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TEFL Program - getting to grips with English grammar - the theory

Page history last edited by David Kim 8 years, 12 months ago

 

Module  - Getting to Grips with Grammar Theory 1 - Past, Present & Future

 

How Good is Your Grammar?

It's important for all English teachers to have a good understanding of what they are teaching- this sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many people can't name different parts of speech or explain different grammatical concepts. Think about your own knowledge and how easy you would find it to explain grammar to students at different levels.

 

Exercise 1: Grammar Quiz

 

Have a look at the following questions and write down your answers underneath each one. Give yourself around 30 minutes.

 

1. Except when using imperatives, what must every clause have?

 

 

 

2. What's an adjective? an adverb? an article? a preposition?

 

a. An adjective is....


b. An adverb is....


c. An article is....

 

d. A preposition is....

 

 

3. Name 3 different verb forms used to describe the present, the past and the future.

 

a.

b.

c.

 

4. Name 3 non-modal auxiliary verbs

 

a.

b.

c.

 

5. Name 6 modal auxiliary verbs.

 

a.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

 

6. What's the difference between a regular and an irregular verb?

 

 

 

7. Write down all the different forms of go, put, live.

 

a. go:

 

b. put:

 

c. live:

 

 

8. What's the connection between:

 

a. I did, I do, I will do?

 

 

b. I was doing, I am doing, I will be doing

 

 

c. I had done, I have done, I will have done?

 

 

d. I have been doing, I had been doing, I will have been doing?

 

 

 

9. What's the difference between 'I went to London yesterday' and 'I've been to London'.

 

 

 

10. What's the difference between 'I'm going to do the work later' and 'I'll do the work later'?

 

 

 

11. What's the difference between 'I'm thinking ' and 'I think '?

 

 

 

12. Name 10 verbs which don't take '-ing'. Say why they don't take '-ing'.

 

a.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

i.

j.

 

These verbs don't take '-ing' because......

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY: Answers:

 

1. a subject and a verb

 

2.

An adjective is a word that describes a noun or an adverb

An adverb is a word describes a verb

An article is one of the following - a/an/the - which all introduce a noun

A preposition is a word that describes place, time, relationship, like in, on, at, by or with

 

3.

a. present: present simple, continuous (or progressive), perfect

b. past: past simple, continuous, perfect

c. future: present simple, present continuous, will/going to + simple, continuous, perfect

 

4.

a. do

b. be

c. have

 

5. Choose from: will, would, may, might, can, could, shall, should, must

 

6. a regular verb's 2nd and 3rd forms always end '-ed'

 

7.

a. go: go, goes, going, went, gone

b. put: put, puts, putting

c. live: live, lives, living, lived

 

8.

a. These verbs all take the 'simple' form and describe either a state or an event at a point in time - see below for explanation

b. These verbs all take the 'continuous' or 'progressive' form, formed from 'to be' + -ing, and describe a period of activity at a point in time

c. These verbs all take the perfect simple form, 'to have' + 3rd form of the verb, and describe a state or an event before a point in time

d. These verbs all take the perfect continuous form, to have + been + -ing, and describe a period of activity before a point in time

 

9.

'I went to London' - this describes an event which happened at a specific point in the past, yesterday

'I've been to London' - this describes an event which happened at some point before now, but we don't know when

 

10.

'I'm going to do the work later' – this describes an intention to do something in the future where the decision has already been taken

'I'll do the work later' - this describes either a prediction or a decision to do something in the future made at the moment of speaking

 

11.

'I'm thinking ' - I'm considering something at the moment, turning an idea over in my mind - so, brain activity now

'I think ' - an opinion, no activity at moment

 

12.Choose from:

  • know, understand, remember, forget, believe, realise
  • like, love, hate, prefer
  • want, need, see, hear
  • own, possess, have (got), belong to
  • (when describing something) taste, smell, look, hold, measure, feel, sound
  • be, consist

 

These do not take '-ing', as they do not describe periods of activity

 

Note: there are occasions when the above verbs take -ing to show a particular emphasis.

eg. 'I've been wanting to talk to you for some time'; 'I'm loving this film!'

 

 

 

Exercise 2: Can You Explain Grammar?

 

Look at the following sentences and write down 2 things for each sentence:

a. which verb form is used

b. why that verb form has been used

 

In the sentences with 2 verbs, please focus on the phrase which has been underlined.

