Cheese Test Blog 2019

Jan. 29, 2019

029 Have you a car?

029 I have a car.

029 I haven’t a motorcycle.

029 I used to be a firefighter.

029 I usedn’t to be a policeman.

029 Used you to be a firefighter?

029 Water is boiling at 100 Degrees Centigrade.

029 Water is to boil at 100 Degrees Centigrade.

Leslie: Which Sentences are incorrect?

Bogi: The first Sentence, ’Have you a car?’ seems to be corrupt, in other words totally ungrammatical.

L: I don’t agree with you. If you go to the British Library and dig up a coursebook that was printed in the 1970s, you’ll find that a few decades ago that was the standard and the norm.

B: Does it mean that the English language changes so quickly? That within a mere four decades, it can change into its own opposite?

L: To be able to give a correct answer, let’s see the three related Sentences together.

B: OK.

L: The Sentences are: ’I have a car.’, ’Have you got a car?’ and ’I haven’t a motorcycle.’

B: The first, ’I have a car.’ seems to be all right. I wouldn’t use it too often but it’s fully understandable.

L: I agree with you. However, the problem started here in the mid-70s – early 80s, and it started in the US.

B: Why in the US?

L: Simply because the development of American English is different from the development of British English both in its trends and its speed. Americans seem to be more rational in their thinking and they try to get rid of irrational routines.

This is what happened with the Verb ’have’. In British English, ’have’ was, and in other functions it still is, one of the 24 Anomalous Finites, i. e. a Jump Word, and in a Question it could jump out of its place without leaving anything behind.

So the standard question was ’Have you a car?’ Americans changed this and started to ask with ’do’. If we ask with ’do’ for almost all other Verbs, why should ’have’ be unique in this respect?

So their question was ’Do you have a car?’, and almost immediately the Negative Sentence was formed as ’I don’t have a car.’

In American English ’have’ became one of the main Verbs and it needs an Anomalous Finite to raise a Question or to make a Negative Sentence.

British English also develops but its development took a different turn. The British English question became ’Have you got a car?’ and the Negative Sentence ’I haven’t got a car.’ Soon, the Positive [Affirmative] Sentence also became ’I have got a car.’

Here, the Verb ’have’ is still an Anomalous Finite and the word ’got’ is just a meaningless filler. This structure is unique because most of the Anomalous Finites leave an Infinitive behind when they jump but ’got’ is not an Infinitive.

B: Isn’t it chaotic to have two totally different solutions to the same problem?

L: I don’t think so. British English and American English act upon each other and very soon both forms were present in both places.

Language is an economical creature, read we cannot have these two structures present with exactly the same meaning. So users of the language started to give the two structures meanings with a nuance difference.

’I have a car.’ has a meaning in All-Inclusive Time, while the meaning of ’I have got a car.’ is more like Here-and-Now.

As a matter of course, the differences are very similar in the related Questions and Negative Sentences as well.

B: Is there a similar story about ’used’, as in ’I used to be a firefighter.’?

L: Sure, but it is a British affair rather than a British – American co-production.

All in all, the form ’used’ is all right for a Positive Sentence, but in the Question and in the Negative Sentence, the use of ’did’ became the norm, although ’used’ is not the Past Tense of ’use’.

We ended up in using the linguistically corrupr form all over and see the linguistically correct forms as funny or sub-standard.

B: What about the last two Sentences?

L: Let’s see them one by one. ’Water is boiling at 100 Degrees Centigrade.’ is grammatically correct but situationally incorrect. It is about Here-and-Now and the boiling point of water doesn’t depend on Time.

B: What about the last? ’Water is to boil at 100 Degrees Centigrade.’

L: It is also a correct Sentence from the point of view of Grammar. Here, the problem is that the boiling point of water doesn’t depend on logics, so it is situationally incorrect.

Jan. 28, 2019

Select the bad one(s); which is the worst?

We'll let the cat out of the bag tomorrow.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to raise them.

If you have any problems in reading the Blue Screenshots, please tell me and I can send you pdf files via email or Skype.

This system doesn't support the pdf format.

