Relative clauses are one of the few grammar points I have covered just once. It might have been caused by the fact that I have always considered this grammar easy to understand and explain. Therefore, I never needed several infographics to help me. So it took several years before I created another infographic and a worksheet. I hope you will like them and find them useful.
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Relative clauses – infographic
As I mention above, I have always considered relative clauses easy. Of course, there is the difference between the defining and non-defining clauses, but I solved this problem early on in my career and it worked. Now, I would like to share the solution with you.
Have a look at the infographic below:
As you can see, relative clauses are used to give more details about someone or something. When we give more information about someone, we use the word WHO. When we give more information about something, we use the word WHICH. However, we can use the word THAT instead of WHO or WHICH and the meaning is the same.
The problem is that you cannot use the word THAT in non-defining clauses. Non-defining clauses are the clauses which you can leave out. That was why I always stuck to WHICH and WHO and I never made a mistake. And I advise this to my students too.
Relative clauses – worksheet
Download and print the following worksheet for your students.
There are worksheets A and B in this activity. Hand out the worksheets. You need your students to work in pairs. One student has the worksheet A and the other has the worksheet B.
Students work in pairs and they dictate their text to their partner. The partner listens and writes the sentences as he or she hears them. At the end they check their answers with their partner.
Then, students work on their own and they try to solve the logical puzzle. The solution is down here.
Amanda Mouse Listens to classical music
Jane Snake Programmer
Peter Cat Business trips
Dan Dog Football
In the second exercise, students write the definitions. They can see the correct answers in the brackets.
Then they work in pairs again. They read their definitions and their partner tries to guess the answer. They get one point for each correct answer. The winner is the student with most points.
Good luck and I hope your students will know the grammar very well.
Reported speech is not easy but when it comes to reported questions students go mad. “There are so many rules to apply,” they whimper. “First, you have to change the question into an announcement and then you have to shift the tenses.” That was why I tried to simplify this procedure.
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In this post, you will find an infographic which simplifies reporting questions and then there is a worksheet with three exercises, where your students can practise this grammar.
Reported questions – infographic
Display the infographic below and explain how it works.
The first two columns are important. The third and the fourth columns contain just examples.
If the students are asked to report a question, they start with the green column. Their first task is to find and destroy the words in this column. They look at the question they should report and search for one of the words. Once they find it, they destroy it and move to the right. They place the appropriate word from the orange column behind the subject and they are done.
They might need to make one more step, though. If the question does not start with a WH… word, they have to add IF or WHETHER at the beginning of the question.
Reported questions – worksheet
Print the following worksheet for your students. The pdf file contains the exercises and the key.
In the first exercise, students match the reported questions with the direct questions.
In the second exercise, students should report the questions.
In the third exercise, students transform the reported questions into direct questions.
If you liked this post, you may like two more posts on reported speech which I created. The first one is called Reported speech Backshifting and the other is called Reported speech.
In his latest video Fluency MC teaches comparatives and superlatives. He uses about forty different adjectives and raps them in the comparative and superlative form. The song is catchy and the grammar very important. Jason was kind enough to allow me to write some teaching materials to go with the song. In this post you will find the song, an infographic explaining the grammar, and a classroom activity.
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Fluency MC and I have already produced a lot of material together. For example, there are four posts on irregular verbs and two posts on collocations with HAVE. You can find a list of all the posts at the end of this text.
Students can get a free copy of the Fluency MC YouTube lyrics book and a free sample of his online course here: http://fluencymc.com/starter-course/ Teachers can get a free copy of the the first unit of his song and video activity book here: http://fluencymc.com/teacher-activity-book-and-media-pack/
Short Adjectives – song
Play the song at the beginning of the lesson. You could ask your students to write all the adjectives they hear. Students write only the basic forms.
Hand out the following worksheet and ask the students to check their answers. All the adjectives from the song are in the worksheet, in the order in which they are heard.
Short adjectives – infographic
Explain that Jason uses only the short adjectives in his songs. These adjectives have just one syllable and thus the following rules apply:
Explain the rules, and then ask the students to take the list of adjectives they wrote during the song and write their comparative and superlative forms. Once they finish they can check their answers using the worksheet they received at the beginning of the lesson.
