Cláusulas relativas y participios en inglés

There are some simple rules in English for how to use present participle/past participle and relative pronouns with relative clauses.

First, relative clauses.

Type : Defining
Purpose : defines noun
Example
This is the shirt that I bought for €90, the rest were much cheaper.(that I bought for €90 identifies the shirt from many)

If the object of the verb in the clause (following the pronoun) is the same as the subject then the pronoun (and aux) can be taken out.
This is the shirt which is made for the typical tourist.

A non-defining relative clause is different.
Purpose: add extra info.
• between commas
• pronoun introduces clause
•• you cannot use that
Example
Many people in Spain, who live on the coast, were contacted for their opinion.

Without the extra info the sentence still makes sense (remember to take out the commas!).
Many people in Spain who live on the coast were contacted for their opinion.

Participle clauses
We are used to past participle in the passive.
The book was written by JK Rowling, and was very successful.

But we can simplify the passive.
The book was written by JK Rowling and was very successful.
But there has to be a clause after the participle.

Many cakes were being eaten. ✓
Many cakes being eaten. X
Many cakes being eaten at the party were horrible. ✓

Present participle clauses
An ing form without the verb to be is usually referred to as the present participle .
Swimming (present participle) is great fun.

We use it in active clauses, and a lot in relative clauses.
Look at this sentence with its pronouns.

The film which starred Brad pit and that was filmed in Japan was a wonderful experience.

Using past/present participle
The film, (comma) starring (present participle) Brad pit and filmed (past participle) in Japan was a wonderful experience.

We use participles to keep sentences simple and more fluid rhythmically.

Frases fijas y transformando el inglés informal al formal


Fixed phrases in English are very important, especially in writing but they are often formal or semi formal and can’t be used in all writing tasks. Do not confuse fixed phrases with phrasal verbs, many websites state that they are the same – they are not. Phrasal verbs are usually informal and are totally different to a fixed phrase.

Examples of fixed phrases include:

look forward to hearing from
– in summary/conclusion
– in my opinion
– to whom it may concern etc

But be careful… Consider the following sentences…

Fixed phrase – It is the aim of this report

1. Typical student usage
It is the aim of this report to see problems with computers in our school for students.

This sentence has a small error (incorrect verb – see) and the rest of the sentence after the fixed phrase is too informal (personal pronoun – our). In other words the register is not consistent.

2. Correct usage
It is the aim of this report to examine current IT issues, and challenges, at school.

The register is now consistent, semi formal. Also, look at how simple it is. There are only 2 prepositions, and 1 conjunction. It is redundant to put for students – who else goes to school?

The student’s example is spoken, informal and unsuitable because the fixed phrase is semi formal but the remainder of the sentence is not..

Look at this sentence, a typical informal example from a student
We will look at problems teachers experience.

Let’s make it formal…
1. Make passive.
Problems experienced by teachers will be looked at by us.

Make impersonal.
Problems experienced by teachers will be looked at.

3. Change vocabulary.
Issues, experienced by teaching staff, will be examined.

Perfect!

Now do that with every sentence in your formal report, essay, article or proposal.

Gramática Inglés – inversiones

Inversions in English
In English, inversions are used in formal writing and are very easy to use.

Their most typical usage is to replace if in conditional structures.

The structure is very simple, and writing an inversion very easy.

Typical structure – subject + aux. + verb
Inversion aux. + subj. + verb

Normal
If I had known Ricardo was stupid I wouldn’t have married him.

Inversion
Had I known Ricardo was stupid I wouldn’t have married him.

Normal
If she studied she would pass the exam.

Inversion
Were she to study she would pass the exam.

We also use inversions with certain words such as seldom, rarely, never, hardly, scarcely, etc.

Normal
She had seldom seen such a handsome man.

Inversion
Seldom had she seen such a handsome man.

Using inversions is so simple, there really is no excuse not to use them in a report, formal essay, etc. Try them.