A language function is something for which an utterance or unit of language is used. You can think of functions as categories of behaviour.
Functions in English are used to achieve a communicative objective. Let’s look at some commonly used functions and the phrases that apply to them.
- … if I were you.
- … ought to… (this indicates stronger advice).
- I would ask the boss first if I were you.
- You ought to write a thank you letter to your grandmother.
- Repetition of the same auxiliary.
- Use do if there is no auxiliary.
- Neither to agree with a negative statement.
- I really like the Hotel Shangri La in Bali.
- So do I.
- I am really interested in the history of ancient China.
- So am I.
- I don’t understand why languages can be so complicated.
- Neither do I.
- Of course, apologising means saying sorry!
- Use so to emphasise how very sorry you are.
- Use I’m afraid to soften a rejection or give bad news.
- I am so sorry that I am late.
- I am afraid that you need to pay a fine.
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