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Describing language
Describing language

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Week 8: Language in the real world


On the left, a room full of people stand facing away from the camera with their hands raised to ask questions. On the right, a young girl points towards the camera.
Figure 1 Questions and commands: ‘When do we have to …?’ ‘Do it now!’.

So far in this course you’ve seen how words are put together and how they need to be arranged in particular orders to make their meanings clear. But the majority of the sentences you’ve looked at so far have been rather simple. Most of them have just made statements: someone does something, something happened, something is a certain way. This would be enough if all we needed language to do was describe things. In practice, we use language for a lot more than that: to find information, to tell (or ask) people to do things, and to get things done. This week, you will see that sentences can do more than make a statement.

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • explain the difference between different types of sentences
  • explain the difference between form and function in English
  • explain what an idiom is.