English Language Teaching

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1.ABC Rap

2.A good sentence

3.A friendly letter

4.The paragraph hand

5.Sentence starters

6.Editors Checklist

7.You capitalize


9.Punctuation Marks

10.The Rap for making plurals

11.Parts of speech rap

12.Helper Verbs

13.Pronoun Rap


Tips for remembering Student’s names

Students write their name with markers on index cards folded in half placed on desk (helps Teacher & Ss learn names)

-At end of class Ss place name cards in a box for next class (until everyone remembers each other’s names)

-Write Ss name on board in relation to where seated

Tips: repeat Ss names in your head

Visualize their names in writing & form associations

Use names as frequently as possible, get pronunciation right first time St says name


Establishing Routine in the Classroom

-Roll call

-Warm-up activity (modeling a statement asking Ss Q’s)

-Homework correction

-Familiar gestures & Oral directions

-A set place to turn in assignments


Breaking Bad Teaching Habits

-Don’t talk while writing on board (back to class in-audible)

-Don’t echo/repeat Ss answers for it increases TTT

-Don’t interrupt Ss while they are speaking/answering

Useful Tip: make a video of yourself teaching (mirror for self-analysis & professional development)


Do’s & Don’ts for giving instructions

-Take time to explain & give instructions (don’t rush)

-Talk clearly & concisely (don’t mumble & minimize TTT, important aspect in successful classroom management)

Bottom Line: Teachers should prepare instructions ahead of time & keep them written on paper as simple logical orderly commands with sequential sign posting.

-Don’t explain the obvious & first give instructions then handouts/materials

-Don’t give unnecessary instructions, demonstrate or lead a group ex use silence & gestures to pace instructions & clarify meaning

-Speak slowly & project voice clearly, check that Ss understand instructions before letting them start (avoid asking yes/no Q’s?)

-Get Ss attention before giving instructions by creating a silence beforehand & making eye contact with as many Ss as possible to make sure they’re listening.


How to Deal with Disruptive Students

-Call on them to get their attention

-Ask Ss to turn off or put cell phones on vibrate/silent

-Ask interrupting St to let the other finish then listen to his/her ex

Tips to minimize disruptions:

Establish rules & enforce them consistently

Understand cultural norms for behavior

Maintain composure deal with situation calmly

(Following these will bring order to class without sacrificing rapport)


Tips for Identifying Lesson Aims

-Keep a journal write exactly what Ss say & take notes often to identify similar mistakes & trends for future lessons, quizzes, tests

-Identify knowledge gaps, keep track of learning, fill extra class time with noted mistakes & use mistakes as worksheet content


Dealing with Late Students

-Other Ss explain & ask them Q’s to clarify (this way late St catches up with class)

-Ss can review what they’ve learned & class is more student-centered

Other Ideas: Give the others an activity while T catches up late S

-Ask late S to stay after class

-Assign homework on missed material


Effective Error Correction Techniques

-Explicit: explanation & answer

-Metalinguistic feedback: Questions or information about answers without giving the correct answers

-Elicitation: shows T refraining from giving correct form leads to self-correction

-Sentence completion & repetition (repeats error in isolation) adjusting intonation to highlight the error

-Use a variety of techniques, encourage Ss to self-correct or correct each other to confirm learning

-Correct Ss immediately if it involves teaching point & T only knows the correct form.


Checking Understanding with Informal Testing

-Anytime new language is acquired is a good time to test

Types of questions: Matching, True/False, Multiple Choice, Fill in the blank, Error recognition

Test guidelines: Decide what kind of test, make a list of content, plan length, layout & format

Weigh sections accordingly, write Q’s, instructions & examples

make an answer key & revise test & key

create a marking scheme (use online quiz generators) & pilot the test


Practice Vowel to Vowel Linking

(When vowels of 2 words run together)

-Create an info gap worksheet

-Ss question partners about missing info

-Answers include vowel to vowel connections

(Make worksheet by inserting clip art into a table)


Teaching Pronunciation Word Stress

-Make a chart with various stress patterns

-Have Ss categorize words by stress (in pairs)

