LEARN A WORD A DAY

Monday, August 10, 2009

Adjectives

An adjective is a word that tells us more about a noun. (By "noun" we include pronouns and noun phrases.)

An adjective "qualifies" or "modifies" a noun (a big dog).

Adjectives can be used before a noun (I like Chinese food) or after certain verbs (It is hard).

We can often use two or more adjectives together (a beautiful young Indian lady).

It is sometimes said that the adjective is the enemy of the noun. This is because, very often, if we use the precise noun we don't need an adjective. For example, instead of saying "a large, impressive house" (2 adjectives + 1 noun) we could simply say "a mansion" (1 noun).

Determiners

Determiners are words like the, an, my, some. They are grammatically similar. They all come at the beginning of noun phrases, and usually we cannot use more than one determiner in the same noun phrase.

Articles:

  • a, an, the

Possessives:

  • my, your, his, her, our, their

Other determiners:

  • each, every
  • either, neither
  • any, some, no
  • much, many; more, most
  • little, less, least
  • few, fewer, fewest
  • what, whatever; which, whichever
  • both, half, all
  • several
  • enough
Some grammarians do not consider determiners as adjectives, but give them a class of their own.

Determiners: A, An or The?

When do we say "the cat" and when do we say "a cat"?

The and a/an are called "articles". We divide them into "definite" and "indefinite" like this:

Articles
DefiniteIndefinite
thea, an

We use "definite" to mean sure, certain. "Definite" is particular.

We use "indefinite" to mean not sure, not certain. "Indefinite" is general.

When we are talking about one thing in particular, we use the. When we are talking about one thing in general, we use a or an.

Think of the sky at night. In the sky we see 1 moon and millions of stars. So normally we would say:

  • I saw the moon last night.
  • I saw a star last night.

Look at these examples:

thea, an
  • The capital of France is Paris.
  • I have found the book that I lost.
  • Have you cleaned the car?
  • There are six eggs in the fridge.
  • Please switch off the TV when you finish.
  • I was born in a town.
  • Yatie had an omelette for lunch.
  • James Bond ordered a drink.
  • We want to buy an umbrella.
  • Have you got a pen?

Of course, often we can use the or a/an for the same word. It depends on the situation, not the word. Look at these examples:

  • We want to buy an umbrella. (Any umbrella, not a particular umbrella.)
  • Where is the umbrella? (We already have an umbrella. We are looking for our umbrella, a particular umbrella.)
This little story should help you understand the difference between the and a, an:

A man and a woman were walking in Petaling Street. The woman saw a dress that she liked in athe man if he could buy the dress for her. He said: "Do you think the shop will accept a cheque? I don't have a credit card."
shop. She asked

Determiners: Each, Every

Each and every have similar but not always identical meanings.

Each = every one separately
Every = each, all


Sometimes, each and every have the same meaning:

  • Prices go up each year.
  • Prices go up every year.

But often they are not exactly the same.

Each expresses the idea of 'one by one'. It emphasizes individuality.

Every is half-way between each and all. It sees things or people as singular, but in a group or in general.

Consider the following:

  • Every artist is sensitive.
  • Each artist sees things differently.
  • Every soldier saluted as the Yang Dipertuan Agong arrived.
  • The Yang Dipertuan Agong ave each soldier a medal.

Each can be used in front of the verb:

  • The soldiers each received a medal.

Each can be followed by 'of':

  • The President spoke to each of the soldiers.
  • He gave a medal to each of them.

Every cannot be used for 2 things. For 2 things, each can be used:

  • He was carrying a suitcase in each hand.

Every is used to say how often something happens:

  • There is a plane to Bangkok every day.
  • The bus leaves every hour.

Verbs with each and every are always conjugated in the singular

Determiners: Some, Any

Some = a little, a few or a small number or amount

Any = one, some or all

Usually, we use some in positive (+) sentences and any in negative (-) and question (?) sentences.


someanyexample situation
+I have some money.
I have RM10.
-
I don't have any money.I don't have RM1 and I don't have RM10 and I don't have RM1,000,000. I have RM0.
?
Do you have any money?Do you have RM1 or RM10 or RM1,000,000?

In general, we use something/anything and somebody/anybody in the same way as some/any.

Look at these examples:

  • He needs some stamps.
  • I must go. I have some homework to do.
  • I'm thirsty. I want something to drink.
  • I can see somebody coming.
  • He doesn't need any stamps.
  • I can stay. I don't have any homework to do.
  • I'm not thirsty. I don't want anything to drink.
  • I can't see anybody coming.
  • Does he need any stamps?
  • Do you have any homework to do?
  • Do you want anything to drink?
  • Can you see anybody coming?

We use any in a positive sentence when the real sense is negative.

  • I refused to give them any money. (I did not give them any money)
  • She finished the test without any difficulty. (she did not have any difficulty)

Sometimes we use some in a question, when we expect a positive YES answer. (We could say that it is not a real question, because we think we know the answer already.)

  • Would you like some more tea?
  • Could I have some sugar, please?

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Collection of SPM English Language Question Papers

2005
Terengganu Trial [Paper 1]

2007
Johor Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2] [Answers], Melaka Trial 2007 [Paper 1] [Paper 2], TIMES [Paper 1] [Paper 2] SPB [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2008

Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2],
Trial
MRSM Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], SBP Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kelantan Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kedah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Johor Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Perlis Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sabah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sarawak Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Melaka Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2009

Terengganu TOV [Paper 1] [Paper 2] Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2]
Melaka Trial , Johor Trial , Sabah Trial , Kedah Trial , Perlis Trial , Times , SBP , Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

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