8 Oct 2020

Making language real

This post about making language real follows on from my previous post, about Making grammar real.

Let’s look at a vocabulary exercise from Prepare 3 page 35.

What help could you give students with task 3? 


  • Give your own examples.
  • Use stronger students
  • Go online and search for examples.

Revenge questions

One of my favourite activities is revenge questions.  I first came across this in one of Mario Rinvolucri’s books of activities.

How does it work?

You create a list of questions – the longer the better!  Have a look at the colour questions on one of my previous posts.

Let’s look at some questions that we could use to practise the meaning of ‘take’ as ‘carry’:

Take an umbrella

When did you last take an umbrella out with you in the rain?

Do you sometimes take an umbrella when it’s not raining?

What’s the best size umbrella to take?

What’s the best colour umbrella to take?

How can you keep dry if you forget to take an umbrella?

Suggested ways to use revenge questions

  • Students choose three questions for another person to answer.
  • Or ask five people one question.

Or, if you have revenge questions for the different meanings of ‘take’ students can choose a set of questions for another person to answer.

Below are some of the questions I thought of.

Taking school subjects

How many subjects are you taking this year?

How many subjects do you think students should have to take?

What extra subjects would you like to take at school?

Which subject would you prefer not to have to take at school?

What’s the most interesting subject to take?

Which subject that you are taking now will be the most useful in the future?

Should students be allowed to choose the subjects that they take?

Taking exams

How do you feel when you take an exam at the end of the school year?

How many exams do you take every year at school?

Which subject do you take the most exams in?

Do you study a lot before you take an exam?

When did you last take an exam?  Did you get a good result?

In which school subject do students usually have to take the most exams?

Apart from taking exams, what other ways are there for students to show what they know?

What’s the difference between taking a paper-based exam and a computer-based exam?

How can you stop feeling nervous before you take an exam?

How can we stop getting nervous when we’re taking exams?

Taking photos

Have you taken any photos today with your phone?

Where was your favourite photo taken?  Who took it?   What’s in the photo?

How often do you take photos? 

What do you like taking photos of?

Are you good at taking selfies?

Taking a train

When was the first time you took a train?

When was the last time you took a train to go somewhere?

The last time you took a train or a bus, where did you go?

Is taking a train exciting or boring?

What’s more exciting – taking a train or driving a train?

Where do you prefer to sit on a train?  Next to the window or the aisle?

What do you usually do when you take a train?

What’s better – taking a train or a plane?

When you take a train or go on a long journey, what’s your favourite thing to  do?

Which new place or country would you like to take a train to?

Take a turning 

Do you always take the same route between home and school?

Do you always walk on the same side of the street?

Have you ever taken a wrong turning and got lost?

Are you good at following maps?

Do drivers in your county always use their indicators to show they are turning a left or right?

*  You could, of course, ask your students to write the revenge questions.

Assigning a language monitor

If you want students to use the target language, then ask another student to listen to a pairwork discussion, for example, and monitor the language that the pair use.

In this case – do they use ‘take’?  Do they use take correctly?

You can also nominate a student to be an interaction monitor.

Did they look at each other?

Did they smile?

Did they nod?

Did they say: ‘Wow!’, ‘Really?’?

Did they ask more questions to find out more?

You can watch the webinar recording where I shared these ideas, and more, here.

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