Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.

Grammar tips

I’m afraid it’s true that students are becoming functionally illiterate, and their vocabulary has decreased from about 25,000 to less than 10,000 words. Reading is the best way to improve diction, inference and writing skills.  See my recommended reading list. Language is a living entity-not a set of rules!Enjoy grammar!

Gerunds are the trans-sexual swingers of the English language. They look like verbs, but act like nouns. To find out if an -ing  word is a Gerund, try my test:
Put the subject and verb to be (am) plus -ing  in a clause to see if it makes sense.
For example, let’s start with the sentence “Galloping on my horse, I fell off.”
If you add, “As I was… galloping on my horse, I fell off” the clause makes sense; therefore,  galloping is a participle, not a gerund.
On the other hand, the clause “Singing is horrendous” is a gerund because it takes a possessive pronoun in front of it (his/her).
You can say, “His singing is horrendous”, but not ” As I was singing” is horrendous.

To test a gerund, insert a possessive pronoun.  It works most of the time, but not always.  Sorry, it’s English-the most irregular language in the world!
Also , don’t say, I hate him playing computer games. You don’t hate him, you hate HIS playing computer games. Use possessive pronouns with gerunds.
I love her teaching.  Easy, right?

Tips for Parents

Newcomers and ESL students have unique pressures living in North America.  Often, their Asian friends will call them “bananas” for socializing with Canadians, implying that they are yellow on the outside and white on the inside. This issue is widespread among immigrants. Remember, your teenager is caught between cultural expectations at home and intense peer pressure to conform at school. Be sure to discuss issues that arise with your child, or allow me to help.
Expansion on globalization could lead to the first version of a zombie apocalypse!
If I could take a vacation anywhere in the world, I would go to Africa so I could enjoy the suffering with the people.

We need protection from the ultra-violent light of the sun… (yes, we certainly do!)

Crappe Deum!  I guess that would be a lousy day!

There was an earth cake in the seduction zone! Always pronounce QU~as Kw!
There will be an apocalipstick soon… Yes. The day women run out of lipstick.
Please excuse my incontinence.. (By a Canadian gov’t worker… Don’t use spell check!)
What is the verb for condom? (condomize? )

When you are learning a new word, look at its context and connotation, or extra meaning. For example, one cannot dismantle a face (sorry Sena, I had to use it!). We dismantle large objects for reassembly. Unless you are a Picasso painting, your face will not be dismantled


This site is dedicated to my beautiful kids and their inspiring parents.

If you are a language junkie, as I am, there is a group called Language Bliss on Facebook which you may enjoy. Share the love and be open minded! To learn a language is to understand a new way of being.