Superlatives and comparatives – video
Explain the meaning of the superlative and comparative forms. We use the comparative if we compare two things. If we compare three or more things and want to say which one comes at the top, we use the superlative.
Once the students understand the meaning, play the following video. In this video, students look at the pictures and then answer the questions.
Check to see who was the best FBI agent.
Posts with Fluency MC
I have just published a new book. It is called Grammar Up.
Grammar Up is a new, holistic approach to teaching and learning English grammar.
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When you take English in school, you learn one piece of grammar at a time. After a while, you become confused by all the rules, and you forget most of them.
Native speakers don’t know the rules for the present simple or present perfect tense. They use them.
With Grammar Up, you work in the same way. The grammar points are not explained — you have to use them. And when you use the grammar, you learn it.
How to use this book?
There are 17 short texts. First you have to read the text and answer the comprehension questions. You can either write your answers on a piece of paper or you can remember them. Check your answers on the next page.
This comprehension exercise is followed by the first Grammar Up exercise. You will see the same text you have read, but this time half of every second word is deleted. The text looks like this:
You wi_____ see t_____ same te_____ you ha_____ read, b_____ this ti_____ half o_____ every sec_____ word i_____ deleted.
Try to read the text and complete each word. It is ideal to read the text aloud this time. If you are not sure how to complete a word, turn back to the original text and find the correct answer.
This exercise is followed by the second Grammar Up text. This time you see a text in which all the verbs are in the infinitive form, all the prepositions are replaced by a dash (-), and all the articles are replaced by an asterisk (*). The text then looks like this:
You SEE * same text you READ, but this time half – every second word DELETE.
Your task is to read the text again and add all the missing words and forms. It might not be a bad idea to write out the text as well.
I hope you like this book and that your facility with grammar goes up!!!
Grammar up – example text
Here you can download one of the texts included in the book:
It is quite easy to form comparatives and superlatives in English. However, without much practice students will make a lot of mistakes.
To provide enough practice for my students I have created the following exercises. There are three gap-fill exercises where students will practise the grammar in context.
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In this post, there are three interactive exercises and a word file with the same exercises to practise the grammar.
Comparing in English – infographic
The following infographic first appeared at Comparatives and Superlatives post here.
Show it to your students and explain that students first have to decide if the adjective is long or short. If the adjective is just 1 syllable, it is short. If it ends with -y, it is short. Otherwise, it is long.
Once they know whether the adjective is long or short, they can form the superlatives and comparatives correctly. With short adjectives, they add the suffixes -er or -est. With long adjectives, they add more or most in front of the adjective.
Comparatives and superlatives – online quizzes
The following quizzes are not for beginners who just need to practise this grammar. They are for students who can understand the text and decide which form is correct in the given context.
There are three quizzes:
Comparing in English – Links
You can find more activities to practise comparatives and superlatives here:
Comparatives and superlatives activities
Comparatives and superlatives speaking activities
Moreover, there are very interesting activities to use in your classroom at British Council site.
I hope you will find this post useful and that your students will practise a lot.
The vast majority of people consider comparatives and superlatives in English easy. They usually have no problems with their formation and as there are very few exceptions, they master this grammar point pretty quickly.
However, it is still a good idea to have a few interesting activities up your sleeve to teach this well. You can find the basic explanation and infographic in my previous post about comparatives and superlatives.
In this post, I am going to offer three activities that worked very well in my classes. The first one is a simple pair speaking activity to practise the comparatives. The second one is called Hidden picture and your task is to colour the correct sentences and find the hidden picture. The third activity is a video quiz with a writing activity. I hope you will like the activities and use them in your classes too.
Comparatives and superlatives – activities
For the first activity, you will need the following worksheet.
Print it and ask your students to work in pairs. Give each student one quarter of the worksheet. Make sure to give different worksheet to each student in a pair.
Students should fill in the gaps using the correct form of the adjective in the brackets. Check their answers. Even though the questions are different, the answers are the same and therefore, they are easy to check.
