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View Full Version : Past tense and possessive and when to add 's'



similan
05-11-2006, 07:29 AM
I have a lot of problem with past tense (hey, don't raise you eyebrow at me, I have an excuse, Eng is my second language). :D

Is there a website where this is explained in detail?

For example, I was told that, as a rule, add 'ed' to whatever comes after "be" and "is/are". I can't spare cash to buy a book that I saw someone in this forum recommend at the moment, so is there a really good, free, site for this?

There you go, in the sentence above, I'm not sure if recommend should be recommended.

For example,

Every thing is issued to you.

Every thing will be issued to you.

But that's not always the case.

Moving on. Possessive. Is there a rule for that? Do I write Car's door or car door? I know Bob's legs and such but when we're not talking about living things then I start to wonder. Like, Microsoft's products or Microsoft products.

And then there's the S

Sometimes I see 'FOODS' but isn't food noncount?

Thanks

maestrowork
05-11-2006, 07:51 AM
Don't fret. English is my second language, too. ;)

Tenses in English are one of the most difficult things in English because they're so inconsistent and there seem to be no particular rules. "Swim, swam, swum" or "lit, lit, lit" or "pit, pitted, pitted" or "spit, spat, spat." Argh!


The best thing to do is to consult a dictionary, especially when you're confused. You'll just need to memorize the exceptions. And read a lot -- internalize it (it's just a bad word now: internalize.. LOL).

I try not to use possessive with inanimate objects. "The car door" or "the door of the car."

"Foods" means a variety of food, I think. I have seen people use "moneys" or "monies" and I thought "money" is uncountable (puns intended). This whole "countable" and "uncountable" business is also very confusing to non-English speakers.

reph
05-11-2006, 08:07 AM
"Is there a website where this is explained in detail?"

Probably, but I don't know of one offhand.

---

"For example, I was told that, as a rule, add 'ed' to whatever comes after "be" and "is/are". I can't spare cash to buy a book that I saw someone in this forum recommend at the moment, so is there a really good, free, site for this?

There you go, in the sentence above, I'm not sure if recommend should be recommended."

It should be "recommend."

I saw that someone recommended a book.

I saw someone recommend a book.

---
"For example,

Every thing is issued to you.

Every thing will be issued to you."

Those sentences don't use past tense. They use verbs in the passive voice ("is issued," "will be issued"). A verb in the passive voice is made of two parts: (1) a form of "to be" plus (2) the past participle of the verb, not the simple past tense of the verb.

For example:

show = present tense
showed = past tense
shown = past participle

You'd therefore write "The students were shown a movie."

Similarly, "I was drawn into the conversation" (draw, drew, drawn) or "Twenty bottles of wine were drunk at the wedding" (drink, drank, drunk).

---

"Do I write Car's door or car door? I know Bob's legs and such but when we're not talking about living things then I start to wonder. Like, Microsoft's products or Microsoft products."

You write "car door." Generally, it is incorrect to use the possessive ending with inanimate objects. There are a few words that are conventional exceptions, such as "life" and "world." The world's greatest golfer... Life's little mysteries... Some set phrases are also exceptions, such as "at death's door" and "art for art's sake."

The Microsoft example can go either way, depending on a slight difference in the meaning. "Microsoft's products": products that belong to the Microsoft company. "Microsoft products": products manufactured by Microsoft.

---

"Sometimes I see 'FOODS' but isn't food noncount?"

It can be either kind of noun. "There was plenty of food on the table" (mass noun). "Oatmeal is a good food for children," "Eat a variety of foods" (count noun).

similan
05-11-2006, 07:44 PM
I'm in a real hurry but I just wanted to stop by and thank you guys for clearing those up. I'll be back later.

Thank you.

Cheers

Glenda
05-12-2006, 06:19 AM
OK, I'm in trouble, because that is as clear as mud to me.:Shrug:

similan
05-12-2006, 06:42 AM
Actually, there is/was an excellent site out there that I had bookmarked. Lost it because Firefox has this fetish about deleting all your months' worth of bookmarks. I searched for the site but haven't found it. Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough.

