Category Archives: Tips for Teachers

Tips for Teachers: Working with gestures and mime: 5 classroom activities 

Teaching Techniques for Communicative English is a gem full of practical ideas and techniques to bridge the gap between the language of the classroom and the world outside. Lively activities give learners a chance to experiment creatively with newly-acquired language so they can communicate meaningfully in real-life situations.

Here are five classroom activities involving gesture and mime. These activities are important because, as award-winning author Jane Revell puts it, they ‘are intended to incorporate non-verbal aspects of communication into the teaching programme by giving students an opportunity to learn and practise gestures, facial expressions and other paralinguistic ways of communicating’.

These are just some of the many practical and creative activities in Teaching Techniques for Communicative English. We hope you’ll have fun trying them out with your students!

1 Mime a message

Students must get a message across to a person on the other side of the room, without using any words, as if they were at a crowded and noisy party. The teacher gives a card with a message on it to a student, who must then use nothing but gesture and mime to make him/herself understood. The other student(s) must interpret the message, which could be something like:

It’s time to go.

Can I borrow your mobile?

You’ve got a ladder in your tights.

I’m having a terrible time.

I need something to eat.

2 What’s my job?

One student mimes an action that is typical of the job they do. The other students must then find out exactly what that job is by asking questions to which the student can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. They are allowed only ten questions. Cues can be put on the blackboard to help the students:


Regular hours?


Common job?

Normally done by men?


‘This is the job I had last year’ will elicit questions in the past tense, just as ‘This is the job I’ve just been offered’ will elicit questions in the future tense, if the teacher wants to focus on a particular tense. ‘Have (got) to’ is another structure which can easily be practised in playing this game.

3 Pass the parcel

The students sit in a circle. The teacher gives every other student a card with the name of an object (always the same object). This imaginary object is then passed around the circle. The half of the class who know what the object is must give the other half of the class visual and verbal clues (without actually naming the object) so that they can guess what it is. They must, for example, hold it in a certain way, and say things like: ‘Careful! Don’t squeeze it!’ or ‘It’s still a bit hot’ or ‘If you hold her like that, she’ll scratch you!’

4 Guess what the guest means!

Students are divided into groups of four or five. One, a guest staying at a hotel, is given a card on which is written something they want or need. The guest has a very bad cold and has lost their voice, so s/he must make him/herself understood to the others in the group – the collective hotel receptionist – entirely by the use of mime.

For elementary students it is enough that they grasp the general idea of what the hotel guest is trying to get across. More advanced students could be asked to produce the exact words written on the card, forcing them to find synonyms for words and to search for different ways of saying the same thing.[2:1]

In trying to guess ‘Could you tell me how to get to the cathedral?’ for example, the students might well come up with any of the following things:

Where’s the cathedral, please?

Which way is the cathedral?

What’s the best way to get to the cathedral?

Could you tell me the way to the cathedral?

I’m looking for the cathedral. Can you help me?

Do you know the way to the cathedral?

I wonder if you could tell me where the cathedral is?



Some suggestions are given below for the sorts of things that might be written on cards:

Where is the nearest underground station?

Could you call me at 7.15 tomorrow, please?

Is there a cheap Indian restaurant near here?

I was very cold last night.

Could I possibly have an extra blanket tonight?

My room is too noisy.

Do you sell postcards?

Is it possible to make a phone call to Ireland from here?

The hot tap in my room isn’t working.

Is there a doctor in the hotel?

Could you tell me how to get to the cathedral?

5 Auditions

Students are told that the director of a play is looking for a cast. They need, for example, a grumpy old man, an

elegant lady, a shy parish priest, a neurotic chain-smoking poet, a sulky teenager etc. Students have to audition for the different parts using both speech and mime, and the class decides who should be given each one.


Tips for teachers: My love of pictures was always on the cards… 

Would you like to get your students to communicate quickly and easily, using lively visuals? Andy Cowle tells us all about the simple but effective Mini Flashcards, and how they make the difference. 

