Posted in Action Research, Pronunciation Classes

Action Research: Pronunciation Project #2

This is the second in a series of posts documenting a mini research project I’m doing with a group of C1/C2 students to see how effective explicit pronunciation instruction activities can be. If you haven’t already, please read the first post to get a better idea of the methods I’m using. Download the slides and handout for this second mini lesson plan below:

Full credit to Mark Hancock for the excellent -ed endings maze, you can get it and many more from this excellent website he runs together with Annie McDonald. You can also get loads more great materials from his Instagram page. If you get the chance to attend one of his seminars/webinars, go for it, loads of great ideas.

This particular lesson plan focuses on -ed endings of regular verbs and consonant to vowel linking in phrasal verbs. If you’re following along with the project with your students, please let me know how it’s going in the comments.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Inverted Open Cloze

C2 Proficiency: Exam Technique – Reading Part 7 – Tim's Free English Lesson  Plans

This is a lesson plan for C2 proficiency students designed to more fully exploit a use of English part 2 open cloze text. Download the handout below:

The part 2 exercise is taken from the Expert Proficiency Coursebook published by Pearson.

Students first complete the exercise from their books, compare answers with a partner and correct the task in open class. The teacher then instructs them to close their books/fold the handout over and try to complete the second “inverted” version. In this version, different words have been removed from the fixed expressions tested in the original text. Other changes have been made in order to fully exploit the text for more high level lexis such as phrasal verbs and fixed expressions. Students can then refer back to the original in order to check their answers.

You can create your own inverted cloze exercises from any text in your course book. Happy inverting!

Inverted Version

Cover the original exercise.

Complete this version.

The relationship between the modern consumer and their rubbish is a complex one. Getting (1) ……. of rubbish has come to mean a great (2) ……. more than simply consigning breakfast leftovers (3) ……. a plastic bag. With the advent (4)……. recycling, rubbish has now invaded many people’s personal lives to an unprecedented (5) ……. There was a time, (6) ……. living memory, when rubbish collection was a simple matter – but today’s household rubbish, before being (7) ……., has to be filed and sorted (8) ……. colour-coded containers (9) ……. to its recycling category.

What is (10) ……., we are brought (11) ……. in a rash of irritation by the suggestion that, if rubbish collections were to become more infrequent, people would then make the effort to (12) ……. down on shopping and recycle more. We might be excused for wondering (13) ……. this would be possible. Can people realistically buy fewer eggs or (14) ……. of toothpaste than their lives require?

Recycling is supposed to be good for us. But for some, it’s just a (15) ……. of rubbish.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Use of English Worksheet & Conversation

C2 Proficiency: Exam Technique – Reading Part 7 – Tim's Free English Lesson  Plans

This is a lesson plan for students preparing to take the C2 Proficiency exam. Students look at some typical phrasal verbs, collocations and dependent prepositions that often come up in the exam and put them into practice in conversation. Download the handout, key and accompanying slides below:

Here is a link to a quizziz game you can use for spaced repetition:


First of all students have to choose from two prepositions to complete the phrasal verbs so that it fits the context of the sentence. Then have them match the phrasal verbs to the definitions in the box below. You could then have students test each other, one says a definition, the other has to recall the phrasal verb.

Show students slide 2 of the presentation and instruct them to turn their handouts over and attempt to recall the missing words in the questions from memory. In this exercise they are required to recall the verb, rather than the preposition. Once they have completed the exercise, have them ask and answer the questions in pairs or small groups and then share any funny/interesting discoveries in open class.

Students then repeat the process for the dependent prepositions. However, in this case, rather than matching definitions, they match synonyms of the collocations to transform the sentence. I most cases they are direct synonyms that fit the same grammatical pattern but in a couple of cases they will need to make changes to the sentence, instruct them to check carefully if the synonym fits.

Slide 4-5 have a similar gapped questions task to the first one for students to complete in pairs. The final exercise contains more expressions and phrasal verbs with prepositions. Have students complete the exercise in pairs, then after checking in open class, have students come up with gapped questions for their classmates to complete. Tell them that their questions must be open-ended and designed to spark conversation, for example:

Are there any things that you’ve done so many times that you can now do ….. auto-pilot?

