One of the things I love most about the Latin language is how its writers can massage it to add information and imagery without having to add more words. I call this, personally, writing in two dimensions. Here's an example:
At one point in the Aeneid, Aeneas and Dido are having a lovers' tryst in a hidden cave, which was dedicated to a god. Because Latin is a highly inflected language, word order carries little grammatical information (unlike English), but can add quite a bit of what I call "two-dimensional" information. So, in English the line might be written:
Aeneas and Dido were in the holy cave.
But Vergilius writes instead (only in Latin):
In the holy Aeneas and Dido were cave.
Thus, even in terms of word order, Aeneas and Dido are INSIDE the cave! I find things like this absolutely thrilling. But it's not my favorite half-line in Latin poetry.
Try this fun English grammar quiz.
Research what you get wrong, then take the quiz again 3 days later.
I got 100% the first time :-)
Follow this link for a peek at my beloved collection of grammar guides:
I know this can be confusing for more advanced students, here is a simple tip to differentiate both:
We say :
-"se rappeler quelque chose" and
- "se souvenir DE quelque chose ou DE quelqu'un".
There is no such thing as "se rappeler de" in French...
- je me rappelle mon voyage en France
- je me souviens de ce village
I hope this can be useful to some of you in their practice!
I thought I had secured students to tutor in Ormond Beach, Florida. I never did hear back after the initial contact. Maybe this blog post will clear things up a little. The first lesson is free of charge. Here is what to expect during the first lesson: I will meet the student and gather information from the student or the student's parent. I will need to know what textbooks the student is using etc. This first lesson is just a meeting so we can have a face-to-face first time meeting about the tutor/student relationship and agree whether or not to proceed. This first consultation visit is free.
I am looking forward to meeting with you.
Have a great day,
1. Student engagement. I always make sure that each student gets individual attention by engaging with him or her verbally, making sure they know that they are important to me and that I am monitoring them.
2. Asking students to restate what I have taught - in small amonts of information. I often know that a student is listening, but restating what I have taught invites them to state it in their own words, thus solidifying their knowledge.
3. Asking students to tell a personal story about themselves. This is essential for second language learners speakers. They are practicing speaking English about something they are intimately familiar with - themselves.
4. Using students errors in speaking to form my next grammar lesson. Speaking is very informative for me as a teacher to know where to go next to help students to communicate clearly. Often they can understand grammar that they cannot replicate in speech.
5. Humor is...
Many people, myself included, feel that for all its advantages, the internet has precipitated a steady decline in the quality of writing. Anyone can write anything anywhere, and while that gives a voice to many who otherwise might not have a public forum to share what they have to say, it also makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to uphold any sort of standards.
That said, the internet also offers plenty of resources for improving your writing. Here are a few of my favorites:
Here you'll also find a thesaurus and several other reference tools. It may not be the Oxford English Dictionary, but it gives you plenty of good definitions and sometimes includes usage notes with practical implications for your writing, like differences in how similar words are typically used.
Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.com
Speaking of differences, this is a really cool site...
Every one of us was taught grammar in grade school. We learned the rules of writing, how to construct sentences properly, when to use commas, how to avoid run-on sentences, proper diction and word choice and tons of other rules regarding how the English language "properly" works. But there's one thing we weren't really taught. In fact, most of us unquestioningly accepted these rules, rules like you should use "fewer" for countable items and "less" for things you can't count. We know how to use these rules, and by virtue of being able to speak the language, we also know how to use the grammar. But these two concepts of grammar are not the same. This raises so many questions. Where did these rules come from? What is grammar, really, and how do we define it from a linguistic point of view? Is there some kind of supreme authority on the English language that imposes these rules on all its speakers?
In a Tarantino-esque fashion, we'll...
A great new grammar book, "The Essentials of English Grammar in 90 Minutes" by Prof. Robert Hollander [Dover, $4.95] bridges the gap between basic grammar books (for both children and adults) and higher-level books such as the recommended "Essential English Grammar" by Philip Gucker, also from Dover Publications. This grammar book has almost no quizzes or charts, etc. but
will give you an over-all picture of not only basic, but higher level grammar. Please see my Amazon Review of this nice little addition to the grammar teacher's and learner's bookshelf.
It seems to me that even most adults have an issue with grammar. I fairly often see the same mistakes repeated in essays and normal everyday chat. This isn't just an issue associated with younger children with little or no grasp on grammar, it's a common issue that I see even with graduate students.
I. First, is the "Their, They're, There" mistake.
Their implies ownership.
They left with their jackets on.
They're implies an action.
Today, they're going to the mall.
There implies a place.
Please place that book over there.
II. Second is the "You're and Your" mistake.
You're implies that you are going to do something.
Today you're going to take the dog for a walk after school.
Your implies ownership
You left your pencils on the floor.
III. Third is the "It's and Its" mistake
It's means it is or it has.
It's going to be hot outside today!
Its shows possession.
The cat needs...
1. Repeating themselves.
In high school (and sometime beyond) there are unhelpful rules from teachers relating to number of paragraphs, minimum lines per paragraph, and number of quotes per paragraph. Page length, word count, and more fit under this heading as well. Too many times I've seen students try to say the same thing in a different way in order to puff up their writing to hit a word count. It's easier to just think some more about the subject matter!
2. Trying to sound academic (or something).
Many a time I'll talk to a student and ask their opinion about some topic or relevant subject. They'll explain themselves clearly and concisely, and sometimes even with some with and humor. Then, when it's time to write, they start saying things like: "This subject is truly fascinating, as I believe that it is truly relevant for children in our society to become educated about many of these diverse and sundry topics"....
