Give students a few seconds to decide which food item completes the expression, then countdown from 3 to 0 on zero all the groups hold up the card they think completes the sentence (this way they can’t copy each other) award 1 point to each team that guesses correctly.
Award extra points for teams that can correctly define the expression.
Winning team is the one with the most points.
Then challenge students to write a story containing as many of the idioms as possible in 5 minutes.
A piece of cake – very easy
A couch potato – a lazy person who watches too much tv
The apple never falls far from the tree – like father/mother like son/daughter
To bring home the bacon – support a family financially
….is not my cup of tea – not my thing/something I like
Salt of the Earth – a genuine, charitable, down-to-earth person
As cool as a cucumber – very calm and relaxed
Spill the beans – reveal a secret/sensitive information
There’s no point crying over spilt milk – a problem has happened and there’s nothing you can do, so don’t worry
To butter somebody up – to compliment/treat someone nicely in order to get something
It is common that English speakers make offers in conversations in order to be polite and helpful. When they do so they use these expressions:
Can I… ?
Shall I… ?
Would you like … ?
How about …?
English learner must be able to make offers as well as accept or reject them. The following are useful expressions to do so.
get you some juice?
Would you like
a glass of water ?
· “Can I help you?”
· “Shall I open the window for you?”
· “Would you like another cup of coffee?”
· “Would you like me to clean the board?”
· “How about a juice? “
· Shall, can and will are followed by the verb without to.
“Can I help you?”
“Shall I bring you the mobile phone?
· Shall is more formal than can.
· Would you like… is followed either by a noun, or by the verb with to.
“Would you like some tea ?”
“Would you like to drink some coffee?
Responding to offers
Yes please. I’d like to.
That would be very kind of you.
Yes please, that would be lovely.
Yes please, I’d love to.
If you wouldn’t mind.
If you could.
Thank you, that would be great.
It’s OK, I can do it myself.
Don’t worry, I’ll do it.
No, thank you
· “Can I help you?”
“No thanks, I’m just having a look.” (With a shop assistant.)
· “Can I help you?”
“Do you know where the post office is.”
· “Shall I help you with your maths problem?”
“Yes, please. That would be very nice of you.”
· “Would you like a cup of tea?”
“No thanks.” Or, “No thank you.”
· “Would you like another piece of cake?”
“Yes please, that would be nice .”
“Yes please, I’d love one.”
· “Would you like me to do the the ironing for you?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“If you could.”
· “I’ll do the washing, if you like.”
“It’s OK, I can do it.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll do it.”
“Thank you, that would be great.”
Asking others to do things – making requests
Well, I’m afraid + reason
Is it all right if you…?
Do you think you could…?
Yes, of course.
Well, the problem is
Do you mind -ing…?
Would you mind -ing…?
No, not at all.
Of course not.
Offers and Requests Situations
You have just broken your leg. You have to stay in bed for 2 months. You have 3 children and 2 dogs. Ask your friends for help.
You have to go away for the weekend for a business trip. You have lots of plants in your house and 3 cats.
Your house is in a bad state: the walls need painting, one window is broken and the front door doesn’t close properly. You have no money for repairs. Ask your friends for help.
You have an important job interview tomorrow morning but your car is at the mechanics being fixed. You also need to take your children to school at the same time as the interview.
You are organising a cocktail dinner party but you can’t cook or make cocktails and you don’t have any CDs or records to play.
You had a big party last night and your house is a complete mess, the carpet is stained with red wine, all the dishes are dirty, there are cans and bottles everywhere and the toilet is broken. Ask your friends (who were also at the party) for help.
You are a little old lady. You have just been to the supermarket, you are carrying a lot of heavy bags and you want to cross the road. Ask a group of teenagers for help.
You are in an expensive restaurant with friends. There is a group of loud football players at the table next to you singing and shouting. The restaurant is also too cold and smells bad. Ask the waiter for help.
