A Helping Hand With ESL English Grammar
Summary: ESL English Grammar
Today we help simplify some English grammar that ESL (English as a second language) learners find difficult. All you have to do is listen, nice and easy. Or you could deep dive into English grammar.
You could learn all there is to know about English grammar from a book or course that covers; pronouns, determines and quantifiers, possessives, adjectives, adverbials, nouns, verbs, clause, phrase and sentence (that's most of English grammar you would be told you needed before you can speak!).
I think most people who want to learn to speak English, just want to speak it. You need to know just enough English grammar so we English speakers can understand your words when you speak in English.
It is your choice. You can go easy on yourself or you can make your life harder than it needs to be. I know which way I would go.
Remember, knowing all the technical details of why English speakers speak in a certain way is not that important. Listening to a native English speaker will train your brain to copy how English speakers speak. We all know this works because this is what you did as a child to learn to speak your first language.
Audio Transcript: A Helping Hand With ESL English Grammar
Hi there and welcome to this short podcast from Adept English. How is your English language learning coming on? Do you feel as though you’re making progress with your English? It probably depends in part on how consistent, how regular you are in listening to spoken English and in taking part in English conversation. Even if you have a break from learning English, don’t say ‘Oh, that’s it. I can’t stick at it, it’s no good, I must stop altogether’.
Instead allow yourself to take time off sometimes, but always come back to your schedule. Always come back to your good English language learning habits. Using Adept English means that you’ve always got suitable listening material to work on. So make sure that you always have something from Adept English, available to listen to on your phone when you’ve a spare moment, whether that’s our podcasts or if you’re really serious about your English language learning, our courses.
ESL English Grammar
It’s well known that ESL students – that’s English as a Second Language students struggle with English grammar. And there are some very common mistakes and difficulties with ESL English grammar that students have. Certain word usages, certain word formations usually go together - and if you hear English spoken often enough, you learn these automatically. But ESL English grammar learning can be difficult – so one of the things that Adept English does is give you a ‘Helping Hand’ – Rule Six of the Seven Rules of Adept English, if you’ve done our free course. So let’s cover a simple but common mistake with ESL English grammar today.
What’s the difference between the verbs ‘to bring’ and ‘to take’? Both have lots of meanings, some of which are different, for example ‘to take’ can mean ‘to steal’ whereas ‘to bring’ never means this. But there is an ‘overlap’ between ‘to bring and ‘to take’ and they can mean similar things, especially when it’s ‘to take with’ or ‘to bring with’. In this way, both of them imply that you’re travelling somewhere, and you’re holding in your hand something, that you’re carrying along with you. So you might say ‘I will bring my hat tomorrow, when I come for a walk.’ Or ‘He is taking a cake to his friend’s house’ perhaps. Sometimes the bringing or the taking may involve a person. ‘I’m bringing my sister to the concert’ or ‘I’m taking my sister to the concert’. These last two sentences both suggest that the sister wouldn’t come by herself – I’m the person initiating it or organising it, I’m the one with the idea of going to the concert – and my sister is just coming along. OK, so far so good. But what’s the difference between ‘I’m bringing my sister to the concert’ and ‘I’m taking my sister to the concert’? Knowing which verb to use and when is a small ESL English grammar difference which can be hard to understand at first.
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What’s the difference between ‘to bring’ and ‘to take’?
But actually, it’s really simple. Whether it’s ‘bring or it’s ‘take’ depends upon the location of the person that you’re speaking to. So if I say ‘I’m bringing my sister to the concert’ and I’m saying it to you, this suggests that you’re going to be at the concert as well. Whereas if I say to you ‘I’m taking my sister to the concert’, it suggests you’re not going, you’re not going to be at the concert. So ‘I’m bringing my sister to the concert’ kind of suggests ‘I’m bringing her to where you will also be’. And ‘I’m taking my sister to the concert’ suggests ‘I’m taking her away, away from you to a place that you won’t be at’.
More examples of difference between ‘to bring’ and ‘to take’
Another example. If you overheard a conversation between two other people and they were talking about a barbecue the following day. ‘To overhear’ just means that you’re not part of their conversation, but you can hear what they’re saying. Let’s give names to make it easier. So if Stan says to Fred ‘I’m going to bring sausages to the barbecue tomorrow’ - that word ‘bring’ makes it sound as though Fred is also going to be at the barbecue too. But if you heard Stan say to Fred ‘I’m taking sausages to the barbecue tomorrow’, that would suggest that Fred is not invited, or he’s not going to be at the barbecue tomorrow. It suggests that Stan is going somewhere else, away from where Fred is, so that he uses ‘take’ rather than ‘bring’.
So in the broadest sense, if you ‘take’ something – you’re going away from the person that you’re speaking to – and if you bring something, you’re coming towards the person you’re speaking to.
Let’s use one more example, just to make sure. If you’re the person being spoken to here, in which of the following sentences are you more likely to be eating apple pie tomorrow?
- a) ‘He baked an apple pie - he’ll bring it with him tomorrow’ OR
- b) ‘He baked an apple pie – he’ll take it with him tomorrow’.
So in which of those are you more likely to be eating apple pie?
Well the answer is a) ‘He baked an apple pie – he’ll bring it with him tomorrow’. Because this uses the word ‘bring’, it suggests that the apple pie is coming to you. He’s perhaps bringing to it your house, or certainly to where you will be – so because you’re the person being spoken to, you may get to eat the apple pie. Very nice. Whereas in b) ‘He baked an apple pie - he’ll take it with him tomorrow’ implies that the apple pie – well it’s going to be travelling away from you. You’re not having any of it!
So there we are. An ESL English Grammar difficulty explained. As usual, listen to this podcast a number of times until you understand all the words, until you understand all the meanings.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: If The Goal is to Speak English Why Do Traditional Techniques Spend So Little Time Speaking English
If I were to list the priority of what parts of the English language people want to master first I would probably say, being able to listen and understand spoken English, then speaking simple English, then getting your English pronunciation correct, then reading English, then writing English and then learning idioms, names, places, numbers, English humour and finally English grammar.
Yes, for most ESL learners grammar will be the least important part (for them) of the journey to mastering the ability to speak English as a second language.
I know a lot of traditional English language teaching starts the whole learning journey the other way around. First you learn to read, then write then more complex English grammar. Then you might if your lucky speak single words, then move on to sentences then finally being able to listen to native English speakers.
My advice, if you want to speak English quickly then avoid procrastination listen to native English speakers and practice speaking English as soon as you can. For some people this simple truth is difficult to accept, but tying our topic of “bring & take” ESL English grammar I give you a quote from Abraham Lincoln.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln