Is it OK if a teacher says, "I don't know" to students?

It depends a bit on what the question was and whither you should reasonably be expected to know the answer in order to be competent or not. If the question is on topic, and you are often stumped, then it suggests that you didn't prep sufficiently.

If the question is off topic, then it is quite fine to say, "I don't know". More over, if the question is well off topic and distracting form the lesson, then it a distinct benefit to disengage with a quick short reply even if you in fact do know the answer.

Why shouldn't I quite frequently and generously use the dreaded adverb superfluously in my wonderful writing?

The answer is in the question. If it is superfluous, then you don't need it. Concise writing is effective writing. When you add superfluous words, you create waffle. Use words when they are required to convey meaning. Omit words when the meaning can be conveyed without verbosity.

Using a thesaurus allows you to be specific in your choice of language. You can choose words that convey the meaning, without the addition of excess adjectives or adverbs.

Should a foreign language teacher use their native language while teaching or should they solely the foreign language?

The native language should be used minimally. There may be some instances where using the student's native language can help to explain a point efficiently, especially with beginner level students, or to bring students into order and discipline them. As students advance, the need to drop into the native language should diminish. The objective should always be to maximize the student's exposure to the new language in order to maximize their learning – even if that means something is harder for the teacher.

Is it incorrect to shorten "my hobby is…" to "my hobby's…" or does it just look strange?

Generally, when writing, you should avoid all contractions. Over using contractions can make the writing harder to read and meanings my bedroom ambiguous. The reader can contact themselves if reading aloud and some would rather not contact if such is their normal style.

An exception is when you are trying to write to imitate speech such as within a quotation. In this case you would contact the writing to match the speech even if the contraction is unusual.

When speaking, native English speakers would contact “is" in most cases without even knowing they are doing it.

Has the English language ever had two "to be" verbs?

My mother tongue is Portuguese, and we have two verbs that can be translated as “to be”: Ser and Estar. I Wonder if English has ever had this feature?

I don’t know enough about Portuguese to understand the subtitles of Ser and Estar that would be needed to answer this authoritatively, however I can talk about old English.

Can I learn to speak English by just living in an English speaking country without taking any courses?

Yes, you can learn English just by living in and English speaking country but only with a great deal of determination. This is essentially how I learned Chinese. I landed in China with a job teaching English – I never had any Chinese language lessons, I just interacted with the local people and gradually picked up bits of the language. Things accelerated when I married a Chinese woman and started a family – as I was pushed to expand the scope of my language into new areas. The downside is that you tend to learn only small subsets of the language that relate to your day-to-day life e.g.


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