-Correct worksheet as a class

-Give a reading with words from the worksheet

(Important for any pronunciation activity most Ss pronounce correctly in isolation but struggle when speaking in conversation)

Other Ideas:

-Categorize stress of different forms of the same word (photograph, photographer, photography, photographic)

-Ss correct wrong stress patterns

-Advanced Ss practice sentence stress

(Teaching word stress is essential for Ss to be clearly understood & speak with confidence)


Teaching Sentence Stress with Jazz Chants

-Listen to recordings & music

-Create a rhythmic chant

(Goal is for Ss to notice & practice these rhythms & transfer them to their communication


Teaching Word Stress with a Stress Maze

-Ss choose words with stress on certain syllable

-Students say each word out loud to find correct stress

[Teaching Points for Mazes: minimal pairs (hit heat, bit beat, fit feet), different pronunciations of vowel sounds (pull, pot, position), past “-ed” sound (e pronounced or not)

(Builds Ss confidence in linguistic abilities)


Using Poems to Teach Sentence Stress

-Select a poem with modern vocabulary mostly known by Ss & interesting content with emotional connection & rhythmic

-Prepare a recording or read the poem to Ss

-Prepare Ss handouts without stresses

Tips: read the poem first as a model

encourage a positive atmosphere with positive feedback & opportunities for Ss support

never force anyone to participate or embarrass your Ss


Teaching the Imperative with Classroom Objects

-Break Ss into teams

-Ss roll die & use word in an imperative sentence

-Partner acts out the imperative command

(Good for speaking practice, reinforce vocab with physical action)

Other Ideas: Blindfold one and have Ss direct partners to objects

Sit back to back Ss guess object based on purpose

Ss use multiple dice each containing different vocabulary set to form sentences


Teaching Verb Tenses with Timelines (visual learners)

(Graphic Organizers like charts, diagrams & timelines) support language learning –Grammar points


Making Promises in the First Conditional

If + present simple + will + base form (if you help me I will be happy)

Will + present simple + if + base form (Will you teach me if I study)

Will + present simple + as soon as + base form (Will you forgive me as soon as possible)

Other uses are: Negotiation, warnings, future plans


Drilling the Past Continuous with flash cards

(Flash Cards & simple Q’s develops Ss confidence & they speak)

-Video or audio clip

-Realia (like looking out the window & talking about it)


Teaching Grammar with Board Races [Kinesthetic (Learn by doing things hands on)

Comparative Board Race

-List adjectives on board

-Make columns for “-er” & “more”

-Break Ss into teams

-From teams Ss write each adjective under correct column on board then give marker to next in line on team until all categorized 1st team finished

-Correct all answers when game is over

Other Variables: verb tenses, conjugation, irregular verbs not limited to grammar


Drilling Grammar with Dominoes

-Print & cut out dominoes

-Ss match pictures with time phrases

-Ss form sentences with their matches

Other Ideas: Simple past time expressions, verb phrases & picture, collocation (words that always go together) (baseball club or bat)


Teaching the Present Perfect: Negative Statements

Contradict Grandma

-Break Ss into pairs

-Give statement strips to the “grandmas” who read them one by one

-Partners contradict the grandmas

(S1 I’ve already eaten lunch today S2 No Grandma you haven’t eaten lunch today)

-Partners switch roles after Grandma has read all sentences.

Other Ideas: Misunderstandings (St A Elephants have 3 legs St B No Elephants have 4 legs), Unhappy couple (wife/husband disagree), Mother & Son (Mom negative/Son affirmative)


Practicing Word Order with a Sentence Scramble

-Cut sentences into individual words

-Ss unscramble each sentence in teams

-Point out multiple correct answers

Other Ideas: adjective& noun clauses, adjective placement (beginners), subject, object, or verb order (beginners), spelling (beginners)


Teaching Vocabulary with Gradable Opposites

(Scorching, Hot, Warm, Lukewarm, Cool, Cold, Freezing)

Huge, Large, Medium, Small, Tiny, Miniscule

Furious, Angry, Irked, So-so, Happy


Using Realia to Teach Vocabulary (Kinesthetic Learners)

(Using real objects to teach vocabulary)


 Teaching Emotions & Feelings

(Print Emoticons)

-Review basic emotions

-St draws/picks an emotion card

-Partners ask “How are you?”

