Beginners’ English:Grammar exercises

23rd June 2020

Information for applicants from Vietnam - Queen Mary University of ...

Grammar

Tenses

  1. past
  2. present
  3. future

infinite verb = to + base verb (NO tense).

I + like + infinite verb + object

I like to play guitar // I love to listen to music //

I + like + verb+ing + object: I love playing guitar

Asian woman playing the guitar | The girl playing the guitar… | Flickr

NEVER – I like to listening to music

Tell me about yourself:

At university, my major was accounting and I have worked for 8 years.

Boy = son Girl = daughter.

I have one son, who is 3 and one daughter who is 1.

My manager is a lady (or woman) and she is professional, very friendly and nice. She has short black hair and an oval-shaped face. Usually, she wears a short black dress. My manager, whose name is Dung, always helps and supports me.

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Pho is the traditional food of VN. It is soup with noodles, meat (beef, chicken), vegetables and herbs. It can be spicy if we add chilis. It comes with fresh herbs, vegetables and lime.

New idiom: bear with me= please wait a very short time.

My friend is a 29 year-old man. He has an oval-shaped face and short black hair. He is not very tall, he is quite short. However, he is very friendly and funny.

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Adjectives– size then colour.

He has a large black bag. She plays a big brown guitar

adverbs– very, (a lot) quite (a little)

London is very expensive. Bangkok is quite cheap

exterior / interior = outside / inside

I went on holiday to Singapore with my friend. We went to a shopping mall and visited some museums and enjoyed the food. Seafood at Singapore is very cheap compared to Viet Nam and it was very delicious. I bought some clothes and shoes for my baby. We stayed for four days and the flight took two hours. I will return and revisit the shopping mall.

10 Best Malls in Singapore for an Ultimate Shopping Experience ...
Shopping mall, Singapore

Dialogue

Two friends are in a coffee shop

Cath This is a great cup of coffee ! Ok, what shall we do next ?

Di I have to run to the bank. I need to deposit some money.

Cath Good idea, I wanted to use an ATM. I also need to buy some dollars.

Di You can check the exchange rate at my bank. It’s not far, we can walk. 

How to Deal with a Friend Who Talks Finances | SoFi

Quick questions: How was your weekend ?

My weekend was quite fun.

How about (tell me about) the evening ?

We watched TV and listened to some music. I like V-Pop

I like K-pop very much OR I really like K-pop.

Directions

Where is the bank? Where’s the bank ?

How do I get to the park?

Is there an ATM nearby ?

Go straight

Turn left or turn right

turn around

keep going until you …..

take the second turning on your left

cross the road / street by the ….

go as far as the …… then ….

It’s opposite the …

We are at the bus station and we need coffee ! 

Is there a coffee shop nearby ?

Yes, turn left then go straight and keep going and it’s on your left.

Excuse me, where is the hospital, please ?

Yes, go straight and then turn left on second avenue keep going straight , the hospital is opposite the park.

Answer these two questions:

I have finished work at school. I need to go to the police station but I don’t know the area.

Xin loi, sorry, I don’t speak Vietnamese. I must go to the police station but I don’t know this area.

Adverbs

so / very / extremely / incredibly

It is hot = it is so hot !

What did you do ? Past tense

On Saturday I drank beer and ate seafood for example, I had shrimp (prawn), octopus, fish, squid. We had lots of fun. Some people drank about six beers but I only drank a little.

Travelling to Thailand

Chubby Hubby - Sawadee ka! Rules of etiquette When travelling in ...

In Thailand, the food is extremely hot (spicy) because they use a lot of chilis.

My Sony camera is very good (excellent) because the picture quality and colours are very clear.

The lens can zoom in 50 metres. The camera was reasonably-priced however, if you buy more lenses, the price increases.

I’m going to take pictures NOT I’m going to taking pictures

Thai Women: Best Wives & Beautiful Brides from Thailand
Sawass dee ka from Thailand

Adult Speaking Class, level 1: What do they like ?

22nd June 2020

An exercise for lower-intermediates. Help to use basic verbs, and to build long sentences.

We can see five people:

Andrew, Fiona, Helen, Mark and Tina

We see what they eat (dinner), their job (occupation), what they do in their free time (hobby) and what that do on Saturday and Sunday (the weekend).

For example, Andrew likes to drink beer, Tina like to do karate

What do they do ?

