Elbow Room - English Idioms


The idiom "elbow room" refers to having enough room to move in or having the ability to act freely, for example: The concert was so crowded that there was hardly any elbow room at all. This means, there were so many people at the concert that you could barely move.

Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

This unit is the final grammar unit and introduces modal auxiliary verbs, the passive voice, relative clauses, and phrasal verbs. Modal auxiliary verbs add meaning to the main verb and they express a number of ideas, such as obligation, ability, possibility/probability, advice, and permission. They can also be used to show different degrees of formality. Some good activities for teaching modal auxiliary verbs are role playing and using signs, such as traffic signs. There are two voices used in the English language: the active voice and the passive voice. While the active voice puts the focus on the main agent or subject, the passive voice switches the focus to the less important object or subject. The passive voice is most commonly used when something is not known, is not important, or when we do not want to say exactly who performs an action. The next grammar idea this unit taught was relative clauses. There are three relative clauses. The independent clause is a complete sentence and can stand on its own. The dependent clause must be connected to an independent clause to have it make sense. The relative clause is a type of dependent clause which modifies the noun. It can also be referred to as an adjective clause. There are two different types of relative clauses. A defining relative clause contains vital information to the sentence. Without this information, the meaning of the sentence is changed. The other type of relative clause is the non-defining clause. This information uses commas to identify where it is in the sentence and could be removed entirely without affecting the meaning of the original thought. The most difficult, in my opinion, grammar technique are phrasal verbs. There are three: transitive, transitive separable, and transitive inseparable. They are sometimes called multi-word verbs and they contain a verb plus one or two participles. These verbs are best taught by dropping them into lesson conversations naturally. The more the students hear them used, the easier it will be for them to use them on their own. It is also easier to teach them as vocabulary items as they can be very difficult for students to learn in a stand alone lesson.

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