Today, I overheard a little boy tell his mother, " I be going to play with my friends," and I almost jumped out of my skin. Over and over again, I have heard small children speak grammatically incorrect and their parents do nothing to correct them. The adage, "The children are our future", is more important than many know. The next generation that is being raised and groomed will be the future leaders of the world, the ones who will decide the important moves that the world will make, and by speaking grammatically incorrect, they are being hindered from reaching their full potential. What is worse, I have heard other children on several occasions completely eradicate the verb (as well as other important parts of speech) from their sentences, or completely destroy the entire structure: "She ready...He finna go...I be at my daddy house...Him tired." All of these instances are from not only the lack of not being properly taught, but picking up on the parent(s),...
Hello everyone! Hola a todos!
Learning a second language like Spanish or ESOL can be boring and frustrating sometimes. You just get sick of reading your textbook or completing worksheets that your teacher gives you. But believe it or not...there are several ways to make learning a second language fun no matter what age you are! You're probably thinking right now..."how?" I'll tell you how. First, think of something that you like to do in your free time like listening to music, watching a movie or reading. Say if you really enjoy listening to music...look up one of your favorite genres and see what pops up for Spanish or English music in that genre. For example, Spanish pop/rock - the Colombian artist Juanes will pop up. Check out some of his songs on youtube. Once you find a song that you like, look up the Spanish lyrics online, print them out and then try your best at translating them into English. See if you can figure out what the song means because...
As you probably know, the same sorts of errors appear year after year in the Improving Sentences and Identifying Sentence Errors sub-sections of the SAT Writing Test. Some might say ETS is striving for reliability, but the beret-wearing inner writer in me says they just lack imagination.
Many of these errors, unfortunately, require students to read and carefully consider all options before identifying the error and selecting the right answer, but at least one sort of commonly (not to say "universally," in test after test after test) appearing error is easy to spot and correct; I have trained even the most grammatically / stylistically challenged students to correctly answer such questions in 5 seconds at most, freeing up precious time to spend on the more nuanced items.
The error is the dangling modifier.
In case you're a little rusty, or have sensibly been spending your time thinking about
almost anything other than esoteric...
This afternoon, I found myself writing to one of my ESL students:
I am imagining you and your dog having a fine time at the cabin as I write this.
I bet you are in the cabin as well. In the first sentence at the cabin is correct, just as you would say "I am at home" rather than
in home. It would also be correct to say "I'm in the house" rather than outside in the yard.
When you are at home, the yard is included. When you are in the house, the yard is excluded. With
cabin, the same word is used both ways. When you are at the cabin, the exterior property is included, but when you are
in the cabin, it is excluded.
By the way, while you might be in your yard, you would be on your property.
Preposition problems are common to all but the most advanced English language learners, including many native speakers. After sending my student this email, I realized the word
My emerging tutoring passion is assisting ESL college students with their coursework. Most of them must also hold full-time jobs to support themselves and often their families as well. Many require online courses to get college educations. They could not earn a college degree any other way.
Do textbook publishing companies realize how much cultural bias is written into their online ancillary (supplemental) materials? Do teachers of online college courses realize how hopeless these students feel about merely passing a class when their grades depend on online multiple-choice exams consisting of 60 items to be completed in 60 minutes (60 in 60), for example? This may be a subtle form of cultural bias, but bias it is.
Frankly, as a native speaker of American English with a master’s degree in journalism from University of Wisconsin—Madison, I’m not sure I could pass a 60 in 60 exam. I would like to challenge the instructors who teach these online courses and college administrators...
Some words in the English language are constantly misunderstood and misused. If corrected, you will show your grammatical knowledge. Two of these misunderstood words are "might" and "may." The first states that something could possibly occur and the second states that someone has permission to do something.
The keg might explode if he lights it with that flame.
The boy's father said, "You may light the keg with the match."
Wow! I can't believe I'm opening a tutoring business. Well, it's to serve the community but it's also to empower me as an independent contractor. Hopefully I'll be working from home, but if there's a need out there, requiring my assistance, I'll be on my way to enlighten people at whatever the outpost it is - within 15 mile radius, though (let's not get carried away here) :)
One topic which can be transformational for students preparing for standardized testing, especially logical-mathematical students who are underperforming on the writing SAT, is formally learning English grammar. A large proportion of writing MC questions in particular focus on the sequence of tenses, and tense sequence errors or unintentional tense shifts can greatly harm submitted writing. The English language does not have a "past tense". It has multiple past tenses which are non-identical and which all have their uses. Working with a tutor on grammar can be a great help to the student who is not well served by whole-language and literature-centric approaches to English class (i.e. the students most likely to seek SAT verbal but not math tutoring in the first place).
Should I get a tutor? Will it help my child? These are some of the most common questions posed to tutors by parents of students struggling in school. Tutoring can be expensive and difficult to schedule so parents must decide whether the time and money will be well spent. Instead of relying on a crystal ball, use these factors to help make the decision.
1. Does the student spend an appropriate amount of time on homework and studies?
While it can help with study skills, organization, and motivation, tutoring cannot be expected to keep the student on track unless you plan on having a session every night. If you can make sure the student puts in effort outside of tutoring, she will be more likely benefit from it.
2. Does the student have difficulty learning from the textbook?
If this is the case, the student will probably respond to one-on-one instruction that is more personalized. A tutor will help bring the subject to life and engage the student. A good tutor will explain...