-Ss respond according to their card

-Partners ask follow-up Q like why?

Other Ideas: (Beginners)Play charades (St picks a card & acts out emotion while other guesses

(Intermed) Ss describe situations that make them feel different emotions. One St tells how he feels, the other must find the emoticon.


Grab the Word: A game for Teaching Vocabulary

-Spread flashcards on table

-Ss stand around table

-T will read an expression from one of the cards

-Ss find correct clock face & grab the matching flashcard

Other Ideas: Opposites (antonyms), synonyms, definitions


Teaching Duration Expressions  ‘You sank my boat’

-Replace coordinates with target language

-Ss draw 5 boats on the grid

-Ss form sentences with the coordinates (Alberta has studied English for a year)

-Ss try to sink all 5 boats

Other Ideas: simple past, nouns & adjectives (Sally is wearing a long dress) narrative tenses (past progressive & simple past) (I was watching TV when you called)


Practicing Word Recognition with a Word Search

Tips for using word searches:

-Use an online generator to save time

-Make it clear the words are arranged in different directions

-Include a word list

Other Ideas: choose words in a lexical set, make it a race play several times with different versions, use word searches as a daily routine


Using Crossword Puzzles for Vocabulary Practice

-Avoid using puzzles from the newspaper

-Look for puzzles on teacher resource sites

-Use an online crossword generator

Other Ideas: Make a puzzle with words from a lexical set, use synonyms & antonyms


Teaching Action Words with Charades (Kinesthetic Learners)

-Break class into 2 teams

-St from each team will draw flashcard with action picture

-Ss acts out flashcards while their team guesses the action

-Teams must use complete sentences (You are bouncing a ball)

-St acting can’t speak but teammates can help each other

-If they get it right (1 pt.), if not other teams can steal point

Other Ideas: Simple past (What St did over weekend) Simple present (Ss act out ailments) Vocab


Odd One Out

-Create a chart with different word groupings

-Ss identify word that doesn’t belong & explain why

-Word groups may have more than one answer

Other Ideas: Synonyms & Antonyms, Pronunciation of “ed” sound for past verbs (Beloved, converted, parted, kicked), Irregular & regular verbs


Information Gap Activity: Describing & Drawing Pictures (St centered class)

(1 St has info the other needs & they interact to exchange it)

Materials: A picture containing level-appropriate vocab, paper, moveable chairs so Ss can sit back to back

Steps: Break Ss into pairs

-Give each pair a picture

-Have Ss sit back to back

-Ss describe the picture to their partner

-The partner draws & can ask questions to get the picture as close to the original as possible

-Ss compare their pictures discussing similarities & differences between drawings & original

(good way to practice comparative adjectives) wider, thinner, straighter, higher, lower

Teaching Points: Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary, Prepositions, Verb tenses, Measurement


Vocabulary Bingo (www.eslhq.com)

-Replace coordinates with pictures or words

-Teacher calls a word Ss find the picture and mark it

-Make sure each board is different to # of winners per game

-Use removable markers (coins, paper squares, candy) to re-use cards

Other Ideas: Ss act as Bingo Master, Ss make sentences with their words when they get Bingo, Ss draw their own Bingo cards (save prep time), winners get a prize


Task-based Learning: Creating a Utopian Society

Consensus building-having Ss collaborate to complete an assigned task

Steps: Elicit vocabulary to set context, Ss design their own utopia (on print out map: place places)

(Name of country, laws, language spoken, dress code, holidays, etc) T monitors & takes notes

& Ss then present to class

Task-based learning strengthens speaking skills, practices specific target language


Activities for Developing Fluency: Stop!

-Make a chart with different categories

-Ss fill chart as fast as they can

-St who finishes first yells “Stop!”