Name // dinner // occupation // hobby // weekend 

Andrewsteak and chips
spaghetti
brewerfootball & beersports & cinema DOESN’T like shopping
Fionatuna salad
soups
accountantreading
driving
visits family & shopping DOESN’T like sports
Helensushi
Korean BBQ
marketingyoga & keep fit
craft beer 
exercises & cinema DOESN’T like loud clubs
Markfish and chips
kebabs
civil servantcars and bikes
sports
fixing cars & drinking beer DOESN’T like loud clubs
Tinapasta
pizza
dentistkaraoke
clubs
shopping and meeting friends DOESN’T like beer or sport.
Couple watching a football game | Royalty free photo - 404574
Andrew likes to watch football but his girlfriend does not (doesn’t)
CMA - Lady accountant - (S) - YouTube
Fiona is an accountant
Dara eating sushi (Line play 053115) | 2ne1, South korean idol, Yg ...
Helen likes to eat sushi
Buy his bikes, bee-cause! - Los Angeles Times
Mark likes to ride a bicycle
Taekwondo Girl - Bing Images | Martial arts girl, Taekwondo girl ...
Tina likes to do karate

Make sentences

Use so does with positives, neither does with negatives.

EXAMPLE:

Mark eats chips and so does Andrew. 

Helen doesn’t drink beer neither does Tina.

Tina likes shopping …

Mark doesn’t like loud clubs …

Make questions

EXAMPLE:

Who likes beer ? Who eats Italian food (pizza, pasta, spaghetti) ?

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: What’s your type ?

7th June 2020

Personality adjectives and idioms

How many of these do you know ?

funny // aggressive // serious // intellectual // mean // unpleasant // scary // witty // arrogant // boring // friendly // light-hearted // a push over // mean (selfish) //bossy // impatient // a screw loose // solid as a rock // tough cookie //

Expression – don’t judge a book by its cover

Personality adjectives

kind, unkind, sweet, not sweet, nasty, generous, mean (1 nasty, 2 not generous),

friendly, unfriendly, nice, reliable, unreliable, dependable, shy, confident,

arrogant, lazy, bossy (slang = shout at people, tell them to do things)

hard-working, life and soul (of the party), awkward – difficult, hard to please

Jobs

White collar doctor, accountants, teacher, lawyer, professional, office worker

blue collar chef, factory worker, mechanic, shop workers, fix machines etc

arts artist, actor, painter, musicians, DJ, poets, writers

estate agent / consultant / plumber / PR Public Relations / HR / volunteer worker / unemployed / therapist / sportsperson / web designer / security guard / unemployed

What jobs do you think these people have / Why do you say that ?

I think / She seems to be …/ I get the impression that he is …

funny //aggressive // dependable // generous

serious // impatient // reliable // intellectual // mean

unreliable // unpleasant // scary //witty // arrogant

boring// selfish// friendly // light-hearted // nasty // bossy

a screw loose // solid as a rock // tough cookie // life and soul

Extending vocabulary – personality types

Computer geek / nerd / social misfit

hunk / fit / health freak

Family man / new man / sensitive

boffin / egghead / professional man 

Lazy / work-shy / good for nothing

workaholic / married to his job

arty / cool dude / beatnik

useless layabout / waste of space

slackers / drop-outs / cool guys / high school kids

There may be good and bad things about all of these. What do you think they are ?

Which type would you like to marry or which type do you think you are ?

REMEMBER– use expressions of opinion

“In my experience…” “As far as I’m concerned…”

“In my opinion…” “Personally, I think…”

“I believe that…” “It seems to me …”

Cat got your tongue ? Time to talk idioms

6th June 2020

We had a number of blogs devoted to idioms, so now it’s time to practice using them as part of your everyday English. Not only will IELTS students earn points, but every student will feel closer to English, and sound more like a REAL native-speaker. You can only learn so much from text books …

So, without further ado, a range of dialogues for you to practice:

Dialogue 1

Hello, how’s it going ?

Great, thanks. What have you been up to ?

Oh, same old, same old. Nothing new. Are you busy ?

A little.

Do you want a hand ? (Dya wanna hand)

That would be wonderful. Can you take over for a moment ?

Absolutely !

I’ll be right back. I need to print out some documents.

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Dialogue 2

What shall I get on with ?

I just need you to finish off the progress reports.

Oh, piece of cake ! (pieceacake)

You’re an angel.

I know…hahaha.

Colleagues at office on coffee break | Free Photo

Dialogue 3

Hello, do you have a minute ?

Sure, what do you need ?

Could we have a little chat ?

OK, let’s go to my office. Have a seat. Now, what’s on your mind?

I’d like an increase in our budget. We desperately need a new photocopier.

Unfortunately, those things cost an arm and a leg. What is the exact price ?

I’ll find out and get back to you. We may have some money in our budget.

Office workers wasting time helping less tech-savvy colleagues

Dialogue 4

How’s the new girl ? Are you showing her the ropes?

She seems to be OK but I still need to keep an eye on her. Are we having a meeting later ?

No, it’s been called off.

