Grammar

This section will cover various grammar items to ensure students have a good basic foundation of the fundamentals of English, as well as advanced topics that all students will eventually need to master.

3 comments

  1. Dear Lee, where can we ask questions on this site?

    I have two questions: 1) According to the critics, last night’s performance was lacking in verve and energy. Why should we use Past Continuous, not Past Simple in this sentence? (“was lacking”, not “lacked”) 2) Jack is being very annoying these days – I can’t persuade him to forget his stage-fright and get out and perform! Why should we use “is being,” not “is”? I would write “Jack is very annoying these days…”

    1. I have two questions:
      1) According to the critics, last night’s performance was lacking in verve and energy.
      Why should we use Past Continuous, not Past Simple in this sentence? (“was lacking”, not “lacked”)

      These two are very nearly the same.
      According to the critics, last night’s performance was lacking in verve and energy.
      According to the critics, last night’s performance lacked in verve and energy.

      To me, there is a VERY subtle difference in connotation.

      “Lacked” = completed action. That one performance is done and will never happen again. There is no implication that there will be future performances.

      “Was lacking” hints at continuing action, so it implies to me that there will be future performances where this group will have a chance to do better. Thus, their “lacking” status is still in progress and their is hope that it will change for the better.

      This is my opinion only. I do not know what was in the writer’s mind.
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      2) Jack is being very annoying these days – I can’t persuade him to forget his stage-fright and get out and perform!
      Why should we use “is being,” not “is”? I would write “Jack is very annoying these days…”

      is = intrinsic (permanent condition)
      is being = deliberate choice of behavior (temporary condition)
      A child can be difficult one day and not the next day. Today he is being difficult.
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      Thanks for letting me know about the need for students to know where to ask questions. I’ll have to think about a way. This website is primitive right now — not very capable. Working on it.

      Your comment on this page is an excellent place to use for now. 🙂

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