This is a worksheet for students preparing to take the C1 Advanced exam. It will act as a refresher for a lot of the language, including linkers, prounouns, fixed expressions and phrasal verbs, that often come up in part 2 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout and key below:
This is a grammar lesson focusing on inversions based around the topic of the stresses of parenthood. Students read a text about new parents who get a weekend off, then transform the text using inversions. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below.
This lesson plan is designed to be used in several ways depending on your students’ level. The grammar focus is inversions, a structure that typically comes up at C1.
Write these questions on the board and have students discuss them in groups:
How does life change when you have kids?
How can other family members help with childcare?
What things do you think new parents miss about their old life?
Feedback in open class and top up language. Somethings that came up with my students were:
Suffer from sleep deprivation
loss/lack of intimacy
Changing dirty nappies/diapers
Pick kids up from kindergarten/nursery
Grandparents help out, lend/give you a hand
Look after/take care of kids
Babysit – babysitter/nanny
Give out the text, fold the page so that they can’t see the grammar focus part yet, or just share the text if you’re teaching online.
Instruct students to read the text and find the answers to the lead in questions for the couple the text describes:
How has their life changed?
How do their family members help with childcare?
What things do they miss about their old lives?
Feedback in open class.
Language Focus + Controlled Practice
Here is where you can choose a different path depending on how familiar your students are with inversions.
C1 – Introduction to inversions
Lead them through the different types of inversions listed below the text.
Compare and contrast inverted sentences with uninverted ones:
This phone can take photos and videos.
Not onlycan this phone take photos, but also videos.
Add emphasis, more formal.
Highlight what we mean by “inversion”
Position of subject and auxiliary verb is inverted/switched
This phone (subject)can (auxiliary verb) take photos….
Not onlycan (aux verb)this phone (subject) take photos….
Tell students that the first paragraph contains 10 sentences that can be changed to use inversions and challenge them to change them.
There are 6 more in the second paragraph.
C1 – Inversion Revision
Challenge them to change the 10 sentences in the first paragraph (or all 16 in the whole text) using the language focus boxes as reference. Monitor and help out as needed.
The sentence stems at the bottom will help them identify which sentences they need to change.
C2 – Inversion Revision Super Challenge
Just give them the text, don’t give them language focus boxes for reference or the sentence stems! Tell them there are 16 sentences that can be changed to inversions and see how they get on.
Give out the language focus boxes if needed, monitor specific groups, maybe not everyone needs it.
Show them the second version of the text with all the inversions.
Rarely do we have much time to ourselves. So busy is our schedule that we just can’t find the time to get out of the house. Not only do my husband and I both work full time, but we also have two small kids to look after. Little did I know that my parents were planning a special surprise for me this weekend. Only when I walked in the front door on Friday night did I discover what they had planned. No sooner had I opened the door than they appeared with a bottle of wine and the news that they were taking the kids to the local theme park for the weekend. Obviously the kids were ecstatic, not since they were four years old have they been to the theme park and that was just for 1 day, now they were going for a whole weekend! So grateful were we that we gave my mum and dad a massive hug. However, there had to be some ground rules for the kids. We told them that under no circumstances should they annoy grandma and grandad and on no account must they eat too many sweets before going on the roller coasters.
Hardly had my parents left the house when we opened the bottle of wine and sat on the sofa enjoying the sudden peace and quiet. Not until we sat down did we realise how tired we were. Hardly ever do we get a chance to watch a movie together over a glass of wine. However, barely had we chosen a movie and started watching it when we both fell asleep. Not until the next morning when we woke up did we appreciate how quiet the house was. Not since our second daughter was born had we had the house to ourselves. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves!
Challenge students to work in groups to continue the story. How did the couple spend the rest of their weekend off? Set them a time limit of ten minutes and encourage them to use as many inversions as they can.
This is a guest post by Alice from Hot Take English on the topic of superstitions and bad luck. Students discuss common superstitions in English speaking cultures and their own, then read an article about some seriously bad luck. The main grammar focus of the lesson is the 3rd conditional to talk about hypothetical past events. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:
Below is a list of good and bad superstitions that are particularly popular in the UK and Ireland. Discuss them with a partner. From where do you think they originate? Do you believe they bring bad/good luck?
Things that bring bad luck:
Walking under a ladder
Seeing one magpie
Putting new shoes on a table
Opening an umbrella inside
Things that bring good luck:
Getting pooed on by a bird
Coming across a black cat
Finding a four-leafed clover
What superstitions are there in your culture or country?
Match the words on the left with their meanings on the right.
a) extremely shocked
b) the sale was not successful/the money was not taken out of the person’s bank account
c) not enough
d) the most valuable prize in a game or contest
5. the payment didn’t go through
e) very very happy
f) stopped a ticket from being legally or officially acceptable
7. on top of the world
g) the act of selecting numbers or names randomly to decide the winners of a competition
3) Comprehension check
Read the article. Are these statements true or false?
