Active and Passive Voice

A slideshow lesson on Active and Passive Voice.
Active & Passive Voice Lesson

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Reported Speech

A slideshow on Reported Speech
reported speech (AA)

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Cataphoric vs Anaphoric References

Cataphoric Reference:

A cataphoric reference unit refers to another unit that is introduced later on in the text/speech. To understand the unit refered to by a cataphoric reference you would need to look ahead in the text/speech.

Anaphoric Reference:

An anaphoric reference unit, on the other hand, refers to another unit that was introduced earlier on in the text/speech. To understand the unit refered to by an anaphoric reference you would need to look back in the text/speech.

examples in English and Dhivehi

examples in English and Dhivehi

Types of Sentences

There are three main types of sentences:

  • Simple sentences
  • Conjoined sentences (also known as compound sentences)
  • Complex sentences


Simple sentences contain only one idea


  • Zubair fell.

Simple sentences comprise only one idea, clause and verb group. We say verb group (instead of verb) because a verb group itself can consist of one word (fell, assembled, cooked, won) or more than one word (will buy, had put, should have believed).

In short, simple sentences have:

  • subject and verb (and object/adjective/adverb)
  • only one idea
  • only one clause


  • He is happy. (Subject + verb + adjective)
  • She runs fast. (subject + verb + adverb)
  • They read books. (subject + verb + object)


Conjoined sentences have two (or more) clauses joined together using coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or …)


  • Zubair fell and twisted his ankle.

In short, conjoined (compound) sentences have:

  • two ideas joint by a coordinator/conjunction (e.g. and, or, so, but, yet …)
  • two clauses


  • He is happy and excited.

(= He is happy. + He is excited.)

  • She ran fast because she was scared.

(= She ran fast. She was scared.)

  • They borrowed books from the library but didn’t read them.

(=They borrowed books from the library. + They didn’t read the books.)


Complex sentences have embedded clauses. i.e. one clause is incorporated into another one

E.g. The clause

Zubair fell

can be incorporated into another clause to produce the sentence –

  • Latheef said Zubair fell.

Unlike in conjoined sentences, complex sentences contain clauses of unequal status. i.e. one clause is subordinated into another and functions as a grammatical part of it. The subordinate clause is called an embedded clause and the clause in which it is embedded is called a matrix clause.

Every subordinate clause is embedded in a matrix clause and serves a grammatical function in it.

In short, complex sentences have:

  • two (or more) clauses
  • a subordinate clause ( a clause embedded in the main/independent clause)
  • subordinate clauses begin with subordinate conjunctions (e.g. since, when, because, although, despite, as, while …)


  • She was eating when the telephone rang.
  • My teacher is angry because I didn’t do my homework.

Infinitives of Purpose

The infinitive with ‘to‘ is used to talk about people’s purposes, the reasons why they do things.

Sara is going to the shop to buy a new CD.
(= because she wants to buy a new CD)

I’m going to Africa to have a vacation.
(= because I want to have a vacation)

DO NOT USE “for” before the infinitive of purpose!

Sara is going to the shop for to buy a new CD. *
I’m going to Africa for to have a vacation. *

Morphological Systems

Not all languages have inflectional morphology. Some languages have little or no morphology. Still other languages have relatively complex words with distinct parts, each representing a morpheme.

Traditionally these 3 types of languages have been identified as :

Inflectional Morphology

In such languages:

  • each word tends to be a single isolated morpheme
  • lack both derivational and inflectional morphology

Chinese is an oft-cited example of a language with isolating morphology. Chinese uses separate words to express certain content that an inflecting language can do only by inflection

English permits both inflectional possessive
the boy’s hat
and what is called an analytical possessive
hat of the boy
Chinese permits only the equivalent of hat of the boy
Isolating Morphology

Chinese also lacks tense markers and does not mark gender, number or case distinctions on pronouns:
I just will give you that one cup tea
I am about to bring you a cup of tea
Agglutinating Morphology

In these languages:

  • Words can have several prefixes and suffixes

but characteristically they are :

  • distinct and readily segmented into their parts

Greenlandic Eskimo is an example of an agglutinating language
His new kayak has been destroyed

Objective Tests

Objective tests measure one’s ability to remember facts & figures understanding of course materials. These tests are often designed to make test-takers think independently. Good objective tests require test-takers to employ high level critical reasoning and make fine discriminations to determine the best answer
Objective Tests. ‘

The most common objective test questions are:

  • multiple-choice
  • true-false
  • matching items
  • cloze

The most common is the multiple choice question (MCQ) test where students must select the correct answer from a number of possible answers.

The incorrect answers in MCQs are termed distractors.

