Let’s study some important uses of the word MAY.
In grammar MAY is known as a Modal Verb. But here, as you know, we always discuss usage, not grammar. Here are some of the main uses of the word :
1. May I take this chair ?
( asking permission )
2. You may now go home, said the boss.
( giving permission )
3. Prices of sugar may go up after export.
( possibility )
4. May your new job be easy.
( wish )
5, May ALLAH bless you with success.
( prayer )
6. He didn’t come to the meeting. He may have missed the bus.
( guessing reason )
7. He was born in May.
( 5th month of the year )-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-2 Dec 2018
MIGHT is the simple past form of the Verb MAY. Look at some of its common uses :
- It might rain tonight.
( possibility )
NOTE : The possibility in MIGHT is less than in MAY
2. He might be honest, but I cannot trust him.
( accepting the truth with doubt )
3. You might have called me for help.
( expressing annoyance over not doing something )
4.You might re-apply for the job.
( suggestion )
As a Noun MIGHT means power / force. For instance :
He used all his might to push the door open.-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-3 Dec 2018
Grammatically the word COULD is a Modal Verb. It is commonly used in the following ways :
- I saw that I could do the job easily.
( could = was able to )
2. A cold wind has started blowing. It could rain tonight.
( could = might )
3. If you don’t like this book, I could give you another.
( suggestion )
4. If you had caught the first bus, you could have reached here in time.
( a possibility that was missed )
5. Could you please lend me your pen ?
( polite request )
6. You couldn’t have arrived at a better time !
( indicates extreme happiness ).-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 4 Dec 2018
This refers to some confusion expressed by Mr Jinsar Laghari about the use of COULD.
I think the confusion is because Mr Laghari regards COULD only as past form of CAN. He, therefore, thinks it refers to the past.
But COULD is NOT confined to the past. It may as well relate to present or future. In other words, COULD is not a Verb of the Past Tense. It acts sometimes just like MAY or MIGHT. For instance the three sentences given below have almost the same meaning :
1. It may rain today.
2. It might rain today.
3. It could rain today.
All these sentences refer to a possibility in the future. COULD is closer to MIGHT, because it indicates possibility of a lesser degree.- MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-5 Dec 2018
SHOULD is essentially Past form of SHALL, but it is rarely used in that way. WOULD is preferred instead.
Look at the following two sentences, for instance :
Direct form : I said to him, ” i shall wait for the next bus.”
Indirect form : I told him that I would wait for the next bus.
Some more uses of SHOULD :
1. You should make good use of your spare time.
( advice )
2. The new job should suit you, because you are good at writing.
( hope )
3. I should be happy if I were with you there.
( should = would )
4. Should you see him, please tell him I didn’t get his letter.
( should = if ) –MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-6 Dec 2018
Commenting on last night’s discussion my dear daughter, Aliza Fatima, wants to know if SHOULD and WOULD could be used interchangeably.
Answer : Not always. SHOULD has a limited application. It is rarely used in place of WOULD.
WOULD has a number of applications, but it can’t be used for advice, orders, or as ‘if. ‘
As for WILL and WOULD, WILL indicates certainty. We use WILL to express intention or promise, like
I will leave for Lahore tomorrow.
I will be with you in an hour.
Our friend, Jinsar Laghari also has some questions about use of SHOULD, As I’m a bit busy at the moment, I’ll address his questions tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 7 Dec 2018
Mr Jinsar Laghari has two issues about the use of SHOULD.
(A) He wants to know if SHOULD may be used with IF.
Yes, it is quite common. For instance
1. If you should see him, tell him I am waiting for his response.
( indicates chance)
2. If Panadol does not work, you should try some other painkiller.
( indicates suggestion )
(B). Mr Laghari is confused about the use of SHOULD in the following sentence :
‘When you press the button, the pilot flame should ignite’ ( start burning )
Probably Mr Laghari has come across this sentence in instructions about the use of a heater.
The use of SHOULD in this sentence refers to normal mode of heater’s action. It means if the flame does not ignite, the heater has a defect.
