Category Archives: A word on Grammar

A Fun Writing Activity to Practise Giving Advice . Students in the limelight

Raise your hand if you have never had a problem!  Nobody??? Good! That’s what I thought! Now, raise your hand if you have never asked for advice!! I see !! OK ! Maybe some of you don’t like to ask for advice!!

Ok folks !!! What’s clear is that we all have problems and and when we have them, we most usually turn to friends or family asking for advice; it remains to be seen whether we follow the advice but even if we  end up feeling that the advice  given hasn’t helped much, I’m sure, at least, you would  feel grateful  just because someone you trust has been willing to take the time to listen to you.

In this post, I want to share with you an activity to practise giving advice, which has worked really well with my students (see photo below)

LEVEL: B1

AIM: to give written advice using

♥I think / I don’t think you should…

♥ If I were you , I would…  

MATERIALS: A clean sheet of paper and a pen or you can download the template here.

STEPS

1. Introduce / revise the two structures above, used to give advice. Share with your students a problem and ask them to offer you advice using the two structures above. Choose the funniest or most sensible advice as the best offered.

2.  Give students a copy of I NEED SOME ADVICE or display the template so that they can copy the information on a clean sheet of paper.

2. Students write their name  and their problem in the space provided and leave it on their table, face up.

3. Introduce the idea of Agony Aunts ( see definiton here) and tell students they are going to act as agony aunts to solve some problems.

4. Students stand up and they go around the class reading their classmates’ problems and writing their piece of advice in the space provided, together with their name inside the brackets. The same advice cannot be repeated. Allow 10 minutes for this step

 5.  Students sit down at their desks, read the advice offered for their problems and decide on the best. Problem and advice will be read aloud. The students who has offered the best advice gets one point. See who gets more points and name him the new Agony Aunt.

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A Word on Grammar: Between versus Among

I sometimes wonder if I get a little too excited about the things I teach. Perphaps , I should  tamp down my enthusiasm when I tell my students that so and so is veeerry eeeeasy! I wonder if they are beginning  to doubt my sincerity but the truth is that English grammar is very easy to teach/grasp, especially when  compared to the Spanish one.

Albert Einstein once  said : “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Anyway, what I really wanted to ask you is : “Do you really know the difference between Among and Between?”

I bet you’ve been taught, as I was, that the difference between Among and Between is that Between is used when we are talking about two items and Among when we are talking about more than two. Hey , listen , don’t panic,  most of the time it works…. but unfortunately not always . The definition is good enough to explain some sentences but  then … how do you explain that this sentence below is also  grammatically correct?

My house is between the forest, the school and the lake

The thing is that between is normally  used when we are talking about two people or two things but it can also be used to refer to three  or more clearly separate people or things.

Among is used when talking about people or things in a group, a crowd or a mass of people which we don’t see separately, ie, we don’t have a definite number in mind though clearly more than two

My house is among mountains

Let’s compare these two sentences. Imagine you are going to a party and you cannot decide what to wear.

1.I am trying to decide between the blue shirt, the white  shirt  or the green shirt

2. I am trying to decide among my shirts

In sentence number 1 I am choosing between a specific number of items

In sentence number 2 I am choosing between an indefinite  number of items

Two more examples might help:

There is a lot of disagreement between Germany, Spain and Finland (three specific countries)

There is a lot of disagreement among some  European countries (you don’t name them specifically)

Hope it helps!

A word on Grammar:Prepositions after superlatives

After superlatives, we normally use two prepositions of and in

♥ we use in with a singular word referring to a place or group

I am the happiest woman in the world

Mary is the fastest player in the team

♥we use of before plurals, before time periods such as year/month

She’s the fastest tennis player of them all

Saturday is the best day of the week

Test your knowledge

 

Expressing General Preference with the verb PREFER

Let’s start working on the grammar .

Let’s continue with a bit of Oral Practice. Make sure you use the verb Prefer when you answer.