English Lessons

Topics

To borrow and to lend

In English, the verb to borrow means to take or use something that belongs to someone else for a short period of time. The verb to lend is to give something to a person for a short period of time. These two words often get mixed up by non-native speakers, so let's look at some examples. 

 

In the following example, Valentino lends the clothes and Sharon Stone borrows the clothes. In the end, she has to give them back.

 

So Valentino, the designer, lends me clothes to wear for appearances.
Caption 64, Jimmy Carter: Another interview with Sharon Stone

 

The phrase "lend a hand" means "to help out."

 

I would not lend a hand
Caption 5,  Phil Collins: In The Air Tonight 

 

In the following sentence, Richard Wiseman tells you to use your friend's money to play a trick on them.

 

Borrow a note from a friend. 
Caption 49, Richard Wiseman: 10 bets you will always win

 

Of course, some people keep things for longer than they should...

 

You are so welcome to borrow her for the next ten years or so.
Caption 5, Selena Gomez: Ramona And Beezus 

 

So now you know that saying "Johnny borrowed me ten dollars" is completely wrong! You have to say either "Johnny lent me ten dollars" or "I borrowed ten dollars from Johnny."

 

Further Learning
Write some sentences that begin with "I recently borrowed..." and "I recently lent..." Re-write the sentences above from Yabla English so that they use the other verb and remembering to change the subject and object of the sentence accordingly. 

Continue Reading

Present Perfect vs. Simple Past

English learners often have some trouble mastering when to use the present perfect tense and when to use the simple past tense. There are some instances where they are indeed interchangeable, but most often the choice between these two tenses is crucial for conveying the meaning of a sentence.

 

The present perfect is used when a situation, action, or state is not finished or concluded yet. Let’s look at the following two sentences from Yabla English:

 

She has lived an extraordinary life of public service.
Caption 36, Barack Obama: on Trump presidential victory

 

And I lived on a boat for three and a half years.
Caption 8, Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Let's Work for Solutions

 

In the first example, Barack Obama used the present perfect to indicate that Hilary Clinton has not finished serving the public and will continue to do so in the future. Her life of public service is ongoing. In the second example, the simple past tense makes it clear that the person speaking does not live on the boat anymore. If they used “I have lived” we would know that they are still living on the boat today.  

 

One clue for knowing which tense to use is that certain words like "since," "ever," and "never" are only used in sentences with the present perfect, whereas "ago," "yesterday," "last week" and "last month" indicate finished periods of time that require the simple past tense. 

 

We saw so many incredible places.
Caption 2, New Zealand 100% Pure: New Zealand, Home of Middle-earth

 

They were the most persistent tigers I've ever seen.
Caption 30, The Marx Brothers: Capt. Spaulding's African Adventures

 

In the second sentence above, Captain Spaulding means “I’ve ever seen in my life.” Because he is still living, and it is possible he may see tigers that are even more persistent in the future, the situation is considered unresolved and the present perfect is used.

 

For the next sentence, note that “this project made a huge difference” would mean that the project is finished, whereas how it is written makes it clear that it is, in fact, ongoing:

 

There's no doubt that this project has made a huge difference
Caption 36, WWF: Making a Difference - Rhino Conservation

 

In British English, the tenses are more interchangeable. For example, the present perfect is often used when talking about an event that is finished, but happened very recently. 

 

I have just been to Buckingham Palace.
Caption 1, BBC News - Theresa May: First speech as Prime Minister

 

However, in American English, there are also cases where either tense is applicable. The following sentence is an example in which either tense could be used. This is because the mistake is a finished act, but the situation surrounding the mistake is ongoing.

 

You really think we made a mistake?
Caption 35, The Big Bang Theory: Consequences Of The Wedding

Continue Reading

It's or its?

Since we already discussed the difference between their, there, and they're in a previous lesson, perhaps it is good to also cover another common point of confusion: the words it's and its. Even native speakers get these words mixed up, so master them and you will be ahead of the game. 