 

1. Have you ever been to London?

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

2. They ate fish and chips yesterday.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

3. I'll probably see my friends this evening.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

4. Don't call at 7.30, because I'll be eating.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

5. They often go to the cinema on Saturday morning.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

6. I was washing my hair at the standpipe when some children shouted 'Hello!'.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

7. He's going to write some e-mails later.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

8. Everyone had gone to bed by midnight.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

9. She's reading the New York Times.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

10. I hope he'll have finished the work by the weekend.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

11. They had known each other for 3 years before they got married.

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

12. How long have you been here?

a. name of verb form:

b. why used here:

 

 

 

KEY: Answers:

 

1.

a. present perfect simple

b. it's a question about an event that took place at some undefined point before now

 

2.

a. past simple

b. it's an event that happened at a specific point in the past, yesterday

 

3.

a. future simple 

b. the sentence refers to an event that might happen at a point in the future

 

4.

a. future continuous

b. this talks about an activity that is predicted to be ongoing at a point in the future

 

5.

a. present simple

b. this refers to a 'state' - something which always/often/sometimes/never happens in the present

 

6.

a. past continuous

b. this refers to an activity which was happening - and unfinished - at a point in the past (when the children shouted 'Hello')

 

7.

a. 'going to' future simple

b. this describes an event that you have already decided to do at a point in the future - this is your intention

 

8.

a. past perfect simple

b. this describes an event that happened before a point in the past, midnight

 

9.

a. present continuous 

b. this describes a period of activity happening (unfinished) now

 

10.

a. future perfect simple

b. this describes an event that is predicted to have finished before a point in the future, the weekend

 

11.

a. past perfect simple

b. this describes a state which was true for a period of time before a point in the past, when they got married

 

12.

a. present perfect simple

b. this is a question about a period of state before now - this is not a question about activity

 

 

Some Key Grammatical Concepts:

 

PRESENT = now

PAST = a defined time in the past

FUTURE= a defined time in the future

 

SIMPLE = state or event

CONTINUOUS = period of activity

PERFECT = before

 

a STATE is a period of time where there is no change

an EVENT is a complete action

an ACTIVITY is a period of time where something is happening

 

So, if you analyse the names of the verb forms, you can see what kind of situations they describe.

 

Here are some examples:

 

Present Simple (present = now, simple = state or event)

State now - I am married; she often goes to see her sister at the weekend

Event now - John walks into a house, goes up the stairs, and kisses his wife

 

Past Simple (past = a defined time in the past, simple = state or event)

State in a defined past - when they were children, they lived in a large house in the country

Event in a defined past - James spoke to his mother yesterday; he watched a great film last night

 

Future Simple (future = a defined time in the future, simple = state or event) 

State in a defined future - I think she'll live for a long time; she's going to exercise 3 times a week for the next year

Event in a defined future - Manchester will probably win the Championship this year; I'm going to play football at the weekend

 

Present Continuous (present = now, continuous = period of activity) 

Ongoing activity now - she's waching TV at the moment; where are you going?

 

Past Continuous (past = a defined time in the past, continuous = period of activity) 

Ongoing activity at a defined point in the past - he was watching TV at this time yesterday

 

Future Continuous (future = a defined time in the future, continuous = period of activity) 

Ongoing activity at a defined point in the future - I'll be waiting for you at when you arrive at the airport

 

Present Perfect Simple (present = now, perfect = before, simple = state or event)

State before now - how long have you been married? I've always wanted to go to China

Event before now - I've seen this film before; have you ever eaten raw fish?

 

Past Perfect Simple (past = a defined time in the past, perfect = before, simple = state or event) 

State before now - By 2000, Elizabeth II had been queen for 48 years.

Event before now - I got to the cinema late - the film had already started.

 

Future Perfect Simple (future = a defined time in the future, perfect = before, simple = state or event)

State before a point in the future - By the end of this year, we will have lived here for exactly 10 years.

Event before a point in the future - She says she will have finished the work by the weekend.

 

Present Perfect Continuous (present = now, perfect = before, continuous = period of activity)

Ongoing activity before now - He's been working on this exercise since 10 o'clock.

 

Past Perfect Continuous (past = a defined time in the past, perfect = before , continuous = period of activity)

Ongoing Activity before a point in the past - They had only been playing for 10 minutes when the captain got sent off.

 

Future Perfect Continuous (future = a defined time in the future, perfect = before , continuous = period of activity)

Ongoing Activity before a point in the future - By the end of this week, we'll have been going out together for 2 years.

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