Tag Archives: grammar and style

Auxiliary Verb

“A category of VERB that regularly accompanies full verbs such as write, run, shoot, is in is writing, has in has run, may in may be shooting. In English, auxiliary verbs are customarily divided into: (1) The primary auxiliaries be, have, do. (2) The modal auxiliaries or MODAL VERBS can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must. The marginal modal auxiliaries are also called semi-modals, are dare, need, ought to, used to. They are called marginal because they do not share all the properties of the others or do not do so regularly. Auxiliaries have four properties: (1) They are used with the negative not to make a sentence negative: Frank may buy me a sweater/may not buy me a sweater. (2) They form questions by changing positions with the subject: Wendy has invited me/Has Wendy invited me? (3) To avoid repetition they can occur without a full verb: Has Jonathan written to you yet?—Yes, he has. (4) They can emphasize the positive, in which case they carry the accent: David may not be there—His mother told he WILL be there. The same properties apply to be as a full verb (Jonathan isn’t tired) and particularly in British English as an alternative to have as a full verb (I haven’t a headache). In the absence of any other auxiliary verb do is introduced for these functions: Leslie didn’t tell Doreen; Did Leslie tell Doreen?: Yes, he did; he DID tell her.

The auxiliary be is used to form, with a following –ing participle, the progressive (is employing, may have been proving) and with a following –ed participle the passive (is employed, may have been proved). The auxiliary have is used with the a following -ed participle to form the perfect (has employed, may have been proved). The modal auxiliaries convey notions such as possibility, obligation, and permission. They are the only verbs not to have a distinctive third-person form in the present: He can/They can contrasts with He is/They are, He has/They have, He sees, They see. Like auxiliary do they are always the first verb in a verb phrase (should have apologized, could be making, did tell) and are followed by the bare infinitive. In standard English, two modal auxiliaries cannot co-occur, but they can in some non-standard varieties, such as Appalachian English, They might could dance.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

June 21, 2018: A Weekly Text on Thursday

Today is Thursday, July 21, 2018. It’s the summer solstice! Not to be too pagan about it, but please do enjoy the holiday. I’m posting an extra text today, because next Friday, the 29th, I have no plans other than not to be in front of a computer screen.

On this day in 1945, the United States Tenth Army prevailed in the Battle of Okinawa, which had begun on April 1. Today is also the day that New Hampshire became the ninth state, by a vote of 57 to 47, to ratify the United States Constitution, leading to that document becoming the law of the land. Finally, since he has been in the news lately owing to his brother’s nuptials, and because he seems like a genuinely decent sort, Mark’s Text Terminal wishes a happy birthday to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who turns thirty-six today.

Today’s Text is a complete lesson plan on using adverbs to modify adverbs. I start this lesson with this short exercise on the idiom “money burning a hole in one’s pocket.” Should this lesson go into a second day, here is a second short exercise, this one a on the homophones pore, poor, and pour. The mainstay of this lesson is this scaffolded worksheet on using adverbs to modify adverbs. Depending on the students you’re serving, they may need this learning support, which is a word bank to use with the cloze exercises on the worksheet. Finally, here is the teacher’s copy-answer key of the worksheet.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Parsing Sentences Worksheet: Pronouns

Here is, before I go off to proctor a high-stakes test, a parsing sentences worksheet for pronouns. It calls upon students to identify all the pronouns in a series of five sentences.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Parsing Sentences Worksheet: Adverbs

Here is a parsing sentences worksheet for adverbs. Students read the sentences and identify all the adverbs in each.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Worksheet on Identifying Active Verbs

Over the past couple of days, and after a couple of decades, I reread William Zinsser’s fine book Writing to Learn; it was every bit as good as I remembered it. William Zinsser was a superlative prose stylist himself. Reading him on writing, quite simply, is a glimpse inside the workshop of a master.

And I found a passage in it, which Mr. Zinsser excerpted from something Norman Mailer wrote about the infamous Benny Paret vs. Emile Griffith III fight in 1962. Because I have a student this year involved and interested in boxing, I grabbed the passage and worked up, just now, this short exercise on identifying active verbs in a passage of text. Nota bene that there are two pages in this document; the second is the teacher’s copy/answer key with the active verbs in bold. I’m still trying to figure out lesson plans for these one-off differentiated worksheets. If you can use it, here is a lesson plan template to accompany the worksheet, which you can complete as you see fit (obviously).

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, June 1, 2018

The end of the school year is right around the corner, and it couldn’t come a moment too soon for me. After next week, we here in New York City (and the state as well, I guess) are looking at two weeks of high-stakes testing, which is akin to slow-motion nightmare.

Anyway, one of the things I’ve noticed when I analyze the page-view statistics here at Mark’s Text Terminal is that people fairly heavily traffic the word root worksheets I have posted over the past three years. As it happens, last summer, after several months of deliberation, I took some of those worksheets and formed them into a year-long, one-instructional-period-per-week unit for building basic academic vocabulary in the students it is my privilege to serve.

So, here is the lesson plan that accompanies this worksheet on the Latin word roots ann and enn–they mean year. Finally, here is a context clues worksheet on the adverb yearly. One of the things you’ll notice about these word root lessons, if you choose to use the do-now exercise to start the lesson, is that the do-now worksheets contain a hint to the meaning of the root. I wrote all the context clues worksheets for these lessons specifically for them, to show students, even within the confines of a 44-minute long class period, that prior knowledge (i.e. that gained from work on the do-now exercise) is useful in understanding the mainstay of the lesson (i.e. the word root worksheet itself).

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, May 11, 2018

It’s Friday again, as the weeks and years spin by. Mark’s Text Terminal continues to observe Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by offering, as This week’s Text, a reading on novelist Amy Tan with this comprehension worksheet to accompany it. Also, her is an Everyday Edit exercise on Hiroshima (and if you like it, you can get a yearlong supply of them from the extremely generous proprietors of the Education World website.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.