Studying Syntax: A review of the basics

A number of my students have the desire to study syntax in order to increase their confidence and accuracy when they write. I continue to believe that reading regularly indirectly helps by exposing students to standard patterns and word order. I’ve also seen how exercises like sentence unscrambles and error correction can give students practice…

Snacking on Syntax

Practice fixing common errors at the sentence level. Classroom slides included.

Subject-Verb Agreement: Beyond Simple Sentences

Lack of subject-verb agreement is a common mistake, but errors in judgment with subject-verb agreement extend to inconsistency with reference words and combinations of indefinite articles with plural nouns. Doubts center around the concept of number. These additional mistakes can span two or more clauses. For that reason, I’ve created a writing task that goes…

Conditioned to Have a Limited View of Conditionals?

A student asked me how to change a true statement into an unreal conditional sentence, and the challenge stemmed from using the present perfect in the original statement: The man has been arrested. In the new if-clause, the student wanted to explain the alternative outcome if the crime had never been committed. The shift to…

The Ultimate List of Phrasal Verbs (and what do do with it!)

Phrasal verbs — is there any other topic that’s more in demand? Students understand the frequency with which phrasal verbs are used, and they constantly want to learn more. They feel pressed to do so because they encounter phrasal verbs in high volume. There are many resources out there: videos, textbooks, podcasts, and more. However,…

Auxiliary Verbs for Emphasis and Clarification

Auxiliary verbs help us emphasize and clarify ideas. Students can tap into their knowledge of forming questions and negatives to gain confidence with the emphatic use of helping verbs. If you’d like to take intermediate students through the hows and whys, consider using my slides. – The first group of slides test students’ ability to…