English Language: The Future Tense


Here it is, the last of the english tenses.  The future is an interesting tense because it not only has the four sub-tenses, but also an extra sub tense.  There are also two ways to use the present tense to imply a future action.  All of this will be covered in this post; it may sound complicated but it will all make sense in the end!

The future simple is an easy tense that is used for facts, promises, predictions, and assumptions.

Affirmative:  [Subject + Will + Verb]

I will pay for your ticket

Negative:  [Subject + Will + Not + Verb]

You will not need an umbrella.

Question:  [Will + Subject + Verb]

Will you open the door for me?

In this tense, the structure only needs the subject, the verb “will”, and the verb that is the action.  It is used to state that something is going to happen in the future, but it is not a continuous action.  Shall is a word that is used mostly in the UK, though most English speakers should understand it.  Shall and the contraction shan’t can be used in place of will in any of these sentences, though it is usually used when making suggestions.

The future continuous is similar to the structure of other continuous tenses and it is used to state that something will be happening over a period of time in the future.

Affirmative:  [Subject + Will + be + Verb + ing]

I will be eating lunch at 1pm tomorrow.

Negative:  [Subject + Will + not + be + Verb + ing]

She will not be meeting us for dinner tonight.

Question:  [Will + Subject + be + Verb + ing]

Will you be driving me to the airport saturday morning?

Like any other continuous tense, the verb is happening over a period of time.  Because it is in the future and has not happend yet, we need to use “will” to indicate so.  The verb “be” is used in conjunction with the “ing” ending on the acting verb to indicate that the action will be over a period of time. This tense can be used to say that something will be in progress in the future, to inquire about peoples plans, or to predict what someone be doing currently (Jim will be eating lunch in the cafeteria right now.)

Future perfect is used to indicate that something will have happened by a certain point in the future.  Just as present and past perfect relates to the past, future perfect relates the past to the future.

Affirmative:  [Subject + Will + have + Past Participle]

I will have eaten by 6pm.

Negative:  [Subject + Will + not + have + Past Participle]

She will not have read the paper.

Question:  [Will + Subject + have + Past Participle]

Will you have bought supplies by tuesday?

The future perfect continuous is used to state that in the future, something have been going one.  This is to say that by a certain point in the future, this action will have already started and been happening.  Whether it keeps happening after the specified point is not relevant to the case.

Affirmative:  [Subject +  Will + have + been + Verb + ing]

John will have been training for five months in May.

Negative:  [Subject + Will + not + have + been + Verb + ing]

Jen will not have been working on that project.

Question:  [Will +  Subject + have + been + Verb + ing]

Will you have been studying by the time I get there?

One of the extra “tenses” for the future uses the verb  “be going” and the infinitive of the verb used.  This looks quite a bit like present continuous, but with this tense there is a verb following “going”.

Affirmative:  [Subject + To be + going + infinitive Verb]

I am going to climb the Empire State Building tomorrow.

Negative:  [Subject + To be + not + going + infinitive Verb]

I am not going to dress as Spiderman.

Question:  [To be + Subject + going + infinitive Verb]

Are you going to join me for the climb?

This tense is often used for predictions, intentions, and plans. Because this tense is also confused with future simple, they are often taught together in order to show the differences.

Present simple and present continuous can be used in the future tense by placing a future point in time in the sentence.  There is no change in the sentence structure other than the addition of a point in time in the future.  Here are some examples:

I cook for the family next Tuesday.

I am running errands tomorrow.

Appart from the last few structures, the future tense is easy so long as you remember the simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous structures and usages.

 

English Language: The Past Tense


Tenses again.  They are one of the easiest things that we do as native speakers, but they can prove to be difficult in explaining if you dont know the reasoning.  There are four types of past tense, just as there are four types of both present and future tense.  The types are: simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous.  Each tense has a special use and formula that is used to build the sentence; these will be explained in detail throughout this post.

The Past Simple is an easy tense to spot; it uses the past participle of the verb.  As the name implies, it is a simple formula that does not require anything more than the subject and the verb.  Here are the basic structures:

Affirmative:  [Subject + Past Participle]

Negative:  [Subject + did not + Verb]

Question:  [Did + Subject + Verb]

As ever in our wonderful language, we have irregular verbs that do not simply add “d” or “ed” to the end of the verb.  There is no easy way of learning these other than simple memorization.

