Cláusulas relativas y participios en inglés

There are some simple rules in English for how to use present participle/past participle and relative pronouns with relative clauses.

First, relative clauses.

Type : Defining
Purpose : defines noun
This is the shirt that I bought for €90, the rest were much cheaper.(that I bought for €90 identifies the shirt from many)

If the object of the verb in the clause (following the pronoun) is the same as the subject then the pronoun (and aux) can be taken out.
This is the shirt which is made for the typical tourist.

A non-defining relative clause is different.
Purpose: add extra info.
• between commas
• pronoun introduces clause
•• you cannot use that
Many people in Spain, who live on the coast, were contacted for their opinion.

Without the extra info the sentence still makes sense (remember to take out the commas!).
Many people in Spain who live on the coast were contacted for their opinion.

Participle clauses
We are used to past participle in the passive.
The book was written by JK Rowling, and was very successful.

But we can simplify the passive.
The book was written by JK Rowling and was very successful.
But there has to be a clause after the participle.

Many cakes were being eaten. ✓
Many cakes being eaten. X
Many cakes being eaten at the party were horrible. ✓

Present participle clauses
An ing form without the verb to be is usually referred to as the present participle .
Swimming (present participle) is great fun.

We use it in active clauses, and a lot in relative clauses.
Look at this sentence with its pronouns.

The film which starred Brad pit and that was filmed in Japan was a wonderful experience.

Using past/present participle
The film, (comma) starring (present participle) Brad pit and filmed (past participle) in Japan was a wonderful experience.

We use participles to keep sentences simple and more fluid rhythmically.

Frases fijas y transformando el inglés informal al formal

Fixed phrases in English are very important, especially in writing but they are often formal or semi formal and can’t be used in all writing tasks. Do not confuse fixed phrases with phrasal verbs, many websites state that they are the same – they are not. Phrasal verbs are usually informal and are totally different to a fixed phrase.

Examples of fixed phrases include:

look forward to hearing from
– in summary/conclusion
– in my opinion
– to whom it may concern etc

But be careful… Consider the following sentences…

Fixed phrase – It is the aim of this report

1. Typical student usage
It is the aim of this report to see problems with computers in our school for students.

This sentence has a small error (incorrect verb – see) and the rest of the sentence after the fixed phrase is too informal (personal pronoun – our). In other words the register is not consistent.

2. Correct usage
It is the aim of this report to examine current IT issues, and challenges, at school.

The register is now consistent, semi formal. Also, look at how simple it is. There are only 2 prepositions, and 1 conjunction. It is redundant to put for students – who else goes to school?

The student’s example is spoken, informal and unsuitable because the fixed phrase is semi formal but the remainder of the sentence is not..

Look at this sentence, a typical informal example from a student
We will look at problems teachers experience.

Let’s make it formal…
1. Make passive.
Problems experienced by teachers will be looked at by us.

Make impersonal.
Problems experienced by teachers will be looked at.

3. Change vocabulary.
Issues, experienced by teaching staff, will be examined.


Now do that with every sentence in your formal report, essay, article or proposal.

gerund o infinitivo en inglés B1 y B2

Understanding verb patterns in English

First we need to understand the infinitive and what it is in English.

1. Bare infinitive
Example – play
2. Full infinitive
Example – to play

Some verbs in English always require the following verb to be either 1 or 2 but never both.

Example want, offer, decide to do something.

Verb + object + full/bare inf.
Example tell, ask someone to do something.

Other verbs require an ing verb.
Example – enjoy, detest swimming.

Prepositions also require it.
Example, in, at, on, by etc Crazy about swimming.

Time words such as before or after.

Other verbs can be used with full/bare infinitive or ing
Example – like, love to swim/swimming.

So how can we learn verb patterns?

Easy, Pay attention when doing readings! Write down any verb plus preposition or the form of the verb after the preceding verb, or noun.

Examples – want + to play, depend + on + learning, aware + of + poverty

What is the difference between ing and infinitive?

Again we first need to understand that infinitives represent 3 things in English – reason, purpose, intention. Infinitives do not describe an action in progress or a completed action, merely a fact about an event.

Ing forms represent actions in progress and completed actions.

Verbs like start, stop, begin, finish – words that describe the state of an action/verb can be confusing.

My mum started to dial his number but couldn’t remember it.
No action completed – only intention.

My mum started dialing his number but couldn’t remember it.
No action completed – only intention.

There is no real difference between the sentences.

Why? Because of the verb start. Start always refers forwards to an imminent/future action.


My mum stopped (an unknown action) to speak to her friend (purpose).

My mum stopped speaking (completed action) to her friend.

Totally different – why?

The verb stop tells us that an action finishes – and so usually refers backwards to a previous action, but it can also refer forwards to introduce a future action.

When a verb like stop is followed by the infinitive it tells us the reason/purpose/intention of the next action.

So I know there is a previous unknown, maybe unimportant, action which was interrupted, even if I don’t state it.

When stop is followed by a verb+ing it refers to an ongoing action.

The verb refers backwards or forwards depending on what the writer wants to emphasise or how important different events are.

Pay attention when reading, all patterns are there!

Gramática Inglés – inversiones

Inversions in English
In English, inversions are used in formal writing and are very easy to use.

Their most typical usage is to replace if in conditional structures.

The structure is very simple, and writing an inversion very easy.

Typical structure – subject + aux. + verb
Inversion aux. + subj. + verb

If I had known Ricardo was stupid I wouldn’t have married him.

Had I known Ricardo was stupid I wouldn’t have married him.

If she studied she would pass the exam.

Were she to study she would pass the exam.

We also use inversions with certain words such as seldom, rarely, never, hardly, scarcely, etc.

She had seldom seen such a handsome man.

Seldom had she seen such a handsome man.

Using inversions is so simple, there really is no excuse not to use them in a report, formal essay, etc. Try them.