Shall we look at shall?

Today let’s take a look at the word shall.

This is something that people used to say instead of will, but now, you’re most likely to hear it when someone makes an offer, makes or asks for a suggestion and when someone asks you for advice.

Let’s take a look at each use of it:

1) Making an offer

If you want to offer someone to dance with you, just start your question with shall:
Shall we dance?

And let’s hope that the person will accept your offer. πŸ™‚

2) Making a suggestion

Let’s imagine you’ve asked your friends: Shall we invite her to the party?
In this case what you’re doing is suggesting that this person should be a part of the event.

3) Asking for a suggestion or advice

If you pair shall with a wh- question, you can ask someone to suggest something for you or give you advice, for example:
What shall we do tomorrow?
Where shall we go tomorrow?

Let’s see how we can practice this in context:

I’ve got a question for my little champions:
what shall you do at the weekend? πŸ™‚

Let us know in the comments section and make sure you have a great time! πŸ˜‰

The Impossible Burger

Today let’s take a look at a lesson I’ve done for my class based on something so groundbreaking that it’s hard to believe that it actually exists: the Impossible Burger.

The Impossible Burger

This lesson can help your students practice using the infinitive or gerund after some words, as well as give them a good topic to talk about. πŸ™‚

Let’s get started:

1) Start the lesson by giving your students the following questions to discuss in pairs:

1. What kind of food do you enjoy eating?
2. What comes to mind when you think about meat?
3. How often do you eat meat in a week?
4. Have you ever considered giving up meat?
5. Do you think scientists will be able to create artificial meat?
6. What kind of benefits will creating artificial meat have for the world?

Get feedback by asking your students the fourth and last questions.

2) To prepare them for the video, ask your students the questions below:

1. How often do you eat fast food?
2. What’s the most popular kind of fast food in the world? What about your country?
3. Why do people often eat fast food?
4. Do you think fast food will ever be meat-free? Why/Why not?

3) Show your students the video below. Pause it at the intervals I’ve given and ask them extra questions to get their predictions and thoughts.

4) After students have finished watching the video, give them these 8 questions to answer. For a weaker class, I’d suggest having them watch the video one more time while looking for the answers to the questions.

5) After they’ve found all the answers, ask them to compare the answers in pairs. Then, get feedback from your students and ask them these two questions:
Would you like to try the Impossible Burger? Why/Why not?
Do you think this meat has the potential to replace real meat?

6) Give your students the opinions below and ask them to share if they agree or disagree with them with their partners:

1. I don’t mind having something like the Impossible Burger as an alternative, but I would prefer to eat real meat.
2. It’s no use trying to stop this and having plant meat could be useful for countries that suffer from hunger.
3. Scientists waste time and money working on something which will lose popularity in a few years.
4. I look forward to trying the Impossible Burger if it makes it outside of the USA.
5. I thought about trying this burger but I find it hard to believe that it tastes like the real deal.
6. 10 years from now, we might eat synthetic food and not be able to tell that it’s fake.
7. I want to have more energy, will eating this meat give me the protein I need for that?
8. How about creating a more tasty veggie burger instead? I’d prefer to eat that instead of fooling my four senses.

Get feedback from your students by asking them to raise their hands if they agree/disagree with each statement. Ask them why if you have the time and to get the other students engaged, ask them to add more points in favor or against the statements.

7) Ask them to turn their handouts around and tell them to try to remember what we used after the words below. The infinitive (With or without to) or the gerund (-ing)?

1. I like/love/enjoy/hate/don’t mind
2. It’s no use
3. Waste time/money
4. Look forward to, be used to, can’t help
5. Find it hard
6. Might/could/would/should
7. How about
8. I’d like/love/prefer

After they’ve written the answers, ask them to turn the handouts around again and look at the opinions one more time to find the answers.

8) Now, give your students the activity below to have them practice using gerunds and infinitives.

9) Illustrate to your students that in some cases, using the gerund or the infinitive changes the meaning of the sentence. Give them the exercise below and have them try to guess the difference between both sentences before explaining it. You can ask your students to come up with two examples for any verb using the infinitive and a gerund.