Jan. 28, 2019

028 If it weren’t for my bad legs, I would run the 100 metres in 11 seconds.

028 If we didn’t get there on time, there wouldn’t be any black caviar left.

028 If you did that, you would be in trouble.

028 It’s time we called it a day. It’s very late and the hosts have to go to work early tomorrow.

028 It’s time we went now. If we don’t, we’ll miss the train.

028 What would happen to me if I did that?

028 When would that happen to me?

028 Would I be in trouble if I did that?

Past Tense: the 2nd Form of the Verb?

The 2nd Form of the Verb: Past Tense?

Conditional: the Second Form of the Verb?

The 2nd Form of the Verb: Conditional?

 Leslie: The topic for today double-barreled, i. e. it has two totally different aspects

  •  Past Tense: the 2nd Form of the Verb?
  • The 2nd Form of the Verb: Past Tense?
  • Conditional: the Second Form of the Verb?
  • The 2nd Form of the Verb: Conditional?

Olga: It seems to be a very fat topic. Can we handle these two, totally different themes together?

L: My answer may seem to be very funny for some people: No, we shouldn’t but we must.

It is a double-barreled answer to a double-barreled problem.

O: It sounds intriguing. What is the ’shouldn’t’-element in it?

L: Let me start with the ’must’-element.

We must show the two, the Past Simple Tense and the Conditional Form of the Verb together to be able to make the distinction between them.

O: Where does the problem start? What is the root of all evil?

L: Funnily, the root of all evil is what is advertised and sold as the solution to all the world’s problems.

O: What is it?

L: It is the teaching and learning of the ’3 forms of the Verb’

O: What’s wrong with it?

L: There are many problems but I’m going to name only one or two.

The first problem is that it is not true. ’Went’ is not necessarily Past Tense, and the Past Tense of ’go’ is not necessarily ’went’.

The second problem is linked to the first: the ’3 forms of the Verb’ is ’normally’ – abnormally taught, meaning reflex-conditioned as a mantra. It is out of context, it is without understanding, and it is  without even the need to understand anything.

O: Let’s take the examples that are mentionad int he blue screenshot.

L: ’If it weren’t for my bad legs, I could run the 100 metres in 11 seconds.’

For the student who learnt the ’3 forms of the Verb’ as a mantra, it is Past Simple Tense.

The third problem, after the two I have mentioned, is that Comprehension is not in the focus and Time is not in the Origo of Comprehension.

If we realise that the Sentence above is in Non-Past Time, we immediately understand that the Sentence is Conditional.

It is not the ’if’ that makes the Sentence Conditional, but the Time – Tense relations in it. The ’if’ is only a Conditional Marker.

O: What exactly do you mean by that?

L: ’Were’ is Past Tense if the Time is Past. Actually, the Past Time makes it Past Tense.

If, however, the Time is Non-Past, ’were’ is not Past Tense but the Conditional Form of the Verb.

O: The next Sentence is ’If we didn’t get there on time, there wouldn’t be any black caviar left.’

What is wrong with this Sentence?

L: There is nothing wrong with the Sentence. The problem is, again, with the mantra.

If students learn that ’we use the Past Tense in the 2nd Conditional Sentence’,  they will find it very difficult to understand that the Conditional Form of the Verb here is ’did’, and ’get’ is an Infinitive.

O: We have another ’did’ here: ’If you did that, you would be in trouble.’

L: You are right but it is a completely different ’did’. It is what we call and color Orange Verb and it can be broken up into a Red Jump Word and a Yellow  Infinitive.

It is not Past Simple Tense either; it is the Conditional Form of the main Verb Do.

O: Here is the next one: ’It’s time we called it a day. It’s very late and the hosts have to go to work early tomorrow.’

This ’called’ is not Past Simple Tense either. The Phrase ’It’s time’ is both a Time Marker and a Conditional Marker, and as such it both Marks the Non-Past Time, and Invites the Conditional Form of the Verb ’call’.

L: Perfect. And here comes the ’should’ from the beginning of our conversation. Teachers should teach in situations and a properly set up situation always has plenty of Time Markers.

O: The next Sentence is here: ’It’s time we went now. If we don’t, we’ll miss the train.’

L: It is almost the same formula; the only difference is that the Result has a very high probability now since it is operated by an external agent.

O: Let me do the last three, and do them as one bunch.

