10 December 2015

WELCOME!


Welcome to the English Skills blog for English 140 (Grammar), English 143 (Writing for Academic Purposes), and English 146 (Reading for Academic Purposes) at Athabasca University. These courses may be taken separately or as part of the English Language Proficiency Program. The goal is to increase communication between students and instructors, and to provide students with an opportunity to communicate with each other and to practice the skills taught in these courses. If you post general questions about the assignments or the course, they will be addressed in the blog. If you have detailed questions you want answered, then e-mail your instructor.

Feel free to post comments and suggestions on how to improve this site!

WELCOME NEW STUDENTS!

A hearty welcome to all the new students joining these courses. We hope you enjoy your studies and have fun participating in this blog.


Assignments marked with asterisks (*.*) are mandatory for ENGL140 students (Assignment 9).

For information on how to participate, please visit the instructions page or contact the administrator.

IMPORTANT: This blog site is open to the public; do not post personal information that could identify you--first name and the initial of your last name are the only personal information you should post. Please watch this video from the Canadian Government explaining privacy issues and social networking. 

Also, be sure to let your tutors know the nickname you have chosen for this blog; otherwise, they will not be able to give you the marks/bonus marks that you have earned for your participation.


Note that we will take a short hiatus for the holidaysNext blog: Friday, January 8, 2016.

PREVIOUS GRAMMAR QUESTION

I wasn’t understanding what he means when in a speech he has given Mr Harper was saying the funding will help them suffering from mental illness and their family’s.

1. The underlying meaning:

What were people suffering from? The current wording suggests that both the mental illness and the families were the cause of suffering. Add some clarification after “and” (e.g., “and help their families, too”).

2. Verb tense:

Instead of the past progressive tense, which indicates that something continued to happen over time, use the simple past tense, indicating that it happened at a point in time. Change “wasn’t understanding” to “didn’t understand”.

3. Tense consistency:

Since the first verb uses in the simple past tense, the others should as well unless there is a good reason not to. Instead of “means” (simple present tense) use “meant” (simple past tense); instead of “has given” (present perfect) use “gave” (simple past); and instead of “was saying” (past progressive) use “said” (simple past).

4. Modal:

For future possibility use “would”, not “will.”

5. Pronoun:

“Them” is the 3rd person plural, direct object pronoun. In this case, use “those” to refer to people already mentioned or understood.

6. Plural:

Use the plural form “families”, not the possessive “family’s”.

7. Punctuation:

Remember to set off a non-essential (not grammatically needed) clause such as “in a speech he has given”, and remember to use a period after the abbreviation "Mr."


Possible solution:

I didn’t understand what he meant when, in a speech he gave, Mr. Harper said the funding would help those suffering from mental illness and help their families, too.

*GRAMMAR QUESTION*

Correct the errors in the following sentence:

On those short winter days over the Christmas and new year holiday, much people enjoying resting at home and eat traditionally foods; turkeys and all trimmings, the fruit cakes, the plum pudding, and minced meat pies. To sit by the fire is also a benefit as the weathers usually cold than but some people are liking participating in winter sport.

The solution will be posted in the next edition of the blog.

PUZZLE

Solution to the previous puzzle:  

1. Stamp on - Postman
2. For trees - Forester
3. Remit sin - Minister
4. Menial cop - Policeman
5. Court poser - Prosecutor

New Puzzle:

Try to identify the languages of these seasonal greetings:

1. Gesëende Kersfees
2. Boas Festas
3. Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
4. Glaedelig Jul
5. Hyvää Joulua
6. Joyeux Noël
7. Fröhliche Weihnachten
8. Kala Christouyenna
9. Mele Kalikimaka
10. Bada din Mubarak
11. Nollaig Shona Dhuit
12. Buon Natale
13. Shinnen omedeto
14. Kuwa na Krismasi njema
15. Sung Tan Chuk Ha
16. Linksmų Kalėdų
17. Feliz Navidad
18. Natale hilare
19. Maligayang Pasko
20. Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
21. Feliz Natal, Gajan Kristnaskon
22. S Rozhdestvom Kristovym
23. Suksun Wan Christmas
24. Chuc Mung Giang Sinh
25. Nadolig Llawen

*Note, the first person with the correct answer gets the bonus point.



I will also award a bonus mark for any Christmas/New Year greeting in a language not listed here.

