Various exercises for you to practise grammar, both past simple and past continuous. Answer follow the photos.
Past Tense exercises
Past simple: most common way of talking about the past.
Regular verbs just add –ed e.g. walk = walked / look = looked / play = played
Past continuous: was / were + verbing e.g. I was playing / We were looking
Irregular verbs not used in past continuous e.g. we were seeing a film OR we saw a film NOT we were sawing a film.
Present perfect– talk about an action that happened in the past
subj + have/has + verb3 (past participle).
Past perfect – talking about two actions, both in the past, one before the other
e.g. I had listened to the CD before I saw the band play live.
Subj + had + verb3
The verb ‘to be’
I am / I was // you are / you were // he, she, it is / was // they, we are / were
Past tense / Shakespeare exercise
Change these lines into the past:
1 In Act One, Romeo ….. (is) in love with _________
2 Benvolio ……… (try – past continuous) to stop the fight.
3 The Prince ………. (demand – past perfect) to see Capulet before seeing Montague.
4 Romeo, Mercutio & Benvolio ……. (are) in the street talking.
5 The two families …… …. (be, present continuous) been fighting for years.
6 Romeo ….. (ask) the Nurse who Juliet is.
7 Mercutio & Benvolio …… (do, not) know Romeo was in love with Juliet.
8 The famous ‘balcony’ scene … (take) place in Act 2.
9 The Friar ……. ……. (go, past perfect) out collecting flowers.
10 At the end of Act 2, Romeo and Juliet …… (are) married.
1) was (Rosaline) 2) was trying 3) had demanded 4) were 5) have been 6) asked 7) did not (didn’t) 8) took 9) had gone 10) were
Past tense exercise
Change the verb form – can be:
past simple (think about regular & irregular verbs)
past continuous (verb + ing)
present perfect (subject + have/has + verb3)
past perfect (subject + had + verb3)
It is …. a hot, Sai Gon night. The wind blow …….. up from the river, but the humidity drive ….. me crazy. Sweat pour ……… down my back.
I were walk …………. by the Old Town, lanterns were light ……. and sway ….. in the breeze. I … visit …….. an old friend before I decide ………. to take this long, steamy walk. I …. live ……….. here over two years, but everyday, I am almost
kill ……. by crazy motorbikes. I need …. .. a coffee and see …… a cafe over the road. As I were cross ……………….. the street, a motorbike race …….. towards me. If I ……. jump ……… aside, he would …present perfect…. hit …. me. But that were …… his idea.
He turn ….. around and pull …… out a gun, aim …… and fire ……… . I ……. ……….(be) present perfectshot at more times than I care to remember, I know …….. the score; duck and run. I run …… .I ………did, (negative) have time to think. I can … think later – if I am still alive. I make …. it into the coffee shop, and were look ……. out the window across the street.
The shooter were dress …… all in black and keep …… his helmet on. He were walk …………. this way. Quickly, I look ……. around. Were there another exit ? Can …. I escape by a back door ? Yes ! I ……. be (past perfect) ……here…before. I remember ………. a fire exit on the first floor. I leap …… for the stairs, just as the shooter were about to open the door.
Answers: was / blew / drove / poured // was walking / lit / swayed / visitid / decided / lived // killed / needed / saw / was crossing / raced / jumped / have hit / was // turned / pulled / aimed / fired / I have been shot at / knew / ran / didn’t / could / was / made / looked // was dressed / kept / was walking / looked / was / Could / had been / remembered / lept
Here are 7 verbs in the PRESENT. Choose the correct verb AND use it in the correct tense.
teach / live / go / see / drink / am / have
Harry (1) …….. drinking tea yesterday, when he (2) ……. an idea. I haven’t (3) …….. my neighbours how to drink tea. I am sure they will be happy. They have not (4) …… to the UK yet. I have (5) …. in many cities in England. Now I am in Viet Nam. I have (6) …. many wonderful sights, but I have never (7) …… a cup of good, English tea.
Answers: 1) was 2) had 3) taught 4) been 5) lived 6) seen 7) drunk
Put the present tense verbs into past continuous
EXAMPLE Linh drinks tea – Linh was drinking tea
1 Tina watches TV
2 Sam shouts, ‘Oh, no!’
3 My father plays football
4 Bella designs a beautiful dress
5 The cat sings karaoke all night long !
6 Paul listens to The Beatles
7 Anna buys an Apple.
Answers: 1) was watching 2) was shouting 3) was playing 4) was designing 5) was singing 6) was listening 7) was buying
75 % of verbs are REGULAR – just add -ed to form past tense
Yesterday, I went to visit my friend. We played badminton then walked in the park.
