I have been asked to teach a CELTA course to a group of students from a Chinese university. One element is the IH Language Awareness course. I have been looking at the course materials and the first week includes a lesson on auxiliaries and operators.
These materials include this advice:
– all sentences in English contain at least one auxiliary (which of course has the role of operator);
– therefore, in an utterance where no auxiliary seems to be present, we say that the auxiliary is an ‘invisible’ manifestation of do, thus:
I speak English. = I [don’t] speak English.
– this (rather strange) idea means that we can write a totally regular rule for question formation in English:
Invert the subject and the operator.
If the operator is “don’t”, make it visible.
I have never heard of this idea before and frankly it seems ludicrous. I wondered what other teachers might make of it.
24 September, 2019 at 10:16
Total posts: 774
This seems to me an unnecessarily complicated way of putting it, and would probably confuse rather than clarify.
Much easier to give the question formation rule as “Invert the subject and auxiliary verb. If we don’t have an auxiliary verb, add one”!