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  1. #1
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    Grammatical exercises based on literary works

    I would like to hear teacher’s opinion about grammatical exercises based on literary works. I used some fiction writings in order to train myself with definite and indefinite articles and some pronouns like this or that. My first suggestion was that writers don’t make grammatical mistakes and for me it was much more interesting, than to use the similar exercises from some tutorial. I used MS-Word, I took the text of a book and replaced in it all “a”, “an” and “the” by the same auxiliary character like #, after that made my own choices by replacing them back and after that compared my version with the original text. Later I decided to write my own software, where these exercises are performed by choosing an answer from comboboxes, so the results would be viewed dynamically. I made two small simple samples based on a few paragraphs from Jack’s London “The Sea Wolf” and Kurt’s Vonnegut “Slaughterhouse 5”. I tried to check how native readers would solve such exercises and was surprised by the comparably large number of “mistakes” they were making especially in the “The Sea Wolf” sample. Was it probably too ambiguous in some cases even for the native readers? Does it mean, that to make grammatical exercises based on the literary works would not be correct?
    You can download these samples from http://www.interactiveselfstudy.com/...m_eng.html#New and please tell your opinion.
    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Grammatical exercises based on literary works

    With literary texts, there may well be certain limitations because there will often be creative use of structures. However, I don't see that this would necessarily be a problem- it depends on the choice.

    I've just downloaded the Kurt Vonnegut. Most of the examples seem fairly clear for article usage. There will be cases with articles where there is more than one possibility for an answer- for instance, in the third paragaph, line 6, the text has 'from the crewmen and planes', but it would be possible to have 'and the planes'.

    On a presentational point, when I choose the wrong answer, the text automatically adds the correct choice. Would it be possible to signal to the user that they have made an error?

  3. #3
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    Re: Grammatical exercises based on literary works

    Hi, thank you for your answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    the text has 'from the crewmen and planes', but it would be possible to have 'and the planes'.
    Actually the same pattern is followed in the other example 'the special knowledge of the pilot and captain' and when I checked it with some people they chose also to put 'the' before captain. May it be some specific rule, which is different for spoken and written text?
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    On a presentational point, when I choose the wrong answer, the text automatically adds the correct choice. Would it be possible to signal to the user that they have made an error?
    Yes, this is just a sample with the small amount of features. When it is going to be integrated with the main programm, an option to count wrong and correct answers with indication of errors will be added.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Grammatical exercises based on literary works

    1- I think the writer is right stylistically to avoid the repetition, but grammatically it would be fine to repeat the article. There's not really a rule, just cutting out verbiage.
    2- Great

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