Dog's Dinner

"You're not loved because you're lovable, you're lovable 'cause you're loved."

Monday, November 29, 2004

A Beautiful Not-Quite-Wrongness

One of the books I sometimes use in my teaching, Instant Grammar Lessons by Alan Battersby, has some matching exercises where you match the endings and beginnings of sentences. As the students and I have discovered, however, it's more fun to match the beginnings with the endings directly opposite, and the result usually makes some kind of sense and evokes a more interesting set of circumstances, or worldview, than the thick-skulled logic of the "right" answer. Here is an exercise with First Conditional:

If you heat water to 100 degrees Celsius, the boss will definitely fire you.
If the weather's fine, take the day off work.
If she doesn't get a good night's sleep, she can try again next year.
It's easy. If you push this button, all the plants are going to die.
If you take another week off work, you're going to have an accident.
Careful! Unless you slow down, she's always tired in the mornings.
Unless it rains soon, it boils.
She's clever, and provided she works hard, we can go to the coast tomorrow.
If you still feel awful tomorrow, she'll do well.
If she doesn't pass the exam this year, the camera rewinds automatically.

And for Second Conditional:

Late again! If you didn't stay up so late, her English would really improve.
If you were really ill, we could buy the house of our dreams.
If my English was absolutely perfect, you'd be able to get up in the mornings.
If his hair wasn't so long, there wouldn't be so many accidents.
If people didn't drive so fast on this road, we could sit outside in the garden.
If I had my address book with me, I could get a job as an interpreter.
If we won the lottery, I'd be able to phone her.
If Maria stayed in Britain for a year, I'd love to do more cooking.
If the weather wasn't so awful, he'd look much smarter.
If I had the time, I'd be more sympathetic.

12 Comments:

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Very amusing, you make teaching English sound like a lot of fun. I particularly like the observation about "thick-skulled logic".

 
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