Knowledge Base

Glossary

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definitions of grammar terms used in Insights videos and on the Insights website
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Lexical Categories

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an overview of the different parts of speech, and soon: parts of a sentence and sentence types
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Proficiency Levels

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the standards for each Proficiency Level as set by the CEFR
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Standardized Tests

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COMING SOON

an overview of the TOEFL, IELTS, and YLE exams

English Explained

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Make Connections

As you introduce new grammar topics, make connections with related grammar topics that students have already learned. This is good for review, and it also helps students catch on to the new material easier.

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Translating Noun Cases

Many languages have noun cases. We don’t teach cases in English, but there definitely are some correlations between cases and English grammar. Maybe it would be a good idea to acknowledge some of the cases used in the students’ native tongue(s) and explain what English uses instead.

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language illuminated

Is It Okay to Break Grammar Rules?

People break grammar rules all the time. Is that okay? Which rules can we break? In what situations is it okay to break rules? Are there rules to breaking rules? Here’s a look at which rules you can break in casual writing.

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How We Term Clauses

You have to be careful with the terms ‘independent’ and ‘dependent’, since they don’t always actually reflect what we might assume they mean.

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Top-Down vs Bottom-Up Processing

We generally teach the structure of a grammar point, and the usage follows. That works well enough for receptive skills, but for productive skills, it feels backward. Maybe we should try the reverse approach.

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Identifying Grammar vs Using It

Learning a grammar point shouldn’t just be about knowing how to use it. How to use a grammar structure doesn’t matter until after they’ve determined what they want to say.

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Communicating Without Words

Using words is the most obvious way to communicate, but it’s not the only way.  It may not even necessarily be the best way.  Using alternate ways of communicating may be more fun or more effective.

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Vocab-Building through Associations

There’s a lot of vocabulary to learn, but thankfully plenty of words are related to each other.  Learning words by associating them with each other helps us to remember those words later.  You can help students establish and strengthen those connections in your students’ minds.

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language illuminated

The English Alphabet is Confusing

While our alphabet has only 26 letters, it has about 40 unique sounds.  There’s a lot of different sound-spelling combinations to remember, which makes spelling and pronunciation difficult for non-native speakers.

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language illuminated

In Favor of the Oxford Comma

The comma which comes between the last two entries of a list is called the Oxford Comma.  Many people omit it, but including this comma may improve communication

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