Grammar - Advanced


Reported Questions

In reported questions, tenses and word order change.

"Where is the bank?"
He asked me where the bank was.

You can note:

1. The word order is that of an affirmative sentence.
2. The tense changes as in reported speech.
3. We don't use any question marks.

Look at these other examples:

"How many cigarettes do you smoke?"
He asked me how many cigarettes I smoked.

"How long have you worked in this office?"
She asked me how long I had worked in that office.

When we ask yes/no questions, we used if or whether:

"Do you live in a big flat?"
He asked me if I lived in a big flat.

"Do we pay extra for the breakfast?"
They asked whether they paid extra for the breakfast.

Be Used To

We use "to be used to" to say someone is accustomed to something or to doing something. After this structure, we can use a noun or a verb in the -ing form:

I'm not used to living in Britain.
I'm not used to British coffee.

Consider Jane. She worked in a supermarket in a small village for many years and now she lives in the city and works in a bigger supermarket. There are many things that are very different for her:

She isn't used to all the traffic.
She isn't used to living in a big city.
She is used to working in a supermarket - because she worked in one in her village.

We use "get used to" to describe the change from being not used to something to becoming used to it.

I wasn't used to working so hard, but after two months in this company, I got used to it.
When Sarah worked as a nurse, she got used to getting up early.

Don't confuse "be used to doing" with "used to do" which we saw in the Intermediate level on this page. "used to do" means a past habit.

I used to drive a Ferrari, but now I drive a Mercedes.
I am used to driving on the left in Britain because I have been here for over a year.


British And American English

The English spoken in places like London, Manchester and Liverpool is 98% identical to that spoken in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. Only 2% difference!! Having said that, there is the same difference in the genes of the chimpanzee and the human!

The biggest difference between British and American English is in vocabulary. For example:

In America In Britain
Trash
Sidewalk
Mailman
Faucet
Elevator
Chips
Interstate
French Fries
Rubbish
Pavement
Postman
Tap
Lift
Crisps
Motorway
Chips

And the list goes on and on and on!

Grammar

There are not many differences in grammar, but there are some between the two types of English.

The present perfect is used in British English to describe an action that happened at some time in the past.

Have you seen the new Spike Lee film?
Has John already left for the mountains?

Whereas in American English, it is alright to use the past simple:

Did you see the new Spike Lee film yet?
Did John already leave for the mountains?

Shall is used with I and We in positive and interrogative sentences in British English:

Shall I help you with that bag?
Shall we go to the cinema tonight?

But shall is unusual in American English:

Will I help you with that bag?
Should we go to the cinema tonight?

There are many examples of differences in UK and US spelling

In America In Britain
Defense
Traveled
Color
Spoiled
Plow
Defence
Travelled
Colour
Spoilt
Plough

gotten is the past participle of get in American - in Britain, it's got.

This beer has gotten hot in the sun. (US)
This beer has got hot in the sun. (UK)

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