May 21, 2012 | Review Period

Subjunctive Is Like Music

Or so one grammarian claims.

A new book I bought, The French Subjunctive Up Close by Annie Heminway, begins with the following question: “Are you ‘subjunctophobic’?” Me, Going to Concert at St. Bartholomew’s Church; It Did Not Remind Me of Subjunctive This…

May 23, 2012 | Review Period

Another Multilingual Day

I worked at NYC & Company yesterday and spoke five languages in four hours.

As indicated in the subtitle above, yesterday I spoke five languages in four hours during my volunteer shift at an NYC & Company information center, where tourists from around the world descend to get information about, and tickets for, many…

May 24, 2012 | Review Period

Participles Versus Gerunds

Grammatical terms are not as fixed as is convenient for my brain.

In my grammar travels in English, I have often noticed the terms “present participle” and “gerund” being used interchangeably. The word “walking” can be either a participle or a gerund, depending on how it is employed in a sentence. I…

May 25, 2012 | Review Period

En Route (That’s French!) to My College Reunion!

And I study grammar all the way there.

This weekend is my 25th college reunion. Back in 1987, a quarter of a century ago, I graduated and began a reasonable semblance of adult life. I felt much better this year than I did 25 years ago. On my graduation day,…

May 27, 2012 | Review Period

The Personal “A” in Spanish

I refine some of my Spanish grammar knowledge.

In Spanish you add an a before most direct objects that are people. So, for example, in English where you would say, “I saw Juan,” in Spanish you would say, Vi a Juan. The

May 28, 2012 | Review Period


Which Romance language wins?

In Spanish Verb Tenses, author Dorothy Richmond seems to be trying to start a Romance language war. In a provocative chapter on stem-changing verbs, which are verbs like almorzar (to eat lunch), morir (to…

May 31, 2012 | Review Period

Prepositions: I’m Not the Only One They Bother

My grammar-book writer reassures me I am not alone.

I have been re-making my way through Pimsleur Italian Plus (lessons 91-100). I have to be careful, when doing Pimsleur, not to turn my ankle in the potholes that are accumulating in an intersection I cross frequently at 73rd and…

June 3, 2012 | Review Period

Vocabulary Observations

A cross-language word examination.

Yesterday I came across the word for “tool” in French. It is outil. Look at the Filled-In Potholes! I Texted a Complaint and They Filled Them Right Up! I have learned and relearned that word before, but I…

June 4, 2012 | Review Period

Separation of Preposition and Pronoun

English has special powers that Italian and other languages do not.

In Italian, you can’t separate your prepositions and pronouns. As Daniela Gobetti, author of Italian Pronouns and Prepositions points out, in Italian you would say, “Per chi stai comprando quel regalo?” In English, you could say, “Who…

June 7, 2012 | Review Period

My Future (Tense) Is Cloudy

I am forgetting how to say "will be" in multiple languages.

Reviewing (and Forgetting) Spanish at a Neighborhood Cafe I am getting confused about how to say “will be” in multiple languages. For example, as in “What will be, will be.” Spanish, Italian, and French are very similar. They converge. Or…