Unforgivable Expose

By English Tutor, Africa:

Most of my lessons are inspired by what I hear from people that I see every day; in the office and at home, and hanging out with my friends. I promised that I would expose some of my friends, and what kind of friend would I be if I didn't live up to my promise?
I will start this lesson with a highlight on tenses. – Present tenses, past tenses, future tenses and present participle.

  1. Present Tense: I eat. (This action is happening now, at this present moment)
  2. Past tense: I ate. (This action happened in the past)
  3. Future tense: I will eat. (This action is happening in the future)
  4. Present participle: I am eating. (This action is happening in the present and is continuing).

For everyday conversation, this is very easy to identify; but it can get confusing and has the possibility of changing your intended meaning.

E. g. Cynthia: “Khutie, I am pooing”
Khutie: “Cynthia, you are pooping” ….the verb is poop in this sentence; it is one of those words that do not change regardless of the tense you use them in.

I.e. Cynthia pooped
Cynthia is pooping
Cynthia will poop.

*Some words drop a vowel at the end of the word when a tense changes. Words such as: Like, liked, liking (The 'e' falls away). With consonants, however, if the verb ends with a single vowel plus a consonant, and the stress is at the end of the word, then you need to add the consonant. Words such as: Travel, travelling and travelled.

I overheard a conversation between two colleagues. As always, I decided to not mind my own business and help.
English is strange. There are some words that do not change when more is added; i.e. when the word becomes a plural. Words like sheep and equipment are smart; they do not change when you make a sentence of plurals.  Now I overheard something that might not be as easy to pick up

Thabisa: “Could you please give me her numbers”.
Solly: “Here are her numbers 071 4555 605”.
Thabisa: “Thank you”.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with that sentence apart from the intended meaning. Let me explain.
Thabisa is asking for a cell phone number not cell phone numbers.

When she added a 's' at the end of numbers, it immediately assumes that she is asking for more than one set of ten digits rather, two or even three. Had she asked me, this is how I would have responded (Not to be spiteful, but to make a clear example of what she was asking for)

Thabisa: “Khutie, could I please have her numbers”.”
Khutie: “Sure, her numbers are 071 4555 605 and 012 355 2070”.

v  Spelling is a very tricky one. There are some words that you can spell incorrectly and they remain correct, just under a different meaning.

*Elijah's text: “I will send you the rooster tomorrow morning before the meeting”.
*Thabisa's text: Ok, great, I will forward the roaster to the rest of the people attending when I receive it”.
*Khuti's text: “Hi Elijah, thank you for the roster”.

The three bolded words mean completely different things. It is very funny actually.
Rooster – male chicken
Roaster – used to cook the male chicken
Roster – list of plans (agenda, schedule, calendar).
You can see why it would be quite funny to be reading these text messages if you are me. J

I recently cut my hair. I had the whole head clean-shaven. I have also noticed how people refer to my hairless head.

Dzuli: “ah my friend, you are bold again!”
Khuthi: “Hi Dzuli, eh now, I have always been bold; if you are, however, referring to my hairless head, yes, I am very bald”.

Dzuli: “lol, you think you are smart hey?! Who shaved your hair?”
Khuthi: “I am smart Dzuli, and Phillip shaved my head

*You don't shave the hair, you shave the head.

Keep Learning,

English Tutor

Founder and Editor in Chief of the Readers Cafe Africa

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