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…

3 Key Challenges of Online Teaching

Successful teaching requires us to know what to teach and how to teach it. Each teaching job presents us with a unique set of conditions. It’s those variables that push us to grow and become stronger in our knowledge and more versatile in our performance. When I began working online, I had to figure out…

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…

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…

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…