Feel free to post any of your students’ questions in the comments! Let me know how it goes!

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

117 C1 Phrasal Verbs: Study Sheet

This is a self-study resource for C1 students. Full credit to for the list of phrasal verbs:

All I’ve done is put each one in context with a sentence or two, then made a quizlet set with the prepositions removed. Download the handout below:

At the end of the handout I’ve added a QR code to the quizlet set so that students can access it easily.

117 C1 Phrasal Verbs

  1. They’ve made their demands and they’re not going to back down. – stop demanding something
  2. My car always breaks down when I don’t have enough money to get it repaired. – stop working
  3. They broke/split up last year but then they got back together. – to end; to separate (a marriage / a relationship / etc.)
  4. My parents died when I was very young so my grandma brought me up. – raise/educate/care for (a child)
  5. I bumped/ran into an old friend from uni in the street. – to meet someone unexpectedly
  6. The situation calls for  calm negotiations and cool heads from everyone involved. – demand / request
  7. They’ve had to call off  the match due to bad weather. – cancel (an event)
  8. I’m just going to carry on working on my presentation, but let me know if you need anything.  – continue
  9. The new hairstyle has really caught on with teenagers in my town. catch on – to become popular (an idea or a style); 
  10. I kept dropping hints about what I wanted for my birthday but my wife didn’t catch on. – to understand/realise after a long time
  11. I bought him a pint to try to cheer him up – make happier
  12. I came across my old school books while I was clearing out the attic. – find by chance
  13. He came into quite a lot of money when his grandparents passed away. come into (money) – inherit
  14. Come round after school and we’ll work on the science project together. – come to your house
  15. I’ve come up with a great idea for our Halloween costumes. – think of and suggest an idea
  16. The topic of a pay rise came up in my meeting with the boss. – be mentioned, arise or appear (in class / an exam / a meeting)
  17. Don’t be late! Everyone is counting on you. – to rely on
  18. My New Year’s resolution is to cut down on fast food.– reduce the amount you consume
  19. Sorry, the call got cut off when we went through a tunnel. – separate / isolate / interrupt
  20. My doctor has told me I need to cut out all processed meats from my diet. – stop doing / eating something
  21. The child was struggling to do up his shoelaces. We’re doing up our house this summer. – fasten, button up clothes; repair, redecorate or modernize a building or room
  22. We all dressed up as monsters for Halloween.– put on different clothes in order to disguise yourself
  23. My Dad dropped by on his way home to work to say hello. – to visit informally or unexpectedly
  24. He also came to drop off my Christmas presents. The taxi dropped us off outside the airport. – to take something (or someone) to a place and leave it there
  25. He didn’t enjoy the economics degree course and dropped out after 6 months. – stop taking part in (a competition, a university, etc.)
  26. We got lost and ended up in a completely different town. We were supposed to go out clubbing but we ended up staying in. – an end result of something planned or unplanned
  27. She fell for him the moment she met him. – fall in love with
  28. She fell out with her younger sister over who was going to look after grandma at Christmas. – argue and stop being friendly with someone
  29. Yesterday she found out that she passed her law degree. – discover
  30. I wrote them an email to follow up my complaint from the previous day. – find out more about something; take further action
  31. I get along/on really well with all my teachers. – have a good relationship with
  32. We just want to get away for the weekend and have some peace and quiet. – go on a short holiday/break 
  33. He stole €10 from his mum’s purse and got away with it, she blamed his brother. – not be punished for doing something
  34. I don’t earn much but it’s enough to get by. – manage to survive / live
  35. Stop chatting and get on with your work! – start or continue doing something (especially work)
  36. It took him a long time to get over her, I think he still loves her. – recover after the end of a relationship with someone