10) As a final activity, ask your students to think of any trending food right now and write what they think about it. Tell them that they have to use the words in 7) in their writing.
Tell your students to include some background information about the food they’ve chosen (You can allow them to use Google to find some basic info), as well as finish the writing with their predictions about its future.
Will people continue eating this food for years or is this just a temporary trend?

Depending on how much time you’ve got left, you can ask your students to read their answers or finish this assignment for the next lesson and begin your next lesson with them sharing their thoughts.

And there you have it!

Another way to practice grammar while talking about meat without meat. πŸ™‚

Leave a comment if your class liked this lesson and also leave a comment whether you would want to try the Impossible Burger or not.

See you next Saturday! πŸ˜‰

Take and get and what they mean

Today let’s take a look at two verbs that have several meanings: take and get.

Take

Let’s look at a few common meanings of take first:

1) Consume

take pills

This is mostly used when we talk about medicine. For example, my grandparents take their pills two times a day.

2) Relax

take a rest

These are some collocations with take that mean to relax. These are:
β€’ Take a break
β€’ Take a holiday
β€’ Take a rest
β€’ Take time off

The difference between them is that the first and second one can mean to relax for a short time, while the other two can last for days, weeks or even years. πŸ™‚

3) Travel by

If you need to get somewhere, you can walk there or take a train, a bus or a plane.

4) Washing

take and get excitement

When you’re dirty or tired in the morning, taking a shower or a bath can give you energy, as well as make you clean.

Get

Now, let’s take a look at some common meanings of get:

1) Acquire

This meaning can be gotten if it’s used before a noun.
Acquire itself can mean a few things: to buy, to gain, to obtain, to receive
Here are some examples of this:
β€’ Get a job
β€’ Get a message
β€’ Get a pet
β€’ Get a present
β€’ Get a result

2) Become

Get will have this meaning if it’s used before an adjective.
Some examples of this are:
β€’ Get angry
β€’ Get bored
β€’ Get lost
β€’ Get married
β€’ Get tired

3) Bring

When you want people to bring you something, you can use get and it will have this meaning.
For example, a polite way of asking someone to give you your phone would be could you get my phone for me, please?

4) Reach

You can use get to mean to reach or arrive to a destination.
Here are a few examples:
I’ll call you when I get to the airport.
I got home late at night.
He got to the city early in the morning.

How about we practice using them in context? πŸ™‚

I hope this made take and get a bit easier for you to understand. πŸ™‚

I have a question for you:
Which of the following would you like to do?

β€’ Get a new car
β€’ Get a new job
β€’ Get home earlier
β€’ Get more sleep
β€’ Take a long vacation
β€’ Take a plane to a new destination
β€’ Take a warm shower
β€’ Take less medicine

Let us know in the comments section and have a good weekend! πŸ™‚

Subordinating conjunctions

Today let’s take a look at a few more conjunctions, in particular, we’ll focus on subordinating conjunctions and where we can use them.

These conjunctions can link two clauses together and are called subordinating because one of the clauses will make no sense on its own.

Let’s illustrate this with an example:

Before I go back home, I’ll buy some juice.

subordinating conjunctions juice.

If you take away the second part of the sentence you’ll end up with Before I go back home, which doesn’t tell us anything.

There are so many of those conjunctions that it would be insane to cover them in one blog post so, instead, let’s look at the more common ones and see how we can practice them today.

1) As

As is used either to give a reason for something and there it has a similar meaning to because. As for the second case, can you work it out from the song lyrics below? πŸ™‚

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left.

Actually, as has quite a few variations with it in the beginning. Let’s take a look at 3 of them:

As if

She looked at me as if she knew me.

subordinating conjunctions as if

In this case as if has the same meaning as like. I may not know who she is, but I made the assumption that she could know me. I could be wrong though πŸ™‚

As soon as

We’ll call you as soon as we have your test results.

subordinating conjunctions as soon as

In this case, as soon as means once so, the moment your test results become available, look forward to that phone call.

As long as

You can come to the party as long as you don’t bring your crazy brother!

subordinating conjunctions as long as

As long as has, in this case, has a similar meaning to if. Basically, on the condition that your brother doesn’t show up with you, you might have a good time at the party.

