Thursday, September 13, 2007

"I Don't Drink" for ESL Students

Since I'm an ESL teacher, I probably pay more attention to the everyday use of the English language than other people. My ears are continually perking up to phrases, expression, idioms, and "strange" uses of English. Even when I walk to my English lessons, I hear or see things that I know my ESL students most likely will not know. In only a five minute walk, I encounter at least a couple of things that would be new to English language learners. If it's something useful or interesting, my next ESL student will benefit from my observation.

I caught a part of "The View" on TV this morning and Whoopi Goldberg said, "I don't drink." It made me think of how an English language learner would interpret this sentence. Of course, it means, "I don't drink alcoholic beverages," but you'd never hear this longer sentence from a native English speaker. All native speakers will know that "I don't drink" means "I don't drink alcoholic beverages."

I think this is a useful English phrase for ESL or EFL students to understand and to use, if needed.


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