ISLAND RULES, part 8, answers

(These are just some possible answers – there are more in the text!)

…if you want to minimise disturbance to the birds and sheep, please get in touch with Tom Nicolson on this email address…

Key to the house: To be got from Tom Nicolson. (note – this isn’t a complete sentence)

Please try and leave the place better than you found it…

Make sure a rat has not stowed away somewhere. (to stow away = to hide on a boat. Stowaway is also a noun.)

Take any waste away with you.

You must bring all your food and other supplies with you…

…please bear in mind there is a considerable amount of supplies from previous visits…

It is best to bring some bags of coal and some kindling. (kindling = small pieces of wood to start a fire)

I ask people to go to the loo in the intertidal zone… (loo = toilet; intertidal zone = the area where the sea comes in and goes out during each day. The way the sea moves is a ‘tide’.)

It is best, I have found, to sleep in tents…

You obviously need wet weather clothes… (you can use ‘need + noun’)

Before you go, you will need to absolve Tom Nicolson in writing from any responsibility for anything that happens to any of your party. (to absolve someone = to say they are not responsible; a party = a group of people who are doing something together).

You’ll find some information here about useful phrases (which aren’t modal verbs) for giving instructions or advice in English.

ISLAND RULES, part 6, answers

  • breaking the rules (verb) = doing something that the rules say you must not do.
  • against the law (adjective) = if you do something against the law you are breaking the law. A law is a rule for a country or city.
  • rebel (verb or noun) = a person who breaks the rules because they don’t like rules or because they want to be different from other people.
  • obligation = something which you should do because of a promise you made to another person, or because someone helped you so you have to help them too. It is sometimes part of the law, but not always.
  • tighten the rules = to make the rules harder than before.
  • procedure = the things that you have to do to finish a particular task, project or action.
  • inappropriate behaviour = an action which is wrong, shocking or out of place (often involving rude jokes, sex, alcohol and other things). It is sometimes breaking the rules, but not always.
  • instructions = A set of small rules and procedures which someone tells you to follow.
  • The teacher went out of the room for ten minutes, but before she went she left strict instructions to the class that they must continue reading their books quietly.
  • The procedure to join the school library is this: you fill in a form, get your tutor to sign it, give the form to the librarian, and then come back in a week to collect your library card.
  • In my school, the rules were that kids had to wear black shoes, but some of us wore grey shoes as a way to rebel against the rules.
  • Telling racist jokes in the office is inappropriate behaviour and we cannot let you do it!
  • From next year, the government will tighten the rules on immigration. Anyone who wants to work in this country will need to have a full time job and be getting more than £23,000 per year. They must also pay their salary into a UK bank account.
  • If I ask ‘How’s you?’ then I’m breaking the rules of English grammar!
  • My uncle sent me some money for my birthday, so I feel an obligation to visit him for his birthday!
  • It’s against the law to steal cars.


There are various useful phrases in English for telling people about the rules or giving advice:

  • I would ask that you… (+ base verb).
  • I would ask you not to… (+ base verb).
  • You may wish to… (+ base verb). This is a very polite one for advice.
  • I ask people (or visitors, or users…) to… (+ base verb).
  • I would recommend you… (+ base verb).
  • No (+ -ing verb). For example ‘No smoking’. Nobody would ever say this but you’ll find it on signs!
  • ‘Thankyou for not smoking’. You might still see this one on some signs! It means the same as ‘you must not smoke’, but is much more polite!
  • I’m sorry, but I must ask you (not) to… (+ base verb). Use this one if the person is breaking the rules and you need to speak to them about it.

Don’t worry if these sound a bit too polite and not strong enough! English speakers (and people who speak English well) will understand that you’re serious about the rules. They will also be pleased that you are speaking respectfully to them!

If you spend time in the UK, you will hear these phrases a lot. Even the police often speak in this way!


Answers to MODAL VERBS (2):

The deadline for this project is next month, so you don’t have to stay after work today to finish it. (We can also use don’t need to here, because sometimes people say ‘need to/ don’t need to’ for rules).

You shouldn’t / oughtn’t to walk around the building with an open coffee cup, because that’s how accidents happen.

I must / have to / need to go now, because my bus is leaving in five minutes.

I need to / must get a new job, because the inappropriate behaviour of my boss is driving me mad.

You must go and see this film. It’s amazing. It’ll change the way you think about life! (Some people would use have to or need to here).

I’m sorry, sir. This checkout is closed. You can / may pay for your items over there. (A non-native speaker of English used must in this sentence when speaking to me one time – I remember it because it sounded rude and inappropriate! See the note below…).

This is the final sentence. You don’t have to / can’t do any more!


A final note on modals:

I think it is true to say that modals like must / may / must not / may not are usually used only by people with real authority, and usually more in writing than in speaking. You’ll find ‘must’ in letters from government offices, for example. Be very careful using these words in other situations such as at work, because it can sound rude, or like you’re talking to a child. It’s better to find another way to say what the rule is, such as ‘We would ask you to…..’.

Using ‘must’ to give advice to a friend is absolutely fine!

For some ideas of other phrases you can use, please go to this post, or check out my lesson, ISLAND RULES B1.