 

We are used to recognizing possessives by the use of an apostrophe, for example, my mother's car or the teacher's classroom. However, the word it's is not possessive, but rather a contraction of it and is used for convenience. In the sentences below, we see shortened versions of it is amazing, it is really exciting, and it is the most important part

 

And it's amazing, and they have one of the best sunsets in the world. 
Caption 25, Visit Isle of Wight: Mark King of Level 42

 

It's really exciting to know that I'm setting a good example for young people
Caption 24, peta2 Interviews: Vegan Surfer Tia Blanco 

 

That's how we know it's the most important part.
Caption 34, Rachel's English - How to Introduce Yourself: American English Pronunciation

 

The word its helps us to describe how something belongs to, for example, an animal, place, or object. The sentences below are about the bear's fur, the garden's street performers, and the vest's container

 

Its fur is almost silver with a blue sheen, the perfect adaptation to its environment.
Caption 19, Nature & Wildlife: Search for the Ghost Bear

 

Covent Garden is famous for its street performers.
Caption 3, Christmas in London: Places

 

To use, pull the tab to remove the vest from its container and then open the pouch.
Caption 69-70, Delta Airlines: In-flight Safety Video

 

So, as you can see, “it’s” with an apostrophe is the contraction for “it is” and is never a possessive, while “its” with no apostrophe can only be a possessive and is never the contraction for “it is”.

 

Further Learning
Take special note of examples of it's and its that you see while watching videos on Yabla English. Almost every video has one or both! 

Continue Reading

 Prize or Price?

One common mistake made by those who speak English as a second language is confusing the words price and prize. This may be because they are very similar in their sound and spelling, but also because many languages only have one word with two different meanings. For example, le prix in French and der Preis in German can refer to either an award or the monetary value of an item. In those languages you simply have to look at the context of the sentence.

 

The price of something is the amount of money it is worth:

 

Well, the price ranges from twenty-five to a hundred dollars.
Caption 54, Groucho Marx: You Bet Your Life

 

The price on this one was three dollars!
Caption 51, Jessica: on books

 

Price is also used metaphorically to talk about a sacrifice or consequence:

 

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
Caption 72, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day: Obama's Speech

 

A prize is an award given to recognize an achievement. It can involve money (prize money or a cash award), but not always. The Nobel Prize is a prominent example of a prize given on an international level. 

 

I smell the prize, I'm getting closer
Caption 14, World Cup 2010: For The Love Of The Game

 

There's no prize money, Gillian. 
Caption 6, Dream to Believe: aka Flying

 

Further Learning
Find some aspect of the usage of these words on Yabla English that will help you remember which one is which. For example, remembering that "Nobel Prize" has a "z" might help you remember that a "prize" is a type of award. Or perhaps remembering that "cents" as in "dollars and cents" is spelled with "c" will help you remember that "price," which has to do with money, is spelled with a "c" as well.

Continue Reading

Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers

In English, cardinal numbers (for example, "one," "two," or "three") refer to quantity, whereas ordinal numbers ("first," "second," or "third") refer to distribution. Ordinal numbers are used in dates and fractions. They are employed as adjectives to describe importance, position in a list, and placement in time.

 

Generally, ordinal numbers are created by adding -th to the end of the cardinal number. However, there are exceptions for the numbers one (first), two (second), three (third), five (fifth), eight (eighth), nine (ninth), and twelve (twelfth). 

 

I've been nervous. I think you know it's my first video ever.
Caption 31, Adele: The Making of "Chasing Pavements"

 

It is the world's sixth largest country by total area.
Caption 3, Soccer World Cup: Australia

 

On the twelfth day after Christmas, we have to take down all the decorations and the tree.
Caption 47, Christmas traditions: In the UK

 

Starting with twenty, the ordinal numbers for multiples of ten (for example, thirty or ninety) are created by replacing the "y" with "ieth."

 

And we've got the one year celebration on the thirtieth of May.
Caption 30, FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 - New Zealand getting the word out

 

This may seem like a lot to remember. However, for other numbers above twenty, only the last figure is written as an ordinal number:

 

English is the language of the twenty-first century.
Caption 8, Strothoff International School: Imagefilm

 

They have a wonderful internet café on the forty-seventh... forty-eighth floor.
Caption 67, An apartment: In Japan

 

Further Learning
Memorize the ordinal numbers from one to twenty with the help of this extensive list of ordinal numbers and find more examples on Yabla English.

Continue Reading

There, they're, or their?

Homonyms are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings and usages. This can be confusing sometimes as one must rely on context to figure out which word is meant or should be used. 

