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Making Plans and Predictions

Making Plans

What is the difference between “will” and “going to”? Or the difference between “going to” and present continuous? I’ve drawn a picture that I think shows these differences clearly – click on and save the picture to see it in a larger size.

IMAG0964

So, what does this picture tell us?

  1. “will” is used to talk about future events that we haven’t planned yet. We haven’t planned them because this is the first time we’ve been told about them, or the first time we’ve thought about them. Two examples:
  • “I’ll help you with those books” – I’ve seen someone having trouble so I’ve offered to help
  • “I’ll come with you” – I’ve just been told a friend is going on holiday and I’ve decided I want to come.

Of course, we could use “might” or “may” if we’re less sure about the decision.

2.   “going to” is used when a plan has been made, but the future event is still quite far away in time (see example) – so we usually make the time very clear (“I’m going to see Harry Potter at the cinema next Saturday”) – this means I’ve already bought a ticket, so I made the plan some time before I said this.

3.   Present Continuous is used when the event is planned and is really soon. We often use this to talk about events that are happening on the same day. Remember, we must specify time, because if we don’t then the listener will understand that we are talking about something happening now! Example:

  • “I’m seeing Harry Potter later” – I know that this is soon, and therefore unlikely to change
  • “I’m seeing Harry Potter” – This is happening now, so you’re talking to me while the film is on

4.   We also use Present Simple to talk about future events. In this case they are happening very soon, they are extremely unlikely to change, and they are usually actions / events that we can not control. For this reason, we often talk about schedules (transport, for example) because they are on a timetable and being controlled by other people. Example:

  • “The train leaves from Platform 6 at 7:30pm” – this train will leave with or without me!

So, you can see that as you read down the page on my picture, you become more sure about the event as it gets closer to happening (have a look at the arrow).

 

OK, now lets look at how we can make a similar picture for making predictions

IMAG0965

 

Again, there is an arrow showing that as the event gets closer, you become more sure of your prediction. So, “going to” is a prediction we make when the event is almost happening, or is almost 100% certain. Example:

  • “Manchester City are going to win” – I say this after 45 minutes of the match, when Manchester City are already winning!
  • “Manchester City will definitely win” – I say this before the match, so it’s a prediction made with less evidence.

Notice that we can’t use present continuous / present simple to make predictions!

I hope this helps you! As always, email / comment with any questions!

 

Simon

 

 

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Present Simple – Regular actions / routine

An introduction to the Present Simple (Lesson 1)

What do you do every day?

Routine

These things make up your everyday routine. When we talk about these things, and other things that we do more than once, we use the Present Simple.

Now read the text below. What examples of routine actions can you find?

My Simple Life

I get up at about 7:30 and have a quick shower. I usually make my dinner to take to work, but sometimes I can’t get out of bed! At work, I often stay late to do a bit more, but I sometimes feel really tired and then I go home at about 3 o’clock. I always eat my tea late and it ALWAYS contains meat! Later, I usually work out and I occasionally eat again afterwards. I rarely do anything on week nights (except play Sport) but I’m often in bed quite late because I like to do a lot of non-work things to relax after a long day’s teaching!

How many routine actions did you find? Take another look…

I get up at about 7:30 and have a quick shower. I usually make my dinner to take to work, but sometimes I can’t get out of bed! At work, I often stay late to do a bit more, but I sometimes feel really tired and then I go home at about 3 o’clock. I always eat my tea late and it ALWAYS contains meat! Later, I usually work out and I occasionally eat again afterwards. I rarely do anything on week nights (except play Sport) but I’m often in bed quite late because I  do a lot of non-work things to relax after a long day’s teaching!

The examples all use the Present Simple. You make this by using Subject (I, you, he, she, it, we, they) + verb 1 (remember to +s for he/she/it – I work –> He works / I read –> He reads / I go –> She goes

There is some extra information. Can you find the words that give us information about how often I do these things? How many are in the picture below? These are called adverbs.

Adverbs of Frequency

So, if I say always, this is a routine that never changes! For example: I always have a shower in the morning. Look at how the % information comes after the subject and before the verb. Can you make a list from my text similar to the picture above?