Distractors should cotnain:

  • misconceptions
  • partly correct answers
  • common errors of fact or reasoning (these distract students who are not well prepared for the test from giving the correct answer)

MCQs are usually used to test the test-taker’s ability to:

  • recall information
  • interpret data/diagrams
  • analyse/evaluate material

Main strengths of MCQs:

  • test a wide range of issues in a short time
  • assessment is not affected by a student’s ability to write
  • can be reliably marked as all answers are predetermined
  • can be quickly marked by computer
  • computer marking gives easy access to an item analysis of questions to pinpoint problem areas for students
  • a large bank of questions can be built up to reduce future preparation time
  • can be used for quick revision at the start or end of a class and marked by the students

Main weaknesses of MCQs:

  • do not test the student’s ability to develop and organize ideas and present these in a coherent argument
  • takes a long time to write plausible distractors (especially in cases where higher order cognitive skills are being tested)
  • restrictions are placed on the test-taker’s answers as they must select from given alternatives
  • guessing may result (but plausible distractors will result in intelligent guessing)
  • questions are often re-used which means special attention to security
  • questions need to be pre-tested and items reviewed to ensure the validity of the items

Writing MCQs is a relatively difficult task. However, the effort expended in item construction is rewarded by the ease and reliability of marking

MCQs must have:
a clear and unambiguous stem
a correct answer
several (usually 3 or 4) distractors which appear plausible to students who do not know the correct answer
coherence to the content matter to be examined


Sample MCQ

Tips for constructing MCQs:

  • use simply worded stems
  • present only one issue in the stem
  • avoid use of negative premises (may especially disadvantage ESL students)
  • ensure that the answer to one question cannot be obtained from another
  • Keep the distractors brief and as homogeneous as possible
  • ensure the distractors are plausible (i.e. common errors made by students)
  • use at least 3 distractors (reduces chance of guessing the correct answer)
  • avoid distractors that provide clues (e.g. phrases from text books)
  • group similar types of MCQs together
  • avoid using a pattern for the position of the correct response

Phrase Structure Rules

Phrase structure rules are ‘formulae’ that describe a given language’s syntax. Phrase structure rules break a natural language sentence down into its constituent parts (also known as syntactic categories. Phrase structure rules are usually of the form:

phrase structure formula

meaning that the constituent A is separated into the two sub-constituents B and C


phrase structure for S

This means that a sentence ‘S’ is separated into the two sub-constituents NP and VP in the order shown. Sub-constituents that are optional within a constituent is indicated in brackets:


phrase structure for NP

This means that an ‘NP’ may be separated into the sub-constituents DET, AP and N; and that they would appear in that order if they do.

Table of Specifications

A Table of Specifications is a two-way chart which describes the topics to be covered in a test and the number of items or points which will be associated with each topic. Sometimes the types of items are described as well.

The purpose of a Table of Specifications is to identify the achievement domains being measured and to ensure that a fair and representative sample of questions appear on the test.

As it is impossible, in a test, to assess every topic from every aspect, a Table of Specifications allows us to ensure that our test focuses on the most important areas and weights different areas based on their importance / time spent teaching. A Table of Specifications also gives us the proof we need to make sure our test has content validity.

Tables of Specifications are designed based on:

course objectives

topics covered in class

amount of time spent on those topics

textbook chapter topics

emphasis and space provided in the text


A Table of Specification could be designed in 3 simple steps:

1. identify the domain that is to be assessed

2. break the domain into levels (e.g. knowledge, comprehension, application …)

3. construct the table

The more detailed a table of specifications is, the easier it is to construct the test.


A phrase is a group of words acting as a single part of speech and not containing both a subject and a verb.

It is a part of a sentence, and does not express a complete thought.

Noun Phrases

Noun phrases must have a Noun (or Pronoun) and may or may not have other modifiers


tree diagram tree diagram

Adjective phrases

An Adjective phrase must consist an adjective (A) and may or may not have an adverb phrase (AdvP)


tree diagram tree diagram

Adverb Phrases

Adverb phrases must consist an Adverb (Adv) and may or may not have a degree adverb (deg)

Adverb phrases may be dominated by either a VP, an AP or the sentence.

Adverb phrases that modifies a whole sentence can be moved to different positions in the sentence without altering the meaning or making it ungrammatical.

Sentence adverbs often express an attitude or evaluation (e.g. clearly, frankly, actually …)


tree diagram tree diagram

Preposition Phrases

Preposition Phrases must consist of a preposition (P) and may or may not include an NP


tree diagram tree diagram

Verb phrases

Verb phrases must consist a verb and may or may not have other phrases within it


tree diagram tree diagram