Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CAE Use of English Revision Test

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Here’s a sentence completion worksheet with lots of common expressions and structures that come up in the CAE use of English paper. Use of English Revision Complete the sentences with 1 word:

  1. I think of him _____ a father figure.
  2. He’s my favourite uncle; I really look ____ to him.
  3. Everyone thought it would be a complete disaster but it turned _____ fine.
  4. Haha! Look at Tina, she has her jumper on back ___ _____.
  5. There were _____ over 100 people there (much more than)
  6. The company has run ______ trouble.
  7. The project is 4 weeks _______schedule, the boss is not happy.
  8. Everything is going according ____ plan.
  9. He’s making quite a ______for himself in the acting world.
  10. The police tried to prevent the protestors _____ entering the building.
  11. I think James would _______ an excellent Dad.
  12. There will be a show after dinner = Dinner will be ________ _____ a show.
  13. ____its height, this bar had 1000s of customers every night.
  14. He has promised to ______ us _____ a tour of the old town in the morning.
  15. The vandals _____ fire to the carpet and the curtains.
  16. Less people are visiting the park = there has been a _______ in the number of people visiting the park.
  17. He made a great _______ of money selling old cars.
  18. We had to stop because a _______ of cows was crossing the road.
  19. We had to walk a mile or _____ (approx.) before we found a house.
  20. I was ____ the point ____ giving up when I found it.
  21. As _____ as you eat all your vegetables you can have some ice-cream.
  22. As _____ as we know there’s no life on Mars.
  23. As _____ as you get the results, call me.
  24. As _____ as computers are concerned, I’m no expert.
  25. We are currently ____ the process of having our house done ____. (renovated)
  26. Only when I got home ___ I realise she had been flirting with me.
  27. I’d _______ not walk home alone if that’s ok.
  28. I’d _______ not to walk home alone if that’s ok.
  29. I’ve put a lot of time and effort ____ the project.
  30. My dentist has told me to cut _____ ____ fruit juice.
  31. I need a new TV, the old one takes ____ too much space.
  32. A high sugar diet can _____ to diabetes.
  33. A high fat diet can g_____ r______ t_____ obesity.
  34. This report is based ____ a survey carried ____ by members of the school council.
  35. My bicycle tires are completely worn ____, I need to get new ones.
  36. I definitely take ______ my Mum, we’re almost identical.

Key:

  1. as
  2. up
  3. out
  4. to front
  5. well
  6. into
  7. behind
  8. to
  9. name
  10. from
  11. make
  12. followed by
  13. at
  14. take on
  15. set
  16. fall/drop
  17. deal
  18. herd
  19. so
  20. on of
  21. long
  22. far
  23. soon
  24. far
  25. in up
  26. did
  27. rather
  28. prefer
  29. into
  30. down on
  31. up
  32. lead
  33. give rise to
  34. on out
  35. out
  36. after

Here’s another version which includes some relative clauses:

use-of-english-revision new version

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CAE Revision Test

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

My CAE students have a progress test next week so here’s their test on some of the grammar and vocab we’ve covered this year so far. Download the hand out and key here:

Revision Test

Revision test key

  1. Please hurry up and decide which film to watch.

MIND

I wish you would______________________________ about which film to watch.

  1. I ate frog’s legs for the first time.

NEVER

I________________________ before.

  1. He played for the club for the first time on Saturday.

DEBUT

He _________________________________for the club on Saturday.

  1. My Dad will collect us with his car at the airport.

UP

My Dad_______________________ at the airport.

  1. Police think he is the murderer.

TO

He _____________________________ murderer.

  1. The painters are painting our house at the moment.

HAVING

We______________________________ at the moment.

  1. Someone stole my phone in the bar.

GOT

I_______________________________ in the bar.

  1. Although she’s good with animals, she’s not very comfortable with people.

MAY

She ________________________ animals, but she’s unable to relax around people.

  1. I’ve lost my keys, it’s possible that I left them at work.

HAVE

I’ve misplaced my keys, ______________________ at work.