 

Even native speakers sometimes fail to use the homonyms "there," "their," and "they're" correctly. Here is a quick review of which one is appropriate for which occasion. 

 

1) The word "there" is used to refer to a physical or abstract location.

 

When I flew in on the float plane, they were all there on the boat.
Caption 4, Alaska Revealed: Endless Wave

 

Also, it is commonly combined with a conjugation of “to be” or a modal verb to discuss the existence of something.

 

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.
Caption 28, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day: Obama's Speech

 

I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. 
Caption 9, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Opening

 

2) "Their" is a possessive adjective used before a noun when the subject is "they." With "their," we are speaking about something that belongs to two or more people.

 

What are their names? -Their names are Naya and Alex.
Caption 14, Caralie and Annie: Getting to know each other

 

Their goal is a plan to finally help humanity reduce its carbon footprint.
Caption 3, Green TV: What Is COP21?

 

3) "They’re" is a contraction of "they are" used to refer to two or more people in the third person. It is especially useful for shortening sentences in the present continuous tense.

 

I think they're nice. 
Caption 12, Comic-Con 2015: Jennifer Lawrence

 

They're playing a game on the lawn.
Caption 10, Jessica: In Prospect Park

 

Further Learning
Check out the examples above on Yabla English to get a better sense of the full context for the use of "there," "their," and "they're." Try to write a few sentences in which you use two or even all three of these words to solidify your understanding. An example would be: "They're not sure when they will get there. It depends on when their plane lands."

Continue Reading

Winter Vacation and the Holidays

As we approach the end of December, many people are looking forward to having some time off. The “holiday break," “Christmas break,” or "winter vacation" observed by schools gives students up to two weeks off. Universities may have closer to a month of time off. Workplaces and offices close as well, although not for so long!

 

It is a time to relax and a time to spend with family and friends. If the weather outside is cold, there are some classic outdoor activities that people enjoy, although you may decide to simply stay nice and warm indoors.

 

And nowadays Rose and I do downhill skiing primarily.
Caption 73, Jimmy Carter - interviews Jimmy Carter

 

She could only rest in a corner next to the fireplace,
Caption 12, Fairy Tales: Cinderella

 

Many families take time to do activities like baking or cooking together, and also decorate to their homes.

 

And what's your favorite part of the Christmas dinner?
Caption 13, Christmas in London: People

 

But, up until that point, we decorate our houses with lots of different things.
Caption 6, Christmas traditions: in the UK

 

Many people are also preparing for the holidays and the tradition of exchanging presents:

 

I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards.
Caption 13, A Charlie Brown Christmas

 

...and then unwrap our presents and all the family will be there.
Caption 12, Christmas in London: People

 

Of course, the holidays can be stressful, especially if you are late with the preparations!

 

So they're looking for their last-minute presents for their loved ones.
Caption 3, Christmas in London: People

 

Our Yabla English team wishes you a lovely winter break and holiday season, filled with relaxation and the warm company of family and friends!

 

Further Learning
Go to the links listed above, or do your own search for Yabla English videos that reference holiday traditions. Another idea: look up the English words for the presents you are giving people this year if you don’t know them already.

 

Continue Reading

Winter is Coming

Characters in the popular television series Game of Thrones often repeat that "winter is coming," but somehow it never actually arrives. The results of the recent presidential election in the United States, however, have left many liberals preparing for a political winter that could last for at least four years. Here are some Yabla videos dealing with common expressions relating to this coldest of seasons.

 

Welcome to winter time... right here.
Caption 33, Jason Mraz: Tour of Studio

 

The winter came and the lake froze over.
Caption 37, Fairy Tales: The Ugly Duckling

 

However, there's still a large difference between winter and summer.
Caption 4, English with Lauren: The Weather

 

In this winter of our hardship, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come.
Captions 87-89, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day: Obama's Speech

 

Instead of lush fields, we would have long winters and sparse, ice-covered landscapes in Europe.
Captions 55-56, Nature Preservation: The Gulf Stream & Climate Change

 

You will have your home prepared and winter-proofed in next to no time.
Caption 38, British Gas: Top Tips on Preparing your Home for Cold Weather

 

Further Learning
Watch the above videos in their entirety and search for examples of winter on Yabla English to see other related terms used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

The Four Seasons

The four seasons in English are winter, spring, summer, and fall. The season "fall" is also called "autumn." The name of the seasons are written lower-case. Different places and cultures have different ways of reckoning the dates of the seasons, but by scientific meteorological methods, winter in the northern hemisphere is from December 1 to February 28 (or 29 in a leap year). In the southern hemisphere winter is from June 1 until August 31.

