Using Quantifiers in Adjective Clauses

Moving forward in my series on adjective clauses, I’ve just presented patterns using quantifiers. (Click for the latest lesson.) Are your students ready to write these kinds of adjective clauses? Possible mistakes to watch out for: Mixing up countable and uncountable nouns; Forgetting which pronouns to use (for example, “some of them” rather than “some…

Learning about Choices with Adjective Clauses

As I build my video series on adjective clauses, I’ll present possible variations and comment on how one might serve us better than another. In my most recent lesson, I modeled how we can form adjective clauses with whom, whose, when, where, and why. I know I might cause a bit of an uproar by…

Choosing Famous Places and People to Introduce Adjective Clauses

I’ve finally decided to meet the request for a full series of videos on adjective clauses. I posted my introduction this week. Being aware of common mistakes with this grammar structure, I’d like to take my time and try not to pack too much into too few lessons. Determining what students already know about a…

Going the Distance: Intonation in long sentences

  When I began to create my video series on intonation patterns, I knew it would take more than two lessons. I wanted to go well beyond basic rising and falling intonation. I find that students pick up quite well on these two patterns – at least in short sentences. The confusion grows, however, as…

Teaching Sensitivity to Cultural Differences at Christmastime

As I was leaving the post office the other day, I realized I had just responded automatically to the holiday wish the postal worker gave me: Merry Christmas! “Merry Christmas to you too!” I replied. Later that evening at my daughter’s winter concert held at the local public school, I found it interesting that those on…

As Well and As Well As

I love discoveries that students make. Their questions make me see the language with fresh eyes and ears. Some topics only come up when students run into a stumbling block on their own. I recently had to explain the similarities and differences between as well and as well as. When it comes to similar-looking expressions, a one-time…

Holiday Music: Going Beyond the Songs

Everyone has their favorite holidays and their favorite traditions. Do you have a favorite way of bringing some holiday music into your December lessons? My use of songs and carols with private students depends on their interests and language goals. For someone currently working on a business report or academic paper, there may be no…

Pronouncing C and G: Tips and Tricks

One of my private students reminded me that the challenges of English pronunciation go beyond knowing how to say sounds. It’s also important to know when a particular sound is used. In other words, how can one look at a word and know how to say it correctly because some of the letters have more than…

Happy Thanksgiving and Many Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating this coming Thursday!  I’ll be with my family over this long holiday weekend, but I’ll return next week with a regular post. I send my warm thanks to all my readers. Thank you for allowing me to share tips and ideas for teaching English. If you and your students would…

Writing Tip: Teaching the Importance of Time Frame

When students write a narrative, one type of mistake I tend to see concerns verb tense. Students lose focus of what time frame they’re in and choose an inappropriate verb form. Have you observed these kinds of mistakes as well? Practice makes perfect, as they say, so calling students’ attention to time frame as they…

Bad Habits, but Good Instincts: Grammar Tip

I have a student who has expressed frustration with the preposition “to.” She certainly isn’t alone. Other students have confused infinitives with combinations of the preposition “to” followed by gerunds. How many times have you corrected students when they write or say, “I look forward to meet you” or “I look forward to hear from…