So what is the Past Simple used for you ask?  It is used to indicate that actions were completed at a definite time in the past.  The past simple is used when a time is given for a specific action, when a time is asked about, and when an action took place at a definite time but the specific time is not mentioned. Here are some examples (respectively):

I fed the dog an hour ago.

The time is mentioned as an hour ago.

When did you eat lunch?

Simple enough, the time has been asked for.

I arrived ten minutes early for work.

The time has been stated, though not specifically.

The Past Continuous is easily explained as something that happens in the past over a period of time.  This could be anything from driving to sleeping.  The verb will always have the “ing” ending, and the auxiliary very “to be” is also used.

Affirmative:  [Subject + was/were + Verb + ing]

Negative:  [Subject + was/were + not + Verb + ing]

Question:  [was/were + Subject + Verb + ing]

Here are a couple Examples of how past continuous is used:

Past actions that were interrupted.

While I was swimming, something brushed against my leg.

Actions that had begun before the point of reference, and probably continued after.

At 4PM I was driving.

Indication of gradual development in the past.

The tide was rising quickly.

In a description.

When I was walking through the park, the trees were blowing.

From here on it gets a little bit more complex, but not too much.  The Past Perfect uses the Auxiliary verb “to have”.  This is not to be confused with the Aux. verb “to be”(used with past continuous).  The past perfect also uses the past participle of the verb, not the “ing” form.  Here are the structures:

Affirmative:  [Subject + had + Past Participle]

Negative:  [Subject + had + not + Past Participle]

Question:  [had + Subject + Past Participle]

The past perfect is best described as the past in the past. That is to say that it is speaking in the past tense about things that had happened before that point in time.  Here are a few examples:

I told him I had worked in the industry.

She drank the whole pitcher of water; she hadn’t realized the food was so spicy.

I was confused because the machine had not given me correct change.

Keep in mind that the past perfect action is always complete at the time of narration.  The sentence will be relating the past to the present, but the past perfect will still be in the past.

The final form of past tense is the past perfect continuous. This is a combination of both the past perfect and the past continuous.  We use this tense to talk in the past about something prior that was continuous.

Affirmative:  [Subject + had + been + Verb+ing]

Negative:  [Subject + had + not + been + Verb+ing]

Question:  [had + Subject + been + Verb+ing]

Examples:

The water had been running.

I had not been training prior to the race.

Had she been eating well?

These tenses can be confusing at first.  By learning the situations where the different tenses are used you will be able to identify them in any given sentence.  The structure is also an easy indicator for the tense used.  Knowing these rules will help you teach better!

Classroom Management Part 2


In part 1 I talked about the different ways of communicating with students as well as different groupings.  Aside from managing the students themselves, the classroom itself can be manipulated to better suit the class.  This is all pending on the classroom size and furniture style; sometimes the classroom has fixed furniture that cannot be moved.  If you are able to move the chairs, desks, and tables to your liking, there are a few strategies that are worth trying.

If you have attended any school at any level, chances are that you have experienced orderly rows.  This is a frequently used method of classroom organization that not only allows the students to see the teacher, but allows the teacher to see each student.  This is a good formation for lectures, but it has a very impersonal feel.  As we know, learning a language is all about being comfortable and relaxed.  Ideally the rows should allow space for the teacher to move around comfortable and check on individuals.  As we previously talked about grouping, this seating arrangement is suitable for whole class activities.

Circles and Horseshoes have always been my personal favorite when it comes to a learning environment; it has the most communal and comfortable feeling.  This is exactly how it sounds.  The tables or desks are put end to end to create either a circle or a horse shoe.  This works well with smaller classes since it does not make the most efficient use of the classroom floor.  In this formation the teacher should be less of a focus;  the students should be working on an activity.  This formation works well with pairs.

For small group activities, the classroom should be arranged into separate tables.  This allows each cell to focus on their own group work and be less distracted on what other groups are doing.  The teacher can also easily check up on groups as they please.  The downside of this is that the groups may feel a sense of independence and begin to have disruptive behavior.

The teachers position will depend on both the activity and the classroom arrangement.  While a teacher is presenting new language or giving instructions on an assignment they will want to be standing in the front of the classroom where all students can hear and see them. While the class is working on assignments the teacher should relax control and be seated, unless they are checking on the students progress.  If the students are doing a reading assignment, the teacher should be seated, but available for questions.

