Functional English Grammar  Exercises

Sreekumar K

  The Theory

There are some very common words in English and they decide the grammar of most of the English sentences.

is are am was were has have had do does did

Let’s refer to them as operatives. When we use them we may have to alter one or two other words in the sentence.

There is another list of words which are almost the same.

will would shall should can could may might must need dare ought

Let us call them supports since they may appear along with the operatives too.

Now that is all you need to memorise, at least for now.

How to deny anything

When we agree, we only have to say ‘yes’. But when we disagree, we may have to say a little more. We may have to deny or negate what someone else has said. Suppose you want to deny or negate the following things said about your friend, will you be able to do it?

Exercise 1

  1. Your friend is dishonest.

Eg: My friend is not dishonest.

  1. Your friend is lying.

  1. Your friend is a cheat.

  1. Your friend is from another planet.

  1. Your friend is in jail.

See, it is easy. You already knew that. I was sure you knew that much of English. And I was right.

But did you notice that the word ‘not’ was always used just after the operative ‘is’? Yes, it was. Do the same for the following sentences too.

Exercise 2

  1. We are playing cricket.

  1. I am doing my work.

  1. They were ridiculing me.

  1. Mary is our captain.

  1. He has questioned me.

  1. My friends have decided to quit.

  1. Sam had done it.

Done. Now let us look at three other operatives.

They have a way of hiding.

First of all, look at the following sentences and oppose the statements.

Someone is misinformed. Correct him.

Exercise 3

  • Three Americans did not land on the Moon.

  • An Irishman does not talk in English.

  • Whales do not breathe from the atmosphere.

Did you get the point? When you removed the word ‘not’ the operatives too disappeared. This is an important point in our lessons. Not only this. The operatives don’t go away. They go and hide in other words. How else do you think ‘land’ became ‘landed’, ‘talk’ became ‘talks’ and ‘breathe’…, well… the word ‘do’ is so short that it could hide completely in ‘breathe’ giving you no hint of where it is hiding!

Now let us do it the other way. Deny or negate the following statements.

Exercise 4

  1. I watched a new movie.

  1. She likes the idea.

  1. We decided to go home.

  1. She understands everything.

  1. People play games.

  1. I study from morning to evening.

  1. Sam talks a lot.

  1. Sudha improved her scores.

  1. We cook spicy food.

  1. They design clothes.

Has, have and had are operatives. They are usually grammar words and have no meaning. But sometimes they can appear as real words with meaning.

Exercise 5

  1. He has many friends.

  1. She had a good job.

  1. I have an old car.

In these sentences these words have a meaning. Has, have and had in these sentences mean possess or possesses, own or owned. They too have to be seen as hiding an operative. ‘Has’ ends with an ‘s’ and like ‘plays, talks, sits and comes’ it should also be considered as hiding the operative ‘does’. Thus ‘had’ ending with a‘d’ hides the operative ‘did’. ‘Do’ is too small and hides completely in ‘have’ giving us no clue of its presence.

Now deny all the three sentences given above.

There are ten sentences given below and deny all of them. In some of them ‘has, have’ and ‘had’ come with another main word. There they are operatives. In other cases these are not grammar words. They have a meaning.

Exercise 6

  1. She has done her work.

  1. We have a lot of work to do.

  1. He has a car.

  1. He has washed his car.

  1. They had a good idea.

  1. They had come up with a good idea.

  1. We have been able to do this.

  1. We have the ability to do this.

  1. They had done it already.

  1. We had registered our car.

Last, but not least, the operatives ‘do, does’ and ‘did’ can hide in themselves too! Look at these sentences.

Exercise 7

  1. I do not do my work regularly

  1. They did not do their homework.

  1. She does not do her work on time.

Now deny the following statements.

  • I did my duty.

  • He does whatever he thinks is right.

  • They do hard work all their life.

Operatives and Supports

(Introductory Exercises)

Operatives: is, are, am, was, were, do, does, did, has, have, had

Supports: will, would, shall, should, can, could, may, might, need, dare, must,

ought to, used to

Pick out the operatve or the support and make the following sentences negative:

Exercise 8

  1. They have come.

  2. They sing well.

  3. They looked at it.

  4. We were worried.

  5. They have gone.

  6. He sells caps.

  7. He stepped in.

  8. I see him everyday.

  1. They are reading.

  2. She succeeded.

  3. They failed.

  4. They hunt birds.

  5. She works there.

  6. He has an idea.

  7. They have a car.

  8. They speak fluently.


Operatives: is, are, am, was, were, do, does, did, has, have, had

Supports: will, would, shall, should, can, could

Question Tags

They are coming for the party, aren’t they?

The words in bold letters form a question tag. You have to pick out the operative or the support to add the right question tag. If the sentence is negative, the question tag will be positive.

They are not coming for the party, are they?

Exercise 9

Add question tags to the following sentences:

  1. They are coming to the party,

  2. Harold was a strange fellow,

  3. He played well till the end,

  4. She has many good friends,

  5. Mary will help you cook,

  6. People come here very often,

  7. It can’t be true,

  8. You couldn’t help him,

  9. He carried it home,

  10. They owned a nice house,

  11. We were in a hurry,

  12. He is a smart fellow,

  13. They are playing cricket,

  14. They do a lot of mischief,

  15. He shows some interest now,

  16. John likes tea,

  17. He sells good cakes,

  18. You speak softly,

  19. She swims well,

  20. He takes English lessons,

  21. They often go to the pictures,

  22. It costs fifty rupees,

  23. She swims well,

  24. They try to understand,

  25. He walks to work,

  26. I do it well,

  27. You sleep well,

  28. They play football,

  29. He loves his wife,

  30. We believe him,

  31. Carrie spilled the soup,….

  32. I run faster than any turtle in the world,

  33. You will always remember this lesson,.

  34. We’ll invent a better mouse trap,

  35. I am the man you wanted to see,

  36. John forgot his password,

  37. Sandpaper makes poor facial tissue,

  38. Kevin and Travis hauled the boat out of the water,

  39. We love your chocolate chip cookies,

  40. I’ll tell you a secret that you won’t believe,

  41. William knew that the story was false,

  42. Yes, we were here yesterday,

  43. I think you don’t know how to drive this bus,

  44. I know who said that,

  45. The geese will fly north in the spring,

  46. He wasn’t angry,

  47. Fred found fifty frogs floating in the fudge,

  48. Ashley was the best speaker at the meeting,

  49. Never pour mustard on my peaches,

  50. We left after Marvin found his glasses,

Inverted sentences and negative words

As you have already seen, in English, most of the time, the subject comes first in the sentence. It can be a single world or several words. Close behind it comes the operatives.

However, this is true only of normal sentences. At times, like in questions, this sequence turns around, the subject following the operative.

These are called inverted sentences. A questions is necessariy an inverted sentence.

Are they coming?

Why are they coming?

If the sentence starts with a negative word like ‘barely, seldom, no, neither, hardly, scarecely’ and ‘not’, we have to use the inverted form. ‘Only’ also takes an inverted form.

Exercise 10

Rewrite the following sentences beginning with the word underlined.

  1. I have never visited this place.

  1. He had never seen us before.

  1. They barely greet us.

  1. We seldom go to see him.

  1. She hardly understands the problems.

  1. He scarecely goes to work.

  1. It was only then that I saw him.

  1. I barely knew it was his plan.

  1. Barking dogs seldom bite.

  1. They hardly visit such places.

Passive Voice

In English, we can’t alter the word order just like that. There are rules that govern this change. The usual position of words in a sentence, the subject in the beginning and the object towars the end, is called the active voice. This means that the one who did something is more important and is placed in the beginning of a sentence. If the importance has to be given to the object, the one who was affected by this action, then we use passive voice.

When we use passive voice, we insert one of the forms of ‘be’ which has eight different forms. Common sense should tell you whic one to choose!

is are am was were be been being

Exercise 11

Change into passive voice or begin with the underlined word.

  1. They will play cricket.

  1. She will rescue the victim.

  1. We shall save some money.

  1. They have built a house.

  1. She has planned her journey.

  1. We had finished our work.

  1. Most of them were reading books.

  1. Some of my friends are writing stories.

  1. She is singing a song.

  1. He is repairing his bike.

  1. My classmates are presenting their projects.

  1. We have brought some gifts for you.

  1. We have developed a scheme to help the poor.

  1. They will sing the same song.

  1. The lumberjacks have felled several trees.

  1. He completed his work.

  1. We supported him.

  1. They made a movie.

19. My friend’s construction company is building a dam across this river.

20. They all felt the tremor a few minutes after the actual earthquake happened.

21. She has played the lead role in that play.

22. Many of my friends living abroad write to me very short letters.

23. My father was teaching some poor students from the nearby villages.

24. She had asked him the question many times. (Or begin with ‘He’.)

25. We will finish most of next year’s work by the end of this year.

26. She will have finished her lessons three years from now.

27. We feel that incidents such as this should not happen again. (Begin withIt’.)

28. Who built the Taj Mahal? (End: built?)

29. Who is painting my portriat? (End: painted?)

30. Who broke it? (End: broken?)

Reported Speech

English teacher: This is a very important lesson.

Our English teacher said that this was a very important lesson.

The first sentence contains the actual words of the speaker. Usually this appears in quotations, like,

The English teacher said, “This is a very important lesson.”

However, when you go home and tell this to your mother, you will change some of the words.

Our English teacher said that this was a very important lesson.

This way of reporting someone else’s speech is called reported speech. There will not be any quotation marks in reported speech.


  1. My father said that he was very tired.

  2. The conductor said that there was no more space in the bus.

  3. The old man said that he wanted to catch the town bus.

  4. My uncle said that he would come to visit us the next day.

  5. My brother said that he was feeling much better.

Make meaningful reported sentences from the following table.

My father said that he

she would

visit our school today.

My mother said

she was looking

an exam that day.

The students said that

they had

come to pick me up.

The teacher said that

that she would

give us a test next month

My friend said that


for her brother.

The news reporter

her family had

he had seen the accident.

The young girl said that

said that

moved to north india.

When we change direct speeches into reported speeches we change the original words into past tense.

‘I, we, you, me, my, us, our,’ and ‘your’, are not usually seen in reported speeches. They become ‘he, she, they, his, her, him, their’ and ‘them’.

Instead of ‘today, tomorrow’ and ‘yesterday’, we use ‘that day, the next day’ and ‘the previous day’.

The following changes also occur:

Now becomes then

Here becomes there

This becomes that

These becomes those

In English, we use four different basic structures we use to express our thoughts and ideas. Each of themn serve a different purpose.

One of them is used to get other people do things. We either request or order. It is the same structure, but when we request we insert the word please in that sentence.

This structure is basically a question which got cut short


Will you come and sit here?

Will you please come and sit here?

Will you come and sit here?

Willyou please come and sit here?

Come and sit here.

Please come and sit here

(These are imperative senctences.)

When we report them we only have to add the word to.

He said to me, “Listen to me.”

He asked me to listen to him.

He said to me, “Please listen to me.”

He requested me to listen to him.

We also express our surprises. Then our sentences still follow the normal sentence format, but we start with ‘What’ or ‘How’.

What a wonderful idea (it is)!

How early you are!

Now when we say these sentences, what is the thought in our mind?

It is a really wonderful idea.

You are very early.

So, when we report our suprises, we only have to refer to these thoughts. But use past tense.

He said, “What a wonderful idea!”

He exclaimed that the idea was really wonderful.

He said , “How early you are, Sophy!”
He exclaimed that Sophy was very early.

We also ask questions. Now, questions have a different structure. In questions, the operative comes before the subject.

Statement: They are coming.

Question: Are they coming?

Before we report a question, we should change the order back to that of a sentence and start with a question word (a ‘wh’ word).

Are they coming. (whether they are coming?)

He asked me, “Are they coming?”

He asked me whether they were coming.

The answers are reported without much change other than what is common for all kinds of sentences.

Exercise 12

Report these sentences:

  1. Our teacher said, “I am going home.”

  1. My father said, “My purse is missing.”

  1. She said, “My child is sick.”

  1. He said, “They are looking for me.”

  1. She said, “I can’t find my shoes.”

  1. They said, “We have a lot of work to finish.”

  1. Seena said to her brother, “You are very smart.”

  1. Sonia said to her father, “My mother is calling you.”

  1. Arun said to his teacher, “I have finished my work.”

  1. Tanya said to her friend, “Both my parents are abroad.”

  1. Somu said to his brother,” You stay here till I come back”.

  1. Seema asked her son, ”Where were you when I called you?”

  1. Senan asked his teacher, ”Will you come and meet my father today or the next day?”

  1. Suresh said, ”I must go and see my father.”

  1. Syama said to her daughter, “Please bring me a glass of water.”

  1. The commander said to him, “Come and see me in the morning.”

  1. The leader said to the followers, “I met the minister yesterday and we discussed this issue in detail.”

  1. My mother said, “What a wonderful idea!”

  1. My father said, “How bright she is!”

  1. The little girl said, “I am going to play a new game.”

  1. The man said, “ We were looking for a gap in the wall to get out from this place.”

  1. Manu said, “I already have enough troubles of my own.”

  1. The teacher said, “The Americans speak English and the Chinese speak Chinese.”

  1. My uncle said, “I have a Chinese friend who speaks Spanish.”

  1. My cousin said, “There will not be any programme after today’s meeting.”

  1. The old woman said, “My son came to my rescue.”

  1. The constable asked the old man, “What were you doing here?”

  1. My neighbour asked me, “Did you see my friend?”

  1. Leela asked me, “Didn’t you see him?”

  1. Tanya asked her, “Have you seen my puppy?”

  1. Kavya asked her, “Do you go there often?”

  1. Balu asked him, “Were you playing football?”

  1. Anita asked him, “Did you see my bag?”

  1. Amu said, “Let’s watch a movie.”

  1. Anu asked her friend, “Is it true that you are going abroad?”

  1. “When will you come and see me?” the boy asked the manager.

  1. “What did you pay for this old car?” the manager asked the young man.

  1. “How can I repair this violin which my father gave me?” the boy asked his friend.

  1. “Do you know where your mother puts the old clothes?” the father asked the boy.

  1. “Did you recognize your student when you saw him?” the man asked his friend.

  1. “Does your employer pay you well?” the husband asked his wife.

  1. “Why does it rain every June?” the teacher asked the students.

  1. “What a wonderful idea!” the young man said.

  1. “Please ask your friend to call on me when he comes this way,” he said to me.

  1. “How smart that man is!” my father said.

  1. “Will you help me take these books home?” the little girl said to the man.

  1. Somu said to his brother, “Stay here till I come back.”

  1. The coach said, “Boys, play cricket till it rains.”

  1. Seema asked her son, “Where did you go after school?”

50. Christopher Robin said, “Piglet, where did Pooh go?”

51.Rani said to her sister, “Keep the stove hot till the water boils.”

52.Bambi asked the bears, “Why did you run away?”

53.I asked him, “Will you come to our house tomorrow?”

54.Senan asked his teacher, “Will you come and meet my father today?”

55.Pooh asked, “Christopher Robin, shall I find you again?”

56.Eyore said to Tigger, “Will the skullasaurus eat him up?”

