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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Thoughts on teaching grammar: part four

I finished teaching the Focus On Grammar course I'd been doing one evening a week at IH London last night. Like most teachers, I always hate that moment of goodbye at the end of a course, as you know you…

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Yet more thoughts on teaching grammar

I'm now four weeks into the Focus on Grammar course I'm teaching at International House, London, which means only two more weeks to go. It's been a strange and mostly fairly lovely experience, made much easier by having some really…

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Further thoughts on teaching grammar

Last week, I posted up a few thoughts I'd had on starting to teach (at IH London) a part-time, six-week evening course called Focus on Grammar. Following the second lesson with my lovely class last Thursday night, here are a…

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Some reflections on the universal panacea

Last week I started teaching a six-week evening course at International House, London. For someone with such a keen interest in lexically-oriented teaching, the decision to go for the Focus on Grammar option may seem perverse, but I've long maintained…

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