IDIOMS

There are three idioms that use the word vegetables:

Watch this video, and then write a sentence that uses one (or more) of these three idioms.

Try not to use the same idiom as the other participants.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/2009/03/090303_teacher_food_vegetables.shtml

*ALL CHANGE!*

Change the words in the sentence below as indicated.

Please change only the exact word in the sequence given. Each participant should build on the changes made by the previous participant.

For instance, if the original sentence is "Benson hurriedly told the bad news to his friends":


participant 1 could write "#1 Subject Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad news to his friends";


participant 2 could then write "#2 Direct Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his friends";


participant 3 could then write "#3 Indirect Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his wife";

etc.


You are free to make as many changes as you wish. Just remember to number each change (and indicate the part of speech) so it is clear to everyone where we are on the list.


Participants who make all 7 changes will receive 2 bonus marks for their efforts.

When all 7 changes have been made, return to the top of the list and continue.


Here is the sentence:


The stingy old man never gave any money to charity.

Changes:                                                                                                                          

1. subject noun

2. direct object noun          
3. indirect object noun                  
4. adjective(s)
5. adverb(s)    
6. verb name      
7. verb tense

AFFIXES

The word stem -scrib- (meaning "to write") occurs in many words. 

1. Add an affix to this stem to make another word.

2. Explain the meaning of the word in a complete sentence.

Each participant should add a different word to the list.

*COMPLETE THE SENTENCE*

Follow the instructions below to create three different sentences from the following clause:*

... I'm already looking forward to the new year ...

Sentence 1. Add a phrase      
Sentence 2. Add a dependent clause
Sentence 3. Add an independent clause


*Add your words to the beginning or end of the clause (but not both) and do not use a semi-colon to join your independent clause.

*NUMBER CHANGE*

If the sentence is singular, change it to the plural; if it is plural, change it to the singular.

The first participant to make the correct changes will receive the bonus mark.



Yesterday, the Santa at the mall handed out cheap toys to the shoppers while an elf took pictures of the children who came to sit on Santa’s knee.

*VOCABULARY*

Vocabulary building is important for both reading comprehension and writing. 

Use the following two words in one sentence (note the parts of speech).

credulous (adjective) and propensity (noun).


To further improve your vocabulary, remember to check out the Word of the Day
The site also has word games and puzzles.

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/


You can also test your skills while contributing to the World Food Programme here:
http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1498

SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS

We can describe a hard worker as someone who is assiduous

Provide a synonym and an antonym for this word, using each one in a complete sentence

Each participant should suggest a different word.

*ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE*

Write two sentences using the verb fling.

In the first sentence, use the word in the active voice; in the second sentence, use it in the passive voice.

*TIME CHANGE*

Change the time in the following sentences by using a different verb tense and replacing any necessary time clues. Each student should choose a different verb tense.

Yesterday, the Santa at the mall handed out cheap toys to the shoppers while an elf took pictures of the children who came to sit on Santa’s knee.

*SENTENCE COMBINATION*

Learning to combine ideas into more complex sentences is an important writing skill. There are many ways to do this. Try to combine the following three sentences. Do not use a semi-colon.

Sentence 1: We are well into December.
Sentence 2: The first snowfall of the season was weeks ago.
Sentence 3: It won't be long until the Christmas vacation.

BUILD-A-SENTENCE

Write a sentence using the vocabulary and grammar indicated. Do not use a semi-colon.

Write a sentence with a dependent clause in the past perfect tense and an independent clause in the past progressive tense:



26 November 2015

WELCOME!


Welcome to the English Skills blog for English 140 (Grammar), English 143 (Writing for Academic Purposes), and English 146 (Reading for Academic Purposes) at Athabasca University. These courses may be taken separately or as part of the English Language Proficiency Program. The goal is to increase communication between students and instructors, and to provide students with an opportunity to communicate with each other and to practice the skills taught in these courses. If you post general questions about the assignments or the course, they will be addressed in the blog. If you have detailed questions you want answered, then e-mail your instructor.

Feel free to post comments and suggestions on how to improve this site!

WELCOME NEW STUDENTS!

A hearty welcome to all the new students joining these courses. We hope you enjoy your studies and have fun participating in this blog.



Assignments marked with asterisks (*.*) are mandatory for ENGL140 students (Assignment 9).

For information on how to participate, please visit the instructions page or contact the administrator.