57.Samyukta said, “I have to go there.”

58.Divya said, “We must come to an agreement.”

59.Suresh said, “I must go and see my father.”

60.Syama said to her daughter, “Please bring me a glass of water.”

61.The teacher said to us, “Please go and ring the bell.”

62.The doctor said, “Kiran, please tell me how you feel.”

63.The commander said to him, “Come and see me in the morning.”

64. The inspector said, “Students, get back to your classes right now.”

65. Our teacher said, “Students, who can help me find the answer?”

66. My father said, “How will they come?”

67. She said, “Doctor, what is wrong with me?”

68. He said, “Meera, where is your notebook?”

69. She said, “Sneha, when do you go to school?”

70. They asked the officer, “Who has done this to us?”

71. Seena asked her brother, “Where were you?”

72. Sonia asked her father, “Where did you go yesterday?”

73. Arun asked his teacher, “How did I do in the test?”

74. Tanya asked her friend, “Whom did you visit there?”

75. The students asked the foreman, “How does the machine work?”

76. The old man said, “Friends, what can we do now?”

77. “When will you come and see me?” the boy asked the manager.

78. “What did you pay for this old car?” the manager asked the young man.

79. “How can I repair this violin which my father gave me?” the boy asked his friend.

80. “Do you know where your mother puts the old clothes?” the father asked the boy.

81.“Does your employer pay you well?” the husband asked his wife.

82. “Why does it rain every June?” the teacher asked the students.

83. “What a wonderful idea!” the young man said.

84. “Please ask your friend to call on me when he comes this way,” he said to me.

85. “How smart that man is!” my father said.

86. The coach said, “Boys, play cricket till it rains.”

  1. Seema asked her son, “Where did you go after school?”

  1. Kashyap asked Nevin, “When is our PT period today?”

  1. Rahul said, “Friends, please find my note book.”

  1. Paul said, “I find this very easy.

  1. Abijith said, “I want to found a charitable society.”

  1. Prajna said, “There were five hours left for the train.”

  1. Ananya said, “Who founded the charitable society?”

  1. Elizebeth said, “Everyday my parrot lay two eggs.”

  1. Usman said to Vishnu, “Where did he lie?”

  1. Vivek said, “ What a wonderful idea it was!”

  1. Julia said, “I have finished all my work.”

  1. Jai Pavithra said, “We were not listening to the instructions.”

  1. Sanjana said to Puja, “Where did my puppy go?”

  1. Aditya said, “I am not going there tomorrow.”


Exercise 13

Combine the following pairs sentences using the words in brackets.

  1. They all liked the song that we sang. They all liked the painting that we did. (as well as)

  1. You may run very fast. Still you will not catch the train (however)

  1. My friend works in an office. My neighbour also works in an office. (not only.. but also)

  1. He is running very slowly. He will not reach the finishing point in time. (too…. to)

  1. We were tired. We took shelter under a tree. (so)

  1. This computer is too slow. It cannot be used for office work. (so….. that)

  1. We arrived at the station. The train left just then. (No sooner…)

  1. The teacher entered the class. The students stood up. (as soon as)

  1. The newspaper reached the stands. Soon it was sold out. (hardly)

  1. He was not interested in painting. But he kept a set of brushes with him. (although)

  1. You have to fill in an application form. Otherwise you will not be called in. (unless)

  1. He was not bright. He was not rich. (neither…nor)

  1. He has copied this from a book. Or he downloaded it from the Internet. (either.. or)

  1. They had been looking for a new machine. Their old one broke down last night. (since)

  1. He had no chances of winning. Still he took part in the competition. (nevertheless)

  1. He is studying very well. His brother is very lazy. (whereas)

  1. The bus was late. I missed the show. (therefore)

  1. He works hard. He wants to be rich. (in order that)

  1. He speaks harshly. He wants to irritate me. (in order to)

  1. He ran away. I thought he had been shot. (as if)

  1. He ran fast. He will not be caught. (so that)

  1. You are bringing in a new idea. You think I will raise your pay. (so that)

  1. It is too late. Still we must go out. (as it is)

  1. Always speak the truth. Or people will not respect you. (lest)

  1. The telephone rang often. Each time my brother answered it. (whenever)

  1. They do not have much time. They must work hard. (therefore)

  1. He saw the warden. He ran away immediately. ( (4) as soon as, no sooner than, hardly, scarcely)

  1. Turn to the right. You will see the tank. (if)

  1. She cannot win the prize. She may work day and night. (even if)

  1. He will pass. He works so hard. (for)

Comparison of adjectives (positive, comparative and superlative)

In English, all the adjectives, the words that make nouns more specific (like red in red book or blue in blue sea), has three intensities, strong, stronger, strongest. This is called the levels or degrees of comparison. The magic is that we can use any of these words and can have almost the saem meaning.

Anand is the strongest boy in the class.

Or, Anand is stronger than any other boy in the class.

Or, No other boy in the class is as strong as Anand.

See, they all mean the same, though we have used three different degrees of comparison.

Exercise 14

Use the other two degrees in each case:

  1. Very few people in India are as rich as me.

  1. Very few books are as interesting as ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.

  1. Very few languages are as simple as Spanish.

  1. Very few places are as famous as Mumbai.

  1. This idea is the best.

  1. Mt. Everest is the tallest peak.

  1. E’ is the most common letter English.

  1. Australia is the smalles continent.

  1. Honey is the sweetest produce.

  1. No other girl in my class is as studious as Rekha.

  1. No other continent is as large as Asia.

  1. No other land animal is as big as the elephant.

  1. No other ocean is as deep as the Pacific.

  1. No other person earns as big a salary as Satya Nadella.

  1. Sumesh is smarter than all the other boys in the class.

  1. The Himalayas is larger than any other mountain range.

  1. The Mariana Trench is deeper than any other place in the sea.

  1. Samsung is popular than any other smart phone.

  1. The Nobel Prize is more coveted than any other prize.

  1. He speaks faster than everyone else.

Phrases and clauses

Phrases are group of words in a familiar order. If a phrase contains an operative or a support, then the phrase becomes a clause. It is easy to change a clause into a phrase. All you have to do is, just take out the operative or the support, and put a participle or an infinitive, or a comma in its place.

A participle is an -ing’ form or an ‘–en’ form of the verb. An infinitive is a ‘to’ form of the verb. And a comma looks very much like a comma.


A sentence should contain at least one clause. Most sentences contain more than one clause. The previous sentence contains only one clause.

You can count the number of clause by counting the number of operatives, supports or support-operative combinations.

If a sentence has only one operative, it is a simple sentence, no matter how many words it has. If there are two or more than two operative ina sentence, it could be complex sentence. Complex sentences that use ‘for, and, neither, but, otherwise,yet’ or ‘so’ are called compound sentences. They also use co-ordinating conjunctions like ‘not only.. but also’ or ‘as soon as’ and the like. All the clauses in a compound sentences are equally important. You can change one kind of sentences into another by adding or taking away operatives.

Exercise 15

Say whether the following groups of words are phrases or clauses.

  1. two apples, three oranges and a banana

  2. he killed a snake

  3. saw them going home

  4. the best book in that book shop

  5. going home after the accident

  6. he ran to the door

  7. dropping his mother’s letter

  8. slowly and carefully the rabbit

  9. she lowered the ladder

  10. there is a beautiful flower vase

  11. on a shelf in the opposite wall

  12. the bear padded down

  13. the leaves of the neem tree

  14. blades of grass

  15. a ray of sunlight bounced off the plate

  16. swinging his head from left to right

  17. they watched

  18. when he had reached the middle

  19. that their bear-chase would displease her

  20. getting to the deep and dark well in the village

Write five phrases and five clauses each containing one of these following words.

went, learnt, dangerous, kitchen, found, friends, ocean, good, excellent, ordinary



Conditional Clauses

Sentences with ‘if’ in them are called conditional sentences. The clause which contains ‘if’ is called conditional clauses.

