Grammar in a Nutshell


One of the most interesting thing about English is that you can have a simple sentence such as...

eat bones.

... and the same sentence with a much more complex verb tense, but you will keep the same intonation pattern:

The dogs will have eaten the bones.

Because they are both Noun-Verb-Noun sentences with no contrast, you automatically stress the noun each time. The verb is said very quickly and without much stress at all. Furthermore, the natural liaisons make the sound very different from the spelling:

Dogs eat bones.
[däg zeet bounz]

The dogs will have eaten the bones.
[the däg z'l'veetn the bounz]

When you switch to a Pronoun-Verb-Pronoun sentence, the liaisons are the same, but the main verb is stressed.

They eat them.
[they ee d'm.]

They will have eaten them.
[they l'v ee(t)n'm.]

Listen carefully to a radio broadcast and notice how complex verb tenses are used and pronounced.


  Last Updated October 12, 2006