(Then play the next, don’t use words from previous game, play several times to get practice)

Other Ideas: Verb tenses (each column different tense of same verb)

-Parts of speech (verb, noun, adjective, adverb forms)

-Prefixes & Suffixes (add them for form, object form, person form)


Teaching Tag Questions

(You didn’t take out the trash, did you? It is cold out, isn’t it? You want a raise, don’t you? There is an implied ‘do’)

-Print out questions & cut off tags

-Ss match tags with correct questions

Other Ideas: Ss form Q’s for verbs, One St starts a question, others must complete it with correct tag

First St to form correct tag wins a point, Worksheet with incorrect tags that Ss correct


Vocabulary Taboo

-Ss write vocab words on index cards

-Ss explain words & teams guess

-Ss must avoid 3 “taboo” words in explanation

Tips: Limit taboo words to 3

-Have teams make cards for opponents

-Don’t let Ss act out words (charades)

-Prepare specific cards to review lessons

Teaches Ss (Paraphrase-use known words to describe unknown words)


Teaching Opposites with a Memory Game

-Teach new vocab

-Lay flashcards on table in random order

-Ss draw cards looking for opposites (if not they replace them & next St draws)

-If cards drawn are opposites, Ss make sentences with them in order to keep them

Other Ideas: Synonyms (Mad=Angry), Compound nouns (Mail+Box=Mailbox), Masculine & Feminine (handsome & beautiful, shirt & blouse)


Teaching Speaking with a Psychological Survey

Other Ideas: (Should all include Teaching Point of New Vocab)

-Ordering Priorities (multiple events are happening ask Ss to address them in order of priorities)

-Listing favorites (food, colors, songs, movies, books, etc)

-Word Association (write 1st word that comes to mind when they hear another word & have analysis based on that)


 Line-up for Fluency (builds Ss confidence, who practice economy of language & must think in English)

(In order to become fluent Ss have to think in English)

-Ss stand facing each other

-T writes Q on board

-St facing the board take turns answering the Q for 1 min then their partner answers for 1 min & on for 30 & 15 seconds

Teaching Points (What happened to dinosaurs? Do aliens exist?)


Teaching Superlatives with a Board Game

-Groups/pairs get a board, cards & dice (cards face down on table)

-Ss draw cards & answer Q’s (ex Who is your closest friend)

-Answers must include the correct superlative form (My closest friend is Samadhi)

-If answer is correct they roll the dice & move, if not they stay in place while other St has 2 chances to answer. St who gets to the finish box first wins

-Game pieces can be candy, coins, plastic animals

Tips: Add variables (miss a turn, go back 2 spaces, go forward)

Requires use of target L1 & T monitors Ss


Practicing Word Order with a sentence scramble

-Cut sentences into individual words

-Place each sentence into its own envelope

-Ss unscramble each sentence in teams

-Point out multiple correct answers

Other Ideas: Adjective & Noun clauses, Adjective placement (beginners), Subject, Object, or Verb order,

Spelling (cutting words into letters)


Drilling Grammar with Tic-Tac-Toe (Game form of drill)

-Tape flashcards into a large Tic-Tac-Toe board

-Divide Ss into 2 teams (X & O)

-Teams describe their square of choice in present continuous (if they say it correctly they get to put X or O there, if not the other team can try to say it correctly & steal that square.

Other Ideas: Clock faces for time expressions, Comparative adjectives, Prepositions, Antonyms & Synonyms, Clothing

Tip: play multiple times & keep score so there’s a clear winner at end


Teaching Listening Gist & Detail

Gist Activity:

-Print out main events & cut into strips

-Ss listen to recording & put events in order

-If necessary play recording more than once

Detail Activity:

-Ss answer T/F Q’s

-Play dialogue multiple times if necessary

-Determining info from text or listening

-Cloze/Gap fill exercises

-Re-tell or Summarize listening

-Either/Or Statements/Questions

-Multiple Choice Worksheet

-Open Ended Q’s (Who, Where, What

-Checklists, Tables, Graphs, Flowcharts

-Put pics, sentences in sequence

-Correct Statements


Designing Tasks for Computer Assisted Learning

-Interest Ss in project

-Provide a model of target language

-Assign groups & task (defining task carefully)

-Provide a chart or worksheet for Ss to work in pairs/groups (to talk & listen to each other)


Using Authentic Materials for a Reading Lesson

(Reading often leads to speaking-Builds Vocab)

