Speculating about the past is one of the few grammar points I have not covered yet. As I usually teach lower level students, and this grammar is for intermediate students, I haven´t felt it necessary to deal with it. However, now the time has come and I need this explanation for one of my students. I hope you will profit from it too.
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In this post, there are two infographics explaining the grammar and usage of these constructions. Then, there is a worksheet where students can practise the grammar they learn.
Modals and perfect infinitive – infographic
Explain, that we need to say who + modal + perfect infinitive to speculate about the past. Then show the second infographic and explain the meaning of the modal verbs with the perfect infinitive.
Now that your students know how to form the speculations and what is their meaning, I would ask them to take their exercise books and use the phrases from the infographics and write as many sentences as they can in 5 minutes. In this way, they will practise forming the speculations.
Speculating about the past – worksheet
In the first exercise, students match the sentences with the same meaning. The correct solution is: A3, B2, C6, D5, E4, F1.
In the second exercise, students practise forming the speculations. They have to write the whole sentences this time. The correct solution is: A) Shakespeare might have written this play. B) She must have stolen the money. C) She can´t have driven that car. D) Mark must have spoken to her. E) David can´t have read the book. F) He may have lied.
In the last exercise, students complete the sentences with the correct combination of the modal verbs and perfect infinitives. They use the verbs in the brackets. The correct solution is: 1. must have worked 2. might have forgotten, can´t have got 3. can´t have seen, may have seen, must/might have mistaken 4. can´t have got, must have drunk 5. might have come, can´t have come, might/could have given, could/might have come.
Recently I have spent quite a lot of time designing various speaking activities for my students. In this post I would like to share two speaking activities which help students practise the usage of the past continuous tense and of the modal verbs MUST, MUSTN´T and DON´T HAVE TO. I hope both of the activities will be useful.
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Past continuous tense – game
[showmyads] Students put six activity cards into the plan. Each activity goes into one square and they must not show their plan to anyone.
Then the students try to guess when the people were doing the activities. They ask in the following way:
A:Was Jane playing football?
B: Yes, she was.
A: Was she playing football at six o´clock?
B: No, she wasn´t. It is my turn.
Each student asks questions till their partner answers NO. Then they swap roles. The aim of each student is to guess all the activities and times in their partner´s plan. If a student guesses an activity and time, their partner removes the activity from their plan. The one who has no activities in their plan lost.
In my experience, students love this activity and it is a great way to practise the questions in the past continuous tense.
Modal verbs – board game
Here are the correct answers:
The rules of the game are simple. Each student has a counter and they throw a die. They move ahead. If they produce the sentence they land on correctly, they stay where they landed, if they don´t they move back to the Start.
Explain that the students have to produce sentences with the verbs MUST, MUSTN´T and DON´T HAVE TO only.
Speaking activities – Your Opinion
Which activity do you like better:
In my opinion the modal verb CAN is one of the easiest grammar points in English to teach. That is why I have not produced a post on this topic yet. However, this is going to change, as I am in need of one and I am going to share it here with you.
In this post you can find a simple mind map explaining the usage of the modal verb CAN. Then there are two speaking activities and an interactive quiz to give your students a chance to practise the grammar.
Modal verb CAN – songs
Here is the song I can run.
And here you can find a great song to introduce questions with CAN which is called Can a Flea Climb a Tree.
Modal verb CAN – mind map
Modal verb CAN – speaking activities
Can pdf speaking
Now you can choose what you will do with it. You can either cut the worksheet and give each student just one picture and ask them to write the questions with can below the picture. Then check their questions. Next, ask the students to stand up and mingle and ask their classmates whether they can do the activity.
If you do not like mingling activity you can print one worksheet for everyone and ask them to write the questions. Then check their questions and ask students to work in pairs and ask and answer the questions in pairs.
[showmyadsa] The second speaking activity is called LIAR. Prepare 4 sentences with the modal verb CAN and say them aloud. Now tell your students that one of them is a lie and your students have to guess which one. Now, ask your students to write 4 sentences with the verb CAN and one of them must be a lie. Let the students work in groups of 4. One student reads all 4 sentences and the others write down which sentence they believe to be a lie. Then another student reads and so on. At the end all the students say which sentence was a lie and they see who guessed it.