Rachel Kenny lost the winning ticket.
The 19-year old student was aghast at what had happened.
Rachel and Liam chose different numbers each time they played the lottery.
The money for the lottery tickets was usually taken directly from Rachel’s bank account.
The problem was that Rachel didn’t have enough money in her bank account to pay for the ticket.
Rachel and Liam refuse to play the lottery any more.
4) Grammar practice
With a partner, write down as many third conditional sentences about the article as you can.
E.g. “If the payment had gone through, they would have won the lottery”.
Writing: My Biggest Regret
Write 100-500 words about your “biggest regret”. Include some third conditional sentences.
EuroMillions Player ‘Heartbroken’ After Finding Error Cost Her £182m Lottery Jackpot
The 19-year-old was in shock when her numbers came up – until she noticed a critical problem
Originally published 2 March 2021
A 19-year-old student who thought she had won a £182m lottery jackpot has been left “absolutely heartbroken” after realising an error invalidated the ticket.
Rachel Kennedy, 19, and her boyfriend Liam McCrohan, 21, were stunned when their regular numbers of 6, 12, 22, 29, 33, 6 and 11 came up in the EuroMillions mega jackpot.
Kennedy had played the same numbers for five weeks in a row and had a direct debit set up to automatically play the numbers each week.
The teen was greeted with a message saying she had a ‘winning match’ after last Friday’s draw, according to The Sun.
However, the business student’s hopes of being one of the richest women in Britain were crushed when she found the ticket sale had not gone through due to insufficient funds in her account.
Rachel, of Brighton University, said: “I called my boyfriend Liam and my mum into the room and they couldn’t believe it either so I was like, ‘Oh! My God! I need to call them’.
“I called the number thinking that I had won £182m and they said ‘yeah you’ve got the right numbers but you didn’t have the funds in your account for the payment of the ticket so it didn’t actually go through’.
“I was on top of the world when I thought I had won, but when I found out I hadn’t, Liam was actually more upset than me.”
Rachel said they were “absolutely heartbroken” – and now thinks of her usual weekly numbers as “unlucky” and has decided to change them.
This is a spooky grammar lesson for Halloween. Students listen to the first part of a horror story in the form of a dictogloss, then continue the story using inversions. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:
Tell students you’re going to read them the introduction to a horror story. It features a haunted mansion and the first line is “It was a dark and stormy night…” Tell them to make predictions about what will happen.
Explain the dictogloss to your students:
You will read the story to them several times. A note on delivery, read the text in a natural way, don’t pause mid-sentence, follow the punctuation. You may want to exaggerate the pauses after full stops and commas to give students a bit of extra processing time.
The first time all they have to do is listen.
Second time they can take notes of words and phrases, stress that it’s not a dictation and that they shouldn’t worry if their version is different.
Students compare notes with a partner or in a three.
Students listen for a third time, taking notes and then compare with their group again. You may want to read the text for a fourth time, gauge it with your own group.
Students work to recreate the text. You could do this on a Google doc so you can see the versions taking shape. Assign each group a page of the doc so that they’re not tempted to copy each other.
Show them the original text and copy/paste all their versions below. Have them compare their versions and looks for differences.
It was a dark and stormy night, the wind was whistling through the trees and the rain was pouring down. Not only was Icompletely soaking wet, but also my teeth were chattering because of the icy wind. I knocked on the door of the ancient run-down mansion as hard as I could; little did I know the horror that awaited me on the other side of the door. No sooner had I ceased my knocking than the door swung slowly open. The darkness on the other side was pitch-black but so desperate was I to get out of the storm that I jumped inside without a second thought. Hardly had Iset foot inside the house when the door slammed shut behind me…
Ask students to complete the following language analysis task in pairs:
Meaning – substitute the phrases in bold for other, simpler words so that the meaning is the same.
Usage – why do you think the writer decided to use the phrases in bold instead of simpler language? What effect do these expressions have on the reader? More emphatic, more exciting, draws the reader in.
Form – Look at the word order after the inversion phrases:
This is a short lesson grammar worksheet looking at some expressions with modal verbs that students typically encounter at C1 level. It is loosely based on the grammar exercises in unit 1 of Ready for Advanced by Macmillan and could serve as an extension or revision exercise. It may also be accessible to high B2 students. Download the student handout and answer key below:
This is a grammar lesson for B2 students. Students will be introduced to the language for expressing wishes through a short dialogue from a therapy session. The subject of therapy and mental health may be a sensitive subject with some students so gauge your group carefully. Download all the materials below:
Show the first slide of the presentation, you could either have students come up with their own warmer questions about the topic or use the questions on slide 2.
