Oh! Sorry, I'm going to have to go now. Some friends have just arrived. Sorry about that. Bye – Bye......
Hi everybody, this is Midterduncan in England, how are you today? Are you OK? I hope so! Are you happy? I hope so! Well the chilly days and freezing night are finally here and already it really does feel like winter here in England. So now I'm wearing my extra layers of clothing, including my extra-long underwear! Yes, here I am once again with another selection of you questions and comments, so without any more... shivering and before I turn a pretty shade of blue and freeze to death, let's have our first question for today!
Can we change a present continuous sentence into a passive voice?
This question was sent in by Javaid Afsoon in Pakistan. When stating something, we usually have a choice of how to express it. We can put the emphasis or importance on the person, for example – 'he has cancelled the meeting.' This is a present active sentence. We usually use 'has' or 'have' in this type of sentence. For one person (or thing) we use 'has' and for two or more people (or things) we use 'have'.
'He has...' 'Mary has...' 'The group have...' 'They have...'
If we say 'The meeting has been cancelled' then we are giving importance to the event.' This is a present perfect passive sentence. We use 'has been' or 'have been'. 'It has been...' 'They have been...'
Present perfect continuous expresses an action that is ongoing. It is happening now. The emphasis is on you.
'Even as I speak, the building id burning.' The passive voice expresses the building and what is happening to it.
The emphasis or importance is on the object. 'The building is still being destroyed by the fire, even as I speak.' The problem with passive speech is that it can make the sentence too formal. It becomes too complex. The active tense speeds the sentence up. Atcive speech is more common in present perfect continuous because you can express more by saying less.
Your nice e-mails.
I have received a nice e-mail from Kadialy and Mamadou who live in Mali, which is in west Africa. Thank you for you kind words and I'm more than happy to become you to my ever-growing global classroom. There's plenty of room for everyone. I have also received a nice massage from Julien, who lives in France. Julien is learing English in preparation for a trip he is taking with his girlfriend Margot to New York in March next year. I'm happy to hear that my lessons are helping you and I wish you both a great time in 'The Big Apple' and a special 'bonjour' to you both as well. I have also received a nice e-mail from Slawek Trzcinski in Poland, who studies English by using the internet and watching the television. Needless to say, this is the reason why I teach here on the internet. It is a great way of giving as many people as possible the chance to study English, wherever they happen to be in the world. A big hello to you Slawek and everyone watching in Poland.
What are the differences between 'have to' and 'must', 'will' and 'shall'?
These question were sent in by Linh, who foolows my lessons in Vietnam. 'have to' and 'must' are in essence the same and carry a similar definition, which is to have no choice about doing something. The only real difference comes when we look at where thay appear in a sentence. 'You must go to school.' 'you have ti go to school.' In the active sentence the word placement is eaxactly the same. However when we look at the response in the form of a question, the placement is different. 'Do I have to go?' 'Must I go?' We are also use 'should' in certain sentences as a synonyms to (of) 'must', however the urgency and importance then seems weakened and it almost sounds as if you are giving a choice rather than setting down a rule. Also remember that 'must' can be used as a way of making a recommendation. 'You must try this soup, it's delicious.' We can say that something is a 'must'. It is perfect for certain people. ' This show is a must for fans of jazz music.' When we use 'will' or 'shall', we are expressing an intention to do something. We intend to do it. It is our intention. It is a plan or decision we have made, from this moment on. ' I will see you tomorrow.' 'I will go on a diet after Christmas.' 'I will try my best' 'I will do my best.' 'I will never forget you.' The usage of the word 'shall' has been the subject of many arguments over the years. In American English 'shall' is rarely used, and the contraction 'shan't' is never used. However it can be used when offering a suggestion. 'Shall I open the window?' This is acceptable in both British and American English. In the UK the use of 'shall' still manages to divide opinion. In fact the current general trand now prefers 'will' rather than 'shall'. The use of 'shall' could be interpreted as a form of pretention or arrogance. Despite this ongoing row, there are still people who use both 'will' and 'shall'. It is worth nothing that 'will' as a noun relates to a legal document or testament, which has written on it the final wishes of – and instructions from a person who is now dead. It is their final will.
Will the real Misterduncan please stand up!
Oh look! You can see my house! The only official place where my English teaching videos are viewable is right here on YouTube. There are two channels on this site which are owned by me. They are... duncaninchina and... askmisterduncan I have recently been found out that there are a number of people setting up sites on the internet pretending to be me and asking for money to view my lessons. So again I say... the only official sites are the two I just mentioned and they only exist here on YouTube. Of course you are allowed to link my videos to your own website, on the condition that you do not change a fee or pretend to be representing me in any way. All my videos are free to watch and should remain so. I never ask for money and I will never try to get you to join a site where you have to pay to learn English. So, the only places where my videos are officially viewable are on YouTube. The channels are... duncaninchina and... askmisterduncan.
It's that time again
Ladies and gentlemen, kings, princesses, princes... and queens. It's the moment everyone has been waiting for. A gulp!... a sigh!... a poke in the eye!
The word of the week!
This week's word has only four letters and appears towards the end of a dictionary. The word is... zeal
This noun relates to having an enthusiastic nature or to be enthusiastic about something. To be dovoted to a subject or cause. To display a passion for something. 'He has a zeal for art.' 'Misterduncan has a zeal for teaching.' Synonyms include... dedication, devotion, enthusiasim, ferboour, keenness, and passion. The opposite of zeal is... apathy.
Some Freezing idioms
There are many idioms and expressions connected with the cold and low tempertures. Cold shoulder: To ignore or snub someone. You give them the cold shoulder. Out in the cold: To leave someone out of a group activity or to be left out. You have been left out in the cold. Freeze/Frozen: When the level of something remains uncharged. It stays at the same level. 'Petrol prices have been frozen.' To put something on ice: To postpone something or delay it. 'Plans for the new supermarket have been put on the ice.' Chill: A slang word meaning 'to relax' and 'take it easy'. You rest for a while. You 'chill-out'.
How do we express habits and actions using past tense?
This question comes from Katrina, who lives in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. When we talk about the things we have done in the past, there are certain words we must use to show this is so. Using past tense may seem confusing, but with practice, it is quite easy to master. If we are talking about something we did in the past but no longer do now, then we say... 'used to'. 'I used to travel by bus.' 'I used to belong to a rock band.' 'I used to trust you.' We are clearly showing that something we did in the past is no longer done. We can also show that something was done in the past for a certain period of time. In this case we can use 'did'. 'I did yoga for a few months last year.' ' I did some voluntary work last summet.' We use the word 'went' when talking about past movements or travel. 'I went to Turkey for my holiday.' 'I went to visit my friends in Scotland.' Other words include 'always' & 'have'. 'I always stay wi5h my family at xmas' 'I have always taken care of myself' 'I have always been keen on nature'. In these sentences we are showing that the habit is still continuing right up until now. Just before I go back indoors to chip thi ice off my knees, I would like to send a bog special hello to all of my new friends on Facebook. Since the last 'Ask Misterduncan' I have had over 500 people join me on my page, so hello to all of you.
Thank you also for the many kind messages concerning the fourth anniversary of my teaching English here on YouTube. I have to say that would have never made it this far, were it not for all of you and your kind words of encouragement and support. So thank you for watching me, teaching you during these past four years and I promise to continue doing this fror as long as you want me to. That is all from me for today. Look out for my next full lesson, coming your way very soon. Which will be... Lesson sixty! Wow! I look forwardto seeing you all again very soon. This is Midterduncan in a very chilly England saying, thank you for watching me, answering you and of course.... Ta-ta for now.