Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes, Proficiency

C1/C2: Advanced Conditionals Revision

While correcting a mock exam with my C2 group, it came to my attention that they needed a refresher on advanced conditionals. Things like inverted conditionals and also alternatives conditional phrases such as “on condition that”, “supposing…?” and “provided that”. So I put together a little PowerPoint as a refresher. It’s not the most inspired of formats, but I dotted in a few fun speaking activities along the way. Download the PowerPoint below:

You’ll need to prep by coming up with 3 sentences, one with each inverted conditional, here are my examples:

  1. Should I have time tonight, I’ll watch another episode of Ted Lasso. (inverted 1st conditional)
  2. Were I to win the lottery, I’d quit my job. (inverted 2nd conditional)
  3. Had I been born in the 1400s, I would have been an explorer. (inverted 3rd conditional)

The three sentences should be a mixture of true or false bits of information about you.

Read the sentences to your class one by one, students should take no notes, just listen. They should then debate with their partner whether or not the sentence is true. Reveal the truth, then move onto the next sentence.

Once you’ve finished, show the first slide of the PowerPoint (you’ll need to edit the first few slides so that they show your 3 sentences, or just do it on the board). Students have the basic information from the 3 sentences, but none of the grammar, they have to work together to recall what you said. Maybe they’ll remember the “basic” conditional structures (if….), or perhaps the sharper students will remember some of the inverted forms.

Once you’ve revealed and discussed the different forms, lead students through the rest of the PowerPoint, they will get more complete revision of each inverted conditional plus all the other alternative forms already mentioned.

I’m interested to see what hypothetical questions your students come up with for the “suppose”/”supposing” section, let me know in the comments!

Posted in Advanced C1, Grammar Classes, Proficiency

C1/C2: Inversions – A Weekend Off!

Stressed and tired new parents with screaming newborn baby por Rob and  Julia Campbell - Stocksy United

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.

Possible Follow-up

As a follow-up to this lesson plan, you might want to revise inverted conditionals with your C1 students. To do so, you could use this great worksheet created by Andrew Farmer @andrewfarmer80:

Alternatively, you could set this page of inversion Key Word Transformations:

A Weekend Off: Teacher’s Notes

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
  • Financial struggles
  • 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 only can 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 only can (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.

Task Check

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!

Freer Production

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.

Posted in Advanced C1, Grammar Classes

Mighty Might – C1 Modal Verbs

Strong Super Hero — Stock Vector © starlight789 #12842606

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:

Mighty Might – Student Handout

Look at the sets of different expressions using might and other modal verbs. Match them with the different meanings they express in the box at the bottom.

Might/could at least

  1. You might at least pick up your dirty clothes.
  2. You could at least put your dirty dishes in the sink.
  3. You might at least say hello when you get home instead of going straight to your bedroom.

Might/could #1

  1. I’m going to the bar after football so I might be late home.
  2. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, it might rain.
  3. Don’t drive so fast, you could have an accident.

Might/could #2

  1. Let’s watch TV, there might be something good on.
  2. Shhh! Be quiet, my parents might be asleep already.
  3. It was really cold last night so the roads could be icy.

Might/may…. but

  1. Ok, I admit that he might be really good at shooting but he never passes the ball, it’s so frustrating.
  2. He may be really good-looking but he’s not very bright.
  3. She might have all the money in the world but is she truly happy?

Might/may as well

  1. All the good bands have finished playing so we might as well go home.
  2. We’ve already missed the start of the film so we may as well do something else.
  3. It’s too dark, you’re never going to find your lost keys, you might as well give up.

Might/could//may have + past participle #1

  1. Woah! Be careful with that ladder, you might have taken my head off!
  2. Slow down! You could have hit that old lady!
  3. He might have got together with Julie at the party but he spent all night being sick in the toilet.

Might/could//may have + past participle #2

  1. Where are they? I’m worried, they might have had an accident.
  2. I can’t find my phone. I could have left it at work.
  3. Someone has stolen one of the plants from the front porch. It might have been those boys from next door.
Past possibility           past possibility that didn’t happen            future possibility            annoyance              Concession (ok, you’re right)           suggestion without enthusiasm            present possibility

Complete the sentence

  1. Boss: Your office is a mess and it stinks you might at least ___________________.
  2. Let’s see what’s on at the cinema there might____________________.
  3. The weather forecast says that it might_____________________.
  4. We’ve missed the last train home so we might as well___________________.
  5. Ok, she might be a good singer but________________.
  6. Where’s the cat? She might have__________________________.
  7. Luckily, I escaped the crash with just cuts and bruises, I might have___________________.

