Reading Books

Reading Books

reading books

Two friends discuss reading books. The Grammar focus is on Prepositional Phrases.

Haley: “I need a book to read.”
Barbra: “What kind of book?”
Haley: “No romance, no literary books. I like brainless crime-thrillers. International.”
Barbra: “You mean, like you get at the airport?”
Haley: “Yes, exactly. I don’t know any author names, but I want something exciting.”
Barbra: “I have something I bought a few weeks ago for my plane trip.”
Haley: “Where did you go?”
Barbra: “I flew to London and read the whole book there and back. It kept me totally preoccupied on the flight.”
Haley: “That’s what I want. Something I can’t put down.”


There and back means taking the distances to the end point and back to the beginning together as a single sum. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Preoccupied means engrossed or absorbed in something, especially one’s own thoughts. See online Dictionary.
Put down means to put aside, stop reading or using. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Prepositional Phrases

“At the airport.” A Prepositional Phrase is a preposition followed by a noun phrase. It is interesting grammatically when it is used as a sentence-final Adverbial.

An Adverbial can have one of three structures. It can be an Adverbial Phrase, an Adverbial Clause, or a Prepositional Phrase. Consider the following:

“I bought the book at the airport.” Here the prepositional phrase is the Adverbial of position. It could have been preceded by an Adverbial of Manner: “I bought the book quickly at the airport.” Finally, it could have been followed by an Adverbial of Reason, a clause, which almost always goes at the very end of a sentence: “I bought the book quickly at the airport because I like to read when I’m flying.”

Sentence-final Adverbials tend to follow a certain sequence (they are not placed randomly) and this illustrative sentence shows that. The Prepositional Phrase (the Adverbial of Position) demonstrates where all the action happens.


New Idioms are “Let’s face it” and “Twist my arm.” The Grammar focus is on the Past Perfect Tense.

Alice: “I’m taking another Literature class.”
Bonnie: “I thought you were finished with school.”
Alice: “Let’s face it, we’ll never be finished.”
Bonnie: “I hear you. What are you reading?”
Alice: “I wanted to do an in-depth study of Thomas Hardy.”
Bonnie: “He’s a great writer, but pretty dark. I prefer D.H. Lawrence and some of the 20th century guys.”
Alice: “I find more innocence in 19th century writing.”
Bonnie: “It’s not innocence, it’s just technical backwardness.”
Alice: “How do you mean?”
Bonnie: “In Thomas Hardy, agriculture lacks newer inventions, newer machines.”
Alice: “You’re right, I hadn’t thought of it like that.
Bonnie: “You should take that class ‌in postmodernism. It’s a hundred years later and it’s much more interesting. I like the professor, too.”
Alice: “You’ve almost convinced me. I still have time to transfer over.”
Bonnie: “Forget Hardy. Read Pynchon and Vonnegut, Don DeLillo. More fun, more interesting.”
Alice: “Okay, now you’ve twisted my arm. I give up, I’ll transfer.”


Let’s face it means let us accept reality, let’s see things as they are. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Twist my arm means to pressure someone. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Give up means here to surrender. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Past Perfect Tense

“I hadn’t thought of it like that.” The Past Perfect tense involves an action completed in the past prior to some other event or time period. The form is the auxiliary “had” with the past participle of the verb. In the example from the dialogue, we have “I had thought” in the negative, and contracted (instead of “I had not thought”).

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