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1)I sat on the terrace, drinking coffee. From there I could see the vineyard and olive groves bellow me

- Why do we use drinking here but not drank?

- Why use could here since could doesn't imply the idea" achievement on a particular occasion in the past", I think it would be better if we have were able to here. How about you?

2)She was planning to ring her friend but she forgot

Can I use: She was to ring her friend....

?

3) Every child will have chance to go to vocational school or schools?

Thanks in advance
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Belly
Clive
Hi,

)I sat on the terrace, drinking coffee. From there I could see the vineyard and olive groves bellow me

- Why do we use drinking here but not drank? 'Drinking coffee' is an adjectival phrase describing 'I'. To use 'drank', you'd need to say 'I sat on the terrace and drank coffee'.

- Why use could here since could doesn't imply the idea" achievement on a particular occasion in the past", I think it would be better if we have were able to here. How about you? 'Could' here just means 'had the ability to', 'was able to'. eg 'When I was young, I could run a mile in 5 minutes'.

2)She was planning to ring her friend but she forgot This suggests the plan, the idea, came from her.

Can I use: She was to ring her friend.... This suggests an obligation that came from someone else or from some previous discussion. eg Perhaps her mother told her to call her friend, or perhaps 'she' promised earlier to call her friend.

3) Every child will have chance to go to vocational school or schools? Every child will have a/the chance to go to a vocational school.

Best wishes, Clive

Hi Clive,

I think , shares the same function as and. So according to parallel structure, we have to use drank here. If you say 'Drinking coffee' is an adjectival phrase describing I., how come it is used here without to be?



And could certainly doesn't mean be able to. If you say could does, so why do we have to use could here but not were able to?

Belly,

Adding to what others already explained, I''l offer my two cents' worth...

1) The advice given by Clive and Hao are correct. This type of structure is used quite often in everyday life. Of course we can use parallellism which will require the use of a lot of "ands" to connect the ideas together, and that will sound pretty boring. I will give you another example to illustrate the point: She stayed home last night, waiting for her boyfriend to call. Yes, you can replace "waiting" with "and waited" and it's perfectly fine. Instead, we often use adjectival (sometime called adverbial) phrases to connect the main idea and the subsequent act together. Learners just have to take the experts' words for it and observe how correct English is used

2) She was planning to call =/= She was to call. The former means a thought of calling. The latter means an obligation to call. If I said to you "you are to finish the project by tomorrow morning", I am saying, you must finish, not planning to finsih, no questions asked, no excuses.

3) It's "school", not schools.
>I haven't seen that we can use past and past continuous in a sentence like that. (Not past continuous! An -ing noun)

Sure, you saw it - your sentence! Emotion: smile

Here is a sentence with a similar construct:

"The group shows Queen Isabella seated on a Gothic chair, listening to the plans of Columbus" - http://columbus.vanderkrogt.net/es/granada.html

Hoa Thai
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drinking coffee is a participle phrase. The -ing makes it a participle. The use of a participle phrase does not violate parallelism. Often, it just means that a second action is happening at the same time as the main action.

I sat on the terrace, thinking about the stars.
= I sat on the terrace. At the same time, I was thinking about the stars.

Helen waited in the kitchen, reading a book.
= Helen waited in the kitchen. At the same time, she was reading a book.

Frank stood on the patio, looking at the broken fence.
= Frank stood on the patio. At the same time, he was looking at the broken fence.
_________

I could see means the same as I was able to see.

could need not imply an achievement. could can simply imply an ability in the past. Either could or was able to can be used in that sentence.

CJ
CalifJimdrinking coffee is a participle phrase. The -ing makes it a participle. The use of a participle phrase does not violate parallelism. Often, it just means that a second action is happening at the same time as the main action.

I sat on the terrace, thinking about the stars.
= I sat on the terrace. At the same time, I was thinking about the stars.

Helen waited in the kitchen, reading a book.
= Helen waited in the kitchen. At the same time, she was reading a book.

Frank stood on the patio, looking at the broken fence.
= Frank stood on the patio. At the same time, he was looking at the broken fence.
_________

I could see means the same as I was able to see.

could need not imply an achievement. could can simply imply an ability in the past. Either could or was able to can be used in that sentence.

CJ

I didn't know that . Doing two things at the same time? If it is, why don't we put it in the sentence like: I was sitting, drinking coffee. The question's hanging over sat. Why didn't the author say: I was sitting but I sat?

Mr Swan said in his book:We use could for general ability- for example to say that sb could do sth at any time, whenever she/he wanted.

Ex: When I was younger, I could run 10km in under 40 minutes

We do not normally use could to say that sb did sth on one occasion.

Instead we use other expressions, to be able to are among them.

Ex: How many eggs were you able to get? ( could you get is wrong)
Belly,

I think you are so terribly confused for some reason. Yes, you can say "I was sitting in the kitchen, sipping my favorite coffee and enjoying a quiet afternoon reading". The problem is not so much in the verb used in the main part of the sentence. Sat or sitting are both fine, depending on how you wanted to describe the scene. CJ, has given you excellent examples and explained the use of participle phrase already. If you keep resisting and arguing about the answers many have spent much time on trying to help you, it is not going to benefit you.

What you said about "could" and "able" is not true. I could say" when I was in my 20's, I [ was physically able]/ [could] to work fulltime and still went to school with good grades. I can't do that any more.

