7 Oct 2020

Making grammar real

As part of my webinar Make Language Real, I shared some ideas for making grammar real.

I’d like to share them in this post.

First of all, I shared a short review exercise from Prepare 3 Students’ Book page 30.

I asked teachers to say which grammar points had been covered in the first four units – each sentence refers to a different grammar point.


1 = present simple and continuous  AND verbs not used in continuous.

2 = verbs not used in continuous

3 = past simple

4 = there is/are

Next, I shared some ideas for making this language relevant and real for students.

Here are some suggestions, which I think could be used for any grammar point.

 Make the sentences true for you.

Students rewrite sentence one for their hobby, e.g.

I like to watch videos about skating because I skate too.

Or make the sentence negative if that’s true for them.

e.g. I don’t like to watch swimming competitions because I don’t swim.

2   Make the sentences true for someone else.

e.g. Of course, my cousin Lucas wants to have more friends.

For shyer students, the second option might be the best.

3   Change 2-4 words in every sentence. 

e.g.  The food was really expensive but I still had a good time there.

4   Change the conjunction in 1 and 3.

e.g. The weather was really hot, and we went swimming.

5   Choose a sentence and continue/put it in a paragraph.

e.g. In my town, there are a lot of shopping centres and sports centres.  The biggest shopping centre is called Valle Real and there’s a big supermarket and lots of clothes shops.  The nearest sports centre is the Alday Centre.  I play tennis and go swimming there.

6   Add adjectives to sentences 1, 2, 4.

e.g.  Of course, everyone wants to have more close friends.

7   Add another thing to each sentence.

e.g. Everyone wants to have more friends and more money.

8   Disagree with each sentence.

e.g. No you don’t!  You stopped swimming years ago!

I then shared another exercise from Prepare 3, page 15.

And shared an activity for this:


Write sentences about you using all the verbs you circled.

Tell learners that all their sentences must be about the same topic. 

I belong to a football team.       I want to be a professional footballer.

I have a training session this afternoon.  I prefer matches to training.

I need to get some new football boots.   I hate cleaning my boots.

 You could put the sentences into a bag – mix them up – students take one sheet and guess whose sentences they are.

Read out the sentences, starting with the last sentence.

How many sentences do you need hear to discover the topic?

You can watch the recording of my webinar here.

Thanks to Cambridge University Press ELT Ukraine for inviting me to deliver the webinar.

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