errors in conversation: “I was borned in US city”; “Kirk Jones crossed Niagara Falls”; “the first survival person”; “he went another city”; pronunciation “while”; “said” “hesitated”;“behind”


• as usual the problems encountered in conversation mainly involved verbs (there were pronunciation problems with verbs as well, e.g. failing to pronounce final consonsant in regular past tenses)
phrasal verbs:
“Michael picks,” rather than “Michael picks up.” I tried to explain the importance of idiomatic phrasal verbs — their usefulness as a way of generating a large number of very precise meanings that would otherwise (if they were going to be marked at all) require a completely different word or circumlocution. [teaching note: before using “circumlocution” explain (including explanation of how it doesn’t necessarily have a negative connotation: it may be required because of ignorance of the right word, the lack of such a word etc)]
• a similar mistake was made with “Michael beat George,” where “Michael beat up George,” would have been correct. [But here by contrast, explaining the difference between the two would be no easy matter.]
• there was also a problem with a straight-forward prepositional verb: “ George complained Michael.” instead of “George complained about Michael.”
pronunciation: leaving off the final consonant in “succeeded” and “deducted”; also an “ignorance mispronunciation” of “hire” as if it were synonymous with “hear”

15.02.09 (tutorial)

• 1: trouble with “walk up”/“walk”
• This error occurred in the composition being discussed: “;A man with a strong black beard walked to me,” where “A man with a strong black beard walked up to me,” would be correct.
• I explained that the verb “walk (to)” is appropriate when the verb is followed by an adverbial (such as “to work” or “away”) or when it is complemented by a noun phrase referring to a destination; “Francis walked to the market,” the verb “walk up (to)” on the other hand, is appropriate when we are not simply referring to movement toward a destination, but saying that the person doing the walking is close to the destination (i.e. approaching it). (Note that in the original incorrect sentence, “walk up to” could be replaced with “approach.”)

• 2: trouble with a relative pronoun:
the following appeared in the composition being discussed: “During our lives we meet various people that some of them come into our world.” The problem here is attempt to use the phrase “that some of them” as a relative pronoun joining the two clauses of the sentence. “During our lives we meet various people that come into our lives,” would be correct, but the author does not want to say that: not all the people we meet come into our lives, just some of them. It’s necessary to restrict the scope of the pronoun “that” (which refers to “people”). In order to do that we have to use another relative pronoun, “whom” and to quantify it with “some”. The correctly re-written sentence becomes: “During our life, we meet many people some of whom come into our lives.”

• 1. trouble with complementation of “allow”
• problems with this verb have arisen several times. For example, “Francis wanted to go, but his parents didn’t allow to him.” or “They allowed Francis go market.“ These are errors of “verb complementation” i.e. about how a particular verb is followed by a noun phrase or another verb.
• The verb “allow” is often complemented by a noun or pronoun referring to a person and, following that, by a to- infinitive.
• A number of important verbs are complemented in a similar way, for example: expect, want, tell, help, permit.

• 2. problem with the complementation of “take”
• there have been several mistakes with this verb in conversation. For example: They took the children go away. It is a mistake — and a confusing one — to add “go” here.
• it works like this: When “take” is followed by an adverbial (such as “away”) the idea of “going” (of movement) is built into it. In other words, it someone says, “I’m going to take a bottle of wine to the party,” it’s already implied that they’re going to the party.

• two errors were discussed from one of the paragraphs submitted in response to assignment from the previous class. They both appeared in the following sentence:

While Ed was adolescence his mother married again and neglect him sometimes.

first error:
• Instead of “adolescence” we should have “an adolescent.” “Adolescence” is an abstract non-count noun referring to the period of a person’s life between childhood and adulthood. As a non-count noun it does not require an article and should not have one (except perhaps in cases where it is post-modified by a prepositional phrase or a relative clause.) (But note that the perfectly normal sentence: “He did not have the childhood his parents wanted him to have.”)
• By contrast, “adolescent” is a count noun (with a plural form) and it does require an article when used in the singular.

second error:
• instead of “ neglect” (the simple present) we should have “neglected” the past tense. This should be obvious in light of the fact that the two other verbs in the sentence are in the simple past. But even if the need for the past were not indicated in that way, “neglect” would still be wrong because the subject, “mother” is singular and, therefore, the “” form, “neglects” is required.

So the grammatically correct sentence is:

While Ed was an adolescent, his mother married again and neglected him sometimes.

• in brief conversation with a new student, something like this was said: “if she want to working and immigration.” In the first place the ‘s’ was left off the third person singular of ‘want’ (or if it was there I didn’t hear it); in the second place the verb ‘want’ must be complemented (followed) by a ‘to’ infinitive, not an “-ing” form. (And, of course, in the case of a verb such as “enjoy” which is always complemented by an ‘-ing’ form, there is no ‘to’.)

some grammar points that came up in the retells of “Gabriella Byrne:”
• “Before Gabriella played the pokies for the first time she thought it was shame”. I tried to explain the difference between “a shame” (meaning “unfortunate,” as in “It was a shame you couldn’t be there,” and “shameful” as in “Before Gabriella started playing the pokies, she thought that gambling was shameful”(meaning “morally wrong” or “immoral.”)
• describing Gabriela’s situation before on the first day she played the pokies: “She never played the pokies.” I tried to explain that this was a case where the past perfect — “had never played the pokies” — was definitely preferable in order to make the distinction between the way Gabriella had felt before she became addicted and how she felt afterward.
• there was also a reference in one of the retells to Gabriella’s “borrowing many money”. ‘Many’ is incorrect here because ‘money’ is a non-count noun.

• In conversation one of the students used “health food” when it seemed to me “healthy food” was appropriate; It seems that “healthy food” is simply food that is good for you — as opposed to foods that are too greasy, salty, sugary etc; “health food,” on the other hand is a type of food (often new or unusual) which is thought to be specially beneficial to health and is often sold in a “health food store.” (Examples of health foods: quinoa; soya beans; acal berries; spirulina.) There is also a grammatical point that could be made with regard to this distinction: “healthy” is an adjective (the “y-”suffix being a common way of turning a noun into an adjective) whereas “health” is a “noun modifier.”

• one of the students struggled to describe difficulties in interacting with colleagues (as I recall the phrase “complex in human relationship” was used.) I tried to explain that the multi-word verb “to get along with (someone)” would have been useful in getting the point across. (Specifically, “to get along with” is a phrasal_prepositional verb.)