miércoles, 29 de marzo de 2017


Modal Verbs of Obligation

We can use have to + infinitive, must + infinitive and should + infinitive to express obligation (something you have to do).
have to /
don’t have to
strong obligation (possibly from outside)
  • Children have to go to school.
(sometimes ‘have got to’)
no obligation
  • I don’t have to work on Sundays.

  • You don’t have to eat anything you don’t like.
must / mustn’t strong obligation (possibly based on the speaker’s opinion)
  • I must study today.
negative obligation
  • You mustn’t smoke here.
should / shouldn’t mild obligation or advice
  • You should save some money.
mild negative obligation or advice
  • You shouldn’t smoke so much.
Be careful about the difference between mustn't and don't have to!
means it's not allowed, or it's a bad idea:
  • You mustn't eat so much chocolate, you'll be sick
Don't have to means you don't need to do something, but it's fine if you want to do it:
  • I don't have to get up early at the weekend
    (of course, if I want to get up early, that's fine, but I can stay in bed if I want
had to / didn’t have to obligation in the past
  • I had to go to wear a school uniform when I was a child.
no obligation in the past
  • We didn’t have to go to school on Saturdays.
must*changes to 'had to'-
should have + pp / shouldn’t have + pp a past action which didn’t happen: the advice / regret is too late
  • You should have gone to bed earlier, now you have missed the train.
a past action which didn’t happen: the advice / regret is too late
  • You shouldn’t have taken that job., it was a bad idea.

* Remember ‘must have done’ is a modal verb of deduction or speculation, not obligation in the past. For example: Julie must have left. Her coat’s not here.



For giving advice or expressing a conclusion 'should' and 'ought to' are interchangeable. They are used to express the same ideas.
You should/ought to stop smoking. He has been working on the project all week. He should/ought to be ready by this evening.
Should is also used in hypothetical situations: Should anyone call, take a message.
Call me should you need any help.

Should is used with 'imagine', 'say' and 'think' to give a tentative opinion: I should think it will take us an hour to drive to Rome.


'Need' expresses necessity: You need to exercise more often. You're putting on weight.
You don't need to wear a tie if you don't want to.

Needn't have/Didn't need to

'Needn't have' is used to talk about an action that was done but was unnecessary. We needn't have rushed to the airport. The flight was delayed.
I needn't have brought an umbrella. It didn't rain.

‘Didn't need to' is used to talk about an action that wasn’t done because it was not necessary. I didn't need to call Mike. I met him in the street.


jueves, 23 de marzo de 2017


Using the Past Perfect 

by www.perfect-english-grammar.com

Past Perfect Infographic 
1: A finished action before a second point in the past.
  • When we arrived, the film had started (= first the film started, then we arrived).
We usually use the past perfect to make it clear which action happened first. Maybe we are already talking about something in the past and we want to mention something else that is further back in time. This is often used to explain or give a reason for something in the past.
  • I'd eaten dinner so I wasn't hungry.
  • It had snowed in the night, so the bus didn't arrive.
If it's clear which action happened first (if we use the words 'before' or 'after', for example), the past perfect is optional.
  • The film started before we arrived / the film had started before we arrived.
2: Something that started in the past and continued up to another action or time in the past. The past perfect tells us 'how long', just like the present perfect, but this time the action continues up to a point in the past rather than the present. Usually we use 'for + time'. We can also use the past perfect continuous here, so we most often use the past perfect simple with stative verbs.
  • When he graduated, he had been in London for six years. (= He arrived in London six years before he graduated and lived there until he graduated, or even longer.)
  • On the 20th of July, I'd worked here for three months.
3: To talk about unreal or imaginary things in the past. In the same way that we use the past simple to talk about unreal or imaginary things in the present, we use the past perfect (one step back in time) to talk about unreal things in the past. This is common in the 3rd conditional and after ´WISH´.
  • If I had known you were ill, I would have visited you.
  • She would have passed the exam if she had studied harder.
  • I wish I hadn't gone to bed so late!

martes, 7 de marzo de 2017


Reported speech (1)

When we report someone’s words we can do it in two ways. We can use direct speech with quotation marks (“I work in a bank”), or we can use reported speech (He said he worked in a bank.)
In reported speech the tenses, word-order and pronouns may be different from those in the original sentence.

Present simple and present continuous tenses
  • Direct speech: “I travel a lot in my job” Reported speech: He said that he travelled a lot in his job.
The present simple tense (I travel) usually changes to the past simple (he travelled) in reported speech.
  • Direct speech: “Be quiet. The baby’s sleeping.” Reported speech: She told me to be quiet because the baby was sleeping.
The present continuous usually changes to the past continuous.
  • “I work in Italy” Reported speech: He told me that he works in Italy.
It isn’t always necessary to change the tense. If something is still true now – he still works in Italy – we can use the present simple in the reported sentence.
Past simple and past continuous tenses
  • Direct speech: “We lived in China for 5 years.” Reported speech: She told me they had lived in China for 5 years.
The past simple tense (we lived) usually changes to the past perfect (they had lived) in reported speech.
  • Direct speech: “I was walking down the road when I saw the accident.” Reported speech: He told me he’d been walking down the road when he’d seen the accident.
The past continuous usually changes to the past perfect continuous.
Perfect tenses
  • Direct speech: “They’ve always been very kind to me”. Reported speech: She said they’d always been very kind to her.
The present perfect tense (have always been) usually changes to the past perfect tense (had always been).
  • Direct speech: “They had already eaten when I arrived” Reported speech: He said they’d already eaten when he’d arrived.
The past perfect tense does not change in reported speech.
You can find more information about reported speech in another section.

 Reported speech (2)

Remember that in reported speech we usually change the tense of the direct statement. The present simple tense changes to the past simple, the past simple changes to the past perfect and so on.
Here are some other points to consider.

‘Can’ and ‘will’
  • Direct speech: “I can’t remember his name.” Reported speech: She said she couldn’t remember his name.
Can’ and ‘can’t’ in direct speech change to ‘could’ and ‘couldn’t’ in reported speech.
  • Direct speech: “I’ll be there for 3 weeks.” Reported speech: He told me he’d be there for 3 weeks.
Will’ and ‘won’t’ in direct speech change to ‘would’ and ‘wouldn’t’ in reported speech.
Other modal verbs
  • Direct speech: “You could be right.” Reported speech: I said that he could be right.
  • Direct speech: “You must call me.” Reported speech: She said that I must call her.
Other modal verbs don’t change in reported speech.
Reporting orders, requests and advice
  • Direct speech: “Sit down and shut up!” Reported speech: The teacher told me to sit down and shut up.
  • Direct speech: “Can you hold this for me please?” Reported speech: He asked me to hold it.
  • Direct speech: “You should do more exercise.” Reported speech: He advised me to do more exercise.
Orders, request and advice can be reported using an infinitive.
Reporting verbs
There are a number of verbs that we use to report statements. These can make your speech and writing more interesting than simply reporting every word of the direct speech.

  • Direct speech: “It wasn’t me who broke the window.” > He denied breaking the window.
  • Direct speech: “I’ll help you if you want” > She offered to help.
There are a number of verbs that can be used to report. They include: promise, claim, suggest, advise, refuse, argue, confirm and others.