Though it is important to maintain eye contact with students, this may not be possible while writing on the board.  This can be solved in a few different ways; the teacher could use an over head projector, or they could have everything pre-written on the board before the students arrive.  The teacher could also have a student write the information on the board or write on it themselves while the class is doing a different assignment.  As always it is important to be prepared; make sure that you have good makers available for a white board.

Learn all of the students names. It may be difficult to memorize all of your students names if you are teaching in public schools and have a large number, but do it anyway.  By knowing each students name and face, you have a powerful teaching tool.  If you use a students name, they may feel more involved in the activity.  Learn all of the students names and involve all of them!  Teach to all students, not just those who are excelling or those who need extra help.

I was pretty shy when I was in school, and I did not want to answer questions for fear of being wrong.  Many students are this way; pressuring them to answer may do more harm than good.  Low confidence can be repaired by asking these students questions that you know they can answer.

As a teacher there is a certain amount of time that it is good to be speaking, but it is important not to be speaking all of the time.  The less time a teacher is speaking, the more time there is for students to be practicing and working on activities (ideally).  One way to maximize activity time is to explain the instructions well the first time.  If you need to explain the instructions again you are cutting into student work time.  The best way to give instructions is to use simple words that are a lower level than the class that is being taught.  Be consistent; nothing is more confusing than conflicting instructions.  Lastly, it is vital that you test the students as to whether they understand how to do the assignment.  Have them help do part of the activity so that they understand how it works.

A teacher who is not respected will have a very hard time teaching their students.  To gain respect you must build a rapport with the students; there are many easy ways to build a rapport with students. Here is a list.

Be on time:  If you are late to class, it shows that teaching might not be a high priority to you.

Help the students get to know each other:  By doing this you will create a comfortable environment.  Students like to feel at ease.

Give clear instructions:  As said above.

Look like you enjoy your job:  Ideally you should enjoy it.

Have a professional appearance:  This lets them know that you take teaching seriously.

Show a personal interest in the students:  Let them know you care.

Ask for feedback:  Probably the best way to understand what you are doing right and wrong.

Smile! 

Be the teacher that students love and do a great job of teaching while you are at it!

Classroom Management Part 1


Among the seemingly infinite things that I am wondering about concerning teaching, classroom management is probably at the top of my list.  I do not want to be a harsh task master, nor do I want to let the students think light of the class.  I want them to learn and enjoy learning, and I want to do a great job teaching.  According to most personality tests I am somewhat introverted, though sometimes you would never know it.  I often wondered how an introvert would compare to an extrovert at teaching, but there is no specific type of person that teaches best; it is passion and the desire to teach that makes one teacher better than another.  Naturally the involvement of the students will make it easier or harder, but it may be necessary for the teacher to find a way to make a student feel involved or motivated.

So how does one manage a class?

Successful communication is a good start.

How do you communicate with students that do not speak your language?

There are many types of non-verbal communication that can be understood universally.

Eye contact is an immensely important way of engaging your students and making them feel involved.  It helps the students feel that you care about what you are teaching, and that you want them to understand.  It also can be a preventative measure for people who may not be interested; they may be more likely to pay attention when they know that the teacher is paying attention to the class.  Eye contact can also indicate who you wish wish to have speak, or encourage contributions.

Gestures are also very useful when giving instructions.  Not only can it help convey an idea, but it also keeps the students attention.  some gestures may need to be explained before using, but once understood they can become very helpful in organizing the class for any activity.

Your voice, though in a language they may not completely understand, is just as useful as the previous methods of communication.  You must speak clearly and loud enough for all of the students to hear if you are to convey the lesson content or instructions.  Your voice will need to be different for a large group activity than it will for an individual session.  This may seem obvious, but it is probably more common for a teacher to speak too quietly in a large group, than too loud for an individual.  Intonation and expression should be used whenever possible; this will keep the students interested and attentive.

Notice that keeping the students’ attention is a common occurrence.  Lets face it, we have all had classes that were less than exciting, and the teacher was probably not the most interesting either.  One thing I find myself doing while studying TEFL is remembering teachers and classes that I have had.  Some teachers used these methods very well, other teachers could have learned a great deal from them.