IMPORTANT: This blog site is open to the public; do not post personal information that could identify you--first name and the initial of your last name are the only personal information you should post. Please watch this video from the Canadian Government explaining privacy issues and social networking. 

Also, be sure to let your tutors know the nickname you have chosen for this blog; otherwise, they will not be able to give you the marks/bonus marks that you have earned for your participation.



Next blog: Friday, December 11, 2015.

PREVIOUS GRAMMAR QUESTION

Because you were giving Tony and I such bad instruction getting to you’re house; we could of gone the wrong way and ended up completely lost and being to late for the party.

1. Verb tense:

The instructions were given at a point in time, so we need to use the simple past tense (rather than the past progressive).

2. Pronoun use:

This is something many students get wrong. In the first clause, "you" is the subject of the verb and "Tony and I" is the object, so we need to use the objective case for the pronoun ("me").

We would only use the expression "Tony and I" if it were the subject of the verb. For example: "Tony and I got lost".

3. Number error:

"Instruction" is a countable noun, so we need to add an article ("a" or "the") or make the word plural ("instructions"). In this case, we would use the plural since there was likely to be more than one instruction given.

4. Missing word:

We must convey the relationship between "instructions" and "getting to your house", so we need a preposition. Both "on" and "for" are acceptable.

5. Word confusion:

Try not to confuse the contraction of "you are" ("you're") with the possessive pronoun ("your"). In this case, we need the latter.

6. Modal:

After a modal verb (like "could"), we need to use use the base form of verb. In this case, the verb is "have". If we contract this verb, it sounds like "of" -- but we must not confuse the two. The phrase should be written "could've".

7. Verb form:

This last clause needs the past participle, rather than the progressive, form of the verb "be" (i.e., "been").

8. Word confusion:

When modifying an adjective, we use the adverb "too" (rather than the preposition "to").

9. Punctuation:

A semicolon is used to join two closely-related independent clauses. But in this sentence, the first clause is dependent, so we should use a comma, not a semicolon. 


Possible solution:

Because you gave Tony and me such bad instructions for getting to your house, we could have gone the wrong way and ended up completely lost and been too late for the party.



*GRAMMAR QUESTION*

Correct the errors in the following sentence:

I wasn’t understanding what he means when in a speech he has given Mr Harper was saying the funding will help them suffering from mental illness and their family’s.

The solution will be posted in the next edition of the blog.

PUZZLE

Solution to the previous puzzle:  

The letter 'e'.

New Puzzle:

Try to determine the professions/jobs described below.

Each clue is an anagram of the answer.

1. Stamp on
2. For trees
3. Remit sin
4. Menial cop
5. Court poser

*Note, the first person with the correct answer gets the bonus point.

IDIOMS

There are three idioms that use the word insect:

Watch this video, and then write a sentence that uses one (or more) of these three idioms.

Try not to use the same idiom as the other participants.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/2009/03/090311_teacher_animal_insect.shtml

*ALL CHANGE!*

Change the words in the sentence below as indicated.

Please change only the exact word in the sequence given. Each participant should build on the changes made by the previous participant.

For instance, if the original sentence is "Benson hurriedly told the bad news to his friends":


participant 1 could write "#1 Subject Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad news to his friends";


participant 2 could then write "#2 Direct Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his friends";


participant 3 could then write "#3 Indirect Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his wife";

etc.


You are free to make as many changes as you wish. Just remember to number each change (and indicate the part of speech) so it is clear to everyone where we are on the list.


Participants who make all 7 changes will receive 2 bonus marks for their efforts.

When all 7 changes have been made, return to the top of the list and continue.


Here is the sentence:


My father always gives my brother and me the perfect gift for Christmas.

Changes:                                                                                                                          

1. subject noun

2. direct object noun          
3. indirect object noun                  
4. adjective(s)
5. adverb(s)    
6. verb name      
7. verb tense

AFFIXES

The word stem -cred- (meaning "to believe") occurs in many words. 

1. Add an affix to this stem to make another word.

2. Explain the meaning of the word in a complete sentence.

Each participant should add a different word to the list.

*COMPLETE THE SENTENCE*

Follow the instructions below to create three different sentences from the following clause:*

... December is almost upon us ...

Sentence 1. Add a phrase      
Sentence 2. Add a dependent clause
Sentence 3. Add an independent clause


*Add your words to the beginning or end of the clause (but not both) and do not use a semi-colon to join your independent clause.

