Vocabulary Thursdays (with Joanna): Normalization vs. Normality

Let’s practice!

1. One of the impacts of COVID-19 has been the _______ ( normalization / normality ) of working from home.

2. We eagerly await a return of pre-pandemic _______ ( normalization / normality ).


ANSWER KEY: 1. normalization; 2. normality

Vocabulary Tuesdays (with Joanna): Neither & Not either

There are ways to repeat some information without really repeating yourself. One way to avoid repeating information is by using neither or not either. How do we do it?

Read these two sentences:

Tom doesn’t eat meat. Susan doesn’t eat meat.

Too much repetition, right? Look at these sentences:

Tom doesn’t eat meat. Neither does Susan.

Tom doesn’t eat meat. Susan does not either.

Better!

Remember! When you use neither, use the helping word: Neither does Susan. Do not use the word from the first sentence. When you use either, use the helping word + not + either.

Look at these examples:

I don’t like watching scary movies. Neither does my husband.

I don’t like watching scary movies. My husband doesn’t either.

Neither and not either are for negative sentences.

Let’s practice!

Rewrite these sentences:

Tony didn’t arrive on time. John didn’t arrive on time.

I’m not having a good day. You’re not having a good day.

My children don’t like milk. Their children don’t like milk.


Answer Key:

Tony didn’t arrive on time. Neither did John. OR John didn’t either.

I’m not having a good day. Neither are you. You aren’t either.

My children don’t like milk. Neither do their children. Their children don’t either.


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.

Grammar Tuesdays (with Joanna): Possessive or Plural?

Possessive or Plural?

As a learner of English, you have probably noticed that there are a number of different -s endings that can be added to a noun. Sometimes we add just -s (as in friends, neighbors, kittens), and sometimes we add –’s (as in friend’s, neighbor’s, kitten’s). And yet other times we add -s’ (as in friends’, neighbors’, kittens’). 

So how are -s, -’s, and -s’ different? How and when do we use them? What exactly does the apostrophe do? Here’s a mini lesson that might help you to understand this difference. 

Plural Nouns

To form the plural of most nouns, simply add the ending -s or –es to the noun. For example:

friend → friends

They are great friends.

neighbor → neighbors 

I have great neighbors.

Singular Possessive Nouns

To form a possessive of a singular noun, add -’s to the noun. For example:

friend → friend’s

I never miss my best friend’s birthday, and she never misses mine. (We’re talking about just one friend here.)

neighbor → neighbor’s

My neighbor’s dog is very friendly. (And here, we’re talking about just one neighbor.)

Plural Possessive Nouns

To form a possessive of most plural nouns, add -s’ or –es’ to the noun. For example:

            friend → friends’

My friends’ children are very polite. They did a nice job raising them. (We’re talking about more than one friend in this example.)

neighbor → neighbors’

My neighbors’ dog is very friendly. (And in this example, we’re talking about more than one neighbor.)

Remember, in English, one of the functions of the apostrophe is to show possession. The position of the apostrophe depends on whether you’re forming the possessive form of a singular noun (-’s) or the possessive form of a plural noun (-s’). 


Now let’s try this quick exercise. Choose the correct word to complete each sentence.

1. Kat and Bob adopted two beautiful ( kittens / kittens’ / kitten’s ).

2. What’s your ( kittens / kittens’ / kitten’s ) name? She’s very adorable!

3. These ( kittens / kittens’ / kitten’s ) tails are very fluffy.  

4. Did you see the ( kittens / kittens’ / kitten’s ) toy anywhere? I think she misses it.

5. My cat had a litter of five ( kittens / kittens’ / kitten’s ). 

Did you get it all right? Check your answers! Great job!

*ANSWER KEY: 1: kittens; 2. kitten’s; 3. kittens’; 4. kitten’s; 5. kittens


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.

Grammar Tuesdays (with Joanna): Don’t have to vs. Mustn’t

DO NOT HAVE TO ≠ MUST NOT

Do not have to (or don’t have to) means that you do not need to do something, but you can.

Must not (or mustn’t) means that you’re not allowed to do something. You cannot do it.

Examples

You don’t have to answer the bonus question. (You don’t need to answer it, but you can if you’d like.)

You mustn’t text and drive. (You’re not allowed to text while driving. / You can’t text while driving. It’s against the law.)

texting and driving

Try it. Choose don’t have to or mustn’t.

You _____________________________ help him with the project, but he’d appreciate it if you did.

Students ________________________ use calculators during the math test. They have to complete all calculations on paper.

We _____________________ enter this area. There is a sign that says “No trespassing.”

I ______________________ work on my paper today. It’s not due until next Friday. Let’s go to the beach!

