Teacher of professional and technical English, writer and teacher trainer.

Jun 232017

Are you ready for some grammar? I hope so! One of the reasons students have difficulty with ‘grow’ and ‘grow up’ is to do with whether they’re transitive or intransitive.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to keep grammar explanations simple, and I’ll often try to avoid the metalanguage of subjects and objects by talking about whether we (verb) or we (verb) something. I found doing that with these two verbs was too much of a challenge sometimes, but hopefully it’s still clear.

Here are links to some other commonly confused verbs where transitive and intransitive is an issue.
Raise and Rise
Lie and Lay

 Posted by at 8:51 pm
Jun 022017

Sometimes teachers or students ask us a question and I think, ‘Oh we can answer that quickly’. But then when I start, I realise there’s a lot to explain. The phrase ‘of course’ is one of those!
This time the question came from Saraswathi in India and they said:

Hi Vicki and Jay. You have produced good videos. So far, I have not understood when we use “of course”. Could you produce a video about ‘of course’.

Thank you so much for asking us this Saraswathi. It was a great question!
The thing is, ‘of course’ is not always polite. I expect other teachers have experienced this too. We’ve asked a question and our student has answered ‘Yes, of course’, but it wasn’t quite right. In fact sometimes it was down right rude! Here is our video about why that can happen.

 Posted by at 9:01 pm
May 122017

Should learners try to think in English?
Of course they should. It will help them speak more fluently and structure your thoughts like a native speaker.
Can students think in English when they’re not fluent?
Yes they can. In fact the sooner they start the better because it’s about developing regular practice habits.
Here’s a video with five steps they can take to get going.

 Posted by at 8:33 pm