Back to the Basics (2)

Recent questions from students have prompted me to consider additional opportunities for review. Basic level students have asked me about the verb form after people and the reason for using helping verbs in questions. From subject-verb agreement to question formation, students need more practice with grammar. Comments and email sent to me reveal further doubts over similar words like it’s and its as well as the use of negative words.

I realize that a single exercise isn’t enough to master a grammar point. Whether it’s a beginner or an advanced student, multiple encounters with a particular grammar pattern are necessary, and the student needs the chance to put the target grammar into use. Along with the chance to have a meaningful exchange with the grammar, I believe in the benefits of controlled exercises. They can call attention to a single language structure that the student needs to consciously build. Through the process of error correction, for instance, a student may finally understand the rule. Additional practice will reinforce that understanding.

A few years back, I offered my first Back the Basics post with a handout on a few basic grammar points, including demonstratives and the difference between pronouns and possessive adjectives. Now I’d like to offer my Back to the basics 2_handout. I hope the exercises will facilitate learning for basic level students. The short tasks focus on it’s vs. its, subject-verb agreement, question formation, and negative statements.


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