Andy is a writer, presenter and marketing professional who has worked in ELT for 25 years. Throughout his career he has worked with many ELT publishers and teachers’ associations, motivating audiences and introducing materials to language practitioners all over the world. 


My love of pictures was always on the cards…

by Andy Cowle

Visual Instinct


I’ve always been visually-minded. My father is a wonderful artist, so I must get it from him. Art was something I always did well in at school, and I’ve had a lifelong passion for cinema since I was in my early teens. I still flirt with the idea of making films, or taking photography more seriously or even doing graphic design and illustration courses. Time yet.

So, as a trainee teacher way back, I didn’t need to be told to mime, draw on the board, or find pictures to make and use flashcards on a regular basis. It was obvious. Even now, whenever I flick through glossy magazines, it’s hard to resist ripping out the mouth-watering, colourful images, filing them away and thinking of ways to use them later in class. Even now my PowerPoint slides are often only visual.

Images for all

It was when I was an ELT bookseller in London throughout the 90s that I first came across the amazing Mini Flashcards by Susan Thomas and illustrator Heather Clarke. The more I got to know the Mini Flashcards, the more I loved them and sang their praises – those playful, colourful images with their humour and movement; their range, their flexibility, and their invitation to respond and comment. For years I showed them in schools, events and presentations all over Europe – and I still do. Students and teachers love them. Such a change from the coursebook. Such a great way to get the students communicating. So memorable.

Look closely…

The Mini Flashcards are ‘mini’ in the sense that they are playing card-sized – for language-focused tasks, games in pairs, group work, or working alone. You can also combine them with dice [link to dice] which have numbers, colours, language (questions, prepositions, tenses etc) or mood (love/like/dislike/don’t mind etc).

Some teachers used to say the flashcards were too small or just for kids, but they were missing the point – large flashcards have their place but they are too limiting, too teacher-centred. And who says cartoon images are just for kids? Why should they have all the fun?!

The idea, therefore, is to let the learners (of any age…) hold and use the materials – so the cards need to be a manageable playing card size. Only then are we truly addressing a multi-sensory approach to learning: the kinaesthetic learners have something to hold and play with, the visual learners have pictures to rely on, the work-it-out-yourself learners can internalise at their own pace, and so on. Certainly the talkers will thrive in a dynamic which breaks down inhibitions and makes lessons and language truly memorable. And the cards do not just prompt vocabulary – they can be used in an infinite number of ways to introduce or practise even complex structures or functions.

Show and tell – with a kick!

The Teacher’s Book is full of ideas for generic or topic-specific language games, and includes black and white photocopiable versions of all the pictures and spinners. And if you and your students want to make up your own activities, so much the better. I know the cards are now used all over the world, and I’ve heard wonderful stories from teachers about how they use them.

And with preparations already being made for the World Cup next year, the boys – and some girls! – will love the other resource from Mini Flashcards creator, Susan Thomas: English Through Football. It uses the same communication game-playing principles [link to the ETF] and is full of photocopiable mini flashcards on the theme of football, but with everyday topics linked to the sport. Now you lessons can have an even clearer… goal. 🙂 

All you need to know about the Mini Flashcards

Why are the flashcards small? What level and age group are they for? Read answers to the most frequently asked questions to find out all you need to know about the mini flashcards. 



Free IELTS teaching notes 

Are you new to teaching IELTS? Or are you an experienced IELTS teacher on the hunt for new materials? Then this is for you.


We’ve just published a new IELTS teaching resources page  with a wealth of interesting and practical classroom ideas to support our Get Ready for IELTS and Skills for IELTS series. Both of these series have been created with the self-study user in mind – and the teaching notes give you plenty of ideas to use them in your classroom.

On the page you will find

  • Walkthroughs for each book in the Get Ready for IELTS and Skills for IELTS series
  • Three full lesson plans for each book
  • Creative ideas for quick activities you can use in every IELTS classroom 

Have a browse – we hope you’ll enjoy using the ideas with your students!

