Category Archives: Gramática

Her and His

El posesivo español ‘su’ en inglés es distinto dependiendo del género (masculino o femenino)

Se emplea ‘Her’ como posesivo ‘su’ (de ella) y ‘His’ como posesivo ‘su’ (de él)
-Su nombre es Ana / Her name’s Ana
-Su nombre es Juan / His name’s Juan

No confundas el uso del posesivo (‘his’ masculino o ‘her’ femenino) con el pronombre personal (‘he’ masculino y ‘she’ femenino). Fíjate en la diferencia:
-Su nombre es Ana. Ella es de Perú / Her name’s Ana. She’s from Peru
-Su nombre es Juan. Él es de Venezuela / His name’s Juan. He’s from Venezuela

Need to and had better.

Like must and have toneed to is also used to talk about what is necessary. The basic difference between need to, and must & have to, is where the necessity comes from. Generally, with must andhave to, the necessity comes from someone other than ourselves.  However we use need to when we talk about personal requirements. With need to the necessity comes from ourselves. Compare the following examples:

  • When you travel abroad, you have to have a passport. The necessity comes from the law
  • You must not drink and drive. The necessity comes from the law.
  • need to go on a diet. I’m getting too heavy. The necessity comes from myself.

I like to think that with must and have to the necessity comes from outside me, and with need to,  the necessity comes from inside me. You can use has need to when you make the rules or plan for yourself:

  • need to exercise more.
  • Jack said he needs to get a new computer.
  • We need to leave by 5:00 in order to get to the station on time.

Had better is used when we give someone a warning. Had bettermeans, if you don’t do it, something bad will happen.

  • You had better dry your hair before going out. If you don’t you will catch a cold.
  • You have had a bad headache for two weeks? You had better see a doctor.
  • You had better do all of your homework, otherwise you will not pass the course.

Be careful! Sometimes, people use had better to + verb, as in “you had better to stop smoking,” but using to after you had better is not correct. You can use to after better in a sentence like this: “It is better to visit NYC in the spring,” but you can’t say had better to

Must and have to

Point 1.

Must shows necessity. We usually use must when someone makes a rule or law that we need to follow. The necessity usually comes from the rule or law or the person/authority who made the rule/law. When you must do something, there is no choice:

  • When you travel abroad, you must have a passport. Having a passport is a law
  • You must stop at a red light.
  • You must speak quietly in the library.

Point 2.

Must can also be used when the speaker feels the situation is urgent. In this case the necessity comes from the speaker’s belief that the situation is urgent.

  • must talk to the doctor right now. It is urgent.
  • There is an emergency. I must use your phone.

Point 3-

The negative form of must is must not. However, the meaning is prohibition (in other words, don’t do that

  • You must not smoke here. This means, “Do not smoke here.”
  • You must not pass a red light without stopping.
  • You must not speak in the library.

Point 4.

Have to is like must. Have to shows necessity and we use have to when someone makes a rule or law that we need to follow. The necessity usually comes from the rule or law or the person/authority who made the rule/law.

Cook and Cooker

Cook / Cooker
Cook puede funcionar como verbo o como sustantivo. Cuando funciona como verbo significa ‘cocinar, guisar’.
I can’t cook = No sé cocinar
Cuando funciona como nombre significa ‘cocinero’. También se le llama ‘chef’.
He’s an excellent cook / chef = Es un cocinero excelente
Cuidado, ‘cooker’ no sirve para designar a la persona que guisa, sino que se emplea en inglés británico para nombrar al aparato con el que se cocina.
I prefer gas cookers to electric ones / Prefiero las cocinas de gas a las eléctricas.
En USA se utiliza en cambio ‘stove’ en lugar de ‘cooker’
El libro de cocina se denomina ‘cookbook’ y el término genérico para referirse a la cocina en sentido abstracto es ‘cookery’
A cookery course = Un curso de cocina
No olvides que para referirnos a la cocina como espacio físico el término correcto es ‘kitchen’

Diferencias entre May, Might y Could

El uso de may, might y could depende del grado de probabilidad de que se realice la acción.
May indica una mayor probabilidad de que algo vaya a ocurrir en el futuro o esté ocurriendo en el presente:
Puede que vaya mañana. I may go tomorrow. / Puede que ya esté allí. He may already be there.
Might indica un grado de probabilidad más remoto que may:
Nunca se sabe, puede que me caiga bien. You never know, I might like him. / Puede que ya esté muerta. She might be dead already.
Could expresa el grado mayor de improbabilidad:
Puede que se haya ido, pero no lo creo. She could have left but I don’t think so. / Puede que mañana haga sol, pero lo dudo. It could be sunny tomorrow, but I doubt it.