Did you get it right? Here’s the answer key:

don’t have to / mustn’t / mustn’t / don’t have to

GREAT JOB!


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.

How do I pronounce the -ed ending?

English pronunciation

Most of us know that in order to form the simple past or past participle form of a regular verb, we need to add the endinged or d to the verb. That’s an easy rule to remember. (Well, certainly much easier than memorizing all those irregular verb forms!) The pronunciation of the –ed ending, however, can be a bit tricky. There are three different ways of pronouncing –ed:

/ɪd/ as in wanted

/d/ as in learned

and /t/ as in washed.

Now, how do we know which pronunciation of –ed to use? Thankfully, there is a rule for that, too!  

Verbs whose base form ends in the sound /t/ or /d/ are in the /ɪd/ category. Here are a few examples:

wanted: the final sound in want is /t/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /ɪd/

added: the final sound in add is /d/, thus once we add -ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /ɪd/

Now, before we move on to the other two ways of pronouncing –ed, let’s review voiced and voiceless sounds. So voiced sounds make your vocal cords vibrate when you pronounce them. They include: all vowels as well as /b/, /g/, /v/, /z/, /ð/, /ʒ/, /dʒ/, /w/, /m/, /n/, and /l/. Voiceless sounds, in contrast, do not make your vocal cords vibrate when you pronounce them. They include: /p/, /k/, /f/, /s/, /θ/, /ʃ/, and /tʃ/.

Voiced Sounds + /d/

Verbs whose base form ends in a voiced sound other than /d/ are in the /d/ category. Here are a few examples:

robbed: the final sound in rob is /b/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /d/

mugged: the final sound in mug is /g/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /d/

saved: the final sound in save is /v/, thus once we add –d to the verb, we pronounce it as /d/

bathed: the final sound in bathe is /ð/, thus once we add –d to the verb, we pronounce it as /d/

amazed: the final sound in amaze is /z/, thus once we add -d to the verb, we pronounce it as /d/

Voiceless Sounds + /t/

Lastly, verbs whose base form ends in a voiceless sound other than /t/ are in the /t/ category. Here are a few examples:

skipped: the final sound in skip is /p/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /t/

faked: the final sound in fake is /k/, thus once we add –d to the verb, we pronounce it as /t/

stuffed: the final sound in stuff is /f/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /t/

missed: the final sound in miss is /s/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /t/ 

polished: the final sound in polish is /ʃ/, thus once we add –ed to the verb, we pronounce it as /t/

Want to learn and practice more? Check out this video on the pronunciation of -ed endings with Jennifer ESL.

Now, let’s try this activity:

Choose the correct pronunciation of the -ed ending for each of the verbs below:

  1. watched ( /ɪd/, /d/, /t/ )
  2. planted ( /ɪd/, /d/, /t/ )
  3. installed ( /ɪd/, /d/, /t/ )
  4. planned ( /ɪd/, /d/, /t/ )
  5. waited ( /ɪd/, /d/, /t/ )
  6. mended ( /ɪd/, /d/, /t/ )

Did you get them right? Check your answers below.

ANSWER KEY: 1. /t/, 2./ɪd/, 3. /d/, 4. /d/, 5. /ɪd/, 6. /ɪd/


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.

Vocabulary Thursdays (with Joanna)

Estimate

The verb estimate means to roughly calculate the number or value of something. 

For example, Let’s estimate how many marbles there are in the jar.

The noun ‘estimate’ means a rough calculation of the number or value of something.

For example: According to Luke’s estimate, the kitchen renovation is going to cost us about ten thousand dollars.

Note that the pronunciation of the verb ‘estimate’ /ˈɛs təˌmeɪt/ is different from the pronunciation of the noun ‘estimate’ /ˈɛs tə mɪt/.

Can you use estimate in a sentence? Add yours in the comments 🙂


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.

Grammar Tuesdays (with Joanna)

Do vs. Make

Use do when you talk about performing actions, repetitive tasks, or obligations.

Use make when you talk about creating, constructing, or producing something.


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.

Vocabulary Thursdays (with Joanna)

Economic vs. Economical

Economical describes something that helps you to keep your expenses low.

Economic describes something related to the economy. 

Now try to complete these two sentences. 

1. My new car is very _______ ( economic / economical ) to run. My gas bill is now much lower.

2. The pandemic has had a negative _______ ( economic / economical ) impact on the restaurant industry.


Here’s the answer key. 1. economical; 2. economic. Did you get it right? Now, you try it! Create sentences with these words. Post them in comments.


Joanna Rodzen-Hickey

Joanna Rodzen-Hickey has been an ESL teacher and consultant for nearly 20 years. She has taught English at numerous universities and community colleges in New Jersey and currently teaches at the Hackettstown High School in Hackettstown, NJ.