Sunday, November 18, 2012

59. A Bit of Grammaring


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Needless to say, there is no such word as grammaring in English – or, at least there hasn’t been one until Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor at University of Michigan School of Education, began to refer to it as the fifth skill alongside reading, writing, listening and speaking. Grammaring is understood as the ability to use grammar structures accurately, meaningfully, and appropriately. Grammar lessons are no longer about knowing language systems (declarative knowledge), but about knowing how to use language (procedural knowledge).

In her book Teaching Language: From Grammar to Grammaring, Larsen-Freeman herself seems pulled in both directions: on the one hand, she says that students want and need to learn the rules of grammar, but also that the rules are confusing and not complete in themselves. She goes on to say that ‘... in most cases students don't need to know about the language – they need to be able to use the language.’ Still, there is a delicate and at the same time unclear balancing: it is a ‘myth’ that grammar need not be taught, yet there is ‘reason to question’ whether students should adhere to the interactional norms of English speakers.
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Larsen-Freeman admits to still seeking the answers herself, but one ‘teachers’ voices’ quote is perhaps telling: ‘I tell my students that they don't need to be accurate to communicate. They do need to be accurate to be respected.’

Throughout the book, there is a message to teachers about how we should analyze our students’ problems and find ways to help them understand the issues they face. The three inseparable components form, meaning and use still are of paramount importance. And I for one will stick to them! 


1.3   The simple sentence: direct and indirect objects
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The Grammaring Matrix

1.3 A   Subject + verb + indirect object + direct object:'Show me that photo'

1   We can use two objects after verbs like give and buy.
Instead of:  
Give the book to me,  
we can say:  
Give me the book.

Instead of:  
Buy the book for me,  
we can say:  
Buy me the book.

2 Some verbs combine with TO: bring, give, lend, pay, post, sell, send, show, tell, write: Bring that book to me. -» Bring me that book.

3 Other verbs combine with FOR: buy, choose, cook, cut, do, fetch, find, get, make, order: Please order a meal for me. -» Please order me a meal.

4 We can put it and them after the verb: Give it to me. Buy them for me. (But not *Do me it*) We say: Give it to John. Buy them for John. (Not *Give John it* *Buy John them*)
Write:    You want people to do things for you. Write suitable polite requests using it, them or one [Ø One is the reference pronoun substituting a previously mentioned count noun accompanied by a/an ]
1   Where are my shoes? (find) Please......................................................................
2 John needs a new coat. (buy) Please.....................................................................
3 I can't reach that cup. (pass) Please......................................................................
4 Ann wants to see our flat. (show) Please...............................................................
5 I can't do the shopping. (do) Please.......................................................................
6 I’d like a copy of that book. (order) Please............................................................

1.3B Verb + object + 'to' + noun or pronoun: 'Explain it to me'

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1 There are some verbs like explain which do not behave in exactly the same way as give. For example, we can say:   
Give the book to me, or Explain the situation to me.
Give me the book, (but not 'Explain me the situation. *)

2 We cannot use an indirect object (me) immediately after explain.
We can only have: verb + object + 'to':  
He explained the situation to me.
He confessed his crime to the court.

3 Other verbs like explain and confess are: admit, announce, declare, demonstrate, describe, entrust, introduce, mention, propose, prove, repeat, report, say, suggest.

Write:  Complete these sentences giving the right order of the words in brackets.
1   You must declare (the Customs/this camera).....................................................
2 Aren’t you going to introduce (me/your friend)?..................................................
3 You can say (me/what you like).............................................................................
4 Who suggested (this idea/you)?............................................................................
5 He confessed (his crime/the police)......................................................................
6 I have never admitted (anyone/this).....................................................................
7 Can you describe (me/this man)?..........................................................................
8 Please don't mention (this/anyone)......................................................................
9 I’m going to report (this/the headmaster)............................................................
10 I don't want you to repeat (what I told you/anyone)..........................................

1.3C The two meanings of 'for'
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1   We can use for after all verbs which have two objects.

2 When we use for after verbs normally followed by to (give, post, read, sell, show, tell, etc.) it can mean 'instead of: I'll post it for you. (= to save you the trouble)

3 When we use for after verbs normally followed by for (buy, choose, do, find, keep, order, etc.) the meaning depends on the context. It can mean for someone's benefit':
Mother cooked a lovely meal for me. (= for my benefit, for me to enjoy)
It can mean 'on someone's behalf/instead of:
I’ll cook the dinner for you. (on your behalf/instead of you - to save you the trouble)
Write:    Tick on the right to show whether for means instead of you/me or
for your/my benefit.
                                                                                        'instead of’               'for your/my  
                                                                                                                             benefit'                    
1   I've cooked a meal for you and I hope you enjoy it.           __                            __                
2  Let me cook the dinner for you this evening.-Thanks!      __                            __
3  I've made this cake for you. Do you like it?                          __                            __
4  I'll post this letter for you, shall I?                                         __                            __
5  I've bought this especially for you.                                         __                            __
6  I've got some change. Let me pay the bill for you.             __                             __
7  As you're busy, let me book a room for you.                        __                            __
8  I've saved some of this pudding for you.                              __                            __
9  I can't choose a tie myself. Please choose one for me.       __                            __
10 My father has bought a wonderful present for me.           __                            __

1.3D   Context

Write:     Put a tick where you think you can change the word order.
Then write the alternative.
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A CURE FOR HYSTERIA
[adapted from Longman English Grammar Practice by L G Alexander]


When I was a girl, my parents sent me to a very strict school. They had to buy an expensive uniform for me1 __ and pay school fees for me2__. Our headmistress, Miss Prim, never smiled. She explained the school rules to us3__and expected us to obey them. 'I will never say anything to you4__twice,' she used to say. We had to write a letter to our parents5__ once a week and show it to Miss Prim6__ before we sent it. I can still remember some of the school rules. We were not allowed to lend anything to anyone7__. We were not allowed to give each other help8__with homework. We had to report unusual situations to the headmistress9__. One morning, during assembly, a girl fainted. The next morning, two more fainted. This continued to happen for several mornings. Mass hysteria had set in! But Miss Prim put an end to it. She announced a new rule to us10__: 'No girl will faint in College!' And after that, no one did!
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How would you interpret the message on Jim Carrey's upper face - I mean, what do you understand by that?