*NUMBER CHANGE*

If the sentence is singular, change it to the plural; if it is plural, change it to the singular.

The instructions are for me to wait outside the apartment for my friend to arrive with the necessary equipment, which I am to take into the lab and set up for our next experiment.

*VOCABULARY*

Vocabulary building is important for both reading comprehension and writing. 

Use the following two words in one sentence (note the parts of speech).

relinquish (verb) and autonomy (noun).


To further improve your vocabulary, remember to check out the Word of the Day
The site also has word games and puzzles.

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/


You can also test your skills while contributing to the World Food Programme here:
http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1498

SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS

We can describe strong-minded people as being opinionated

Provide a synonym and an antonym for this word, using each one in a complete sentence

Each participant should suggest a different word.

*ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE*

Write two sentences using the verb speak.

In the first sentence, use the word in the active voice; in the second sentence, use it in the passive voice.

*TIME CHANGE*

Change the time in the following sentences by using a different verb tense and replacing any necessary time clues. Each student should choose a different verb tense.

It is going to be a stormy night tonight. Looking out the window, I can see the trees blowing in the wind. I notice litter and dead leaves flying through the air. Even the birds seem to be in hiding as the dark clouds roll in. It is going to be a night to sit inside and enjoy the fire!

*SENTENCE COMBINATION*

Learning to combine ideas into more complex sentences is an important writing skill. There are many ways to do this. Try to combine the following three sentences. Do not use a semi-colon.

Sentence 1: The spirit of Christmas seems to have been forgotten.
Sentence 2: People were literally fighting over the items on sale at the mall.
Sentence 3: Christmas lights are going up and trees are being decorated. 

BUILD-A-SENTENCE

Write a sentence using the vocabulary and grammar indicated. Do not use a semi-colon.

Write a sentence with a dependent clause in the past perfect tense and an independent clause in the past progressive tense:

Good luck!

12 November 2015

WELCOME!


Welcome to the English Skills blog for English 140 (Grammar), English 143 (Writing for Academic Purposes), and English 146 (Reading for Academic Purposes) at Athabasca University. These courses may be taken separately or as part of the English Language Proficiency Program. The goal is to increase communication between students and instructors, and to provide students with an opportunity to communicate with each other and to practice the skills taught in these courses. If you post general questions about the assignments or the course, they will be addressed in the blog. If you have detailed questions you want answered, then e-mail your instructor.

Feel free to post comments and suggestions on how to improve this site!

WELCOME NEW STUDENTS!

A hearty welcome to all the new students joining these courses. We hope you enjoy your studies and have fun participating in this blog.



Assignments marked with asterisks (*.*) are mandatory for ENGL140 students (Assignment 9).

For information on how to participate, please visit the instructions page or contact the administrator.

IMPORTANT: This blog site is open to the public; do not post personal information that could identify you--first name and the initial of your last name are the only personal information you should post. Please watch this video from the Canadian Government explaining privacy issues and social networking. 

Also, be sure to let your tutors know the nickname you have chosen for this blog; otherwise, they will not be able to give you the marks/bonus marks that you have earned for your participation.



Next blog: Friday, November 27, 2015.

PREVIOUS GRAMMAR QUESTION

Not only you and you’re brother’s, but also your sister’s needs altaring there plans and  being home early: too clean a house preparing for our dinner’s  party and you will have to make the appetizers instead of laying on the couch for watching TV .

1. Word confusion: 

There are a number of  problems here: 

(1) "You’re" is a contraction of “you are”. It should be changed to the possessive pronoun ("your"). 

(2) "Altar" is noun (describing a platform used for religious services). In this case, we want the verb ("alter"). 

(3) “Lay” is a transitive verb -- which means that it requires a direct object. In this case, we want the intransitive verb ("lie").

This can be really confusing because "lay" is also the past tense of "lie", while "laid" is the past tense of "lay". Here are some examples:

Present tense, transitive verb: "Now I lay me down to sleep".
Past tense, transitive verb: "Yesterday, I laid me down to sleep".
Present tense, intransitive verb: "Every day, I lie in bed until the sun rises".
Past tense, intransitive verb: "Yesterday, I lay in bed until the sun rose".

(4) "There" indicates a place. Try not to confuse it with the possessive pronoun ("their"). In this case, however, you want the second-person pronoun (not the third): "your". 

