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Idioms – A look into English grammar

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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions

Ring a bell? A look into English grammar

Idiom – To ring a bell – to be familiar or to cause someone to remember something

 

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There are lots of different reasons to learn the English language but one thing that all language learners have in common is that they want to communicate. They’re not the only ones either.

 

The world has never been as connected as it is now and a lot of this is due to all of the communication technology that exists today. But where did it all come from? One place to look would be the telephone. In 1872 a man set out to tutor deaf children in Boston, America. Little did he know that the parents of the children that he was teaching would change his life. These parents were called Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders. The funds that were used to create the telephone were acquired by Gardiner Hubbard but were not actually for the telephone.

 

Thomas Sanders was persuaded to fund the development of the harmonic telegraph project, not the telephone. While the harmonic telegraph was being developed, the inventor was distracted by another idea: “Could the human voice be transmitted over wires?” An electrician, called Thomas Watson, was hired to help with the project and stop the inventor being distracted by work on the telephone but, in the end, he was convinced to work on both the telegraph and the telephone. Hubbard was not pleased and insisted that the telegraph should be given most attention. However, when he was told that a design for the telephone had been created he filed a patent in order to protect the idea. Not long after the patent for the idea had been filed, in 1876, the first telephone was created and was followed by the creation of The Bell Telephone Company in 1877.

 

You may notice that you have not been told the name of the inventor. Do you know who the article is about? Language: When you want to describe an action but you don’t know who performed it, you can use The Passive Voice. There are other reasons to use The Passive Voice but don’t worry about them for now, let’s just look at how to make it.

 

Active ???? invented the telephone in 1876(subject) + (main verb) +(object) past simple
Passive The telephone was invented in 1876(subject) + (verb ‘to be’) + (past participle) past simple

 

There are four steps to follow to make this change. Here they are:

Find the object of the active sentence and make it the subject of your new sentence. e.g. The telephone…
Find out what tense the active sentence is written in and add the verb ‘to be’ to your new sentence in the same tense. e.g. The telephone was
Add the main verb from the active sentence as a past participle(Verb III). e.g. The telephone was invented
You CAN add the subject from the active sentence after the word‘by’ (We call this the doer or the agent) but you do not always need to. e.g. The telephone was invented by ???

 

Practice 1. Read the article again and see how many examples of the passive voice you can find. 2. Try and rewrite the following sentences in the passive voice. Decide whether or not to include the doer. a) Nearly everyone uses a phone these days. b) People used the telegraph until someone invented the phone. c) Companies are making smaller phones all the time. Author: David Hetherington

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