Tips for Teachers: International Managers and their Discontents 

As business English trainers and teachers, how can we help international managers to confidently communicate in English?

Barry Tomalin, the author of Key Business Skills, introduces a simple and practical model for effective business communication in our newest video. We hope you’ll enjoy trying it out with your students!


Click on the book cover for more information on this title

It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it 

Our Work on your Accent authors Helen Ashton and Sarah Shepherd delivered a highly entertaining and educative talk about ‘The Politics of Pronunciation’ as part of the English Effect exhibition at the British Council in London. In their talk, Sarah and Helen looked at how accents shape the ways we think about other people and ourselves. 

Intrigued? Watch a video of Sarah and Helen’s talk. 

Instructions to view the video:

  • Click on the link or the image above
  • Click on the ‘Click here to watch’ button
  • Sign up with your e-mail address

If you have any problems viewing the video, please get in touch at

If you’d like to read more on this topic, Helen also wrote a short article for the British Council Voices blog

Sarah and Helen are accent and dialect coaches. Their book Work on your Accent helps learners of English to change or adapt their accent in order to be able to  communicate as clearly and freely as possible. Why not look at a sample unit from the book, and watch Helen and Sarah explain how it works?

Tips for Teachers: Phrasal verbs – our top tips and favourite classroom activities 

Phrasal Verbs are really tricky for our students. It’s just hard to get them right, and they are everywhere in the English language. It’s high time for some new teaching tips, activities and games to help you make phrasal verbs fun – and to help your students remember them. We hope you’ll enjoy using them in your classroom!

The tips and activities in this post are based on Celia Wigley and Lisa Sutherland’s talk at the IATEFL 2013 conference. Celia is our Publishing Manager and Lisa is Commissioning Editor in the Collins ELT team. Their talk was based on the work and research they did for Collins Work on your Phrasal Verbs and the new edition of the Collins COBUILD Phrasal Verbs Dictionary




What is a phrasal verb?

Phrasal verbs are combinations of verbs with an adverbial or prepositional particle (or particles).

They can initially seem deceptively easy, as students might be familiar with both the verb and the particle, but may find that they don’t understand the meaning of the combination, as it can be very different to the meaning of the two words when they are used independently of each other.

Why are phrasal verbs important?

Phrasal verbs are very common – they appear in all areas of English, from business English and academic English right the way through to informal, spoken English.

Using phrasal verbs correctly makes your English sound natural and fluent and they occur so frequently in English that students need to master them if they are ever going to progress.

What makes phrasal verbs so tricky?

•      Grammar– is the phrasal verb separable? Does it take an object?

•      Collocations– which words do you use with it?

•      Register– are phrasal verbs always informal? Is a single-word verb more appropriate?

•      Meanings– a single phrasal verb can have multiple meanings. How do you learn them all?

•      Particles– are there any rules about what they mean?

What’s important for the learner when trying to remember phrasal verbs?

•      Learn as single units of meaning

•      Use in full sentences

•      Group by topic

•      Remember with images/stories

•      Identify in context

•      Understand common particles

•      Learn common nouns

Our seven favourite classroom games and activities to practise phrasal verbs

1) Simon says with phrasal verbs

Aim: This activity is perfect to practise classroom English phrases.

Preparation: You will need to have in mind some of the phrasal verbs you usually use to give students instructions in the classroom such as stand up, sit down, pick up your pen, put your pen down, turn on/off the lights, turn on/off your phone, throw that piece of paper/that piece of gum away, and so on. Units 1 and 2 in Work on your Phrasal Verbs contain lots of basic actions you could use for this activity.

Activity: Shout out the instructions – some with ‘Simon says’ before the instruction, and some without it. Students are only supposed to follow your instructions if you say ‘Simon says’ before the instruction. Otherwise, they should ignore it. If they don’t ignore/follow accordingly, they are out of the game. The last student in the game wins!