Language in Context
Give out the handout, have students read the text and then answer the question “how much do you have in common with Natalia?” in pairs. Feedback in open class.
Have students answer the detail questions. These questions are designed to guide students to the examples of the target structures on the text.
Lead students through the next slides. Encourage students to work in pairs to examine the patterns that follow the the target structures. Try to get students to tell you how the structures work rather than vice versa.
Have students complete the practice activity individually and then have them compare their answers with a partner. Encourage them to explain the reasoning behind their choices.
I wish I were/was rich.*
If only I had green eyes.
I wish I had studied more for the exam yesterday.
If only my brother wouldn’t annoy me so much.
I wish I looked like Ariana Grande.
If only my teacher wouldn’t give me so much homework. (hadn’t given me also possible)
This is a lesson plan designed for students on preparation courses for the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) exam. In particular I think it would be good for students who are close to taking the exam. It works as a diagnostic test of a range of the grammar points that are tested, particularly in part 4 of the reading and use of English exam. Download the handout below:
Give out copies of the handout, have students individually assess their grasp of each of the structures. They should fill in the box on the end with either a tick (I know this very well) a cross (I’ve got no idea about this) or a wiggly line (I more or less get this).
Have students compare with their partner. Ask them to look for differences, there should be opportunities for peer teaching here, have one student attempt to explain a grammar point to another.
Project the quizlet set of key word transformations. Put students in pairs. First students need to identify the structure that is being tested. This is a very important step, getting them to put themselves in the examiner’s shoes and not just jump straight in and answer. Check that they’ve identified the structure, then have them work together to try to complete the sentence. Encourage reflection and comparison between their initial self-assessment and then their scores and performance in the exam task.
The checklist is not exhaustive, have I missed any common structures that come up in part 4?
Past simple/Present perfect
I haven’t seen John for 5 years.
The last time I saw John was 5 years ago.
If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion.
If I didn’t work in construction, I would be an actor.
If I hadn’t slipped on that banana, I wouldn’t have broken my arm.
If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.
The passive voice
Active: The police arrested the man.
Passive: The man was arrested by the police.
Other example: It is said that cigarettes give you cancer.
Cigarettes are said to give you cancer
I regret eating so much -> I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.
It was a bad idea to drink that wine -> If only I hadn’t drunk that wine.
Linkers: Despite/in spite of -> Although/even though
Despite the rain, the party was great -> The party was great even though it was raining.
Although he felt ill, he still went to school. -> He still went to school in spite of his illness.
“I went there last year.” -> He said that he had gone there last year.
“I will call himtomorrow.” -> She said that she would call him the following day.
“Have you been to Paris?” -> He asked me if I had been to Paris.
“Where is the train station?” -> He asked me where the train station was.
He wants to cancel the meeting -> he wants to call off the meeting.
He won’t tolerate bad behaviour -> he won’t put up with bad behaviour.
Causative have/get: have/get something done
I need to get my hair cut.
I need to have my computer repaired.
This restaurant is better than that one -> That restaurant isn’t as good as this one.
He’s not nearly as tall as me.
My brother is slightly younger than me.
No one is as good at football as Messi -> Messi is the best football player.
Past modal verbs:
Should have etc.
The butler must have murdered him, there’s blood on his shirt.
It can’t have been Sarah you saw at the mall, she’s on holiday in Dubai.
I shouldn’t have drunk so much last night.
It was so hot that we couldn’t leave the hotel -> It was such a hot day that we had to stay in the hotel.
It rained so much that the house flooded. ->It was such a rainy day that the house flooded.
This a lesson plan for B2+ students to teach language of regret. It uses a clip from The Amazing Spiderman and texts about historic regrettable decisions. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:
Show students a picture of Spiderman and ask them: Why did Peter Parker decide to become Spiderman? They will probably say “because he was bitten by a radioactive spider”, but that’s not why, that’s how. Show them the video clip: Uncle Ben’s Death until 2:25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp5m4g7pZ9s
So he became Spiderman because it was his responsibility to stop innocent people like Uncle Ben from getting hurt. Ask students these questions:
How does Peter Parker feel?
What could have been different?
Check students’ answers, they will probably try to express Peter’s regret at not saving Uncle Ben. Give out the hand-out and draw their attention to the language of regret at the top.
Language of Regret
Look at the example sentences, what are the formulas for each structure?
Peter regrets not stopping the robber.
He should have done
Uncle Ben shouldn’t have tried to pick up the gun.
If Peter had stopped the guy, he wouldn’t have killed Uncle Ben.
If Uncle Ben hadn’t tried to pick up the gun, the guy wouldn’t have shot him.
Read the texts about regrettable events from the past and make sentences using the structures.
Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs before winning seven Tour de France titles. A whistle-blower revealed information about his doping to the press but he denied it for years. Eventually the evidence was too much and he confessed to his crimes live on Oprah Winfrey’s chat show.
Decca Records & The Beatles
In 1962, Dick Rowe, an executive at Decca Records, thought guitar groups were falling out of favour. On New Year’s Day that year, The Beatles auditioned to be signed to the record label. Rowe rejected their audition and decided not to sign them. The Beatles went on to become the biggest selling band in history.
In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with his grand army of 680,000 soldiers. Instead of fighting the French, the Russian army retreated further into Russia burning the farms and supplies as they went. After winning some minor victories the French were forced to retreat because of the freezing Russian winter. Only 27,000 soldiers from the original army survived.
Lance Armstrong regrets taking banned substances. He shouldn’t have taken performance enhancing drugs. If he hadn’t taken the drugs, he wouldn’t have won 7 titles.
Dick Rowe regrets not signing the Beatles. He should have signed them. If he had signed them, he would have been rich.
Napoleon regretted invading Russia. He shouldn’t have invaded Russia in winter. If he hadn’t invaded Russia, he might have conquered the whole of Europe.
My Biggest Regret
Students might be reticent to discuss this topic, if so try to encourage them to talk about a friend or family member’s regrets, often a bit of distance can help students open up and express themselves. It could also help if you shared some of your regrets with the class first.
Do you have any regrets? What about your family and friends?
Have you ever had an accident that was your fault? What happened?
If you could relive any part of your life, what would you change?
This is a lesson plan designed to help students practice past narrative tenses. The topic is remembering where you were when big events happened. Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:
Show image of MJ. Sts in pairs: Where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson had died? T makes note of language sts use: use of narrative tenses, errors etc.
Ask sts: How did Michael Jackson die? (aim: to preteach “take an overdose”)
Tell sts you are going to tell them someone’s story of them finding out MJ had died. Tell them that after you’ve finished you want them to make a note of key words or phrases from the story. While you are reading they should just focus on listening and not write anything.
Read the text at a normal speed pausing at punctuation in a natural way.
Give sts 30 secs to write down key words, then compare and share with a partner.
Tell sts that you’re going to read the text again and you want them to write down any more key words and phrases they hear.
Now instruct sts to try to recreate the text in pairs, tell them not to worry if their version is different.
I was at a festival when I heard that Michael Jackson had died. It was about 3 in the morning and we were sitting in one of the big tents listening to music, drinking and chatting. Suddenly we overheard a guy sitting next to us saying that Michael Jackson had taken an overdose and had died. We thought it couldn’t possibly be true and carried on as before, but then the DJ played Beat it by Michael Jackson, then Billy Jean and then more and more of his songs, we all looked at each other, everyone in the tent realised that it must be true and we all stood up and danced.
There are three different past tenses in the text, can you identify them?
Which tense do we use to give a description of a scenario or scene at a specific time?
Which tense do we use to say that an action happened before another action?
Which tense do we use to describe short actions often in sequence?
How do we form the past continuous? Subject + __________ + ___________
How do we form the past perfect? Subject + __________ + ___________
This is a contracted sentence: “Michael Jackson’d taken an overdose.” What is the complete version?
Project/hand out the original text and ask sts to compare their version to it. They MUSTN’T CHANGE their version but just make a note of the differences.
In open class go over some of the differences, do their versions still make sense? Are their versions grammatically correct?
Have sts complete the guided questions. Clear up any doubts in open class.
Give out the gapped text about 9/11 and have sts complete it in pairs.
Check their answers using the complete text.
The Day the Towers Came Down.
I was at school when I ______(hear) that terrorists __________(attack) the World Trade Centre. I _________ (stand) outside the school gates ________ (wait) for the school bus and ________(chat) to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers __________(run) out of the school and ________(tell) us that something terrible ____________(happen) in New York. Two planes _________(crash) into the twin towers in New York, when I _________(get) home I __________(watch) the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.
I was at school when I heard that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Centre. I was standing outside the school gates waiting for the school bus and chatting to my friends when suddenly one of the teachers ran out of the school and told us that something terrible had happened/was happening in New York. Two planes had crashed into the twin towers in New York, when I got home I watched the towers collapse on the news with my parents. I’ll never forget where I was that day.
Show sts the pictures of important world events, have them choose one and write a short text about what they were doing when they heard about the news.
Have sts read out their texts and share their own experiences in open class.
This is a new lesson plan for B2+ learners in which students practice reported speech by interpreting emojis and text messages from the popular messaging app Whatsapp. Everything you need is in the powerpoint below:
Students start by reporting the meaning behind various emojis then build up to reporting a section of a text message conversation and then move on to translating and reporting their own text conversations from their phone. It provides great practice of the grammar point as well as opportunities for the emergence of real, useful language in an everyday setting.