  37. I’m still getting over a nasty cold but I should be fine in a couple of days. – recover from
  38. I get together with my old uni friends every 6 months or so. – meet (usually for social reasons)
  39. I’m cleaning out my garage this weekend, I’m going to get rid of so much old stuff. – eliminate/discard
  40. He accidently gave away the surprise birthday party to the birthday girl, what an idiot! – reveal
  41. Hey! That’s my bag! Give it back – return
  42. Don’t forget to give/hand in your essays at the end of the class.  – submit (homework, etc.)
  43. The kids wouldn’t stop asking for an ice cream so I finally gave in and let them have one. – agree to something you do not want to
  44. The rotting fruit was giving off a nasty smell. (a smell) – produce and send into the air
  45. The receptionist gave out all the most important information to the guests. – announce or broadcast information
  46. They’re giving/handing out free samples of delicious cheese at the supermarket. – distribute to a group of people
  47. The sudoku puzzle was too difficult so I gave up and read a book instead. – to stop trying to do something (often because it is too difficult)
  48. A: We should decorate the kitchen. B: Yeah, I’d go along with that. – support an idea or agree with someone’s opinion
  49. The milk has gone off, we’ll have to buy some more. A bomb went off outside the airport, luckily nobody was hurt. – explode; become bad (food)
  50. The poker game went on for hours and hours. – to continue
  51. Have you heard? Charlie is going out with Kathy.  – have a romantic relationship with someone
  52. My Dad’s threatening to take away my car keys if I don’t tidy my room but I don’t think he will go through with it. – complete a promise or plan
  53. My best friend from primary school and I grew apart over the years and now we hardly speak. – get distant from someone, like a friend
  54. When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.  – slowly become an adult
  55. We hung around outside the concert hall for 2 hours after the show trying to get an autograph. – to wait or spend time somewhere, doing nothing
  56. I’m just going to hang out with my friends tonight. – spend time relaxing (informal)
  57. Don’t leave your shirts on the floor, you need to hang them up. She finished the call and then hung up. – to hang clothes or an object on a hook or line; to end a phone call
  58. Go down this street and then head for the big church, your hotel is right next door to it. – go towards
  59. My shyness always holds me back in social situations. – prevent someone from making progress
  60. We need to hurry up! Our train leaves in five minutes.  – do something more quickly
  61. Just keep on walking this way and you’ll get to the station in no time. – to continue
  62. Where were you on Saturday? I really needed your help and you let me down. – disappoint
  63. The police decided to let the kids off with a warning because it was their first offence. – give someone a lighter punishment than they expected (or not punish at all)
  64. I can’t come out, I need to look after my baby brother. – take care of
  65. I hate it when people look down on those who are less fortunate than them. – feel superior to
  66. I’ve been looking for a flat for 2 months but haven’t found one I like yet. – try to find
  67. I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year. – feel happy about something that is going to happen
  68. The police are looking into the case of the missing dog. – investigate
  69. I had never heard of my Dad’s favorite footballer, I had to look him up on wikipedia.  – find information about (e.g. a word in a dictionary)
  70. I’ve always looked up to my mum, she’s very resilient. – admire and respect
  71. They gave us free tickets to a different show to make up for the cancellation. – compensate for
  72. They fell out over something stupid but now they’ve made up. – become friends again
  73. He’s always making up ridiculous stories and excuses for why he’s late. (something) – invent (stories, excuses)
  74. Ok, thanks for that report Jon, now let’s move on to Sarah’s presentation. – change to a different job, activity or place
  75. I moved out of my parents house when I was 18. – stop living in a house or flat
  76. He was so dehydrated that he passed out and woke up in the back of an ambulance. – lose consciousness
