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Tutor profile: Stefan L.

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Stefan L.
Foreign English Teacher
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Questions

Subject: TOEFL

TutorMe
Question:

What do you think are the characteristics of a good teacher?

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Stefan L.
Answer:

A good teacher is one who is always quick to listen and slow to criticise. Knowing the background of one's students is always a plus, as the students need to know that they are more to you than a means of getting money. Taking the time to learn their names, knowing about their family, their dreams and ambitions will mean the world to them, and they will want to learn from you. Many of the times I hear people say things like "I hated french at school" or "English literature was the worst subject ever", I would always discover that in 99% of the cases, they never seemed to be able to connect with the teacher. Connecting with one's students is pertinent to being a successful teacher.

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

Why is it that the plural of foot is feet; the plural of tooth is teeth, but the plural of moose not meese?

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Stefan L.
Answer:

This question can only be answered with reference to the history of the English language. When the language itself first started out, the speakers had never seen those things which would later be irregularities in the language later. Eg. moose. Moose are found in Canada, Alaska and other parts of the US. By the time the speakers of English got to the "New World", and encountered such entities, they simply borrowed the word straight from the natives they met. Other examples of this include Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Vodka, Smorgasbord, and many more. Besides, the word "meese" before the Great Vowel Shift in the 1400's already had a meaning. It was the plural of 'mouse'.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

Why is it that they say all words that begin with a vowel must be preceded with the article "an", but yet we do not say "an unicorn" or "an unicycle"?

Inactive
Stefan L.
Answer:

When we speak of words starting with these vowels, we tend to ignore those ones which are rare. What we fail to realise is that it's not the letter that determines the use of the "an" article, but the sound of that letter. Seeing as the above words like "unicorn, uniform, unicycle" etc, start with more of a y- sound (consonant), it would then warrant the article "a" rather than "an". Eg. a unicorn.

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