1.1. Is it true that you were ill? I didn’t know that.

If I had known that, I would have visited you.

1.2. I hear that he needed some money. Nobody told me. So, I didn’t know.

If I had known that he needed money, I would have given him some.

Match the following clauses:

If I had discovered that he is a cheat,

they would have appointed him.

If he had passed the test,

I would have come.

If it had been a holiday,

It wouldn’t have broken.

If they had called me,

I would never have trusted him.

Had he used it carefully,

the officer wouldn’t have come.

2.1. It is 8:40 now. Walk fast, otherwise you will be late.

If you walk slowly, you will be late.

2.2. It is made of glass. Hold it properly. Don’t drop it.

If you drop it, it will break.

Match the following clauses:

If I see him,

I will ask her to take rest.

If he wins,

I will ask for your help.

If she gets tired,

I will tell him the good news.

If they come here,

they will give him a prize.

If it becomes difficult,

I will give them some food.

Complete the following sentences:

  1. If the thief had seen the police, ____________________________________

  1. If _____________________________________, I will go to the kitchen.

  1. If I had earned some money, ______________________________________

  1. If ______________________________________, I will run away.

Conditional Clauses II

3.1. I studied in his school. I greeted him whenever I saw him.

If I saw him, I would greet him.

3. 2. Joseph was my classmate. We went to school everyday together.

If Joseph went to school, I would go with him.

Match the following clauses:

If I saw him,

His mother would feed him.

If he cried,

I would ask him.

If he ran away,

they would be very happy.

If we gave them some food,

we would find him and bring him back.

If the teacher asked questions,

I would answer them first.

Complete the following sentences:

  1. If you ate the magic fruit, __________________________________ .

  1. If __________________________, there would be enough water.

  1. If I played well, __________________________________________ .

  1. If __________________________, the river would overflow.

4.1. I cannot be a bird. So I cannot fly.

If I were a bird, I would fly.

4.2. Sometimes I was late. Then I missed the school bus.

If I was late, I would always run to school.

Make 10 meaningful clauses:

If I

was / were

the class monitor,

If he

an alien,

If I

a tiger,

If she

a bright student

If I

very hungry

Make five of the clauses into sentences by adding another clause.

Conditional Clauses 1

Sentences with ‘if’ in them are called conditional sentences. The clause which contains ‘if’ is called a conditional clause.

1.1. Is it true that you were ill? I didn’t know that.

If I had known that, I would have visited you.

1.2. I hear that he needed some money. Nobody told me. So, I didn’t know.

If I had known that he needed money, I would have given him some.

Match the following clauses:

If I had discovered that he is a cheat,

they would have appointed him.

If he had passed the test,

I would have come.

If it had been a holiday,

It wouldn’t have broken.

If they had called me,

I would never have trusted him.

Had I used it carefully,

the officer wouldn’t have come.

Exercise 16

Complete the following sentences with the suggested words given in the brackets:

  1. If they had seen him, (tell police the they).

  1. (If friend my invite party to me the), I would have attended it.

  1. If you had painted a masterpiece, (world you famous become).

  1. If my father had given me some training, (I match the win).

  1. (If cousin meet her the station railway at), he would have offered her a lift.

  1. (If early the come monsoon), my garden would have looked better now.

  1. (the if see the poor monster man), it would have felt sorry for him.

  1. If they had asked me the question, (I it answer).

  1. If you had cooked it properly, (it good taste).

  1. (my had brother school same join), it would have been good for me.

  1. (pay me if well work for the they), I would have been very happy.

  1. (learn I painting oil) (have they me select)

Conditional Clauses

Sentences with ‘if’ in them are called conditional sentences. The clause which contains ‘if’ is called a conditional clause.

2.1. It is 8:40 now. Walk fast, otherwise you will be late.

If you walk slowly, you will be late.

2.2. It is made of glass. Hold it properly. Don’t drop it.

If he drops it, it will break.

Match the following clauses:

If I see him,

I will ask her to take rest.

If he wins,

I will ask for your help.

If she gets tired,

I will tell him the good news.

If they come here,

they will give him a prize.

If it becomes difficult,

I will give them some food.


Complete the following sentences with the suggested words given in the brackets:

  1. If Nivedha sees Parkavi , (tell story her the she).

  1. (If Vimeena invite party to me the), I will go.

  1. If you paint a masterpiece, (world you famous become).

  1. If Sharumathy’s father gives her some training, (she match the win).

  1. (If Akash’s cousin meets the station him at), she will offer him a lift.

  2. (If earlier the come monsoon), Shakthipriya’s garden will look better.

  1. (the If see Jaiks monster), he will run away.

  1. If Viknesh asks Logesh about Gurubalan, (he him tell).

  1. If Sathyavedan calls Mathialagan to play, (he come surely).

  1. (If know the Srinivas answer), he will tell Narendiran.

  1. (pay me if well work for the he), I will be very happy.

  1. (learn If Muthuraman painting oil) (will they him select)

Exercise 18

Combine using a participle (an ‘ –ing’ form)

  1. The house door was open. The valuables were stolen.

  1. He found his revolver. He loaded it.

  1. The people elected him. They gave him their full support.

  1. He was walking in the forest. He saw a wild elephant.

  1. I finished my work. I went for a walk.

  1. It was a very hot day. I remained in my room.

  1. They were very busy. I couldn’t meet them.

  1. He had spent all his money. He decided to go home.

  1. He staggered back. He fell to the ground.

  1. We started early. We arrived at noon.

Exercise 19

Replace the underlined word with the one given in brackets without changing the meaning.

  1. I will never forget the way you helped me today. (remember)

  1. Everyone wants to be rich. (poor)

  1. The culprit was punished. (exonerated)

  1. His application was accepted. (rejected)

  1. He was drunk. (sober)

Exercise 20

Change the punctuation without changing the meaning much.

  1. If this is how you take suggestions, how will you ever learn a lesson? (full stop)

  1. How cool the inside of this building is! (full stop)

  1. They all liked it. (question mark)

  1. This is a really wonderful idea. (exclamation mark)

  1. How strange! (full stop)

Exercise 21

Fill in the blanks with the correct word, phrase or its forms.

  1. _______________ my warning, he went out. (In spite, despite)

  2. I found this _______ hundreds of books. (between, among)

  3. I was sitting ________ two old monks. ( between, among)

  4. I was sitting ________ two old monks (among, beside)

  5. _________ the three monks, I was sitting on the bench. (between, besides)

  6. Listen! I think the telephone _________ ( ring)

  7. He saw that they ________ the wrong road. (take)

  8. There was ______ water in the cup and I drank it. (little)

  9. __________ boys in the class went out when the bell rang. (few)

  10. This is a ____________ interesting topic. (fairly, rather)

  11. Your house is ________ from the school than mine. (further, farther)

  12. No ________ than sixty passengers were injured. (lesser, fewer)

  13. He is my ________ brother. (elder, older)

  14. My sister is _______ than me (elder, older)

  15. Amit is the _______ boy in the class. (eldest, oldest)

Exercise 22

  1. The pupils are sharpening their pencils. (The pencils………..)

  1. “When will you return the money, John?” I asked. (I asked…..)

