Sentence expansion drills can be done by yourself or with a native speaker of the language and are one avenue to practicing the language in ways that build upon the knowledge you already have. The name does much to explain this drill, but the basic idea is to start with a core simple sentence and then to expand it one part at a time. This is best understood if demonstrated so you might start with a simple sentence and proceed like this:
- I eat food.
- I eat food with a fork.
- I eat food with a fork at a restaurant.
- I eat lots of food with a fork at a restaurant.
- I eat lots of food with a fork at a restaurant with my friends.
- I often eat lots of food with a fork at a restaurant with my friends.
This is all pretty simple, but when you are beginning to learn a new language and to understand how the structures of the language work, this can be an intentional way to practice and give yourself a lot of repetition.
How It Works
You can do sentence expansion drills in a lot of different ways. The simplest is to just have these sorts of conversations with yourself about the things you see around you.
You could also do this drill on paper. This allows for a bit more reflection on the process and the ability to go back and check your sentences with a native speaker.
Another great way to do these sorts of drills is to do them with a native speaker. Explain what you want to do and then start by making a simple sentences. Have your native speaking friend add one new component. Then you add a component. This interaction allows you to get immediate feedback and clarification and will keep the sentences more real. If you add something that sounds funny to a native speaker’s ear, they’ll let you know.
However you do the sentence expansion drill, they can be a great way to get some regular repetition with new words and grammar forms of the target language.
Have you ever done sentence expansion drills in your head as you go about your day?
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