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September 06, 2011

Grammar And More Grammar

Grammar is essentially how words stick together. You might even think of grammar as...

...the space between words.

This is perhaps the main reason why a nearly infinite number of book have been written about grammar - and many of the so-called experts disagree.

I love words, and I like grammar, but I still have questions and there are aspects of language I'm not certain about.

That's why I like blogs with a focus on questions, and yes, I have one to recommend. Try Grammar for Grown-ups -you can see early versions here http://grammarforgrownups.wordpress.com/ or current exchanges here http://grammarforgrownups.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/new-location/.

Here's an example of what you might find there. What is the difference in meaning and intent of these two sentences?

My wife doesn’t like my cooking.

My wife doesn’t like me cooking.

There is only one letter that is different in these two sentences, but the meaning changes dramatically between the "my" of the first sentence and the "me" of the second sentence. This is one of those situations where consultation with a native speaker might be essential. A non-native speaker might not notice either the different word or the different meaning.

The first sentence has a focus on the product of the cooking, while the focus of the second sentence has something to do with the process.

These distinctions can be hard to catch. If you want to test you grammar, here's a website where you can do that - http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=2708.

And if CELTA is anywhere in your future, you might like to look here - http://www.theenglishteacheronline.com/.

As always, send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf is currently a radio host (http://www.tacoma.fm/) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/ and would love to do either one of those somewhere else in the world. Morf is on an extended break in September, so if you'd like him to visit, contact him at mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at September 6, 2011 10:37 PM

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