  1. I definitely didn’t write that note, Lyn! That’s not my handwriting!

WRITTEN

I ______________________, Lyn, because that’s not my handwriting!

  1. Paul will definitely win the competition.

BOUND

Paul _________________________ competition.

  1. You should clean your room.

TIME

It’s about _____________________ your room.

  1. I wasn’t allowed to play in the street when I was little.

LET

My parents_________________________ in the street when I was little.

  1. “Give me your phone or I’ll shoot you!” said the thief to the old lady.

THREATENED

The thief _________________________ if she didn’t give him her phone.

  1. If Billy hadn’t advised me to continue, I would have given up.

ADVICE

But _________________________, I would have given up.

  1. If I saw someone stealing, I couldn’t just ignore it.

WITNESS

Were_______________________, I couldn’t ignore it.

  1. If I hadn’t seen the sign, I would have crashed into the river.

NOT

Had _______________________, I would have crashed into the river.

  1. The moment I sat down, the phone rang.

HAD

No_________________________ the phone rang.

  1. We didn’t just see dolphins, we saw whales too!

BUT

Not___________________ also whales!

  1. Two students came to class. Both students hadn’t done their homework.

NEITHER

Two students came to class,_________________ done their homework.

  1. Although it was sunny, it was still chilly.

THOUGH

Sunny ____________________, it was still chilly.

  1. The police ordered the man to drive to the side of the road and stop.

PULL

The police ordered the man _________________.

Revision test key:

  1. Make up your mind/make your mind up
  2. Had never eaten frog’s legs
  3. Made his debut
  4. Will pick us up
  5. Is thought to be the
  6. Are having our house painted
  7. Got my phone stolen
  8. May be good with
  9. I might/could/may have left them
  10. Can’t have written that note
  11. Is bound to win the
  12. Time you cleaned
  13. Didn’t let me play
  14. Threatened to shoot the old lady
  15. For Billy’s advice to continue/carry on
  16. I to witness a robbery/someone stealing
  17. I not seen the sign,
  18. Sooner had I sat down than
  19. Only did we see dolphins, but
  20. Neither of whom had
  21. Though it was
  22. To pull over
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

A little bit of drama: Reported speech – reporting verb patterns

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This is a lesson plan for higher levels (B2+) to teach verb patterns with reporting verbs using video and scripted roleplays. It will be especially useful for CAE students as these structures tend to come up in key word transformations quite often.

You will need:

Explanation of the 4 groups of reporting verbs:

reporting-verbs1

Credit to http://www.eltbase.com/notes.php?id=59 for their great explanation.

The scripted scenarios (print out at least 3 copies):

reported-speech-script

The key to the scenarios:

Reported Speech Script Key

Introduction:

Write the verbs “accuse” and “deny” on the board. Then play the first minute of the following video:

Elicit the following sentences from students:

The Dad asked the boys who had got the paint out.

The older brother accused the younger brother of gettting/having got the paint out.

The younger brother denied getting/having got the paint out.

The older brother accused the younger brother of building stairs out of blocks.

Analyse the sentences and come up with the formula for the verbs accuse and deny:

accuse somebody of doing/having done something

deny doing/having done something

Ask students if they have ever been in a similar situation with a sibling or friend.

Have you ever been wrongfully accused of doing something?

Stage 2: 4 groups of reporting verbs

For this part you can either give out the handout on the 4 groups of reporting verb patterns. Or model the sentences on the board and have students dedicate a page in their vocab books for each group of verbs.

You’re going to need a lot of space on the board for this part. Divide the board into 4 quarters.

Write the following sentence, one at the top of each quarter:

  1. I’ll come to the party. (say)
  2. I’ll come to the party. (tell)
  3. I will definitely help with the cleaning. (promise)
  4. I didn’t steal the money. (deny)

Tell students to change the sentences to reported speech using the verb in brackets:

  1. He said that he would come to the party.
  2. He told me that he would come to the party.
  3. He promised to help with the cleaning.
  4. He denied stealing the money.

Tell students that these are the 4 groups of reporting verbs.

Group 1: Say pattern: Same as “say”

 He said that he would come to the party.

