Do I look forward to hearing from you?

One of my students asked me whether he should write “Look forward to hearing from you” or “Looking forward to hearing from you” in his letters.

As my tutor taught me years ago, when you write that you’re looking forward to hearing from me, that means that you expect me to answer you and you’re giving me that message, while look forward to hearing from you is more formal and is something I’d send to people I don’t know.

Can you choose the right answer for each situation?

Do you often use this phrase when you write to someone or do you prefer using a completely different phrase? Let me know in the comments.

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Can people date their computers?

This is a lesson I’ve had with scenes from one of my favorite dramas called “Her”, featuring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johanson. The movie is about a man who falls in love with an intelligent operating system. There’s a great scene which can be used to practice Past Simple and Present Perfect, or you can get students to talk about technology in a new way for them.

Here’s what you need to do:

1) Ask your students if they are in a relationship. How long they’ve been in their relationships and ask them to describe what they like about their partners to their fellow students.

2) Get feedback from the whole class.

3) Ask students what’s the best way to get to know somebody and why.

4) When students have spoken about dates, ask them if they’ve had a date go wrong and what happened (But don’t push them if they don’t want to talk about it)

5) Tell students that they’re going to watch a video about a date. Show them the first part and ask what relationship do the characters have but don’t confirm any answers yet.

6) Show students the second part and ask them what did they sign, students will have guessed by now that the characters are signing divorce papers.

7) Have students watch the third part and discuss the questions with their partners:

1. What does Theodore mean when he says “You are your worst critic?”

2. What makes Theodore cry?

3. How long has Theodore been dating someone new?

4. How did he describe his girlfriend?

5. How did Catherine react to Theodore’s description?

8) Before showing students Part 4, ask them to imagine in pairs what Theodore’s new girlfriend looks like. Get feedback from the students and show them the last part. Ask them if the situation surprised them.

9) Ask students how Catherine reacted to the information. Then, ask them if they agree with her opinion of Theodore’s relationship. Also, you can ask them how would they react if they found out that their partner was dating a computer and why they think Theodore started dating his Operating System.

10) To practice their listening skills, as well as the tenses. Have them fill-in the gaps using the sentences spoken during the video and when they’re done, have them check their answers by watching the whole video.

11) Ask students how often they use their computers and smartphones. Ask if they think they’re too attached to them. Ask them how they can limit their use of their devices. Then, after getting feedback, ask students if they think the situation in the movie can happen in real life.

12) Tell students that in China, some men have actually married robots. Divide the classroom into 2-4 groups (depending on how many students you have) for and against marriage to robots. Give them time to think of ideas to support their point of view. For fun, when students are done debating, you can switch roles and have the ones for robot-human marriage speak against it and vice versa. Award the groups with points and have the class choose which group had the best ideas and why.

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Do something or have it done?

Something many of my students confuse is the difference between doing something and having something done. Let’s look at this example.

I cut my hair.

Cutting your hair by yourself

Did you do it yourself or did you go to the hairdresser?

As for me, I can’t cut my own hair (It would look terrible if I tried to) so I go to a hairdresser and have my hair cut for me.

I had my hair cut yesterday

Having your hair cut

So, when we have or get something done, this means someone is doing something for us.

Now, let’s practice with some examples:

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Do or Make?

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything in the blog so I’ll start with something simple.

When should I use do and when should I use make in sentences?

To me, making something means that I will always have a result.

For example, I’m making coffee, so, as soon as I’m done, I’ll have a nice cup of coffee like the one below. (Result)

Making coffee

Now, let’s look at do.

One problem teachers have is homework.

Doing homework

When I’m giving students homework, they don’t always give it to me in time. So, because there’s a chance that you won’t finish the homework, you do your homework. You also use do when talking about things in general.

There are exceptions and other uses, but we’ll talk about them later.

Let’s practice the two forms by doing an exercise.

I am still expermenting with blogging and I hope to make the explanations as short as possible, opting for exercises instead, so in case you still have some questions, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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The Promise Has Been Made

So, after thinking about starting my own course for 5 years and making the decision to start now, this post will serve as a memo for my plans. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I will be able to say that I’ve achieved most of what I’ve planned. In any case, I welcome you to a work-in-progress site which may or may not have the answers you seek. While we’re at it, I’d like to ask you if you’ve studied online before. If you have, what was your experience like? Did you enjoy it or was there something you thought should’ve been changed? Let me know what you think in the comments and I’ll see you around!

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