I don’t clean houses any more. Now I teach English, but not with an infusion of literature. It’s all language, and grammar, and writing, and I love it. I examine my own language in the way that I dissect French. And because of this, my process of learning French grammar has better helped me to explain English grammar rules to my students. As a California teacher, trained in the late ’90s, direct grammar instruction was not happening, at least not at the school I was at, not even for ELL students.
This morning, I spent a good 20 minutes researching why it’s “There were a lot of people,” and not “There was a lot of people.” Since a signifies that the lot is a singular item. In speaking, I sometimes lazily say the latter, but technically, I’m not wrong. Back in the day, a lot was a unit of measurement, and so a lot of something could contain several things. Now the meaning of a lot has changed to mean many. “There were a lot of people” = “There were many people.” I certainly wouldn’t say, “There was many people.” Ta dah! Grammar.
Prepositions consistently trip up ELLs. Do you know why we ride on a train, but in a car? At the moment, neither do I. Somewhere there exists an answer, but there are more pressing issues today, so another item will get added to the list of details to explore – so much to learn about my own language, whilst learning a new one.