-Supplement graded materials with authentic ones

-More authentic materials=More fluency

Beginner Level: menus, bus schedules, recipes, comic strips, weather forecasts

Advanced Level: poems, movie reviews, editorials, newspaper articles


Using Visual Images to Pre-Teach Vocabulary

-Computer projector, monitor, TV/DVD, overhead projector, printouts

(Pictures connect concepts & words)

Teaching with visual images-activates Ss prior knowledge & vocab alone has little meaning


Assessing Reading Through Individual Telling

(Individual reading conferences should take 5 min per St)

-call a St aside while class is working

-have St summarize a reading (prompt him a little, mostly listen)

-mark a rubric when St returns to desk

Assessment rubric: describe desired qualities, establish levels, take notes

Use rubrics for: listening skills, re-telling, speaking skills


Follow-up Activities for Reading Lessons

(reading often leads to writing) reviews of books, article/blog responses

-Ss summarize story, focus is placed on ending, Ss rewrite the ending making it different than original

More Follow-up Activities: Write a summary, write from perspectives of characters, have a debate (discuss pros & cons), describe characters, speculate about different outcomes


Using a Cloze text to assess Reading level

Making a cloze text

-find a reading passage (at least 250 words)

-type selection & delete words for Ss to fill in

-Ss read original passage then fill in the blanks (spelling isn’t assessed but it’s corrected)

Cloze Assessment- 40%-60%= level appropriate content


Organizing Ideas with Diagrams


-ties new & old info together

-helps Ss organize thinking

-prepares Ss for writing


Pre-Teaching Strategies for Newspaper Articles

-Generate interest with a broad discussion

-Analyze article elements as a class (pass out article & ask Ss to react to diagram title/caption heading)

-Have Ss make predictions (encourage developing of Q’s)

Other applications: newspaper articles/magazines/journals/textbook chapters

Helpful Tip: Let Ss establish the meaning of new words through context clues


Teaching Writing with a Running Dictation

-Break class into 2 teams

-Tape 2 stories to wall

-One St per team writes, others take turns running to story, memorize a sentence & recite to writer

-Ss continue until they finish the story

-Errors count as 1 point, team that finishes first gets -1 point

-Use different versions of story for each team

(Good to play several times to practice writing & listening)

Dictation Exercises: dict-a-gloss, puzzle dictation, dictate parts of a story (Ss fill in missing parts)


Building Students Confidence in Writing

Writing prompts

-Give Ss a specific allotted time period

-Do not allow dictionaries or references

-After writing have Ss share stories in groups

Ideas for prompts: pictures or images, provocative issues, sounds of words


Product Writing Job Applications

-Study sample applications (forms)

-Examine Layout

-Address cultural issues regarding patients

-Address style

-Ss begin by filling out blank forms

-T corrects if necessary

Other Ideas: Complaint letters/postcards/business proposals/essays/poems


Building a Story to Teach Writing

-Write one sentence on the board

-Ss write sentences to complete the story

-Make corrections as a class when the story is finished

-Great for practicing verb tenses/prepositions/adverbs

Other Ideas: Start with ending, each St writes their own ending (see whose is best)


Creative Writing: The Time Machine

-Choose a prompt that allows room for creativity

-Encourage specific details

Other Ideas: Life on a desert island, Super Hero Powers, Invention Plan (Machine), The world with Dinosaurs, Alien encounters, President for a day


Using Writing Prompts to Increase Fluency

Teaching Paragraph Structure

-Begin with oral modelling

-Construct a written model

-Ss write paragraphs in pairs

Helpful Tip: Write a main idea sentence & encourage Ss to do the same

Other writing structures: Chronological order/ranking by importance/comparison of two things


 Expressing Obligation with an Info Gap

-Ss work in pairs

-Each St has a different schedule

-Ss ask each other to meet

-Ss explain why they can’t meet (Do you want to meet on Monday morning? Or, Could we meet on Monday morning?  I can’t, I have to work out at the gym.)

Other Ideas: must/ought to/should/I’ve gotta (colloquial form) I have got to/time of the day


Role Play: Ordering at a Restaurant

Tips: Use realistic props, costumes, etc.

-Introduce variables (special requests)

-Don’t overhelp!


