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English One
Winter Term 2009-10
Fridays, 10−12 am; room 049, Computer Science building, Takustr. 9.
Office Hours: Mon 10-12 on Campfire or by appointment

The Exploratorium

This is a new section on the E1 page that is meant to give you an opportunity to explore the problems we encounter in class, as well as the ones you dig up on your own. It would be a terrible waste of time and effort if we didn't use these results and ideas and made them available to everybody in our class.

So we are going to use this page to collect and polish whatever gems of insight we come across during class, and of course everyone is welcome to share any valuable research they do on their own time.

Continuous Tenses

You wouldn't believe what we found out about this.

Sentence structure

The most simple used sentence structure consists of subject verb object.

Example: I live in Berlin.

If you want, you can add time expression at the beginning or the end of the sentence.

Example: Yesterday, I visited Berlin.


Adverbs tell us in what way someone does something. Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. There are 8 kinds of adverbs:
  1. manner i.e: fast
  2. place and direction i.e: down
  3. time i.e: soon
  4. frequency i.e: always
  5. sentence i.e: certainly
  6. degree i.e: fairly
  7. interrogative i.e: why?
  8. relative i.e: when, why

The sentence adverbs modify the whole sentence or clause and normally express the speaker's opinion. They can be placed:
a) after be
b) before simple tense of other verbs
c) after the first auxiliarly in a compound verb
d) at the beginning or at the end of a sentence or clause.

Example: actually, apparently, clearly, probably, obviously, defintely, perhaps, possibly

  • Honestly, Tom didn't get the money.

Irregular verbs

What are irregular verbs?
It is easy to get the simple past or past participle when you have a regular verb. You just have to add an -ed at the end of the infinitive. But there is not such a pattern for irregular verbs. You have to KNOW the forms of irregular verbs (or look them up in the dictonary).

Why are there irregular verbs?
In the past there was an ancestor language Proto-Indo-European. In this language there were different verb families with certain rules (like drink/drank, sink/sank or fly/flew, slay/slew). These rules died over the centuries. Most of the verbs changed to fit into the modern -ed pattern. Only some of the strong (often used) verbs stayed the same. They are called irregular today.

Is there still something happening with irregular verbs?
Irregular verbs are becoming regularized over time. For example, “help” is now a regular verb, although its past tense was once “holp.” Rarely used irregular verbs are most quickly regularized while commonly used irregular verbs are the most resistant.

What do we need the past participle for?
- passive (form of be + pp) "This article was written."
- perfect tenses (form of have + pp) "I have spoken."
- adjectives "I am bored."

Personal pronouns in Early Modern English

Thou, thee, thy and thine are old second person singular pronouns used in Britain. Thou and thee were the today you and used if it is the subject of the verb (thou) and object of the verb (thee). Thy and thine were used as your and yours and stood for the genitive and possesive case in the english grammar. Today one can still find them used in regional dialects of England and Scotland.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary vs. Oxford Thesaurus

In our group we had to compare two of world's most known (at least we were told so) dictionaries: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Oxford Thesaurus of English. We came to the conclusion that you'll need both because each dictionary provides particular features that the other one doesn't have. The first one comes up with a lot of visual information – pictures, maps, charts etc. – which might help you visualize the word/expression you're looking for. The fantastic thing about this dictionary is that the definitions of all the given words are explained with just 3000, mostly easy, words. The Thesaurus of English concentrates more on the semantics of words/expressions and contains therefore a lot of synonyms/antonyms. There is also additional information on linguistic usage so you can learn how to use the term you've looked up and not only find out its definition or pronounciation.


Food and drink

Food and drink is not so different in Great Britian than in Germany. But there are some special dishes during christmas e.g. the christmas cake or the plumpudding. And of cause: fish and ships! In the world wide web are many articels and whole sites which deal with this theme. The site shows some of the best fish and ship sellers. Take a look!


If you want to go shopping London offers many shopping malls and department stores. One of the most famous department stores is the Harrods. It is located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge below Hyde Park and is Londons biggest shop. This store has over 90.000m² sellings space in 330 deparments! Basically, it sells quality & luxury goods so it is very expensiv.

Londons famoust shopping street is the Oxford street. It is located on the right side of the Hide Park in City of Westminster. The UK's second-biggest shop Selfridges with 50,000 m2 of selling space lies there. In the Oxford street are more then 300 shops settled. It is 2,4 km long. You can buy everything there.

If you want to look for shopping malls, restaurants or other servies take a look at QYPE. You can find comments and articles about every single service there. Not only food & drink.


The Tower of London

The Tower of London or formally known as: "Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress" is the oldest building still used by the British government. The name Tower is a bit misleading as it is a big complex and looks more like a fortress. It has been used as a fortress, a royal place and of course a prison.

Have a look at the openstreetmap to see where it is located: OSM

Here you can find a photo of the whole complex: Tower

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge is nearby the Tower itself, this is where the name comes from. Have a look at the OSM to spot it:


As you can see does not lead directly "into the tower" but extends a street aside the tower.

Here you can find a quite impressing picture of the bridge:


Here a quite cute one wink

Cute Bridge

Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname of the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster. The Clock is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the World. It is directly located at the Thames. Next to Westminster Palace is the Underground Station Westminster. Only a few minutes by foot is the Westminster Abbey. The best view to Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster is from the opposite side of the Thames.


