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

Monday, March 17, 2008

Student Blog: Not an A-Student?

The provincial (Canadian) report cards for students of grades 1-6 go home trice a year, documenting students’ achievements in all subject areas.  The letter grades A, B, C, D and R (rather than number grades) are used to demonstrate students’ progress: A being the highest and R the lowest mark on the scale.
Many ESL parents come from backgrounds where kids are expected to do well (above average) at school and become very upset if their child gets a B range mark (B-/B+) rather than an A (A-/A+). They often assume that a B mark indicates a learning difficulty and are set to find out what the problem might be.
The reality is that B indicates your son/daughter is doing just fine at school, up to the norm required by the provincial standards. It means that a student has understood the material well, completed the assigned homework and submitted all the required projects. You, as a parent, can be assured that your child is perfectly prepared for the next grade.
To get an A mark, a student has to do a bigger amount of work than is required by the teacher. Examples can be writing a greater number of sentences, a longer story or doing an extra-page of Math for class or homework.
Be proud of your B-grader, for an ESL student it’s a remarkable achievement indeed!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 8:34 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Monday, March 17, 2008

ESL Student Blog: Website or Email Address - How to Read It

What’s your email address? Your school’s website?
Halfway through spelling the letters of an address, many students start drawing figures in the air with their index finger trying to show the @ or _ characters used in it.
This is how to pronounce the following characters:
@ pronounced at
.   pronounced dot is read
myname at hotmail dot com
// pronounced double slash
_   pronounced underscore
:   pronounced colon
-   pronounced hyphen or dash is read
http colon double slash www dot learn hyphen english underscore today dot com
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 8:31 PM   1 Comments  Add Comment

top Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Student Blog: Conditional Sentences - Tips

There are 3 types of conditional sentences in English. Not only do the if-sentences have special verb forms, but they also greatly differ in meaning.
When making an if-sentence, consider the following questions:
-          Does the condition refer to the past, present or future? and
-          Can the condition be fulfilled? 

1. If you refer to the future and the condition can be fulfilled (you describe what will or won’t probably happen), use conditional 1: (if + present, will)

What will you do after you finish high school?

I’m not sure. If I pass TOEFL, I’ll apply to Medical School. If I don’t pass TOEFL, I’ll look for a job and take English classes.

2. If you refer to the present or future, and the condition cannot be fulfilled (it’s the opposite of the given facts or reality and is totally impossible), use conditional 2 (if + past simple, would):

If I knew how use the sewing machine, I would sew myself a new dress.

The reality is that at this point in time I don’t know how to use a sewing machine – it’s therefore an unreal condition.

3. If you refer to the past, and the condition wasn’t fulfilled (didn’t happen), use conditional 3 (if + past perfect, would + present perfect) to imagine/speculate on how it could have developed:

If she had called an hour ago, she would have gotten an earlier appointment.

The fact is that she didn’t call earlier and therefore didn’t get the result she wanted (an earlier appointment).

POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 7:51 PM   1 Comments  Add Comment

top Monday, March 10, 2008

Present Perfect and Past Simple with ‘For’

The grammar rules teach us that the Present Perfect Tense is used with the preposition ‘for’ and many students automatically put their verb in the Present Perfect as soon as they come across this preposition.  
Whereas the Present Perfect Tense is often used with ‘for’ (+period of time) to describe a situation that began in the past and continues to the present, it’s possible to use it with the Simple Past Tense as well.
(1)    She has studied Pharmacy for 4 years.
(2)    She studied Pharmacy for 4 years between 2003 and 2007.
In (1) her studies are not over yet – she started studying 4 years ago and is still taking pharmacy classes.
In (2) her studies are now complete, she’s not a pharmacy student any longer.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 1:39 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Student Blog: Not an A-Student?
ESL Student Blog: Website or Email Address - How to Read It
Student Blog: Conditional Sentences - Tips
Present Perfect and Past Simple with ‘For’

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