Easily Confused Conditionals

I plan to add a new lesson to my YouTube playlist on conditionals. Once students feel comfortable using if, I like to address doubts over additional forms, such as the easily confused words even if, only if, and unless. In another post, I targeted even if vs. even though. It’s true that structures sharing at least one word already look…

How to Make Sense of News Headlines

I note requests from viewers for future YouTube lessons, and I have a running list of topics I’d like to cover. In a recent poll on my Community Tab, “news headlines” didn’t receive the most votes, but some viewers commented that they’d very much like to understand the grammar used in the titles of online…

When and How to Reduce Adjective Clauses

I’ve finally addressed adjective phrases in my series on adjective clauses. This latest lesson is by far the longest one in the playlist. I felt strongly about teaching not simply how to reduce an adjective clause, but when it makes sense to. I packed in a good amount of illustration and and practice. The theme…

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…

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…

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…

How to Get Things Done Right: Passive Constructions with ‘GET’

In my previous post, I shared practice tasks with GET TO + noun combinations as well as GET + a couple infinitives, namely get to know and get to do.  I wanted to help students distinguish between “to” as a preposition and “to” as part of an infinitive. Because the verb get is used so often…

When We Get to Thinking about ‘Get’

A private student asked me about the verb get. Most dictionaries have at least a dozen definitions listed, including start, arrive, and become. My student had heard the verb used in phrases like get a move on and get to know. As different as they are, the two expressions share a similar sense of beginning…

Words That Confuse Students (and Teachers!)

Let’s face it. English has some confusing words. To a degree, we can rely on our knowledge and our instincts. Thankfully, we’re not without resources. Which ones have you turned to? Some of mine include: Learner’s dictionaries. I have a few bookmarked and I compare findings. In the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online, I…

Subject-Verb Agreement: There’s still more to talk about!

Students’ questions are very informative. Their queries tell us what topics interest them and which aspects of a topic they need to study. An intermediate student recently asked me about There is/There are statements. A short, simple sentence is easy to construct: There is a car. There are cars. “But what about a string of nouns?”…