Adaptation idea: You don’t necessarily have to give all the instructions yourself. Why not let the winning student take over and let them give instructions to the other students – and to you?

2) Phrasal verbs pictionary

Aim: This activity is great to check if students have understood the meanings of phrasal verbs – you could use it as a revision activity.

Preparation: Prepare about 50 pieces of paper with different phrasal verbs on them. You could, for example, select a couple of units in Work on your Phrasal Verbs, and just note the phrasal verbs down.

Activity: Select a student to pull one of the phrasal verbs out of a container, a bag or a hat, and ask the student to draw the phrasal verb on the board. The other students guess what the phrasal verb is.

Adaptation idea: If you’re not a massive friend of drawing, you could also simply play the Hangman game with Phrasal Verbs.

3) Everything but the phrasal verb

Aim: Perfect to revise phrasal verbs and check if students have understood their meanings. It’s also a great activity to practice the skill of paraphrasing.

Preparation: If you’d like to use this as a revision activity, you could prepare some pieces of paper with the phrasal verbs you’d like to revise written on. If you are working with Work on your Phrasal Verbs, you could choose phrasal verbs based on the topic you are teaching at the time. Each unit in Work on your Phrasal Verbs contains full-sentence dictionary definitions with example sentences and extra background notes on usage of each phrasal verb dealt with in the unit.

Activity: A student picks a phrasal word and has about 1 minute to describe it – without using either the verb of the particle. The other students guess the meaning.

4) Beep

Aim: Great to practise using phrasal verbs in sentences.

Preparation: Prepare pieces of paper with phrasal verbs written on them. Write down different sentences with the phrasal verbs in them. Make sure that only one of the phrasal verbs goes with each sentence. If you use Work on your Phrasal Verbs, just pick a list from one of the chapters you’d like to revise – each phrasal verb in the list includes an example sentence you could use.

Game: Give each student a phrasal verb. Then read out sentences with the phrasal verb ‘beeped out’ – ie. you don’t mention it but say ‘beep’ instead. The student with the correct phrasal verb has to stand up when they hear the sentence that goes with ‘their’ phrasal verb in it. They then have to repeat the complete sentence – now with the phrasal verb.

Extension idea: A bit more advanced – but also more fun! You could split up the phrasal verbs so that the verb is with one student, and the particle with another. In this way, two students will have to co-ordinate.

5) Board sentences

Aim: Fantastic to practise how to use phrasal verbs in sentences. It’s also great if you’d like to check which phrasal verbs are still tricky for your students. They will be the ones that haven’t been selected by them.

Preparation: Write phrasal verbs all over the board, and put students in teams of four.

Activity: Give the team 3 minutes to write as many sentences as possible with the phrasal verbs on the board. Each phrasal verb is to be used in one sentence only. Review the sentences together, and tick the phrasal verbs that have been used on the board. The whole class now discusses whether the sentences of a group are correct or not. A completely correct sentence is 3 points – deduct 1 point for spelling and grammar mistakes, and 2 points for incorrect use of the phrasal verb. The group with the most points wins in the end.

Extension idea: You can give out bonus points for additional sentences with the phrasal verbs that no group has chosen to use. We recommend you focus on these after the activity – as they are the ones your students are still least comfortable with.

6) Cut up phrasal verbs

Aim: This activity is useful if you want to practise form – ie. which particles go with which verbs.

Preparation: Print out and cut up phrasal verbs of your choice so that the verbs and the particles are on different pieces of papers.

Game: Put students in teams of two and give each pair about 10 cut up phrasal verbs. Tell the students that they will be asked to match the verbs to the correct particles as quickly as possible – and that their team should stand up when they are ready. The quickest team wins – provided they arranged the phrasal verbs the right way!

