not every conditional sentence involves the conditional mood (and some languages do not have a conditional mood at all). For example, in the sentence “If I win, he will be disappointed”, the conditional circumstance is expressed using the future marker will. Also a conditional verb form may have other uses besides expressing conditionality; for example the English would construction may also be used for past habitual action (“When I was young I would happily walk three miles to school every day”), or with future-in-the-past meaning.
Conditional mood can be denoted by the glossing abbreviation COND. Some languages distinguish more than one conditional mood; the East African language Hadza, for example, has a potential conditional expressing possibility, and a veridical conditional expressing certainty.
This article describes the formation of the conditional forms of verbs in certain languages. For fuller details of the construction of conditional sentences, see Conditional sentence (and for English specifically, English conditional sentences).
This one was suggested by Matthew, Mr Libro. I’ve got to the point where I can’t remember whether I’ve covered a particular confusing word pair or not (see the link at the bottom of this post for the index to them all) but it is indeed a new one …
Slight is an adjective meaning not very sturdy or strong, or inconsiderable, small: “The rider was so slight that they feared he could not control the larger horse”; “There is a slight problem with your use of their and there, have a look at Liz’s Troublesome Pairs posts”. A slight (noun) is a kind of insult which is based around not showing someone the appropriate level of respect or attention: “He never bothered to read her blog posts, and she felt this slight keenly”.
Sleight is only actually ever found as part of the phrase ‘sleight of hand‘…
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Last week the third class of The European School of Trieste had an hour of Slender Man fun. We pieced together a Slender Man literature jigsaw, and then performed it with with gusto! 🙂
For weeks I’ve been stalked by this…this…thing…and now Slender Man has finally found me…
A shiver runs down my spine as I daringly take a quick glance into my garden from behind the curtain, the sight of this peculiar creature makes my blood run cold.
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Tricks and Techniques for better spoken English
Extremely useful video from the co-founder of International House.
A MUST SEE!