<<<Ex: How many eggs were you able to get? ( could you get is wrong)>>> This is not true either!

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
why don't we put it in the sentence like: I was sitting, drinking coffee.
You can, but too many -ing's together is not generally considered good style. The participle with its -ing is meant to contrast with the rest of the sentence. But, as I said, it is perfectly fine to use both -ing's and say I was sitting, drinking coffee, if you really would like to.

We do not normally use could to say that sb did sth on one occasion.
Let's look at this carefully. It is true, but the key word here is did. seeing is not doing something. If I say I saw something, it doesn't mean that I actually did something. There is no action taking place; I'm not moving my body; I'm not manipulating any object. So this rule does not apply. It only applies to cases when there is a true action, like the following.

We ran, and so we were able to catch the bus. (Correct.)
We ran, and so we could catch the bus. (Not correct. This is an action. We did something.)

But:

We were able to remember the trip. (Correct.)
We could remember the trip. (Also correct. This is not an action.)

CJ
CalifJim
why don't we put it in the sentence like: I was sitting, drinking coffee.
You can, but too many -ing's together is not generally considered good style. The participle with its -ing is meant to contrast with the rest of the sentence. But, as I said, it is perfectly fine to use both -ing's and say I was sitting, drinking coffee, if you really would like to.
We do not normally use could to say that sb did sth on one occasion.
Let's look at this carefully. It is true, but the key word here is did. seeing is not doing something. If I say I saw something, it doesn't mean that I actually did something. There is no action taking place; I'm not moving my body; I'm not manipulating any object. So this rule does not apply. It only applies to cases when there is a true action, like the following.

We ran, and so we were able to catch the bus. (Correct.)

But:

We were able to remember the trip. (Correct.)
We could remember the trip. (Also correct. This is not an action.)

CJ

Pardon me CJ,

Perhaps I missed something. This sentence sounded fine to me execpt maybe "that' is needed.

We ran, and so (that) we could catch the bus. (Not correct. This is an action. We did something.)

I also looked it up on the NET, that usage seemed to be common:

So That's Why We're in Iraq

One of the old ones---that we invaded Iraq so that we could bring democracy to the Arab world---is beginning to look a little dicey. ...
www.commondreams.org/views05/0831-25.htm - 15k - Cached - Similar pages


MichaelMoore.com : SiCKO : 'SiCKO' Blog

see it then but now I know that she left us so that we could make a better life for those who are in the same position as I was in. ...
www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/blog/labels/MLK%20Hospital.html - 18k - Cached - Similar pages



Naked in the Woods - Coronado Cave

Doped up on Nyquil, I stayed in bed all day Saturday in hopes that I could get rid of that nasty cold so that we could hike the next day. ...
www.arizonahikingtrails.com/nakedwoodspages/020799.html - 12k -

Goodman,

In the relevant reading, where could is used in the affirmative in an attempt to convey the meaning succeeded, which is what Belly (and Michael Swan) were talking about, could cannot be used.

We ran; therefore, we [*could catch / were able to catch / succeeded in catching / caught] the bus.
__________

Compare the following two examples, with different meanings:

-- Were you able to notify the police in time to prevent the crime?
-- Yes, fortunately, I was able to.

(Meaning: Did you succeed in notifying the police ...? Yes, I succeeded.)
-----------------------------
-- Could you notify the police in time to prevent the crime?
-- Yes, I could.

(Meaning: Would you be able (hypothetically) to notify the police ...? Yes, I would.)
("Coded" meaning: Please notify the police .... Yes, I will.)
(Not the same meaning as above. could cannot be used to convey the "success" meaning above.)
__________

Certainly, could can be used in other readings, such as would be able to. This alternate reading is typical in a so that clause of purpose, examples of which you have quoted above.

CJ
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CalifJimGoodman,

In the relevant reading, where could is used in the affirmative in an attempt to convey the meaning succeeded, which is what Belly (and Michael Swan) were talking about, could cannot be used.

We ran; therefore, we [*could catch / were able to catch / succeeded in catching / caught] the bus.
__________

Compare the following two examples, with different meanings:

-- Were you able to notify the police in time to prevent the crime?
-- Yes, fortunately, I was able to.

(Meaning: Did you succeed in notifying the police ...? Yes, I succeeded.)
-----------------------------
-- Could you notify the police in time to prevent the crime?
-- Yes, I could.

(Meaning: Would you be able (hypothetically) to notify the police ...? Yes, I would.)
("Coded" meaning: Please notify the police .... Yes, I will.)
(Not the same meaning as above. could cannot be used to convey the "success" meaning above.)
__________

Certainly, could can be used in other readings, such as would be able to. This alternate reading is typical in a so that clause of purpose, examples of which you have quoted above.

CJ

Thanks for the reply CJ,

Yes I agree your example did validate the point but still that rule is somewhat unclear in certain contexts, such as the one I posted with my last thread. I am not arguing the point, and I agree in some contexts, Swan's explanation is true. What drove me crazy is that by comparing the structures in the examples found on the NET, I saw the same structure used. So I draw the same parallel. That's all.

<<One of the old ones---that we invaded Iraq so that we could bring democracy to the Arab world>>

We ran so we could catch the bus
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