2) Since

Just like as, since can be used to say because.

I can trust him since I’ve known him for years.

3) Though

Though and its variations are called Concession conjunctions. In simple words, though, although, even though change the meaning of the more important clause. Compare the two sentences below, do they have the same meaning?

She was smiling.
She was smiling even though she was sad.

slight smile

To me, the second sentence implies that she’s got some problems that she’s trying to hide while everything seems to be okay in the first sentence.

4) Unless

Unless is the word to use when you want to say if not. We’ve covered since, unless and although before, but I figured I could give you a refresher.
So the two sentences below will have the same meaning:

I will punish you if you don’t listen to me.
I will punish you unless you listen to me.

subordinating conjunctions unless

How about we put all this knowledge to the test? πŸ™‚

As you’re reading this message below, I’d like to repeat my question:
have you found out what the second use case for as is? πŸ˜‰

Leave a comment if you have and have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Compound Nouns Plurals

Compound Nouns Plurals can be a bit confusing at times so today let’s take a look at some ways to make a plural out of a compound noun.

A compound noun is a noun that consists of two words or more that are put together. A compound noun can be written as a single word, two words or a word with a hyphen (-)

The ones that are written as a single word are usually made compound nouns plurals by adding the letter s:

Bedroom – Bedrooms
Haircut – Haircuts
Output – Outputs

If you have compound nouns written as two words, you need to add -s or -es to the last word:

Prime minister – Prime ministers
Swimming pool – Swimming pools

An exception to the rule is Man of war – Men of war
That’s because Man is an irregular plural noun and is the principal word (Men are much more important than their wars) πŸ™‚

When you’ve got compound nouns separated with hyphens, there are two ways to handle them:

1) Add -s to the important word:

Commander-in-chief – Commanders-in-chief
Court-martial – Courts-martial
Step-daughter – Step-daughters
Passer-by – Passers-by

2) Make both words plural

There are 4 compound nouns where both words become plural, these are:

Man-servant – Men-servants
Woman-servant – Women-servants
Lord-justice – Lords-justices
Knight-templar – Knights-templars

Most of these hyphenated compound nouns aren’t often used and I use them when I talk about history (Slavery and wars) or law, but let’s take a look at them with the help of these two exercises.

That sums up a few of these cases but we can’t make each and every compound noun plural. Many of them, like toothpaste, are uncountable and you have to make note of that sometimes.
I hope you found this information useful and I’ll see you next week! πŸ™‚

Bad service and how to deal with it

Today let’s look at a lesson I made after watching a reality show called Undercover Boss.

Similarly to the Youngblood lesson, I used it to practice modal verbs with stronger students.

The video will be paused to divide it into parts according to my plan.

Let’s get started:

1) Start the lesson by asking your students some questions:
1. What do you think of the saying “The customer is always right”?
2. Is it common in your country to complain about bad service?
3. What are some reasons why we might need to complain in a store or restaurant?
4. Have you ever gotten angry at a worker in a store or a restaurant?

Follow up the last question by asking what happened and whether your students complained to the manager.

2) Tell your students that there’s a show called Undercover Boss where CEOs of companies start working for their company and see how it works inside out. Show your students the first part of the video and ask them what their first impression of Brad is.

3) To check what they know about modal verbs, give them a handout with 6 sentences and ask them to complete them with their own ideas

1) He may be4) He could
2) He must5) He might
3) He can’t be6) He couldn’t

4) After getting feedback, ask your students if they think the first impression that John (The CEO) has of Brad is positive or negative and show them the second part to check their answers.

5) Show your students the third part and ask them how Brad handles his job. You can also ask them how they think the customer felt after she got his assistance.

6) Before showing them the fourth part, ask your students if they think that Brad can go too far in his job. After watching the video, ask them how they would react to Brad’s remarks if they were in the CEO’s place and whether they would punish him.

7) After watching the last part, tell your students that in the end of the show, the boss has to show the employees that he is the boss. Ask your students what they think happened to Brad after the show.

