I have a specific question about verbal inflection and how best to explain the correct usage and a general question about verb tenses/conjugation and how best to explain correct usage.
Sometimes explaining these things in a way that helps people to understand can be very difficult. I am a computer programmer mentoring a young woman who is very skilled at programming but speaks very poorly. I would like to do a better job of helping her recognize and correct some of her more glaring mistakes as her poor speech causes others to dismiss her as unintelligent when in fact she is quite bright. Unfortunately for me I started reading at a very young age and totally ignored my teachers when all of this was being discussed in class because correct syntax was already ingrained so I didn't bother learning the rules and terminology. That leaves me at a loss when I need to explain the correct usage to others.
Specific question: How would you go about explaining that to say "He ran the race yesterday" is correct, but to say "He had already ran the race when I called him" is not correct. In other words, the second sentence should be "He had already run the race when I called him."
General question: I've tried correcting younger people who say, for example, "They does their work very well" only to be told "does" is correct because "they" is plural and so the verb has to have an "s". Do you have any suggestions for me in helping to correct these kinds of misunderstandings?
Get youself a list of common English verbs, it will help a lot.
For your second question, you could explain that verbs don't have a plural form, they take an 's' or 'es' only in the third person singular.
Take the verb 'to do' for example:
He/she/it does (third person singular)
You do (plural)
I hope this helps.
It does make me wonder, though, how much can really be done to help native English speakers who never learned to speak and write correctly. It seems the first step is to be able to recognize when something "sounds" wrong. When we are exposed to correct language structure as children this is acquired naturally. I think if one reaches adulthood without having had this exposure it can be much more difficult. And if your family and close friends -- i.e., the people with whom you spend most of your time -- do not speak correctly you are constantly exposed to both incorrrect and inconsistent language structuring. If one's workplace is a somewhat professional setting this can allow for more exposure to correct language but I don't know that that is enough to help such individuals relearn English and repattern their own speaking and writing habits as I imagine a certain "pattern" for processing language has been "hard-wired" into the brain to some extent by the time one reaches adulthood. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions or additional resources that I could check into? Also, does anyone know of any research in this area?
Thank you very much!
There is a lot of stuff which is available on the internet on various issues which you have mentioned. There are many ebooks on 2nd language acquasition and similar stuff. I have done a lot of internet research on these issue and found a lot of useful and enriching stuff on the internet.
For learning tenses i am suggesting you the name of website from where you can learn the tenses well.
The name of website is englisch-hilfen.de/en/index.htm,ego4u.com
I think it is sufficient.