Conversation Skills: Forecasting the Weather

Overgeneralization (reason Ss struggle with speaking about weather) assuming the same rule applies to every situation

The weatherman-Elicit expressions with flashcards

-Tape smaller flashcards to a map

-Ss give the world forecast for different cities

-Rearrange cards so next St can give new forecast

Other Ideas: True/False Q’s about a recorded forecast/Ss correct a forecast to recording/Info gap activity


A Mingle for Likes & Dislikes

Steps: 1)Print out cards 2)Each St gets a card with their “preferences” 3)Ss circulate around room discussing what they like, hate, etc.

Other Ideas: juxtapositions (I like beans but I hate beef) justifications (I love ice cream because I love sweets), guessing game.


Making Presentations with Posters (Visual & Kinesthetic learners)

-Ss draw posters in pairs

-Pairs make presentations & explain images

-Working together stimulates discussion

Teaching with Drawing: creative response to a poem, story or music/factual info from a reading

-always have Ss work in pairs or groups & follow up with an oral presentation


Using Physical Movement in the Class: Model & Photographer

Imperative Mood: commands beginning with simple form of a verb (physical action reinforces learning)

-One St gives directions to another who must act them out

-Blindfolded St gets directions from classmates on how to navigate obstacle course

-& other games like Simon Says & Charades


A Mingle for the Present Perfect

Steps: 1)Create worksheet with different activities 2)Ss circulate trying to find someone who has done each activity 3)Ss report back to class about their classmates

Other Uses: First day ice-breaker, negative sentences, quantity (how many times)

(Beginners)-Simple present (Do you have a)


Practicing Speaking with Interviews

Info Gap: Each St has different info, Pairs exchange info to get full picture, Ss presents what they learned


Teaching Function: Finding An Apartment

Steps: 1)Divide class into tenants & landlords 2)Tenants ask Q’s & fill in chart 3)Landlords use cards to answer Q’s 4)Tenants must call multiple landlords 5)Tenants record info for each apartment

Other Ideas: Order pizza, make a doctor’s appointment, giving directions to a taxi, ask for a haircut, make a special request at a restaurant





Name of a person, place, or thing: The dog chased the ball into the pond.


Count & Non-Count Nouns

Some things can’t be counted. These include liquids (water), some foods (butter), substances (dirt), abstract nouns (anger), categories (jewelry), and some others. These non-count nouns follow different patterns than the nouns that designate something that can be counted: boats, cans, elephants. Differences include plural forms, articles, and modifiers.


Proper Nouns

Represent names & they are capitalized: John played with his dog, Spark, in Washington Park.



Usually substitutes for a specific previously mentioned noun, it antecedent. John called his boss and told him that he would be 10 minutes late. He is the subject pronoun which represents John and Him is the object pronoun which represents his boss.


Demonstrative Pronouns

Are used to identify or point to a noun: this, that, these, those. Give me those (coat hangers). Notice that these pronouns can also function as adjectives. Which coat hangers? Thosecoat hangers.



A verb expresses the action of a sentence. It may be one word or may contain one or more auxillary verbs. The dog caught the ball in the air. He has caught over half the balls so far.


 Phrasal Verbs

A multi-word verb which contains a word that is usually a preposition: stand up, come in. However, in these cases the “preposition” is part of the verb and changes its meaning. The “preposition” in a phrasal verb does not begin a prepositional phrase: When his boss came in, John stood up.


Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs take direct objects. Intransitive verbs do not take direct objects. An example of a transitive verb is tell: John tolda funny joke. An example of an intransitive verb is talk:Money talks. Words that follow intransitive verbs are adverbs or phrases which don’t function as objects; they don’t receive the action on the verb: John talks quietly.



A word used to describe (modify) a noun: a small sandwich, a delicious sandwich, three sandwiches. Adjectives usually answer one of these questions: Which? What kind? How many?



Modifies (describes) a verb, adjective, or adverb: John quickly chews his sandwich; John eats a fairly small sandwich; John eats his sandwich fairly quickly. Adverbs often answerone of these questions: How? Where? When? How often?



The words a, an and the are articles. A and an are called indefinite articles. The is the definite article.