Ok, back to work. I need to finish off some expense sheets. 

Yes, time is money.

See you later.

The psychology behind why you fall in love with your colleagues ...

Dialogue 5

What were you doing last night ? I tried to call.

I was watching TV. Was it important ?

We were having a party. I wanted you to come.

Your parties are such fun ! What did you do ?

We were all looking online for bargains. Anna bought some great shoes.

She’s always talking about buying shoes.

I was looking at the clothes from London. So stylish.

The friendship chat

Dialogue 6

Did you see the email from the Manager ?

Oh, that old windbag ! He was talking so much.

Yes, even his emails go on forever hahahah.

Did you bring your raincoat ? It was raining all night.

I know – it was raining cats and dogs.

They were thinking about calling off the meeting because of the rain.

Yes, maybe the traffic will be chockablock.

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Dialogue 7

Oh, do you know how to use this Zoom program ?

Yes, it’s very easy. It’s a piece of cake! Have you met Jane’s new boyfriend ?

He seems a real loser. As far as I’m concerned, she can do much better.

What does he do ?

Nothing, the work-shy layabout. I believe he wants her money.

In my experience, guys without jobs are hopeless. A waste of space !

How did she meet him ? She’s such a workaholic ! At the gym ?

Well, not at the gym, he’s no hunk ! It’s obvious to me it won’t last.

I’m convinced it’ll soon be over. She needs a good solid as a rock guy.

Understanding the Impact of Rumors and Gossip

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Tell me more – ideas for sentence building.

6th June 2020

Sentence building

The Approach of a Conversation

Last week, I showed my class how to speak, and think, in longer sentences. I chose a basic question as an example:

Where do you want to visit in Vietnam ?

I showed them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something bad / conclusion.

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:

Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.

First Good Point:

Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.

Second Good Point:

Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.

Now, something negative

However, Hoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.

How to build sentences:

Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)

opinion phrases (in my opinion)

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however)

reasons why an action is being done (because)

Now – your turn: Where do you want to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere.

SECOND EXAMPLE:

I like coffee

a-beautiful-thai-girl-drinking-coffee | Dude I Need A Truck

I like coffee so much because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Work experience

I teach a brother and sister; the sister is a bit of a handful always chatting or texting during class. In complete contrast, the brother is a really good student as well as being a young gentleman. I feel he is an ideal student.

Now – your turn. Try these:

  • Living in Sai Gon or in your city
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

Sentence building – becoming fluent and coherent

Use

  • adverbs
  • adjectives
  • opinions phrases
  • linking words
  • new vocabulary

EXAMPLE: I like coffee

Ask

  1. how MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. interesting words, phrases, idioms
Emotional Intelligence in Love and Relationships - HelpGuide.org

I really enjoy hot milky coffee because it helps bring people together as well as making our minds become quite active and somewhat excited. Coffee, in my point of view, is essentially useful if we use it in moderation. On the other hand coffee can be a dreadful waste of money as well as having a detrimental effect on our health. Despite the negative aspects, coffee makes me feel over the moon!

Young Learners, Level 5: Sounds of the rain forest.

5th June for 6th June 2020

Here’s a quick blog for a class I’m covering tomorrow. As a warm up and review, I’ll play this music as the students enter the class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHWhebFt_r0

Long-term fate of tropical forests may not be as dire as believed ...
A tropical rain forest

Next up, a great video (under five minutes) about the rain forest, in English but with captions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMdD6TTDZ_g

The video has a lot of new words, so I will pause the clip and board new words. Following the video, I’ll ask these questions. Being a large class, the students can work in teams, maybe each team having the name of an animal (that should be fun for Team Monkey).

Which big cat has spots, which has stripes ? Why do they have patterns ?

What is the name of the line that goes around the middle of the Earth ?

Rain forests has two things … what ?

What fruit can you find ?

What animals live at the top of trees ?

Is Vietnam in the tropics ?

BONUS POINTS:

Why are rain forests important ?

Colombia creates the world's largest tropical rainforest national ...

They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen

They are home to lots of different wildlife

They produce water and rainfall for the planet

Moving on rapidly – Adverbs

Give me a sentence for these photos:

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EXAMPLE:

The jaguar runs quickly // The jaguar with black spots, runs very quickly

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Karaoke
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A sloth
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Reading in a library ssshhhhhhh …
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Buster Keaton doesn’t stand in a very safe place

How do I follow that !

The remainder of the lesson is given over to reading, the theme being a music recital, so I can lead in by asking who play an instrument (then explaining that my long nails on my left hand are for playing guitar, not for scaring students).

For the quiet book-work section, I’ll play the glorious Ludwig van: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tr0otuiQuU

Beginners’ English: Short dialogues.

