What’s in The News? Keeping Waters Clean in America!
Speaking Practice. Talking about The Weather!
English Grammar. Compare “Modal Verbs of Probability” to Adverbs.
What’s in The News?
Keeping Waters Clean in America
The Harpster brothers—Abe, Aaron, and Andy—own Evergreen Farms, one of the largest dairy operations in Pennsylvania: 2,700 milking cows on 6,500 acres along with fields of grass, corn, and alfalfa to feed them. Their other claim to fame is the farm’s pristine Spruce Creek, where presidents from Eisenhower to Carter and other notables including the owner of the Chicago Cubs and Grammy Award-winning singers have come to fish for rainbow trout.
“We live here, drink the water here, and breathe the air here, and try to do the best for our people, our cows, and our land. We expect to pass this farm down through the generations of our families,” explains Andrew Harpster. “I may not be a scientist, but I’ve learned enough to know that everything is connected,” he adds. “If we don’t do it right, for example, the manure we spread on our corn fields can run off into Spruce Creek, damaging our trout habitat, and from there into the Juniata River, which flows into the Susquehanna and then 200 miles downstream into the Chesapeake Bay.”
Karen: Brrrr! I’m cold. I thought it was supposed to get warmer today.
Ed: Yeah, I thought so, too. That’s what the weatherman said.
Karen: It must be the wind that makes it so cold. I’m freezing!
Ed: Me, too. Let’s go inside.
Karen: O.K. It’s no fun standing out here, even if the sun is shining.
Brrrr! = A sound made to indicate that the speaker feels very cold.
Was supposed to = Was expected to.
To get warmer = To become warmer.
Yeah = Very informal form of yes.
That’s what the weather man said = A useful pattern.
Some other examples:
That’s what the teacher told us.
That’s what Mr. Johnson said.
That’s what my father always says.
That’s what the students say.
It must be the wind = This is the must of probability or supposition.
Compare “Modal Verbs of Probability” to Adverbs.
Generally, when we use “Present Perfect” exact time references are not used or are not important. Understanding the “Present Perfect” is a must to fully understand “Modals of Probability” in the past. However, with a combination of “Modals” and “Present Perfect”, we can refer to specific time in the past as speculation. In other words, we sometimes use “Modals of Probability” with “Present Perfect” to refer to a possible fact in the past without being absolutely positive the event took place. In other words, we “Speculate, Assume or Guess” at what occurred in the past. Examples might be: May have “May’ve”, Might have “Might’ve”, Could have “Could’ve”. These are all examples of an event in the past that we are not absolutely sure about. “May”, “might” and “could” in the following examples are fully interchangeable.
“She might have worked yesterday, I am not sure”.
“She may have worked yesterday, I am not sure”.
“She could have worked yesterday, I am not sure”.
In all three examples, these three Modal verbs have the same meaning. Compare to the adverbs “Maybe and Possibly” with past simple. One simple method that can be used to learn this is “Grammar Bridging”. To “Grammar Bridge” is when we study a higher level grammar element using a comparison in grammar at a lower level. The main idea is to compare known and understood grammar to something new. This is where the usage of “Adverbs” takes an important role in learning methodology. “Adverbs of Probability” are often used the same way as “Modals of Probability”.
Here is a question and answer comparing both parts of grammar:
Question:“Was Sally at work yesterday?”
“Maybe, she was at work, I don’t know”
“She could have been at work, I don’t know”.
Both answers are correct. In the first response I used an “Adverb of Probability” to express a possibility. In the second example, I used a “Modal verb with present perfect” to express the same opinion. Neither are facts. The statements made are simply “Speculation or guess” based on my thoughts and opinion. Have fun with “Bridging Grammar” and learning simple methods of study with “Grammar Bridge”.
Until next time…
Have fun with English and share what you know with friends, family and colleagues!