Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween English Speaking Games

Here are a few ideas that we used in class this week. Hope they can come in handy for Halloween or any other holiday event.

Halloween Skeleton Sentences

English level: Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced
    Goal: You can use this activity to practice the conditionals and vocabulary. 
    How to: Write on the board "If I had a bigger bag, I would have more Halloween candy" Tell the students that they have to make a story using this pattern. Student have to use the second part of the phrase in the first part of their phrase. 
    S1 - "If I had a bigger bag, I would have more Halloween candy"
    S2 - "I would have more Halloween candy if had gone trick or treating"

Ghost Stories

English level: Upper intermediate - Advanced
    Goal: Grammar, verb & vocabulary review
This is a pretty simple one choose any grammar tense that you have practice up until now. Write on the board what grammar tenses can be used. After that the teacher starts the story.

e.g. One day when I was walking home I saw a penny on the floor. I picked up the penny and put it in my pocket and then I saw.....

S1 continues the story with 1 1/2 sentences... etc 

The point is that students revise the grammar that was learnt and vocabulary of course. 
To make this game more of a challenge, make verb cards and vocabulary cards. The students have to continue the story using the vocabulary and verb cards that they got. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who, Whom, Whose


Who is a Subject Pronoun like "he," "she" and "we". Use it to ask which person does an action or which person is a certain way.


  • Who made the birthday card?
  • Who is in the restroom?
  • Who is going to eat this?


Whom is an object pronoun like "him," "her" and "us." Use it to ask which person receives an action.


  • Whom are you going to invite?
  • Whom did he hire to do the job?


Whose is a possessive pronoun like "his," "her" and "our." Use it to find out what belongs wot which person.


  • Whose car is this?
  • Whose bird is singing?
  • Whose sweater is this?


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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Present perfect tense vs. past perfect tense

Present Perfect Tense

We can use the present perfect tense to talk about an accomplishment or a completed task. For example,
I've finished my exams! (I am done with exams.)
They've completed the new mall. (They completely built the mall.)
If you use present perfect tense to talk about a completed action, you must be thinking about the present as well. For example,
O George Washington became the first president.
X George Washington has become the first president.
O Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
X Alexander Graham Bell has invented the telephone.
We can also use the present perfect tense to talk about an action that is continuing until the present time. For example,
I have worked here for 5 years.
He has lived here since he got his new job.
Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense is used to talk about an earlier past. It is usually used when we talk about two past events. For example,
When I arrived, the party had started. (They party started. Then, I arrived.)
George had wanted to go to the park until it started raining. (He wanted to go to the park. Then, it started raining.)
Be careful! Sometimes the other past event is understood. It might not be clearly stated in the sentence. For example,
A: I had wanted to go to the park (until something happened.)
B: Why aren't you going?
A: I need to do my homework.

We can also use past perfect tense to talk about something that continued for a period of time in the past. For example,
It had rained for 5 days before our wedding, but it was sunny on our wedding day.
She had worked for ABC Corporation for 50 years when she finally decided to retire.
Do you think you understand? Let's take a short quiz.

1) My wife _______ dinner before I got home, so I could eat right away.
A) had prepared
B) prepared
C) has prepared

2) Commodore Mathew C. Perry __________ to Japan.
A) had sailed
B) sailed
C) has sailed

3) I ____________ cleaning the bathroom. I'm tired!
A) had finished
B) finished
C) have just finished

1) – A) – My wife prepared the supper before I arrived.
2) – B) – Commodore Perry sailed to Japan a long time ago, so we must use simple past.
3) – B) or C) – B) is more casual, but C) is a little more formal sounding.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Echo Questions

How do you use echo questions? Echo questions are very useful and can make you sound like a native speaker. Let's talk about some examples of echo questions and how to make them.
Basic Echo Questions

We can use echo questions to check something that has just been said. To do this we repeat the same question back to the speaker. For example,
A: I'm quitting my job.
B: You're quitting your job? (surprised)
A: The Queen killed the King.
B: The Queen killed the King?
Echo Questions for Repeating Parts of a Sentence

You can also use an echo question if you missed a part of a sentence. This is useful when the speaker is talking to fast or there is too much loud noise in the room. For example,
A: I went to P--- last weekend.
B: You went where?
A: Paris.
A: I met Bill Gates
B: You met who?
A: Bill Gates

You can also use this if you can't believe the information or are surprised.
A: I ate 30 chicken wings.
B: You ate how many chicken wings?
A: 30.
If you want to ask about the action that the speaker did. You must use 'do what'. For example,
A: He painted a picture with a cheeseburgers.
B: He did what with cheeseburgers?
A: Painted a picture.
Be careful to use the correct question word (what, who, when, how, where, how many, etc..). Try to think of how to ask about the information regularly. Take the question word in a regular question and move it to where the missing information is in the original sentence. For example,
A: We are meeting at 6:XX.
B: When are we meeting? (regular question)
B: We are meeting at when? (echo question)
A: at 6:30.
Using Echo Questions to Question a Question

You can also use echo questions to question a question. If you feel like somebody shouldn't be asking a question to you or you are angry they asked a question, you can use this. For example,
A: Why did you take my shirt?
B: Why did I take your shirt? It's not your shirt. It's my shirt.
We usually use these types of echo questions when we are a little angry at the other speaker.

Do you think you understand? Let's take a short quiz.
1) A: The Empire State Building is #### feet tall.
B: _________________
A) The Empire State Building is how long?
B) The Empire State Building is how high?
C) The Empire State Building is how tall?

2) A: Where are you going?
B: ______________ I'm going home. It's 5:00, the day is over.
A) I'm going where?
B) Where I am going?
C) Where am I going?

3) A: Your house is on fire!
B: _________________
A) My house is on fire?
B) Your house is on fire?
C) Our house is on fire?

1) – C) – Speaker B didn't hear the height of the Empire State Building. To ask about the height of a building, we use 'how tall'.
2) – C) – Speaker B is questioning a question because they can't believe speaker A doesn't know it is time to go home.
3) – A) – Speaker B can't believe what Speaker A said, so he repeats it back as a question.

Mr.Maru: We're going to New York City Sparky!
Sparky: We're going to what?
Mr.Maru: New York City. It's going to be great!
Sparky: I don't like big cities.
Mr.Maru: But, we are going to see the Empire State Building. It was built in 411 days!
Sparky: It was built in how long?
Mr.Maru: 411 days! That was really fast.
Sparky: I just hope they have bacon there.
(note: Sparky is using wrong English.)