- For Teachers
I specifically said,
"This describes the situation for NaE. As you live in the UK, let me tell you the differences for there. BrE is much much more likely to use the present perfect rather than the simple past in these situations. I have added that in red.
I thought the whole point was to try to give ELLs as clear a picture of how language works as we possibly can. That was my intent and I think I did a mediocre to adequate job of it.
Please do not quote somebody and add your own comments in a way that makes it look as if those comments belong to the quoted individual.
As a person grow up in China, I technically have learnt this language for 17 years. Except for the last four years, I mainly depended on grammar books to instruct my usage of the languag, or in other words, to tell me what's right and what's wrong.
Then there came a point when these instructions simply did not satisfy me anymore. I feel that, like my native language, the English language is a means of expressing people's thoughts, rather a set of right words. As discussed in this thread, the word already could be used in the middle of a setence or at the end of it. Since there're two choices, what's the thinking behind it when a certain person would pick one of them. It's all about those fine differences. That's also what I could get from such a deep discussion.
I could have a better understanding of my own language because I read a lot and had these valuable chances to listen to discussions between my father, who was a Chinese language teacher, and his colleagues, on various language issues, concerning grammar and other things. I spent the best part of this afternoon reading this thread. It's like getting back to the good old days. Thank you all who contributed to this wonderful discussion.
Certainly no one is suggesting here, or anywhere for that matter, that we teach that "everything is okay" because there are people who speak like that. We are, however, suggesting that what is correct and incorrect can be defined by how millions and billions of native English speakers use English. By the way, we first have to define what "like that" is and determine whether the estimated quantity of people who speak "like that" is significantly small or signifcanlty large, or somewhere in the middle.
Placing strict limitations on adverb placement in or out of the classroom is to confuse tendencies with rules. Prescriptivist teaching such as this is far more likely to confuse students than more flexible descriptivist teaching, which is more practical, realistic, and flexible.
Primary adverb placement is based on the strongest tendencies of native speakers, which is why secondary adverb placement sounds less usual and is less typical. However, there is no grammar rule which thoroughly defines all instances of secondary or flexible adverb placement as incorrect. If billions of native speakers use "already" at the end of a clause or a sentence, then it's correct. I'm one of those native speakers, by the way. While the Google search I posted only shows millions, I should note that my search was only for third person using one verb. If over four million returns come back for that search, then one could easily double or triple that by doing searches using other verbs and other pronouns - or even proper names. Furthermore, we can consider that not everyone posts and writes on the Internet. From the huge sampling we find on the Internet, it is logical to maintain that even a greater amount of people placing "already" at the end of a sentence or clause exists offline. These are, obviously, impossible to count or document in any way. They are simply part of the everyday dialog of billions of NESs.
Onestopenglish | Grammar: frequency adverbs
Last edited by PROESL; 27-Sep-2009 at 18:47.