  1. Besides being industrious he is wise. (He is not only….)

  1. He told us the time of his arrival. (He told us when…..)

  1. He is the tallest man in the town. (No man……)

  1. He is too proud to beg. (He is so proud….)

  1. Lead is heavier than any other metal. (Use: heavy)

  1. She is sometimes careful. (Use: careless)

  1. If he apologises, he will be pardoned. (Use: Unless)

  1. The sun was too hot for us to go out. (The sun was so hot…..)

  1. That is all I can tell you. (Beyond that….)

  1. But for his timely help the boy would have perished. (Had……)

  1. Nobody will deny that he tried his best. (Everybody…….)

  1. But for the accident, they should have had a good picnic. (If ….)

  1. As soon as he cried they started laughing. (No sooner) (Scarcely)

  1. “When did you submit your notes, Sheela?” I asked. (I asked Sheela….)

  1. He finishes his work quickly. (It doesn’t …….)

  1. The old lady had no other company but her dog. (Apart…..)

  1. “Are you the hero who saved me?” asked the little girl. (Report.)

  1. Is that the way a man should behave? (That is…)

  1. The boys stood up when they saw the teacher. (Rewrite using ‘ing’ )

  1. She was very quiet. The teacher thought she was sad. (Combine using ‘ing’.)

  1. Who can become rich by being dishonest? ( No….. )

  1. Shall I ever forget those happy days? (Rewrite using ‘remember’)

  1. Why cry over spilt milk? ( ………….to cry over spilt milk.)

  1. Open the window. (Let….)

  1. They feel that these situations need never arise. (Rewrite using ‘felt’)

  1. Why did your father refuse such a nice job? (Why was… ?)

  1. Who has broken the mirror? (Rewrite using ‘has…been’)

  1. Passengers are forbidden to cross the line. (Rewrite using ‘forbids’.)

  1. I objected to his proposal. (His proposal……)

  1. Was Gita doing the sum? (Was the sum…….?)

  1. Will they help you? (Will you…..?)

  1. The aeroplane flies faster than birds. (…as fast as aeroplanes.)

  1. The mango is the sweetest of all the fruits. (Use: sweeter than..)

  1. This is the most difficult task. (Use: more difficult)

  1. I was furious. I couldn’t speak. (too…to)

  1. The cable was not strong. It could not support three men. (Use: so weak)

  1. She was rude to make such a remark. (To….)

  1. It is said that he is a great scientist. (He is said….)

  1. But for his timely help, she would have failed in her project. (Begin: If………..)

  1. Open the door. (Use ‘let’.)

  1. She was so tired that she couldn’t dance. (Use too…to)

  1. Abdul is the strongest boy in the class. (Rewrite using another degree of strongest.)

  1. You should learn cooking. (Use ‘high time’.)

  1. He was talented, but he never came up in life. (Use ‘in spite of’.)

  1. He held my hand. He feared I might fall. (Use ‘lest’.)

  1. I advice you to see a doctor. (Use ‘had better’.)

  1. Only a fool would believe you. (Use ‘none’.)

  1. Amazing discoveries have been made by explorers. (Begin: Explorers…..)

  1. The team consisted of six batsmen, four bowlers and a wicket keeper. (Use ‘comprised’.)

  1. Unfortunately, he failed in the first attempt. (Use ‘succeed’ instead of ‘failed’.)

  1. This should be of the greatest value to mankind. (Begin: Nothing…)

  1. She was too tired to dance. (Use so……that)

  1. Do they believe in the existence of God? (Use ‘exists’.)

  1. Who replaced the player after he was injured? (Use ‘substitute’ instead of ‘replaced’)

  1. As soon as the newspaper reached the stand it was sold out. (Use ‘Hardly’.)

  1. The mother died before the son arrived. (Begin: The son….)

  1. He was running very fast. (use: speed)

60. This idea interested me (use: interest)

62. My friend is wealthy enough to start a new business. (use: wealth)

63. We do not listen to their suggestions. (use: suggest)

64. They arrived earlier than usual. (use: arrival)

65. This old man is very wise. (use: wisdom)

66. I loved them so much. (use: love)

67. It takes good communication skills for your speech to be brief. (use: brevity)

68. I encouraged him much. (use: courage)

69. We were very grateful to him. (use: gratitude)

70. Probably, the shops are closed by now. ( Begin: In…)

Exercise 23

Phrasal verbs: Write two more examples for each

  1. She acted for the Manager for a fortnight.

  1. I shall act upon your advice.

  1. He acted up to his promise.

  1. They were able to bear down all opposition.

  1. She bore away the prize.

  1. It is not easy to bear up when one faces too many problems.

  1. If the evidence bears out the charge, he will be sent to prison.

  1. They could not bear with her violent temper.

  1. The prisoner broke away from the guards.

  1. She broke down in the middle of her speech.

  1. Sugar and starch are broken down in the stomach.

  1. He broke off in the middle of his speech.

  1. An epidemic has broken out in this area

  1. The gathering broke up in disorder.

  1. The thieves broke into the house.

  1. Please don’t break in on our conversation.

  1. This medicine is a break through in the treatment of cancer.

  1. She gave him no cause to break with her.

  1. Their folly must bring about their ruin.

  1. Small income brings down the standard of living.

  1. A good tree brings forth good fruits.

  1. Her writings bring in only a small income.

  1. Dirt often brings on disease.

  1. The publishers will soon bring out a new edition of the book.

  1. It will be difficult for me to bring one round to my way of thinking.

  1. His aunt brought him up.

  1. His teacher called for an explanation for his conduct.

  1. Call in an ambulance immediately.

  1. She called on me yesterday.

  1. He called at my house yesterday.

  1. The strike was called off.

  1. The old woman could not call up her past events.

  1. Malaria carried off half the population of this town.

  1. She carried on her father’s business.

  1. They carried out the General’s orders.

  1. Courage will carry a man through many difficulties.

  1. How did these things come about?

  1. How did they come by this book?

  1. There was a talk about a take over, but it never came off.

  1. This old machine may come in handy one day.

  1. Our total expense come to a large sum.

  1. The question came up before the Commission last week.

  1. Amit refused the job at first but he came round after some persuasion.

  1. We cannot easily do away with our customs.

  1. He is done for because of the heavy debt.

  1. Mrs. John is having the old house done up.

  1. She has nothing to fall back upon in her old age.

  1. My advice fell flat on her.

  1. The cadets were ordered to fall in.

  1. Sales tend to fall off after Christmas.

  1. Do not fall out with your friend.

  1. The scheme fell through for want of funds.

  1. You should not go by external appearance.

  1. We have gone through many hardships in life.

  1. Did you hear a gun go off?

  1. Their object of this inquiry is to get at the fact.

  1. They were able to get back all their money.

  1. He offence was not serious, so he got off with a fine.

  1. How is your son getting on at school?

  1. The Manager and his assistant did not get along well.

  1. It is hard to get on with a miser.

  1. I have now got over all my difficulties.

  1. He will get through the examination.

  1. He kept back nothing from me.

  1. They must keep up their self-respect.

  1. She seldom keeps to her promise.

  1. Keep on until you reach the traffic light.

  1. He kept away from the school for a week.

  1. We are looking forward to meeting you.

  1. He looks down upon his poor relatives.

  1. Some look to legislation to hasten the progress.

  1. We will look into the matter.

  1. I look on them as my superiors.

  1. Look up the word in the dictionary.

  1. Things are looking up.

  1. The servant made away with some money.

  1. A little more care will make for a better working climate.

  1. Can you make out the meaning of the passage?

  1. He has made over all his property to his nephew.

  1. We expect the government to make up for the loss.

  1. Put by something for your children’s future.

  1. Put forth all your strength.

  1. Do not put off things for tomorrow.

  1. He tried to put me off with his false promises.

  1. The winner put up a good fight in the ring.

  1. Where did they put you up for the night?

  1. We can no longer put up with his insolence.

  1. The battery has run down; it needs recharging.

  1. The old man was run over by a truck.

  1. The agreement has already run out.

  1. They ran short of money this month.

  1. I have to run through the text before the exams.

  1. The Supreme Court set aside the decree of the lower court.

  1. She immediately set about organizing the apartment.

  1. The seat is set apart for the handicapped.

  1. Winter will set in after a week.

  1. In his speech on reforms he set forth his views.

  1. He set off for Delhi early this morning.

  1. He has set up as a contractor.

  1. I was taken aback when I heard of his failure.

  1. He takes after his father in many ways.

  1. I took her for a nurse.

  1. They are too clever to be taken in by you.

  1. She has taken to drugs.

  1. This furniture takes up too much space.

  1. He has taken up journalism as a hobby.’

  1. If he is lazy, why don’t they turn him off?

  1. The factory turns out three machines a day.

  1. She turned out to be more intelligent than her brother.

  1. He hasn’t turned up yet.

Sentences with multiple clauses and phrases.

