Tag: course

how to express past obligation

Posted on Gennaio 12, 2016 in english

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Today we are going to look at talking about past obligation.

Remember that in the present we use the modal verb “must” and the verb “to have to” to express obligation. They are very similar in meaning but “must” indicates stronger obligation.

Look at some examples:

You must study more! If not, you will fail all your exams.
Devi studiare di più, altrimenti verrai bocciato a tutti gli esami.

I have to go to the supermarket this evening. I need to buy fruit, biscuits and milk.
Oggi pomeriggio devo andare al supermercato. Ho bisogno di comprare frutta, biscotti e latte.

The past of both “must” and “to have to”, however, is the same: had to.

Here are some examples:

Last week I had to go to hospital as I broke my arm.
La settimana scorsa sono dovuto andare all’ospedale perché mi sono rotto un braccio.

We had to work hard in order to get a raise.
Abbiamo dovuto lavorare sodo per ottenere un aumento di stipendio.

You had to pass all your exams to become a doctor.
Hai dovuto passare tutti gli esami per diventare dottore.

To form questions, we use the following structure:

Did + subject + have to + the base form of the verb, i.e. the infinitive without “to”

For example,

Did you have to get up early on Saturday morning?
Ti sei dovuto alzare presto sabato mattina?

Did they have to study last night?
Hanno dovuto studiare ieri sera?

“did not have to” or, with contraction, “didn’t have to” indicates that something was not necessary. For example,

You didn’t have to help me but thank you anyway. It was very kind of you.
Non c’era bisogno che mi aiutassi, però grazie lo stesso. È stato molto gentile da parte tua.

We didn’t have to work yesterday because it was a bank holiday.
Ieri non abbiamo dovuto lavorare perché era festivo.

Present Simple and Present Continuous

Posted on Gennaio 3, 2016 in english

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We are going to look at two present tenses today known as the present simple or simple present and the present continuous.

They are similar in that they both refer to the present time. However, there are some major differences, so let’s take a look.

We use the present simple

– for regular actions or events (per azioni ed eventi regolari)

• I go to the gym every Monday and Wednesday.
Vado in palestra ogni lunedì e mercoledì.

• I study English four times a week.
Studio inglese quattro volte alla settimana.

– for facts (per dati di fatto)

• The sun rises in the east.
Il sole sorge a est.

• When you heat ice, it melts.
Quando scaldi il ghiaccio, esso si scioglie.

– for schedules (per gli orari)

• The boat leaves at 6 a.m.
La barca parte alle 6 del mattino.

• The theatre opens at eight.
Il teatro apre alle otto.

We use the present continuous…

– to describe actions at (now) or around the time of speaking (per dscrivere azioni che si stanno verificando dove e quando si parla)

• She is studying for her exams right now so she can’t go to the cinema with you.
Ora sta studiando per i suoi esami, per cui non può venire al cinema con te.

• We are looking for a new house as our current one is too small.
Stiamo cercando una casa nuova perché quella di adesso è troppo piccola.

• Jack is learning Japanese because he is moving to Japan next month.
Jack sta imparando il giapponese perché il mese prossimo si trasferirà in Giappone.

– future plans (per progetti futuri)

• I’m taking my wife out to dinner tonight.
Stasera porto mia moglie a cenare fuori.

• We are having a party on Saturday night.
Sabato sera daremo una festa.

Remember that we can use adverbs of frequency with the present simple to express how often we do something. They are normally placed before the verb BUT are placed after the verb “to be”. Here are some adverbs of frequency:

every day/week/month, etc.
once/twice/three times, etc, a week/a month/a year…
always
often
normally
usually
sometimes
rarely
never

Look at some examples:

• I always study hard.
Studio sempre molto.

• She never understands me.
(Lei) Non mi capisce mai.

• They are very happy people and are rarely sad.
Sono delle persone molto felici, sono tristi raramente.

Before the present continuous we may use:

at the moment
today
now
right now
For example,

• She is learning Italian at the moment.
(Lei) Sta imparando l’italiano adesso.

• Today we are eating out with Tom and his girlfriend.
Oggi mangiamo fuori insieme a Tom e alla sua ragazza.