Fluency in Functional English
How have you got on with the practice of
the functional word groups in Supplement 1?
Let me stress one thing once again. In actual
life, nobody ever speaks by first recalling the name of the
communicative function they have to perform in a particular
context and then by deciding on a word group that would
help them perform that function. No. Nobody ever does that.
What people actually do is to rely on their feelings for what’s
appropriate in a particular context. Yes, they just utter
what they feel is appropriate.
And the practice you do with the functional
word groups would help you develop this sense of appropriateness
in everyday situations.
We’ve already seen one thing in Supplement
1: The word groups under the various function-headings show
you how you can “do things” in English. But that’s not the
only benefit you get out of the practice you do with the function
word groups. For one thing, this practice adds to your skill
in handling some of the most useful of the core words in English.
For another, it adds to your flexibility in handling some
of the most common grammatical patterns. And of course, it
trains your organs of speech to handle everyday English speech.
So continue doing your practice with the
function word groups with all seriousness and sincerity. We
looked at as many as 62 communicative functions in Supplement
1. We’ll now take up the remaining functions in this
Supplement. Just as you’ve done with the function word groups
in Supplement 1, practise uttering the word groups in this
Supplement, too — several times, ALOUD. Go through the instructions
given in the introductory part of Supplement 1 once again
— and follow those instructions.
Remember this: The purpose in uttering the
word groups several times — that too, ALOUD — is this: That’s
the quickest and easiest way you can train your organs of
speech and ears to get used to these word groups. And so long
as your organs of speech and ears don’t get used to these
word groups, you won’t be able to produce those word groups
(or similar word groups) easily in actual conversations! So
keep uttering the word groups ALOUD, until they come out of
your mouth smoothly and continuously — without hesitation.
When you go through the various function-headings
given below, you’ll come across two abbreviations: ‘sb’ and
‘sth’. The abbreviation ‘sb’ stands for ‘somebody’, and the
abbreviation ‘sth’ stands for ‘something’. And now, here we
go for the function word groups:
63. Responding to greetings from
sb you already know
Take a look at these everyday greetings:
• “How are you?”
• “How’s things?”
• “How’s everything?”
• “How’s it going?”
Structurally, they’re all questions. But
they’re all greetings, too. In fact, pragmatically,
a question like this is more a greeting than a question. Yes,
it’s a greeting in the first place, and a question only in
the second place. Normally, it’s from someone you already
know, rather than from a person you meet for the first time,
that you get a greeting of this kind.
The most common responses to these greetings
“Fine, thanks. And how are/about you?”
“Very well, thanks. And how are/about you?”
You can answer other greetings like ‘Hi’,
‘Hello’, etc. with a return ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ — or with one
of the other greetings given at Sl. no. 62 (Greeting people
you already know). Or you can use a combination of a ‘Hi’
(or ‘Hello’) and one of the other greetings given there. For
example, you can say:
“Hi, what a nice surprise!”
“Hello, Alfredo! Fancy meeting you here!”
64. Greeting sb you’ve just met for the
(See Sl. no. 82 Introducing people and
responding to introductions.)
65. Sending greetings through sb
to sb else
• Please give my regards to your father,
will you? • Don’t forget to remember me to Ashok. • Say
hello to Rekha. • Give my best wishes to your mother. •
Give my love to the children. • Give my regards to Julia.
• Please remember me to Sumitra.
66. Offering help
• Can I help you? • Can I give you any
help? • Do you need any help? • Is there anything I can
do to help? • Why don’t you let me help you with the cooking?
• I’ll do it, shall I? • Maybe, I could help you do it.
• I’m going to the post office. Would you like me to get
anything for you? • Can I help? • Everything all right?
• I’ll help you. • I’ll ring for the office boy. • Want
me to try? • Please let me help you. • Can I help you with
it? • Do you want me to help with the washing-up? • Can
I be of any help? • Do you need some kind of help? • Allow
me to do it for you. • It’s cold in here. Would you like
me to shut the windows? • I’ll do it for you. • Is there
anything else? • Perhaps I could be of some help? • Would
you like me to try? • I’ll be glad to help, if you need
it. • Do you want me to have a look? • If you like, I’ll
phone him up. • Let me carry your bag. • I suppose you want
something else, do you? • Shall I see if I can help you?
• I can help, if you like. • If you like, I’ll help you
with your work. • Let’s have a look. • Could I give you
a hand to complete it? • Here, I’ll show you how to do it.
• Permit me to help you. • Can I help you with anything?
• Well, if you have any more trouble, just let me know.
• It looks heavy. Could I give you a hand with it? • You
seem to be having some problem. • What’s wrong? • I haven’t
got much, but you can borrow what money I have. • Perhaps
I could help you do it. • Let me help you. • I’ll help you,
if you like.
67. Accepting help
• Oh, that’s very kind/thoughtful of you.
• Could you? • You’re most kind. • Yes, please. I’d appreciate
it. • Oh, could you do that? That’d be very helpful. • That’d
be lovely/great. • I’d be delighted if you could. • Would
you? • That’s extremely good of you. • I’d appreciate it
if you could. • If you’re sure it’s no trouble for you...
• I’d be glad if you could. • Thanks. That’d be a great
help. • Thanks very much. • I’d be glad if you would.
