It depends

Yesterday morning I handed back the grammar test that my pre-intermediate students took on Friday. My strategy is to have them correct their own mistakes…so what I do is hand them bare copies of the test and quiz them on the parts where they made mistakes. My reasoning is that if I simply gave them the corrected test, they wouldn’t remember anything after two seconds. This way, they have to reflect about the mistakes they made. So far I have found this to be a good method.


One of my funniest students, Colleague C (for a reminder, do a blog search for “moldy bread” 🙂 ) didn’t agree with some of the corrections. She wailed that she feels like a little bird, full of life and ideas and new grammar rules, but stifled inside the cage of English grammar. But, I tell her, rules are rules. Her standard refrain: No, Margaret, it depends.


Let me illustrate this point with an example from one of the exercises, one of those insert-the-missing-preposition exercises: “I’m looking _____ my neighbour’s cat while she’s on holiday.” My students had all answered “for”: “I’m looking for my neighbour’s cat blablabla…”


Yesterday morning, they couldn’t figure out the mistake. They listed all the prepositions that they could remember. They insisted that the correct answer just had to be “look for.” They protested, But Margaret, you told us that “cercare” is translated “to look for.”  True, I answered, but this is not “cercare,  which makes no sense in this context. This is “badare a.”


When I told them that the correct preposition was “after,” Colleague C blurted out: No, no, Margaret, it depends. For example, while the neighbour was on holiday, what if the cat got lost, and I had to look for him? You see, it depends, it always depends on the situation. Well, we did have a bit of a laugh over this one.


Upon reflection, though, so many things in life depend on how you look at specific situations. When you receive bad news, e.g., you can try to examine it from different perspectives…and in the end, it may actually turn out to be not-so-bad news.


Question: was I better off before my myeloma diagnosis or am I better off now? Hmmm. In many ways, as incredible as this is going to sound, I am better off now. I have a purpose and drive that I didn’t have before my diagnosis.


In addition, if I hadn’t begun writing bits and pieces for my blog, I would never have discovered that I can actually write. And writing has now become an important part of my life. Who would have thought? A few years ago, I would have said, no way, I can’t write, period. But here I am, every day, typing away at something, full of ideas. I have written a ton of unpublished blog pieces. Sometimes I write just for fun.


Therefore, for me, having myeloma is not all bad. But if I were in a later stage, and I may get there someday, well, there is no question that I would think differently.


Colleague C is right.


It depends.




  1. I think you’re a VERY good writer Margaret! And witty too! You can make even hard to understand things more interesting. I appreciate that!

    I’ve changed somewhat since my SMM diagnosis too, not sure it’s for the better though! : ) I used to be a very nice, patient, thinking of others kinda gal. I’m not so much that way anymore. Out of necessity, I must think of myself more. I also have very little tolerance for people who complain about trivial stuff…my co-worker whines about her aches and pains all the time and she’s healthy as a horse! : ) I don’t want to hear it! I’m more assertive than I used to be too. Now, I often times must speak my mind, whether it’s popular or not (as in our recent election process)! I still believe discretion is the better part of valor however. My husband tells me I need to be careful and not become the Queen “B”! : ) He’s witty too!

    Colleague C could be looking “for” that cat if her neighbor asked her to look “after” it while she was away! You both are right! : ) Have a good day! Donna

  2. Hi Donna,
    I find one of the best things about getting older is that I’m no longer frightened to speak my mind. We have a series of programmes here on British TV called “Grumpy old men/women”. I love it. It’s so funny and so true.
    And hey, smouldering myeloma is exactly what it says it is – smouldering. Thank God it’s no worse and why not smoulder yourself when you feel like it. There’s nothing wrong with letting off steam as long as you can have a good laugh afterwards.
    Stay stable.

  3. Thanks Paul! Maybe it’s the “getting older” part of me that’s becoming more assertive instead of the SMM! : ) Who knows! Whatever it is, it’s rather liberating! Hey, what’s the worst thing that could happen…one of the worst things that could happen has already happened…a life threatening disease! The only thing worse would be if it was a loved one instead of me. I feel great…all is well…for now. You take care too! Donna

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