  77. When are you going to pay back the money you owe me? – return money
  78. Don’t worry, my parents are going to pay for dinner. – purchase
  79. They’ve finally managed to pay off the mortgage on the house. She got into Oxford University, all of her hard work has paid off! – finish paying for something; have a positive result from hard work
  80. Mum, it’s raining really hard, can you come and pick me up from the train station? – meet / collect someone (e.g. at the station / from school)
  81. At the end of the presentation our boss pointed out several obvious mistakes we had made. – to draw attention to something or someone
  82. Vicky! Come and put away your toys before you have dinner. – put something back in the correct place
  83. I’m going to the dentist tomorrow, I’ve been putting it off for months. – postpone
  84. They put on a big show to raise money for charity. (an event/a show) – organize an event
  85. Put your coat on, it’s cold outside. (clothes /make up) – place something on your body
  86. I put on quite a lot of weight during lockdown. (weight) – increase (weight)
  87. The firefighters were finally able to put the fire out. – extinguish (e.g. fire)
  88. My uncle can put us up for a couple of nights while we’re in London. (for the night) – accommodate
  89. Put your hand up if you have any questions. (your hand) – lift into the air
  90. I’m not going to put up with anymore lateness from those kids. – tolerate
  91. The car rental company tried to rip us off but I was having none of it. – charge someone too much for something
  92. We ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere, it was terrifying. – use up (e.g. money, petrol, time)
  93. We had to set off at 4am, it was horrible. – start a journey
  94. We set up the company in 1995 and it’s still going strong to this day. – establish / start (e.g. a company)
  95. Dan! Stop showing off and pass us the ball, we’re losing 4-0. – try to impress people by telling or showing them what you are capable of
  96. They’ve had to shut down 5 stores in the area because sales have dropped. – to close
  97. We need to sort out accommodation for our trip to Paris. – arrange or order by classes or categories; find a solution
  98. BBC stands for the British Broadcasting Corporation. – to represent
  99. His ginger hair really makes him stand out from the rest of the boys in his class. – be easy to see because of being different
  100. I’d say I take after my Dad in my looks and my Mum in my personality. (someone) – resemble a member of your family in appearance, behaviour or character
  101. Please take your feet off the seat, your shoes are very dirty. – to remove from a surface or your body (clothes)
  102. Our plane takes off at 9pm. – leave the ground (e.g. a plane)
  103. She’s taken on a lot of extra responsibilities in her new job. – attempt something new; employ
  104. A new manager has taken over the department.  – take control of
  105. I took to ice-skating really quickly and now I’ve signed up for weekly classes.– start to like, especially after only a short time
  106. I first took up volleyball when I was in secondary school. – start doing (a hobby)
  107. The teacher told us off for being late. – speak angrily to someone who has done something wrong
  108. I’ve decided to throw away my old sofa, unless you want it. – get rid of something you do not need any more
  109. The weather on the mountain got really bad so we had to turn back. – return towards the place you started from
  110. They’ve turned down our offer for the house, they want more money. – reject or refuse
  111. On a full moon he turns into a werewolf! They’ve turned my favourite restaurant into a Burger King! – to transform
  112. Don’t forget to turn/switch off the lights when you leave. – to disconnect (e.g. a computer)
  113. He switched/turned on the TV and sat down to watch the match. – to connect (e.g. the TV)
  114. Our bus didn’t turn up for 2 hours. – arrive, usually unexpectedly, early or late
  115. He always uses up all the toilet roll and doesn’t replace it. – finish a supply of something
  116. I’ve completely worn out my old football boots, I need to get some new ones. – to use something until it becomes unusable
  117. I work out 3 times a week at the gym. The students struggled to work out the complicated equations. The police couldn’t work out how the burglars got into the house. – think about and find a solution; do exercise

