On and In are commonly used in reference to sources of information. On refers to electronic sources of information (computers, phones, televisions), while in refers to printed material (unless it’s written or printed on a piece of paper).
Here are two activities to help you with these uses of on and in.
I have some bad news for those of you who aren’t in New Orleans right now. You’re missing one of their biggest celebrations ever. Don’t feel bad. You can still plan to go next year.
Since you’re at home anyway, you could take this time to review non-identifying adjective clauses. These are the clauses that confuse students the most. One reason these clauses are confusing is because of how they are explained. Students are told to “separate non-identifying adjective clauses with commas if the information in the sentence is not necessary to the meaning of the main clause.”
Wow! That’s a lot to think about. The main complaint I get from students, however, isn’t the rule, but how to determine whether a clause is necessary or not. That is the key is using commas to separate non-identifying adjective clauses. The question remains…how? Try these tips:
1. Know what your sentence’s focus is and stick to it
2. Take out the adjective clause and see if the sentence still has the same meaning
3. Use the words “which” or “who” instead of “that” for non-identifying adjective clauses
4. Look for the words “which” or “who”
5. Locate the simple subject and the simple predicate
6. Only add non-identifying adjective clauses if it benefits your story or essay. Adding them without a purpose makes your writing sound too wordy.
Have you read the 6 How-to points? Now look at some examples…
• One of the most exciting times of year is Mardi Gras, which is a festival in New Orleans.
• It is a celebration, which is in February, that attracts the young and the young at heart.
• The phrase Mardi Gras, which is French, means Fat Tuesday.
• The significance of Mardi Gras is to celebrate prior to fasting for Lent, which is a Catholic tradition.
• Many places, which include New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro, have Mardi Gras celebrations.
• Mardi Gras is today, which is Tuesday, February 24, 2009.
Are you looking for noun activities to use in your ESL classes? I have some for you to use for free without signing up for anything. Use them for educational purposes, copy them for use in your classrooms, or link to them.
Time can either slip away or fly when you’re having fun.
…but what article should you use with this versatile noun? Here are some options for you with explanations:
The article a
If you asked, “Do you have a time…?” you are asking for a specific time to schedule a meeting. For example, you can say, “Is there a time when we can meet?” or “Do you have a specific time in mind?”
A time can also be used to refer to one specific event out of time, such as when your teacher asks you, “Remember a time when you were a child and write about it,” or when your interviewer asks you, “Describe a time when you had to confront someone you disagreed with.”
The article the
If you asked, “Do you have the time…?”, it means, “What time is it?” If you are recalling the time when…, then you are remembering something that only happened once in one’s life. “That was the time when Bush won the election against Kerry.” It’s impossible for George W. to win the election against Kerry again.
Using any or no article
If you asked, “Do you have time…?” or “Do you have any time…”, you’re asking about any available time. You could substitute any time with the amount of time you need as in, “Do you have time to talk about the new policy?”, and “Do you have 10 minutes to talk about the new policy?”
Will you ever understand all these rules? Time will tell.
Here’s a quick vocabulary lesson for the words: grow, grow up, grown-up, and raise.
Children call adults grown-ups, but adults don’t call other adults grown-ups. We call each other adults.
Once you reach adulthood, you are called a grown-up or an adult. A grown-up is an adult. The plural is grown-ups. If you are an adult, you should use the word adult.
You can’t grow up flowers or vegetables. You can plant, feed, and water them. In some circles, you can grow flowers or vegetables, but you can never grow them up. Flowers grow on their own. Flowers or vegetables never grow up and can’t be raised.
People can grow up, but no one grows people up. You grow up by going through the stages of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The person who fed you and took care of you didn’t grow you up. They raised you.
The town where you spent your childhood under the care of adults is where you grew up. It is also where you were raised.
Need a recap? Here it is: When you grow up, you become a grown-up and start using the word adult. In your garden you grow flowers, and on the weekend, you visit the people who raised you in the town where you grew up.
It’s almost funny how such little words can cause so much confusion. For most students, prepositions seem to be the most overwhelming and confusing aspects of learning English. While they might appear difficult, rest assured, prepositions are manageable.
One way to manage prepositions is to include phrasal verbs as part of your study routine. You can start by learning this:
There are 4 types of phrasal verbs:
intransitive (there is no object)
transitive/separable (the object can go before or after the preposition)
transitive/inseparable (the object can only go after the preposition)
verbs with two prepositions (the object can only go after the last preposition)
Remember, students: if it seems overwhelming at first, break down the confusing concept into smaller parts. By categorizing new information, you have a better chance of understanding and remembering it.
Language learners get into word ruts when they learn a phrase early in their studies and they don’ t expand on the use of a word. When you think of the word on, you might be thinking of a physical location of something (on a table, on the floor, etc.). If you hold on to only one definition of the word, it prevents you from learning different ways which that one word can be used. The word on refers to so much more than a physical location (such as try something on, on the phone, on the bus, on television, on-line, on schedule, on time, etc.).
Suddenly you find yourself in Intermediate English thinking how hard it is because English words have so many different meanings. It is common to get stuck in a word rut, but it is necessary to get out of the rut to improve your English.
Here are some starting points:
Read more than you’ve ever read before. Any source will work, but you have to read actively, and if something doesn’t make sense, look it up!
Don’t stop at the first definition in the dictionary
Ask people around you (your native–speaking friends are your best resource)
Read comics in the newspaper-they often use word-plays (double entendres) to be funny
Ask your friends to tell you some jokes they know
Learn about puns
Pretty soon, you’ll get out of the rut and be nuts about learning!
…(and if being nuts about something doesn’t make sense, you know what to do, right?)
If the correct words to use for count and non-count nouns confuse you, try breaking it down into smaller parts. Practice with two phrases first (such as a little or a few). Then practice two new two phrases (such as how much or how many).
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