68. Declining help
• No, thank you. • Don’t bother. • No,
please don’t bother — I can manage. • Don’t worry. • That’s
very kind of you. • Thank you, but I can manage. • I’d rather
do it myself, thank you. • No, thanks. I’m fine. • That’s
OK, thanks. • I’d better do it myself, thank you. • I’m
all right, thank you.
69. Asking for help
(See Sl. no. 148 Requesting others to
help you or to do sth or to give you sth).
70. Expressing hope
• I just hope she’ll be able to come. •
I was hoping for something different this time. • We hope
to go there next month. • I hope so. • I think you’ll like
our food. • I very much hope they’d realize its importance.
• I hope we can make them feel welcome. • I only hope he’ll
be able to help them out. • Hopefully, he’ll bring it with
him. • I hope to see her soon. • I hope you haven’t paid
for it. • I hope he’ll do it. • Let’s hope he’ll get better
soon. • I’m rather hoping the weather’ll be good.
71. Identifying sb or sth
• It could be Anitha. • That’s her, isn’t
it? • This is the bag he had with him. • Maybe, it’s that
contractor. • It’s me. • It’s us. • It’s them. • That’s
her. • It’s him. • She’s here. • It could be a Honda. •
Yes, it is. • There’s a big mole on his right cheek. • That
girl on his left is his younger sister. • I think that’s
her husband. • It’s Ashok Malhotra from next door. • I suppose
that must be him. • It’s a very good book. • She’s got a
wart on her nose. • I know the man she’s standing beside.
• That’s him, your friend. • Ah, there’s the man I told
you about. • I think he’s an electrician or something. •
I think it’s a Rolls Royce . • Yes, she is. • It’s your
father on the phone. • He has a slight limp. • These are
his clothes. • I think that’s the one. • I am a client of
his. • Yes, it’s her all right. • This is the book you wanted,
isn’t it? • He has a scar on his forehead. • Perhaps it’s
a Honda. • Well, there he is. • He’s a mechanic.
72. Asking about identity
• Who are you? • May I know who you are?
• Are you Mr. Iyengar? • Who’s that man over there? • What
make of TV is it? • Is that you, Asha? • Who did you see
at the bank? • What the hell is that? • Which Sharma do
you mean — his brother-in-law or his neighbour? • See that
man? Who’s he? • What sort of book is it ? • Do you know
who she is? • Who’re those people? • What in the world is
it? • Are you policemen? • Who are you phoning? • Excuse
me. Are you the teacher of VIII A? • What colour is it?
• Who on earth told you that? • What’s the name of that
girl? • That man standing over there. Do you know him? •
See that thing there? What is it? • Isn’t that your father?
• Do you recognize that man in a blue shirt? • Do you know
what that thing is? • Who are you going to meet? • What
on earth is that thing in your bag? • Do you have some identification
with you? • Do you know what that woman is? • Isn’t that
your bag? • What kind of typewriter is it? An electronic
one? • That’s your uncle, isn’t it? • Who is that packet
for? • Which of these bags is yours? • What make is your
car? • Who’s he talking to? • What type of oil do you use?
73. Not identifying
• I don’t recognize him. • I’m afraid I’ve
no idea. • I don’t know who it was. • I know his face, but
I can’t place him. • I’ve no idea what it is. • There’s
some man at the door. • Sorry. I don’t know. • I only saw
his back. • I’m not certain. • There’s something on the
floor. • He just reminds me of someone. • But I can’t put
a name to his face. • I haven’t the faintest idea. • I have
no idea who that is. • I have no idea what his name is.
• No. I don’t think so. • I haven’t a clue. • This isn’t
mine. It must be somebody else’s. • God knows. • I’m not
74. Imagining a situation
(See Sl. no. 154 Speculating about things).
75. Expressing indecision
(See also Sl. no. 34 Expressing uncertainty
and Sl. no. 56 Expressing doubt)
• Look, I don’t know
what to do. • I can’t decide whether to invite him or not.
• Oh, I don’t know. • Maybe I shouldn’t do it. • Perhaps
I should write to his deputy first. • I’m in two minds whether
or not to do it. • I don’t know what to tell them. • Yes,
I suppose so. • I’ll possibly be able to do it. • Maybe
I’ll buy it, maybe I won’t. • I’m a bit uncertain about
this. • Well, of course. • It’s up to you. • I’m not sure.
• He’s possibly one of our best workers. • Well, maybe.
• I’m not sure what to do next. • I don’t know whether to
accept it or not.
76. Expressing indifference
• It makes no difference to me. • It makes
no difference. • Do what you like. I don’t care. • I suppose
so. • How should I know? • It’s all the same to me. • I
shouldn’t worry if I were you. • I don’t care! • I don’t
mind what you do? • It’s your decision. • I don’t mind.
• Look, why don’t you relax? • It doesn’t matter. • Go ahead,
do it. • If you like. • I wouldn’t mind. Why should I? •
I know he’ll be angry, but I don’t care. • Who cares! •
Who knows! • It makes no difference either way. • I’m easy
(= I don’t mind, I have no preference). • As you like. •
I couldn’t care less. • So what? • You can say whatever
you like. • Do as you like.