’What would happen to me if I did that?’ and ’When would that happen to me?’ and ’Would I be in trouble if I did that?’ are all questions that contain Conditional Forms, and Forms of Verbs that can be taken for Past Tense.

Of course, they are not in Past Tense, but Non-Past Time Conditional Forms.

Jan. 27, 2019

Select the bad one(s); which is the worst?

We'll let the cat out of the bag tomorrow.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to raise them.

If you have any problems in reading the Blue Screenshots, please tell me and I can send you pdf files via email or Skype.

This system doesn't support the pdf format.

Jan. 27, 2019

027 Subject Question.

027 General Question.

027 Verb Question.

027 Object Question.

027 Manner Question.

027 Place Question.

027 Time Question.

Leslie: The topic for today is ’Question Word Order’. A sticky topic.

Paul: I would prefer a reversed order; I would like to ask you if you don’t mind.

L: OK. It is an extremely important topic. Go ahead.

P: Why is it such an important topic?

L: A good conversation is neither a monologue, nor a sandwich of Positive Sentences.

It is a composition of Questions and Answers on both sides.

In school, the situation is very funny: the teacher, who knows the answers, asks the questions and the students, who may or may not know the answers, will [try to] give the answers.

That’s the very reason why most of the students will not learn high-level question-and-answer techniques.  

 P: Where should we start, then?

L: We must start with the Positive [Affirmative] Sentence. The basic structure of the English Sentence is Subject – Verb – Object – Adverb of Manner – Adverb of Place – Adverb of Time. E. g.

John   read   the letter   very quickly   in his office   before lunch.

As a matter of course, there are other kinds of Sentences, e. g. when the Verb is a Copula but, first things first, let’s learn the basics.

P: Which type of Question is most similar to the Positive Sentence? I’m asking you about the minimal change.

L: It is the Subject Question. It is almost exactly the same as the Positive Sentence; the only difference is that we know the Subject in the Positive Sentence and in the Subject Question, we don’t.

Who   read   the letter   very quickly   in his office   before lunch?

There is no change in the Word Order, the Jump Word doesn’t need to jump, we don’t need to create an Infinitive, and we don’t need to get rid of the Old [Original] Verb.

Just put ’Who’ or ’What’ in place of the Subject, and the Subject Question is ready.

We can say that the Positive Sentence and the Subject Question are Structural Relatives.

P: What comes next?

L: It is the General [Yes-No] Question because all the other questions are derivatives of this.

First of all, we have to have a Jump Word if we want to make a Question. The Jump Word is is one of the 24 Anomalous Finites.

Grammar Books, and teachers behind them, always tell students to ’use Did or Do or Does’ to ask a Question.

What they don’t, and can’t, tell students is where Students should get that ’Did’ or ’Do’ or ’Does’ from, what they should do with the Original [Main] Verb, and where they should get an Infinitive from.

Did   John   read   the letter   quickly   in his office   before lunch?

We don’t need to import a Jump Word; rather we make them ont he spot by breaking up the Orange [Main] Verb into a Jump Word, and an Infinitive with the same information-content as the Orange [Main] Verb.

P: What is the next logical step?

L: The Verb Question. As all the others that follow, the Verb Question comes out of the General Question. The main difference is that here we don’t know the Action or Happening.

I’ve used ’main difference’ because, very often, if we don’t know the Verb and ask about it, we may not know the Object and some of the Adverbs either.

What   did   John   do   quickly   in his office   before lunch?

Here, if we don’t know what John did, i. e. if we don’t know that he read something, we may not know that the something was a letter so ’letter’ cannot be in the Verb Question.

P: The next step is to ask the Object Question.

L: It is becoming very easy, isn’t it?

What   did   John   read   quickly   in his office   before lunch?

Here, we know that John read something and the only question is what he read.

P: Then the Manner Question.

L: It is very often missing from the repertoire buti t also needs practice.

How   did   John   read   the letter   in his office   before lunch?

P: The Place Question comes almost automatically, doesn’t it?

L: Sure.

Where   did   John   read   the letter   quickly   before lunch?

And the Time Question completes the Question Matrix:

When   did   John   read   the letter   quickly   in his office?

Of course, for all Questions, the missing information is the Answer.

You can find a very high, and growing number of examples in the Sentence Matrix.