Using students names is a powerful tool that has specificity like no other.  A students name can be used to recognize a good effort, or to indicate who’s turn it is to answer.  When using a name to ask for an answer, it is best to use the name at the end of the question so that the whole class will follow along.  Names can also be used to get a students attention, though it would be best to use this as a last resort.  You do not want to embarrass the student as that may lead to them resenting you as a teacher.

We have all been part of pair work, group work, and whole class activities, but we may not have understood how each type of grouping helped us learn.  Each grouping has positive and negative aspects in regards of learning potential.  Activities that use the whole class can create a sense of belonging.  This grouping can also be easier to organize.  Unfortunately students will have less talking time because the activity time will be divided among the entire class.

Individual work allows the students to relax and become more self reliant.  The teacher may also find it much easier to give individual attention to students who need extra help.  The greatest downside in this grouping is that the students have little to no chance of communicating and interacting with each other.

Pair work is one of my favorite groupings.  This is the best opportunity for a student to be able to talk and interact as well as relax.  Pairs will be a relaxed environment for students who may be shy infront of a whole group, and it also allows a stronger student to help the students who have less grasp on the language.  While this grouping may be easy to organize, it may become noisy and students may attempt to revert to their native language.  One other downside to pair work is that some students may not get along with their partner and little may be accomplished.

Small groups are much like pairs in the sense that it increases talking time for each student.  The individual problems of pairs are usually not present with small groups since there is not as much need to interact with one member of the group.  Students will have more practice with cooperating and negotiating with their new language, though this can sometimes become noisy.  Small groups may take longer to organize, and sometimes stronger students may speak over the more passive students.

The grouping that you choose as a teacher will likely depend on not only the activity at hand, but also the class size.  Students can get bored easily so it is a good idea to use different groupings and different partners each time.  When creating groups for the activate session (see my post about teaching methods: ESA) small groups or pairs will work best to ensure that students get as much talking time as possible.

 

Korean Food & Drink


This may be my favorite post yet; I love food!  I have been a vegetarian for about a year, but I am slowly getting back to eating meat;  I don’t want to miss out on any experiences just because of my diet.  I am looking forward to Korea in general, but I am especially excited for the food and drink!

Short grain rice is the basic food in Korea, sometimes it will be mixed with other grains to make a longer lasting supply.  Normally the rice will be eaten out of a ceramic bowl, sometimes witha lid.  One interesting aspect of Korean table wear is the spoon;  the spoon is metal and is used to eat rice.  Metal chopsticks are also normal table wear, you may find them in other countries occasionally, but Koreans use them regularly.  It is important not to leave the chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, this is reserved for when presenting the bowl to someone who has recently died.  Lastly, since the food is served precut, knives are not used at the table.

Traditionally food was served in stages, or separate portions.  When I was in China, meals would often be ordered as several dishes and everyone would share.  It was kinda fun, but it was tough when there was one thing that everyone especially liked.  Although tradition has been coming back, it is now common in Korea to order an individual meal. It was also common to have rice soup and kimchi in each meal, though breakfast has adopted the western tradition of cereal.

Table Manners: It is considered indelicate to raise the rice or soup bowl from the table to eat; eating with your hands is also looked down upon.

Kimchi is a spicy pickled cabbage seasoned with red pepper, garlic, and ginger.  While in China I had the middle country’s equivalent, Pao Cai.  I find it to be a very tasty dish myself, but to some it can prove to be too spicy.  In terms of  Kimchi there are different types that are determined by the ingredients and how long they are pickled.  Winter Kimchi begins pickling in November and lasts throughout the season; this tends to be spicier.  Summer Kimchi often made with cucumber and is much milder than the winter variety.

If you know anything about Korean food you have surely heard about Korean barbecue.  Korean Barbecue, bulgogi, are strips of beef marinated in sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.  These are often cooked over a brazier at the table.  Short ribs, Kalbi, are cooked in the same way.

Another item that I am very excited about is the raw fish.  Just as it is popular in Japan, raw fish is a highly regarded item.  I love sushi and sashimi!

I have read about two dishes that were traditionally reserved for royal courts and the like, but are now popular among the people of Korea.  The first is Kujolpan, or nine treasure dish.  This meal consists of small pancakes and eight small dishes.  One of the eight dishes is chosen and then wrapped in the pancake.  The other dish is called Sinsullo.  This dish is an individual hot pot cooked over hot coals.

