We have a number of aims in this lesson

  1. Practice the active and passive in the present tense
  2. Practice plural nouns
  3. Practice determiners
  4. Practice Note Taking


This lesson links with the Practice lesson about ‘Deliver’, ‘Plural nouns’, ‘Note Taking’ and ‘Expressions of Feeling’ in this series.

  1. The postman delivers the letter (this is active)
  2. Postman delivers letter (note-taking for active)
  3. The letter is delivered by the postman (this is passive)
  4. Letter delivered by postman (note-taking for passive)

The same process can be applied to the following:

  1. The mid-wife delivers the baby
  2. Parcels are delivered by the courier
  3. The president delivers an important speech
  4. Lunchboxes are delivered by caterers
  5. The florist delivers the flowers

In the sentences above, so far, we are using ‘THE’.  ‘THE’ is a determiner and determines the meaning of the sentence.

Other determiners which are useful to know are:

A                     Any                 Many               Much

Some               None               Few                 A lot of

My                   Your                His/Her            Their

Let us now ask the following questions:

What does a postman do?

What does a baby do?

What does a teacher do?

What does a fish do?

What do fish do?

What does a monkey do?

Some of the the above questions (but not all) are written using the determiner ‘a’ and require an answer using ‘a’.

Pay special attention to how the question is written and how it will be spoken.

Now pay special attention to the correct answers to those questions and focus on plural nouns.

A postman delivers letters

A postman delivers many letters

A baby cries (a lot)

A teacher teaches

A bird flies

A fish swims

Fish swim

Monkeys eat bananas and climb trees

The TWO QUESTIONS which might present a problem to students learning English are:

What does?     What do?

What does a postman do?       What do postmen do? (plural)

What does a fish do?              What do fish do? (plural of uncountable noun)

The basic question to be answered next is – What does a person do?  (This is changed from the question – What does the person deliver.  It requires an answer using ‘a’ or no determiner at all (if plural) about the person carrying out the action.

What does a mid-wife do?

What does a courier do?

What does a president do?

What do caterers do?

What does a florist do?

So the answers are:

A mid-wife delivers babies

A courier delivers parcels

A president delivers important speeches

Caterers deliver lunchboxes

A florist delivers flowers

Those answers are written in the ACTIVE.  Now see them written in the PASSIVE.

Babies are delivered by a mid-wife

Parcels are delivered by a courier (not Puzzles delivered by Korea!)

Important speeches are delivered by a president

Lunchboxes are delivered by a president

Flowers are delivered by a florist

You now understand that most sentences need to be written with determiners but in sentences where the plural noun is referred to (postmen, caterers, fish, lunchboxes – the determiner can be omitted altogether).

Other determiners can be used, depending on the structure of the sentence.

For example:

MY baby was delivered by a mid-wife (past passive)

I gave SOME money to my friend (past active)

HIS voice is loud and clear (a pronoun is also a determiner)

HE has MANY friends and MUCH money.  (HE is a pronoun and also a determiner as well as MANY and MUCH)

There is one final situation to consider in this lesson.

QUESTION:   What does your Mother do?

ANSWER:      My Mother works in an office in the city from Monday to Friday

NOTETAKING:         Mother.  Works.  Office.  City.  Monday to Friday.

The next two questions and answers are about the friend and answered in the third person.

QUESTION:   What does your friend’s Mother do?

ANSWER:      My Friend’s Mother works in anoffice in the city from Monday to Friday

QUESTION:   What does she do?

ANSWER:      She works in an office in the city from Monday to Friday.  (SHE is pronoun and also a determiner)

In conclusion for this lesson, practice and remember the following sentences:

The postman delivers the letter

A postman delivers letters

Postmen deliver letters

Letters are delivered by a postman

Lunchboxes are delivered by caterers

MY Mother works in an office in the city from Monday to Friday

I hope you have enjoyed the lesson.






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