Answer

I get up / have a quick shower / do a lot of non-work things (like always – but with no adverb)
I always eat my tea late / it ALWAYS contains meat (100%)
I usually eat my dinner / I usually work out (80%)
I often stay late / I’m often in bed quite late (70%)
Sometimes I can’t get out of bed / I sometimes feel really tired (50%)
I occasionally eat again (30%)
I rarely do anything (10%)

So, we can see that I work out more often (80%) than I eat again (30%).

Can you complete these sentences to make them true for you?

1. I ___________ go to the cinema.

2. I ___________ go shopping.

3. I ___________ eat vegetables at mealtimes.

4. I ___________ visit my friends’ houses.

5. I ___________ phone / Skype my family.

Now write a paragraph about your routine! Use my example to help you.

More Information (Lesson 2)

1. How can I use don’t ?

Do you say “I don’t usually eat breakfast before work” or “I usually don’t eat breakfast before work”?

Good news! You can say both! Take a look at the picture below. If you see (don’t), you can use it there in a sentence.

I (don’t) always eat breakfast beforework
I (don’t) usually (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I (don’t) often (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I sometimes (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I occasionally (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I rarely (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I never eat breakfast before work –> use positive and always!

So you see, in general, more than 50% = don’t before adverb. Less than 50% = don’t after adverb.

How can I make questions?

Example: Do you usually go to the cinema at weekends? Do you always play Football on Mondays?

So, adverb before verb, but after subject.

cinema

How often do you….?

If you want to say specifically how often you do something, then don’t use an adverb. Try one of these phrases instead:

I go to the cinema once a week. –> Once =  one time
She eats meat at dinner twice a month. –> Twice = two times 
They play Football every month. –> Every month = once a month
We see my family three times a year. 

You’re done! Now you can:

  • Ask questions about people’s routines
  • Talk about frequency of actions
  • Write a paragraph about your daily routines

Now try this practice exercise to revise word order!

Present Simple Exercises

Simon

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Accents – For Higher Level Students

Like any other country, England is a country of many accents. If you study in London and decide to go and visit other areas, you might be surprised!

Have a go at listening to some of these:

Liverpool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9pY08Jt_-E

Newcastle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhHLmhchLrU

London (East): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VosbyJa-JMs

Norfolk: mms://audio.bl.uk/media/learning/sounds/contemporarydialects/england/northelmham.wma

Yorkshire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScELaXMCVis

Manchester: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJZQjmLYfi8

Devonshire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1jZCde9pvE

And from Scotland:

Glasgow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Tj7eezFJ8

Edinburgh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG3ezQUodao

And Wales:

Enjoy listening to some of these – which do you find the most difficult to follow?

Simon

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A Phrasal Verb Story

Here’s a story I made with a few phrasal verbs in it. It’s intended for higher levels, but depending on the activity, could work with Intermediate students. I devised it not only to teach a bit of new vocab, but as a vehicle for looking at phrasal verbs with regards to idiomaticity, pronunciation and form (separability). This is what I did:

1) Warmer – Students asked if they have seen any fights or violent behaviour. Asked what the common reasons / locations for violent behaviour are in their countries / England.

2) Reading for comprehension – students can read to answer the question “How is the main character doing now / Where is he now?”

3) Students go through text and underline phrasal verbs

4) Students categorise them in to three columns (don’t give them titles, ask them to sort them as they wish)

5) Groups rationalise their choices

6) Look at phrasal verbs in terms of pronunciation rules, separability and levels of idiomaticity (I believe that each of these three categories can be split in to three columns – for more information see my essay: 

Teaching Phrasal Verbs to Lower Learners (particularly pages 3-7)

Drill, answer questions etc.

7) Gap fill / other controlled practice activity

8) Get them speaking – role play, or writing a story.

As a follow up to this lesson, I gave students the following muddled up version of the original story. NB: This is difficult, but my class were all CAE / CPE students, and coped well.

Phrasal Verb Story Muddle

Enjoy!

Simon

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Idioms – Market Traders

I often get students asking “What does…….mean?” after trips to markets. The fact is that not everyone can be expected to grade their language. This is particularly true of markets, where traders strive to represent their area of the country as much linguistically as anything else. With that in mind, I created this for a high level class.

Steps:

1) Cut up conversation and students can order it in groups

2) Have a look at meaning, form and pronunciation – particularly focusing on London accent variations. I’ve found that students love having a go both understanding these phrases when said rapidly and saying them themselves.

3) Role play!

Enjoy 🙂

Students – can you find any “strange” language in the text below? Do you know what it means?

Market Traders