Tag: learn grammar

Questions in the Past Tense
Questions in the Past Tense

I remember the times in my teaching career when I dreaded teaching questions. I especially hated the questions in the past simple tense. After my explanation, students got confused and they often failed to produce even the most basic questions.

Fortunately, the situation has changed. Nowadays, I look forward to teaching this grammar. I have developed a set of activities which help my students learn the grammar easily and they form the questions correctly and without thinking much about it.


In this post, I would like to share with you the activities which work very well for me and my classes. You will find a great original rap with comprehension questions, and a simple video called Grammar Point, where the grammar is explained and practised. I hope you will find this post useful.


Questions in the past tense – RAP

[/su_heading][su_spacer] I start my lesson with the following RAP song. I hand out the following worksheet and I ask my students to answer the questions:

As you can see the worksheet contains five copies of the same worksheet. Print it out and cut it into five pieces. Play the Rap song at least twice and ask the students to write their answers to the questions. Explain that it is enough to write just one word.

Once I check the students’ answers, I always ask my students to rap along and learn the poem by heart. It is not difficult.

To get the pronunciation correct, students can copy the rap or they can follow the recording in American English, which you can hear below:

(Recorded by Christie Baarns. You can order her services at https://www.fiverr.com/christiebaarns/record-a-pro-voice-over?funnel=636d1dd1-8a9e-4ea1-8178-093ac3d4002b She provides great services.)


Grammar Point

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Now it is time to explain the grammar. It is much easier now, as the students know the 12 examples given in the rap. I play the following video for my students:

I stop the video after the explanation and I hand out the following infographic which explains the grammar and I clarify the grammar in students’ MT, if necessary.

Forming questions in the past simple tense

Once, I am sure that the students understand the grammar, I play the rest of the recording. There is a grammar challenge. Students hear a sentence but part of the sentence is difficult to hear. Their task is to ask about the missing information. The video provides 7 seconds for their answers. Then they will hear the correct answer.


Questions in the past tense – Speaking

[/su_heading][su_spacer] To practise the grammar, students need to use it in real-life conversation. I love using Clock Speaking. The questions are divided into four sections and there is a time at the head of each section. Tell the students to find a different partner for each time. Then say what time it is and students have to work with the partner they have arranged. They ask the questions and answer them.

Forming Questions in Past Tense
Forming Questions in Past Tense

It is really important that students learn to form questions in the past simple tense. If they don’t, they won’t be able to ask about the things that happened in the past. And as most conversations deal with the things that already happened it is vital to be able to ask about the details they are interested in.

In this post I would like to help you teach your students form questions in the past simple tense using the auxiliary DID. This post will not deal with the verb TO BE in the past tense. You can find a post on the verb TO BE in questions here.
[showmyads] You will find here two videos, an infographic and several interactive exercises. I hope you like it.


Question words

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Before dealing with questions in the past tense, it is important to revise the question words with your students. It is shocking how many students struggle with such a simple, yet crucial, thing.
First play the video and ask the students to watch and say the question words – best before they see them on the screen.

Then, cut the following worksheet into five stripes and ask the students to write the appropriate question words there.

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Wh-questions-worksheet.pdf” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Wh question words worksheet[/su_button]

Now you can move to forming questions in the past simple tense.


Forming questions in past tense – explanation

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Start the explanation with eliciting the affirmative sentences formation. Explain that there is one basic rule in English and it is called SVOMPT. All English sentences have to follow this rule. At the beginning there is a subject and it is followed by a verb and then there is the rest of the sentence.

If you use the following infographic ask the students to fold the paper, so they can see only the last three rectangles.

Forming questions in the past simple tense

To form a question in the past tense, just add DID at the beginning of the sentence and put the verb into its basic form. If you want to get a more complex answer, put a question word at the beginning. And there you are. Now you can form questions in the past simple tense.

Here you can see a video on how to form questions in the past simple tense.

[showmyadsa] [su_spacer][su_heading]

Forming questions in Past simple tense – games

[/su_heading][su_spacer] The following quiz can help your students practise forming questions in the past tense. They can do it either at school or at home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should match the beginnings and ends of the questions. In the second part, students have to write the questions in the past simple tense. 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.

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/questions in past tense/Questions Past tense (Web)/index.html” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Questions in the past simple tense – quiz[/su_button]
The difference between present simple and continuous tenses
The difference between present simple and continuous tenses

I have already created two posts on the difference between the present simple and continuous tenses. There are Present simple or present continuous tense – improved and Present simple and continuous tenses posts. Both of them are good but as I have come up with a new idea, I want to share it with you in this post.

This post concentrates on the difference between the tenses. If you are not sure about the form of the tenses, you should see the following posts first:

  1. Present simple tense
  2. Present continuous tense

[showmyads] In this post there are just two activities: a worksheet and an interactive quiz. I hope that they will help you with teaching the difference between the tenses.


Present simple and continuous tense – worksheet

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Hand out the following worksheet (students have to work in pairs; one will need worksheet A and the other worksheet B) and ask the students not to show their picture to their partner. Ask them to describe what the people, whose names they know, are doing. Their partner has to listen and complete their own picture by filling in the names.

In exercise 2 they should complete the sentences with the correct names.

When they finish, it is time to explain the difference between the tenses. The present continuous tense is used to describe what the people are doing right now. However, when the students have a look at the rooms in their pictures they will see several objects there. For example, in the kitchen there is a basketball. James is not playing basketball now, but he plays it sometimes and that is why the ball is there.
You can go on like this with three or four more pictures. Then ask the students to complete exercise 3.

In exercise 4, students should take the picture and speak about it for 60 seconds without stopping or hesitating. Will they manage?

In the last exercise, ask the students to turn the paper over and write 10 sentences about it.

Present simple and continuous tense – worksheet

Present simple and continuous tense – interactive quiz

[/su_heading][su_spacer] The following interactive quiz is based on the picture in the worksheet. It is ideal for homework or for a class where everyone has a smart phone with an internet connection. The quiz is in HTML5 and therefore will work on all mobile devices.
In the quiz students will practise the grammar they’ve learnt in the worksheet.

[showmyadsa] If you want to have the quiz on the full screen click the button below.
[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/grammar/present_simple_vs_continuous/Present simple and continuous quiz (Web)/index.html” target=”blank” background=”#f08cf5″ size=”6″]Present tenses – Full screen[/su_button] [su_spacer]

Present simple and continuous tense – more practice

[su_spacer] If you need more practice, you could try the following pages:

British Council page on present simple and continuous

Here are two useful videos: