Tag Archives: English

Introducing Reported Speech Statements,Questions and Orders in a Different Way

This week’s post was not supposed to be a grammar post, it just so happened to turn out like that. Come to think of it, I have been teaching lots of grammar lately so I shouldn’t be surprised if my brain is filled with ideas for grammar teaching.

If I want my classes to be different from the ones I had when I was studying English at school (teacher-centred and book-centred), I cannot introduce all those digital tools I’m so keen on using and then go and spoil it all by asking students to read straight from a photocopy when it comes to grammar. I’m not saying it’s the wrong way to go about it, I’m just saying it’s not the way I teach or the way I’d like to be taught.

Admittedly, grammar is grammar, but can we make it a bit more appealing to our students?

Reported speech is probably one of my favourite grammar points and this is how I have introduced reported speech statements, questions and orders in my classes this week.


INTRODUCING STATEMENTS.

To introduce statements I often use quotes from famous people. The presentation you’ll see below is one I often use as my students, for the most part, are adults. But if you’re teaching teenagers, you can easily change the people in the slides and use celebrities they can relate to.

So the idea is to play the presentation, read the quote and then ask: “What did Marilyn say?” Guide students through the changes in reported speech and then show the second slide where the reported sentence is displayed.


INTRODUCING QUESTIONS.

I’ve been introducing reported speech questions in this way all my teaching career. The reason? Students collaborate from minute one and this is something I treasure.

I tell the students my son Daniel is 4 years old and he’s always asking questions. With all the drama I can muster I tell them that yesterday I got home really tired and wanted to rest a bit but my son Daniel had other plans for me and could not stop asking questions.

I draw on the board a boy and I call him Daniel and a woman and I call her Cristina- my name. I draw a big bubble next to Daniel and I ask students to guess what sort of questions he might have asked me. As they provide the questions I write them inside the speech bubble making sure there is a variety of wh- and yes/no questions and a variety of tenses. Once the questions have been written, I go on telling them that when my husband got home I was lying on the sofa with an ice pack on my forehead and looking dead tired  -remember drama is important- and when he enquired why I was so tired I told him all about my day and how I couldn’t rest because Daniel had asked all those questions.

  • He asked me why I was smiling
  • He wanted to know if he could watch cartoons.

INTRODUCING REQUESTS AND ORDERS.

To introduce request and orders I write inside a circle on the board

First day instructions

and ask students to try to remember some of the instructions I gave them on the very first day in class.  Encourage them to tell you the exact words I used. They will probably say:

  • Use English
  • Put your mobiles on silent mode
  • Don’t be late.
  • Change partners regularly.
  • Don’t forget to bring your workbook

Write them on the board and choose a student who couldn’t attend that first day.

Tell students they now need to inform this student of the instructions I gave this very first day.

  • The teacher told us to use English in class
  • Cristina told us not to forget to bring our workbook

Hope it’s helpful! You might also be interested in this other post

Some nice activities to practise Reported Speech

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The Article in English: Explanation, Exercises and a Challenging Quiz

Although the use of the article in English seems a priori an easy subject to teach, the truth is that some students struggle with the use and omission of it.

What can you find in this post?

  • Intermediate level:
  1. Animated video with some rules on the use and omission of the articles “the, a/an”
  2. Some links to exercises from around the web to consolidate knowledge.
  • Advanced Level:
  1. An engaging quiz with feedback notes featuring some difficult cases related to the use and omission of articles.

 

Grammar. Watch the presentation. Pause it as often as necessary to understand and assimilate the rules.

Exercises: Links to interactive exercises  from around the web to consolidate knowledge.

 


The quiz

 

Quiz: Word of the Year 2016 and 15 New Words Added to Dictionaries

After much discussion Oxford Dictionaries has decided to choose the adjective “post-truth” as its Word of the Year 2016. The adjective means ”relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” and although it has existed for a decade now, this year has seen a spike in its use due, mainly, to the referendum in the United Kingdom and the US elections.

Some common collocations for the adjective are:

  • post-truth politics
  • post-truth age
  • post-truth era
  • post-truth democracy
  • post-truth society

The term, closely associated with the noun“post-truth politics” has been chosen ahead of terms such as “Brexiteer” (someone who supports the Brexit) and “alt-right”, (group of people with far right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States).

I would gladly explain and elaborate a bit more on this adjective, but it isn’t worth the effort as Oxford Dictionaries has published a beautiful explanatory article giving all the details. You can read it here.

I’m not going to lie. This week has been tough for a multiple of reasons, and believe it or not, one of the things that brought a smile to my face was designing this little quiz with all the new words added to dictionaries this year. To be honest, I didn’t know most of them and learning what they meant and inventing false definitions for the quiz was something I really enjoyed.