Are joining words that show the relationship between the words it joins: addition (and), contrast (but), or result (so). These coordinating conjunctions join pairs of independent clauses together. Subordinating conjunctions (because, when, that, which, while) join independent and dependent clauses together.


Correlative Conjunction

These are two-part coordinating conjunctions also connect words, phrases or clauses: either…or, neither…nor, both…and, not only…but also, not…but, and whether…or. Each night John either works or studies.



Word placed before a noun to form a modifying phrase. A preposition shows the relationship between its object and the part of the sentence which is modified. The dog found the ballunder the thorny bush. The preposition under describes the relationship between its object bush and the word that is described ball.



The subject of the sentence is the word/word group that tells what the sentence is about. It is usually before the verb. The coffee bar where John works stays open late. Bar is the simple subject and the coffee bar where John works is the complete subject. A subordinate clause also needs a subject. The subject of the adjective clause where John works is John.


Direct Object

The noun/noun phrase that receives the action of the verb: John studies the complex physics of tidal movements. In this sentence physics is the simple direct object and the complex physics of tidal movements is the complete direct object.


Indirect Object

Noun/Pronoun that tells to whom or for whom the action is done. The indirect object always precedes the direct object: I gave the dog the ball. In this sentence, the ball is the direct object, and the dog is the indirect object.



These 3 forms are derived from verbs but don’t function as verbs: infinitives (I want to buy an ice cream cone), gerunds (He enjoys hiking in the mountains) and participial adjectives (The disappointed runner finished in 23rd place).


Tag Questions

In this form, a question is added at the end of a statement: You’re coming to the party, aren’t you?


The Verb System

The verb system of English is based on tenses. The form of the tenses usually tells the listener when the sentence’s action took place. Verbs often contain an auxillary in addition to the main verb. Auxillary verbs in English are various forms of to be, to do, & to have.

I am going. Do you study much? Have you ever gone?

Infinitive   simple   present participle   simple past   past participle

To go           go                  going                    went                gone

To be      am, are, is         being                was, were           been

To have    have, has          having                     had                 had


12 Basic Tenses

Present Continuous (Auxillary verb To Be + a present participle) Used to express activities that began in the past, are happening now and may continue into the future.

I am, You are, He/She/It is, We are, You are, They are eating

Sarah is eating dinner with her older brother tomorrow (present continuous used as a future tense) future plan


Simple Present (Uses base form of verb except in 3rd person singular where an S is added He/She/It drinks)                Habitual Activities Alan drinks coffee in the morning

                            General Facts Money influences politics

Stative Verbs Bob has a black dog called Monk

Negative statements & Questions need To Do (Do I enjoy winter? No, you don’t.)


 Simple Past (Describes an action/situation that began & ended in the past, Regular verbs add ed)

I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They called, talked, walked, danced, learned,

Negative & Question forms use auxillary to do in past form of did (Did Sarah call Matt yesterday?)

Stative verbs don’t use progressive tenses, past meanings of these verbs are formed with simple or perfect tenses


Past Continuous (Uses the past form of To Be +a present participle Describes an activity that began & ended in the past) I & He/She/It was eating, You, We, You, They were eating

Negative form adds not, and Question form moves auxillary before the subject

Was Josh studying calculus when Sarah called?

No, he was not studying calculus when Sarah called.


Simple Future (Expresses a prediction about something that will happen in the future. One form uses modal will + base form of a verb. Other form uses To Be + going + infinitive verb form, going to expresses prior plan          I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They will visit

I am, You are, He/She/It is, We are, You are, They are going to visit


Present Perfect (Describes an event which began in the past & continues now. Constructed with auxillary verb Have + past participle. Questions formed by placing auxillary before the subject, Negative statements add not after the auxillary: Has Matt prepared for chemistry lab? No, he hasn’t.

I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They have walked        ever, never, already, yet, so far, for, since used with present perfect


Present Perfect Continuous (Stresses duration of the activityuses have/has + been + a present participle. Questions are made by moving the auxillary before the subject, Negative statements made by adding not after the auxillary. How long has Alan been working? He hasn’t been working that long.