(5) "Too" is an adverb of intensity. To produce the infinitive form of a verb, we need the particle "to".

2. Apostrophe use: 

An apostrophe signals possession or a contraction. Plural nouns do not have an apostrophe before the "s". Also, when a noun is used as an adjective, it cannot change its form, e.g. "dinner party".

3.Subject-verb agreement: 

"You …your brothers…your sisters" is a plural subject, so the verb must be plural, too ("need").

4. Infinitive vs. gerund: 

In this sentence, we need the infinitive (not a gerund) after "need": "need to alter …and to be".

If "clean", "preparing" and "make" are construed as items in a list, they should have a parallel construction, which means "preparing" should take the same (infinitive) form as the other items. And because of the parallel construction, the particle ("to") can be omitted after the first use.

If "preparing" is construed as an explanation for the activity, we might want to say something like "in preparation for".

5. Parallel construction:  

Again, because of the parallel construction, we can omit the phrase "you will have to" before "make".

6. Article use: 

It's not just any house that needs to be cleaned but a specific one (their house), so we should use the definite article ("the") instead of "a".

7. Unnecessary word: 

"Watching TV" is not meant to describe the purpose of "lying on the couch", so we do not need the preposition ("for"). 

8. Punctuation: 

We don't need to insert comma before the first coordinating conjunction ("but") since it doesn't join two independent clauses -- but we should insert one before the last ("and") since it does join two independent clauses.


Possible solution:

Not only you and your brothers but also your sisters need to alter your plans and be home early to clean the house, prepare for our dinner party, and make the appetizers instead of lying on the couch watching TV.


*GRAMMAR QUESTION*

Correct the errors in the following sentence:

Because you were giving Tony and I such bad instruction getting to you’re house; we could of gone the wrong way and ended up completely lost and being to late for the party.

The solution will be posted in the next edition of the blog.

PUZZLE

Solution to the previous puzzle:  

Scent, cent, sent

New Puzzle:

Here is another riddle for you. Try to determine what is being described:

The beginning of eternity 
The end of time and space 
The beginning of every end, 
And the end of every place.

*Note, the first person with the correct answer gets the bonus point.

IDIOMS

There are three idioms that use the word egg:

Watch this video, and then write a sentence that uses one (or more) of these three idioms.

Try not to use the same idiom as the other posters.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/2009/03/090303_teacher_food_egg.shtml.


*ALL CHANGE!*

Change the words in the sentence below as indicated.

Please change only the exact word in the sequence given. Each participant should build on the changes made by the previous participant.

For instance, if the original sentence is "Benson hurriedly told the bad news to his friends":


participant 1 could write "#1 Subject Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad news to his friends";


participant 2 could then write "#2 Direct Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his friends";


participant 3 could then write "#3 Indirect Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his wife";

etc.


You are free to make as many changes as you wish. Just remember to number each change (and indicate the part of speech) so it is clear to everyone where we are on the list.


Participants who make all 7 changes will receive 2 bonus marks for their efforts.

When all 7 changes have been made, return to the top of the list and continue.


Here is the sentence:


Jolly old St. Nick will soon deliver presents to all the good girls and boys

Changes:                                                                                                                          

1. subject noun

2. direct object noun          
3. indirect object noun                  
4. adjective(s)
5. adverb(s)    
6. verb name      
7. verb tense

AFFIXES

The word stem -gen- (meaning "birth") occurs in many words. 

1. Add an affix to this stem to make another word.

2. Explain the meaning of the word in a complete sentence.

Each participant should add a different word to the list.

*COMPLETE THE SENTENCE*

Follow the instructions below to create three different sentences from the following clause:*

... I am not looking forward to the cold, dark days of winter ...

Sentence 1. Add a phrase      
Sentence 2. Add a dependent clause
Sentence 3. Add an independent clause


*Add your words to the beginning or end of the clause (but not both) and do not use a semi-colon to join your independent clause.

*NUMBER CHANGE*

If the sentence is singular, change it to the plural; if it is plural, change it to the singular.

The first participant to make the correct changes will receive the bonus mark.



The little girl grew shy when her mother took her to see Santa at the mall. She was eager to get a present from the bearded man but found the experience frightening, and she was embarrassed when the older boys who lived next door began to tease her about her shyness.

*VOCABULARY*

Vocabulary building is important for both reading comprehension and writing. 

Use the following two words in one sentence (note the parts of speech).

engender (verb) and antipathy (noun).