So, without further ado, here’s the quiz. I hope you enjoy it!

Some Personality Adjectives Spanish Speakers can Easily Remember & Why

Do you speak Spanish? Then, it’s your lucky day today! Why? Because without you being aware of it, you know lots of personality adjectives in English. Unfortunately, in most cases, you’ll  still have to learn the Germanic equivalent if you want to sound informal, but we are off to a good start and besides, sometimes we all want to sound a bit more academic, don’t we?

A bit of history first.

Why does English have so many words of Latin origin?

Although some of the most frequent used words in English have Germanic roots, there are lots of words in English that have Latin origins.

This is due to the fact that during the Renaissance period, which started in France but reached England via France, there were a lot of new ideas or old ideas rediscovered. The problem was that there were no words to describe them in English, so the language adopted or adapted Latin words. In fact, during this period the English lexicon is said to have doubled in size.

What is more, for more than a century, the English aristocracy couldn’t speak any English. William the Conqueror had conquered England (1066) but he didn’t speak the language and although he tried at first, he very soon gave up. He was the first Norman King of England and all the barons he appointed spoke French. But not only did the aristocracy speak French, the religious institutions also spoke French. And that’s the reason why Latin words sound more prestigious than Germanic ones.

About 10,000 French words entered English in the century after the Norman invasion.

It was not until 1204 that the English nobility lost their estates in France and it is then when they started to adopt English as their language, but the Latin form coexisted with the Germanic one.

So, English has a huge number of synonyms, where the main difference is the level of formality, being the prestigious form the Latin option.

Think for example of the adjectives friendly, motherly or clever and their synonyms amicable, maternal and intelligent where the difference is the level of formality, being the Latin choice the most formal one.

So, these are some of the adjectives to describe personality you didn’t know you knew. Warning: spelling sometimes is different. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Source: Oxford Dictionary blog

At the end of the list, you’ll find a spelling quiz .

PERSONALITY ADJECTIVES SPANISH PEOPLE CAN EASILY REMEMBER

  • Responsible /rɪˈspɒn.sə.bəl/
  • Rebellious /rɪˈbel.i.əs/
  • Emotional /ɪˈməʊ.ʃəəl/
  • Anxious /ˈæŋk.ʃəs/
  • Strict /strɪkt/
  • Adventurous /ədˈven.tʃəəs/
  • Affable /ˈæf.ə.bəl/
  • Calm/kɑːm/
  • Considerate /kənˈsɪd.əət/
  • Ambitious /æmˈbɪʃ.əs/
  • Generous /ˈdʒen.əəs/
  • Sociable /ˈsəʊ.ʃə.bəl/
  • Creative /kriˈeɪ.tɪv/
  • Diplomatic /ˌdɪp.ləˈmæt.ɪk/
  • Intellectual /ˌɪn.təlˈek.tʃu.əl/
  • Intelligent /ɪnˈtel.ɪ.dʒənt/
  • Passionate /ˈpæʃ.əət/
  • Persistent /pəˈsɪs.tənt/
  • Practical /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/
  • Romantic /rəʊˈmæn.tɪk/
  • Competitive /kəmˈpet.ɪ.tɪv/
  • Aggressive /əˈɡres.ɪv/
  • Insecure /ˌɪn.sɪˈkjʊər/
  • Impatient /ɪmˈpeɪ.ʃənt/
  • Patient/ˈpeɪ.ʃənt/
  • Immature /ˌɪm.əˈtʃʊər
  • Mature/məˈtʃʊər/
  • Affectionate /əˈfek.ʃəət/
  • Independent /ˌɪn.dɪˈpen.dənt/
  • Stupid /ˈstjuː.pɪd/
  • Honest /ˈɒn.ɪst/
  • Organized /ˈɔː.ɡəaɪzd/
  • Imaginative /ɪˈmædʒ.ɪ.nə.tɪv/
  • Conservative /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪv/
  • Conventional /kənˈven.ʃəəl/
  • Cruel/ˈkruː.əl/
  • Extrovert /ˈek.strə.vɜːt/
  • Introvert /ˈɪn.trə.vɜːt/
  • Modest /ˈmɒd.ɪst/

On the hand, be careful with these “false friends”.

  • Sensible /ˈsen.sə.bəl/= someone who has common sense and is practical
  • Sensitive /ˈsen.sɪ.tɪv/ = a person who is easily hurt or offended
  • Sympathetic /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪk/= someone who understands other people’s feelings

Here’s a little spelling quiz.

Word of the Day: Crutch Words

What are Crutch Words?