– Quizlet set

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

CAE/C1 Advanced: Use of English Part 2 Revision Worksheet

cae | British Formazione Inglese Livorno

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:

You could follow up by playing this quizziz game that covers 25 of the sentences:

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Use of English Revision Worksheet

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is a worksheet for students preparing for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. It’s designed as a revision activity for a lot of the expressions, collocations and phrasal verbs that come up in the use of English paper. Download the handout and answer key below:

Verb Phrases & Collocations

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verbs in the box, you will need to use some verbs more than once:

bring    give    take    buy    make    do    place    get    have    put
  1. Could you please ……… me up-to-date with the latest news about the project?
  2. We’ve …….. our plan into action, now we just have to wait for the results.
  3. When is the wedding ……… place?
  4. She ……. exception to his comments about her lateness and got quite offended.
  5. The release of the chemicals ……… a detrimental effect on wildlife in the surrounding area.
  6. He ……… the impression that he doesn’t care but really, underneath he’s completely committed to the relationship.
  7. A few days off would ……… wonders for my mental health.
  8. Some people in this business ………. no scruples about stabbing their rivals in the back to get what they want.
  9. The council has ……….. steps to bring the situation under control.
  10. Where can I ……… hold of a good bottle of French red wine?
  11. How long do you think they’re going to ………. to finish the refurbishment?
  12. This school ………. a lot of importance on punctuality and respect.
  13. They failed to ………. into consideration just how expensive organising the festival would be.
  14. After ………. your suggestions a lot of thought, I’ve decided to make the changes you recommended.
  15. Most bars ……….. all their food and drink in bulk in order to save money.
  16. I’ve ………… an order for a new TV on the website, it should arrive next week.
  17. Don’t worry if your cat ate one of the leaves of the plant, it won’t …….. it any harm.
  18. The company ………. a pre-tax profit of €10,000 last year.
  19. Calm down, I’ve managed to ………. us some more time to get the presentation finished, I told the boss I had food poisoning.
  20. The sight of my brother and his fiancé finally tying the knot ………. tears to my eyes.

Missing Prepositions

  1. ……… all likelihood, the new store will be opening at the end of next month.
  2. ………. and large, the school play was well received by the audience.
  3. ………. the whole, the product launch was a success despite a few hitches.
  4. He broke his mum’s favourite salad bowl …….. accident.
  5. The instructor gave the group a safety demonstration to put them …….. ease before their first dive.
  6. Sadly bees seem to be ……. decline across Europe.
  7. They gave her the job ……. the strength of the excellent answers she gave to the interview questions.
  8. You can’t expect me to work the Saturday shift ……. such short notice, I can’t do it I’m afraid.
  9. He handed …….. his final project at 12:00 ……. the dot, just in time.
  10. I’m sorry but I’m ……. the end of my tether, I can’t handle this group anymore, they’re driving me ……. the wall!

Phrasal Verbs & Fixed Expressions

  1. More …….. than not, we go out for dinner on Friday night. (usually)
  2. For ……. we know, there might be aliens living underground on Mars.
  3. I had to put ……. with a screaming baby right next to me for the whole return flight.
  4. I didn’t know what to say so I just blurted out the first thing that …….. into my head.
  5. We can’t give up, there’s ………. he would love more than to see us fail!
  6. I’ve put a lot of effort …….. organising this evening so I hope everything goes …….. plan.
  7. Darkness ……. while we were still on the mountain so we had to walk the last part in the pitch black.
  8. His work didn’t see the …….. of day until years after his death.
  9. The last bus had already gone so we were …….. with no choice but to walk back.
  10. We’ve ……. into the habit of eating dinner in front of the TV, it’s so bad.
  11. The fog and rain made …….. difficult to make …… what was written on the signpost.
  12. The fire brigade arrived and managed to …….. out the fire in 20 minutes.
  13. We need to come ……. with a way to raise enough money for the trip to Paris.
  14. The renovations to the old church have given it a new lease of …….. as a community centre.
  15. The financial crash in 2008 gave …….. to a huge jump in the number of families in poverty.
  16. We need your help to organise the ad campaign, we’re giving you ……. rein, you can do whatever you want.
  17. My friends always ……… up for me in tricky situations.
  18. What were you doing on the night …….. question?
  19. I ……. in touch with my family via Skype or Whatsapp.
  20. Don’t worry sir, your order is …….. hand and will be ready soon.

Word Formation

  1. Watching the video about immigrants crossing the Mediterrean made me realise that my problems pale into …………………… compared to what they have to go through. SIGNIFY
  2. We need to see a drastic cut in carbon …………………………… if we’re going to meet our green targets. EMIT
  3. The economic effect of the pandemic could be ………………………….. for some families. DISASTER
  4. One of the …………………………….. of living in a city is the relentless noise pollution. SIDE
  5. I spent many …………………………… nights listening to my neighbours’ parties. SLEEP
  6. Life ……………………………. in the western world has increased considerably in the last century. EXPECT
  7. Scientists’ theories on what will be found beneath the surface of Mars remain ………………………. SPECULATE
  8. Green ………………………….. such as carpooling or cycling schemes can only do so much to mitigate climate change. INITIATE
  9. The city centre has ………………………… a marked change in the last few years. GO
  10. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the public have been ………………………….. about the true state of our planet. LEAD
  11. I think it’s fair to say that the current ecological crisis in the arctic is an ……………………………. complex issue that presents many problems. CREDIBLE
  12. One of the problems is that people make …………………………… about the situation without knowing all the details. ASSUME
  13. The school has opened a special unit for students with …………………………… hearing. PAIR
  14. I have complained to the council …………………………… but nothing has been done about the problem. REPEAT
  15. We need to protect the area by …………………………… tourists from taking rocks and plants home as souvenirs. COURAGE
Posted in Advanced C1, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Information Gap C1

