The English Verb: An Exploration of Structure and Meaning Paperback – 1 Jan 1986
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Top customer reviews
From the careful explanation of his key idea, that grammar should be a matter of *describing* how the language is used by native speakers, rather than an attempt to tell them how to use their own language; he goes on to explain in detail what is wrong with a lot of the supposed "rules" that people learning the English language are taught (rules regarding the use of "shall and will" or "the subjunctive" being good examples), and gives much better usage guidelines that can be used (admittedly, only with more advanced pupils) to give a much better understanding of how verbs work in English.
This is a must-read for anyone who wants to teach English as a foreign language. It is a very enjoyable read for anyone who just wants to understand more about the language works.
(No relation to the author, incidentally)
Basically the author, Michael Lewis, an experienced and well known EFL teacher eplains his take on the grammar of verbs and attempts to elucidate some of the problems teachers have with teaching grammar. He takes "traditional grammars" top task for using obscure latinate terms to define English grammatical norms and he also attacks methods of teaching grammar which he considers to be unhelpful or just plain wrong but that are very common in the EFL world.
For example, instead of calling verbs like EATEN the Past Perfect [pp] he suggests calling them the "3rd form" would be easier and more correct.
Lewis clearly has good ideas and his heart is most certainly in the right place. One has to wonder though, with the amount of material being published for EFL and the number of teachers already teaching in a certain way, whether his ideas will have any affect on the industry as a whole.
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