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USED TO




MAY

 

The modal verb may has two forms: may for the Present and might for the Past. The expressions be allowed and be permitted, which have the same meaning, can be used to supply the missing forms of the verb may.

 

May is used in the concrete, imperative and suppositional modal meanings.

1. In the concretemodal meaning may is used to express possibility due to circumstances and only in affirmative sentences.

E.g. You may see him every morning walking with his dog.

 

If the sentence refers to the Past, might is used in this meaning.

 

Note : The modal verb can is mostly used to express this meaning.

 

2. In the imperative modal meaning may is used to express permission(asking for permission),prohibition, ironic(al) request and reproach.

- asking for permission(used mostly in interrogative sentences)

E.g. “Can I have this?” Ramona said, taking a burned match out of the ashtray.

May I have this. Yes. Stay out of the street, please.” (J.D. Salinger)

E.g. May I use your pen? I’ve left mine at home.

 

- permission

E.g. You maystay here if you want to.

Note: Can is also used in the meaning of permission, but the meaning itself is a bit different. “Youmay stay here” means that the speaker gives you the permission to stay. “You can stay here” means that there are no conditions that prevent the person from staying there.

 

- prohibition

E.g. May I turn on the radio, Mum? – No, youmay not. Your younger brother is sleeping.

(No, you mustn’t. Your brother is ill, he’s running a high temperature. No, please, don’t. It’s too noisy.)

 

Mind the difference between the prohibitions. May not can be also translated into Russian as “не смей!”.

 

- ironic(al) request ( the form might is used with the non-perfect infinitive)

E.g. You might visit your parents more often!

- reproach (the form MIGHT with the perfect infinitive is used)

E.g. You might have congratulated me. Yesterday was my birthday.

 

 

3. In the suppositional meaning may is used to express doubt and uncertaintyabout the present or future (with the non-perfect infinitive), or about the past (with the perfect infinitive). The forms may and might are used interchangeably in this meaning.

 

E.g. Shemay (might) still be waiting for me. Hemay(might) know her. Youmay(might) have left your gloves at home.

 

Exercise 174. Read and comment on the meaning of the modal verb. Translate the sentences into Russian.

 

1. You might see nothing in him. I see everything in him. 2. What you have told me is quite a romance, a romance of art one might call it. 3. I know, now, that when one loses one’s looks, whatever they may be, one loses everything. 4. You have known nearly everybody in your time, so you might have known her. 5. This young man might be rich. 6. I am afraid I may frighten the Company. 6. I passed a dreadful evening, half afraid that one tragedy might be followed by another. 7. I may mention that she was not the woman’s only child. There is a son, a charming fellow, I believe. 8. Victor might have read the book. 9. I don’t know if he will be able to come, Harry. He may have to go to Monte Carlo with his father. 10. It was his beauty that had ruined him, his beauty and his youth that he had prayed for. But for those two things, his life might have been free from stain.



The Picture of Dorian Gray by O. Wilde.

11. Might I speak a word to you, my lady? 12. Elisa is upstairs, Higgins. – Upstairs!!! Then I shall jolly soon fetch her downstairs. But you might have told us this half an hour ago. 13. I told him he might drop in when he saw the light.

B. Show

14. When so much has been written about Charles Strickland, it may seem unnecessary that I should write more. 15. I couldn’t help thinking that Colonel Mac. Andrew might have some difficulty in doing this.

S. Maugham

 

Exercise 175. Read the joke. Comment on the meaning of the modal verb may.

 

***

A man may be a fool and not know it – but not if he is married.

Exercise 176. Address the student of your group with a reprimand. Use You might/You might have.

 

Exercise 177. Imagine you have a child. Make a list of rules and regulations (10 items) using may, may not.

Model. 1. You may not take cookies from the jar in the kitchen without my permission. 2. You may play computer games only after your homework has been done.

Exercise 178. You are expecting a call from your friend. He/She doesn’t call. What might have happened?

Model. He/She might have left the cell phone at home.

Exercise 179. Translate into English using Active Grammar.

 

А) 1. – Мне можно сделать это сегодня? – Не обязательно, вы можете сделать это завтра. / – Да, вы можете сделать это сегодня. 2. – Можно мне посмотреть вашу работу? – Пожалуйста. / – Нет, она еще не готова. 3. – Доктор, можно мне купаться? – Нет, нельзя. У вас могут быть осложнения. / – Конечно можно. Это только принесет вам пользу. 4. – Можно нам подождать здесь? – Да, пожалуйста. / – Нет, пожалуйста, пройдите в зал. 5. Вы можете брать книги в нашей библиотеке. 6. Не мог бы я вас попросить зайти позже? 7. Вы можете прийти в 10 часов. Это время удобно для всех. 8. Можно мне поговорить с Энн? – Боюсь, что она уже ушла.