Subject + reporting verb + (that) + clause

Common verbs of this type:

admit
advise*
agree
announce
claim
complainconfess*
confirm
declare
explain
insist*
mention
promise*
propose*
say
suggest
warn*demand

* also used with other patterns – see below

Group 2: Tell pattern: Same as “tell”

He told me that he would come to the party.

Subject + reporting verb + direct object + (that) + clause.

Common verbs of this type:

advise
assure
convince
inform
notify
promise
reassure
remind
tell
warn

Group 3: Reporting actions: Promises requests etc.

 He promised to help with the cleaning.

Subject + reporting verb + infinitive with to

Common verbs of this type:

agree
ask
claim
demand
offer
promise
propose
refuse
threatentell (imperative)

He encouraged me to take maths instead of history.

Subject  + reporting verb + DO + infinitive with to

Common verbs of this type

advise
ask
beg
convince
encourage
forbid
instruct
invite
order
persuade
remind
tell
urge
warn (not to)

Group 4: Reporting verbs with gerund.

He denied stealing the money.

Subject + reporting verb + gerund

 Common verbs of this type:

admit
deny
mention
propose
report
suggest

 

Verbs with prepositions and gerund:

 

Accuse sb of doing st

Confess to doing something

Apologise to sb about/for doing st

Blame sb for st

Complain to sb about st

Insist on doing st

Object to st/doing st

Advise ab against doing st

Stage 3: Controlled Practice

Have students complete the 10 sentences on the back of the handout.

Report the sentence using the verb in brackets

  1. I want to see the manager! (demanded)

_________________________________________

  1. Don’t leave the path, there are dangerous snakes. (warned)

_________________________________________

  1. I will help you clean up after the party (promised)

_________________________________________

  1. Don’t forget to feed the fish. (Reminded)

_________________________________________

  1. No no no! I’m paying for dinner. (Insisted)

_________________________________________

  1. Listen everyone! I’m moving to New York next week. (announced)

_________________________________________

  1. You are not allowed to chew gum in class. (forbid)

_________________________________________

  1. I will punch you if you call me that again. (threatened)

_________________________________________

  1. I’m really sorry that I broke your favourite cup. (apologised)

_________________________________________

  1. Stand up and put your hands on your head. (ordered)

________________________________________

Key

  1. He demanded to see the manager. He demanded that he saw the manager.
  2. She warned us not to leave the path. She warned (us) that there were dangerous snakes.
  3. She promised to help clean up after the party. She promised (me) that she would help clean up.
  4. He reminded me to feed the fish.
  5. She insisted on paying for dinner. She insisted that she paid for dinner.
  6. He announced that he was moving to New York the following week.
  7. She forbid me to chew gum in class.
  8. He threatened to punch me in the face if I called him that again.
  9. She apologised for breaking my favourite cup.
  10. He ordered me to stand up and put my hands on my head.

Stage 4: Scripted role-play

Split the class into groups of 2-3 and give out the role-play scenarios, give them a couple of minutes to read and rehearse and then have students come to the front of the class and act out the scenarios. Then the other groups have to write sentences using as many reporting verb patterns as they can based on what happened in the scenarios. Guide students and model sentences, encourage them to place them in the correct group.

Reported speech – Scripts

Scenario 1

A: Hi son, How’s it going?

B: Hi Dad. I’m going out.

A: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Have you done your homework?

B: Ahhh come on Dad, it’s Friday night.

A: I don’t care, have you done it or not?

B: No. But I promise I’ll do it tomorrow.

A: Ok, but if you don’t you’ll be grounded for a week.

B: Ok it’s a deal.

They shake hands.

Scenario 2

Sarah: Hi Fiona, how’s it going? Are you coming to the party tonight?

Fiona: No I don’t think so; I’m not in the mood and I have to work tomorrow.

Sarah: No you don’t! Tomorrow is a holiday, the shop is closed.

Fiona: Oh yeah! I’d completely forgotten. I’m still not sure.

Sarah: Oh come on, you’ve got to come! Tommy’s going to be there.