To further improve your vocabulary, remember to check out the Word of the Day
The site also has word games and puzzles.

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/


You can also test your skills while contributing to the World Food Programme here:
http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1498

SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS

We can describe someone who is self-satisfied as being ingenious.

Provide a synonym and an antonym for this word, using each one in a complete sentence

Each participant should suggest a different word.

*ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE*

Write two sentences using the verb give.

In the first sentence, use the word in the active voice; in the second sentence, use it in the passive voice.

*TIME CHANGE*

Change the time in the following sentences by using a different verb tense and replacing any necessary time clues. Each student should choose a different verb tense.

This coming Saturday, I will take my daughter to the mall to see Santa for the first time. I expect she will be nervous about sitting next to the old gentleman with his big, bushy beard and  hearty laugh. However, she may surprise me and embrace the idea when she realizes that she will get a gift at the end. I hope she stays happy so we can get a nice, smiling photo of her when the photographer takes her picture.

*SENTENCE COMBINATION*

Learning to combine ideas into more complex sentences is an important writing skill. There are many ways to do this. Try to combine the following three sentences. Do not use a semi-colon.

Sentence 1: The children were clamouring to see Santa Clause at the mall.
Sentence 2: The mall was crowded with Christmas shoppers.
Sentence 3: The line to see Santa was very long. 

BUILD-A-SENTENCE

Write a sentence using the vocabulary and grammar indicated. Do not use a semi-colon.

There have been some talented participants in recent weeks, so I am putting up another challenging problem:

Write a sentence in the future progressive tense that includes a participial adjective and the phrase "Christmas shoppers".

Good luck!

29 October 2015

WELCOME!


Welcome to the English Skills blog for English 140 (Grammar), English 143 (Writing for Academic Purposes), and English 146 (Reading for Academic Purposes) at Athabasca University. These courses may be taken separately or as part of the English Language Proficiency Program. The goal is to increase communication between students and instructors, and to provide students with an opportunity to communicate with each other and to practice the skills taught in these courses. If you post general questions about the assignments or the course, they will be addressed in the blog. If you have detailed questions you want answered, then e-mail your instructor.

Feel free to post comments and suggestions on how to improve this site!

WELCOME NEW STUDENTS!

A hearty welcome to all the new students joining these courses. We hope you enjoy your studies and have fun participating in this blog.



Assignments marked with asterisks (*.*) are mandatory for ENGL140 students (Assignment 9).

For information on how to participate, please visit the instructions page or contact the administrator.

IMPORTANT: This blog site is open to the public; do not post personal information that could identify you--first name and the initial of your last name are the only personal information you should post. Please watch this video from the Canadian Government explaining privacy issues and social networking. 

Also, be sure to let your tutors know the nickname you have chosen for this blog; otherwise, they will not be able to give you the marks/bonus marks that you have earned for your participation.



Next blog: Friday, November 13, 2015.

PREVIOUS GRAMMAR QUESTION

When the committee had met last week it is decided that they approved constructing of a new retiring centre for benefiting Seniors and there family’s which had been living in a surrounding area.

1.  Verb tense and consistency:

Since the meeting took place at a definite moment in the past, the verb should be in the simple past tense ("met") and not in the past perfect. The following verb should also be in the simple past -- and in the active, not passive, voice ("decided"). Finally, because the centre would probably benefit the current residents, not those who were living there previously, "had been living" should be changed to "are living" -- or, even better, simply "live".

2. Noun-pronoun agreement:

“Committee” is a collective noun, so unless you want to emphasize the individual members of the group, you should use the singular pronoun ("it").

3.  Phrasing error:

You don't want to say that they decided something that already happened; they decided on a future course of action. Use the infinite to indicate the action of the main verb ("to approve"). Likewise, use the infinitive to indicate the purpose of the main verb ("to benefit")

4. Word form:

The committee approved something, so we need a noun. This may be a little tricky since "constructing" is a gerund (which also functions like a noun). But in this case, we should use "construction" (or possibly "the construction"). Also, we need a noun form to modify "centre" ("retirement") rather than the present participial adjective ("retiring").

5.  Word confusion:

"There" is an adverb of place; here you need the possessive adjective ("their").

6.  Plural form:

The plural of "family" is "families". Do not confuse it with the possessive ("family's").

7.  Relative pronoun:

When referring to people, you should use "who" not "which".

