Grammar nonsense 4: relative clauses

This is less a post about the craziness of description and more one about the way grammar is presented and the expectation that grammar should always be practised – and practised in particular ways. Grammar McNuggets and overprotectiveness Scott Thornbury has…

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Grammar nonsense 3: the use of the word grammar

So the other day, I opened my inbox and found an email encouraging me to celebrate March the 4th, ‘World Grammar Day’. At first, I thought it was some kind of joke. Here we are, with the world going slightly…

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Grammar nonsense 2: stative verbs

Exceptions – it’s not you, it’s me. A lot of grammar nonsense comes from labels that we use and that we assume are sufficient explanation in themselves to generate their own correct examples. Then, when students attempt to produce examples…

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Grammar curiosities 1: reported speech

The first post in our series on grammar nonsense got quite a lot of discussion going and it seemed that on the whole there was quite a lot of sympathy with the view that many of the ‘rules’ about reported…

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Grammar nonsense 1: reported speech

Is there anything that is more bizarrely and unnecessarily taught in ELT than reported speech? There have been many times when my heart has sunk as I've faced ‘the reported speech unit’ – both as a teacher and as a…

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The best improvisation is prepared improvisation

One of the great delights of the annual IATEFL conference is seeing young teachers find their own voices and deliver confident, well thought-out presentations. One of the talks I enjoyed most in Birmingham this year was by Sebastian Lesniewski, and…

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CELTA, the native-speaker bias and possible paths forward

Last week at IATEFL, Silvana Richardson delivered a rousing, righteous plenary tracing the historical roots of - and critiquing - the institutionalised mechanisms and habits of mind that continue to privilege native=speaker teachers over non-natives. The talk can be viewed…

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