Helping student distinguish between noun/verb/adj./adv.

English grammar and usage issues

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Helping student distinguish between noun/verb/adj./adv.

Unread post by bretwalda » 27 Oct 2013, 00:01


I've been an English writing tutor at a Canadian university since 2007, and many of the tutees I see are EAL learners, often thrown into university classes without an appropriate level of preparation in English. The range of difficulties varies, of course, but I recently had difficulty helping a student who was consistently using the wrong form of a word, like an adjective in place of a noun (e.g. "he was not a good diplomatic"). As a tutor, I do not want to simply give a heavy handed correction to these numerous and consistent errors, however, other than asking to study to use a dictionary for nearly every word they use, I'm not sure how to give this student some useful help and resources without being overwhelming.

I am sure this is a common experience. Are there any (free) resources, exercises, or handouts that you think might be a useful strategy with this?

Thank you so much for any advice or assistance you can give!


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Re: Helping student distinguish between noun/verb/adj./adv.

Unread post by Lucy » 28 Oct 2013, 15:44

Hello Jon,

I can’t remember ever coming across this problem myself; or at least not a student who consistently does this. Sounds like a challenge!

I think awareness-raising could go a long way towards helping with this. Suggest to the student that whenever he/she reads a text, they focus on adjectives, nouns etc. Just underlining and paying attention to the word form. He could also do this in class if he finishes an exercise early.

You could also give the student a list of sentences some of which are correct and others wrong. Ask him/her to identify which are correct.

I understand your point about not wanting to be heavy-handed in your corrections but I think it would help in this area. You can do it in a simple, light-hearted way, e.g. tilted head, raised eyebrows when the student makes the mistake.

All the best, Lucy
Lucy is the author of Lucy Pollard's Guide to Teaching English

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