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Art on the go

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Nuala Nuala | 16:36 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hi Jan,

Thanks for doing your homework so promptly and for blogging again so soon after your last posts. You really are a very fluent writer and the topics you've covered so far have been original and thought-provoking.

I think the comments you've received so far pretty much cover the main arguments for and against internet dating - for: you never know who you might meet and against: you never know who you might meet!

And your posting on momentary art was a real eye-opener. I've never seen anything quite like Kseniya Simonova's sand art before. It really blew me away!

It's not quite up to your very high standards but here's some art that I see on my bike ride to work every morning (I mentioned passing this piece of art in a staff blog I wrote ages ago). It looks like it's a sign for a fish shop but there's no shop behind the sign. The fish art just appeared on the wall one morning - a lovely mysterious piece of urban graffiti I think.


I thought today we might look at articles again and some collocations (or words that go together).

Articles and over-correction
I know we've only just looked at articles but I thought we might do some work on them for two reasons - to revise what you've learned already and to help you expand your knowledge of articles by refining some of the rules we've looked at so far.

Something that lots of teachers notice when they teach a new rule of grammar is that students often start to over-correct or hyper-correct. So for example, if I teach an elementary class the 'ed' ending on verbs for the past simple, I'm not surprised to hear them say 'Yesterday I buyed some coffee and drinked it.' They've taken a rule they've learned but then applied it too widely.

So although this rule that we looked at the other day is true:

if we are referring to something that is unique, that there's only one of, we use the.

it's not always true. There are a few exceptions to this rule including:

If we're taking about things in general, we don't use the.

Here are a few examples for your recent blogs which I've corrected so you can see the rule in action:

1. It's a story about realising dreams. (Rather than: the realising of the dreams)

2. The Ukrainian artist draws with sand. (Rather than: draws with the sand)

3. People use unusual things to create unusual pieces of art. (Rather than: the unusual things to create the unusual pieces)

I'll add a few more examples into your next homework task to see if you've got the hang of this new rule.

Collocations are words that go together. Often there's no reason why they go together, they just do. Your job as an English language student is to try to remember what goes with what when you come across a new piece of grammar or vocabulary. If you keep a learning notebook, it's useful not only to record a new word when you learn it but also note what words or phrases collocate with it. For example, when you learn the noun risk, it'd be useful to note not only that it means chance but also what words and phrases go with it.

Take a risk.

Run the risk

There's a high/low risk

Here are a few collocations you didn't get quite right in your recent blogs:
1. Think carefully (Rather than: think well.)

You can think well of someone or something but that means think fondly of them. And from the context of what you were saying, I don't think that was the meaning you were after.

2. I asked him in my broken Bulgarian. (Rather than: It was on my unsteady Bulgarian.)

Now I'm not sure I've got the right idea here but if what you mean is that your Bulgarian wasn't very good and you spoke slowly with quite a lot of mistakes, then the word broken is the one you're looking for here. I think it's quite a nice word to describe the way we speak a language when we're fist learning it, don't you?

3. Luckily for me he was interested in me (Rather than: he showed a keen interest).

It's true we say show a keen interest. Unfortunately, that's only half the story because we usually say show a keen interest in something or someone.

So, now for your homework task. Have a look at these sentences. 1- 5 are about articles (including the rules we looked at in this blog and in my last one), and 6 - 10 are about collocations. I've italicised the areas to concentrate on in 6 - 10 to guide you. Can you spot the mistakes? If the sentence is correct, you know what to do. Just write 'OK'. If you find a mistake, your job is to correct it.

1. It gave me something to think about! A momentary art!

2. He draws with the brushes.

3. Using the toothpick, the master draws on the whipped cream.

4. But we have invented more attractive way of doing it!

5. One step and you'll fall into a waterfall!

6. I was far away from home all along!

7. There was nobody on the illuminated streets.

8. It reminds me of scientists during excavations.

9. In ancient times people drew on rocks in the ground and we, their issue, continue this tradition.

10. He is bathed in magnificent sunrises and sunsets!

That's all for today.

Many thanks again for those amazing links. You've opened my eyes to a whole new art world.

And your own art is fabulous too!

All the best,

a real eye-opener - something very surprising
It really blew me away! - It really surprised me!
got the hang of - learned and understood something new


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