Using Grammar Girl Podcasts to Talk about Accurate Information and Redundant Language

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This blog series is written by Julia Domenicucci, an editor at Macmillan Learning, in conjunction with Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. Friends eating a meal

For many people, the fall and winter months are full of holidays--complete with traveling, gifts, family gatherings, and catching up with friends. They’re also known for their potential for stressful conversations. We hope these suggested podcasts and assignments--about misinformation and disinformation, evidence, redundancy, and apology--can help your students go into the holidays stress-free! 


Podcasts have been around for a while, but their popularity seems to increase every day—and for good reason! They are engaging and creative, and they cover every topic imaginable. They are also great for the classroom: you can use them to maintain student engagement, accommodate different learning styles, and introduce multimodality. 


LaunchPad and Achieve products include collections of assignable, ad-free Grammar Girl podcasts, which you can use to support your lessons. You can assign one (or all!) of these suggested podcasts for students to listen to before class. Each podcast also comes with a complete transcript, which is perfect for students who aren’t audio learners or otherwise prefer to read the content. To learn more about digital products and purchasing options, please visit Macmillan's English catalog or speak with your sales representative. 

If you are using LaunchPad, refer to the unit “Grammar Girl Podcasts” for instructions on assigning podcasts. You can also find the same information on the support page "Assign Grammar Girl Podcasts."

If you are using Achieve, you can find information on assigning Grammar Girl in Achieve on the support page "Add Grammar Girl and shared English content to your course." If your English Achieve product is copyright year 2021 or later, you are able to use a folder of suggested Grammar Girl podcasts in your course; please see “Using Suggested Grammar Girl Podcasts in Achieve for English Products” for more information.


Podcasts about Evidence, Redundancy, and Apology

  • The Difference Between Disinformation and Misinformation [3:50]
  • What Does It Mean to "Have the Receipts"? [5:22]
  • Are You Annoyingly Redundant? [5:30]
  • When Is It OK to Be Redundant? [6:40]
  • How to Write an Apology [8:55]


Assignment A: In class, discuss the words “disinformation” and “misinformation.” Ask students what they think each word means or what they think the difference between the two words is. As part of this, the class might list other words they know that start with the same prefixes--”mistake,” “misfortune,” “dishonor,” “discriminate.” Then, listen to the Grammar Girl podcast “The Difference Between Disinformation and Misinformation” and talk about any new facts they’ve learned. Ask students if they’ve seen any examples of disinformation or misinformation in the news or in discussions with friends.


To follow up, explore how sources can be used to support claims. Listen to “What Does It Mean to ‘Have the Receipts’?” and discuss how this newer usage of “receipts” is similar to and different from academic use of sources.


Assignment B: Everyone will need to apologize at some point. Whether it’s eating the cookie you didn’t know your roommate was saving or realizing you were wrong in an argument, knowing how to apologize is a great skill to have. 


Ask students to listen to “How to Write an Apology” and the two podcasts about redundancy for homework. Then, using the advice from Grammar Girl, they should write a letter apologizing to a roommate for walking over the new living room rug in muddy shoes. In class, have students peer review their apologies, keeping an eye out for any elements of the “nopology,” “unpology,” or “fauxpology,” as well as appropriate and inappropriate use of redundant language.


Credit: Pixabay Image 581753 by vivienviv0, used under a Pixaby License