Author Archive

This series of posts is aimed as a practical look at random vocabulary or grammar exercises in published coursebooks. In these posts, we will be suggesting examples you might give for words, ideas on how you might exploit these examples as well as maybe giving some questions you could ask about language in the exercises. We hope to show how most, if not all, material can be looked at in more lexical ways – just by using simple repeated techniques. You can comment by adding alternative examples, patterns and questions.

If you want to suggest an exercise from a coursebook you are using, please contact us. If the exercise is based on single words or collocations, just send the list of words. If there are examples in the form of a gap-fill or a matching exercise, then send us the completed list of examples (i.e. no gaps / parts of sentences already matched).

Why are you adapting your coursebook and how?

I was visiting a school recently for a mini-conference for the school’s teachers and during one of the discussions it was mentioned that teachers were encouraged to only use the coursebook ‘50% of the time’. The school is based in…

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Aiming for average

An amazing feat, but that's it I recently watched  the film about the super-endurance swimmer Diane Nyad who swam from Cuba to Florida. I like these kinds of stories, and their achievements are pretty amazing – but I'm turned off…

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Intermediate word of the day: embrace

Embrace literally means to put your arms around someone, but in conversation we more often use the word hug – he gave me a hug / she hugged him, etc. Embrace is more commonly used to mean that you accept…

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Intermediate word of the day: protest

When you protest against something or you protest in support of something, you do something to show that you are upset about an issue and want a change. Here are things people do to protest: They hold a demonstration and…

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Phrase of the day: go pear-shaped

Last night I was at our local pub quiz. For anyone who hasn’t experienced this, basically it’s an excuse for people to get together and drink, but at the same time it allows ourselves to feel that we are not…

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Word of the day: allotment

Is it a sign that I am fully middle-aged, not to say old, that I have just nipped down the allotment? Probably - although, as we shall see, the nature of allotments and gardening has been changing in the UK. But…

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Phrase of the day: pots and kettles

Going dutch and other negative traits So last week I was in the Netherlands and I was chatting with a group of teachers when someone asked why we have the phrase ‘’We can go Dutch’ in English. Actually, I personally don’t…

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Grammar nonsense: stative verbs

Exceptions – it’s not you, it’s me. A lot of grammar nonsense comes from labels that we use and that we assume are sufficient explanation in themselves to generate their own correct examples. Then, when students attempt to produce examples…

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Phrase of the day: in a home

The initial spark for this word of the day came from a discussion we had with a user of our coursebook series, Outcomes, about our (lack of) focus on articles (a, an, the - or nothing) before nouns. My first…

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