“What means this, teacher?” Well I’ve had about enough of trying to explain it as it remains a foggy mystery. It’s like double possessives, -ing or ‘to…”, phrasal verbs and other devilish anomalies that plague not only English language learners, but English language teachers as well. I don’t think they need explaining – it’s like trying to explain ghosts, or Uri Geller’s spoons, or dreams. However much you try, it is never the full story and someone else is bound to say something else. These things are not cut and dried like they are in Latin; they aren’t found neatly classified and categorised in the pages of a book. It’s a learning and an awareness based on a keen sense of rhythm and a crafting of intangibles; a subtle tilting of nuance and a secret playfulness.
The more I do this the more elusive it becomes. Bricks are bricks and knowing what they are doesn’t build the house. Show me how to make an arch, show me how to turn a corner, show me how to make it straight – but then let me build my house.