Have you ever stared at a word for so long that its meaning disappeared? Have you ever tried to write backwards across a page? If so, you can begin to understand the task facing English language learners, for whom everything about English is strange and new. Some may even have to learn a new alphabet before beginning to understand the sounds we make and the words we write. I am filled with admiration for these students, who are willing to take on our arcane rules: why we use "the" in front of some nouns but not others, why some adjective phrases take hyphens but others don't, why we turn nouns into adjectives and don't even change the spelling! As a teacher and writer, I no longer take anything about English for granted. Textbooks don't even begin to cover every rule or exception. Each session is a flight into a new question, something I promise I will research in order to bring a coherent explanation to the next session.