In formal writing, sometimes long sentences are used. To write a long sentence correctly is no easy task. Repeatedly writing simple, short sentences will make your writing look substandard.

It is easy to write long sentences correctly if you practise the use of conjunctions, participles and master your punctuations like the comma, colon and the semicolon.

Exercise 24

Express the idea in each paragraph as a single sentence .

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a novel written by Ken Kesey.
Its protagonist is Randall Patrick McMurphy.
He pretends to be insane to escape a work farm.
He discovers he is now trapped in an asylum.
He shows other characters the truth of their situation.


Tiger Woods is the name of a young American golfer.
He set a record in the 1997 Master’s Tournament.
He surprised all the veterans.
He was 22 at the time.


Ramonita Espinoza used to coach at Notre Dame University.
She now works at UConn.
She is the new soccer coach.


Ronald E. Pepin is a well known translator of medieval texts.
He has two honorary degrees from Fordham University.
He recently published his fourth book on ancient medical practices.
He was only forty-four years old at the time.


John F. Kennedy was inaugurated into office in January of 1961.
He was assassinated in November of 1963.
He spent only 1000 days in office.


Some students become nervous around computers
They are nervous around anything high-tech.
Other students seem to enjoy new challenges.
They regard learning how to use computers as a kind of game.


ER is my favourite television program.
ER is now in its third year.
It has won numerous Emmy Awards.


Lowell Weicker was once Governor of Connecticut.
He was leader of that state’s American Party.
Weicker has long been known as a maverick among politicians.
He now teaches at the University of Virginia.


Mark Twain is the author of Huckleberry Finn.

Huckleberry Finn is a classic American novel.

Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel L. Clemens.

He lived in Hartford for several years.


Mark Twain’s house was very elaborate and elegant.

It was on Farmington Avenue.

It was in an area called Nook Farm.

He was a neighbor of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


Mark Twain’s home has a large side porch.

Windows and a balcony overlook the porch.

Today, people say the windows and balcony remind them of steamboat.

In his youth, Twain piloted steamboats on the Mississippi.


Mark Twain was one of the first three people in Hartford to own a telephone.

The telephone was first used commercially in nearby New Haven.

There was practically no one to talk to.

Mark Twain never really liked this newfangled gadget.


Mark Twain loved industrial inventions.

He lost a fortune investing in them.

One of these inventions was the elaborate Paige typesetter.

Unfortunately for Twain, this machine was developed at the same time as the Linotype.

The Linotype machine was much simpler and less expensive.


Mark Twain’s beloved daughter, Susy, died in the Hartford home.

She died of spinal meningitis.

Twain never felt the same about the house again.

He soon left the house and Hartford.

He returned only once.

He came back for the funeral of his friend, Charles Dudley Warner.


Exercise 25

Correct the following sentences

1. The earth is revolving around the sun.

2. A dog stands outside my house.

3. I have been looking for my keys since four hours.

4. I told my mother that I finished my work.

5. I know what is in that book because I read it.

6. I have visited Delhi in 2010.

7. If he came here, I will tell him.

8. If he talk to me, I will pardon him.

9. If she invites me, I would go to the party.

10. If I knew the truth, I would have told the police.

11. If she had seen me, she would tell me.

12. If Shyam understood it, he would have taught me.

  1. Many of the girls has left early.

  1. Someone always leave her books on my desk.

  1. Each of John’s pencils are sharpened.

  1. How are each of the girls going to know the time for her appointment?

  1. Everybody with tickets get a rain check.

  1. Most of the milk have turned bad.

  1. A yard with lots of flowerbeds need much more care.

  1. Does either of you know the way to Jenny’s house.

  1. The difficulty with Tony’s designs are the lines near the top.

  1. All of the building have forced-air heating.

  1. His main goal for now are answers to the questions.

  1. Anything on that table sell for half price.

  1. The appearance of these older models with tail fins appeal to many car buffs.

  1. One of Lila’s friends insist on her innocence.

  1. Something like those earring with pearls were on sale.

  1. There’s several ways to do this problem.

  1. How does these people survive?

  1. The costs for each item is shown in this chart.

  1. Her reward to him are three home-cooked meals.

  1. Some of the pages in my anthropology text is missing.


There are twelve tenses in English, each using a different structure to convey meaning. The following formula will help you identify the tense of each sentence.

  1. will- future

  2. was were had did – past

  3. ………….… present

  4. has have had – perfect

  5. -ing – continuous

  6. 5. is are am was were do does did – simple

Exercise 26

Find the tense of the following sentences

  1. We are going to school.

  2. When will you come to school?

  3. He sings very well.

  4. He had done his duty.

  5. They have gone home.

  6. We had been waiting.

  7. We decided to go home.

  8. She will be reading it today.

  9. She will have come home.

  10. We have been trying to reach you.

Eventhough there are twelve tenses, only ten of these are frequently used. The future perfect and the future perfect tenses are rarely used. How to use a few of them is explained below.

1. He got a job. He applied for it.

This sounds like he applied for the job only after he got it. This cannot be true.

This error, a sequential error, can be corrected by either rewriting the sentence starting with the first sentence or by changing the second sentence to past perfect.

He got a job. He had applied for it.

See, now it sounds correct. This is how the past perfect (with a had in it) is mostly used. Whenever there is an error in sequence (and in English there is always this error) use past perfect to talk about what happened first even if it is mentioned first.

2. He was looking for his keys. He hasn’t found it. He is still looking for the keys. It has been an hour.

All these ideas can be expressed in one sentence if we use the right tense.

He has been looking for his keys for one hour.

This sentence carries the meaning of all the four sentences.

So, when we want to talk about what was happening and what is still happening, we should always use this tense.

(‘For’ and ‘since’ are often found in such sentences.)

3. Look at these sentences:

  1. A dog is standing near the gate.

  2. A man is standing near the gate.

  3. A tree stands near the gate.

  4. A memorial stands in the center of the city.

  5. A policeman is guarding it.

Why are 1, 2, and 5 different from 3 and 4?

The difference is that a dog, a man and a policeman will not continue to stand there for long. But the tree will be there for long and so will be the memorial.

(So, what will not continue is talked about using the present continuous tense. Funny!)

Thus, those that will continue to be the way they are for long are talked about using the present simple tense.

Again, a contradiction. But this anomaly makes it easy to remember.

See, hear, smell, feel and taste are usually used in the present simple. But, what you understand from such sensations are talked about in the present continuous tense.

I hear thunder but I do not see any rain. It is surely raining somewhere.

I smell some delicious spice. Some one is cooking.

4. What tense do we see in history text books?

India achieved independence in 1947.

The Second World War ended in 1945.

Right, the past simple.

