It depends really.
It depends really.
-It must be great to have all those long holidays !
-Well no actually, I’m actually busiest in the summer. In fact, I never take a holiday in July or August.
-Oh, so you’re not a proper teacher then ?
-What kind of teacher are you then ?
-I’m an English teacher.
-Ah, Shakespeare and all that. You must love books !
-Well actually, not that kind of English teacher.
-Ok… I think I’m going to talk to someone else now…
It was a lovely sunny evening in the west of Ireland today, which made me feel like Abbey Road would be a good accompaniment to my walk home. Probably because it features “Here Comes the Sun,” but I think it’s a generally positive album anyway, suitable for a balmy evening. As I was listening, I was struck by a line in “She Came in through the Bathroom Window” which I’d heard many times before, but never really thought much about:
She could steal, but she could not rob.
It’s a clever, cute line, and if you’re interested in the possible meaning behind it, you can look here. This evening though, it made me think about the difference between those two verbs: steal and rob.
This is something I’ve been thinking about lately (and yes, I know I haven’t been looking very specifically at the English language these last few days: I promise I’ll do something about grammar or etymology tomorrow). Tomorrow you see, I’ll be conducting the orientation for the teachers who’ll be in our school’s Junior Summer School, teaching teenagers. And so at this time, as well as at others throughout the year, my mind turns to training, and what approach to take. And there are many ways it can go, and a lot of factors to consider, such as:
This post is inspired by the moment I noticed that I finished a recent post with a sentence beginning with besides, and ending with anyway. Not so unusual, but it brought back some painful memories…
Quite a few years ago, I was teaching an IELTS class (IELTS is a tough Academic-English exam). The lesson was a vocabulary one, about using linking words in writing. Quite straightforward for me at that stage, as I’d been teaching for some time. I had a quick look at the main exercises (I’d like to say I wasn’t provided with much time to prepare the lesson, but I’m pretty sure my quick look at the materials was solely due to my overconfidence), and was satisfied: Ok, there’s furthermore, however, although, despite, in addition to… yeah, that’s easy, I’ve time to relax for a bit.
Into the lesson then, and everything was going ok. Ok, until I had a look at the exercise I’d just had the students start. It was pretty straightforward, the students had a text with gaps, and had to choose which words to put into the gaps. Normally, I’d get the answers from them afterwards, and get them to explain what they meant. Which would normally be fine, until I spotted that one of the words to be used was besides, and it was supposed to fit in the last gap. And I asked myself: What the hell does besides actually mean!?
While writing yesterday’s post about future forms, I took a little time to think of useful example sentences for each form. Not as much time as I might in the classroom though because if you’re reading this you know and use these forms quite well, either through being a native speaker, or having learned to a high enough level to be able to read blogs in English. The examples therefore didn’t need to do any heavy lifting in terms of demonstrating meaning.
But of course that’s different for people who are still figuring things out, and therefore need a little more guidance. Consider the following exchange:
Having already looked at how we talk about the present and the past, let’s have a look at how we talk about the future in English. You’re probably feeling confident now: maybe you were initially surprised at the complexity of how we refer to the present and/or the past, but now you’ve got this figured out, and you can easily identify how we refer to the future. OK, well, let’s see.