We Don’t Hear You!

This sentence is one any English teacher working online has possibly heard quite often recently. Or, more likely, We don’t listen you!

Of course, We don’t listen you is clearly not the correct sentence to use if your teacher’s been rendered momentarily inaudible. But what about We don’t hear you!? To a native speaker, that’s clearly not correct either. But why? Continue reading

More Grammar Thoughts

I spent a little time in the classroom yesterday, correcting a test. One of the exercises required the students to finish the sentence Is the climate cold, or… with one of three options. One was …is it too hot? and another was …is it multicultural?

Obviously the correct answer was …is it too hot? But one student asked if …is it multicultural? could be right too. And of course it wasn’t, but then I thought: It also kind of is. Continue reading

Once, Twice, Three Times…

I was wondering this morning why we say once and twice as alternatives to one time and two times in English.

It’s one of these things learners of English find it hard to remember to use. Partly it’s because there’s no greater pattern at work, as for every other number after one and two we just say three times, four times etc. It’s also because most other languages use the equivalent of one time and two times.

So why does English have to be awkward, once again, and not just use one time and two times? Continue reading

This Event Takes Place in the Past

Huh?

No it doesn’t. Yes, it took place in the past, but that was the past, so it doesn’t take place in the past. It did, but now it doesn’t.

I got the message that forms the title of this post from my Outlook calendar today, as I was looking for a document that had been attached to a meeting from Tuesday this week (18.12.18, today is 23.12.18). Naturally, it confused me a little. Continue reading

You’ve Got Mail

Another little detail I noticed on the poster that inspired yesterday’s post: FOR BOOKING MAIL…

Nothing really remarkable there, but I was curious about the use of to mail as a verb. Again, that’s not really revolutionary, but I did notice the lack of an E. Just mail, not email.  Continue reading