martedì 26 maggio 2015

English B2 Blended - Lesson 01

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9th of April 2015

Phrasal verb

Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and another word or phrase, usually a preposition. This combination creates what amounts to a new verb, whose meaning can sometimes be difficult to non-native speakers. Phrasal verbs can be both intransitive (e.g. The children were sitting around, doing nothingThe witness finally broke down on the stand) and transitive in meaning (e.g. Our boss called off the meeting; She looked up her old boyfriend). The word that is joined with a verb in this construction (often a preposition) is called a particle. The problem with phrasal verbs is that their meaning is often obscure, and they mean several different things: to come out, for instance, has eighteen different meanings. Further, the verb and the word or phrase it connects to are not always contiguous: Fill this out, we would say, but then we would say, Fill out this form.

to put off

The exam was
due to the train strike

to pospone = to put off

The exam was
put off
due to the train strike

to run into

unexpectedly met
my ex-husband at the mall

to (unexpectedly) meet = to run into

run into
my ex-husband at the mall

to cut down on

My doctor told me
to decrease
the amount of coffee I drink.

to decrease = to cut down on

My doctor told me
to cut down on
the amount of coffee I drink.

You can click HERE for an extensive list of phrasal verbs.

Excercises of traslation from Italian to English with explanation
1)      Il medico ha posticipato il nostro appuntamento
The doctor has put off (or: has postponed) our appointment
The doctor put off (or: postponed) our appointment
NB: In this case, you can traslate both with past perfect and with past simple
2)      Perché mangi meno carne?
Why do you cut down on [eating] maet?

Past habits

Used to do

The formula used + infinitive is the most common way to explain some action (or states) which you usually did (or were) in the past but not now.
1)      I used to live in Rome.
“Vivevo a Roma”
2)      I didn’t use to smok.
“Non fumavo”
3)      My sister used to be married.
“Mia sorella era sposato”
4)      I used to have long hair.
“Portavo i capelli lunghi”
NB: used to is generally traslated in Italian with the imperfetto.


The modal would is less common that used to, and it is used only for actions (e.g. to go, to swim etc.) and not for states (e.g. to be, to have etc.).

Practise example
When I was little,
we would go
to the beach every day.

(or: we’d)

Some and any


1)      Utilizzato nell'accezione di "qualche" nelle frasi affermative:

I hade some rice for lunch
He got some books in the library

2)      Utilizzato nelle interrogative quando si è certi di conoscere già la risposta:

Did you give some tea?

3)      Utilizzato nelle interrogative per chiedere qualcosa o offrire qualcosa:

Could you have some books please?
Why don’t you take some apples more with you?
Would you like some tea?
Will you have some cake!


1)      utilizzato nelle interrogative quando non conosci le risposte

Do you have any friends in London?

2)      utilizzato nelle frasi negative nelle frasi negative e nelle risposte per enfatizzare

She doesn’t want any kitchen appliances for Christmas.
I don’t want any rake.

NB: L’inglese non sopporta la doppia negazione:
                               I have no idea.
                               I haven’t any idea.
         Non è invece possibile dire:

                               I haven’t no idea.

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