Only 3rd person singular has been + a present participle (Barbara has been calling Dr. Rains all morning.)                      Meaning of present perfect & present perfect continuous very similar


Past Perfect (Formed with the auxillary had + a past participle Indicates time order of 2 past occurrences, so it is usually combined with the simple past

By the time Matt arrived on campus, the chemistry lab had started.

Sometimes, instead of a second clause in simple past, the second event is indicated with a prepositional phrase.              By 10:05 am the chemistry lab had started.


Past Perfect Continuous (Used to stress duration of the first of two activities made with had + been + present participle:  I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They had been waiting)

Dr Rains had been waiting for a response to the grant proposal for 2 weeks when it was returned for more information.                                           1st event happened shortly before the 2nd

The crumbs on his keypad showed that Max had been eating something at his desk.


Future Continuous (Usually describes an event that will be in progress when a second future event occurs. Constructed by will + be + a present participle:  I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They will be conducting)               Alan will be conducting the chemistry lab when Dr. Rains arrives on campus.          Written in present tense even though it has a future meaning.


Future Perfect (Describes the 1st of 2 future events. Constructed by will + have + a past participle: I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They will have concluded

Also possible to name a future time in a prepositional phrase and use the future perfect

By 5:00 this evening, the students will have left the picnic area.


Future Perfect Continuous (When necessary to stress duration of the 1st future event, use this tense. Constructed by using will + have + been + present participle: I, You, He/She/It, We, You, They will have been working    Alan will have been working for six hours by the time he takes a lunch break.)


Passive Voice

All English sentences are in either the active or passive voice. “Voice” does not refer to a tense but the structure of the sentence. When the subject performs the action, sentence is active voice.

Alan opened an Email from Dr. Rains.

When the subject receives the action, the sentence is passive voice. Used when receiver of action more important than doer, when doer unknown, to obscure the doer.

An Email from Dr. Rains was opened by Alan.


Modal Auxillary Verbs  

Can, Could, May, Might, Will, Would, Shall, Should, Must, Ought

These words have specific meaning and are used before infinitive of other verbs and with the simple form of verbs in a present/future idea and ‘have’ plus the past participle in the past. Sometimes these have many different meanings like the following: I could go. He could have gone. Could you please pass me the salt? If you told me the problem, perhaps I could help.



First Conditional (future real) Communicates idea that there is a good chance when the condition is met, the result will happen. –If there is free food, college students will come to the picnic. Subordinate clause uses the simple present tense verb, is. Main clause uses a future verb:will come.-College students will come to the picnic if there is free food. Order of the clauses can switch with no change in meaning. Any present tense that makes sense can be used in place of the simple present in the subordinate clause: present continuous, present perfect, or present perfect continuous. In addition to will, the modals can, may, might, should, be going to and have to can be used in the main clause.—If it’s raining at noon, theymight move the picnic into the cafeteria. Present continuous in the “If clause” and the modal might in place of will in the main clause.                                   If she is too busy to cook, she’ll pick up a sandwich.

If her brother calls her back before she leaves the office, she might eat dinner with him.


Second Conditional (present unreal) Tells us that the condition will not be met, but imagines how things would be if it were. In this form, the “if clause” uses the simple past tense or the past continuous, and the main clause must use one of the following modals: would, should, could or might plus the base form of a verb. In the sample sentence, the simple past tense, had, in the subordinate clause is used with would enjoy in the main clause.—If Alan had time, he would enjoy taking a break at the picnic. Consider the double meanings of these two sentences in the second conditional.

If Alan were an undergraduate, he’d have time to attend the picnic.    0%

If Alan had time, he would enjoy taking a break at the picnic.    100 to 1%

If she were a better swimmer, she might enjoy swimming laps.    Probable

She could bike to work if she lived closer to campus.         Possible but not likely


Third Conditional (past unreal) Describes a condition that can’t be met because the opportunity is past. Its purpose is to imagine a different past and its result. To construct this form the past perfect or past perfect continuous is used in the “if clause” and would, could, should, or might is combined with have and a past participle in the main clause. In the sample sentence had studied is used in the subordinate clause and would have done in the main clause. If Matt had studied yesterday, he would have done better work in today’s chemistry lab


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