8) To clarify the meaning of the modal verbs, you can write the following on the board:

Must
Might, may, could
Can’t

And put a vertical line from 0 to 100% and ask your students to draw a line from the modal verbs to the vertical line to indicate how sure they are about something.

To check their understanding, you can also ask them:
Which modal verbs mean it’s possible?
Which modal verb means it’s very probable?
Which modal verb means it’s impossible?

9) Have your students match the sentence halves so they’d make sense.

10) Give them the following sentences to make a small list of ideas about what could happen to Brad:

1. Brad may
2. Brad could
3. John might
4. The customers might
5. Brad must
6. John can’t have
7. Brad may not have
8. His colleagues might

11) Ask your students to complete the sentences below and make them true about them. Ask them why if you have extra time and have the fast finishers think of 2 more sentences about them using the modal verbs.

12) As a final activity, ask your students to work in pairs.

Student A will be the CEO of a company who’s recently heard that one of their employees has been behaving badly at work. They must talk to the employee, make the employee admit his wrongdoing and warn the employee what may happen in case they’re caught at it again.

Student B is the employee of the company that was called to their CEO’s office. They can’t admit that they’ve done the things the Boss heard them do so they must speculate why people have been complaining about them using modals (e.g. β€œShe must really hate me to say that”, β€œThat could be anybody else”).

Once your students are done, ask them to switch roles.

13) Get feedback from each pair by asking what the CEOs told them and whether they’ve found a compromise. You can also ask if anybody’s been fired.

And there you have it. Another way to practice modal verbs which may be more suitable for your business classes.

Feel free to share any extra ideas in the comments section and see you next week! πŸ™‚

Hadn’t to or Didn’t Have To?

Today let’s take a quick look at another common mistake: hadn’t to.

Quite often, my students would say this in the Simple tenses and forget that have can be a separate verb, not just a verb for the Perfect tenses.

So when it was time for them to say that they didn’t have to go to work on that day, they would say that they hadn’t to go to work which was wrong.

In this case, have to means must and is followed by another verb.

Just like with having something done, if we were to talk about it in a negative way, we would have to add the verb didn’t before it instead of changing have.

In fact, this can apply both to the past and the present.

So, instead of saying: I haven’t to study on Mondays.

You should say: I don’t have to study on Mondays.

Yay, I hadn't to study on Mondays :D

It seems so easy, but how about we check that by doing a short exercise below? πŸ™‚

To practice this a bit more, here’s something for you to think of:

This year, I don’t have to:

1) Wake up earlier than 9:30 AM.
2) Get new documents to travel abroad.
3) Pay for an insurance plan again.
4) Work late at night.
5) Buy new clothes for the Summer .

What about you? πŸ™‚

Share a comment with us giving us a few things you don’t have to do this year.

And enjoy your Summertime. We’ll talk again next Saturday!

Lying and the different types of it

Today let’s take a look at lying. In particular, we’ll look at a few different types of lies. This can help us be more polite when talking to a liar and identify how big of a liar we’ve got.

We will do that with the help of this video by The Economist:

Before we go further, in order to check your understanding of the video, how about we go through a few simple questions?

The interesting thing for me about this video was that it mentioned 4 other alternatives to the word lie:

β€’ Nonsense
β€’ Exaggeration
β€’ Untruth
β€’ Bullshit

Let’s look at these alternatives and see what they mean:

Nonsense

When you say that something is nonsense, it means that what you’ve heard is too absurd to be true.

Lying about weight
Jake said he could lift 1000 kilos, that’s nonsense!

Exaggeration

When people exaggerate, they try to make something seem more important, better or worse than it really is.

Let’s have Steve Harvey give you a good example πŸ˜€

Untruth

Untruth is a statement which isn’t true. The difference between a lie and untruth is that lying has a reason: the person lying wants to deceive you, however, saying something untrue doesn’t necessarily need a reason. In other words, you can believe in something which isn’t true and tell this to other people like Barack Obama did. πŸ™‚

Bullshit

This is commonly used for statements said by politicians. The aim of a bullshitter is to get a reaction from the people listening to them. In fact, these people know the truth, but they’re telling lies on purpose, quite often in order to impress people.