After, we ate lunch and drank beer. Later, I bought coffee and wrote some emails.
Corrections: Write in the past tense
I (am) born in London and (arrive) in Viet Nam in 2015. I (work) as teacher in District 1 and 3 but I (want) to work near my home. Last week, my friend (have) a party. She (dance) all night and I (hear) her singing. In the morning, she (catch) a plane and (go) to Thailand.
Read this excerpt from a travel blog. How many adjectives can you see ?
This is my first visit to Turkey. It’s a wonderful place ! The people are friendly and the meals are delicious. Farmers here grow many different crops including many kinds of fruit. They also grow a lot of wheat, and the bread in Turkey is really good. Of course, the geography and climate in different parts of Turkey affect the kind of food farmers can produce in each region. In central Anatolia, the land is almost flat, and the weather is usually warm and dry. It’s a good place to grow crops and to raise animals such as cattle and sheep. High up in the mountains of eastern Turkey, farmers also keep animals as they can’t grow crops. Today, I’m visiting the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Turkey. The weather here is hot and humid, but the fish and seafood are excellent.
Irregular verbs are all different. A lot of common verbs are irregular:
have /had // do / did // say / said // be / was/were// go / went // get / got // make / made // take / took
Here are 7 verbs in the PRESENT.
Choose the correct verb AND use it in the correct tense.
teach / live / go / see / drink / am / have
Ms Ha (1) …….. drinking tea yesterday
when she (2) ……. an idea.
I haven’t (3) …….. my neighbours how to drink tea. I am sure they will be happy.
They have not (4) …… to the UK yet.
I have (5) …. in many cities in England.
Now I am in Viet Nam. I have (6) …. many wonderful sights,
but I have never (7) …… a cup of good, English tea.
Grammar – verb practice
Here’s the 15 most common:
infinite / present / past /past participle (verb 3)
1 to be / / am // was /been
you are / / were / been
2 to have / / have / had / had
3 to do // do / did /done
4 to say // say / said / said
5 to go //go / went / gone
6 to get // get / got / gotten
7 to make //make / made / made
8 to know // know / knew /known
9 to think // think / thought / thought
10 to take // take / took / taken
11 to see // see / saw / seen
12 to come // come / came / come
13 to want // want / wanted /wanted
14 to use // use / used / used
15 to find // find / found / found
Grammar: must or have to ? mustn’t or don’t have to
must or have to ? don’t have to or mustn’t
have to = other people tell you // must = your decision
don’t have to = not necessary // mustn’t = is forbidden
You have to have a degree in order to be an engineer
I must stop eating at Lotteria (an Asian fast-food chain like McDonalds) !
You don’t have to bring any beer to the party.
You mustn’t run a red light or use your mobile phone on your motorbike.
The new James Bond film may be sold out.We ______ buy tickets NOW !
I hate parties ! Do I _____ go ?
You _______ eat too much popcorn; it’s bad for you.
You ________ be over 18 to see this film
You don’t ____ bring your passport to get intoa cinema in Viet Nam.
Answers: must / have to / mustn’t / have to / have to
Grammar: Phrasal verbs
Phrasal Verbsand collocations
up with / the fire out / up / on a happy face
it in your own words / up or shut up !/ it away / it another way
well soon / over it ! / on with it / away with murder / on the bus
back to work ! / with the program (US) / some fresh air
Complete the sentences:
She looks so sweet but she never does her job ! She gets …….. at work,
Come on, cheer up ! Put ……. and smile.
If you are so good, you do it ! Put ………..
We are all going to work on the new project together, so get …….. or get a new job !
She is not the thinnest lady in the world. OK, let me put ………. she’s fat !
Stop playing and do your homework. Get ……….
His Thai girlfriend left him. He needs to get ……….
she gets away with murder (is allowed to do bad things) // put on a happy face // put up or shut up (don’t just talk about it – do it OR stop talking) // get with the program (do what everyone wants to do) // put it another way (to say something differently) // get back to work // get over it (stop being sad, and forget the past).
Linking words: and / as well as / and also / along with
These link positives sentences:
I like tea as well as coffee He plays football and also badminton.
How are they dressed ? How do they look (emotions) ?
