The vague use of ‘thing’
Wednesday 21 December 2011
by Ken Paterson
In writing ‘A Handbook of Spoken Grammar’ (follow the links ‘Titles’ and ‘Language Practice’ on the DELTA website for details), we wanted to include some key aspects of ‘vague language’ (e.g. ‘sort of’, ‘a couple of’, ‘a bit of’ etc.).
The word ‘thing’ (and ‘thingy’, ‘thingamajig’, and ‘thingummy’) has a number of
– There was a thing at work today.
(An argument? A farewell party? A big announcement?)
– I’ve got this thing on my shoulder.
(An insect bite? A bruise?)
– Have you seen my sports things?
– Did you send thingy a birthday card?
(It might sound rude to use ‘thing’ for a person here, but people will often say ‘You poor/brave thing!’)
– Shall we see how things develop?
– I haven’t got a thing to wear.
In the unit on ‘thing’, we try to work out some rules for its use, and we’ve
written some practice exercises, and recorded some dialogues. But here’s a
question for you:
Would you say all of these? What’s the difference in meaning?
They’re rich. They’ve got a yacht and everything.
They’re rich. They’ve got a yacht and things.
They’re a couple now. They’re in love and everything.
They’re a couple now. They’re in love and things.
Next time: exaggerated language.
If you’re about to celebrate, have an absolutely fantastic Christmas!
Delta Development Blog
This blog will be updated at least once a week, so add it to your bookmarks. You can also subscribe to the feed to be notified when it's updated.
Meet the Bloggers
- Bob Dignen & Steve Flinders (February to April 2013)
- Hania Kryszewska & Paul Davis (April to June 2012)
- Louis Rogers (January to March 2012)
- Ken Paterson (December 2011 to February 2012)
- Richard Brown & Lewis Richards (September to November 2011)
- Liz Walter & Kate Woodford (September to October 2011)
- Kyle Mawer & Graham Stanley (April to August 2011)
- Nik Peachey (from November 2010)
- Nicky Hockly (September & October 2010)
- Julie Pratten (July & August 2010)
- Gill Johnson (April 2010)
- Chaz Pugliese (March 2010)
- Luke Meddings (August 2009)
- Lindsay Clandfield (July 2009)
- Duncan Foord (June 2009)
- Scott Thornbury (May 2009)
The Developing Teacher
The Developing Teacher has been awarded the 2009 Duke of Edinburgh/ESU Award for Best Entry for Teachers. The Developing Teacher suggests that teachers themselves are the most powerful agents of change and development in their own professional career.
DIGITAL PLAY - 2012 ELTONS WINNER IN INNOVATION IN TEACHER RESOURCES! Digital Play is a pioneering book on the use of computer games in language teaching. Authors Kyle and Graham are experts in teaching with technology and training teachers in innovative classroom practice.
Part of the Delta Teacher Development Series. Being Creative takes you on a journey that reveals how all teachers have the potential to become creative. Whether you are experienced or new to the classroom, Being Creative allows your teaching to take flight.
The Business English Teacher
From the multi-award-winning DELTA TEACHER DEVELOPMENT SERIES. The Business English Teacher is a book not only for teachers who are thinking of making a career move into the field of business English teaching but also for those who would like to increase their skills and develop their potential.
Culture in our Classrooms
Part of the Delta Teacher Development Series. Culture in our Classrooms acknowledges the role of culture in the English Language Teaching classroom and provides lesson content which is relevant, useful and engaging for students.
The Book of Pronunciation
Part of the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series. The Book of Pronunciation is a definitive account of the key role pronunciation plays in teaching and learning, providing a highly authoritative but hugely accessible overview of the essential elements of English pronunciation as well as a wide range of classroom practice.
Teaching Online is essential reading for any teacher interested in online teaching and course delivery. It deals comprehensively with both the tools and the techniques necessary for online language instruction.
The Company Words Keep
Part of the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series. The Company Words Keep is a practical and thought-provoking guide for language teachers, showing how the latest insights into “language chunks” can lead to learners acquiring natural and fluent English.
Teaching Unplugged was awarded the British Council 2010 ELTons UK Award for Innovation. Teaching Unplugged is the first book to deal comprehensively with the approach in English Language Teaching known as Dogme ELT.
11 Feb 16
8 Jan 16
2 Jul 15
16 Jun 15
2 Jun 15
29 Apr 15
10 Apr 15
8 Apr 15
1 Apr 15
13 Mar 15
13 Feb 15
30 Jan 15
16 Jan 15
11 Dec 14
27 Nov 14