Then students work in pairs and read the questions to their partners and answer them in English.
For the Hidden picture activity, you need to print the following table for each student.
Ask the students to colour the squares that contain a correct sentence. If they do it correctly a picture will appear (in this case the letter N should appear).
Then go through the sentences with your students and elicit the mistakes and their corrections.
Comparatives and superlatives – video
Before you play the video, ask the students to take a piece of paper and something to write with. Play the video and the students write down the correct answers to the questions. At the end of the quiz, they check their answers. Award the student with most correct answers.
As a follow-up activity, it is a good idea to ask your students to write a similar quiz.
Once elementary students master forming questions in the present simple tense, their communicative ability grows by hundreds of percent. Students then can ask nearly about anything, and all of a sudden they can communicate meaningfully. However, for many teachers the questions are a nightmare because only a few students do really learn to form the questions.
To help you and your students I will share a set of activities I have used and which worked really well in my classes. In this post you can find an infographic, a video drill, a speaking activity, two games and an online quiz.
Questions in present simple tense – infographic
Start the lesson by explaining the grammar. I use the following infographic to explain the way in which questions are formed.
Remind your students that the word order in English is given (SVOMPT) and that they have to follow it. To form a question they need to add the words DO or DOES at the beginning and a question mark at the end.
To form the short answers students have to start with YES or NO, the pronoun representing the subject from the question and DO, DOES, DON’T or DOESN’T. You can tell your students that the word which was at the beginning of the question appears at the end of the answer.
You can see my explanation of the process in the following video:
The following quiz can help your students practise the short answers either at school or at home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should match the questions and answers. In the second part, students have to write the short answers. The students will be rewarded with a game after each part of the quiz they pass. The quiz is in HTML5, so it will play on all desktops and mobile devices.
Questions in present simple tense – speaking activity
In the following activity students should work in pairs or in small groups of three or four. Print the worksheet once for each pair or group.
One of the students chooses a picture and the others form questions about the pictures. Their task is to ask YES/NO questions in such a way to find out which picture their partner is thinking about.
Questions in present simple tense – question words
Before you move to questions starting with the question words, it is a must that students know, and are able to produce, the question words.
Start with the following drill. On the first slide students listen and repeat the words. From the second slide on, they have to produce the question words before the native speaker says them. Play the video at least twice.
Now, hand out the following worksheet and ask the students to complete the first exercise with the question words
Questions in present simple tense – WH questions
Now explain that WH questions are formed by adding the WH words at the beginning of the question. You can explain it using the infographic below:
Questions in present simple tense – games
Use the following games to practise the grammar your students learnt.
The first game is called Penalty Shootout. In this game you should choose the correct question and then try to score a goal. Good luck.
As the game is in Flash, it will only play on desktop computers.
The second game is in Flash too, and it will play only on desktop computers. It is called En Garde, and your task is to choose the correct option and then stop the circle as close to the centre of the target as possible. Enjoy.
Engames and Fluency MC have joined forces again to bring you a post that will help you decide whether you should use a gerund or an infinitive after a verb. This post is not going to provide a comprehensive overview of the grammar. Our aim is to give your students a simple guide to help them decide correctly between the two parts of speech most of the time.
The post contains a song, an infographic, an interactive online quiz and a game.
Gerund or Infinitive – pretest
Do you think you know the grammar already and don´t need to read the article? Try the following test and see how well you do. [viralQuiz id=1]
Gerund or Infinitive – song
Watch the following song and complete the lyrics. The aim of this song is to introduce the topic.
Gerund and Infinitive – infographic
The following infographic does not contain a comprehensive list of all the verbs. Only the verbs that are used in the song appear here.
These rules are so called rules of thumb. They work in most cases but not all. However, to use the rules correctly, students first have to understand them.
The rule goes like this: “If the first verb happens before the second verb, use TO. If the second verb happens at the same time or before the first verb use the ending -ING with the second verb. “ Thus in the sentence “I hope to go to the party,” I first hope and then go to the party. That is why you use TO. On the other hand, in the sentence “I enjoyed going to the party,” I enjoyed the party at the same time as I was there.
Assess your students understanding of the rules using the following test. Choose 10 verbs at random and ask your students to write them down and write if they think they should be followed by TO or -ING. Then go through their responses and elicit the correct answers.
Once you feel that the students know the grammar, it is time to practise it.
Gerund or infinitive – online quiz
The best way to remember the verb patterns is by using them. The following quiz is in HTML5 and will work on all mobile devices.
The second game is in Flash and will play only on desktop computers. It is called On Target, and your task is to choose the correct option and then shoot all the bad cows and ducks. You can shoot one of the bottles on the wall to get a bonus. Enjoy.
Gerund or infinitive – links
At engames.eu I have already published two posts on the use of gerunds and infinitives in English. The first post is called Verb Patterns – preintermediate, and the second is called Verb Patterns again – final solution. You can practise the grammar there as well.
Today I experienced the great teaching moment when one of my not so proficient students said that she can understand the grammar perfectly and that it is really easy. I was exalted.
I was teaching present continuous tense and the students really liked it and at the end of the lesson they were able to form the affirmative sentences correctly. In this post I would like to share all the activities I used to achieve this. There are an infographic explaining the grammar, a worksheet and an interactive quiz. I hope you will like it.
Please, if you spot a mistake leave a comment and I will try to correct it as soon as possible. Thank you.
Present continuous tense – worksheet and infographics
When I start teaching present continuous tense I do not present the following infographic till we finish the first exercise from the following worksheet.
Once we check the exercise 1, I hand out the following infographic and ask the students to go through it and then I explain it.
When I finish my short explanation I ask the students to complete the exercise 2 in the Present continuous affirmative_worksheet. We check the answers and then I explain the addition of the -ing ending. And then the students have to do the exercise 3. Here they add the -ing ending to the verbs.
In exercise 4 the students are asked to write what the people and animals are doing in the pictures. Remind them not to forget the correct form of the verb TO BE in each sentence. In exercise 5, the pupils finish the sentences in a logical way using the present continuous tense.
At the end of the lesson I asked my students to work in pairs and describe the picture we used at the beginning of the lesson.
It worked for my class. Will it work for yours?
Present continuous tense – interactive quiz
You can start the practice session with the video guessing game. The man will start drawing a picture and he will stop at one moment. A question will appear and you should answer it. The correct answer will appear a few seconds later.
Once we finish the exercises at school you can ask your students to practise the grammar at home. They can try to do the following interactive quiz. If they pass it they will be given a chance to play a game. The quiz is in HTML5 so it will work on all mobile devices.
You can expand your knowledge about present continuous tense at British Council pages.
Present continuous tense – share
If you like the two games above and you would like to share them on your blog or use them in a classroom without an internet connection, you can do this. You can download all the files here:
Many students struggle with reported speech. They feel that there are many rules they have to follow and they often get confused.
In this post I try to simplify the rules about the reported speech (or indirect speech) as much as possible. There is mind map describing the basic rules, a video and two games to practise the grammar.
To put it simply, reported speech is used when you start a sentence with an expression like She said or He told me etc. Then you have to move the verbs backwards. Thus you change the present simple tense into past simple. You change the past continuous to past perfect continuous and so on (see the mind map for more details).
Reported speech – video
Watch the video and try to understand the explanation of the rules.
Reported speech – mind map
In this mind map I try to explain the basic rules.
First of all, reported speech happens after the reporting verbs (said, told, claimed etc.) in past tense. Then you have to move the original verb from the direct speech. The changes are depicted below.
The most common changes are depicted in the lower part of the mind map. If there are the verbs ARE, IS, WILL, CAN, HAVE or DO in the direct speech, just change them as shown and you do not have to do anything else.
Reported speech – games
The first game is called Hoop shoot. You will see a reported sentence and your task is to choose the correct sentence in direct speech. If you succeed you will be given the chance to score a basket.
Download the following pdf file and open it with Acrobat Reader, otherwise the game will not work.
The second game is a quiz. You will see the direct speech and your task is to complete the reported speech sentence correctly. If you pass the quiz you can play the game Indiara. All of these are in HTML5 so they should play on your mobiles without the slightest problem.