Official Website



Westminster Abbey

The official name of Westminster Abbey is The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster. It is a large Gothic churches nearby the Palace of Westminster, and the traditional place of coronation an burial site. In the Abbey are the burials of many English and British Monarchs, in the Nave are buried famous scientist like Charles Darwin or Sir Isaac Newton and in the South Transept, also called The Poets’ Corner, are the burials and memorials of Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare and many more.





The Eye of London

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, was erected in 1999 and is a giant Ferris wheel. It's height is 135m and has been the biggest Ferris wheel in that time.

It's the most popular paid tourist attraction in England with over three million visitors in one year.

Here you can find a photo of it at twilight:


Hyde Park

Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, England and is contiguous with Kensington Gardens. It is one of the Royal Parks of London. The Royal Parks of London are lands originally owned by the monarchy of England or the United Kingdom for the recreation (mostly hunting) of the royal family. They are part of the hereditary possessions of the Crown. The Hyde Park is a public park and has become a political location. Its speaker’s corner is very famous.

Further information:

Royal Park



YouTube, Speaker's Corner


Regent's Park

The Regent’s Park one of the Royal Parks of London. The Royal Parks of London are lands originally owned by the monarchy of England or the United Kingdom for the recreation (mostly hunting) of the royal family. They are part of the hereditary possessions of the Crown. It covers 166 hectares (410) and includes stunnig rose gardens with more than 30.000 roses of 400 varities. Moreover there is the largest outdoor sports area in Central London.

Further information:

Royal Parks





The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in London. The present Chinatown is in the Soho area of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses.

Further Information:





Piccadilly Circus

The Piccadilly Circus is located in the City of Westminster, where Regent Street cross the Street of Piccadilly. Around the the Circus are many theaters on Shaftesbury Avenue and close to the shopping an entertainment areas of London’s West End. The special characters of the Circus are the huge video displays and neon signs, but also the historical buildings like the London Pavillion, Criterion Theatre, Shaftesbury Memorial and the Statue of Anteros.





Churchill Museum

The Churchill Museum uses technology and multimedia displays to bring the story of Winston Churchill to the visitors. From his childhood to his time as Prime Minister and his later years. So for everyone, who's interessted in the history of World War 2 this should be the first adress.

From August 09 to August 10 there is a special event called "Undercover - Life in Churchill'S Bunker". There you will get something to know about the people, who worked at the Cabinet War Rooms and what it's like working a 14-hour shift in the typing pool when bombs were going off over London during the Second World War. Images and artefacts from this time you will see in these rooms.

It is located between St. James Park and Big Ben in the Middle of London. Students only pay 10.40 Pounds and children have free admission. After visiting the museum you could explore the middle of London. The museum daily opens his doors from 9.30am - 6.00pm.


Undercover: Life in Churchill's Bunker


The Design Museum

General information

Address: 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD
Nearest tube station: Bermondsey (~770m)
> Map <

The Museum

For people who like art we recommend the Design Museum in central London by the River Thames. More than 200.000 visitors were attracted annually by it. All the (temporary) exhibitions of the museum are housed in a former 1940s Banana warehouse.


(P1) Entrance Area

The building consists of 2 floors. The Design Museum Café and the Design Museum Shop are located in the basement. Previous exhibitions on the first floor were Manolo Blahnik’s Shoe Design or the History of Video Games. The second floor is mostly split into two sub areas where you can find several exhibitions. A semi-permanent exhibition on historic design is generally at the front.


(P2) View of the Tower Bridge

As you can see in P2, the Tower Bridge is Close to the Design Museum and mostly the next tourist destination in London. Or you can take a walk along the River Thames. You can make a break in one of the many restaurants, bars or pubs nearby the museum. There are more than 16 bars within 200 meters (e.g. Blueprint Cafe , All Bar One or Browns ) . The Design Museum is open on all bank and national holidays, except 25 and 26 December.

The British Museum

It is a museum about human history and culture from prehistoric to modern times. Over seven millions objects from all over the world are housed in this museum. Part of the collection are the world famous ancient Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone and sculptures that once decorated the outside of the Parthenon. A useful thing is also using the new Multimedia Guide in ten different language with audio commentary and images for highlight objects in the museum.

The British Museum is in the Great Russell Street in Camden. You can travel to the museum with underground to Tottenham Court Road. From there the route takes only 4 minutes.The Museum is open daily 10.00 - 17.30. The Admission is free for everyone.

Tourist attractions

Wimbledon Tennis Stadium

Every year, in Wimbledon (an urban quarter in London) will be a trial of strength between the best tennis players of the world, called The Wimbledon Championships which are the most famous, popular and in addition the oldest one. Moreover it is part of the Grand Slam which is a tennis tournament consisting of four single championships (furthermore: Australien/French/US Open). The special and interessting thing about that is the fact that it is the only Grand Slam tournament which is played on grass. But this is not the only thing, which seems to be traditional because Wimbledon traditions include the eating of strawberries and cream, drinking Pimms spritzers, royal patronage and a strict white dress code for competitors. In 1985 our german tennis player Boris Becker became the youngest ever male champion of Wimbledon with the age of believe it or not 17 and is also the first german player who gain this apparently impossible mission. If you want to know more about him and Wimbledon, you can check this video out.


Topic revision: r19 - 04 Dec 2009, eschnat


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