Category Archives: Grammar

The role of grammar in ESL and EFL courses

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The teaching of grammar has been a controversial issue in second and foreign languages. On the one side, one can find those who oppose teaching grammar in language courses, and on the other side, one can also find many language teachers and applied linguists who favor teaching grammar in the same said courses. This paper deals with some issues related to the teaching of grammar, how teachers should teach, and when is the best time to introduce it in second and foreign language courses. While many language courses focus on grammatical forms, other courses, such as those adhering to the communicative language teaching approach, try to exclude the explicit treatment of form from the syllabi. It is known that native speakers of any language acquire their native language without grammar explanations;  Continue Reading →


To correct or not correct? That is not the question

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For decades, writing and writing instruction have often been viewed from a learning-to-write perspective; within this perspective, writing should be taught when students’ second language (L2) development is sufficiently settled. Recent research, however, shows that writing has a major role in promoting L2 development; from this writing-to-learn perspective, writing is seen as a tool for language learning (Manchón, 2011) that allows L2 learners to integrate new knowledge, test hypotheses, and automatize knowledge (Williams, 2012). Also, within this perspective corrective feedback (CF) provided by teachers facilitates language learning (Bitchener & Ferris, 2012).

Corrective feedback is defined as any indication to the learners that their use of the target language is incorrect (Lightbown & Spada, 2013). In writing, CF is concerned with incorrect grammatical or lexical use of the target language,  Continue Reading →


Learning the “tough” constructions


Tough constructions are a special case of constructions where we find unusual relationships between the form of a sentence and its meaning. These include examples like John is tough to please. Although this might seem quite unremarkable to you, it’s actually been extensively discussed by linguists and others. To understand why, we may need to take a few steps back.

When children begin speaking in multi-word sentences in their native language, they typically start out by producing semantically simple messages: their words are nouns, verbs and adjectives, and the meanings of phrases are built up in a straightforward way by combining the meanings of adjacent words. For example, toddlers say things like Mommy go (mommy is the agent of going),  Continue Reading →