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An Easy Way to Teach Conditionals

IF I REMEMBER ALL THE CONDITIONAL PATTERNS, I WILL PASS THE TEST! Let’s talk about conditionals. I find that the usual textbook method of presenting one conditional pattern in isolation means that students will only remember and be able to use that one type. When another pattern is introduced weeks or months later, they often…

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Teaching the Subjunctive

IF I WERE YOU… English doesn’t just have verb tenses, it also has voices and moods. One of the moods that students struggle with most is the subjunctive. The subjunctive is used only in specific cases that students aren’t often exposed to until they reach a high-intermediate or advanced level. But presenting the subjunctive earlier on isn’t…

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How Do You Teach Phrasal Verbs?

LOOK IT UP… As if there wasn’t enough vocabulary for our students to learn, English has certain multi-word expressions that have a different meaning as a whole than the meaning of the separate parts. The most common types of these expressions are idioms and phrasal verbs, and they can be difficult for students to master….

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The Passive Causative

The students had the grammar explained to them by their teacher… Do your students understand the passive voice? Sure. Have they mastered causative verbs? Yep. But do they realize that causative verbs can be passive too? What? Don’t let the passive causative cause your students any angst. Try presenting it using the method below, and wait for that Aha moment!…

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Causative Verbs

I had my students learn these patterns… Causative verbs are just what they sound like: verbs where one person is “causing” another to do something. English has three true causative verbs: have, let, and make. This grammar target has a special pattern that often confuses students because it requires a base verb where an infinitive verb would normally go. Once we present the…

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The Passive Voice

Sentences in English follow the pattern subject – verb – object. The subject does the action (verb) to the object. But what happens when we don’t know who or what did the action? Or what do we do when we want to emphasize the object (recipient of the action) because the subject (doer of the action)…

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Used To, Get Used To, and Be Used To

I USED TO STUDY ENGLISH EVERY DAY, BUT IT STILL TOOK A WHILE TO GET USED TO ALL THE RULES. NOW I’M USED TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR! Last time, I blogged about How to Teach “Used To” in 6 Easy Steps, and I mentioned that the expression used to can sometimes be confusing for students. Once you’ve taught them about used…

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How to Teach “Used To” in 6 Easy Steps

I USED TO UNDERSTAND THIS… Eventually, every English learner needs to master speaking, reading, and writing about the past.  I’ve previously offered advice on  comparing the simple past with the past progressive, But what about the short, common past expression used to? I’ve often found that my students make mistakes with this expression, especially in negative statements…

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Non-Action Verbs & Exceptions

When learning the present progressive (or present continuous) tense, my students would often get confused by certain verbs that remain in the simple present even with a present progressive time marker like “now” or “right now.” These non-action verbs (or stative verbs) also have many exceptions to the general rule. Help is here! Try teaching your English language learners about non-action verbs and exceptions using…

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Future Perfect Vs. Future Perfect Progressive

HOW LONG CAN ONE VERB BE? When a verb is comprised of four parts, it starts to get complicated—and that’s exactly what happens with the future perfect progressive (will + have + been + -ing verb). The future perfect and the future perfect progressive are rarely used in English, so should we bother teaching these…

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