Friday, 17 January 2014

English Structures

smmall talk
English Small Talk Phrases With “THING”

What do you think about the whole … thing? – a handy way to ask for someone’s opinion on something that the other person is already familiar with. Basically you don’t need to explain the problem in detail, you just use one or two words before the word “thing” that would make it clear what the story is about. Moreover, you don’t have to make sure they correspond to the rest of the sentence in terms of grammar, just stick them in – “So what do you think about the whole who gets the best score thing?” “What do you think about the whole promotion thing?”

This whole … thing looks really messed up (pretty bad etc.) – the same as previous phrase – just stick the relevant word or words in between the words “whole” and “thing” – and there you go! You have a perfect way of making a comment about some problem. “This whole bank bailout thing looks really messed up!”

The thing is that … - this is a great way to start explaining your point when someone asks you to explain something. A more formal way of responding to a question would be “The reason for… is the following…” or “Let me explain you why…” or whatever would be the most fitting sentence for a particular occasion. “The thing is that…” is a universal phrase you can use in nearly all situations when you’re asked to explain something!

Here’s the thing … - this English small talk phrase is a brilliant way to start a conversation if you want to make an offer, ask for a favor or advice, or explain a problem. “OK, here’s the thing – I can’t make it to 9:30 tomorrow morning, can you fill in for me?”

How are things? – a typical greeting phrase you can use when addressing people you’re familiar with or if you get to know them in a less formal setting – “Hi Tom, how are things?” You can also say “How’s things?” – and don’t get confused by bad grammar in the phrase. Conversational English is full of grammar “mistakes”! ;-)

Things are looking up – means that you’re satisfied with your life and everything seems to be happening for the better.

Things are pretty bad – this is what you’d say if you’re asked “How are you?” or “How are things?” and you have to admit that you’re in a pretty bad situation at the moment. Normally though, unless you’re in really deep trouble, don’t start crying on someone’s shoulder. On 9 occasions out of 10 the average person would say that everything is fine even if they had some issues. It’s a way of programming yourself for success :!:

There’s one more thing – just another way of saying “I have something else to say in this regard”.


1. How often do you
2. Do you want me to + (verb
3. What do you think about (verb-ing
4. Why don't we + (verb)
5. It's too bad that
6. You could have + (past participle)
7. If I were you, I would + (verb
8. It's gonna be + (adjective)
9. It looks like + (noun)
10. That's why + (subject + verb)
11. It's time to + (verb)
12. The point is that + (subject + verb)
13. How was + (noun)
14. How about + (verb-ing)
15. What if + (subject + verb)
16. How much does it cost to + (verb
17. How come + (subject + verb)
18. What are the chances of + (verb-ing)
19. There is something wrong with + (noun)
20. Let's not + (verb)
21. Let's say that + (subject + verb)
22. There's no need to + (verb)
23. It takes + (time) + to + (verb)
24. Please make sure that + (subject + verb)
25. Here's to + (noun)
26. It's no use + (verb-ing)
27. There's no way + (subject + verb)
28. It's very kind of you to + (verb
29. There's nothing + (subject) + can + (verb)
30. Rumor has it that + (subject + verb
31  it follows from sth that
32  that does not follow
33  there is general/wide agreement that (=most people agree that):
      There is wide agreement that the forest damage is the result of atmospheric pollution.

Commas and semicolons

The comma is probably the most versatile punctuation mark in English. For this reason, commas are also the most overused and misused.  Problems with commas vary, but include unnecessary commas, a comma when there should be a period or semicolon, or a missing comma (after an introductory clause for instance). Most good writers use semicolons sparingly. Often, you can improve a complicated sentence that contains semicolons by rewriting the sentence to use some other punctuation mark.

One way to improve your sentence structure is to learn common patterns.  Here are the major sentence structures, followed by definitions of the terminology and practice exercises.

Independent Clause: A group of words with a subject and a main verb that can stand alone as a sentence.  Sometimes called a main clause.  

Subordinate Clause: A group of words with a subject and a main verb that cannot stand alone as a sentence.  Sometimes called a dependent clause.   

Conjunctive Adverbs: however, therefore, moreover, furthermore, thus, meanwhile, nonetheless, otherwise, in fact, for example, for instance, in addition, in other words, on the other hand [not a complete list]

Coordinating Conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet 

Subordinating Conjunctions: after, although, as, because, before, if, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, while

Nonrestrictive modifier: A group of modifying words in the middle of a sentence.  When removed, the main meaning of the sentence remains the same.  Commas are used before and after it.

Restrictive modifier: A group of modifying words in the middle of a sentence that convey information necessary to understanding the meaning of the sentence.  No commas are used.  When “that” is used to begin the clause, it’s automatically a restrictive modifier.

No comments:

Post a Comment