Find the mistakes

(One sentence has no mistakes, some several)

  1. I have another meeting; I don’t come today.
  2. Their army is surrounding the countries havens.
  3. She borrowed her friend some money.
  4. The Office of Technical Services will continue to overlook technical support and logistics operations in the mission area (example adapted from
  5. Only 25% of the population are boostered.
  6. I cannot so good English.
  7. I was very lucky about your present.
  8. She said her to please be quiet.
  9. He is a very sympathic person.
  10. They were not happy to did all this overtime.
  11. I spoke to a friend of us.
  12. I haven’t eaten so much lately.
  13. I haven’t eaten much the whole last week.
  14. I haven’t eaten anything this week, I’m fasting.
  15. Colleagues of me say me I should ignore the problem. I do.
  16. They explain the people the problem.
  17. People switch off their cameras, because they don’t want to see oneself.
  18. I’m looking for my keys. I don’t find them.
  19. The most challenge is to find the best solution for everyone.
  20. They didn’t lost hope.
  21. They need help of the colleagues.
  22. We expect people comes once a week to the company.
  23. A) How do you feel when people don’t switch on their cameras? B) I don’t care; (or I don’t mind?)

The difference between the two sentences or expressions

I don’t care

I don’t mind

can cause confusion. In this case, a translation into German might help (Germans) understand the differences, but native speakers also sometimes seem confused as this little video demonstrates.

Guess the Movie

Recently I bought a poster: 250 Top Movies Bucket List. I had it hung on my wall and was accordingly asked by some course participants what it was they were seeing. The single movie titles were too small for them to identify over my camera, but they were interested and some wanted to find out how many they actually knew.

I found a page that shows them all. And below I put some quiz questions together. Each sentence hints to one of the films. But before you guess the films: do you know the origin of the term bucket list?

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‘Be that as it may’ – a little language exploration Parts 1+2

Posted on February 1, 2022

This topic came up rather spontaneously in one of my advanced classes and definitely relates to a more advanced language issue. I wanted to post the topic anyhow. But since we haven’t yet finished with our language exploration, I will divide the post up in two parts. The second part will reveal the grammar point in question and elaborate a little.

In the text from The Case of a Tennis Player you find the sentence:

Judge Anthony Kelly’s ruling that Novak Djokovic be freed to contest the Australian Open overruled the government’s insistence that he should be barred for failing to prove he is exempt from being inoculated against Covid-19.

It was the BE in be freed that was unfamiliar, and the questions asked were: Why not is freed or should be freed?

Let’s do some language exploration to see if we can find out what kind of structure this is, and if we can find some similar patterns. is a great web site for that.

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Some Notes on Language Learning

A huge part of any learning process lies in repetition: doing something over and over again until whatever skill you wanted to learn has been internalized.

Though most participants in my classes are more interested in using what they already can, i.e. speaking with each other, communicating ideas, discussing issues etc. there might still be some need for additional practice in form of repetition. However, what do we mean by that? What kind? What kinds of activities might be useful, or more useful than others in language learning? Learning a language is not quite the same as learning a skill like a new figure in dancing or an instrument.

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Get your proteins and your percentages too

Some time ago, I stumbled over claims made on the internet that spinach (and other vegetables) had more protein than meat. Though I’m positively sure this not to be the case, I continued searching for such claims – you never know. And as we do need to cut back on meat consumption of the mass produced kind, getting more of your protein from vegetables is a good thing, right?

(For all those who know me a little, this is not so much about nutrition and health and all, it’s more about numbers, and how rumours get started 😉

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New Year’s Eve saw the passing of one of America’s most beloved personalities

She was also one of my all time favorites, mainly because I was a big fan of the Golden Girls. I always used to recommend watching the series to my English students. For one, I recommend sitcoms in general as they offer loads of language. They circle around the relationships between the people involved, and, different from many movies where imagery and actions are more in focus, these kinds of series offer exposure to lots of conversation and idiomatic phrases of everyday life.

In the 1980ies, watching the Golden Girls helped me reawaken my then slightly dormant first native language (German being my second). I watched and rewatched and could quote many passages of favorite episodes. I loved the way they bantered, bickered and fought, always to resolve their differences in the end. The topics they tackled were often serious matters of social concern, wrapped in a lot of humor.

But in the US, Betty White is not only famous for playing Rose Nylund. She stood for much much more; more than fans in Germany probably know.

In a little video, CNBC offers a glimpse of the person Betty White was. RIP Betty White and thank you!

My Sporcle Post

Update February, 2022

I revisited the Useful Lesson Links, and despite what I say here below, the section on sporcles is still pretty good and quite extensive. So far, below, is a smaller selection.


December 2021

The usefulness of my two posts ‘Useful lesson links’ has diminished. The other day I was looking for a specific sporcle and had to roam through both posts. That was inconvenient and time-consuming.

For those who do not know what a sporcle is – well, actually it is a sporcle quiz, I just call it sporcle: Sporcle is a web site full of millions (literally) different kinds of quizzes relating to numerous different topics. And, as with all these kinds of pages, TED for instance, they are overwhelmingly rich in what they have to offer and what you can chose from, so you need to keep a close record of those items you found for yourself or your groups that were of special interest or most enjoyable. Besides being fun, sporcle quizzes are great for visual, topical vocabulary practice.

In Useful lesson links (the first) there is a whole section on sporcles. I will include some of them here again, sorted by topics.

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Guess the Classic revised

I have been going through my older posts. One of my favorite classroom activities in the past was to hand out little excerpts or passages from classic literature and have my participants guess what they were. I chose stories that I knew or at least suspected everyone to ‘somehow’ know.

(Further down you will find a spoiler alert as in this post you find the answers to the excerpts. Do not continue reading on from there if you still want to go through the six classics you find in separate posts under the category ‘Guess the Classic’).

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If you check my concept of The Verb Structure Circle, you will find that it does not deal with modality; it focusses on the four basic forms of the English verb and the various combinations possible among them. An additional page deals with modality.

This post relates to a lesson on modality we recently had in one of my groups and is meant to summarize what we discussed there with some additional elaborations.

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About translation

I always tell my students to be careful whenever they resort to their native language to understand a new word they have encountered. One big disadvantage of online classes is that you cannot really stop people from ‘googling’ a word they don’t know or are not sure about by checking a translation site (hoping to get a ‘quick fix’ I guess).

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Teams backgrounds – not a fan

Microsoft Teams has several useful functions, and I enjoy using the platform for my online classes. As already mentioned several times in other post, my absolute favorite is the possibility to share – almost anything – with my course participants.

But then there is the so-called background effect. In the beginning, when we ‘teamed up’ online, I found this function useful as well, even funny at times, when people became creative with their own background images (one of them created a background that made him look like he was sitting in a Star Wars spaceship – spectacular!).

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