One dish that is off putting to most westerners is Poshintang, or “Body Strengthening Soup”.  The reason that this is off putting to most is because this is the dish that dog is usually served in.  It is very important to understand that these dogs are not housepets or strays, but instead animals bred especially for eating.  Since it is usually off putting to westerners, these restaurants are usually not advertised in english.

Other unusual food to westerners include various plants, acorn jelly, and bellflower roots.  I am excited to try all of these things; I may not like them all, but I am determined not to let an experience slip by!

Just as meals in the west end with dessert, so do Korean meals.  Their dessert, however, does not not consist of pies, cakes or other prepared sweets.  Koreans generally eat plain fruit after their meals.  In restaurants you will also be brought a hot towel (cold in the summer) for you hands both before and after the meal.  On the subject of restaurants, tipping is not expected.

Korean drink is something I am especially looking forward to.  I should say that I am no wino or derelict, but I do appreciate alcohol in all forms (all forms that I have tried so far).  Koreans like drinking; mixed parties have become popular, but it is often men who are drinking.  In terms of establishing a bond or friendship, a few drinks shared with a friend will do you well.  When drinking, Koreans will often eat snacks called anju; we have bar food in the west, so that doesn’t seem too outlandish.  partying and drinking is used by koreans to let off steam; it would not be unusual for an employee to directly criticize their boss at a party without repercussions that would occur in the west.  When drinking, in any environment, you should not pour your own drink.  When you would like more to drink you should simply hold your glass with both hands, or with your right hand and the left hand supporting the right elbow.  Someone will be sure to pour you more; you should do the same if someone makes the same gesture.  When toasting, Koreans will probably finish the drink they are toasting.  If you are able, you should try to do the same.  I remember this custom in China; the toaster would say “Gambei!” which literally means bottom up.

Barley tea, or poricha, (non-alcoholic) is sometimes served before a meal.  This tea is served to ensure that the tea has been properly boiled.  At more formal occasions western style wine is available.  As far as wine goes, Korea has started a decent western style wine industry, the more popular wines being the German whites (I love Riesling).  Beer is also a popular drink in Korea (where isn’t it?).  Popular Korean brands include OB, Hite, and Cass; popular imports include, Carlsberg, Budweiser (unfortunately not Czech Budweiser), and Heineken.  I remember ordering Carlsberg in China pretty often; Tsing Tao is not that bad, but some of the Chinese beers that I had were a bit weak for my taste.

If you have ever traveled to an asian country, you will know that it is always much more expensive to buy western goods and imports.  This certainly, if not especially, includes liquor.  I am aware that you are allowed 5 liters of alcohol in your checked luggage as per TSA regulations and I intend to take full advantage of that regulation.  Most of that content would become gifts for people I meet in Korea, but it would be nice to not pay out the nose for western alcohol.  Another thing to note about the TSA regulation is that the alcohol must be between 24 and 70 percent.  If you do decide to bring alcohol over as a gift, it would be worth it to spend a few extra dollars for higher quality stuff.

While I will miss western food and drink at times, I am very excited to delve into the world of Korean cuisine.  This is not only cheaper, but it is also half the reason of going to a different country.  Soju is one of the most well-known Korean drinks; I have had this before and I thought it was very nice.  It tastes quite a bit like vodka, though it is usually only 20-25% alcohol.  Makkoli is a milky white drink that can be compared to beer.  I think I have seen this in import stors here in California, but it is getting less popular in Korea.  Makkoli is a milky white drink that can be compared to beer.  I think I have seen drinks like this in import stors here in California, but it is getting less popular in Korea. Chong-Jong is a rice wine not unlike Japanese Saké; It is usually served hot or, in the summer, cold.  There is another Saké-like drink called Popchu; it is a higher quality, and I am interested in trying it.

Traditionally women did not drink until they were over the age of sixty; today it is not so rare to see a woman drinking a bit.  Occasionally a woman will drink more than a bit.  Occasionally a woman will drink more than a little, but it is usually seen as bad form when a woman gets drunk.  To western standards this may seem sexist, but this is the culture.  If you are a lady and you plan on traveling to Korea, you may want to take this into account.  I mentioned before that men and women usually socialize with their own sex, but it is becoming more popular to have mixed parties.