 

In the winter it's very cold in New York.
Caption 7, Caralie and Annie: Get to know each other

 

Spring in the northern hemisphere is from March 1 to May 31, in the southern hemisphere from September 1 to November 30.

 

First, we have spring, when the leaves turn green.
Caption 19, Lydia explains: weekdays, seasons and months

 

Summer in the northern hemisphere is from June 1 to August 31, in the southern hemisphere from December 1 to February 28 or 29.

 

The summer is especially beautiful this year.
Caption 2, Nature & Wildlife - Search for the Ghost Bear

 

Fall (or autumn) in the northern hemisphere is from September 1 to November 30, in the southern hemisphere from March 1 to May 31.

 

Third, we have fall, or you could say autumn.
Caption 21, Lydia explains: weekdays, seasons and months

 

Further Learning
Search for examples of the seasons on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

Frequency Adverbs

There is a standard set of adverbs (words that modify verbs) that describe how often something happens, from not at all (never) to all the time (always). Let's see some examples from Yabla English.

 

I've never done that in my life. 
Caption 70, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four: BBC TV Movie

 

I very rarely have a day off.
Caption 11, Sharon Stone: Jimmy Carter interview 1994

 

Do you have someone who can take the air out of your tires occasionally?
Captions 40, 41: Will Smith: Enemy of the State

 

I sometimes will write it on a piano.
Caption 27, Bee and Flower: Interview

 

Whales feed at depth in waters that are often pitch dark.
Caption 19, Sustainable Human: How Whales Change Climate

 

I usually leave it to simmer a little bit.
Caption 85, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives: Pam's Trinidadian Caribbean Kitchen

 

It is always held in Leicester Square.
Caption 25, In London with Lauren: Piccadilly Circus

 

The adverbs are written in bold above in increasing order of frequency: never, rarely, occasionally, sometimes, often, usually, always.

 

Further Learning
Search for examples of frequency adverbs on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

Infinitive Verbs Part II

An infinitive verb is the plain form of a verb that is not conjugated and often has the word "to" before it. It is good to know the plain or base form of a verb, since that is the form that is typically the main listing for the word in a dictionary. You may hear the infinitive "to sit" conjugated as "sat" or "sitting," but the form of the word you will need if you care to look it up is the infinitive "sit." In standard usage, the infinitive will always be preceded by another verb.

 

An infinitive is often used in a sentence in combination with a conjugated from of "to be." In these examples, the subject "it" is used to make general observations: 

 

It is going to blow up!    
Caption 37, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives: Pam's Trinidadian Caribbean Kitchen

 

It is going to boil down.
Caption 6: Cooking with Aria: French toast and a berry topping

 

It is not enough to obey Big Brother. 
Caption 15, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four: BBC TV Movie

 

It is time to detox.
Caption 55, Greenpeace: Detox: How People Power is Cleaning Up Fashion

 

The infinitives are written in bold above: to blow up, to boil, to obey, and to detox.

 

Further Learning
Read this in-depth article on infinitive verbs, then search for examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

Infinitive Verbs

An infinitive verb is the plain form of a verb that is not conjugated and often has the word "to" before it. It is good to know the plain or base form of a verb, since that is the form that is typically the main listing for the word in a dictionary. You may hear the infinitive "to sit" conjugated as "sat" or "sitting," but the form of the word you will need if you care to look it up is the infinitive "sit." In standard usage, the infinitive will always be preceded by another verb.

 

The Japanese tradition is to sit on the stool in front of the faucets.
Caption 22, An apartment: in Japan

 

In the example above, the infinitive is "to sit." Infinitives preceded by "to" are called "full infinitives."

 

You can sit right here. -Thank you.
Caption 5, Jessica and Liz: in a Restaurant

 

In this example, the infinitive is the verb "sit." An infinitive without the "to" is called a "bare infinitive."

