Thursday, 18 April 2013

How do you teach English?

Kaplan surveyed more than 500 ESL teachers from around the world to discover what tools they use to enhance their lessons. Here's an infographic they created to show the results.

Which do you use?

elt efl ell esl clil How to teach English

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Confusing words: Whether or if?

"Police are probing WHETHER the deaths of a woman, 107, and her daughter are a murder and suicide." (The Mirror, 12 Apr 2013)

" 'I didn't know WHETHER to laugh or cry'- Twitter responds to Lindsay Lohan on Charlie Sheen's Anger Management." (The Independent, 12 Apr 2013)

Image by Chiew Pang. Copyright 2012
I don't know whether or not I should...
There are often doubts regarding the use of "whether", especially among learners up to B1 level.

WHETHER /ˈwɛðə/ is a conjunction used when we're expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives.

In indirect questions which expect a yes/no answer, we can either use whether or if.

I asked them whether/if they were going to take the exams in June.

If or appears later in the sentence, we generally prefer whether, although if is also possible.

They weren't sure whether/if she was telling the truth or not.  

Whether and not if is used in the following conditions:

Before an infinitive 

They can't decide whether to take the exams in June.

After a preposition

The students were unsure about whether the teacher's explanation was helpful. 

Immediately before "or not"

I'm not sure whether or not the students are ready.  

Contrast with: I'm not sure whether/if the students are ready or not. 


Don't confuse the spelling of the conjunction whether with the noun weather. 

Both are pronounced the same: /ˈwɛðə/