Asking English Questions in a Global Context

Asking English Questions in a Global Context

Teacher Pointing At Book While Discussing With Students In Libra

How do English language learners develop the ability to ask questions in English? Why do ESL students need so much practice asking questions? What are tag-questions, and why are they so important in spoken English?

The grammar and word order of English questions can be challenging. English Questions: Practice Drills in All Active Tenses   provides English students with extensive, focused exercises in all the most common types of English questions. Written in an easy-to-use, easy-to-follow format with clear examples, this thin yet comprehensive ESL/EFL textbook contains 2290+ sentence to question transformations through all active verb tenses. Written by USC Assistant Professor J.J. Polk, my friend and colleague at the American Language Institute, the systematic book includes:

  • 500 Wh-questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why?)
  • Dozens of How-questions (How much? How many? How often?)
  • 1000 Tag-questions – a key feature of spoken English, daily conversations, and academic discussions
  • 500 Yes/No questions

Students Need to Ask Questions in English

Our students also need to be encouraged, and sometimes even trained, to ask questions in English. This ESL textbook does that. Developed for intermediate to pre-advanced English students, this rigorous ESL textbook demonstrates how to transform sentences into questions. It also provides hours of invaluable practice in forming questions. These demanding materials have been developed during Dr. Polk’s long career as an English teacher in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. He now teaches publication and dissertation writing to international graduate students who often still struggle with crafting sentences in English. Yet it’s essential for our international students to ask questions in academic, social, and professional contexts.

English Questions: Practice Drills in All Active Tenses


Practice, as the cliche goes, makes perfect. Yet, as many blog readers know, I prefer the more modest statement that practice makes progress. This 148-page book proves that point. If you are looking for an effective way to help your stronger English students develop their curiosity and writing skills, check out this ESL textbook.

English in Global Contexts: Proficiency Tasks for Aspiring Learners


I’m also a big fan of Dr. J.J. Polk’s English in Global Contexts: Proficiency Tasks for Aspiring Learners.  This second ESL textbook establishes a strong foundation for academic success. The 12-unit, task-based ESL course book for advanced level learners emphasizes content-related activities appropriate for higher education. Further, the challenging tasks also promote the acquisition of higher-level vocabulary and active, productive language use in a semi-academic context. Targeting serious students with global ambitions, this EFL textbook helps international students prepare for the CELTA, IELTS, and TOEFL standardized exams. Finally, Intensive English Programs and undergraduate advanced ESL classes can use it too.

This outstanding task-based reader appeals to an elite audience with intellectual interests. Yet many other dedicated EFL students seeking high scores on standardized exams could benefit from this book too. The appendix also provides lucid commentary on the most commonly tested grammar elements. Both ELT textbooks include a detailed answer key (sold separately here and here) for both ESL/ EFL instructors. Advanced English students working on their own can benefit from little-known ESL textbooks.

So I’m very pleased to share the good news about Dr. Polk’s outstanding ESL textbooks. We’re listing them in the Fall 2016 Chimayo Press catalog because they deserve a far larger audience.

Are you looking to create a more fluency-focused curriculum for your ESL/EFL class this fall? Do you seek new, engaging communicative activities to encourage class discussions? Or perhaps flexible lesson plans with a built-in homework assignment per unit? Or are you looking for sophisticated grammar exercises created for ambitious learners?  You can download Chimayo Press’s Fall 2016 catalog, for free, here. For discount codes on class orders for select titles, see here.

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About the Author

Eric H. Roth teaches international graduate students the pleasures and perils of academic writing and public speaking in English at the University of Southern California (USC). He also consults English language schools on communicative methods to effectively teach English. Roth co-authored Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics in 2006 to help English language learners increase their English fluency. Recommended by English Teaching Professional magazine, the advanced ESL textbook has been used in over 50 countries in English classrooms and conversation clubs. Easy English Times, an adult literacy newspaper, has published a monthly column, “Instant Conversation Activities,” based on the book since 2008. The first specific version for a particular country, Vietnam, was published in 2011. Compelling American Conversations came out in 2012, and Compelling Conversations – Japan arrived in 2015. Eric enjoys sharing reflections, resources, and teaching tips on this #ESL #EFL #ELT blog.

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