They do what they do.
Thinking about schools and peers and parent-child attachments....I came across one of my favorite posts .
Funny moment at dinner last night. I asked everyone what the most common verb in spoken English is, and the middle schooler at the table said, "What's a verb?"I can't say I did a particularly good job explaining it.
That reminds me. The other day I wrote the words "the cat in the hat" on the board & one of my students thought "in" was a verb. This is a very sharp student, btw.
Here's the shortcut: if you can stick "to" in front of it, it's a verb. I use it with my students who are weaker grammar-wise, and it helps them a whole lot when they're trying to figure out whether a word is a verb.
That's not a fail-safe shortcut, though, because "to" can be a preposition as well as an infinitive marker. What do you do if they start identify prepositional phrases rather than verbs, then?
In Russian the verb definition is simple: it is a word that answers the question: to do what? does what? did what? to run, to see, to talk etc.Is and are are problematic though...Exo
I remember my first Russian class in college. Boris (the professor) had us saying things like (phonetically)Eta lampa? Da, eta lampa.Translated to:That lamp? Yes, that lamp.I wondered where the verb went. It sounded like caveman talk, but Boris always complained about how in English people would say things like:I got "dis" and I got "dat".I still remember his contempt. This was during the Nixon/detente era and it was radical to take Russian. I didn't like all of the noun forms. I felt like I had to conjugate the nouns. Then again, if you could pronounce the words, you had a chance of knowing what they meant.
@ Anonymous, no, it's not a fail-safe shortcut, nor is it intended to be; it doesn't work for most forms of "to be," which is unfortunately tested a whole lot on the SAT, but it does work for most verbs. I haven't actually seen anyone get confused w/prepositional phrases, though. Usually when they stick the "to" on, they can hear that something is or is not a verb. For a kid who doesn't know a whole lot about grammar, it's much more effective than sitting and pondering whether something really qualifies as an action.
If Catherine has gone fishin', does that mean we can hijack this thread for whatever?Victory! "Texas schoolchildren should not use calculators until they learn to work through math problems the old-fashioned way — on paper, State Board of Education members said Thursday.The board on Thursday tentatively approved new math curriculum standards designed to add rigor while encouraging students from kindergarten through fifth grade to learn basic math without the aid of calculators."http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/State-board-wants-calculators-out-of-grade-3496172.php
<< If Catherine has gone fishin', does that mean we can hijack this thread for whatever? >>Nope
<< Victory! "Texas schoolchildren should not use calculators until they learn to work through math problems the old-fashioned way — on paper, State Board of Education members said Thursday. >>Woo hoo!!!
Erica - great! Thanks!I'll add that to the test I use:1. What tense is the sentence in?So far all of the native speakers in my classes have been able to answer this question, although students sometimes have to think about it for a few seconds.I don't have enough experience w/ESL students to generalize.2. Change the tense.Again, native speakers can do this ALTHOUGH they often have to think about it.3. What word changed form? That's the verb (or part of it).4. TO FIND THE SUBJECT: What word goes w/the word that changed form?Generally speaking, this works, and it has the virtue of underlining the fact that verbs change form w/tense.The problem comes with participles, which don't change form...I find that students essentially never know that 'the verb' can be more than one word.English doesn't a future tense, but so far I haven't found that to be a problem using this test.
Actually, I tend to like hijackings.
The real problem I was having was defing verb in a way that rang any bells w/the student I was talking to. (Defining, as opposed to explaining how to pick it out.)
I'm reading Greenbaum $ Nelson's Intro to Grammar, which is terrific - best (most engaging) grammar text I've found thus far.They say all verbs include an 'operator' (which is what the rest of us call an 'auxiliary' or a 'helping' verb. They say, too, that singl-word verbs should be thought of as having 'dummy' operators.Next semester, I'm going to teach that idea from the get-go.I think it will help with the participle problem.'I was swimming.''I am swimming.''Was' & 'am' are the operators.
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