Friday, 6 May 2011

Owl Talk

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Just for Laughs :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Hi there! In class today we have learnt prepositions of direction. Easy, wasn't it? It was more of a reviewing actually, since most of you were able to use the prepositions correctly in the exercises we did in class today.

Just a recap,

  • Prepositions of direction indicate where something is going or moving to.
  • Among the common ones are towards, across, along, through, out of, past, to, from, up, down, etc.
Now, it's time to move on to another type of preposition, prepositions of purpose
  • Prepositions of purpose describe the intention of an action. 
Read the following sentences using the three prepositions of purpose: for, so that and in order to, and see how they are used in different situations.

  • My father is going to Kuching for a meeting tomorrow. Then, he will head for Miri to join his friends for a trip to the famous Mulu Caves.
  • Sally bought a new dress for the party. She has saved a long time for this dress so I bet she is going to make heads turn that night. 
  • The director thanked all donors for their generosity. Certificates of appreciation will be presented to the donors for their contribution. 
  • Protein is an important nutrient essential for growth and development of the body. It is also essential for the repair of damaged cells and tissues. 
  • I was paid RM20 a day for helping out in the shop. I have decided to save that money for my holiday.
So that
  • Traders wishing to conduct business in the weekly Pasar Tamu Satok must arrive early so that they can book themselves a strategic spot to peddle their ware. 
  • Huge, colourful umbrellas are set up so that vendors and shoppers are protected from the blazing sun. 
  • The public should come forward to donate blood so that the blood bank will not run out of supply during emergencies. 
  • I need to get home by six-thirty so that I will be in time to watch my favourite show on television.
  • Let us donate generously so that we can share our joy with the unfortunate.
In order to
  • The clearing of these forests should be reduced in order to prevent further erosion.
  • Strict laws are enforced in order to deter illegal immigrants from entering our shores.
  • The electrician told us that in order to get better reception for our television, we have to get a new aerial.
  • In order to heighten society's awareness on the need to preserve the environment, more campaigns have to be launched.
  • The survivors of the shipwreck had to abandon the ship quickly in order to save their own lives.

Click on this link for exercise: Exercise 3 

Does accent matter?

I believe what more important is to get your message across properly and comfortably, instead of painstakingly speaking with accents but lacking in the accuracy department. Many people are trying hard to speak with accents, especially American and British accents. But what many of us don't know is that some accents that these people try to emulate are regarded as the accents of those from the lower social class in foreign cultures. Thus, my advice is, don't attempt to do something that you're unsure of; it might lead you to embarrassment.

If you're confused, just speak proper English, doesn't matter if it sounds very Malaysian-ish, because that shows your national identity. 

Here's sharing an interesting video for you who would like to learn accents, just for fun. Enjoy :)

Should and Need

Nobody's got the answer right to my question. I was quite disappointed today, because the answer was right there under your nose! Oh well, I'd save the chocolate bar for another time. 

So, the lesson on the modals 'should' and 'need' will be done via this blog, as this is not difficult, and we could save a lot of our class time. Shall we begin?

  • Should and need are both modals.
  • They are used in different situations to serve different purposes.
Let us look at each of them individually:


·         We use the modal ‘should’ to indicate giving advice.

·         It is similar in meaning to ‘must’.

You should talk to your parents about your problem.

You should exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body,

Should not
·         ‘Should not’ is the negative of ‘should’.

·         It can be written as ‘should not’ or in its contracted form ‘shouldn’t’.


You should not be so rude to the salesman.

You shouldn't have left your gate open.


·         We use the modal ‘need’ or ‘need to’ to indicate a necessity or ‘have to’.

·         There are two simple rules to observe.

Ø  Use a noun after ‘need’

You have been working very hard. You need a break.

Ø  We can also use need+to+infinitive verb

I need to get to school by 7.30 a.m.

Need not

·         ‘Need not’ is the negative of ‘need’.

·         After ‘needn’t’ we must use an infinitive verb without ‘to’.

We needn’t worry about Maria. She’ll be alright.

An exercise for this lesson can be accessed here, Exercise 2.
Download this exercise, print and complete it, and put in your Grammar folder.
Bring to class on Friday. Toodles!

What's next?

Here are the clues for our next Grammar lesson. The first person who gets the topic right will win a bar of Cadbury chocolate. Go on, give a guess!

(p/s: Don't be too analytical. The pictures say it all.)


Good job, boys and girls!

You have proven to me that you have mastered Present Perfect Tense! Ergo, there's no need for me to post another exercise here! You have done well both in class and online exercises. Here's a video to celebrate. Enjoy :P

Exercise on Present Perfect Tense. 1, 2, Think!

As promised, it's time for an exercise for the topic Present Perfect Tense. Just click on the link below:

After you're done, watch this video and recap what you have learnt. I might be posting another exercise on this topic if I don't see any progress in class later on. Is that a sulk I see on your face? Teehee. 


Just how perfect Present Perfect Tense is?

Hello again! Want to know more about Present Perfect Tense? The session we had in class today was not enough for me to explain in detail. So, here it is.

First, we will look at the FORM of Present Perfect Tense:


has/ have
Verb (past participle)
She (singular)
to Paris.
They (plural)
the cake.


has/ have (not)
Verb (past participle)
has not
the medication
My parents
have not
retired yet.