 

В) 1. Ты могла бы прийти вовремя. Мы все ждем только тебя. 2. Ты вся дрожишь от холода. Ты бы могла бы надеть теплое пальто. 3. Ты бы могла зайти в аптеку по дороге домой, ведь ты сегодня вернешься с работы пораньше. 4. Если бы я была на твоем месте, я бы не отказалась от приглашения. Ты могла и принять их приглашение. 5. Ты могла бы встать раньше. Уже слишком поздно для поездки за город. 6. Как тебе не стыдно! Ты могла бы дать кусочек пирога своей маленькой сестренке. Смотри, она расплакалась. 7. Если бы ты очень старалась, ты бы выполнила эту работу хорошо. Могла бы постараться. 8. – Ты бы мог остаться дома, хотя бы один вечер в неделю. Мама очень огорчена. – Я знаю и очень сожалею об этом. Я мог бы приехать на выходные. 9. Вы бы могли предупредить меня, что вы не придете. Я бы не ждал вас.

 

С) 1. Если бы вы выехали на 10 минут позже, вы могли бы опоздать на поезд. 2. Как вы неосторожны! Вы могли бы сломать ногу! 3. Вы, возможно, видели этот фильм. 4. Кто знает? Может быть, это правда. 5. Возможно, он сказал правду. Но ему никто не верит. 6. Он, может быть, вам верит. 7. Может быть, она тебя ищет. 9. Она, может быть, написала вам письмо, но вы его не получили. 10. – Где же ключи? – Ты могла потерять их. Ты такая рассеянная.

 

USED TO means “to be doing something for a period in the past, either often or for a long time”. It expresses past habits. Unlike WOULD it doesn’t require a past time reference.

E.g. Iused tocome to their place quite often.

I wouldcome to their place every Sunday last summer.

USED TO also expresses past situations.

E.g. Sheused tohave dark hair but now she dyes it red.

USED TO has no present form (and no progressive, perfect, infinitive or Participle I). To talk about present habits and states, use the Simple Present tense.

 

E.g. She collects CDs.

The auxiliary verb did is used to form interrogative sentences.

E.g. Did sheuse tohave long hair?

Note 1 . The correct spelling is ‘use to’, not ‘used to’.

The negative form is usually ‘didn’t use to’, but in British English. This is quite informal and is not usually used in writing.

E.g. We didn’t use towork on Saturdays.

Note 2 . The negative form ‘used not to’(rather formal) and the question form ‘used you to ...?’ (old-fashioned & very formal) are only used in British English, usually in writing.

 

As a modal verb USED TO expresses:

1) that something happened continuously during a period in the past.

E.g. I used tolive in London. You used to work for this firm for quite a time, didn’t you?

2) that something happened frequently during a period in the past.

E.g. We used togo sailing on a lake in summer. I didn’t use to go out much when I was at college.

NOTE 3 . Mind that USED TO and WOULD are synonyms if they express a repeated action. However, USED TO is typical for colloquial speech, whereas WOULD is frequently used in writing. To show a state in the past only USED TO is used.

E.g. He used to be a military engineer.

Exercise 180. Complete the sentences according to the model.

Model. I don’t smoke now. – I used to smoke when I was younger.

 

1. It’s amazing! There is a big shopping centre here now, although I remember … .

2. I am glad to be back into this town, you know, I … .

3. I hate pickled pepper! …, but I’ve have too much of it.

4. I enjoy reading books about Art, … .

5. I can recommend you this gym. When I lived nearby, … .

6. I don’t go out much now, … .

7. You should ask him, he knows much about Italy, … .

8. I wish I had a car now, … .

9. …, but now this is a highly developed country.

10. I drink only 2 mugs of coffee a day, … .

 

Exercise 181. Complete the sentences with used to or would.

 

1. Every evening he … go to the Tylors to have a game of chess with Griffin Tylor.

2. When I was about your age, I … go hiking with my friends.

3. We … spend more time together.

4. She was such a sissy. She … complain about every slight inconvenience.

 

5. He … come to their door at 7.30, punctually as always.

6. People … read more books than they do now.

7. There … be so many cafes in this part of town.

8. Before the accident she … to go jogging every day.

9. I … visit them every summer.

10. She was so punctual. Every morning she … get up at 6, have breakfast and leave at 6.45 sharp.

Exercise 182. Say what you used to do, and do not do any more.

Model. I used to walk a lot, but now that I have a car, I don’t walk much.

Exercise 183. Translate into English using your Active Grammar.

 

1. Он часто ездил на этот замечательный курорт летом. 2. Он был душой любой компании и легко находил со всеми общий язык. 3. Как часто вы навещали нас раньше! Может быть, вы приедете к нам в субботу? 4. Она периодически подбегала к столу, чтобы проверить, все ли правильно сервировано. 5. Раньше ты так часто ходил в этот клуб. 6. Обзор показал, что раньше оплата налогов была менее своевременной. 7. Раньше он был водителем, потом стал работать телохранителем. 8. Когда я учился в институте, я часто посещал эту библиотеку. 9. Возможно, он первым обнаружил, что кельты жили здесь. 10. Эмма часто собирала гостей на веранде.

 





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