The past simple contains raw information about happenings at a certain time or date or year.

It is very straight forward.

But, a happening can also be mentioned in the present perfect.


The summer has come to an end.

The country has achieved independence.

These events are over but since we are using the present perfect, mind you present, the time or date or year cannot be mentioned.

Not just that. These sentences do not mean what they say. They mean something else. They, in fact, do not refer to the events as such, but to the consequences of those events.

5. Look at this conversation:

Before 1947, we used to give customs duty to the British.

Now, we dont. Why?

Because we achieved independence in 1947.

This is better stated like this:

Because we have achieved independence.

Why does it sound better. It sounds better because the choice of tense (present perfect) suggests that ‘we don’t pay customs duty to the British as a consequence of our becoming independent.

In our every day life, as different from the history text book, we are more concerned about the results of our past actions rather than the actions themselves. So, the present perfect is used more than the past simple to refer to what we did or what happened.

6. Suppose you plan to write a novel and you are sure you will finish writing it in 2019.

You can express this accurately as:

By 2019, I will have written a novel.

Of course, the future perfect tense which is used to refer to an action which will be completed on a certain time in the future.

7. What if you already started writing the novel in 2010.

Answer this question:

When you finally finish that novel, how long will you have been writing.

(By 2019, I will have been writing that novel for nine years.)

Of course, the future perfect continuous tense, an elder brother of the present perfect continuous. It is used to talk about the time taken for an action which began in the past and ended in the future. Thank god we don’t need it so often.

8. I will talk about another tense now. I am going to tell you how to predict.

The future simple is used for predictions. But there are two other tenses too which you can use for this purpose.

The present simple can be used if you want to sound formal and sure and the present continuous (with reference to time) can be used if the prediction is informal and not so sure.

The school commences on June 2.

I am going abroad next week.

Exercise 27

In the following passage fill in each of the numbered blanks with the correct form of the word given in brackets.

Football ______(1) (be) considered a fascinating and fast moving sport. Over the years it ______(2)(gain) in popularity. I am myself a great football fan. Last year I was watching a thrilling match at the local stadium. A group of spectators including myself ______(3)(be) about to leave the stand just before the end of the game. We were half way down the stairs when suddenly a goal was scored and there was a great cheer from the spectators. If there ______(4)(not be) a goal the crowd _______(5)(not cheer). If the crowd ______ (6)(not cheer) we ______ (7) (not run) back up the stairs to see what had happened. Unfortunately, while ______(8)(run) back we _____ (9) (crash) into the rest of the spectators on their way down, and there _______ (10) (be) this frightful accident!

Exercise 28

Once there 0 (live) a monk who 1 (decide) to make his followers always laugh. People flocked to him to listen to his jokes and 2 (return) home laughing. The monk would make fun of himself and of others, 3 (make) sure that there 4 (be) not a single gloomy face in the crowd. After some years when he 5 (die) and yet cheerful, his followers asked him how he 6 (manage) to be happy even on his deathbed. He did not reply but made a last wish that he should be cremated with his clothes on. He wished that he should be kept on the funeral pyre with the same clothes he 7 (wear). His wishes were carried out, and to every one’s surprise, when the pyre was 8 (light) it was found that the old monk had 9 (hide) firecrackers under his clothes. Even on his cremation pyre, he 10 (entertain) people.

Exercise 29

Circle the verb that correctly completes each sentence. Choose formal usage.

  1. Everybody with a pass (get, gets) in free.

  2. Anything over ten dollars (need, needs) a receipt.

  3. The effect of her words (were, was) electric.

  4. When (does, do) the early editions of the paper go on sale?

  5. Many of the older students (are, is) taking that course.

  6. There (is, are) some very good reasons to major in engineering.

  7. This week’s lectures (is, are) all free.

  8. In the middle of the campus (stand, stands) seven oak trees.

  9. Someone from the Virgin Islands (are, is) speaking at 11.00.

  10. Most of the cheese from the surplus (was, were) given to the poor.

  11. (Do, Does) either of these candidates represent your views?

  12. Almost all of Lisa’s qualifications (meets, meet) the requirements.

  13. The price of tickets (have, has) gone up.

  14. New solutions (are, is) the answer to the problems.

  15. Anyone with those characteristics (is, are) going to do a good job.

  16. A few of the faster runners (were, was) able to lap the field.

  17. There (is, are) surely someone in those clubs to lead the council.

  18. The goal of her teams (is, are) always victory.

  19. How (do, does) the doctor’s nurses keep so many patients happy?

  20. In the center of the plaza (plays, play) the joyful children.

Exercise 30

Circle the verb that correctly completes each sentence. Choose formal usage. Make certain that you have identified the correct subject of the sentence and that you have crossed out prepositional phrases.

  1. During the Vietnam War, Admiral Elko Zumwalt, (was, were) commanding a special group of sailors in small boats.

  2. These boats (was, were) called “brown-water” units because they patrolled the muddy rivers of South Vietnam.

  3. Under Admiral Zumwalt’ command (was, were) his own son Lieutenant Elmo Zumwalt III.

  4. The brown-water casualty rates (was, were) running at seventy percent.

  5. The most dangerous enemy for Zumwalt’s patrol boars (was, were) the snipers in the bushes near the rivers.

  6. Admiral Zumwalt decided to use a chemical defoliant to strip the snipers’ cover in the vegetarian along the river bank.

  7. The chosen defoliant (was, were) called Agent Orange.

  8. Though its side-effects on the human body (was, were) not fully understood, Agent Orange was a proven defoliant in the United States.

  9. American planes dropped Agent Orange along the riverbanks, and soon the foliage there (was, were) dying.

  10. As the snipers lost their cover, the week casualty rate in Zumwalt’s command (was, were) dropping rapidly.

  11. By the time all the foliage (was, were) gone, the rate was down to less than one percent.

  12. The jungle hideouts of the enemy had been eliminated, and United States ships under Zumwalt (was, were) able to patrol with little fear of snipers.

  13. Several years after returning home, Admiral Zumwelt’s son became ill with Hodgkin’s disease and lymphoma.

  14. By this time, there (was, were) clear links between these forms of cancer and Agent Orange.

  15. Young Zumwalt fought the disease bravely for many years while researchers (was, were) struggling to find a remedy.

  16. He died in the summer of 1988 at the age of 42.

  17. What (has, have) been the Zumwalts’ feelings about Agent Orange?

  18. Because so many combat sailors’ lives (was, were) saved , Zumwalt and his son believed completely in the rightness of the Admiral’s decision to defoliate the hideouts with Agent Orange.

  19. Today Admiral’s grandson (are, is) suffering from a severe learning disability.

  20. These same side-effects from Agent Orange (has, have) been turning up in many Vietnam veterans and their children and also in many families in South Vietnam.

