ESL Study Guide

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Structure, Structure and Structure

Hi Everyone

This is the first of Jack's posts from abroad. Before I begin going through the interview with Jack, I'll be posting some of the grammar points that Jack has brought up from being overseas. The first thing that Jack has specified as a necessary skill for improving your writing is basic grammar.

Jack: Thanks Amanda, it's great to finally be settled in and begin working with you.
Amanda: Hi Jack, it's great to be able to get started.
Jack: You had asked me previously Amanda about what skill or lack of one I noticed immediately. I would definitely say grammar was the first skill i noticed.
Amanda: How do you mean?
Jack: Many students are familiar with basic grammar rules, but they require more practice than they have been getting. One of the first things I noticed in class was students not using articles properly. Many students are unsure of the difference between using 'a' and 'the'. The next thing I noticed was students using subject and verbs incorrectly. For my first tip I'll be going over subjects and verbs. Take a look at the following sentence:

_______ was ringing continuously for hours.
In the morning
The phone
The bells

In this sentence you should immediately notice the verb 'was ringing'. In the sentence one thing you will see missing is the subject. The third answer is the best answer because it is a singular subject that agrees with the verb 'was ringing'. Ensuring the subject agrees with the verb is known as subject-verb agreement. The first two answers are not subjects and are therefore incorrect. Although the fourth answer is a subject, it is a plural subject and does not agree with the verb 'was ringing'. The fourth answer is therefore incorrect.

Amanda: Thank you Jack, I'm looking forward to future posts and interviews.
Jack: Its been a pleasure, thanks Amanda

Stay tuned everyone,

ESL Study Guide

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