USEFUL VERBS (Can’t help, Be to, ETC.)
List of verbs in this post
|1. Be to||4. Agree||7. Assist||10. Can’t help|
|2. Have||5. Believe||8. Approve||11. To think|
|3. Will & Shall||6. Avoid||9. Enter|
1. BE TO
‘BE TO’ form can be used in the following two ways:
A) For orders or instructions; e.g.
i) I’m to stay home till my mother returns. (means I must stay)
ii) She is not to leave the office without the permission of her boss. (means She must stay)
NOTE: BE TO is also used in reporting requests for instructions; e.g.
“Where shall I put it, sir?” he asked
= He asked where he was to put it.
B) To say a plan; e.g.
i) He is to leave for Agra tomorrow.
ii) We are to start English classes from Monday.
iii) The Prime Minister was to have laid the foundation stone but he was taken ill so the Home Minister is doing it instead.
NOTE: We can express an idea of destiny by using ‘WAS/WERE TO’; e.g. I met with an accident last week and got a heavy blow on the chest. It didn’t worry me initially but it was to be very serious later, (turned out to be serious)
C) BE ABOUT TO
We use BE ABOUT TO to express the immediate future. We can add JUST or can use BE ON THE POINT + GERUND to emphasize; e.g.
i) I’m about to leave. (means I’ll leave just now)
ii) I’m just about to leave.
iii) I’m on the point of leaving.
iv) He was just about to dive when he saw the crocodile.
A) Have = to possess/own
a) She has a beautiful big house.
b) I have had this car for ten years.
NOTE-I: In this meaning of HAVE we can form the negative and interrogative of sentences in two ways. We can use either DO as helping verb or use HAVE itself in forming such sentences; e.g.
Do you have an extra pencil?
= Have you an extra pencil?
NOTE-II: We don’t use HAVE in the continuous in this meaning; e.g.
INCORRECT: I am having a lot of friends here.
CORRECT: I have a lot of friends here.
INCORRECT: Anita is having a headache.
CORRECT: Anita has a headache.
B) HAVE = to receive someone, to accept, to allow something to happen
a) I’m going to have you at the station.
b) I won’t have you wear my shirt. (= I refuse to allow you to wear my shirt)
c) Let me have Rs 5,000 back just now.
C) HAVE = to take food; to take a bath/a lesson etc., means HAVE = to perform the action mentioned
a) We had a dance and afterwards we took a meal.
b) We are having a party in the evening.
c) We are having a nice holiday here.
d) I always have a walk after dinner.
e) Why don’t you have a rest?
f) May I have a look at your collection of coins?
D) HAVE = to cause something to happen or someone to do something; e.g.
a) I’m having my room washed at the moment.
b) My wife had me help her stop the crying baby.
c) The movie soon had all of us crying.
) Sumit will have it working in no time.
e) Have your trousers altered.
E) HAVE = to experience something
a) We’re having a wonderful time here in Manali.
b) I didn’t have any difficulty locating the office.
c) He hasn’t been having much luck recently.
F) HAVE = to deliver a baby
a) Pooja had her baby in hospital.
b) My wife isn’t planning to have children in near future.
NOTE-I: be having a baby, twins, etc. means to be pregnant; e.g.
I hear she is having a baby.
NOTE-II: HAVE when used as in point B to F above can also be used in the continuous tenses. For these meanings, in the Simple Present Tense and the Simple Past Tense we make negative and interrogative of HAVE with DO/DID; e.g.
a) We are having a good time here.
b) We are having eight people at the meeting.
c) My brother can’t meet you immediately, he is having a bath.
d) I am having a wonderful holiday.
INCORRECT: Has she a difficulty solving this sum.
CORRECT. Does she have a difficulty solving this sum.
INCORRECT: How many classes have you a week?
CORRECT: How many classes do you have a week?
3. Will & Shall
A) We use WILL for all persons, but we often use SHALL with first person; e.g.
a) We shall leave for Mumbai tomorrow.
b) I will arrange everything.
c) He will not go to school today.
NOTE: To express a command, promise, threat, determination, compulsion, or advice, with first person we use WILL (not SHALL) and with second and third person we use SHALL (not WILL); e.g.
a I will help you definitely. (Promise)
b) I will work hard from now on. (Determination)
c) I will have to finish this work today itself. (Compulsion)
d) You shall leave immediately. (Command)
e) You shall be provided with everything at this hotel. (Promise)
f) You shall be here for the meeting. (Compulsion)
g) Trespassers shall be prosecuted. (Threat)
B) WILL/SHALL for commands
For permanent rules and regulations we use SHALL (not WILL) even for third persons; e.g.
a) The president of the society shall be elected every three years.
b) Any entrant shall enter his name and address in the register kept with the guard.
NOTE-I: However, for other type of rules and regulations we use WILL instead of SHALL; e.g.
a) No one will swim here in this pond as it’s prone to very serious accidents.
b) Every team member will report to the coach if there is any problem with them.
NOTE-II: We can also convey orders by BE + TO-INFINITIVE construction; e.g.
a) You are to be here by tomorrow evening.
b) The medical report is to be seen at all times.
NOTE-III: Prohibitions may be expressed in written instructions by ‘MAY NOT’; e.g. No staff may bring mobile phones into the office.
NOTE-IV: We usually express habits in the present by the Simple Present Tense; but we can also use WILL when we wish to emphasize the characteristics of the performer rather than the action performed; e.g.
A policeman will usually show you the way in the street. (It is normal for a policeman to act in this way.)
C) BE GOING TO or WILL?