Let’s see if you can tell the difference with a few examples:

To sum it up and to help you further remember this, I’ve got an activity for you:

Think about what happened in your life and share an example when you used one of these types of lies in the comments section.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend and see you next Saturday! πŸ™‚

Where do we use at?

Today let’s take a look at the preposition at.

We use at in the following cases:

1) Exact time

If you want to meet with someone, when you decide the time you’ll meet you say: “I’ll meet you at half past 8“. At is also used with night.

I'll call you at night.
I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you at night.

2) Specific location

If I wanted to say which university I studied at, I’d say that I studied at Dnipropetrovsk National University. Or, if my friend works in a bank and we both know what bank it is, I can say that She works at the bank next to my house.
Notice that I used the to show that we both know what we’re talking about.

Let me point out that when you talk about what’s happening inside a building, you need to use the preposition in.

VA Hospital Fire_3-29-09_-6695 by 
Mike Rosati. License: CC BY 2.0
There was a fire in the hospital.

3) Indicating contact information

When you want to provide someone with your phone number, e-mail address or your website, you can use at with reach. This is a formal way of giving your contact information.

I can be reached at eugene@email.com

Sorry for the fake address, but I wouldn’t want to get a lot of spam on my real addresses. πŸ™‚

4) Events

At a concert.
I met one of my friends at a concert.

The concert, in this case, or a party is an event that takes place somewhere and, hence, we use at with these.

5) Unique places

This is similar to β„–2. When you want to tell people that you are in your house, your workplace, that you did something in your university, you use at to point it out.

Sitting at home on my laptop
Right now I’m sitting at home and working on my website.

Doesn’t seem too hard now, does it?
Let’s try practicing it in context:

I hope you found it useful to you and, as usual, I’ll see you at the weekend. πŸ˜‰

Conjunctions and how we use them

Today let’s take a look at conjunctions.
Those are the words that connect other words and phrases together.

The simplest ones that we often use are and, but, for, or, so and yet.

But, apart from those, there are many more options we can use.

Let’s look at some of them:

1) Although

When you make two statements and one of them is surprising, you start your sentence with although.

Mozart Conjunction Example
Although Mozart was only 5 years old, he had already written some music.

Quite often we can use either although or though, though can be put somewhere else in your sentences, but, in some cases, it changes its meaning to however and then you can’t switch it to although. These cases turn though into adverbs, not conjunctions.

My Conjunction Example
I can sing and play guitar. I can’t do both at the same time though.

2) Because

This one’s easy to understand. We use because when we give reasons to what we’re saying.

Reason Conjunction Example
I was late to work because I forgot to set my alarm clock.

3) Despite

Similarly to although, when we use despite, we talk about something surprising, something that strongly contrasts whatever we said before.

Surprising Conjunction Example
Mario made some delicious pasta despite never cooking in his entire life.

You can also use in spite of instead, but don’t forget to use all 3 words when you do that!

4) Provided

Provided may seem like a long word, but it has the same meaning as only if. We can add that after this conjunction, but it’s not necessary.

Provided Conjunction Example
He will sign the contract, provided (that) he gets a good offer.

5) Since

Apart from being used in the Perfect tenses, since can be used to show the time when something happened or the reason for something (Just like because)

Using since as a conjunction.
I feel so much better since taking the pill.

6) Unless

Just like provided, unless also means something with if, specifically if not.

Unless example.
You don’t have to come with us unless you want to.

In this case, if I wanted to change unless to if not, I would get

You don’t have to come with us if you don’t want to.

Doesn’t seem too hard, does it?
Let’s check that out by doing a short matching exercise!

The idea for this post came from the fact that when you want your site to be found more often by Google, you have to use a lot of similar words, which are referred to as “Transition words”. Though it can get your website into the top of the search, I find that the first articles often overuse these words and aren’t that useful to me when I’m looking for specific information.

What about you? Would you prefer to see more complex, but easier to find posts or do you think my style of writing is easier to understand and is more useful for you?

Let us know in the comments section and have a great weekend! πŸ™‚