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Collins ELT

COBUILD: Design and Layout – Changes over the last 30 years

COBUILD: Design and Layout – Changes over the last 30 years

Where were you 30 years ago? I was in the middle of my university studies, still to embark on my ELT career, and as such, a smidgin too late to be part of the intrepid and free-spirited COBUILD dictionary team. Led by the late John Sinclair, this large young team was involved in bringing to life his vision: to create a dictionary for learners that was based on a large digital language database – or a corpus. 

COBUILD Part 1: The Early Years - Where it all began

COBUILD Part 1: The Early Years - Where it all began

I have always counted myself as incredibly fortunate to have worked as part of the COBUILD team at the time that I did, between October 1983 and the end of 1986. I was not quite 24 when I arrived in Birmingham, not knowing one end of a dictionary definition from another. By the time I left I was pretty sure lexicography was going to be my career and, over 30 years later, I’m still doing it.

Encouraging IELTS students to read beyond the course book

Encouraging IELTS students to read beyond the course book

It comes as no surprise that reading widely is proven to increase reading fluency. However, many students are still in need of a little encouragement and guidance to build the skills required to read confidently outside of the course book. Here are a few ways you can incorporate authentic readings into your IELTS preparation course to engage students and help them better prepare.

Exploring language change

Exploring language change

When a new edition of a grammar is launched, teachers and students may well wonder what can be new about a grammar. We all know about new words, which grab the headlines at every new edition of a big dictionary, but what does an editor do when she is asked to update a pedagogical grammar, taking account of developments that have occurred in the language over the past 20-or-so years?

Futurity

Futurity

Very early on in my teaching career, I remember addressing a class of Russian teenagers with the statement, ‘Will is the future tense in English.’ It was only later as I started developing as a teacher and gaining greater insight into the grammatical system of English that I started to see that there’s much more to will than meets the eye. Click here to read more.

Modality and conditionals

Modality and conditionals

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?

Sun Tzu

The quote above, attributed to an ancient Chinese military strategist, is often used in leadership training to encourage people to act on their ideas and see them through to completion. But we’re interested in it for another reason: the language it contains, namely modals and a conditional sentence. In this blogpost we’re going to discuss each of these areas of language in turn.

Understanding academic grammar

Understanding academic grammar

For students new to dealing with academic texts in English, they can seem daunting; full of long words and long complex sentences. Are academics just trying to show off how clever they are and confuse their poor readers? Well, maybe just a little bit sometimes, but most of the time, there are good reasons for the grammatical choices made by academic writers. Understanding the reasons for those choices can help students of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) make more informed choices in their own writing.

Tense vs aspect

Tense vs aspect

Tense and aspect are often labelled as the same thing. It’s not uncommon to see the present progressive referred to as ‘the present progressive tense’ or will have + past participle referred to as ‘the future perfect tense’, for example. However, tense and aspect are not the same thing.

Grammar and register

Grammar and register

This article has been written by Julie Moore, who is an ELT materials developer and lexicographer. Our last post focused on the difference between ...

Prescriptive vs descriptive approaches to grammar

Prescriptive vs descriptive approaches to grammar

What's the difference between prescriptive and descriptive approaches to English grammar, especially in the context of the Collins COBUILD English Grammar? Penny Hands, one of our series editors, answers in this blog post.

Collins COBUILD English Grammar: a functional grammar

Collins COBUILD English Grammar: a functional grammar

This article has been written by Penny Hands, who is one of the contributors to the Collins COBUILD English Grammar.   Most people who study and us...

Who am I? A bio-mini-quiz to inspire your students

Who am I? A bio-mini-quiz to inspire your students

Are you looking for original ways to get your students to read? Here are 8 ‘Who am I?’ questions revealing interesting life-facts about some of the Amazing People featured in Collins Amazing People ELT Readers series. Can you guess who the people are?