Tesco Lotus is quite cheap and also has a great choice.
but / however / having said that / on the other hand
These link positives to negatives / negatives to positives:
Jet Mart is convenient. Having said that, it is (it’s) extremely expensive.
Czech beer is fantastic quality, however it’s not easy to find in Sai Gon.
‘therefore’ is a conclusion word:
The Spanish supplier is reasonable (so-so) quality, but more expensive. Therefore, we will use the German supplier in future.
These can be a great way to encourage students to speak and build longer sentences and therefore become more confident in speaking and using English.
Describe what you see in this photo. Use as many adjectives as you can.
Subject first – Do not use a pronoun (he / she / they) Say what you see.
Where are they ? What are they doing ? What do they look like ?
How are they dressed ? How do they look (emotions) ?
What do you think they are talking about ?
I see two young ladies … now try to add more adjectives:
I see two beautiful young Asian ladies. One has very long, straight brown hair. Her friend has medium brown hair, a little wavy.
The lady on the left has a white dress with flowers. The lady on the right wears a blue cotton dress.
Now what are they doing – use continuous verbs – verb + ing
They are talking, laughing and drinking coffee. They are in a nice coffee shop. I see some bags, one yellow, one orange, so I think they like shopping.
Now – your turn. Describe these photos:
I would normally read this aloud and then ask the students the questions. You can alter the speed, the natural chunking sounds, etc, to suit the ability of your class.
I usually go shopping once a week. I sometimes go to Big C but I like shopping at Mega Market. CitiMart is good but it’s a long way from my house. Mega Market is quite near my house so it’s easy to get there. It’s a big supermarket and it has everything I need, which is great. The best thing is that it’s not expensive so I can save money.
How often do I go shopping ? Where do I like shopping ? Why ?
What is the best thing about Mega Market ? Why don’t I go to Citimart ?
Come is where you are NOW: Come here ! Go is for somewhere else: Go away !
I am in Vietnam so – I will goto Thailand, then comeback to Sai Gon.
Always ‘go to’ EXCEPT go home / go shopping / go swimming / go fishing
Kitchen items: What is it for ?
Look how native-speakers link words together:
What is a knife for ? What’s aknife for ? / Sounds like, ‘Whatsa kinffor ?’
A knife is for cutting meat and fish and also vegetables as well as fruit and, not forgetting, bread.
What is a spoon for ? Whatsa spoon for ?
A spoon’s for eating as well as stirring drinks and not forgetting cooking.
What are they for ? They are / they’re scissors (sis zerss) a pair of scissors
Tom (to be) born in Sydney and (arrive) in Viet Nam in 2015. He (work) as an engineer in District 1 but (want) to work near his home in Go Vap. Last week, his wife (have) a party. Firstly, she (buy) a fancy new dress and shoes then (cut) her hair. She (dance) all night and we (hear) her singing. In the morning, she (catch) a plane and (fly) to Australia.
Notice the reflexive verbs:
You may find yourself / you may ask yourself
What are they doing ?
He is shaving … /// She is looking at …
Past time expressions
Not for a long time / not recently / oh, I can’t recall it was so long ago
quite recently / fairly recently / about a month or so ago
last week / last month / last year / yesterday / just this morning
the day before yesterday / a fortnight ago / ages ago / I’ve never done that
What words are being said ?
Cheese or cheers / Ship or sheep / close (the door) or close (near)
work or walk / heard or hurt / house or ours / open or a pen
Sentence Building &Speaking Subjects
laptops / holidays / engineering / travelling
motorbikes / family / living in your hometown / modern life / traditions
anecdote (personal story)
Laptops are an incredibly useful piece of technology. They can be used for work, hobbies, music, and to stay in touch with friends.
I use my laptop every day. I plan lessons and use the internet to search for lesson notes, English language games and interesting video clips to show my students.
Because I live so far from my home country, I find the internet essential. I can maintain contact with friends and family by using: Skype, Facebook, Viber, Instagram … well, there are so many social media sites.
I like Apple; I know there are very expensive, but they seem to work so well. I rarely have a problem with my computer which is great because I know nothing about IT.
There was one issue I had in Vietnam. My plug snapped and I had to buy a new cable. I eventually found a store in Quan 3. I had to wait 30 minutes but finally a man came with an ‘Apple’ plug … and it was less than half the UK price.
To conclude, laptops are part of my life. I use them every day for work, relaxing and chatting with friends.
