Jun 6, 2011

keep falling across small but eye-opening findings

I'm positive that I will never ever finish studying a whole book of English grammar no matter how excited and determined I can be when I get my hands on a book. But just like a saying goes, old habits die hard, I don't seem to be able to stop buying new textbooks every now and then.

So it's about English grammar I'm going to talk about today and I'm thinking it might look strange of me emphasizing the importance of learning grammar, especially with dauntingly thick textbooks, when I'm against using dictionaries or Japanese textbooks aimed for advanced learners. The amount of English you're going to dip yourself in and how profoundly you can absorb English through reading and listening is a key to be a good user of English. That's for sure.

However, it's another inevitable fact that you've got to learn English grammar intensively at some point if you want to be such a user of English that all the feelings, emotions, and thoughts you have in Japanese can be fully and tactfully conveyed into English. I think there are many concepts in English language that Japanese doesn't hold such as the flow of time or differentiation of countable and non-countable nouns, and which are only able to be learned through intensive learning.

Now the book I chose this time is:
A Communicative Grammar of English (3rd Edition)
A Communicative Grammar of English (3rd Edition) It's communicative! Doesn't it sound approachable?
Well, truth is, it's not that approachable as I expected and it turned out to be rather tough read for me, but still the approach this book is taking is kind of different from other grammar books and I found it very intriguing and useful to understand English well.

The biggest finding has been the usage of future progress form so far. Some time after I started to exchange mails with online friends in English, I've noticed I tend to use "will be ...ing" rather than "will ..." when I want to express something happen in future.

For example,
I prefer using "I will be talking to you later" to "I will talk to you later,." thinking the former sounds relaxed and intimate than the latter. I didn't have any concrete idea why I feel this way, but there was a clear explanation of the difference of there two expressions in the book.

That is:
①When will you come to see us again?
②When will you be coming to see us again?

(Will+progressive construction is useful for avoiding the suggestion of intention in ①.
② can therefore be more "tentative and polite.")

I wonder if there is any Japanese grammar book, which is more focused on the use of English in the real world rather than on covering all aspects of English grammar.


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