Getting a Firmer Handle on Word Order

In an effort to help an advanced student avoid awkward wording, I’ve been reviewing standard word order in our lessons. Some rules have been easy to state and reinforce, like putting the subject before the verb in statements and embedded questions. Other patterns are easier to recall only in the process of correcting a student’s writing. If…

Frequent Flyer: An activity to practice adverbs of frequency

It has been a long time since I worked with my friend and student Natasha, with whom I made my playlist for beginners. We are both in new towns and very far from each other, but because there has been a demand for more video lessons, I found the time to drive out to her new…

Multiple Meanings of Adverbs

A question about adverbs from an advanced learner sent me to my reference books recently. If he had asked about only or fortunately, it would have been much easier. Some adverbs are easy to classify. As Jay Maurer explains, only helps us focus our attention on some element in a sentence (301): I can answer…

Fill-in-My-Blanks: A writing activity to practice conjunctions and transitional words

LEVEL: low intermediate to advanced LANGUAGE FOCUS: conjunctions and transitional words (sentence connectors) OBJECTIVES: To understand the function of these structures and to identify when it’s appropriate to use them.   STEP 1 – Present the conjunctions/ transitional words you have selected for your students. With lower level students, you may choose coordinating conjunctions such…

Academic Writing: How to Teach Mechanics

(Continued from previous posting, “Academic Writing: When to Teach Mechanics”) Structures used to express contrast or opposition often create a high degree of confusion among English language learners. But seems easy enough to master; it’s adverbs such as although, despite, and however that are commonly misused. Here are some ideas to help you build a…