Fiona: Really? Hhhhmmmm well, ok go on then, I’ll come.

Scenario 3

Teacher: (to John) You stole €5 from the charity collection box!

John: Me??? It wasn’t me! How dare you accuse me! It was Sandra who stole the money. I saw her do it!

Sarah: Me? No way! He’s lying!

Teacher: I want to see what’s in your pockets right now!

They turn out their pockets. John’s pockets are full of money.

Teacher: Aha! What’s all this?

John: Ok, it was me. I admit it.

Sarah: I think it’s unfair that I was accused of this crime. I’m going to tell my parents.

Teacher: I’m terribly sorry Sarah, it was a misunderstanding.

Scenario 4

Anna and Natalie are having a party. The music is very loud. There is a knock at the door.

Anna: (opening the door) Yes? Who is it? What do you want?

Little old lady: It’s 3am, I can’t sleep please turn the music down.

Natalie: Turn it down? No way! We just graduated!

Little old lady:  Oh please please please turn it down, I’m so tired.

Anna: Nope sorry, we’re not going to turn it down.

Little old lady: (angry) Well, if you don’t turn it down I’m going to call the police.

Natalie: Go ahead! You can come in and use my phone if you want.

Little old lady: oooo the cheek of it! That’s it! I’m going to call the police!

Reported Speech Script Key

Scenario 1

The Dad asked the son if he had done his homework.

The son admitted that he hadn’t done his homework.

The son admitted to not doing/having done his homework.

The son promised to do his homework the day after.

The Dad warned the son that if he didn’t do his homework he would be grounded for a week.

Scenario 2

Sarah asked Fiona if she was going to the party tonight.

Fiona replied that she didn’t think so. She said that she wasn’t in the mood and that she had to work the day after.

Sarah reminded Fiona that the day after was a holiday.

Sarah persuaded/convinced Fiona to come to the party by telling her Tommy would be there.

Scenario 3

The teacher accused John of stealing/having stolen the money.

John denied stealing the money and accused Sarah of stealing the money.

The teacher ordered them to turn out their pockets/demanded that they turned out their pockets.

John admitted to/confessed to stealing the money.

Sarah objected to being accused of stealing the money.

The teacher apologised for accusing Sarah of stealing the money.

Scenario 4

Anna asked who it was and what they wanted.

The old lady asked/urged them to turn the music down.

Natalie refused to turn the music down.

The old lady begged them to turn the music down.

Anna refused to turn the music down.

The little old lady threatened to call the police if they didn’t turn the music down.

Anna invited the old lady to use her phone.

The old lady announced that she was going to call the police.

Stage 4: Follow up activity, students write their own scripts.

Students come up with their own scenarios trying to use as many of the different verb patterns as possible. Other groups have to correctly guess the verb they were trying to express.

Posted in Grammar Classes

Too/Enough

 

Before you use these materials, why no check out our new podcast for learners and teachers alike? It’s called 2Ts in a Pod, have a listen here:

This is an activity to practice “too and enough” through a gap fill and then a discussion based on pictures.

You will need the following handouts:

Story, grammar explanation and gap-fill:

Too Enough

Pictures for discussion:

Too enough pics

Part 1: Warmer Discussion

Write on the board:

“Footballers earn too much money.”

“Teachers don’t earn enough money.”

Have students discuss the two sentences.

Part 2: Listening to a story

Read the following story to students,tell them to write down any uses of too and enough that they hear.

Beach story:

The other day I went to the beach with my family. It was a scorching day, I asked my friend to come but he said it was too hot to go to the beach. We got in the car and drove to the beach. The beach was very crowded.

“Oh no! There are too many people here!” said my Mum.

“Don’t worry, there’s enough space for everyone.” said my Dad.

We unpacked the car and walked down to the beach. We put our towels down and my sister and I decided to go for a swim. We ran to the water and jumped in.

“Brrrrr!” said my sister. “It’s too cold for me!” and she ran back to my Mum and Dad. I continued swimming for a few minutes when suddenly I saw people windsurfing and there was a shop renting windsurfing boards, it looked so much fun. I ran back to my parents and asked them if I could try it.