7 Fun Information Gap Activities for the ESL Classroom

This is a guest post by Katy Wright. Students take part in an information gap activity in pairs in order to develop their understanding of phrasal verbs and other fixed expressions. Download the handout below:

Teacher’s notes

  1. Split students into pairs
  2. Give them either Student A or Student B worksheet
  3. Ask them to look at the top exercises by themselves for a few minutes
  4. Tell students that the second paragraph contains their partners answers
  5. Each pair “teaches” the other by helping the find the answer (ideally not just giving the answer ie “it sounds like….” or “the first letter is…”
  6. Once both pairs have corrected their work they could turn over their worksheets and test each other’s memory

Follow up: You could encourage students to write a text or a story containing these expressions

Student Worksheet

Student A worksheet

  • She has _______ her books in order of colour =
  • I’ve completely _________ out dairy from my diet =
  • My love of jazz _________ back to my days as a school trumpet player =
  • Her imagination is amazing, she __________ up with the most bizarre ideas =
  • When I heard the noise from upstairs the hairs ___________ up on the back of my neck =
  • You are still so angry about what he said to you, you need to ______ over it =
  • The little boy always felt ______ out of games in the playground =

Student B’s Answers

  • Society needs to cut back on using single-use plastics (reduce)
  • ●       My mum hates it when I leave my things lying around and don’t put them away for days (don’t tidy up)
  • He puts up with a lot of trouble from his younger sister (tolerate)
  • I have really come to like electronic music though I thought it sounded like garbage a few years ago (enjoy now though you didn’t originally)
  • My alarm goes off at 7:30 everything morning (makes a noise/rings)
  • I love animals but the sound of my neighbours dog barking all night long gets to me (irritate)
  • Don’t let the bullies call you horrible names, you need to stand up for yourself (speak/act in support of)

Student B worksheet

  • Society needs to _______ back on using single-use plastics =
  • My mum hates it when I _______ my things lying around and don’t put them away for days =
  • He ________up with a lot of trouble from his younger sister =
  • I have really ________ to like electronic music though I thought it sounded like garbage a few years ago =
  • My alarm ________ off at 7:30 everything morning =
  • I love animals but the sound of my neighbours dog barking all night long ___________ to me =
  • Don’t let the bullies call you horrible names, you need to ___________ up for yourself =

Students A’s Answers

  • She has put her books in order of colour (alphabetise/organise)
  • I’ve completely cut out dairy from my diet (stopped/blocked)
  • My love of jazz goes back to my days as a school trumpet player (originate)
  • Her imagination is amazing, she comes up with the most bizarre ideas (imagines/thinks of)
  • When I heard the noise from upstairs the hairs stand up on the back of my neck (makes me scared/reaction to music)
  • You are still so angry about what he said to you, you need to get over it (accept something and move on)
  • The little boy always felt left out of games in the playground (excluded)
Posted in Advanced C1, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Up/Down Phrasal Verbs

A simple worksheet and discussion activity in which students look at 21 different phrasal verbs featuring either up or down. Download the student handout and answer key below, follow the link at the bottom of the post for a Kahoot game based on the target language:


Put students into pairs or small groups and have them try to guess the preposition required to complete the sentence. It could be up or down.

Check answers in open class, then have students match the phrasal verbs with the definitions.

Have students test each other, one says a definition, the other recalls the phrasal verb.