Toasts are quite popular and you will probably experience this if you go out with a group of koreans for a formal dinner.  Toasts can take place at the beginning of the meal or during it and they can involve either the whole group, or just a few people.  Generally the toast is taken out of a special glass and the alcohol is usually scotch whisky or sometimes soju.  In an all-male party this can turn out to be quite the competition; in mixed company competition is less likely.

The hospitality of Koreans is remarkable.  If you are a guest at a restaurant or a bar, you are not expected to cover your part of the bill.  It would be a good idea, however, to invite your hosts out to a dinner in return.  Do keep in mind that the bill could become very large.  Another way to repay a host would be to invite them out when they visit your home country or invite them to dinner in your own home.

I am looking forward to all of these Korean delights very much.  Whenever I travel I love trying new things, In the past I had been slightly more reserved, but I will be sure to try everything available in Korea.  Only a few more months!

English Verb Tenses: Present


The verb tense system can be one of the toughest things to explain about the English language.  Native speakers often use these different tenses without even knowing that they are doing so; this is the same as many aspects of native languages.  In the English language there are three different views of time:  past, present, and future.  For each of these times there are four aspects: simple, continuous(progressive), perfect, and perfect continuous.  With four aspects for each of the three times, we have twelve tenses to teach.  Though it may sound confusing, you probably already know all of these tenses if you are a native speaker; the important thing now is to learn how to explain them.  We know what past, present and future are, but how do we explain the four aspects? Lets look at the present tense

The present simple is the simplest; when using a present simple we use the base form of the verb.  An s, or es is added to the end of the verb if the third person singular is used. Here are the sentence structures and some examples:

Affirmative: [Subject + Base Form (+s/es)]

I work.  She runs.  You try.

Negative: [Subject + Aux. Verb “do” + not + Base Form]

I don’t fish.  He Doesn’t write.  They don’t dig.

Question: [Aux. Verb “do” + Subject + Base Form]

Do you fly?  Does he swim?  Do I amaze?

This tense is pretty simple (like the name might suggest).  It is usually used when discussing habits, permanent situations/facts, directions, and commentaries.  The most common mistakes are found with the addition of the s/es and the contraction of do not.

The present continuous is made with the simple present tense of the auxiliary verb to be, and the present participle of the main verb.  The present participle is formed by adding  ing to the verb.

Affirmative:  [Subject + Aux. Verb “be” + Verb + ing]

I am working.  She is Running.  You are trying.

Negative:  [Subject + Aux. Verb “be” + not + Verb + ing]

I am not fishing.  He is not writing.  They are not digging.

Question:  [Aux. Verb + Subject + Verb + ing]

Are you flying?  Is he swimming?  Am I amazing (you)?

One thing that may need some work is the concept and pronunciation of contractions.  If students do not feel comfortable with the contracted form, they may simply resort to using the long form.

Some verbs to not take the continuous; these words would use the simple.  These words are usually non action and can be divided into four groups: verbs of sense, verbs of expresion (feelings/emotions), verbs of mental activity, and verbs of possession.

These include:  like, love, hate, understand, want, believe, hear, own, owe, seem, appear, wish, mean, remember.

The present continuous is often used to talk about actions that are in progress, emphasizing frequency (usually with always), and to describe a situation as it develops.  Often times errors will include the absence of the auxiliary verb, absence of ing , or wrong word order for questions.

Present perfect relates the past to the present tense.  This may sound a bit confusing at first but read on and you will realize you do this every day.  Here are the sentence structures.

Affirmative:  [Subject + Aux. Verb “have” + Past Participle]

I have worked.  She has ran.  You have tried.

Negative:  [Subject + Aux. Verb “have” + not + Past Participle]

I have not fished.  He has not written.  They have not dug.

Question:  [Aux. Verb “have” + Subject + Past Participle]

Have you flown? Has he swam?  Have I amazed (you)?

Present perfect is used when talking about finished actions that happened at an undefined time, when completed tasks are thought about, when talking about something that began in the past and still continues, and when we talk about past actions that have a current result.

Here are some examples:

I have ran a marathon.

It has snowed a lot today.

I have lived in Iowa for over a year.

I’ve left the receipt at the store.

