Results 1 to 7 of 7
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 353
    #1

    What to say...

    Hello everyone!
    I know it is not customary in English to wish someone good luck with their work, but what's the closest thing a native speaker would say to, for example, a group of students who are about to do a test, or someone about to start a day's work? Does 'work well' sound odd? I remember reading it in some text or other, but I have always been quite reluctant to use it and I'm pretty sure you'll prove me right..
    Also, which tense would students use to say they couldn't/didn't want to do their homework when asked by their teacher to show their assignments?

    'Sorry, sir, I didn't do / haven't done my homework'

    (I suspect both are possible, the former preferred by American speakers)

    Finally, as in the above sentence, the word 'teacher' used vocatively would be wrong, wouldn't it? Again, I found 'Excuse me, teacher, may I go to the toilet?' in an American web site and I was kind of puzzled as I remember being taught to use sir or madam (or miss in primary school); alternatively, Mr Jones or Mrs Jones.
    Could you please confirm if 'teacher' in the sentence above is WRONG or acceptable? It still sounds kind of weird to my ears.
    Thank you for your help.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: What to say...

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    I know it is not customary in English to wish someone good luck with their work, but what's the closest thing a native speaker would say to, for example, a group of students who are about to do a test, or someone about to start a day's work? Does 'work well' sound odd?
    It is customary to wish someone good luck when s/he is about to take some form of examination /test, or attend an interview for a job. We wouldn't wish anything to someone about to start a normal day's work. 'Work well' does indeed sound strange.
    Also, which tense would students use to say they couldn't/didn't want to do their homework when asked by their teacher to show their assignments?

    'Sorry, sir, I didn't do / haven't done my homework'

    (I suspect both are possible, the former preferred by American speakers)
    Both are correct. This is true, even in BrE, though the latter may be preferred.

    Finally, as in the above sentence, the word 'teacher' used vocatively would be wrong, wouldn't it?
    It certainly isn't used in BrE.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 353
    #3

    Re: What to say...

    Thank you fivejedjon.

    Just to clarify:

    - What I was looking for was actually an English equivalent of
    the Italian 'Buon lavoro!', literally: 'do a good job' or something along
    these lines, not 'good luck'. I am fully aware of the contexts in which
    the latter can be used.
    - I was wondering why you crossed '(didn't) WANT TO (do their homework)
    A teacher should know that when a student hasn't done his/her
    homework.... well, that's because nine times out of ten s/he simply
    didn't want to..

    Cheers

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #4

    Re: What to say...

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    - I was wondering why you crossed '(didn't) WANT TO (do their homework)
    A teacher should know that when a student hasn't done his/her
    homework.... well, that's because nine times out of ten s/he simply
    didn't want to..
    When a student told me, "I didn't do/haven't done my homework", I expected the next words to be some form of excuse. If they simply told me that they didn't want to, then they were telling me that their 'want' was more important than my 'command'. So I beat them to death. Simple.
    Last edited by 5jj; 23-Jan-2011 at 23:02. Reason: typo

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,332
    #5

    Re: What to say...

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Wace,


    (1) At the university, I believe that it is very common (or even expected) to say

    something like, "Good morning, Professor," "Good morning, Professor Smith," "Good

    morning, Dr.," "Good morning, Dr. Smith." Since this is 2011, perhaps a few younger

    university instructors might invite their students to address them in a more informal

    fashion, but I suspect (I do not know. I graduated from college in the 1950's!!!) that

    most instructors would appreciate the title. In the secondary schools, American

    students usually address their teachers as "Miss/Mrs./Ms./Mr. Smith." In ESL

    classes either for teenagers or adults, you will frequently hear, "Good morning, Teacher."

    This is probably due to the fact that in some countries, the students address their

    teachers with the word that we translate into English as "teacher." After they are here

    for a while, they realize that the custom here is different.


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 353
    #6

    Re: What to say...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    In the secondary schools, American students usually address their teachers as "Miss/Mrs./Ms./Mr. Smith." In ESL
    classes either for teenagers or adults, you will frequently hear, "Good morning, Teacher." This is probably due to the fact that in some countries, the students address their teachers with the word that we translate into English as "teacher." After they are here for a while, they realize that the custom here is different.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****
    Thank you ever so much!! That's the kind of explanation I was hoping to get!

    (However, try googling 'Excuse me, teacher' and you'll find a lot of discussion forums on Facebook under this title initiated by native speakers of English with clearly Anglo-Saxon surnames..)

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Aug 2008
    • Posts: 353
    #7

    Re: What to say...

    [QUOTE If they simply told me that they didn't want to, then they were telling me that their 'want' was more important than my 'command'. So I beat them to death. Simple.[/QUOTE]

    Never, in my ten-year teaching experience, have I heard a student say explicitly s/he didn't want to do his/her homework. If that were the case, I would react in quite the same way you did....

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •