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Page history last edited by Bonny Hart 2 years, 4 months ago


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Comments (8)

Bonny Hart said

at 1:01 pm on Jan 24, 2013

There's an interesting debate going on regarding "the decline of modals" and the increase in the use of semimodals like "have to." There's an article that I can almost understand here: http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/floblob.html This is apparently in part due to the Americanization of English. One shudders!

Bonny Hart said

at 8:29 pm on Jan 23, 2013

I recommend that you find a used copy of A Tapestry Grammar by Alice Deakins, Kate Parry, and Robert R. Viscount. I got one at Amazon. They say "semimodals are used in much the same way as modals and have similar meanings, but they are different in form." The good news is that they're all followed by the BASE. I agree with Cyndi that it's best to teach the modals/semimodals that are really necessary. For me, that's "have to" because it's SO common and because we can use it for past and future meanings unlike "must." Also "used to" because it's not easy to express "a habit in the past but not now" without it. And they gotta know what "gotta" means!
I just added an x-word/verb match-up list to the side bar that lists all the semimodals that I know of.

Cyndi said

at 11:01 am on Jan 17, 2013

Hi Nicole,

I think Linda used to refer to many "semi-modals" and muse about grouping them with x-words. This includes ought to, had better and maybe have go to. I'm not sure if her book X-Word Grammar for ESOL Teachers is online here, but I know she wrote about that in it. (If and when I find the paper version, I'll add more.)

I'd much rather refer to "had better" and "ought to" as expressions that mean "should." No need to give them another grammatical label, for my students; it's all about comprehension and use.

Likewise, when I have students make yes/no questions to discover the x-words, I ask them to use only 18 different x-words, so that they won't be encouraged to make questions that aren't common in spoken American English or the type of written English they're likely to produce. So we save must, might and ought to for later, as statements, not questions, but we note their existence.

Nicole Safranek said

at 9:59 am on Jan 17, 2013

And a follow up. I have seen "ought" as an x word as "ought (to)" and "ought to", but in a question, the "ought" would pop to the front, leaving the "to" attached to the base form of the verb (in other words, an infinitive), correct? As in, "I ought to quit smoking" --> "Ought I to quit smoking?" So do we need to include the "to" when teaching this x word? Actually, Linda left it out entirely, I assume because it is so uncommon in spoken American English.

Nicole Safranek said

at 9:46 am on Jan 17, 2013

After teaching x-word lessons from Linda Kunz' materials for a semester, and reading around through other's materials, I'm left with a questions: What about "had better"? Example: I had better clean my room before my mom comes upstairs. Turn it into a question: Had I better clean my room before my mom comes upstairs? This suggests that it's just another sentence with the x-word "had." Better is normally an adjective or adverb. So does it go with all those other verb-phrase-interrupters like "often" or "sometimes"? Has someone come up with a good way to explain this one?

Richard Abend said

at 7:24 pm on Jan 29, 2012

Hello Sue Livingston, How are you? This is Richard Abend. I was wondering how your texts for Gallaudet are being received? Would they be interested in going further with Xword? Please let me know. Regards, Richard

Bonny Hart said

at 7:44 pm on Feb 19, 2011

That's it. It's not strictly Xword Grammar, I was just trying to help my students see that irregular verbs are not all that irregular.

Sheri Stein said

at 2:47 pm on Feb 19, 2011

I'm trying to ask a question and I hope this is the right way to do it. I'm just getting started using x-word grammar. I copied Jim Lydon's (edited) text and gave my students the quiz for Lesson 2 for homework. There's a T/F question that asks if the VnoS and Vb of irregular verbs look exactly the same. It seems to me that it's true for all verbs except "be," which we're calling an X-word, not a verb. So is the answer T--with a reminder about "be" as an x-word.

I hope I'm not forgetting something really obvious.

Sheri Stein

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