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Language Functions

How we use language to perform certain functions: ordering a meal, asking directions, explaining, asking and so on.

Antonyms or Opposites in English

An Antonym or Opposite is a word which – generally speaking – has the opposite meaning to another word. For example, the following are antonyms:
big ↔ small
fat ↔ thin
tall ↔ short
old ↔ young
male ↔ female
Some words will have more than one antonym depending on context. For example
big ↔ small, tiny, miniature
And the antonym of antonym? That’s synonym which describes a word having the same meaning…

Comparatives and Superlatives in English

When we want to compare two or more nouns, adjectives‏‎ or adverbs‏‎ we use the comparative and superlative forms. Grammatically the main difference is between comparing 2 items or comparing more than 2 items.
Comparing 2 Items
To compare two items, we use the comparative:
I am big, he is bigger.
She works carefully, he works more carefully.
We often use this form in this pattern:
{comparative} + {than}

Comparatives‏‎ in English

To compare the property or quality of two items we can use the comparative form of adjectives‏‎ and adverbs‏‎. The comparative form of most monosyllable (1 syllable‏‎) and disyllable (2 syllable) adjectives and adverbs is made by adding –er to the adjective. I am big, he is bigger. She works fast, he works faster. The comparative form of trisyllable (3 syllables) and polysyllable (more than 3 syllables) adjectives and adverbs…

Comparison Phrases‏‎ in English

To compare different things, we can use a number of different Comparison Phrases. Equality/Inequality {as} + {adjective/adverb} + {as} He is as tall as me. They work as slowly as I do. In positive sentences we can use as…as, in negative sentences we use as…as or so…as They are not so clever as us. They are not as clever as us. {the same} + [noun phrase] + {as} This colour…

Comparison‏‎ in English Grammar

When we compare two or more items, we have different ways to do it, depending on the items we are comparing. We can change the form of the word or use a phrase. Comparatives and Superlatives To compare nouns, we can change the adjective describing them by using comparative and superlative adjectives: Enid is pretty though Aleka is prettier; Aleka is prettier than Enid. But Olga is the prettiest of…

Coordination‏‎ & Subordination in English Grammar

Coordination and Subordination are the grammatical terms we use to talk about joining 2 clauses together. The usual pattern is this: {clause} + {conjunction} + {clause} Coordination If clauses which we combine are independent clauses (that is, if they can stand on their own) then we talk about coordination and we use a coordinating conjunction such as and, but, etc. For example, here are 2 independent clauses: Yesterday I…

Crazy Comparatives‏‎

Crazy Comparatives is a simple activity to practice comparatives with your class. It can be used with most levels. Preparation Prepare a set of flashcards. On each one have a noun which will be used for comparison. You should make as many as you can and there’s no need to have the nouns related. Remember to make the nouns applicable to the class and of the right level! Explaining the…

Double Negatives‏‎ in English

A lot of people don’t like Double Negatives and quite a number of people aren’t sure what they are. This article addresses both those concerns. What is a Double Negative? Simply put, a Double Negative is when you use a negative form of the verb along with a negative quantifier (see below for the most common quantifiers). {negative verb} + {negative quantifier} For example: You are not going + nowhere…

Exclamations‏‎ in English

We use Exclamations to express surprise, anger, joy and so on: What an idiot! Unbelievable! How fantastic! As you can see, in writing an exclamation is shown using an Exclamation Mark (or Exclamation Point) which is a vertical line over a dot. See Exclamation Mark for more on this. An exclamation then is often an interjection – something suddenly expressed to show emotion. Exclamation Phrases There are a few main…

Find the Comparative‏‎

Find the Comparative is a good activity for your class to practice making comparative sentences. It’s best used as an activity for pairs or small groups. Preparation Begin by making a series of cards. On each one write a pair of words which are related somehow; they should be two words which can be used in a comparative sentence. For example: elephant – mouse boy – girl Ferrari – bicycle…

How Many Tenses Are There in English?

How many Tenses are there in English? It sounds like a simple question, but, unfortunately, it isn’t.

This is because different people – including both students and TEFL teachers – have different definitions of what a tense actually is and there is no single, accepted one.

However, in English there are 3 general definitions of what a tense is all about:
Tenses & Time
Some people…

Language Functions and TEFL

When we talk about Language Functions, we are talking about the reason we use a language. This can be contrasted with grammar which is how the language works.

Functions are why we use language: to greet people, to order a meal, to ask the time and so on. Grammar, on the other hand, is how words fit together so we can understand each other.
At its…

Negatives in English Grammar

In English there are a number of different ways to be Negative and these depend on the original positive sentence.

Generally speaking we make negatives in two ways. Either by adding not to an auxiliary verb or by using do/does/did + not:
I am going to answer that question. > I am not going to answer that question.
He answered the phone in time. > He did…

TEFL Syllabus

The Syllabus is the outline of language to be taught to a class over a particular course (term, semester, etc).

It can be seen as a step in the hierarchy of learning and teaching English‏‎. At best it will be designed by the school Director of Studies; at worst there won’t be a syllabus or if there is one it will be merely using a particular book…

The Comparative Game‏‎

The Comparative Game is a simple way to get your class practicing comparatives. It’s best used at the end of a lesson where you’ve been looking at comparatives and adjectives and/or adverbs in general.
Playing the Game
Firstly divide the class into groups of four or so students each and tell them they’re playing against each other.

Then have them write a list of 10 adjectives…

Units of Measurement in English

Units of Measurement are used to talk about quantity. Common units include:

length: meter, mile, kilometer…
weight: pound, stone, kilogram…
liquid: liter, gallon…

Singular & Plural
Units of measurement usually have a singular and plural form:
I’ve lived here 1 year.
That wall is 3 meters tall.
This tank will hold just 2 liters.
However, if we use the unit of measurement…