Here are a couple rules on words that can cause confusion.

Since & For: Since is used with points of time, for us used with periods of time.

I have lived in a blimp since Tuesday.

I havn’t come down to the ground for almost a week.

Gone & Been:  Gone is used if the trip is still underway, been is used if the trip is finished.

I have gone to Korea; I will not be home for some time.

I have been to Hangzhou, China.

As has been mentioned before, the English language has many irregularities; verb conjugation is no exception. There are several Irregular verbs that do not follow the rule, and unfortunatly they must be memorized.  There is no easy way around this.  With regular past participles the verb will end in ed.  Aside from conjugation, common errors will include the use of the wrong auxiliary verb and miss-use of since/for.

Lastly for today we will talk about present perfect continuous; this tense relates the past to the present and implies that the activity is continuing still, or that it had happened for some length of time.

Affirmative:  [Subject + Aux. Verb “have” + been + Verb + ing]

I have been working.  She has been running.  You have been trying.

Negative:  [Subject + Aux. Verb “have” + not + been + Verb + ing]

I have not been fishing.  He has not been writing.  They have not been digging.

Question:  [Aux. Verb “have” + Subject + Been + Verb + ing]

Have you been flying?  Has he been swimming?  Have I been amazing (you)?

The usage for this tense usually indicates an incomplete or ongoing activity or it describes a recently finished activity. Common errors include the use of verbs that do not take the continuous form,  and comparing the present perfect with the present past continuous.  The emphasis of the present perfect continuous is on the action, not the result.

Hopefully this has helped clear up any questions you may have had over the present tenses.  I know that this can seem very confusing and difficulty to some people (myself included), but with time and effort you can get it down.  You can then go on to teach all of your students what you already knew, but did not know how to explain.

Koreans At Home


Say that you are invited to a native Korean’s house for a party or a dinner; do you know what might be expected of you? As with every culture there are different expectations and norms, and Korea is no exception.  In my research and reading, I have learned a great deal about what is expected of a person in Korea in both actions and attitude.

When invited to a home it is important to note that entertaining guests is something that Koreans, in general, enjoy.  Upon entering the home, you will be expected to take your shoes off.  This is done because Koreans traditionally do a great deal of living off of the floor (eating, sleeping, etc.).

An important note concerning Flip-Flops or sandals: If you chose to wear sandals,  you should wear socks wit them.  Socks are important because they keep your bare feet from directly touching the floor.  If you are walking around in sandals you are sure to pick up dirt around town, when you enter a home you are bringing all of that dirt in.  The easiest solution is to wear shoes and socks. This is may be tough for those who love wearing sandals (myself included), though it is a very sensible notion.

when you are invited into a home you will almost certainly be entertained in the sitting room to begin with.  Here you will be offered snacks and drinks that may be a mix between eastern and western items.  Once it is time for dinner, however, you will most likely be served Korean dishes.  Once the meal is over, it is polite to leave fairly promptly.  If you do happen to be invited to a home, it is very considerate to bring a gift; flowers are commonly accepted, as is western liquor.  You could also bring a book about your country.  Remember to wrap your gifts.  Lastly, dress nicely; even if you are told that it is a casual dinner it is better to dress up rather than down.

Koreans rarely call someone friend unless that person is known very well; friend refers to someone that you are very close to.  In Korea, a friendship is something that requires many obligations and a deep level of commitment.

In Korea there are three very popular last names: Kim, Lee, and Park.  Surnames are often only one syllable, but occasionally two; given names are usually two syllables.  Often all of the family members of the same sex will share one of the two syllables in their given name.  Korean women retain their own name after marriage.

Important note about given names: It is considered impolite to use an adults given name, even students will refer to each other by their surnames.  Older Koreans often prefer official titles, so don’t be caught off guard (especially when you become familiar with a person).

In public, Koreans generally avoid a great display of emotion, though children are an acception.  You would be wise to follow suit in order to not embarrass yourself or those that you are with.  One thing to keep in mind is displays of displeasure and criticism;  these will often harm a situation more than you might think.  Also, Koreans do not blow their noses in public.

I enjoy writing about Korean culture far more than I do about the English language.  That being said, I still love learning about my native language, and how to explain things that I have always known.  As always, I hope that this is as helpful for everyone to read as it is for me to write (writing helps me remember things).