“I’m not sure.” said my Mum. “Do you think he’s old enough?” she asked my Dad.

“I think he’s old enough, but is he strong enough? I think the sail will be too heavy for you son.”

“Please please please Dad!” I begged.

“Ok, let’s go and see how much it costs.” So we walked down to shop. It cost €20 to rent the board for the whole day.

“Buff!” said my Dad. “I think that’s too expensive, I don’t have enough money to pay that much.” So Dad negotiated and in the end we paid €15 for the day. We took the board out into the water and I tried to lift the sail but it was too heavy.

“Come on son! You’re not trying hard enough!” said my Dad. So I took the sail with both hands and made a big effort. I didn’t want my dad to think I wasn’t strong enough to lift it. The sail came out of the water and the board started moving across the water it was the most amazing feeling! We spent the whole day windsurfing, it was one of the best days of my life.

Part 3: Guided Discovery

Tell students to dictate all of the examples back to you, but them on the board and use them to do a guided discovery of the rules outlined in the handout.

Too and enough indicate degree. They are used with adjectives.

  • Too means more than what is needed.
  • Enough means sufficient.

Examples

He is too old to play football with the kids.
Dave is intelligent enough to do the right thing.
You’re not working fast enough
I don’t have enough time.
He has too many friends.
Footballers earn too much money.

Use of too and enough

1.Enough precedes adjectives and adverbs:

He isn’t old enough to watch this program.
We’re not walking quickly  enough.

2.Enough may also precede  nouns:

We have enough money 
I haven’t got enough money to buy this computer.

3.Too comes before adjectives and adverbs:

It’s too hot to wear that coat.
I was driving too fast.

  1. Too may also come before nouns when it is used with the expressions too much and too many.
  2. Too much is used before uncountable nouns.

There is too much salt in this food.

  1. Too many is used before countable nouns

There are too many students in this classroom.

Part 4: Gap fill

Have students complete the gap-fill at the bottom of the handout.

Fill in the correct word (too or enough).

  1. I left the coffee for a minute to cool because it was                                  hot to drink.
  2. He wasn’t strong                                   to lift that heavy box.
  3. There aren’t                                   policemen in our town.
  4. Do you have                                   information to help me with this problem?
  5. It is                                   difficult  for a little child to do.
  6. I do not have                                   time to prepare dinner.
  7. I didn’t buy the car because it was                                   expensive.
  8. He didn’t work hard                                   to pass the exam.
  9. My mum can’t sleep because she drinks                                   much coffee.
  10. She isn’t old                                   to start driving.

Key: 1-too, 2-enough, 3-enough, 4-enough, 5-too, 6-enough, 7-too, 8-enough, 9-too, 10-enough.

Part 5: Picture Discussion (Free production) 

Show the pictures in the hand out and have students make as many sentences as possible using the structures. Ask some questions to prompt. Do you think there are too many tourists in the city?

Gap fill credit:

http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/grammar-exercise-too-enough.php#.VPWZHfnF8k0

Grammar explanation credit:

English grammar – Too & enough

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

The Perfect Date – So/Neither do I

This is an activity to practice short answers of agreement “So/neither do I”

Download the handout here:

so neither do I

Introduction

We use the short answers “So do I/Neither do I” to express agreement or something in common that we have with another person.

We use “So do I” to respond to positive sentences and “Neither do I” for negative sentences.

A: I love Spanish wine. B: So do I!

A: I don’t like fast food. B: Neither do I.

Auxiliary Verbs

The auxiliary verb we use depends on the sentence we are responding to.

Present Simple: DO

A: I love Spanish wine. B: So do I!

A: I don’t like fast food. B: Neither do I.

Past Simple: DID

A: I went to the cinema last weekend. B: So did I.

A: I didn’t like the film though. B: Neither did I.

Or if another auxiliary verb is present we repeat it.

A: I can run the hundred metres in under 11 seconds. B: So ______ I.

A: I wouldn’t like to go there at night. B: ________ _________ __________.

