14 December 2016

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: Thursday, January 5, 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:

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 head:

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/2009/03/090306_teacher_body_head.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, do not repeat
 the original sentence; return to the top of the list, but keep building on the changes made by the previous participant.

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 and use it 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 starting to look 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 assiduous

First, write a sentence that uses this word.


Then rewrite the sentence, first using a synonym and then using an antonym for this word. 


Each participant should suggest a different synonym and antonym.



Example: easy.


Answer: 

This exercise is easy.
Synonym: simple. This exercise is simple.
Antonym: difficult. This exercise is difficult.

*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: I hate the cold.
Sentence 2: The snow is freshly fallen.
Sentence 3: I think the snow looks beautiful.

BUILD-A-SENTENCE

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

Write a sentence with an independent clause in the past perfect tense and an independent clause in the simple past tense with a prepositional phrase that includes a gerund.





30 November 2016

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: Thursday, December 15, 2016

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. Word form:

There isn't a noun here that would require the possessive, so "Michael" should not have an 's' at the end -- even with an apostrophe -- unless you have chosen a verb form that requires "is" or "has" (e.g., the present progressive or the present perfect).

2. Word confusion:

Lend and borrow: someone lends to you; you borrow from someone else. Note also that "Loan" is a noun, so you should avoid saying that someone has loaned something.

3. Verb tense:

If you construe this as a typical or repeated action, use the simple present tense ("lends"). If you construe it as something that goes on for a period of time, use the present progressive ("is lending"). If you use the present progressive, put the adverb ("always") after the auxiliary verb ("is always lending").

4. Adjective word order:

The convention for adjective word order is opinion, dimension, age, shape, colour, origin, material. This produces "stylish, sporty-looking, newer, red car" and "battered, old, rust-spotted, white vehicle". Some of you might have wanted to group some of the adjectives and combine them with a coordinating conjunction ("stylish and sporty-looking"). That’s another good way to solve the problem. Don't forget to separate these adjectives with commas.

5. Verb tense:

Whether or not the simple present or present progressive tense is used for the verb in the first clause, in the second clause, the verb (which should be "borrow") needs to be in the simple present tense ("borrows"). This means there is no apostrophe 's' attached to "who".

6. Word form:

After "for" do not use the gerund; use the basic noun in the either singular or plural form.

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 arm:

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/2009/03/090306_teacher_body_arm.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, do not repeat
 the original sentence; return to the top of the list, but keep building on the changes made by the previous participant.

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 and use it 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:*

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

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 someone who is strong-minded as opinionated

First, write a sentence that uses this word.


Then rewrite the sentence, first using a synonym and then using an antonym for this word. 


Each participant should suggest a different synonym and antonym.



Example: easy.


Answer: 

This exercise is easy.
Synonym: simple. This exercise is simple.
Antonym: difficult. This exercise is difficult.

*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: It is already December.
Sentence 2: The first snowfall of the season was weeks ago.
Sentence 3: It won't be long until 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.

10 November 2016

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: Thursday, December 1, 2016

PREVIOUS GRAMMAR QUESTION

Michaels always been borrowing his red stylish sporty-looking newer car to his brother who’s lending it while his old battered rust-spotted white truck is in the garage for repairing.

1. Word form:

There isn't a noun here that would require the possessive, so "Michael" should not have an 's' at the end -- even with an apostrophe -- unless you have chosen a verb form that requires "is" or "has" (e.g., the present progressive or the present perfect).

2. Word confusion:

Lend and borrow: someone lends to you; you borrow from someone else. Note also that "Loan" is a noun, so you should avoid saying that someone has loaned something.

3. Verb tense:

If you construe this as a typical or repeated action, use the simple present tense ("lends"). If you construe it as something that goes on for a period of time, use the present progressive ("is lending"). If you use the present progressive, put the adverb ("always") after the auxiliary verb ("is always lending").

4. Adjective word order:

The convention for adjective word order is opinion, dimension, age, shape, colour, origin, material. This produces "stylish, sporty-looking, newer, red car" and "battered, old, rust-spotted, white vehicle". Some of you might have wanted to group some of the adjectives and combine them with a coordinating conjunction ("stylish and sporty-looking"). That’s another good way to solve the problem. Don't forget to separate these adjectives with commas.

5. Verb tense:

Whether or not the simple present or present progressive tense is used for the verb in the first clause, in the second clause, the verb (which should be "borrow") needs to be in the simple present tense ("borrows"). This means there is no apostrophe 's' attached to "who".

6. Word form:

After "for" do not use the gerund; use the basic noun in the either singular or plural form.

Possible solution:

Michael always lends his stylish, sporty-looking, newer, red car to his brother, who borrows it while his battered, old, rust-spotted, white vehicle is in the garage for repairs.

*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:

Jumping up and down over good news!

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 leg:

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/2009/03/090306_teacher_body_leg.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, do not repeat
 the original sentence; return to the top of the list, but keep building on the changes made by the previous participant.

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 and use it 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:*

... Last week, the clocks fell back ...

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 animosity (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 clever as ingenious

First, write a sentence that uses this word.


Then rewrite the sentence, first using a synonym and then using an antonym for this word. 


Each participant should suggest a different synonym and antonym.



Example: easy.


Answer: 

This exercise is easy.
Synonym: simple. This exercise is simple.
Antonym: difficult. This exercise is difficult.

*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 nephew to the mall to see Santa for the first time. I expect he will be nervous about sitting next to the old gentleman with the big, bushy beard and  hearty laugh. However, he may surprise me and embrace the idea when he realizes that he will get a gift at the end. I hope he stays happy so we can get a nice, smiling photo of him when the photographer takes his 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 will be clamouring to see Santa Clause at the mall.
Sentence 2: The mall will be crowded with Christmas shoppers.
Sentence 3: The line to see Santa will be very long.


BUILD-A-SENTENCE

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

Use the phrase "last Christmas" with a dependent clause in the past progressive and an independent clause in the simple past.


27 October 2016

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: Thursday, November 10, 2016

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:

Michaels always been borrowing his red stylish sporty-looking newer car to his brother who’s lending it while his old battered rust-spotted white truck is in the garage for repairing.

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

PUZZLE

Solution to the previous puzzle:

cent, scent, sent

New Puzzle:

Here's another oldie: 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 participants.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theteacher/2009/03/090306_teacher_body_eye.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, do not repeat
 the original sentence; return to the top of the list, but keep building on the changes made by the previous participant.

Here is the sentence:


My new accountant kindly offered me some helpful financial advice.

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 -chron- (meaning "time") occurs in many words. 

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

2. Explain the meaning of the word and use it 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:*

... Many people have set up Halloween displays in their yards ...

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

We can describe someone who has a feeling of regret  as complacent

First, write a sentence that uses this word.

Then rewrite the sentence, first using a synonym and then using an antonym for this word. 

Each participant should suggest a different synonym and antonym.


Example: easy.

Answer: 
This exercise is easy.
Synonym: simple. This exercise is simple.
Antonym: difficult. This exercise is difficult.

*ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE*

Write two sentences using the verb throw.

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.


Last Halloween, we went trick-or-treating with the neighbours and their young children. At first, the little ones didn’t know what to make of the activity, but by the time we reached the third house on our route, they had it all figured out. The tiny ghosts and goblins ran up to the house before any of the bigger kids and excitedly rang the doorbell.

*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: Many people want to become the first humans to Visit Mars.
Sentence 2: They are competing for the chance.
Sentence 3: There are obvious dangers of embarking on such a journey.




BUILD-A-SENTENCE

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

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




13 October 2016

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: Thursday, October 27, 2016

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 use:

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.