Key Word Transformations

  1. There’s no point staying any longer, let’s go home.


We _______________________ go home.

  1. I always have to tidy up your mess, some help would be nice.


I always have to tidy up your mess, _____________________ me.

  1. You’re right there are some interesting characters in the book but it’s just so monotonous.


Ok, the characters _______________________________ is just so monotonous.

  1. My laptop isn’t here, maybe someone stole it.


My laptop isn’t here, it __________________________________.

  1. We were lucky, the hurricane nearly hit our house.


We were lucky, ______________________ our house

Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Informal Letter Task: An Exotic Holiday

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This is a writing task for CAE students in which they write an informal narrative letter describing an exotic holiday. It is a follow up lesson to my Travelling: Expressions and Discussions lesson as it gives students the opportunity to use the expressions in context. It was designed with students in the latter stages of their studies for the exam in mind as it contains revision of advanced grammar structures such as inversions, participle clauses and cleft sentences. Download the students’ handout, worksheet and teacher’s notes below you will also need the two quizlet sets to revise the vocab:

Informal narrative letter update – students’ handout

Informal Letter Worksheet – students’ worksheet

Narrative Informal Letter Teachers notes

Quizlet sets: Travelling expressions + Travelling collocations

Narrative Informal Letter – Exotic Holiday Teacher’s Notes

Lead in

Write on the board:

  1. What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever been to?
  2. What did you do there?
  3. Would you recommend it? Why? Why not?
  4. What advice would you give to someone who was going there for the first time?

Students discuss in pairs. Go to open class, students share exotic destinations, activities and advice.

Task Analysis

Give out student handout. Students read task and underline the 4 things they must include in their letter


You have recently been travelling in an exotic country. Your friend has written to you because they are thinking about visiting the same place. Write them a letter describing the highlights of your trip, you should also mention any problems you encountered, say whether or not you would recommend the place and give your friend advice for their trip.

Students complete paragraph plan

Paragraph Plan

  1. Standard informal email opening
  2. Describe highlights
  3. Mention problems
  4. Recommend or not + give advice
  5. Sign off

Brainstorm – Informal letter opening + sign off

As a class brainstorm standard opening and closing expressions for informal letters:

Opening Closing
It’s wonderful to hear from you again.

It’s been ages since we last saw each other.

How have you been?

What have you been up to?

Sorry for not writing back sooner, I’ve been snowed under with schoolwork/exams/work.

So you wanted to know about…. Well…

Anyway, I’d better get going as I have an early start in the morning.

Well, it’s getting late and I’ve gotta get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

Hugs and kisses

Lots of love

Send my love to ….

Briefly run through the language on the handout for sequencing etc. Students read and field any questions or doubts they might have. We will look at the advanced grammar next.

Worksheet – Collocations and Advanced Grammar


Give out the worksheet. Students match the collocations. Use the quizlet set to drill/reinforce with games.

Key: 1-h, 2-b, 3-d, 4-a, 5-e, 6-f, 7-g, 8-c

Advanced Grammar

This section is revision of several advanced grammar structures that can be used in compositions with a narrative element.


Just as we had got on the helicopter it took off.

No sooner had we got on the helicopter than it took off.

As soon as we had left the jeep we were surrounded by different types of monkeys!

Hardly had we left the jeep when we were surrounded by different types of monkeys.

We went scuba diving and spear fishing.

Not only did we go scuba diving but also spear fishing.

We had no idea that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

Little did we know that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

I enjoyed the safari the most.

What I enjoyed most was the safari.

It was the safari that I enjoyed most.

I had never seen such a spectacular sunset before.

Never before had I seen such a spectacular sunset.

The road was so wet that we had to turn back and go a different way.

So wet was the road that we had to turn back and go a different way.

The gorilla was so strong that he broke the window of the jeep!

So strong was the gorilla that he broke the window of the jeep!

Revision – Travelling expressions

Use the quizlet sets to recap the travelling expressions using the scatter game.


Students’ Handout


You have recently been travelling in an exotic country. Your friend has written to you because they are thinking about visiting the same place. Write them a letter describing the highlights of your trip, you should also mention any problems you encountered, say whether or not you would recommend the place and give your friend advice for their trip.