Have students ask and answer the discussion questions in their groups


Use this Kahoot game for spaced repetition:

Posted in Advanced C1, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Save the Planet: C1/C2 Phrasal Verbs

This is a lesson plan for C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency students on the topic of non-profit organisations like the WWF. Students read a short text about the organisation then work on phrasal verbs associated with the topic. Download the handout and key below:

The procedure is pretty straightforward. First students answer the introductory questions designed to activate their schemata and encourage them to predict the content of the text. They then read the text briefly to see if their predictions were correct. They then focus on the meaning of the phrasal verbs, then recall the prepositions/particles and finally put them into practice in a speaking activity.

Save the Planet – Phrasal Verbs


Ask and answer the questions with a partner:

  1. Think of some national or international organisations dedicated to protecting the environment.
  2. What do these organisations do?
  3. How effective are they?
  4. What problems/difficulties do they encounter?
  5. What can people do to support these organisations more?


  1. Read the text quickly. Does it mention any of the things you discussed in the introduction?
  2. Look at the phrasal verbs and expressions in bold and match them with the definitions below.

The World Wide Fund for Nature

Every day more and more trees are being cut down in the rainforests of the world wiping out hundreds of species. The current deforestation rate amounts to 3 football pitches per minute. Precious water supplies are being used up meaning that still more animals and plants are dying out. If we step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s not just animals and plants that are affected. The rainforests are the Earth’s lungs and further damage will only lead to misery for all life on the planet.

Our organisation aims to put pressure on governments all over the world to make them step up and take responsibility for the environment. Governments need to crack down on bad practices such as illegal logging and mining in rainforests. Sadly, we’re coming up against a lot of resistance from big business but that won’t stop us standing up for the animal kingdom. We’re looking for volunteers to chip in in any way they can; handing out leaflets in the street or drumming up support online are just two ways we can get our message across. Join us today by clicking the link below!

1. Help/contribute money
2. Kill or cause to die on a large scale
3. Be faced with
4. Make people hear/understand information
5. Cause
6. Mentally withdraw from a situation
7. Try to increase/encourage support for something
8. Become extinct
9. Introduce strong restrictions
10. Give something to people
11. Cause to fall
12. Defend verbally or physically
13. Consume all of something
14. Total/add up to
15. Take action when it’s needed


Try to remember the missing prepositions in the questions below without looking at the text. Then ask and answer the questions.

  1. How effective do you think practices like handing _____ leaflets actually are?
  2. Have you ever done anything to drum ______ support for a charity or other organisation?
  3. What do you think governments should crack ____ ____ in your country?
  4. Think of some endangered animals. Which one would you be saddest about if it died _____ completely?
  5. What do you think is the most effective way for an organisation like the WWF to get its message _______? Online? In person?
  6. What do you think are the most difficult issues that charities like the WWF come ____ ______ when trying to help the environment?
  7. If you use ____ all the toilet paper, do you always replace it?
  8. Think of a time when a friend or family member stood ____ _____ you in a difficult situation.
  9. Now think of a time when nobody stood ____ _____ you. Or when you failed to stand _____ _____ a friend.
  10. Who has the biggest responsibility to step ____ and take responsibility for the environment? Governments? Businesses? The general public? Why?
  11. When it’s a friend’s birthday, is it better if they receive lots of little presents or if everyone chips ____ and gets them one big present. Which would you prefer on your birthday?
  12. If you added up all your screen time in one day, how much would it amount ____? Do you want to cut _____? Why? Why not?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

First Certificate (FCE) Grammar/Language Checklist


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:

First Certificate Grammar Checklist

Quizlet set



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?

Grammar Structure Examples Self-assessment
Past simple/Present perfect I haven’t seen John for 5 years.

The last time I saw John was 5 years ago.

2nd conditional If I won the lottery, I would buy a mansion.

If I didn’t work in construction, I would be an actor.

3rd conditional 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

Wish/If only 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.

Reported speech “I went there last year.” -> He said that he had gone there last year.

“I will call him tomorrow.” -> She said that she would call him the following day.

Reported questions 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.

Phrasal verbs 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.

Comparatives/superlatives 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:

Must have

Could/might/may have

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.

So/such 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.

Gerund/infinitive I’m a big fan of playing water sports.

I’m interested in studying history.

I have decided to study biology.

He spent 10 minutes knocking on my door.