It’s all Greek to me.

(In)transitive verbs, homophones, stative verbs & the subjunctive mood Are these terms all Greek to you? Understandable! However, with words like ‘verbs’ being there, you are correct in thinking they must have something to do with grammar – and that you are reading a Teatime Titbits post is a giveaway too.

These terms all crop up in the ‘Vid of the week’ (VOTW) – ‘Common mistakes even natives make’ @ Here’s a quick explanation of the terms. Feel free to download the free PDF @ with most of the examples from the vid. for you

‘Transitive verbs’ are used with a direct object (thingybob), ‘Intransitive verbs’ are used without a direct object. e.g. ‘she wrote a letter’ (letter is the direct object), e.g. ‘He died suddenly’ to die is intransitive

Homophone is a word that is pronounced like another word but has a different spelling or meaning e.g. some & sum.

A stative verb describes the way something IS (be, seem, understand, like, own etc) not an ACTION, which are known as dynamic verbs (eat, grow, knock etc)

The subjunctive mood is a special form of a verb used to talk about imaginary situations (made-up hypothetical situations that will never happen).

1. e.g. If my mom were to become the President … If + were (not was) + infinitive (to become),

2. demands e.g. “Schools require that each student be on time daily” be (not is) or

3. requests, e.g. “Michelle requests that each quest bring a bottle of vine.” bring (not brings)

4. or wishes that haven’t happened yet e.g. I wish he were able to come to the birthday party.

N.B. when you use the verb ‘to be’) in the subjunctive mood, use ‘be’ in the present tense and ‘were’ in the past or future tense (see above example) no matter what the subject is. When you use the he or she form, drop the ‘s’ or ‘es’ at the end of the verb (see example 3).

Hope that has clued you up a little and with PDF sheet at hand the VOTW wonN’T be all Greek to you!!!!!!

terms (Begriffe), to be all Greek to sb (böhmische Dörfer für jdn sein), however (jedoch), giveaway (verräterischer Hinweis), to crop up (hier: erwähnt werden), thingybob (Dingsbums), to pronounce (aussprechen), demand (Aufforderung), request (Bitte), to clue sb up (informieren)

Ein Gedanke zu „It’s all Greek to me.

  1. Jenny Antworten

    Thank you, especially for the subjunctive mood explanation! Now it’s clear and I’ll recognize it as what it is and won’t consider it as slang or typo anymore.

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