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'run' or 'to run' 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
Post 'run' or 'to run'
What do you teach as the infinitive?

I actually teach my students the present participle first (although 'run' not 'running' is what appears on the handouts.)

In Japan, 'run' is taught as the infinitive. I've followed that model so far but as grammar gets more complicated it seems it may be better for them to know that it actually is 'to run' and the verb is conjugated in sentences like 'I run in the mornings.' or 'Run!'

I believe in Europe they teach 'to run' and I'm sure that makes sense to students where L1 is Latin based and there is verb conjugation in L1.

I'm just curious what others do and think.

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Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:07 am
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:47 pm
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In France, teachers usually teach the infinitive as being "to run".

At the moment I'm teaching "run" as being the infinitive, but frankly I do not know which is the best solution. I'm just trying to keep things as simple as possible, although I don't know what is better in the long run.


Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:52 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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Location: Italy
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I never teach younger kids or low-level students of any age verbs in the "to + verb" format. I think it just confuses the issue - it's much more intuitive to stick with just the present simple version of the verb.

I only start presenting new verbs with "to" later on in order to help student differentiate between the verb, noun and adjectival possibilities:

- to run
- a run
- be run down

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Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:20 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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That's interesting. I'm sure there's more to it than simply with 'to' or without. There's a big section on how you actually teach either of them that would really make the difference, I assume.

In Japanese there is no verb agreement with the subject (usually there's no subject anyway.) So, one needing to include a subject and then also having to make the verb agree at times (present) and then it doesn't matter at other times (simple past) is quite a lot for them to get their head around.

I don't think I'll be teaching 'to run' to younger kids but I may introduce the concept to some of my junior high school students and see what happens. I'm really hoping it helps them to understand what happens when we start adding 'to run' as is into sentences and why we need 'to', why it doesn't function as the main verb, etc., etc.

Most of the time they're just remembering forms for regergitation, but don't really understand the structure as pieces. Or rather they don't understand the peices.

Rene - welcome to the site and let us know how going against the grain there works out. i'd love to hear if you have better success or even if you find out it would have been better to just go with the infinitive.

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Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:00 pm
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