The Craig Bellamy Foundation is looking for volunteer English teachers to take part in its professional development program for a minimum of three months from either May or September 2014. The Foundation is a sports’ charity which trains and educates young footballers from Sierra Leone before sending them overseas to either continue their education or play football professionally. It is a great opportunity for teachers who are hoping to do a PGCE in the near future, as the boys study the international equivalent of GCSEs. The average class size is between 8 and 10 students, they have good facilities and teachers can also be mentored by fully qualified and highly experienced members of staff at the academy. Teachers should hold a CELTA certificate and have at least 1 years’ teaching experience. Contact Kian or Stephen.
Understanding and using contractions in spoken English may seem simple in theory, but when listening to native English speakers you can encounter contractions unexpectedly. It can be difficult to understand what contractions mean when there is more than one possibility. For instance it’s could mean either it is or it has. You must use context to understand the meaning. The following tips and exercises will help you with the most common contractions, ‘s and ‘d. Continue reading
Complete the following sentences choosing between the past simple and past perfect tenses, using the verb that is given. Explained in my previous article, you should use past simple for an action or event that was complete before another event in the past, and past perfect for an action or event that happened before another event, or to show that an action was actively done.
Articles can vary in length, and topic, but all should follow a logical structure. Though they may take many forms, the purpose is usually to inform or to entertain (often both), and this means following a similar pattern. Whether you’re writing an essay arguing two sides of a debate, narrating the history of a topic or reporting an event, the following tips can help students of English plan and write an effective article: Continue reading
Complete the following exercise by forming contractions when appropriate. There are many options for creating contractions; the most common relate to the words am, is, will, would, has, have and had, for example I am – I’m, that is – that’s, he will – he’ll, I would – I’d, she has – she’s, we have – we’ve and you had – you’d. The following exercise (after some additional notes) includes sentences which are grammatically correct and would be fine in written English, but in spoken English would sound too formal. Continue reading
Time clauses are used in English to demonstrate a period of time based on an action or event, similar to dependent clauses in conditional sentences. For example, I will cook dinner when I get home. ‘When I get home’ is a clause demonstrating a point in time, based on an action/event (the time that I get home), replacing a simpler time such as I will cook dinner at 7pm. Time clauses are complete ideas that require subjects, verbs and objects, but they do not always use the same verb rules as the main clause. Continue reading
In more complex sentences, such as those using lists, plural nouns that are grouped together or plural subjects that are followed by a singular noun, you should be especially careful that the noun agrees with the subject, and not just the nearest noun. For example, read the following two sentences:
- The flock of geese was flying home.
- The waves in the sea were very high.
In both these cases, the noun directly in front of the verb does not agree with it (geese/was and sea/were) – but they are not the subject. Be careful not to make the mistake of simply forming the verb to agree with the nearest noun. Continue reading
- In general, I like eating cheese.
- Generally, I like eating cheese.
It is a bit of a trick question, as they essentially have the same meaning, but they are different sentence components, and cannot always be used the same way. Continue reading
The BBC World Service’s online English portal is an excellent place to find material for studying English. It contains simple, clear explanations and a variety of exercises. It also has a wealth of useful practice material, including audio and video examples. There can be a rather overwhelming amount of material on the site, however, and it’s not always clear where you should begin. I’d like to draw attention to an excellent series of audio dialogues that you can use to practice listening skills in a variety of topics. This series, entitled 6 Minute English, has about 100 audio exercises on the site for you try, here. Here’s some of my picks for interesting topics, to get you started: Continue reading
The following list covers the most common words for shapes in the English language, with explanations (sorry, no pictures!). Words that may be also be useful when discussing different shapes are side (the edge of the shape), face (the surface of a shape), regular (all sides the same length) and irregular (sides with different lengths), and 3D (when shapes have a third-dimension (3D), or depth – 2D shapes are flat). Continue reading