Write the short answer responses in the first person for the following sentences:

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Hong Kong. __________________________
  2. I’m not a big fan of basketball. _______________________
  3. I’d quite like to try to scuba diving. ___________________
  4. I shouldn’t smoke so much. _____________________
  5. I work in a bank. ______________________
  6. I can’t stand karaoke. _________________
  7. I had seen the film 3 times before. ____________________
  8. I couldn’t believe my eyes! _________________________

We can also use this structure with a possessive pronoun (mine/his/hers etc.)

A: My husband works in finance. B: So does mine.

A: My children go to St. Peter’s school. B: So do mine.

Role-play the perfect date

You go on date with someone you met on tinder. First, complete the following sentences about yourself, and then read them to your date. You discover that you are a match made in heaven!

Student 1:

I’ve always dreamed of_____________________

I’m crazy about_______________________

I can’t bear____________________________

I’m petrified of ___________________________

I will never forget___________________________

I really should _____________________________

Tomorrow I have to_________________________

When I was I child I used to_______________________

When I was little I couldn’t________________________

I’ve been ______ing ________________ for___________________.

My ex was a_______________________

My sister ________________________________

Student 2:

I will always remember________________________

If I wasn’t so ___________________, I would_________________

I must remember to_______________________

I can’t_____________________________

My grandparents__________________________

I should_____________________________

I’d love to________________________

When I was a student I used to_________________________

If I could go back in time, I would______________________

Before last week I had never___________________________

I couldn’t live without ___________________________

I’m a huge fan of__________________________

Disagreeing – A date from hell

If we disagree or don’t share the same taste or opinion as the person we can talk to we can simply repeat the auxiliary verb in affirmative/negative:

A: I love Woody Allen films. B: I don’t.

A: I wouldn’t like to try sky-diving. B: I would. – Repeat the date role play but disagree with everything!

Key 1st exercise:

  1. So have I
  2. Neither am I
  3. So would I
  4. Neither should I
  5. So do I
  6. Neither can I
  7. So had I
  8. Neither could I

Photo rights: http://adoniszone.blogspot.com.es/2014/11/5-ways-to-make-your-date-perfect.html

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Requests and Offers – Shall/could/can etc.

This is an activity to practice various ways of making offers and requests.

First go over the language on the handout for making offers and requests then cut up the situation cards and have students role-play them, simple as that. Here are the handouts:

Offers and Requests Situations

Making Offers and Requests language

Making Offers and Requests

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.

Can I help you?
Shall get you some juice?
Would you like a glass of water ?
How about some pizza?

 

Examples:

·         “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? “

Remember:

·         Shall, can and will are followed by the verb without to.
Example:
“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.
Example:
“Would you like some tea ?”
“Would you like to drink some coffee?

 

 

 

 

Responding to offers

Accepting Declining
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, thanks
No, thank you

Examples:

·         “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

Asking Saying Yes Saying No
Can you…? Yes, sure. Well, I’m afraid + reason
Could you…?
Is it all right if you…?
Do you think you could…?
Will you…?
Would you…?
Yes, of course.
Certainly.
Well, the problem is
Sorry, but…
Do you mind -ing…?
Would you mind -ing…?
No, not at all.
Of course not.

Situation cards:

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.

Credits for the language explanations to:

http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/polite-requests

and

http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/communication-lesson-offers.php#.VOM_5vnF8k1

and the photo:

https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/microsites/guide-dogs-in-school/puppy-resources/guide-dogs-in-the-community/sighted-guiding/

Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Conversation Lesson: Agony Aunts

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:

Agony Aunt + Agony Aunt Language

Start by trying to elicit what an agony aunt is. You could show the this link to the Sun’s Dear Deidre column (be warn it has some partial nudity)

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.

Giving advice

Present:

You should/shouldn’t…

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…

Past:

You should/shouldn’t have + past participle.

You ought (not) to have + past participle.

Expressions

Woah! That’s a tough one.

That’s a delicate/tricky situation.

A minefield.

You have to tread carefully.

Be subtle/tactful/diplomatic.

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.

Stay strong.

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.