Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest post: “A Long Time Coming” – Vocabulary/collocations related to national identity and obtaining dual citizenship – B2+

This is a guest post by Steve Krajewski from English Coach Online on the topic of national identity and gaining dual citizenship.

Steve writes texts based on his own life experiences and shares them with students. His texts are packed with phrases and collocations that are common in spoken English.

For this post, Steve decided to focus on a text called ‘A long time coming’. This text will enable students to discuss whether they’ve ever done a family tree, what they know about their ancestors and to what extent gaining dual citizenship would have an impact on their lives.

Skills practiced include listening for gist, guessing the meanings of words from context and scanning the text for details.


Download the teacher’s notes and the student handout below:

Download the audio file for the text here:

Long time coming audio.

Student Handout

A long time coming

As I have the right to obtain Polish citizenship by descent, I’ve been spending a great deal of time getting to grips with the Law on Polish citizenship and asking specialists for advice about which documents I need to submit for my application.

Obtaining Polish citizenship by descent is relatively straightforward. Considering the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and the future rights of British citizens who wish to travel, live and work in the EU, holding dual citizenship might be very useful down the line. My father will apply for a Polish passport as well.

A few weeks ago, I hired a genealogist to carry out research on my Polish ancestors. I’ve learned some revealing things about my grandfather, such as the fact that the Soviets deported him and his family to Arkhangelsk, Russia, in 1940. My researcher has also discovered the names, birthplaces and educational backgrounds of my grandfather’s siblings and parents.

Applying for Polish citizenship has made me wonder why so many people don’t take an interest in their roots and ancestors. I certainly feel a little guilty for not visiting the villages connected with my ancestors when I lived in Poland on and off between 2006 and 2013.

So – what do you think? Should families research their family history and start a family tree together?


a long time coming – arriving or happening after a lot of time has passed

(here I refer to my regrets that it took such a long time to learn about my


citizenship – the position or status of being a citizen of a particular


(by) descent – the origin or background of a person in terms of family or


get to grips (with something) – to start to deal with a problem, situation, or job that you have to do

submit – to give or offer something for a decision to be made by others

straightforward – uncomplicated and easy to do or understand

uncertainty – a situation in which something is not known for sure

surrounding – related to; around; involved with

rights – a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something

dual citizenship – the status of a person who is a legal citizen of two or more countries

down the line – in the future

genealogist – a person who traces or studies lines of family descent

carry out research (on something) – a careful study of a subject (e.g. medical/historical/scientific), especially in order to discover new facts or information about it

revealing – showing something that was not previously known or seen

educational background – your educational background refers to all of the education you have received

take an interest (in something) – be concerned or curious

roots – family origins, or the particular place you come from and the experiences you have had living there

ancestor – a person related to you who lived a long time ago (usually

before grandparents)

(feel) guilty – to feel intense regret for something

on and off – only for part of a period of time; not in a regular or

continuous way

family tree – a diagram showing the relationship between people in several generations of a family

Read Steve’s posts related to ELT and language learning here:

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Proficiency

Rhetorical Devices in Speech and Writing

This is a lesson plan designed to help students make their written and spoken English more emphatic and engaging. Students will learn various rhetorical devices, then put them to use in conversation. Download the handout and key below:

Rhetorical Devices in Speech and Writing – Student Handout

We can use the following rhetorical devices to make our speeches and writings more engaging.

  1. Rhetorical Questions

Ask a question that you don’t expect an answer to.

“How can we encourage more people to recycle? Well, one way would be to…”

“How much impact do one person’s habits really have on the environment? Surprisingly, ….

  1. Personification

Giving human actions or emotions to non-living/inanimate things.

“I could hear the pack of cookies calling to me from the cupboard.”

“The music industry chewed him up and spat him out.”

“The soft bed welcomed me with open arms.”

“The fear of failure chased him wherever he went.”

  1. Hyperbole

Using exaggeration to draw attention to the severity of the matter or to make a strong point. 

“I called her a thousand times.”

“I will literally die if they ask me to give a speech to the whole class.”

“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”

  1. Litotes

Ironic understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary

“How did Steve look when you visited him? Not great to be honest.”

“How was the film? Yeah, not bad.”

“Let’s just say he doesn’t have the best attendance record.”

  1. Anadiplosis

Repetition of the last word in a phrase at the beginning of the next phrase or sentence.

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.” –Yoda, Star Wars

“We ordered a pizza. A pizza that changed our lives.”

“She got on the bus, and on that bus she met a man. A man who would turn out to be the love of her life. A life that would be tragically cut short at only 25 years old.”

  1. Simile

A simile is a comparison in which something is said to figuratively be like something else. They usually contain “like” or “as”.

“It was as hot as a desert this morning.”

“His heart was beating like a broken clock.”

“My grandad is as blind as a bat and as deaf as a post.”


Identify the different rhetorical devices:

  1. It certainly wasn’t the worst school play I’ve ever been to.
  2. I’m absolutely starving, when can we stop for lunch? 
  3. My little brother is as thick as two short planks, he’s just not the academic type.
  4. The far-off lights of the city seemed to welcome us as we got closer.
  5. He spent the last of his money on an old bike. An old bike that he ended up riding for over 20 years.
  6. How can we convince more people to invest in electric cars? I’ll tell you how.
  7. The last episode was like watching paint dry, I couldn’t stand it.
  8. Her brain is the size of a pea, it’s like talking to a brick wall.
  9. It’s not the most useful application, so I’ll probably delete it.
  10. What can be done about the issue of short attention spans? Well, first of all, we could….
  11. The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone. The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone.
  12. The car engine grumbled, coughed and burst into life.
Posted in Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2: Advanced Descriptive Language

Long time no post! Since I started a full-time materials writing job in the summer keeping up with the blog has been a bit of a struggle. I’ve still been creating new content for my C2 students just haven’t found the time to post it. Hopefully this will be the first of a little flurry of activity.

I was inspired by two recent episodes of Sean Hutchman’s wonderful podcast Ethos English on the topic of adverb use for higher level students. He quotes a bunch of great, colourful collocations in the episodes that I thought my C2 students would really benefit from, so I decided to make this lesson plan. Be prepared to offer your students a lot of support as mine found some bits a bit tricky, but very rewarding. Based on Sean’s recommendation, I used Sketch Engine for inspiration for some of the collocations. You can get a 30-day trial, but then you have to pay, it might be worth asking your director of studies to pay for an academic account as it’s a very useful tool.

Download the student handout and answer key below. Please post some of your students’ gapped sentences in the comments!