Exercise 31

  1. The test result shows that he is suffering fever.

  2. He has recovered severe back ache only very recently.

  3. This floral pattern is distinct all the other patterns.

  4. Do not focus what you are getting, focus what you are giving.

  5. It is not hard to abstain health ruining drugs altogether.

  6. It is easy to get rid something than to hang on to it.

  7. It is too dark in here to search my lost keys.

  8. They are accustomed the people and the culture.

  9. I asked him to wait sometime so that I would be ready.

  10. They are obsessed tribal medicines and won’t take anything else.

  11. He peer the map to see if there is a country he has not visited.

  12. There was no clue that his plan would lead such a disaster.

  13. He was forced to confess what he had done.

  14. They should approve his proposal since it will benefit all.

  15. He is trying so hard to cope the new situations.

  16. After being in that same job for too long, now he is fed with it.

  17. One should respond positively the challenges posed by life.

  18. This statement differs the one you made earlier.

  19. Nothing should hinder you following the path of truth.

  20. We infer the turn of the events that they have given up the plan.

  21. The parliament unanimously agreed what the speaker said.

  22. The parliament unanimously agreed the speaker.

  23. The problems stem the fact that they never spend time for introspection.

  24. We have associated the organization since its formation.

  25. They are inclined oppose every thing suggested to them.

  26. There is no doubt that they are responsible the tragedy.

  27. He was accused misappropriating the funds.

  28. He was aware the consequences of his actions.

  29. She was exempt tax deductions because she was a senior citizen.

  30. How did he benefit his what he had done last year?

  31. This breed is superior the imported one.

  32. My brother was junior my officer in school.

  33. We must contribute the organization working for a social cause.

  34. He prevented me from responding to the boss.

  35. We must dedicate ourselves the betterment of our children.

  36. He was notorious being the master brain behind the riot.

  37. The money spend education is never wasted.

  38. They insist being given undue privileges.

  39. The group consists people of different races.

  40. The people have been deprived the basic necessities.

  41. The original plan has been adapted suit different needs.

  42. A new version of the software is compatible every mobile.

  43. They persist their decision to skip the function.

  44. The kid is susceptible malaria infection.

  45. There are plenty young people addicted to loud music.

  46. The are content everything they have their lives.

  47. Whom can we blame for the loss of so many working days?

  48. They tend make everything sound so easy.

  49. You got it because you were asking it.

  50. Since he has no experience, I think he is not equal the task.

  51. We are short 20 dollars for the party tonight.

  52. It is amazing to see that they are ready anything.

  53. This city is famous its temples art.

  54. One must put in much effort to succeed anything.

  55. It is easier to yield the authorities than to make your point

  56. Lemons are hard to distinguish oranges.

  57. We are asked to refrain those activities as they are all illegal.

  58. He could not make it irrespective of his hard work.

  59. We have prepared her to deal any challenge in life.

  60. Wait before you get involved in the decision making process.

  61. This is contrary what your sister says.

  62. I am really obliged help him if he has a problem.

  63. She is capable running the organization.

  64. The battalion is composed veteran soldiers.

  65. He is a good leader as we can always count him.

  66. He is keen getting compliments from his boss.

  67. He is very devoted his masters in the field.

  68. They should account the great losses incurred by the company.

  69. They were exposed severe cold and it led to their death.

  70. The intelligence of a person is dependent many factors.

  71. Your statement is devoid any proof.

  72. Children deficient in vitamins are prone virus attacks.

  73. We know that there is nothing to worry anything in the world

  74. He will be able to emerge the disaster.

  75. She is very fond making acquaintances.

Transitional Phrases

Addition: and, again, also, besides, finally, furthermore, moreover, next, last, one …….. another, in addition, similarly

Time: first, second, soon, before, after, finally, then, later, next, former….latter, afterwards, at length, immediately, meanwhile, in the long run, in the mean time, until, while

Comparison: however, but, yet, still, still, nonetheless, nevertheless, instead, on the one hand………., in contrast, on the contrary, although, meanwhile, while, however

Example: for example, for instance, to illustrate, the following example,

Conclusion: in summary, in conclusion, to conclude, therefore, consequently, in other words, thus, as a result

Concession: although it is true that, granted, naturally, although you could say that, of course

To qualify: perhaps, often, some, sometimes, all in all, no matter how/what.

(An analysis of what could be expected in ICSC English-I exam)

There are 6 questions: an essay, a letter, a passage to test comprehension, a notice, an e-mail and a set of functional grammar questions. You need to write one essay from the five choices given. Among the choices there will be autobiographical writing (your own personal experience, which still can be believably fictitious), adventures (what did you do about the bomb in the airplane), short story for which the beginning or the title is given. An elaboration of a moral lesson, an argumentative essay on controversial issues (Should there be uniforms for teachers?) where you can take only one or the other side. There will be a picture about which you are supposed to write ‘something’, but it has to be more than a mere description. It should be a piece of writing for which the picture can be used as an appropriate illustration. All these will be there always.

There will be two types of letters to choose from, formal and informal. Very rarely, there may not be a choice between the two; both may be formal or informal.

The set of grammar questions are rather easy, if they don’t think much (a fault the children are never guilty of).

The notice and the e-mails are rather easy if you pay attention to the format and aim for accuracy.

The comprehension is called a set of questions on an ‘unseen passage’. The passages are usually from narratives and are easy to comprehend.

The meanings of three words (underlined) in the passage are to be given (3marks). The meanings should be expressed in single words or phrases and only one meaning is acceptable. If you give two different meanings, one of them may not fit the context and you will lose the whole one mark.

Frequent use of the dictionary is recommended as class work.

The comprehension questions are to test whether they can glean information lying scattered in the passage and render it in their own words. No deduction is needed. Each answer is to be given in two sentences and mostly contains 4 key words. These key words have also to be substituted for by own words, unless they are proper nouns. All kinds of ‘wh’ questions are asked.

Lifting is heavily penalised.

There will be a précis writing for 10 marks out of which 2 will go for expression. You will lose the whole of two marks if you exceed the word limit of 60 words. Better not exceed at all. Writing the first draft on a 5 x 12 grid will help. One mark each for all the eight points which they are supposed to come up with. The answer also has to be in one paragraph.

Refer to an ICSC recommended grammar book for the letter format.


The essay has to be between 300 to 400 words and neatly presented. The first 200 words are evaluated for grammar and spelling errors. The whole essay is evaluated for content as well as structure and style. The advantage from either evaluation is compensative for the other in deciding the total mark. But generally, the advantage is only one way favouring linguistic accuracy. For example, an essay with good content and bad English will always score less than one with good English, but weak content.

You should be told to proofread the first 200 words of the essay.

The examiner knows you only through the answer paper. What ever is on your mind is irrelevant. Words don’t communicate properly on paper. So you should aim for utmost clarity in your answers. Avoid colloquialisms and other lingoes. They may mean other things for the examiner.

This doesn’t mean you should write in a simple style. Effective structures get special credit. Unfortunately big words also help. Go for some.

You should make a plan for your essay before you start writing it. It gives coherence to your essay. There are various ways of planning. Use an impressive one. This will help the examiner get a floor plan of your essay and it will help him identify the main points and the development.

It will also save your time, since so much time is usually wasted waiting for the next point to show up. When you are writing it is very difficult to switch off and think up points. With a plan your next point is right there. If you happen to come to come across a point you can put it down in your plan and use it later.

Usually seven essays are given from which you need to choose one. Identify the types and choose an essay according to your ability and resources. Do not choose an essay just because it is interesting. Since the examiner does not know whether you have studied the topic in your subject classes or not, don’t feel shy about parading your knowledge you gained from the subject classes.

But more weightage is given to accuracy of grammar, spelling and punctuation. So you should proof read your essay, preferably back wards, to weed out such errors. The examiner is supposed to mark all the errors. The longer the essay, the more the errors.

The style you use should be appropriate. Don’t write a complex story. It will be lost on them. All the examiners are teachers. So don’t say anything against education, schools or teaching. Most of them are ladies too. Avoid any kind of chauvinism.

For or against’ means only one or the other.

For and against means both.

Original short story means ‘one which you wrote’.

Vivid account’ means you have to provide details and specifics.

Subjects suggested by single words or phrases are tricky.

Describe’ means provide details in a concrete way.

Examine’ means look at this from different perspectives.

Uniqueness in thoughts and ideas are not yet accepted. Be a conformist.

Most of the examiners are conservative and traditional.

Stories should not end as dreams or fantasies.

Don’t be clever or subtle. No one reads an essay twice.

Subjective essays should be believable.


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