You had an accident at work and you have to wear two patches over your eyes for 2 weeks. Ask your friends for help with your daily activities.
You are moving house. You have to transport everything in your old house to your new one. You don’t have a van, ask your friends for help.
You have a new boss at work. You want to impress him/her because you want a promotion. Offer to do some extra work.
You are an old man, you have come to visit your children, you have arthritis and you need help with lots of things.
This is a conversation class based on the topic of agony aunts for advanced adult students (C1+) in which students learn some expressions and structures for giving advice. Here is the language handout and the situations for advice:
Ask students if they have similar columns/websites in their country.
Tell students that they are going to become agony aunts for the class.
Give out the handout and go through the language Then cut up the agony aunt situations and have students take it in turns to read a situation as if it were their own. Other students then give advice on the situation.
You ought to/ought not to…
You had better/had better not…
If I were in your shoes/position, I would…
I’ll tell you what, why don’t you…?
What you can do is…
I suggest/recommend that you + infinitive – to
I suggest/recommend + gerund
Have you tried + gerund?
It’s vital that you…
You simply have to…
You should/shouldn’t have + past participle.
You ought (not) to have + past participle.
Woah! That’s a tough one.
That’s a delicate/tricky situation.
You have to tread carefully.
Bring it up casually.
Who is in the wrong?
Don’t think twice about + gerund (definitely do it)
Don’t even think about + gerund (definitely don’t do it)
Put your foot down.
Don’t take any crap/bullshit.
You have to nip this problem in the bud.
I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
It’s just a storm in a teacup.
It’ll blow over.
Don’t make any hasty/rash decisions.
You have to face the problem head on.
Put yourself in his/her shoes.
What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot?
Don’t put up with it.
Go with your gut instinct.
Agony Aunt – Situations
My partner has to go away on a business trip with his/her ex, they will be staying in the same hotel. He/she has assured me that /he/she has no feelings for the ex.
My partner’s personal hygiene standards have slipped.
My partner’s parents are always dropping hints about wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet.
My best friend always flirts with my partner, I don’t want to make a big deal of it but it bothers me.
My partner called out the wrong name during sex!
My partner used to be really romantic but has stopped making the effort.
My partner told me he/she didn’t want anything for valentine’s day so I didn’t get him/her anything. He/she is now giving me the silent treatment.
I’ve been with my partner for 5 months; I have to move out of my house because my landlord is selling it. My partner has invited me to move in with him/her but I’m not sure. Is it too soon? I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings.
My partner doesn’t want to have kids and I’ve always said the same but now I’m starting to get broody.
My partner doesn’t help out around the house. He/she doesn’t cook, clean or help fix anything.
I lent my partner €1000 and he/she hasn’t paid me back yet and he/she hasn’t brought it up for months.
I get the feeling that my partner’s parents don’t approve of my line of work. I’m a professional musician. My partner used to go out with a lawyer.
My partner is still on good terms with all of his/her exes; he/she chats with them regularly on facebook.
My best friend told me that my partner came on to him/her when he/she was really drunk.
My partner’s mother won’t leave him/her alone. She insists on doing all his/her laundry and that they go out together, just the two of them, every Friday night. How do I make her back off?
I’ve fallen in love with my best friend but he/she isn’t interested.
I’m 19 years old and my partner has just proposed to me. I love him/her but is this too big a step?
I’m getting married in 2 weeks but I think my fiancé is getting cold feet about wedding. He/she goes really quiet when I start talking about it and he/she doesn’t seem to be sleeping much.
I’m single, I kissed a colleague at the work Christmas party and now he/she has asked me out on a date.
My boss at work keeps giving me the eye and dropping hints about us going on a date. He’s invited me to a conference next weekend.
I’ve just come out of a long-term relationship. I met a great guy/girl in a bar the other day. I told him/her that it was just a bit of fun but I think he/she is falling for me.