Extension idea: Rather than phrasal verbs only, you can also print out sentences with phrasal verbs in and cut the words up (make sure the phrasal verb is cut up in 2 pieces – ie. the verb and particle should be separate again). Ask students to put the words in the correct order. This activity is fantastic to check if students know whether the phrasal verbs are separable or inseparable.

7) Phrasal verbs in a bag

Preparation: Write about 20 different phrasal verbs on pieces of paper (pick the ones you’d like to revise), and put them in a bag or a hat.

Activity: Ask students to take out three, four or five of the phrasal verbs and write a story, a news article, a conversation, or a film script incorporating the phrasal verbs into it. You can do this activity in groups, pairs or as individuals.


Tips for Teachers: Make Your Meetings Work 


Is there a way communication trainers can help students to make their meetings work? Barry Tomalin, author of Collins Key Business Skills, shares his business secrets. 


The Director of Cultural Training at IH London, Barry Tomalin is a specialist in international communication, business culture and cross-cultural training. He is also a world-recognised writer, trainer, public speaker and management consultant. You can find out more about Barry and his work at

This is the third in a series of posts for Business English teachers Barry has kindly contributed. Have a look at Barry’s tips about  the Four Key Business Skills, and his article Business Skills and Business English.


This article is based on the presentation Barry Tomalin gave at the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Languages (IATEFL) conference in Liverpool, UK on April 9th 2013.

I work with a leading international telecommunications company with its headquarters in Paris. I teach international communication in English to senior managers. They interface with customers worldwide but most intensively with the UK, US, India, China, Egypt and Brazil.

They communicate primarily by conference calls, mainly by phone but also occasionally by video. Their main problems are fluency, confidence and effectiveness. Is there a way that we, as communication trainers, can help?

Evidence suggests these things will help:

1 a clear and consistent meetings structure

2 a strategy for convenors to keep control (especially when native speakers tend to take over).

3 a strategy for participants to intervene.

To achieve these three aims I invoke my mantra: 


 Short – sharp – sweet

Frameworks                Stock phrases


Short – one thought per sentence. Each sentence max 25 words

Sharp – to the point. Say what you mean.

Sweet – present it well, with a clear beginning, middle and end.


Have a structure. It frees you to focus on your content. Fit your content to your structure.

Stock phrases:

Learn the everyday phrases that everyone uses – and use them.

That frees you to focus on what you want to say that is different.

Armed with our three principles – be concise, use a framework and exploit stock phrases that everyone recognises – let’s look at the first problem: structure.


The meetings framework is fairly formal but it allows overseas executives to follow a clear road map and fit their use of English and their content to it. If you are a native speaker, it will be totally familiar. If you are not, it may not be.

I divide the meeting into two parts – the pre-meeting (before the current agenda), and the meeting (the current agenda).

The training methodology is simple.

  • Teach the structure off the pre-meeting
  • Explain the different terms
  • Teach phrases to go with each stage
  • Get each person in the group to run the pre-meeting stage so they get familiar with the structure and the terminology

We then do the same with the second part of the meeting. To practise, we agree an agenda. The group appoints a convenor. The convenor runs the meeting. Afterwards, we debrief on the successes and challenges and also on any language confusion that arose.

The outcomes are more efficient meetings and greater confidence and fluency for the convenor. He or she has acquired a road map to navigate by. Many say they wish to introduce the same systematic approach in France. 

So the technique works both in international and home markets.


If you are a non-native speaker in a conference call or meeting with native speakers, it is easy to lose control. People speak fast with different accents. You are trying to take the minutes, keep to time and keep everyone focused on the point under discussion. We suggest the following strategy.

The methodology is as before:
  • Teach each stage
  • Elicit or teach appropriate phrases convenors can use
  • Practise with different participants running different parts of the agenda
A third problem raised by non-native speakers is how to intervene in a meeting. The non-native speaker’s lament is common.  ‘Think, translate, open mouth, too late!’ The conversation has already moved on. We suggest the following strategy, which many non-native speakers find really useful.