 

It's really exciting to know that I'm setting a good example for young people.
Caption 24, peta2 Interviews: Vegan Surfer Tia Blanco

 

You did well to tell me. We must know everything.
Caption 35, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four: BBC TV Movie

 

In the first example above, you see the full infinitive "to know," and in the second example the bare infinitive "know."

 

Further Learning
Read this in-depth article on infinitive verbs, then search for examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

English Gerunds

A gerund is a noun that has been formed by adding the suffix -ing to a verb. The gerund will often function as a verb within the clause, but in the context of the complete sentence forms a subject. Progressive active participle verbs also end in -ing, but retain verb form. Let's learn to tell the difference between a gerund (noun) and a progressive active participle (verb).

 

But believing ends in seeing.
Caption 43, Katie Melua: A Happy Place

 

You will be seeing them again.
Caption 37, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four - BBC TV Movie

 

In the first example, "seeing" and "believing" are gerund nouns. Try placing the definite article "the" before the words and see if the sentence still makes sense: "But the believing ends in the seeing." The fact that it works grammatically shows that both "seeing" and "believing" are gerunds. But in the second example, "You will be the seeing them again" would be grammatically incorrect, because in this case "seeing" is a verb. 

 

I'd like your opinion about fast driving on the highway.
Caption 21, James Dean: Interview & Famous Drive Safely Spot

 

I'm in a truck, we're driving through the bush.
Caption 23, Kiting For Conservation: Kenya

 

In the first example, "the fast driving" works, so it is a gerund noun. In the second example, "we're the driving..." does not work grammatically, so it's a verb.

 

Further Learning
Try taking examples of some English verbs and adding -ing to the end of them to make the gerund nouns, then search for examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

Irregular Verbs Part 3

In the previous lessons, we saw how a regular verb conjugates into the past tense and past participle by simply adding -ed to the end of the infinitive: ask/asked, talk/talked, watch/watched, etc. Irregular verbs, on the other hand, each follow their own set of rules of conjugation. There are, however, some basic patterns that can help you remember how to conjugate some of these irregular verbs.

Some verbs with "ea" as the central vowels may (or may not) have an added -t at the end in past and past participle forms, but all of the past and past participle forms have in common that the "ea" is changes pronunciation. "I am reading a book" (pronounced "reeding"), but "I have read a book" (pronounced "red"). 

Many of the challenges can't be dealt with by individual companies alone.
Captions 29-30, The British Monarchy: Global Sustainability

You can finally live the life you always dreamt of.
Caption 10, Movie Trailers, Bruce Willis: Surrogates

I meant what I wrote, shall we meet?
Caption 1, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four: BBC TV Movie

The father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people.
Caption 84, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day: Obama's Speech

In all of the cases above, the present tense verbs "deal," "dream," "mean," and "read" have the long "ee" sound like "reed", but change in the past and past participles to the short "e" sound like "red."

Further Learning
Go back to the lessons for Irregular Verbs Part 1 and Part 2 and review some of the patterns that can help you learn English irregular verbs. Find examples of the verbs listed above in their past and past participle forms and learn them by searching for examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 
 

Continue Reading

Irregular Verbs Part 2

In last month's first part, we saw how a regular verb conjugates into the past tense and past participle by simply adding -ed to the end of the infinitive: ask/asked, talk/talked, watch/watched etc. Irregular verbs, on the other hand, each follow their own set of rules of conjugation. There are, however, some more basic patterns that can help you remember how to conjugate some of these irregular verbs. 

Some verbs switch their central vowels to an "o" in the past and past participle, such as the verbs "to break" (broke, broken),"to choose" (choose, chosen), "to forget" (forgot, forgotten), "to freeze" (froze, frozen), "to get" (got, gotten), "to speak" (spoke, spoken), "to tear" (tore, torn) "to wake" (woke, woken) and "to wear" (wore, worn). Here is the verb "to steal" in the past and past participle:

Then they took you away, stole you out of my life.
Caption 41, Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans

They've stolen my heart away.
Caption 49, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four: BBC TV Movie

Many verbs with "ee" as the central vowels change to a single "e" in past and past participle, and these are made easier in that the past and past participle forms are the same: "to bleed" (bled), "to feel" (felt), "to keep" (kept), "to lead" (led), and "to meet" (met). A few more examples using the verbs "to sleep" and "to feed":

