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This is the last unit on English grammar. It examines modal auxiliary verbs and the passive voice in detail, and gives a brief overview of phrasal verbs and relative clauses.
Modal auxiliary verbs (can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, etc.) are used before other verbs to add meaning to the main verb; such as obligation, possibility or probability, permission or prohibition, ability and advice, as well as different degrees of formality. They don’t change in form according to person, but their use in past situations can be bit more complicated if the verb has more than one meaning. Teaching ideas for modal verbs involve role-plays, rules and regulations, signs, etc.
Passive voice focuses on the subject of the action while the agent’s role is of less importance. Only transitive verbs can be used in passive voice. It is formed with auxiliary verb ‘be’ and past participle. It is used when the ‘doer’ of the action is unknown, unimportant or we don’t want to say it. Typical mistakes students make include leaving out the verb ‘to be’ or using it in the wrong tenses, as well as overuse of ‘by’. Teaching ideas on how to make this grammar more interesting are matching cut up sentences, and writing a general knowledge quiz.
Relative clauses are dependent clauses that modify a noun. They describe it, identify or give further information about it. They can also be referred to as an adjective clause, and are introduced by a relative pronoun (who, which, that, whose, whom, etc.), or there may be no relative pronoun. Two types of relative clauses are defining (when the information given is essential to the meaning of the sentence), and non-defining (the information is not essential to the clause’s meaning).
Last in this lesson are phrasal verbs, or multi-word verbs. They consist of a verb plus one or two particles (preposition or an adverb, or an adverb plus a preposition) that all operate as one item. They can be intransitive (not followed by an object), transitive separable (pronoun comes between the verb and particle, and noun can be either between the verb and particle, or after the particle); and transitive inseparable (object phrase or pronoun comes after the particle). From my own experience as a non-native speaker of English, I must admit learning phrasal verbs was very difficult, often they don’t make much sense, and should be memorized as vocabulary items. But with lots of practice it is definitely possible.