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English Grammar
* The Article "The"
* Verb Tenses (Past, Present and Future)
* Verb Tenses When Retelling Stories
* Weekend


Essay Topics for Students
* Level One (1 to 35)
* Level Two (36 to 77)
* Level Three (78 to 93)

Vocabulary
* Actually (Correct Use)
* Good and Bad (Other Better Alternatives)
* Make (Correct Use)
* Older or Elder


Writing
* Adverbs: The Proper Places of Time and Place Markers
* As Well As versus And
* Earth with a Big "E" or a Small "e"
* Beginning a sentence with the Conjunctions (And, But, Or)
* Internet or the Internet, Capital "I" or small "i"
* Long Sentences (How many words?)
* Wordiness: "Am I Using so Many Unnecessary Words?"
* Writing about Things that Are Already Obvious


MESSAGE FROM A GRAMMAR GORGON
March 31, 2010
Originally posted on “Grammar Anatomy” Blog

English grammar is tricky. Many experts in the field have constantly debated on the many gray areas and disagreements in English grammar. I have been teaching English since I was in college. Back then, I tutored Koreans and Japanese students under the trees in the University of the Philippines (U.P.). At first, I did not take teaching English seriously, it was just another way for me to get extra cash. However, I learned to love teaching English and now it is my bread and butter. Ironically, English was not my favorite subject in High School. In college, I took up English (which is more literature-centered than grammar) and then when I transferred to U.P., I took up Comparative Literature. I always avoided grammar. In fact, when I first applied for a teaching job, I was rejected because I told my interviewer that I preferred to teach literature than grammar. Luckily, somewhere along the way, the grammar bug bit me. I do not claim to be a trained linguist or grammarian. Most of the information that I acquired about grammar are based on my years of teaching foreigners English. Non-English speakers have different concerns and their questions never fail to amaze me. This is the reason that I approach grammar as if I were a foreign student. For example, one of my first students asked me the reason that we use "in" for cars (He is in the car) and "on" for buses. He specifically wanted a clear and logical explanation. Linguistic mumbo jumbo would sound Greek to him. He was also not satisfied when I told him that that was just the way it was spoken in English. To satisfy him, I did some research and I discovered the specific grammar rule. The accepted rule is: when we cannot walk in a moving vehicle, we use "in," but if we can walk in a moving vehicle, we have to use "on." This explains why we say "in a car," "in a canoe," and "on a bus," and "on a boat."

Then my student asked why we say "on a bicycle or on a horse" but we cannot walk on a bike or a horse when bikes and horses move. So, I came up with a new explanation that I thought was air tight. My rule is: If you have to spread your legs to ride a vehicle, use "on." After I told my student that, we both burst into laughter. As I laughed, I thought that somewhere up there in Grammar Mount Olympus, the God of Grammar was frowning at me and ready to strike with his bolt of lightning but I did not care. Anyway, I have always been a Medusa so let people chop off my head.

This site is created as one venue of discussion for students, teachers and anyone who is interested in English grammar. I still regard myself as student of grammar and so I look forward to learning with all of you. Let's share information and learn from one another. So do not feel bad the next time you commit a grammatical error. That is how we learn. As the saying goes "Make new mistakes." For every grammar mistake, I make, I learn a new grammar rule.

Thanks,
Rob San Miguel,
A Grammar Gorgon


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