Step 4 needs a little explanation. It is to do with being concise. Be clear – make your point clearly. Be tight – be concise, don’t waste time. Be light – don’t be too serious or too pompous. And finally, be polite – always be polite to the other people in the meeting.

These are three strategies of many we teach to non-native speaker executives running, or taking part in, international meetings, either virtual or face-to-face.

The outcomes for them are confidence, greater fluency and the ability to run meetings, or take part in meetings, more effectively.

Tips for Teachers: How to help students deliver effective meetings and presentations in English 

Are your students asking for advice on how to get their point across in meetings? Are they scared of presentations, and unsure how to handle them? Barry Tomalin, the author of Collins Key Business Skills, reveals his coaching secrets below.  

The Director of Cultural Training at IH London, Barry Tomalin is a specialist in international communication, business culture and cross-cultural training. He is also a world-recognised writer, trainer, public speaker and management consultant. You can find more about Barry and his work at

This is the second post in a series of posts for Business English teachers Barry has kindly contributed. Barry’s first post was about the Four Key Business Skills. Keep on watching this space for more!



Barry Tomalin MA

Our European executives have a problem. They work in international companies and are part of virtual distributed teams stretched all over the world. People I know report to senior managers or have reports based in India, Mexico, the UK, the US, Brazil, Egypt and Singapore.  And they never meet.  Restricted travel budgets and security mean that all communication is by email and telephone conferencing, the ‘conf. call’. Even video-conferencing is rare. There are not enough video-conference studios and not all sites are equipped for videoconferencing.

Everything takes place in English. That is, ultimately, why we are employed. However, English language skills alone are not enough. Our business executive students at CEFR B1 or B2 level are dealing with native or near-native speakers with very different accents in very different countries.

They don’t know the people. They don’t know the country. They don’t know the market. And they don’t understand the accents. So how do you improve productivity and performance in that virtual environment?

Part of the answer is confidence and that comes from learning the same techniques we use in English speaking presentations:

  • Keep it concise.
  • Keep it structured. (Use frameworks.)
  • Use stock phrases. (What the French call ‘automatismes’.)

What does it mean?


Short sentences. Keep the communication clear and simple. ‘Talk like Hemingway’, I often say.  The way to keep things concise is to think of everything you say as a product. A product may be a can of Coke. Think of your sentence as a can of Coke – a definite message, package and presentation.


Use a structure in presentations and meetings. If you have a clear structure, it frees you to focus on your content. I worked as a BBC broadcaster and producer for 20 years. Have a structure and then be flexible within that. Remember the lights will go off after 30 minutes or whatever. Have a structure that will deliver in that time.


These are the common phrases everyone uses. If you say, ‘If you would have a questions I would try to answer it after finish my presentation’, we’re all thinking, ‘What kind of a speaker is this?’ However, if you learn the stock phrase, ‘If you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them at the end,’ everyone’s used to it. They may not even listen but they’ll all get the message: ‘Shut up till I’ve finished!’  Stock phrases free you to focus on what really matters – what you want to say.


I follow Winston Churchill’s advice. ‘Tell them what you’re going to say. Tell them you’re saying it. Tell them you’ve said it.’ On the basis of this we offer a framework, called the 3S Structure, which provides a simple way of organising and delivering a presentation from 3 minutes to over an hour.

As we teach this framework, we can attach to it typical stock phrases that are used in English. Once again, if participants master these they can use them automatically and have time to focus on content – what they want to say.


The three S’s are simple to understand. They are: 




S1 SIGNPOST provides the roadmap. S2 SIGNAL tells you where you are in the presentation. S3 SUMMARISE tells you what you’ve learned and explains why it’s important.

Each stage of the 3S Structure has a series of steps. Here they are, with the kind of language I’d expect native speakers to use.


