Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grammar Point: Indirect questions

Good day everybody. Later today I'll post a fresh Six Minute English Quiz. But now I'd like to "flag up", that is, draw your attention to something that regularly "crops up", in other words occurs, in our English lessons. I'm talking about Indirect Questions.

We use these in various situations, notably when reporting what someone said. They are also very commonly used when we want to make a polite or delicate request, for example when asking for permission or information.

Here's an example that happened to me on the early morning flight from Istanbul to Izmir, Turkey. I had boarded the plane and taken my allocated seat. The seat next to me was empty. A British tourist asked me curtly, "Is this free?" She sounded quite aggressive. She should have said, "Could you tell me whether this seat is free?"

I should have stared up at her coldly and replied, "Yes!" Instead of this, I said mildly, "Yes, I think it is." I guess I am too nice.

To find out more about Indirect Questions, go to this page on the BBC World Service Learning English site. Pay particular attention to the word order. Which is correct:

1. "Could you tell me what time is is?"
2. "Could you tell me what time is it?"

Study the BBC page and then post your answer on the Tag Board or in a comment.

Good luck, and more soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Last year's Six Minute English Quiz: The Answers At Last!

Hello to all our readers. First of all I must apologise for this post being, on 12 February, my first since 20 December! My excuse must be that the beginning of 2015 has been exceptionally busy. I am very sorry about this and I plan, from now on, to add at least one post a fortnight, and hopefully more often than that.

Now, I must give you the answers to the quiz about Superheroes. Here they are:

1. What year did Superman first appear published in a comic? It was (c) in 1938

2. And he was originally a villain - that is, the bad guy.

3. Superheroes in real life are people who do something [good].

4. What does the Japanese superhero do? He makes his fellow-citizens [happy].

5. Why does he do it? He says that, after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, that he wanted ["to bring the smile back (to people's faces)".]

6. Interestingly, real life superheroes keep their identity [a closely guarded/secret].

7. Another Japanese man is considered a hero because he [volunteers to keep Tokyo's streets cleaner].

An honourable mention naturally goes to Filomena, Manola and Federica for taking part in our Quiz. Many thanks!

And in a few days' time I'll post another Quiz.

Finally, a very happy New Year 2015 - even if it is a little late.
Michael Ivy