allf100 wrote:I learnt that if something happened in the past, for example, ten minutes ago, I should use past tense; and if it happened earlier than the certain time in the past, i.e. twenty minutes ago, I should use past participle. Am I correct?
In this case, the story pulled me out from my dream, and I totally woke up. It happened AFTER I got my MP3 player. Why did you use 'had pulled' - past participle here?
That's true, but the story you are telling now is about something that happened more than a few minutes ago. The 'a few minutes' is what tells us the time scale. The tense in the story itself is considered to be a bit further in the past. Otherwise I would have expected the story to start with: 'Just earlier..' or 'earlier on when I awoke...'.
allf100 wrote:2. re: like a cat that ate canary
Why did you remove 'like a cat that ate canary'? I looked it up on online Cambridge Dictionary which defines the idiom as 'extremely happy or satisfied, or in a very happy or satisfied way'. This was what I was trying to say. The words of 'thrilled' and 'delighted' you suggested are good for me.
That's a fair point, though the phrase is a bit hackneyed by now. You do hear it, but not all that often. I say use it if you want to use it.
allf100 wrote:3. re: usage of adverbs -finally, previously
Do you mean that it will be much better that adverbs closely follow the verbs instead of putting them at the end of a clause or sentence?
I am like the cat that ate the canary [delighted/thrilled] each time when some words and sentences, with which where previously I got stuck previously [finally] become comprehensible finally.
Let's consider this basically according to : time, place
. (Adverbs in green)
If the adverb refers to a specific time, e.g: 'are you going there today
?' Then the position is often at the end of the sentence/clause. It can also go at the start for style/stress: Today
I'm going to listen to Beethoven.
With something like 'finally' it sticks to and usually precedes the verb: 'I finally
understood it! or Finally
I understood it!' In general people don't stick to that rule religiously.
When 'to be' is in the sentence the adverb usually follows it: 'They are always
With 'place' adverbs, they follow the verb and often come at the end of short sentences: 'They saw you here
. 'They threw paint around
'. Again when 'to be' is in the sentence the adverb often starts the sentence: 'here
Manner adverbs are more elastic and turn up a lot, which is what makes people think adverbs are always flexible. 'She read the book carefully
' But also: 'she carefully
read the book'. Also: Carefully
, she read the book'. They express little nuances of meaning. 'It was played very well
'. Also: It was very well
However some also follow a pattern, like 'They are happily
married'. You'd never say: 'They are married happily
I'll just point out one more thing which is of interest. The position can often convey meaning difference. Compare:
- she answered naturally
when he asked her the question.
she answered when he asked her the question.
They mean different things.
There is quite a lot to say about adverb usage, so I'll not fill the page.