8.  Article usage:

When referring to something definite, use the definite article ("the"), not the indefinite one ("a"): "the surrounding area". Also, since we know precisely which seniors (and families) will benefit, we can add the definite article there as well: "the seniors and their families".

9. Capitalization:

"Seniors" is a not a proper noun, so it should not be capitalized.

10. Punctuation:

After an introductory phrase or clause, use a comma.


Possible solution:

When the committee met last week, it decided to approve construction of a new retirement centre to benefit the seniors and their families who live in the surrounding area.

*GRAMMAR QUESTION*

Correct the errors in the following sentence:

Not only you and you’re brother’s, but also your sister’s needs altaring there plans and  being home early: too clean a house preparing for our dinner’s  party and you will have to make the appetizers instead of laying on the couch for watching TV .

The solution will be posted in the next edition of the blog.

PUZZLE

Solution to the previous puzzle:  

"Jumping up and down over good news."

New Puzzle:

Try to determine the three words suggested in this riddle:

I am a word of meanings three.
Three ways of spelling me there be.
The first is an odour, a smell if you will.
The second some money, but not in a bill.
The third is past tense, a method of passing things on or around.

*Note, the first person with the correct answer gets the bonus point.

IDIOMS

There are three idioms that use the word bird:

Watch this video, and then write a sentence that uses one (or more) of these three idioms.

Try not to use the same idiom as the other posters.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/2009/03/090311_teacher_animal_bird.shtml

*ALL CHANGE!*

Change the words in the sentence below as indicated.

Please change only the exact word in the sequence given. Each participant should build on the changes made by the previous participant.

For instance, if the original sentence is "Benson hurriedly told the bad news to his friends":


participant 1 could write "#1 Subject Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad news to his friends";


participant 2 could then write "#2 Direct Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his friends";


participant 3 could then write "#3 Indirect Object Noun: Michael hurriedly told the bad joke to his wife";

etc.


You are free to make as many changes as you wish. Just remember to number each change (and indicate the part of speech) so it is clear to everyone where we are on the list.


Participants who make all 7 changes will receive 2 bonus marks for their efforts.

When all 7 changes have been made, return to the top of the list and continue.


Here is the sentence:


My neighbours happily distributed treats to the costumed boys and girls who came to their doors.

Changes:                                                                                                                          

1. subject noun

2. direct object noun          
3. indirect object noun                  
4. adjective(s)
5. adverb(s)    
6. verb name      
7. verb tense

AFFIXES

The word stem -dict- (meaning "to speak") occurs in many words. 

1. Add an affix to this stem to make another word.

2. Explain the meaning of the word in a complete sentence.

Each participant should add a different word to the list.

*COMPLETE THE SENTENCE*

Follow the instructions below to create three different sentences from the following clause:*

... On November 11, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country ...

Sentence 1. Add a phrase      
Sentence 2. Add a dependent clause
Sentence 3. Add an independent clause


*Add your words to the beginning or end of the clause (but not both) and do not use a semi-colon to join your independent clause.

*NUMBER CHANGE*

If the sentence is singular, change it to the plural; if it is plural, change it to the singular.

The first participant to make the correct changes will receive the bonus mark.

While the other boys and girls knocked on doors and asked for treats this Halloween, my neighbours' children stayed at home because their parents did not believe it was appropriate for them to participate in a pagan festival that celebrated death and the occult. 

*VOCABULARY*

Vocabulary building is important for both reading comprehension and writing. 

Use the following two words in one sentence (note the parts of speech).

despair (verb) and prognosis (noun).


To further improve your vocabulary, remember to check out the Word of the Day
The site also has word games and puzzles.

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/


You can also test your skills while contributing to the World Food Programme here:
http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1498

SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS

We can describe someone who is self-satisfied as being complacent.

Provide a synonym and an antonym for this word, using each in a sentence. Each participant should suggest a different word.

*ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE*

Write two sentences using the verb bring.

In the first sentence, use the word in the active voice; in the second sentence, use it in the passive voice.

*TIME CHANGE*

Change the time in the following sentences by using a different verb tense and replacing any necessary time clues. Each student should choose a different verb tense.

As a sports fan, this is one of my favourite times of the year: Major League Baseball is in the midst of another thrilling World Series, the NFL has just crossed the mid-point of an historic season in which several important records have been broken, and both hockey and basketball have started up again. 