The Frog slept all night.
Caption 8, Fairy Tales: The Frog King

They have fed quite well.
Caption 53, Nature & Wildlife: Search for the Ghost Bear

Further Learning
Find examples of the verbs listed above in past and past participle and learn them by searching for examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

Irregular Verbs Part 1

regular verb conjugates into the past tense and past participle by simply adding -ed to the end of the infinitive: ask/asked, talk/talked, watch/watched etc. Irregular verbs, on the other hand, each follow their own set of rules of conjugation. There are, however, some basic patterns that can help you remember how to conjugate some of these irregular verbs. 

Many verbs ending in -ow are made past tense changing the -ow to -ew, and past participle by adding an -n the -ow, such as grow/grew/grown, know/knew/known, and throw/threw/thrown. Here is the verb "to know" in the past and past participle:

Don't think you knew you were in my song.
Caption 31, David Bowie: Five Years

David Jones, now little better known as David Bowie.
Caption 1, David Bowie: Interview at 17!

Here too you have to be careful though, as some verbs ending in -ow are regular, such as tow/towed/towed and flow/flowed/flowed, and some irregular ones ending in -ew in the past tense and -own in the past participle don't end in -ow in the infinitive form, such as fly/flew/flown. 

Another pattern can be seen in irregular which end in -ght in the past and past participle, such as buy/bought/bought, teach/taught/taught, and think/thought/thought. Here is the verb "to think" in the present and past tense:

Well, I think we're all fairly tolerant.
Caption 16, David Bowie: Interview at 17!

I never thought I'd need so many people.
Caption 19, David Bowie: Five Years

Further Learning
Study this list of English irregular verbs and find examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context. 

Continue Reading

Three Moods of Grammar

Even grammar can be "moody," but grammatical moods express the attitude of what a person is writing or saying. The three grammatical moods commonly used in English are the indicative, imperative, and subjunctive moods.

The indicative (or realis) mood is used to make a statement of fact:

You cannot outlast us and we will defeat you.
Caption 19, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day: Obama's Speech 

You will learn the true nature of the society we live in.
Caption 41, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four: BBC TV Movie

The imperative mood is for commands or requests:

Step away from your vehicle and put your hands on your head.
Captions 10-11, Movie Trailers: Men In Black

All emergency service cars please come to Vesey and West Streets!
Caption 4, World Trade Center: Story on the 2006 film

The subjunctive mood is used to express a a wish, desire, or something that has not yet happened. 

I'd like to have something interesting to do and I'd like to have nothing to do.
Caption 54, Leonard Nimoy: Talking about Mr. Spock

I would like to explain how we talk about the time in English.    
Caption 3: Lydia explains: the clock

Further Learning
Read more about grammatical moods and find examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context.

Continue Reading

Active and Passive Voices

In English grammar, the "voice" describes the relationship between the verb and its participants. If the subject of the sentence does the action, the verb is in the active voice. If the subject does not actively participate in the action described and the focus is on the action itself, not the subject, then the verb is in the passive voice.

It is important when you write in English that you distinguish between the active and passive voice. If you want the focus to be on the subject, or actor, use the active voice. If you wish the emphasis to be on the action itself, and not the actor, use the passive voice. 

Here are two examples of the active voice from Yabla English: 

He created the mythology.
Caption 54, New Zealand 100% Pure: “The Hobbit” cast talks about New Zealand

Now, we'll have a demonstration from some of your instructors.
Caption 15, Karate Kids, USA: The Little Dragons

In the first example, the focus is on the subject "he" having created the mythology. It is usually easy to make a passive voice sentence out of the active by using the verb "to be" and the past participle of the original verb. In this case, we can write it in passive voice thus: 

The mythology was created by him. 

The mythology did not do the creating. The focus here is not the fact that he created it, but the fact that it was created

In the second example, we can render it passive like this: 

Now, there'll be a demonstration for us from some of your instructors. 

"We" are no longer emphasized as the ones who will be the audience of the demonstration, but rather the fact of the demonstration is the most important thing.

Further Learning
Read more about the active voice and the passive voice and find examples on Yabla English to see them used in a real-world context.

 

Continue Reading
12