TESOL/Constructing a narrative

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Telling a story, or constructing a narrative, as it's known technically, is an essential language ability. Being able to tell a story is what beginning second language learners strive for and marks fluency in a language.

Sequential events[edit]

Events rapidly following each other[edit]

The words scarcely, hardly, and no sooner are used to indicate that events happen quickly after each other. The words connecting the following event are set and cannot be exchanged.

  • I had hardly come in when/before the phone rang. I had hardly come in than the phone rang.
  • She had no sooner eaten the salad than she began to feel sick. She had no sooner eaten when she began to feel sick
  • He had scarcely finished talking when/before the reporters began shouting questions. He had scarcely finished talking than the reporters began shouting questions.

Completion[edit]

The word once is sometimes a conjunction indicating that one event comes to completion before the next event starts.

  • Once we got to our camp, we started to make our tent.
  • I understood it clearly once she explained it to me.
  • I can come to your house once my mom lets me.

Ending[edit]

Finally[edit]

Finally is used to indicate that something happens after a long wait, and using it suggests that the speaker was impatient.