The Modal Verb WOULD has several uses. For instance :
- I would love to see you when I come to Lahore.
( would = will )
2. He pushed the door with all his might, but it wouldn’t open.
( wouldn’t = didn’t )
3. You would drive better, if you knew the traffic rules.
( indicates advice )
4, He would get up early in the morning and water the plants in his garden.
( indicates habit or routine )
5. My mother would always say I was a fool.
( indicates something which no longer happens ).
Some more uses of would tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH.-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-9 Dec 2018
Some more uses of Would :
- I don’t like orange juice. I would rather have tea.
( would rather = would like to. It indicates preference)
2. Would that he were with us at the party.
( would that indicates a wish. Also note that ‘were’ is used instead of ‘was’ in expressing wishes )
3. I met his son, a would-be doctor.
( would-be : going to be / under training )
4. He is unhappy since he quarrelled with his would-be.
( would-be : choice for marriage )
Some more uses of WOULD tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH.
Mr Jinsar Laghari has named some issues about the use of WOULD. I’ll answer his questions on Wednesday after concluding our study of WOULD.-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-10 Dec 2018
Some more uses of WOULD :
1: When would it be possible for you to see me ?
( would = will : used when we are not sure about something happening in future )
2. I wouldn’t say that if I were you.
( advice )
3. Would you please lend me some money to buy this book ?
( polite request )
4. Why would I believe what he said ?
( would = should : asking for reason ) -MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-11 Dec 2018
WOULD is also used in conditional sentences suggesting a better result if someone had done something , or something had happened,
I. If you had worked honestly, you would not have failed.
We can also say
Had you worked honestly, you would not have failed.
( had you = if you had )
2. He would have got this job, if he had applied for it. OR
Had he applied for this job, he would have got it.
3. If the rain had stopped, I would have reached home before 8 pm. OR
Had the rain stopped, I would have reached home before 8 pm.
Interestingly, SHOULD can also be used in place of WOULD in these sentences. -MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-12 Dec 2018
Apparently these two sentences have the same meaning :
- Would you lend me some money ?
- Could you lend me some money ?
But there are two slight differences between them.
1, The second sentence is more polite.
2, We use WOULD when we believe the other person can afford to help us. COULD is used when we are not sure the other person can afford to help us .-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-13 Dec 2018
The simple word HELP has also some interesting uses.
For instance :
1. As it was a large party, we had to hire help for smooth service.
( help = servants )
2. The fish was so well-cooked that I asked for a second helping.
( second helping = extra amount of food / extra plate )
3. When the food was laid on the table, he said to me,
“Please help yourself.”
( help yourself = serve yourself / start eating )
4. As the door was not locked, the thief entered and helped himself to all he could carry away.
( helped himself to = stole )
5. I couldn’t help laughing when I heard him singing in the bathroom.
( help = avoid )-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 14 Dec 2018
Some interesting uses of the word HAND.
- I needed five hands to harvest the wheat crop.
( hand = worker/ labourer )
2. I guessed from the hand that the letter was written by Naeem.
( hand = style of writing )
3. Of course you had a hand in my success.
( hand = part / role )
4.His request for the girl’s hand in marriage was rejected by her parents.
( hand in marriage = proposal for marriage / رشتہ )
5. I picked up the cards, and looked at my hand.
( hand = set of playing cards held by a player in a game ).-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 15 Dec 2018
Some more interesting uses of the word HAND :
- It is an easy assignment. I can do it hands down.
( hands down = without effort )
2. The hands of the clock meet at 12 o’clock.
( hands = time indicators / گھڑی کی سوئیاں )
3, A smartphone is handier than a laptop.
( handier / more handy = easier to use )
4. This letter seems to be handiwork of Saleem.
( handiwork = work done by )
5. He brought in tea, and handed round the cups.
( hand round = distribute ). -MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 16 Dec 2018
The word HAND is used in various combinations like handbag hand-pump etc.
Here are a few now in frequent use :
1, Hand-made footballs of Sialkot are famous across the world.
( hand-made = made by hand without using machine )
2, The government has issued a handout about the new education policy.
