Distancing in advanced English grammar

Distancing is for scandalmongers, incompetents, people who don’t take responsibility and ignoramuses. Why? Because it is the way you put some distance between yourself and what you’re about to say. 

Therefore, if I want to say that Chris is the worst teacher in the school…I can mask my belief that he’s the worst teacher by attributing the belief to others, rumour or speculation… 

“People say that Chris is a crap teacher.”

Different uses of distancing in advanced English

  1. To communicate uncertainty or that you don’t know for definite: 
  • SEEMS: It seems that it was Jane who reported you to the boss: 
  • APPEARS: It appears that it was Jane who reported you to the boss: 
  • APPARENTLY: Apparently, the train leaves at 6, but I’m not sure.
  • ACCORDING TO: According to Johnny, the train leaves at 6, but I’m not sure.
  • MAY: The train may leave at 6, but I’m not sure.
  • MIGHT: The train might leave at 6 but I’m not sure.
  1. To communicate extreme uncertainty or that you don’t know for definite:
  • WOULD SEEM: It would seem that it was Jane who reported you to the boss: 
  • WOULD APPEAR:It would appear that it was Jane who reported you to the boss: 
  1. To establish that information/facts/knowledge were put forward by others – and are therefore distant from you.
  • PEOPLE SAY: People say that fresh pizza is better than frozen.
  • IT+PASSIVE+THAT+CLAUSE: It is said that Romeo and Juliet died on Pisa.
  • It is expected that Messi will sign tomorrow.
  • It was reported last night that the president will resign.
  • Used with…Agree, announce, believe, expect, hope, report, say, suggest, think, understand.
  • SUBJECT+PASSIVE+INFINITIVE: Lead in water is believed to be the source of the contamination.
  • Messi is expected to sign the contract tomorrow.
  • Messi is understood to be weighing up his options.
  • Used with…Believe, say, expect, report, think, understand:
  • THERE+PASSIVE+INFINITIVE: There are thought to be 100 billion stars in the Milky Way.
  • There are believed to be many undiscovered species in the Amazon.
  • There are said to be more rats than people in London.
  • APPARENTLY: Apparently, time speeds up if you travel at the speed of light.
  • ACCORDING TO: According to Johnny, Felix is getting married on Tuesday.
  • MAY: The boss may resign but we haven’t received confirmation yet.
  • MIGHT: The lack of rain might be linked to global warming.

Distancing for advanced English conversation

Apparently, you’re the most intelligent person in your family. What do you think?

  1. According to one of your colleagues, you’re one of the biggest gossips in this company (or school – if teenager
  2. There are rumours that it might rain today, what do you think?
  3. Someone in the class said that you may change jobs by this time next year. Is that you want to do?
  4. There are said to be more Chinese bars than Spanish ones in Barcelona? Why do you think that the Chinese community favour this type of business?
  5. There are believed to be more male drug addicts than female. Why do you think men are more prone to addiction?
  6. There are thought to be more than 10,000 interest groups in Washington. Do you think that special interest groups are a threat to democracy? Why/why not?
  7. You are understood to be very dissatisfied with your current accommodation. Is this true?
  8. My British friend is expected to pay for the birthday cake on his birthday because this is the Spanish custom, however in the UK it is the friends who buy the cake. Which is the better custom in your opinion?
  9. It is said that the English language has more words than the Spanish? What do you think and which do you find to be the most descriptive language? 
  10. People say that Gracia is the best neighbourhood to live in in the center of Barcelona.Do you agree?
  11. It would seem that we’re all having difficulty with the advanced grammar. What can we do – as a class – to improve it?
  12. It would appear that Michael Jackson did some very very bad things. Does that affect your enjoyment of his music?
  13. It’s been reported by some newspapers that coffee is good for you and by others that it’s bad? What do you feel – deep down – is the truth?
  14. According to Fox News, the world is a better place because Trump is president. What do you think? Why/why not?
  15.  It is said that vaccinations are bad for children’s health. Do you believe this or do you think that it’s a conspiracy theory?
  16. It would appear that North Korea has nuclear weapons. Does this disturb your sleep? Are you worried about a nuclear apocalypse?
  17. Interest in history is said to be declining. Do you like studying history and why do you think it’s important or unimportant?
  18. It is said that depression is much more common in our generation than our parents. Do you agree and why do you think this is/is not the case?
  19. There are said to be more and more men who use male makeup (The Guardian 2018/oct/13). Do you think this is good or bad? 

Advanced English grammar translations for distancing

  1. 1. Se dice que el mercado de café orgánico actual es una de las recompensas para estos pequeños productores que han luchado por subsistir durante años.
  2. Se considera que hay un gran número de competidores potenciales.
  3. Todavía se encuentran el petróleo y se cree que son grandes reservas en el Ártico.
  4. Se cree que hay, como mínimo, 1.000 niños menores de 18 años vinculados a bandas armadas en Puerto Príncipe.

5. Parece que el proceso ya ha avanzado mucho.


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