Results tagged “grammar”
In area like Quizzes and Handouts, we try to classify entries grammatically. However, many of the entries defy easy categorisation. When this happens, we either put them in General or put them in a category that seems to fit best.
I was reading a book about how people use the internet and it said that the average search length has gone from 1.1 to 2.8 words in the last few years. The numbers may not seem to represent such a huge change at first look, but the more I think about them, the more astonishing the change seems. I have also just finished teaching on a pre-sessional course in a university in the UK where I have taught for many years and there have been similar changes that display a very profound change as I see it.
I recently attended a talk on English grammar given by Michael Swan and he pointed out some changes in modal usage. Firstly there are changes in the way some modals are being used, like the use of you may have been klled instead of you might have been killed when we know that the person didn't die. He also said that we are using modals less nowadays, an observation that reflects on quite an important change in language, one I hadn't noticed at all.
English as an International Language (EIL) is being debated quite a lot at the moment. The idea sounds fine to me in many ways- most interactions in English nowadays are between non-native speakers, so we should focus on international communication rather than solely attempting to teach learners to strive towards native speaker competence. The idea of familiarising students with the Englishes used by people from other nations and cultures makes sense as that is what most will have to do when they use their English in their lives.
I came across a rather bizarre explanation of uncountable nouns on an ESL website specialising in grammatical explanations:
In English, Uncountable nouns only used in the singular tense.
I looked at a few other pages and saw a number of basic grammatical errors. In a page about word order with adjectives and verbs, the following sentences were used:
My mother lost her keys.
The boys play ball all the time.
The words in italics are the ones the site had highlighted (accessed on the 15th May 2005) as the adjectives in the sentences.
I was thumbing through a battered English language textbook a friend had used in High School in Japan in the 1980s and found the following sentence used as an example of how to use 'as well as':
When riding (in italics) in a motorcar, I, as well as the driver, am liable to find zebras a nuisance.
The UK government has been plugging its ESOL curriculum for some time and the materials designed to accompany it are coming through now, and are even worse than I had imagined. Unit 1 of the Level 1 course, which is not beginner level, but high intermediate, starts with a unit on 'Life in the UK'.