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UNIT 19: MODALS, PHRASALS, AND PASSIVE VOICE In this unit the course finishes its general overview of English grammar with three of the more complicated topics for students of the language. MODAL VERBS – These are essential components of English which add nuance and meaning to the main verb. The unit covers the basics modals with a nice list and clear overview of some usage. The table on pages 3 and 4 shows an excellent overview table of major modal verbs. Some teaching ideas are also given, including roleplay, rules, and signs. PASSIVE VOICE – This refers to sentences constructed where the object of an active verb becomes the subject of a passive verb. The agent (or “doer” of the action) is less important, and may even not be mentioned at all. Thus, only transitive verbs can be used in the passive, while it is impossible to do so with intransitive verbs. The unit shows the construction of the passive in different tenses, and mentions that mistakes with the auxiliary (“to be”) are the most common with students. Clauses are the topic of the next part of the unit, and is defined as a group of words containing a subject and a verb. These are divided into three main types: independent, dependent, and relative. In this section I learnt a lot, and found the descriptions clear and interesting. Independent clauses are whole sentences, containing the main subject and verb. On the other hand, a dependent clause isn’t complete, and must be connected to an independent clause to be grammatically correct. Lastly, a relative clause (also knows as an “adjective clause”) is a dependent clause that modifies a noun. This can be subdivided into a defining relative clause (which is essential to the meaning of the sentence), and a non-defining relative clause (non-essential to the meaning of the sentence). Relative clauses are often introduced by relative pronouns (who, which, that, whose, etc.). Lastly, the unit describes phrasal verbs. These consist of a verb plus one or two particles (which may be an adverb, a preposition, or an adverb plus preposition). The three basic types are intransitive (e.g. “turn up”, which can’t be followed by a direct object), transitive separable (e.g. “took on”), and transitive inseparable (e.g. “get over”). Overall this unit was a bit of a bomb of information, but it was also very useful for planning some higher-level English lessons.
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