5th June 2020

BEGINNERS Conversations

Two women on lunch break meet in urban park - Stock Video Footage ...

Two women meet in the city centre

Anna Excuse me, do you speak English ? 

Jane Yes, I speak a little English. 

Anna Sorry, I don’t speak Vietnamese (or Arabic, Spanish, etc)

Jane Are you English ?

Anna No, I am American. Nice to meet you.

Jane Nice to meet you too.

Pronunciation of the schwa / ə/ sound: mother / teacher / banker / banana

Conversation

11 Things You Should Know About Vietnamese Culture

Two women meet at a street restaurant

Lyn Do you understand English ? 

Mia Sorry, I don’t understand English. 

Lyn I understand a little Vietnamese. 

Mia What’s your job ?

Lyn I’m a teacher. What’s your job ? 

Mia I’m a doctor

[Culture note – in English, we always say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ & ‘sorry’]

Idioms Part 3: All above board, nothing under the table.

4th June 2020

Time to put your money where your mouth is !

We’ve had two previous posts chockablock with idioms. Now, when push comes to shove, can you use them in your everyday English. Remember, those studying for IELTS will get extra points by demonstrating a knowledge of idiomatic language … so pull your finger out and put your nose to the grindstone.

This is an extended dialogue sequence. Practice the idioms and intonation and stress. You may wish to try short sections first, before attempting the whole exercise.

Hello, how’s your day been ?

Oh, so-so. And you ? Did you finish off the reports ?

Yes, more or less. 

You better make sure they’re finished. You know what the Director’s like.

I know. If things aren’t done, all hell breaks loose !

Better keep on his good side. What else do you need to do ?

File some invoices, send off some emails and I need to get hold of Anna in HR.

I think she’s off sick today. 

That’s a pity. Did you finish the wages ?

Yes, piece of cake ! Now I’m going through all the bank statements for the last quarter.

Not cooking the books I hope. Are we still going out tonight ?

Oh, sorry, I can’t know. Something’s come up.

What ? I thought you wanted to see the film. Johnny Depp’s in it.

I know, but I have to work late. Why don’t you ask the Director ? He’s really into cinema.

I don’t think so !

Why not ? He’s such a charming man.

Well, I beg to differ. He’s an old windbag and he drinks like a fish !

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Mr Johnny Depp
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My manager drinks like a fish
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A charming man
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Writing false numbers – cooking the books
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Talk, talk, talk … what an old windbag !

Beginners’ English: How was your day ?

26th May 2020

How was your day ?

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Did you have a good day ? So-so day or bad day ?

What is wrong here:

In the morning, I went to my company then I go to the bank. After that, I travelled to home .

Sharon den Adel Brasil on Twitter: "Happy Birthday, @tarjaofficial ...

In the morning, I went to my company then I went to the bank. After that, I travelled home (NOT ‘to home’).

Dress Code in Japan: A Guide to Appropriate Japanese Attire ...

After lunch I went the customer and we spoke about the payment. After we said goodbye, I came here !

Replace ‘went’ with: visited / travelled to / saw / had to go to / 

Occupation = work, job

verb: to dance – job = dancer

What is your occupation ?

I am a dancer

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I am a pilot

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I am a chef

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I’m a travel agent. I books tickets and hotels and tours

What did you do yesterday ?

In the morning I went to my company and I worked (workt) with numbers because I’m an accountant. My job is interesting.

Then, I went to the bank where I withdrew money from the company account. After that, I travelled home.

I had lunch at home. In the afternoon, my husband and I saw my baby’s school. Next we went to the Vincom Mall where we ate pizza.

Finally, we went home by car.

Eating Pizza Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Adjectives– describe nouns – my job (noun) is interesting(adjective)

pronounce adjectives with feeling 

GOOD – great / fantastic / excellent / interesting

BAD terrible / boring / dreadful / awful 

Cheerful young traveler asian lady with backpack walking at the ...
Having a fantastic time
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Having a terrible boring time

Beginners’ English: vowels

20th May 2020

What is it ?

Charles Dickens: Five Novels (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions ...

It is a book

When we speak we say ‘It’s’

it is = it’s

it’s a book / it’s a dog / it’s a pen

The words ‘pen’, ‘dog’ and ‘book’ are things; they are called nouns.

When the noun begins with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) we use:

It is an = It’s an

EXAMPLES:

It’s an  // a e i o u

What is it ?

it’s an apple

it’s an elephant

it’s an ice cream

Orange Fruit | Fruit photography, Fruit picture, Orange fruit

it’s an orange

it’s an umbrella

Now … your turn

Ask each other:

“What is it ?” and answer “It’s an …”

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egg // onion //

Octopus PNG
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avocado // octopus // unicorn