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  • Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

  • Today on Study English we're looking at adjectives. How do you use them, how do you order them,

  • and how do you use them to compare and describe things?

  • First, let's listen to some descriptions about the world under the sea, in the Gulf of Carpentaria,

  • off the north coast of Australia. It's quite an amazing place.

  • We know more about the surface of the moon or the surface of Mars, than we do about the

  • sea floor. The sea floor remains the last unexplored frontier. This is because it's

  • covered by this impenetrable ocean layer that we can't see through. The only way we can

  • see the sea floor is using sonar.

  • The largest reef they mapped is about 10 or so kilometres across. It's an oval-shaped

  • feature, so it covers around 100 square kilometres. Because of the fact that they are submerged

  • in 30m or so of water, the reefs are very hard to see. No one had realised that the

  • Gulf contained reefs just like the Great Barrier Reef.

  • Being able to describe things properly is an important communication skill.

  • You need adjectives for descriptions.

  • They usually come before the nouns they are describing.

  • The red car.

  • But when you want to accurately describe something, you often need to use more than one adjective

  • in a row.

  • What if the car is big, red, and made of plastic?

  • We call it the big, red, plastic car.

  • Notice that the adjectives are usually separated by commas.

  • But why don't we call it the red, plastic, big car?

  • How do you know which order to put the adjectives in?

  • Well, for native speakers, it's just that it sounds right, but luckily, there are some

  • rules.

  • It's called the royal order of adjectives.

  • Let's have a look at it.

  • First we have the determiner. That's articles: a, an,

  • the, numbers, or the word that describes the amount of something.

  • It can also be the owner, the person or thing who the noun belongs to.

  • So determiners can be: a

  • the many

  • some or a name, like John's.

  • So we have a car, many cars, John's car. The second type of adjective is opinion or

  • observation. This tells you something about the quality of the noun:

  • useful, cheap, ugly, beautiful.

  • Then we have size, for example: enormous, tiny, huge

  • followed by age. It could be old, modern,

  • 7-year-old. Then shape, perhaps oval, circular or flat.

  • A colour, like white, black or blue. Then we have adjectives that describe origin,

  • where the noun is from, for example Thai, Indonesian, Australian.

  • Followed by material, what the thing is made of, like copper,

  • plastic or wooden. Lastly, is the qualifier. This is something

  • that's an integral part of the noun. Examples might be a rocking chair,

  • a wedding ring, an electric oven. There are of course a few exceptions to these

  • rules, but it's important that you learn them, and practice them whenever you can.

  • Have a look at these words, and see if you can turn them into a phrase:

  • wooden square useful box

  • Lily's Well, box is the noun, but what comes first?

  • The determiner. Whose box is it? It's Lily's box.

  • So Lily's comes first. Then that's followed by the observation: the

  • box is useful. Then, the shape. It's square.

  • Then, finally the material. It's a wooden box.

  • So we have Lily's useful, square, wooden box. Good. Now let's listen to some strings of

  • adjectives from the clip. The sea floor remains the last unexplored

  • frontier. This is because it's covered by this impenetrable ocean layer that we can't

  • see through. The largest reef they mapped is about 10 or so kilometres across.

  • He calls the sea floor, the last unexplored frontier.

  • Let's look at that phrase. Frontier is the noun. The others are all describing

  • the noun. First, we have the determiners 'the' and 'last'

  • Last expresses a number, so it goes second. Then unexplored. That's an observation. It's

  • a quality of the frontier. OK. Now what about this impenetrable ocean

  • layer? Well, layer is the noun. All the other words

  • are adjectives. This is the determiner.

  • Impenetrable is an observation. It describes a quality of the ocean layer.

  • Ocean here is the qualifier. Almost part of the noun, it's not just a layer, it's an ocean

  • layer. OK, now you try one.

  • Look at these words. They form a phrase that he used:

  • largest, reef, the. Well, reef is the noun, so it comes last.

  • 'The' is a determiner, so it comes first. Largest describes the size, so that comes

  • after the. So we have the largest reef.

  • OK. There's another way adjectives can be used as well.

  • They can stand alone. They describe nouns by following the verb, to be.

  • When used in this way, adjectives are complements. Listen to one here:

  • The Gulf of Carpentaria is very flat and featureless. The Gulf of Carpentaria is very flat and featureless.

  • In a phrase, this would be the very flat, featureless Gulf of Carpentaria.

  • But used as a complement, the phrase becomes a full sentence.

  • The Gulf of Carpentaria is very flat and featureless. We can take the phrase the big red car and

  • turn it into a sentence. The car is big, red and plastic.

  • Notice that the order of adjectives still stays the same.

  • Now, let's look at how you go about describing things. It's often necessary to focus on particular

  • features, such as shape, size, dimension, weight, colour or texture.

  • The more you have built up your vocabulary of adjectives, the better your ability to

  • describe things accurately. So you might write up adjective lists according

  • to groups. To describe shapes we can say:

  • circular, triangular, rectangular, spherical, but we just say square.

  • It's also possible to describe something by saying it's like something common.

  • So we can say something is egg-shaped, or kidney-shaped.

  • Listen: The largest reef they mapped is about 10 or

  • so kilometres across. It's an oval-shaped feature, so it covers around 100 square kilometres.

  • When you're writing, you should always aim to make your descriptions as accurate as you

  • can. But sometimes you can't be exact, and you

  • need just describe something approximately. The largest reef they mapped is about 10 or

  • so kilometres across. It's an oval-shaped feature, so it covers around 100 square kilometres.

  • Because of the fact that they are submerged in 30m or so of water, they reefs are very

  • hard to see. Dr Harris uses the words about, around, or

  • so with numbers. About 10 kilometres or so.

  • Around 100 square kilometres. 30 metres or so.

  • Notice that the phrase 'or so', always comes after the number, but the others all come

  • before. You might also hear people say around about.

  • In formal language, we'd probably say approximately. These are all signs that the amount is not

  • exact. And now, it's around about time for me to

  • go. I'll see you next time for more Study English.

  • Bye bye.

Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

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Study English - Series 1, Episode 15: Sea floor

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    大呆危   に公開 2018 年 06 月 24 日
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