( handout = printed summary )
3, Every new government appoints hand-picked officers to key-posts.
( hand-picked = carefully selected, usually favourite persons )
4. I came to know about your new shop from a handbill.
( handbill = short printed ad delivered from door to door or at public places ).
-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 17 Dec 2018
The word FOOT has several meanings and combinations. Here are some interesting uses of this word :
- ” Yes, that hotel offers a great variety of food, But who would foot .the bill ? ” I asked.
( foot = pay )
2. We have to build the economy on a sound footing.
( footing = base / foundation )
3. Bata footwear is elegant in style.
( footwear = shoes )
4. I didn’t attend the meeting. I just saw its footage on the TV.
( footage = film / movie )-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 18 Dec 2018
Some more combinations of FOOT.
- Everybody admired the footwork of the dancer
( footwork = movement of feet in dancing ).
2. Yasir Shah is remarkable for his footwork while bowling.
( footwork = movement of feet in sports )
3. Further details about the paragraph are given in footnotes.
( footnote = note at the bottom of a page in a book )
4, I heard his footfall and opened the door for him.
( footfall = sound of feet in walking )
5. Children in villages usually walk around barefoot.
( barefoot = without wearing shoes ). -MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 20 Dec 2018
Some important uses of LET.
- Please let me go, as I have to attend a meeting at the university.
( let = allow )
2. Let me show you the right way to solve this problem.
( let me = used to offer advice )
3. As tomorrow is a holiday, let us visit the book fair in Expo Centre.
( let us or let’s = suggestion )
4. If he wants to quarrel with me, let him do it.
( let him do it = I don’t care )
5. I found a house to let near my office.
( to let = available on rent )-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 25 Dec 2018
Some idiomatic uses of LET.
- I opened the door, and let him in.
( let in = allow to enter )
2. The traffic on this road lets up after midnight.
( let up = decrease )
3. I opened the cage door, and let the hens out.
( let out = allow to go out )
4. His attitude hurt me, but I let it go.
( let it go = didn’t react )
5. A true friend never lets you down.
( let down = disappoint ). MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-26 Dec 2018
Some interesting uses of DO/ DID :
- Do you know my address ? Yes, I do.
( do = know )
2. Did you see him ? Yes I did.
( did = saw )
In the above examples DO / DID is used for confirmation / assurance.
In this way DO / DID can be used in place of any Verb
For instance :
1. Do you like tea ? Yes, I do.
( do = like ) .
2. Did he agree with you ? Yes, he did.
( did = agreed )
3. You think I don’t need help , but I do.
( do = need )
More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-28 Dec 2018
Some idiomatic uses of DO :
- I am shivering with cold ; could do with a cup of hot tea.
( could do with = need / would like to have )
2. What is this cup doing on the chair ?
( what is —– doing = why is )
3. Putting the money in my pocket I said, ” That will do “.
( that will do = it is / will be sufficient )
4. I swear that I have nothing to do with this case.
( have nothing to do with = not involved / related )-MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-29 Dec 2018
Some combinations of DO :
- You look smart in your new hairdo.
( hairdo = haircut / hairstyle )
2. I asked you to do, not misdo this work.
( misdo = to do badly )
3. He got out of the car, and saw that he couldn’t undo the damage caused by the accident.
( undo = repair / make amends for )
4. He undid the upper two buttons of his coat, and took the cellphone out of his shirt pocket.
( undo = open )
5. I can easily outdo him in the race.
( outdo = defeat / do better )
6. Sleeping is necessary for good health, but some people overdo it.
( overdo = do something more than necessary ) MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-30 Dec 2018
Some Phrasal Verbs made from DO :
( Phrasal Verb = Verb+ Preposition / Adverb )
1. The stupid son did away with all his father’s wealth.
( do away with = waste / destroy )
2. It took us the whole day to do up the house for the birthday party.
( do up = decorate )
3. When he refused to surrender, the robber fired his pistol and did him in.
( do in = kill )
4. Thanks, I can do without your help.
( do without = manage without / work without ).MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 31 Dec 2018