The answers to MODAL VERBS (1)


must / have to  These are the strongest modals. Use must / have to for rules made by someone else. If you break these rules, there will be a punishment. For example:

  • You have to bring your homework next Thursday. (If you don’t do it, you will get a punishment from the teacher).
  • You must bring your homework next Thursday. (Same meaning).

Also use ‘must’ for very strong advice or for rules to yourself:

  • You must meet my friend Julia. You would like her.

should  Use this for advice.

  • You should make sure to sleep 7 or 8 hours a night, for your health. (It’s a good idea, but not a rule).
  • You should bring your passport to the airport (if you don’t bring it, you won’t be arrested but you can’t get on the plane – the security guards will stop you!)

may  This means ‘It’s ok to do it if you want’.

  • You may park your car next to our office (but walking or coming by bus are also OK!)

don’t have to  It’s ok NOT to do it.

  • You don’t have to print your homework. Emailing it is fine too – but remember, you must do it before Thursday!

mustn’t / may not (note that we don’t usually say ‘mayn’t’).

This is a rule with a punishment.

  • You must not take photos in this area. (You will get a punishment if you take any photos).

Like ‘must’, we can use ‘mustn’t’ for strong advice:

  • You mustn’t say that about Julia! That’s so mean!
  • I must not forget to take my phone with me today – I left it at home yesterday. (I am giving advice to myself here).



need to = a rule made by your body or lifestyle. If you break this rule, there is no punishment, but bad things will happen to you. For example:

  • I’m hungry; I need to eat. If I don’t eat, I’ll get sick.
  • You need to take a rest or you’ll be too tired tomorrow.
  • I need to get a less stressful job

ought to / ought not to = to be a good person, you should do this OR it’s a good idea.

  • You ought not to cheat in a relationship.
  • You ought to sleep more! All the scientists and doctors say you should make sure to sleep 7 or 8 hours a night, for your health.


can / can’t = these are modal verbs too! They’re used for rules made by nature (or by God)!

  • I can’t fly. I can roll my tongue.


So far, we’ve only talked about modal verbs used for rules and advice. There’s a whole different meaning for some of these words, and we call this other type ‘modals of speculation’. We’ll talk about those another time…


Try to complete these sentences! More than one answer is possible:

The deadline for this project is next month, so you _____  stay after work today to finish it.

You _____  walk around the building with an open coffee cup, because that’s how accidents happen.

I ____  go now, because my bus is leaving in five minutes.

I ____  get a new job, because the inappropriate behaviour of my boss is driving me mad.*

(*driving me mad = making me crazy)

You _____  go and see this film. It’s amazing. It’ll change the way you think about life!

I’m sorry, sir. This checkout is closed. You _____ pay for your items over there.

This is the final sentence. You _____  do any more!

The answers are in MODAL VERBS (3)


Modal verbs are a special kind of verb. They always ‘come with’ another verb, for example:

– You must go now. See how we have ‘must’ and ‘go’. Go is the main verb.

– Can you fly? No, I can’t. In the second sentence, ‘I can’t’ means ‘I can’t fly’; fly is the main verb.

The modal verb changes the meaning of the sentence. So in the first sentence, ‘You must go’ makes the action of ‘going’ into a more important action! ‘Can you fly?’ doesn’t mean the same as ‘are you flying now’ – it’s about your ability to fly, some time.

Here is a list of modal verbs (and some verbs which are like modals – we can call them semimodals):

must / mustn’t / should / shouldn’t / may / may not / have to / don’t have to

Can you put these words in order, from 100% to 0% where 100% is something you MUST do?

100% ———————————————————- 0%

Do you know the meaning of ‘need to’ and ‘ought to’? These are semimodals too and have their own meanings.

My answers are in MODAL VERBS (2).

ISLAND RULES B1, part 1, my answers

I’m writing these down as I would say them:

– It’s a piece of land with water all around it.

– I’ve lived on islands most of my life – growing up on the island of Ireland and now living in England, and I also spent time in Japan. But for smaller islands, I’ve been to the Azores, which were wonderful, and to some tiny islands in Indonesia and Finland.

– I don’t think there’s a big difference when it’s a big island like Great Britain, but perhaps the people are a little bit more proud of being separate. I think that has affected politics in the UK and also in Japan. On a smaller island, things are very different – you’re so much more dependent on the weather, because everything has to come in or out by boat or plane. If the electricity gets cut off, it’ll probably take a bit more time to fix. The same with the internet. So the people have to learn to do things for themselves. Also, on islands there’s often less crime and you’re less affected by the bad things in society. But islands have a bad side too – you can’t get away from people, so everyone knows where you are and what you’re doing.

– In the UK, the Barclay brothers (who own Barclay’s Bank) are famous for living on an island, and they’ve had some arguments with other people on the islands around them. David Bowie, Richard Branson, Johnny Depp and Celine Dion have also owned islands. There’s a list here with some people you probably know (but please don’t read it too carefully because the English is not very good).

– I would, for sure! I’ve always liked the idea of having an island. I think I’d feel safe there, and could spend time with nature, with the sea, and with my own thoughts!

(This is part of a lesson on my blog,