  • Introduction                                       Hello, I’m … Thank you for coming.
  • Title                                                     I’m going to talk about …
  • Duration                                             The presentation will last 3 minutes.
  • Main points                                        I’m going to make three main points. 1…, 2…, 3…
  • Questions                                          If you have any questions please feel free to interrupt.
  •                                                              Or: If you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them at the end.

The important thing is not to miss out any of the steps. Having done this you can move on to S2 SIGNPOST.


  • First point                                            My first point is …
  • End first point                                     That’s my first point.
  • Transition to second point               (A sentence or phrase summarising the point).
  • Second point                                      My second point is …
  • End second point                              That’s my second point.
  • Transition to third point                    (A sentence or phrase summarising the point).
  • Third point                                          Moving on to my third point …
  • End of third point                               That’s my third point.

The importance of S2 SIGNPOST is that the audience often loses track of where the speaker is in the presentation. This happens with both native and non-native speakers of English. The use of these devices makes your progression clear.


  • Summary                            To sum up, I have made three points. (Use the transition phrases here.)
  • Conclusion                         In conclusion, it’s important to recognise …
  • Thank you                           Thank you very much.
  • Questions                           If you have any questions, I’ll be delighted to answer them.
  •                                               Or:  Any questions?

You’d be amazed how many people forget to say ‘Thank you’ at the end of a presentation. It’s the best way of saying ‘I’ve finished! You can applaud now!’

You can change the language, of course, and you may find some of the language I’ve suggested a bit clichéd, but the formula does work.


An increase in confidence is the main outcome of the 3S Structure. Executives, especially at B1 and B2 level, feel much happier about giving presentations face-to-face or in ‘conf. calls’.

Even C1 executives find it valuable as a reminder. One executive even taught it to his son and reported back he got straight As in his English language course. Try it, then change it, if you want to. It will work for you.




9 Top Tips – Elementary English Grammar 

How to best learn English Grammar? Sorry, there’s no easy way! The only secret is studying English grammar rules and doing lots of practice exercises.

Our 9 top grammar tips for elementary learners of English might help you to understand some simple but essential basics. All these tips have been taken from Work on your Grammar – Elementary (A1), a grammar book with simple explanations and lots of grammar exercises.

Work on your Grammar is a series of short easy-to-use self-study practice books at 5 levels, from Elementary (A1) up to Advanced (C1) level. The books can either be used by students on their own, or to supplement classroom learning.

9 Top Grammar Tips on Elementary Level

  1. Greetings and introductions: How do you do? means Hello. It is not a question. You use How do you do? in formal situations, for example, in a business meeting.

  2. Using the verb be in questions: In the negative questions for I you use Aren’t I? NOT Amn‘t I?

  3. Link words: You don’t need to repeat the subject after and and or. Example: I love reading and drawing. (NOT I love reading and I love drawing.) I don’t like Pedro or Sally. (NOT I don’t like Pedro or I don’t like Sally.)

  4. Like, love, hate: Love is stronger than like and enjoy. Hate is stronger than not like.

  5. Would like / ‘d like: You use would like to be polite, for example, in a shop: I’d like some bananas, please. (NOT I want some bananas.)

  6. He/she/it + -s: For he, she and it, add -s to the verb:
    I work, you work, he/she/it works, we work, they work.
    You use does/doesn’t in negatives, questions and short answers.
    The verb have: I have, you have, he/she/it has, we have, they have.

  7. Much and many: A little is more positive than not much, and a few is more positive than not many
    There are a few shops in the town. = There are 5 or 6 shops. I think this is enough.
    There aren’t many shops in the town. = There are 5 or 6 shops. I don’t think this is enough!
    There is a little lemonade left in the fridge. = I think this is enough.
    There isn’t much lemonade left in the fridge. = I don’t think this is enough!

  8. Times: Midnight is 12.00 a.m. and midday is 12.00 p.m.

  9. Questions: You use negative questions to confirm positive and negative beliefs. For example
    Isn’t Thailand in Asia? = I think Thailand is in Asia.
    Don‘t you like it? = I think you don’t like it.