Systematizing Details in Foundation Grammar Instructions Through “Subject and Object Questions”

“Read not to confute nor accept but weigh and consider.”

Francis Bacon

Understanding grammar points in your own accumulated knowledge as language educators is an instant capacity, whereas transmission of these knowledge requires techniques and several attempts to nonnative speakers as learners of the language who haven’t had prior immersion. At this point, we are made to understand that teachers don’t rely primarily on textbooks’ directions, but the need to simplify in such a way that the students will be able to understand is critical.

One practical measure that may possibly address this dilemma is a thoroughly systematized steps which can cater to diverse learners’ levels. As operationally employed in this proposed approach, it is tantamount to expounding every detail for the purpose of ensuring beginners’ understanding. Here are some illustrated practiced tips that tend to be beneficial through the teaching of subject and object questions in ESL’s foundation grammar not to mention that this method is additionally recommended in teaching other language focuses depending on students’ comprehension levels and language background.

Level 1: Frame specific intended outcomes to guide your teaching process. These may be expressed as, at the end of this discussion, the students will be able to: identify the important components of subject and object questions, label the specific parts involve to formulate these types of questions, give the difference between subjects and object questions, produce their own examples of subject and object questions using situation guides in written or in oral forms, and determine the importance of subjects and an objects in given statements.

Level 2: Present the components to be defined. These are specifically the subject, verb and object within statements that follow subject-object-verb (S-V-O) pattern.

This will be further understood when subjects and objects are introduced with corresponding basic, controlled and simplified definitions such as, the subject does the action, verb is the action done by the subject and object is the receiver of the action done by the subject. The examples have to be expressed in simple and short sentences. This portion presents the background of subject and object to be interrelated to the constructions of these types of questions.

For example, “He drove a car.” “He” is the subject. “Drove” is the verb. “A car” is the object. These should be expounded repeatedly with series of examples till the knowledge of these elements will be established.

Level 3: Review regular and irregular action or state verbs and the auxiliary expressions. The regular and irregular action or state verbs too, have important roles in the transformation of words affected by singular and plural forms of the subjects as well as the tenses when they mean past or present.

Regular verbs- present tense with singular and plural subjects: touches/touch, love/loves, covers/cover…

Regular verbs -past tense with singular and plural subjects: touched/ covered/ loved, started/turned…

Irregular verbs- present tense with singular and plural subjects: breaks/break, knows/know, writes/write…

Irregular verbs- past tense with singular and plural subjects: broke/wrote/knew/ made/ said/ told…

Level 4: Familiarize the auxiliary words relating to subject and tenses which are specifically does, do and did, and elucidate them by details. You can use the table of subject pronouns to illustrate.

Does is used for present tense with singular subjects. For instance, does he… , does it… , does she… ?

Do is used for present tense with plural subjects except pronouns, I and you that may appear to be plural in structures. For example, do they… , do we… , do you… , do I… ?

Did is used for past tense with singular or plural subjects such as did I… , did you… ?

Highlight that this auxiliaries will follow the present form of a verb regardless of subjects and tenses as an example, “Does he drive?” “Did he drive?” “Do we drive?” “Do I drive?”

Level 5: Introduce the use of what and who with emphasis that “what” asks for things while “who” asks for persons. Use consistent examples if possible till every component is explained.

For instance, “Who drives the car” is a question that asks person as a response’ while “What did he drive?” is a question that needs thing as an answer.

Level 6: Present both the auxiliary verbs which are does, do and did, and the two question expressions, what and who to elucidate object questions. Variate examples. Use either past or present tenses for singular or plural objects using regular or irregular verbs.

What does he drive? What do they drive? What did they drive? Who did he talk to? Your examples should have S-V-O pattern to avoid confusing beginners.

Level 7: Introduce action/state verbs in sentences with the two question expressions, what and who, to come up with subject questions. Use either present or past verbs with singular or plural subject answers with regular or irregular verbs.

For example, “Who drove a car? Who drives a car? Who remembers the date? Who knows the address? What happens on May 8? What broke the glass? Who heard the sound?” Your examples should follow a pattern that contains subjects, verbs and objects for consistency.

Level 8: Apply the two types of questions with labeled parts for emphasis.

Subject question: Who drove the car? He drove the car.

Who remembers the date? Husam remembers the date.

Object question: What did he drive? He drove a car.

What do they drive? They drive a car.

Who did he talk too? He talked to Khalifa.

Level 9: Highlight the location of the subject and the object as responses in the sentences when questions are asked.