Tips: If you need time to think before answering, use one of the following phrases:
Let me think (about it)
How can I put it … ?
What’s the word … ?
What is happening ?
Make long sentences: what are the people doing, what are they wearing, what do they look like ? Then, why are they doing it ? What is the story ?
Holiday in Canada
Ron and Sid are on holiday in Canada. They are hungry but it’s cold outside.
Ron Come on, there’s a KFC franchise nearby. I’m starving !
Sid Sounds good, let me get my coat … and hat and gloves and scarf.
Ron Yeah, it’s freezing outside. This is worse than Sapa.
Sid Tell me about it ! It takes me 10 minutes to put all these clothes on.
Ron They have shovelled the snow so the path is safe. Are you ready ?
Sid Ready ! I love staying here although it’s so cold.
Ron According to the news, this is the worst winter for 16 years.
Sid Let’s go. I need some hot chicken.
Ron And some damn fine coffee.
Note the expressions ‘this is worse than …’ & ‘according to’
It is cold in Sapa BUT it is much colder in Canada: This is worse than Sapa.
John said Peter was leaving: According to John, Peter was leaving.
Try these sentences:
It is noisy in New York but much nosier in Sai Gon: This is worse than New York !
Karaoke was loud on Friday but louder on Sunday:
The test was hard on Monday but much harder on Tuesday:
Nick and Fred are discussing (talking about) their new boss
Nick Have you seen the new boss ? She looks very professional and a little scary.
Fred No, I have spoken to her. She’s quite friendly although a bit serious.
Nick I like her business suit. Is it a designer label ? It looks expensive.
Fred Maybe it’s French or Italian. I think she will be dependable.
Nick She can’t be worse than the old boss. He had a screw loose !
Fred He was a little arrogant and very bossy. And hard as nails.
Nick He was crazy. According to Jerry, he didn’t want to pay any bonuses.
Fred That’s why he got such a negative backlash. I’m glad he’s gone.
Nick Jerry and I are also very glad.
Sam Allow me to introduce myself. My name’s Sam and I’m Australian. Good day !
Pat Hi, Sam, nice to meet you. How did you get here ? By Uber or taxi ?
Sam No, mate, I drove myself. My wife and I always drive ourselves.
Pat Yeah, taxis are a luxury. Sorry, I’m Pat. Please help yourself to beer.
Sam I like the sound of that. Are you the one that wrote me the email ?
Pat Yeah. Sorry if my English is not perfect; I’m teaching myself.
Sam No problems, you speak well. Those people are really enjoying themselves.
Pat Of course, Vietnamese love free beer but we behave ourselves.
Sam Not me ! Last time I had too much, I fell down and hurt myself.
Pat Where’s your wife ? I think I saw her earlier ? She has blonde hair, right ?
Sam Nah, she’s a brunette. She’s out buying herself a new dress. And new shoes !
Pat I get it ! I do the working, my wife does the spending.
Sid It’s so cold in Germany. Have you ever experienced snow or minus temperatures ?
Lyn No, never, I hate the cold. Hang on a minute … yes, I was in Sapa once.
Sid I’m going there once the schools break up. Are you going to the staff party ?
Lyn Possibly. What time do the festivities kick off ?
Sid Around seven I guess. What are those pictures ? Is it for a project ?
Lyn Yeah, exactly. I have to make a presentation about countries so I’m using symbols.
Sid OK, let’s see … I know three lions means England and the eagle represents USA
Lyn The hammer and sickle, of course, is Russia. Do you know the towers ?
Sid Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur. I was there on business once. Amazing food.
Lyn How about the other two ? The first one is a mythical creature.
Sid From Egypt, near the pyramids. Remind me of the name.
Lyn The Sphinx. She has a woman’s face, a lion’s body and an eagle’s tail.
Sid The last one ? That’s Jesus … hang on a minute … I know, in Brazil, right ?
Listening practice: IELTS listening to phone numbers (0.55 – 3.06)
Listen out for:
You can get hold of me / you can reach me at (phone number) = my number is ….
Hello, you’ve reached the marketing department. How can I help?
Yes can I speak to Rosalind Wilson, please?
Who’s calling please?
It’s Richard Davies here
Certainly. Please hold and I’ll put you through.
Hello, marketing.How can I help?
Could I speak to Jason Roberts please?
Certainly. Who shall I say is calling?
My name’s Richard Davies .
Just a second – I’ll see if he’s in. Hang on a moment, I’m just putting you through.