Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

My grammar world – problem page

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

As an English Language teacher I am often asked to explain grammar rules. I prefer to think of language as a living entity that behaves and reacts in situations like we do.  We talk about how language ‘functions’ so why perceive grammar as a dead set of rigid rules?

I am keen to embed revision techniques in the learning process exploring original ways of making grammar visual, moving and alive.

These thoughts have inspired my writing. Over a period of years I have been creating a language world where ‘lingoes’ (language creatures) live. Their characters reflect their functions. So as you might imagine a possessive pronoun battles with selfishness whilst a dynamic verb is hyper-active. As I teach teenagers at times my writing also includes more than a little sexual innuendo.

My work is beautifully illustrated by the very talented Jemma French.  My teenage students enthuse about her illustrations without hesitation. She has breathed life into my language world. Thank you Jemma.

Here is yet another example of an extract I will use with students this week to revise (not introduce) the functions of the present simple tense. This one is not illustrated I am afraid and is a tiny sample of a range of genres that I am using.

I hope that you enjoy it :)


Dear declarative

I know that we are the best of friends but you must believe me when I say that I am a good liar.

That is my problem. ‘I am a good liar.’ I stay awake at night repeating this simple true phrase. ‘I am a good liar.’ When did it become a habit?

I don’t intend to manipulate the views of others. Yet when I state an opinion other Lingoes believe it to be true. Will this ever change? I feel so guilty.

Yours tense simple present verb


Dear present simple verb tense

Your feelings are not unnatural for a verb in your tense situation. Try to celebrate your ability to persuade others. If you are fortunate enough to be able to choose your location then campaign for issues that you believe in. Appear in texts that allow you to state ‘facts’ and to create your own truths.

You have many skills. My dear present simple verb I have seen you promote truth by helping others to confess: ‘I am a grammar addict.’ What a wonderful role your stative self performs. As a declarative I would be lost without your simple ability to make clauses into statements. Our friendship goes back a long way and is here to stay.

No matter how many times you tell a joke you bring it alive. Whenever you start with ‘A Lingo walks into a bar..’ our antennae are raised and our senses are stimulated. Real or not the experience seems like the first time over and over again.

You are convincing, caring and ‘crack us up.’

Now if you still feel that you want to sound less believable we can pair you up with a modal auxiliary verb. This can lead to interesting discussion about potential outcomes and possibilities. Yet some verbs feel insecure and full of regrets after becoming involved in such a relationship. Be warned that it can leave you feeling undermined.

So there is help available if you need it but first I would recommend that you concentrate on your strengths and successes. You will get through this difficult period, believe me.

Your dearest friend Declarative mood


 (C) Julia Homan 4.2.2014