BUILD-A-SENTENCE

Write a sentence using the vocabulary and grammar indicated. Do not use a semi-colon.

There have been some talented participants in recent weeks, so I am putting up another challenging problem:

Write a sentence that includes an independent clause in the simple present and a dependent clause in the past perfect progressive tense and an independent clause in the present perfect.

Good luck!

15 October 2015

WELCOME!

Welcome to the English Skills blog for English 140 (Grammar), English 143 (Writing for Academic Purposes), and English 146 (Reading for Academic Purposes) at Athabasca University. These courses may be taken separately or as part of the English Language Proficiency Program. The goal is to increase communication between students and instructors, and to provide students with an opportunity to communicate with each other and to practice the skills taught in these courses. If you post general questions about the assignments or the course, they will be addressed in the blog. If you have detailed questions you want answered, then e-mail your instructor.

Feel free to post comments and suggestions for how to improve this site!

WELCOME NEW STUDENTS!

A hearty welcome to all the new students joining these courses. We hope you enjoy your studies and have fun participating in this blog.


Assignments marked with asterisks (*.*) are mandatory for ENGL140 students (Assignment 9).

For information on how to participate, please visit the instructions page or contact the administrator.

IMPORTANT: This blog site is open to the public; do not post personal information that could identify you--first name and the initial of your last name are the only personal information you should post. Please watch this video from the Canadian Government explaining privacy issues and social networking. 

Also, be sure to let your tutors know the nickname you have chosen for this blog; otherwise, they will not be able to give you the marks/bonus marks that you have earned for your participation.


Next blog: Friday, October 30, 2015.

PREVIOUS GRAMMAR QUESTION

Its important that we are on time for todays meeting on affective marketing techniques so please be picking Bryan and I up prompt at 8 am avoiding the trouble with the boss.

1. Mood:

Noun clauses that express urgency or importance usually take the subjunctive mood, which uses the simple (base) form of the verb. In this case, use "be" instead of "are".

2. Apostrophe use:

In most cases, we add an apostrophe and an "s" to indicate the possessive. In this case, "todays" should be "today's".

3. Word confusion:

"Affective" and "effective" are often confused. In this sentence we need "effective", not "affective".

4. Punctuation:

As a rule, it is best to insert a comma before a coordinating conjunction (like "so") that introduces an independent clause.

5. Command (imperative):

When producing this form of sentence, the subject is omitted and the simple (base) form of the verb is used. In this case, use "pick" instead of "be picking".

6. Object pronoun:

Bryan and the speaker are both the object of the verb "pick up", so the pronoun must be in the objective case: "me" (rather than "I"). This is often confused because such phrases frequently form the subject of the verb ("Bryan and I picked up our friends at school"/"Our friends picked up Bryan and me and at school").

7. Word form:

“Prompt” is an adjective. But we need a word to modify the verb ("pick up"). That is, we need an  adverb: "promptly".

8. Infinitive:

In this sentence, "avoiding" indicates the purpose or intention of the action ("pick up"). In such cases, we use the infinitive ("to avoid") rather than the gerund ("avoiding").

9. Abbreviations:

Lower case abbreviations generally require a period after each letter ("a.m."). Upper case abbreviations do not require any periods ("AM"). Either form is acceptable.

10. Article:

Unless you are expecting some specific (i.e. "definite") type of trouble, omit the definite article ("the"). Use "trouble" rather than "the trouble".


Possible solution:

It’s important that we be on time for today’s meeting on effective marketing techniques, so please pick up Bryan and me promptly at 8 a.m. to avoid trouble with the boss.

*GRAMMAR QUESTION*

Correct the errors in the following sentence:

When the committee had met last week it is decided that they approved constructing of a new retiring centre for benefiting Seniors and there family’s which had been living in a surrounding area

The solution will be posted in the next edition of the blog.

PUZZLE

Solution to the previous puzzle:  

1. Humility 2. Proclaim 3. Terrible 4. Vexation 5. Overtake

New Puzzle:

New Puzzle: What phrase is represented by the following?

JG
UN
MI
PP
IM
NU
GJ
Good
New
New

*Note, the first person with the correct answer gets the bonus point.

IDIOMS

There are three idioms that use the word eye:

Watch this video, and then write a sentence that uses one (or more) of these three idioms.

Try not to use the same idiom as the other posters.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/2009/03/090306_teacher_body_eye.shtml