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ESL Student Blog
Language points (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciaton) that are worth noticing for ESL students around the world.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

An Adjective or a Verb?

It’s not a secret that some words can function as different parts of speech without changing their form. For example, a certain word can sometimes be an adjective and sometimes a verb. 
 
Compare the sentences below: (the bolded word is a verb in the 1st sentence and an adjective in the 2d)
 
The shirt doesn’t fit me.            and     She’s very fit.
The news upset me.                and     You look upset.
He hurt my feelings.                 and     He feels hurt.
He decided to light the candles. and     He had a light
                                                      jacket.
 
Some cases are less obvious and require sentence analysis. What do the bolded words in the following sentences mean? Are they verbs or adjectives?
 
How long does your English class last?  
I saw him last week.
If we round the number 199.98 to the nearest hundred, we get 200.
This is a round table.
The teachers average our marks every term.
The average age of students in this class is 27.
 
Adjectives usually come before nouns or after the verbs ‘be’, ‘look’, ‘feel’, ‘become’, ‘appear’.
 
Remember that every English sentence must have a verb and if you can’t find one, you might have taken it for an adjective.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 9:33 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When vs. While

As conjunctions (words that join parts of a sentence), when and while both mean ‘during the time that’ or ‘at the same time as’ and can sometimes be used interchangeably:
 
(1)    When/while I was cooking, I heard a knock on the door.
(2)    She lived in the dorms when/while she was a student. 
 
While is always a better choice to talk about actions that are (or were) taking place at a specific point of time in the present or past (therefore used in the Present Progressive/Continuous and Past Progressive/Continuous tenses:
 
(3)    He tripped over someone’s foot while he was carrying the tray.
(4)    While the sun is shining here, it’s raining up in the north.
(5)    While I was waiting for the bus, two teenagers were smoking right in front of me.
 
When is possible in examples (3), (4), (5), but less preferable than while.
 
When is the only choice to use with the Past Simple tense:
 
(6)    When the bus arrived, I showed my ticket to the driver.
 
While is not possible in sentence (6).
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 4:40 PM   3 Comments  Add Comment

top Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Joys of Winter - Skiing

Cold Ontarian winters often make the newcomers ‘hibernate’ (stay indoors). But with over 5 months of chilly temperatures, you can’t let the winter get to you (affect in a bad way). Why not head outdoors for some winter fun?
 
Skiing is one of the most popular activities Canadians enjoy in winter. People of all ages and abilities enjoy this sport. As long as you can walk, you can ski too!
 
You can find a trail of your level and ability in local ski centres, clubs and resorts. All major cities and communities offer lessons and rental equipment to both children and adults. If in Toronto, consult the Toronto Fun Guide for details.
 
The blue sky, snow-covered nature, friendly smiles of the people and rosy cheeks…what else to ask for?
 
This exercise practices skiing-related vocabulary.
 
Stay social and active this winter and happy trails!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 10:01 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

top Sunday, January 06, 2008

Snow Words

With the first big snowfall, Torontonians can’t help but talk about the snow. How many centimeters are expected? How long will it stay on the ground? How is it going to affect the rush-hour commute?

People facing their first winter in the city may be overwhelmed by the various names used to describe the snow. In fact, there are different types of snow, creating either ‘a winter Wonderland’ (a beautiful winter view) or hazards (potential dangers) or something in between. Here are the most common terms used to describe the snow:

flurries – light snow

snow showers – snow that starts and ends unexpectedly and changes in its intensity (weaker/stronger)

snow squalls - snow that starts and ends unexpectedly, but is also accompanied by strong winds

blizzard – heavy snowstorm with winds

blowing snow – snow picked up from the ground by the wind

To practice these and other winter words and phrases, click here.

 
Have a safe winter and stay warm!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:27 AM   0 Comments  Add Comment

top Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year Resolution

We all want to change for the better in the New Year. Some want to lose these stubborn 5 pounds or finally get a driver’s license, some wish they could spend more time with their kids or do all it takes to pass a TOEFL (test).
As the families in North America get together around the holiday table these days, everyone is expected to say what his/her New Year Resolution is going to be – the thing(s) you have decided to improve about your lifestyle in the upcoming year.
These adjectives can be used to describe a New Year Resolution:
a/an    practical      New Year resolution
          impractical
possible
impossible
realistic
achievable
feasible
attainable
reasonable
 
We can use the following verbs to discuss the New Year resolutions:
make     a New Year resolution
keep
follow
stick to
set
achieve
fail
break
 
So whether you wish to start a new adventure or break a bad habit, best of luck to you in the New Year and very happy holidays!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:52 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment



 Summary
An Adjective or a Verb?
When vs. While
The Joys of Winter - Skiing
Snow Words
New Year Resolution
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