Question form:

Have you written a letter to your brother yet?
Has he called you today?

Ergo: [has/have] + past participle of a verb

Below is the explanation of the notes I've given you in class today. Please read, and drop a comment if there's any part of this note that you don't understand.

We use Present Perfect Tense to describe "Unspecified Time" Before "Now"

We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc. We CAN use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.

  • have seen that movie twenty times.
  • I think I have met him once before.
  • There have been many earthquakes in California.
  • People have traveled to the Moon.
  • People have not traveled to Mars.
  • Have you read the book yet?
  • Nobody has ever climbed that mountain

  • A: Has there ever been a war in the United States?
  • B: Yes, there has been a war in the United States.

How Do You Actually Use the Present Perfect?

The concept of "unspecified time" can be very confusing to English learners. It is best to associate Present Perfect with the following topics:

TOPIC 1 Experience

You can use the Present Perfect to describe your experience. It is like saying, "I have the experience of..." You can also use this tense to say that you have never had a certain experience. The Present Perfect is NOT used to describe a specific event.

  • have been to France.
    This sentence means that you have had the experience of being in France. Maybe you have been there once, or several times.
  • have been to France three times.
    You can add the number of times at the end of the sentence.
  • have never been to France.
    This sentence means that you have not had the experience of going to France.
  • I think I have seen that movie before.
  • He has never traveled by train.
  • Joan has studied two foreign languages.
  • A: Have you ever met him?
    B: No, I have not met him.

TOPIC 2 Change Over Time

We often use the Present Perfect to talk about change that has happened over a period of time.

  • You have grown since the last time I saw you.
  • The government has become more interested in arts education.
  • Japanese has become one of the most popular courses at the university since the Asian studies program was established.
  • My English has really improved since I moved to Australia.

TOPIC 3 Accomplishments

We often use the Present Perfect to list the accomplishments of individuals and humanity. You cannot mention a specific time.

  • Man has walked on the Moon.
  • Our son has learned how to read.
  • Doctors have cured many deadly diseases.
  • Scientists have split the atom.

TOPIC 4 An Uncompleted Action You Are Expecting

We often use the Present Perfect to say that an action which we expected has not happened. Using the Present Perfect suggests that we are still waiting for the action to happen.
  • James has not finished his homework yet.
  • Susan hasn't mastered Japanese, but she can communicate.
  • Bill has still not arrived.
  • The rain hasn't stopped.

TOPIC 5 Multiple Actions at Different Times

We also use the Present Perfect to talk about several different actions which have occurred in the past at different times. Present Perfect suggests the process is not complete and more actions are possible.

  • The army has attacked that city five times.
  • have had four quizzes and five tests so far this semester.
  • We have had many major problems while working on this project.
  • She has talked to several specialists about her problem, but nobody knows why she is sick.

It is much clearer now that you have read the notes, isn't it? As for now, you can rest that poor eyes of yours BUT do keep a lookout for the exercise I'll be posting later! Toodles! 

Do you 'LOLspeak?'

Have you ever encountered these sentences written or uttered by someone?

"I can haz a cheezburger?"     
(Can I have a cheeseburger?)

"I r no suprized. U haz no gurfriend"   
(I am not surprised you have no girlfriend) 

"The teddy bear telled me I wuz fat"   
(The teddy bear told me I was fat)

"U iz startin to boar meh"     
(You are starting to bore me)

    It may be funny, but after a while, it becomes redundant. It could even be mistaken for the real English, especially for non-native speakers like us. Yes, those sentences are examples of 'Lolspeak'. 'LOLspeak' originates from a person who posted a photo to an anonymous imageboard, '4chan' with a funny caption.(Imageboard is an Internet forum which allows its users to post photos of all sorts as a means to communicate). It so happened that one day, a user of that particular imageboard posted a photo of a cat and inserted a funny caption of what seemed to be in English, albeit distorted. Since the, it continues to be a culture among Interenet users to post photos with such captions. As of now, the most popular character used is a cat.  

Below are some photos with 'LOLspeak' captions:

"Rock Star Kitty; practices crowd surfing"

"Let me check my mail"

"Oh, hi! Your boyfriend called. He's not your boyfriend anymore"

"Kebab or Curry? Both are good"

(Source: Google image)

  I'm pretty sure you're google-ing for more of these kind of photos right now. I agree, they are hilarious! But being an English teacher, I can't help but to feel that a lot of these would jeopardize the future of proper English usage among youngsters (or the so-called Generation-Y) who regard computers and the Internet as their 'confidant'. Anyways, the purpose of this post is to remind you that this kind of language is strictly prohibited in my class. You've been informed earlier in class that I abhor silly spelling mistakes and I cringe when I see grammatical mistakes in my students' work, especially if I've already taught them that particular component. So, make an effort to take this as pure entertainment and understand that I will not entertain any of these in class. Toodles!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Welcome to Grammar Over Coffee!


This blog is dedicated exclusively to class 4 Cempaka as an avenue to learn English, especially Grammar. I decided to name the blog 'Grammar Over Coffee' because learning Grammar is easy and can be done at any time of the day, exempli gratia, while having a cup of coffee. It is not going to be formal, but treat this site as a supplementary knowledge base, extended from the lessons we had in class.   

Happy Learning!