How about this?

When you want to ask someone something. Do you say, I 'just wanted' to ask where did you get that crazy hair cut so I don't go there. Or, I wanted to ask... Or, I want to ask... I've seen natives do it both ways so... And that's another thing, everytime I feel confident about how something is used, some native speaker does it another way and pulls the rug from under me. teh

Bartholomew
05-12-2006, 07:00 AM
Similan,

The best thing you could do is pick up a copy of a little book called, "The Elements of Style."

It answers many, many questions about grammar and technical English.

Best Regards,

Bart


I have a lot of problem with past tense (hey, don't raise you eyebrow at me, I have an excuse, Eng is my second language). :D

Is there a website where this is explained in detail?

For example, I was told that, as a rule, add 'ed' to whatever comes after "be" and "is/are". I can't spare cash to buy a book that I saw someone in this forum recommend at the moment, so is there a really good, free, site for this?

There you go, in the sentence above, I'm not sure if recommend should be recommended.

For example,

Every thing is issued to you.

Every thing will be issued to you.

But that's not always the case.

Moving on. Possessive. Is there a rule for that? Do I write Car's door or car door? I know Bob's legs and such but when we're not talking about living things then I start to wonder. Like, Microsoft's products or Microsoft products.

And then there's the S

Sometimes I see 'FOODS' but isn't food noncount?

Thanks

similan
05-12-2006, 07:10 PM
They don't have it where I'm living. I tried several highschool textbooks but they suck bad. They're written by some overachievers Thai guys that don't know anything about writing text to teach. :(

Anyway. I'll search the net some more.

Cheers

EDIT:

Whoa! Is this the book? (http://www.bartleby.com/141/)

Jamesaritchie
05-12-2006, 11:23 PM
They don't have it where I'm living. I tried several highschool textbooks but they suck bad. They're written by some overachievers Thai guys that don't know anything about writing text to teach. :(

Anyway. I'll search the net some more.

Cheers

EDIT:

Whoa! Is this the book? (http://www.bartleby.com/141/)



No, that isn't the book. The one on Bartleby is the 1918 edition by Strunk alone. You want the Strunk & White version. You can get it pretty much anywhere. I've never been in a bookstore than didn't have. And even if one doesn't, it can order it for you. You can also get it from Amazon.com, etc.

It's very easy to find, very cheap, even new, and a must have for writers.

reph
05-13-2006, 02:29 AM
Strunk & White has much of what you need to know, but it won't tell you things like whether to say "I just wanted to ask" or "I want to ask." (Both are correct; the second sounds more assertive.)

Puma
05-18-2006, 03:52 PM
Try a college handbook of English grammar - there should be some of those on e-bay. Scott Wolley had a pretty good one but the best is/was Harbrace (or Harcourt Brace). The handbooks spell out the rules and give reasonable examples.

similan
05-18-2006, 05:10 PM
Thanks, guys. When I have some cash, I'll get them.

Cheers

Edit:

Hmm...only $10 for paperback and 6 more for hardcover. I wonder how much amazon charged to ship to Thailand.

Variant Frequencies
05-18-2006, 07:18 PM
Does this help?
http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/tenses.html
Or this?
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_tensec.html

I googled English grammar past tense and got a lot of hits.

similan
05-19-2006, 10:15 AM
Yes! Thank you!

It's not that I'm too lazy to do a search, but I'm using internet card to log online and they're expensive, and the connection is painfully slow. Not to mention that my phone line disconects me every fifteen minutes and I get charged every time I reconnect. So, I tend to just log on and go to sites I like to visit, this one for example and read stuff then log off.

Anyway, thank you. You've made my day. :)

Variant Frequencies
05-20-2006, 01:43 PM
Yay!
You're welcome. :)