In subject question, “Who drove a car? He drove a car,” the location of the answer is at the beginning of the sentence which is, he.

In object question, “What did he drive? He drove a car,” the location of the answer is at the end of the sentence.

Level 10: Deliver and facilitate other examples to reinforce the understood rules.

My mother cooked dinner. This time the students will label the parts of a sentence before formulating the questions. They will come up with mother as the subject, cooked as the verb and dinner as the object.

subject question: Who cooked dinner? Answer: Mother cooked dinner.

object question: What did mother cook? Answer: Mother cooked dinner.

Elicit the subject and object of the sentences by asking questions from what were formulated. This time, the students will label the location of responses for every type of question.

subject question: Who cooked dinner? Answer: Mother cooked dinner.

object question: What did mother cook? Answer: Mother cooked dinner.

Level 11: Generate a formula to intensify understanding with corresponding examples to observe distinctions. In these examples, the students will identify the important elements on forming these types of questions in both present and simple past.

who / what + verb 1 (present ) or verb 2 (simple past) = subject question

Who writes a letter? What happened yesterday?

Waleed writes a letter? An accident happened yesterday.

who/ what + auxiliary verb (present) or auxiliary verb (past) = object question

Who did he marry last year? What does he want? What did he drive?

He married Patchaka last year. He wants a new car. He drove a truck.

Level 12: Provide an opportunity to formulate their examples based from the formula.

Each one writes examples and state it orally. Some may write on the board for further analysis of their works. One good point of writing answers on the board is that, it is a way of correcting errors generally. The error of one who wrote on the board may be the similar errors of several students.

Level 13: Present a situation where they can formulate examples of questions with possible answers to prove if the questions are intended for objects or subjects.

A boy walks along aisle 1 of a department store. He gazes at the apples, cherries and persimmons. He picks one apple and one persimmon then goes to the checkout counter.

Ask the students to create questions out of the situation. Possible answers:

Who walks along aisle 1? The boy walks along aisle 1.

What fruits does the boy want? The boy wants an apple and a persimmon.

Who gazes at the apples, cherries and persimmons? The boy gazes at the apples, cherries and persimmons.

Level 14: Produce a generalization through their responses in terms of the elements found in a subject question and the elements found in an object question for emphasis.

The students should now infer that in subject questions, “who or what” is followed by action verbs. For example, who wants… , who said… , what destroyed… , who made… , what colored, etc.

The students should too infer that in object questions, “who or what” is followed by auxiliary verbs. For example, who did… , what did… , what does… , what do… who do… , etc.

Ask the importance of subject and objects in sentences. At these point, students are now expected to understand that the following sentences expressed complete ideas through the presence of the subjects, verbs and objects as illustrated by these examples: “They ate delicious apples. Who ate delicious apples? What did they eat?”

Level 15: Construct a final reinforcement out of these examples. Students may infer that the subject is found before the verb and that the object is found after the verb in a normal form of a sentence produce by creating subject and object questions. They can also generalize that who or what followed by auxiliaries are object questions while what or who followed by action verbs are subject questions. With these examples, they may also observe that object questions are answered by objects while the subject questions are answered by subjects.

Who drove the car? The man drove a car.

What did the man drive? The man drove a car.

Level 16: Evaluate comprehensions by a final activity.

Identify each statement if it is an object question or a subject question. Provide answers to these questions in complete statements.

1. Object question: What did he like to cook? He liked to cook spaghetti.

2.___________ What does he want? ___________________________________.

3. ___________Who broke the glass this morning? ___________________________.

4. ___________What took place an hour ago? ________________________________.

5. ___________Who did Jane give the flower? ________________________________.

6. ___________What started the fire? ______________________________________.

7.____________What do Waleed and friends want? ____________________________.

8.____________Who did Dixie call? _______________________________________.

9. ____________Who celebrated his birthday today? ___________________________.

10.____________What do you prefer? ________________________________________.

If there are exercises found in students’ prescribed textbooks, it is recommended that these activities have to be dealt with for further refurbishments.

Level 17. Reflect to evaluate your lessons’ impact by asking questions based from the stated objectives. Did the students identify the important components of subject and object questions? Did the students label the specific parts involve to formulate these types of questions? Did the students give the difference between subjects and object questions? Did the students create their own examples using a situation guide? Did the students write and state examples of these questions independently? Did the students determine the importance of subjects and objects in sentences? Are the order thinking skills through the presence of the activities corresponding to level objective verbs activated?