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By the time they reach advanced proficiency, ESL students need to move past the basic rules for punctuation and learn how to use semicolons, dashes, quotation marks, and periods to […]
Defining Negative Questions Negative questions begin with a negative form of an operator (the verb be, a modal, or an auxiliary verb). A couple of contextually appropriate examples: Aren’t they […]
Defining Hedging We writing teachers frequently ask our students to express their opinions or report on research they have done. When the due date comes around, we get many essays […]
In a previous article, we looked at questions embedded inside of sentences. This structure often blows the minds of students, who have worked hard to internalize the rule that the […]
Prepositions are often lumped in with the “little words” of English, and many of them—on, of, to–are little. However, many of them are not only not little but also not […]
In some relative clauses, a relative pronoun is optional. These are object relative clauses—adjective clauses in which the relative pronoun is the object of the verb in the clause or […]
Even if you’re a native speaker of English, you probably don’t have completely accurate intuitions about the frequency of a word like intuition, for example, or what it collocates most […]
Compare the word order in these two utterances: Where is the bathroom? I don’t know where the bathroom is. While the first inverts the subject and verb (is before […]
I once heard a teacher refer to the schwa as the last sound you’ll ever make on earth, and it could be. The schwa is a small, barely noticeable sound, […]
By Alice.Savage, on December 10th, 2015 1 Comment
In general, grammar likes to be on paper, but grammar in the air can have a big influence on how learners understand and use structures. This is the grammar of […]