Crutch words are words or expressions that that we use far too often when we speak in order to give ourselves more time to think, to emphasize something we are saying or just because we use them so often that we don’t even realize we are using them. They are like tics but verbal and as such, more often than not, they don’t even add meaning and we often use them incorrectly .
Some of these crutch words are :

Think about it, when you use To be fair, honestly or seriously … do you really mean it? 🙂

Guess What! Some cool things about the English language

Would you like to know some cool things about the English language?

♥Guess what! The English language as we now know it began to emerge in the 14th century from a variety of dialects including Old Norse and Late West Saxon.

♥Guess what! Mandarin Chinese is the only language spoken by more people around the world than English. There seems to be , at  least, a quarter of a million distinct English words, excluding inflections, and words from technical and regional vocabulary not covered by the Oxford English Dictionary.

♥Guess what! The English language grows at a rate of about one new word every two hours

♥Guess what! The oldest word in the English language is ‘town” followed by ” I” and “two”

♥Guess what! The longest one syllable word in the English language is ‘screeched‘ .

♥ Guess what! The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

♥Guess what! The word “queue” is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.

 

♥Guess what! “Rhythm” is the longest English word without a vowel

♥Guess what! The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language.

♥Guess what! “Go” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language

♥Guess what!  The sentence “He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas” has seven spellings of the sound [ i ].

♥Guess what! The “sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.Give a try!!!

I hope you have enjoyed reading these facts about the English language?

What on earth is a palindrome?

What’s a palindrome?
Although you might not have realized yet what a palindrome is what you cannot deny is that the word is beautiful. It comes from the Greek “palin”= return and “dromes”= path; but this won’t probably enlighten you as regards its real meaning.

All right, I know you are all on tenterhooks waiting for me to tell you but first of all, I’m going to give you an example … or several to make you rack your brains. I know, I know you’ve nearly finished exams and they have been hard enough but we don’t want you to put your mind at rest just yet, do we? Enough of beating about the bush …here’s the example: “no lemon no melon”.

Can’t see it? Not a clue? Really? Ok, I’m going to give you another example. It is said that the first sentence uttered by a human being was a palindrome. First and second human being? Adam and Eve. So when they met for the first time the gentleman in Adam said to Eve: “Madam, I’m Adam”. Although some people think that Adam was more talkative than this and that what he actually said was “Madam in Eden, I’m Adam”.
Now the penny’s dropped and you know!

A palindrome is a word or a phrase which is the same when read from the start or the end. Mystery solved!!


Can you think of any palindromes? Please do and then send me a post … you can even write a song. You think this is far-fetched? Have a look at this video

Related Links:

How do you say 2010?

Córcholis or it is raining cats and dogs

I am feeling generous

Unusual jobs

The English Language

Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language?
Let’s face it
English is a stupid language.
There is no egg in the eggplant
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England
French fries were not invented in France.
We sometimes take English for granted
But if we examine its paradoxes we find that
Quicksand takes you down slowly
Boxing rings are square
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing.
If the plural of tooth is teeth
Shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth
If the teacher taught,
Why didn’t the preacher praught.
If a vegetarian eats vegetables
What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?
Why do people recite at a play
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and
Drive on parkways
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
Of a language where a house can burn up as
It burns down
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes!
English was invented by people, not computers
And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn’t a race at all)
That is why
When the stars are out they are visible
But when the lights are out they are invisible
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
It starts
But when I wind up this observation,
It ends.

… a pescatarian!!!

Yes, exactly. This is what I am .
You surely remember that some time ago I wrote something about the different kinds of vegetarians , namely, vegan , ovo-vegetarian , lacto-ovo… and I remember that I didn’t know what to call myself, although it was crystal clear to me that I was not a vegetarian.
Well, I am a pescatarian . New word , by the way. So new, that some British people don’t even know what it means, at least , yet.
It was my teacher in London who taught me this new word. I was so happy with my new acquisition that I jumped at the first opportunity to use it. So, there I was, at a cafe asking for a sandwich.
“What is in there?” I asked the waiter, pointing suspiciously at a sandwich.
“Chicken” he said .
“And this other one?”
“Ham”
Every single time he told me the contents of the sandwich I said “no, no..”
I imagine he was getting quite tired of me when he asked :
“What the hell are you… a vegetarian?
“No, I am a pescatarian.” I happily admitted.
“What on earth is this? “he snapped at me
And, there was a girl behind me, probably as angry at me as the waiter who explained to the man behind the counter that a pescatarian is someone who abstains from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish.
So this is it… you already know what a pescatarian is.

Now , this is homework …. What is a flexitarian??

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