/ Aron Thode

Practice Switching Word Forms

In the quest to produce natural-sounding sentences, it helps if students of English know different word forms. Lacking awareness of word forms means students miss opportunities like this:

Student sentence: We did an interview with a nurse.
Better sentence: We interviewed a nurse.

Knowing a variety of forms can also help a person say things in different ways:

I asked him about his plans.
I questioned him about his plans.

I tend to elicit and clarify different word forms when class focus shifts onto a new piece of vocabulary. For the students, it is reinforcing and not confusing to be given more than one form at a time. This might be because students of English become familiar with the patterns of English vocabulary relatively early. Native speakers know many more nouns, but they might not have thought about the typical noun endings the way that a learner has through the early learning process. At the same time, students appreciate confirmation of the different forms of a word.

There are two sets of conversation questions on Print Discuss that give students practice at jumping between word forms. This first is Nominalization Practice.

The process of making nouns from other word forms is called nominalization or nouning. While I always enjoy seeing creativity with language, I don’t suggest that my students make up their own nouns. Rather, students can practice restructuring a sentence with an already well-established noun when responding to each question. Being able to switch between word forms at will ultimately allows for a wider and more nuanced range of expression.

Keep in mind, in academic and other types of writing, using verbs to express meaning is often preferable. See this post at enago.com for a discussion related to this point.

The second set of questions is Verbing Practice. To verb is to use a noun as a verb. With this question set, students are asked to answer each question in part by using the noun in bold as a verb. They are only asked to transform nouns that are already used as verbs in English by native speakers.

If instructors wish to give the different forms to students, I’m listing them below for convenience.

In the nominalization set:

In the verbing set, nearly every noun has the same verb form (at least before changes are made for subject-verb agreement and tense). The exceptions are in bold below: