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How Does Your Grammar Grow?


No, we are different alcoholics to (from?) them.

Alsace and Italy releases

Authorities that live in the Language Stuff section of our bookcase suggest they’re both fine, but I share your anguish.


If you get this kind of thing wrong, people will judge you, living on a knife’s edge…especially if you are a foreigner.


There’s no judging as long as everyone’s still drinking


Which I am trying my best to do…


Try differentiating between ‘this’ and ‘that’! Gets me every time! Makes the husband and the girl giggle with delight! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


When I was living in Germany, I used to envy my fellow foreigners who could just talk. I just couldn’t bear to make a mistake, but it meant that by the time I’d constructed a grammatically perfect sentence in my head, ready to come out of my mouth, the conversation had moved on. This, of course, was where the local beer helped immensely…

This wine bottle is here and that wine bottle is there.

I’m on fire :fire:


Ah, yes! In the world of medium-sized objects this (that?!) is certainly true. But my English grammar world enters the quantum sphere sometimes, where things are both here and there.

I dream in perfect English, mind you! :grin:


It’s here until I try to observe it or measure it. Then it becomes there.





Ha! Crazy stuff indeed! And how come the bottle which was firmly there (on table) is now firmly here (in my gut)?!..
I must have observed too slowly! :thinking:


There was a time when I fancied myself a bit of a grammar nerd, but I was never aware of this particular conundrum.

Another one that doesn’t affect native speakers that I find absolutely fascinating:


What messes with the brain even more is this: one of the only things that trumps the standard order of adjectives is ablaut reduplication.

When we play with words by repeating them, changing only the internal vowel, we follow an even stricter rule: I, then A, then O.

So we say chit-chat, flip-flop, tick-tock, bish-bash-bosh, flim-flam and so forth. What that means is that we say Big Bad Wolf (I-A-O), instead of Bad Big Wolf (quality, then size).


I’m getting grammar 24/7 from the husband at the moment, as he’s doing MA in TESOL… Other than discussions about wine - it’s all grammar rules at the moment! :crazy_face:

Incidentally, when I was taught English at School in Israel, they taught us the minutiae of grammatical rules. Conversational English came later. Same with Arabic. Consequently, and rather strangely, my other half often comes to me with grammatical questions! Language acquisition is an odd thing!


Is it the DELTA? That looked bloody hard that did. At the end of our CELTA course they told us the kind of detail they go into at that level and it was quite something.


Great article, @danchaq! Though this doesn’t only happen to English native speakers.

I taught Hebrew in Hove many years ago, which exposed me to just the same conundrum the article describes: how to ‘explain’ grammatical rules when I have no idea why I use them…?! In the end I told the group to just “accept certain things as axiomatic”. A cop out, for sure!


Hm!.. Not sure? It’s a mixture of heavy theoretical stuff about English grammar and language acquisition, with some ‘teaching how to teach’ elements. He’ll have to write a huge thesis in the end. The tomes he reads on grammar are rather scary, I must admit! :grimacing:

Ps - I take it that’s what you taught in Lebanon? :grinning:


Yep, been there! There’s an argument that non-native speakers make better teachers because they’ve already had to learn the rules in the way that a native speaker hasn’t. I had plenty of cop-out moments too!

Yeah, decided to do CELTA course but fancied doing it somewhere a bit different, so plumped for Beirut with half an idea of moving on somewhere else to find teaching work when I qualified, but I liked Lebanon so much I stayed there for 18 months!


I can well imagine that! And I have a hunch they were lovely students too. :nerd_face:


Got to be “different from”.

Differ from Compare to
Vary from Liken to

And so on! Think perhaps it’s a directional/distance thing, as in “closer to” and “further from”. American English is not much help with either spelling or grammar.


The hours sucked, the pay sucked, everyday living costs were high, the weekday workload was silly - but in terms of lived experience it was a bargain!