Posted by: Jason | February 21, 2011

Better Late than Never

Sorry I’m a bit late with this one. It was a long weekend and I went to bed early last night and didn’t get on until now to post something for all of you. But, I’m here now, so, let’s get to it shall we?

One problem with learning any language in a classroom is that you tend to learn classroom language. By that I mean that because we only have so much time each week to talk about things, we cannot really cover all the possible language that you can use in a situation. We learn a few stock phrases and then move on and sometimes that becomes a problem. For example, many times I ask students, “How are you?” and, almost always, I get, “I’m fine, thank you and you?” as a response.

Standard junior high school textbook English.

However, when I ask, “How are you today?” all I get is a blank look. Just adding a single work breaks the pattern and students often have no idea how to respond. They don’t learn what the words actually mean, only that when you are asked, “How are you?” “I’m fine” is the correct response. But language doesn’t work like that. Take a look at the number of ways that you can ask someone how their day is going:

  • How are you?
  • How are you doing?
  • How are you today?
  • How’s it going?
  • What’s new?
  • What’s happening?
  • How are things?
  • How’s everything?
  • And that is hardly everything you could say. And, to each of those questions, you can answer, “Good” or “Fine” or whatever.

    So, here’s your homework this week. I want you to come up with as many ways of asking “May I help you?” as you can.

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