Paragraph Plan

  1. Standard informal email opening
  2. __________________________
  3. __________________________
  4. __________________________
  5. Sign off

Past narrative tenses

Past simple – finished actions in the past, actions in sequence.

I breathed in deeply and stepped out of the plane into the air.

Past continuous – descriptions/actions in progress interrupted by past simple actions.

The pale winter sun was shining through the leaves of the trees, the birds were singing happily and the wind was whistling past.

As the balloon was rising into the sky I looked down at the people below me.

Past perfect – actions that happened before a specific moment in the past.

I looked out over the landscape, I had never seen such a beautiful sight before.

I took the map out and checked our location. I had marked all the most important places on it the night before.

Past perfect cont. – duration of time for an action that happened before a specific moment in the past.

When we finally reached the summit of the mountain we had been walking for over 6 hours.

I had been dreaming about taking to the skies in a hot air balloon since I was a child.


At first/To start with/In the beginning…………..

Then/next/after that/…………………

The next thing that happened was…………….

The next thing I knew was………………

Seconds/Minutes later………………

Later on/Some time later……………..

It wasn’t until much later that…………..

After some time/what seemed like years…………

Finally/In the end……………..

At last,…………..

I was just about to (infinitive) when……….

I was on the point of (gerund) when………..


Sudden/unexpected events.

Out of the blue……………

Like a bolt from the blue………

Completely unexpectedly……………

Just as I was least expecting it…………..

Looking back

In retrospect……………

When I think back to that day………..

Looking back on that day………….


Rapid events

In the blink of an eye………….

As quick as a flash…………..

Simultaneous events

Meanwhile, In the meantime……….

While all this was going on…………

Ways to say exciting/excited:


adrenalin rush







on edge

I had butterflies in my stomach

nerve-racking/nail-biting (to describe the activity)





Phrasal verbs:

take up a challenge (accept)

set off on a journey/adventure (start)

freak out (get very scared and nervous)

Describing the weather:

A scorching summer day

A freezing winter day

A crisp winter day

A howling wind was blowing

A light breeze was blowing

The sun was beating down on us

It was pouring with rain

The heavens opened (it started to rain very hard)


Grammatical Range – SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW!


No sooner had I got on the board, than I fell off.

Hardly had the plane left the ground when I started to feel sick.

Only when/Not until two days later did I appreciate how much danger I had been in.

On no account must you leave the car during the safari.

Little did I know that there were man-eating sharks in the water.

At no time did I stop screaming with fear and delight.

Never before had I seen such breath-taking views.

Never before had I felt so alive.


So + adjective/adverb + verb + subject

So clear was the water that you could see right to the bottom.

So delicious was the dessert that we went back for seconds.

Participle clauses:

Being a strong swimmer, I had no problem in the strong currents.

Having studied French at school, I was able to get by speaking to the locals.

Seeing the Lion running towards me, I panicked and got back in the jeep.


Cleft Sentences

I liked the rollercoasters the most.

What I liked most was the rollercoasters.

It was the rollercoasters that I liked the most.


Inverted conditionals

Were I to go again, I’d pack more warm clothes.

Had I known it was going to be so cold, I would have packed warmer clothes.

Had I not seen the warning sign, I would have jumped into the crocodile lake.

Had it not been for + noun

Had it not been for the guide, we would have got completely lost!


Students’ Worksheet

Impressive Vocabulary

Match to make impressive collocations

1.       Breath-taking /Jaw-dropping/mind-blowing

2.       Mouth-watering

3.       Mile upon mile of

4.       Death-defying

5.       Baffling/bewildering

6.       Crystal clear/ice-cold

7.       Densely-populated/Bustling

8.       World-famous/internationally-renowned

a.       Activities/sports

b.      Local delicacies

c.       Monuments/attractions

d.      Golden sands/rolling hills

e.      Local traditions/customs

f.        Water

g.       City/metropolis

h.      Views/landscape

Impressive Grammar

Transform the sentences to use impressive grammar structures

Just as we had got on the helicopter it took off.

No sooner _________________________________________________________

As soon as we had left the jeep we were surrounded by different types of monkeys!


We went scuba diving and spear fishing.

Not only _____________________________________________________________

We had no idea that there were man-eating sharks in the water.


I enjoyed the safari the most.



I had never seen such a spectacular sunset before.

Never before _______________________________________________________.

The road was so wet that we had to turn back and go a different way.


The gorilla was so strong that he broke the window of the jeep!