WILL is often used in a similar way to BE GOING TO. We use WILL for an absolute certainty. We use BE GOING TO when we want to emphasise our decision in the present; e.g.
a) I am now very late so I’m going to take the taxi.
b) I will go by bus today.
A) ‘AGREE WITH’ somebody or something
When the verb AGREE means to have the same opinion, we say AGREE WITH for persons as well as things; e.g.
a) I agree with Jitesh.
b) He agreed with my idea.
c) You can’t expect everyone to agree with you all the time
INCORRECT: In many ways I agree to his statement.
CORRECT: In many ways I agree with his statement.
NOTE-I: In this meaning, the preposition WITH is necessary here, you can’t say AGREE SOMEBODY/SOMETHING. Also you can’t say it in the present tense like this: ARE AGREED WITH; e.g.
INCORRECT: I am agreed with you.
CORRECT: I agree with you.
INCORRECT: I am agreed that students should get enough time for activities other than reading also.
CORRECT: I agree that students should get enough time for activities other than reading also.
NOTE-II: When we use AGREE with the above meaning, we don’t use its continuous form i.e. AGREEING; e.g.
INCORRECT: I am agreeing with Jitesh.
CORRECT: O I agree with Jitesh.
NOTE-III: With THE FACT THAT we use ACCEPT or APPRECIATE, not AGREE; e.g.
INCORRECT: I agree to the fact that smoking is extremely dangerous.
CORRECT: I accept the fact that smoking is extremely dangerous.
INCORRECT: I agree with the fact that everybody should go to cast his vote.
CORRECT: I accept the fact that everybody should go to cast his vote.
B) ‘AGREE TO’ something
When the verb AGREE means to accept something, we use AGREE TO for things (not PEOPLE); e.g.
a) He had agreed to the use of force.
b) The bank manager has agreed to our request for a loan.
c) I don’t understand why he doesn’t agree to the divorce.
C) AGREE ON
AGREE ON = to reach a decision. If people reach a decision together about something, we use AGREE ON; e.g.
a) We agreed on a date for the party.
b) We couldn’t agree on what to buy.
NOTE: We can also use AGREE + THAT-CLAUSE instead of AGREE ON; e.g.
They agreed on postponing of the meeting.
= They agreed that the meeting should be postponed.
A) Believe in sth
We use IN with BELIEVE in the following two meanings:
A) Accept that something exists; e.g.
Do you believe in ghosts?
B) Think that something is good; e.g.
a) I don’t believe in capital punishment. (mean Capital punishment is not a good thing in my view.)
b) I believe in getting a good night’s sleep before an examination.
B) Believe sth
We don’t use any preposition with BELIEVE in the following meaning: Accept that something is true or real; e.g.
a) I believe every word she said.
b) I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
INCORRECT: You should not believe in everything you hear.
CORRECT: You should not believe everything you hear.
INCORRECT: She couldn’t believe in what was happening to her.
CORRECT: She couldn’t believe what was happening to her.
INCORRECT: I could hardly believe in my eyes.
CORRECT: I could hardly believe my eyes.
If the verb AVOID is following an action we use ING form (not INFINITIVE); e.g.
INCORRECT: I avoid to use a computer for personal letters.
CORRECT: I avoid using a computer for personal letters.
If a noun is there after ASSIST, we say ‘ASSIST IN’ or ‘ASSIST WITH’, but if an action is there after ASSIST, we say ‘ASSIST IN DOING’ (not TO DO); e.g.
I’ve been asked to assist him in the birthday party.
= I’ve been asked to assist him with the birthday party.
INCORRECT: One of the prison guards assisted them to escape.
CORRECT: O One of the prison guards assisted them in escaping. OR One of the prison guards assisted them in their escape.
A) Approve sth (without of)= to accept a plan, proposal or application; e.g.
The use of the new drug has yet to be approved by the Medical Research Council.
B) Approve of sb/sth= to think that someone or something is good; e.g.
INCORRECT: Those who approve the death penalty claim that life imprisonment is not effective.
CORRECT: Those who approve of the death penalty claim that life imprisonment is not effective.
INCORRECT: Some husbands do not approve the idea of their wives having a job.
CORRECT: Some husbands do not approve of the idea of their wives having a job.
ENTER = to come or go into a particular place. ENTER is usually a transitive verb; therefore it has an object and is not used with the prepositions TO, INTO or IN; e.g.
INCORRECT: They entered into the building through the front door.
CORRECT: They entered the building through the front door.
INCORRECT: After entering into university, students make a lot of new friends.
CORRECT: After entering university, students make a lot of new friends.
INCORRECT: In the past it was unthinkable that a woman could enter in politics.
CORRECT: In the past it was unthinkable that a woman could enter politics.
NOTE-I: Don’t confuse this use with the phrasal verb ENTER INTO, which means ‘to start agreements, contracts or discussions with someone; e.g.
Today, eighteen-year olds are considered responsible enough to enter into contracts.
NOTE-II: ENTER can be used without an object; e.g.
They stopped talking as soon as they saw Sunita enter.
10. Can’t help
After CAN’T HELP we use the gerund (ing form); e.g.
a) A child can’t bear living alone.
b) She can’t help laughing at your foolishness.
NOTE: However after CAN’T HELP BUT we use the infinitive (V1 without TO); e.g.
I can’t help but laugh.
11. To think
TO THINK (THAT) is a phrase which is used to show that you are very surprised or shocked about something. Use of THAT after TO THINK is optional; e.g.
To think that we lived next door to him and never knew what he was doing!
= To think we lived next door to him and never knew what he was doing!
(Means we were very surprised to know that we were living next to his house and could not even know what he was up to.)
a) To think (that) he lied to you!
b) To think, all we needed to do was to wait a few more days.
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