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Conjunctions in sentences Exercise 1

1. I like English and I like French very much.

2. My brother likes maths but he doesn't like history.

3. The children forgot their homework, so the teacher

was angry with them.

4. Can you read and write English words?

5. Are the questions right or wrong?

6. It's great and it's fun.

7. Would you like tea or hot chocolate for your


8. Our car is old, but it drives beautifully.

9. It was very warm, so we all went swimming.

10. Do we have French or music after the break?

Conjunctions in English sentences Exercise

1. I like sugar in my tea, but I don't like milk in it.

2. Listen to the story and answer the questions in

complete sentences.

3. Is it Thursday or Friday today?

4. He was late because the bus didn't come.

5. We were very tired but happy after our flight to


6. They climbed the mountain although it was very


7. While Lenny was watching the planes his wife was

reading in the car.

8. I'll text you after I have arrived in Toronto.

9. Neither my brother nor my sister own a car.

10. The sun was warm, yet the wind was a bit too cool.
Prepositions of time and place - tips and activities

The prepositions of time and place, at, on and in.


Prepositions are probably one of the trickiest areas of English grammar, and yet there is little systematic
study of prepositions in major coursebooks. This could be due to three reasons:

that prepositions are best learned along with their accompanying nouns or verbs, i.e. as part of a
phrase rather than being on their own.
that prepositions, along with other small grammatical words, are often more complicated and
elusive than the 'big' structures, like verb tenses.
that prepositions and their accompanying phrases are something that students acquire, rather than
consciously learn, so there is no point focusing exclusively on a single preposition.

Whether or not any (or all) of the above is true, it is probably worth the teachers time to draw students
attention to prepositions in English and help students unlock the secrets of this area.

Activity: Student-generated corpus data

Corpus data is a collection of written and spoken language stored on a computer and used for language
research. Dictionary and coursebook writers use corpus data to help write material. Linguists use corpus
data to find out more about how people use English. However, this data, in its raw form, is difficult for
teachers to access and make use of in their classes. David Willis, and more recently Scott Thornbury, have
been advocating that students create their own corpus data from texts that they have encountered in their

Prepositions seem like an ideal area to start when students are making their own corpus. Here are six
examples of in taken from different texts in an intermediate coursebook:

This is the place for trainers, and not precisely the trainers you run in.

Several markets all in the same place.

Use of colour yellow in newspapers was an amazing innovation.

Many people knew the X-men from a popular cartoon series in the 1990s.

Hugh Jackman is brilliant in the role of Wolverine.

The most important effects will be in the field of medicine.

Taken from Looking Forward 1 Workbook, by David Spencer, Macmillan 2002

Once students have collected several examples of the preposition in context from texts they have
encountered, you can begin to analyse the segments and look for patterns. The above examples of in all
describe things in relation to other things that surround them (run in trainers, in the same place, in
newspapers, in the 1990s, in the role, in the field). Students should be encouraged to start a page in their
notebooks where they can record examples of prepositions in this way.

Activity: Gap-filling

Because prepositions are so overwhelmingly common, they can be found in almost any text. This often
means that a well-intentioned teacher will take a text and eliminate all the prepositions, making a gap fill for
students to complete. While this is not a bad exercise, its usefulness is limited if there is no effective follow-
up. The danger is that the students arent able to correctly complete the gaps, the teacher has no
satisfactory answer as to why they made mistakes and everyone is left agreeing that prepositions are very

A more measured approach would be to delete only one preposition (for example, all the instances
of in or on) and explain that the gaps only need to be filled by the same word. Then concentrate on that
preposition and the words that surround it.

A more difficult exercise type has also been suggested by Thornbury, in which you prepare a text and
remove all the examples of the keyword you want to focus on. Students then try to put the missing word
back into the text where it belongs. Here is an example:

The word at is missing from this text 7 times. Can you put it in the correct places?

He was work, sitting quietly his desk. Shes not here, he thought, what on earth was she
playing? His suggestion she had promised to visit him the end of the day, when everyone had
left. But she still hadnt come. six oclock Im leaving he thought. Ten past seven he was still

He was at work, sitting quietly at his desk. Shes not here, he thought, what on earth was she
playing at? At his suggestion she had promised to visit him at the end of the day, when
everyone had left. But she still hadnt come. At six oclock Im leaving he thought. At ten past
seven he was still there.

Many of the examples in this text refer to the uses of at that were mentioned above, as well as two
expressions (playing at and at his suggestion).

Activity: Illustrating in, on, at with gestures and simple diagrams

If you havent done so already, one logical way of explaining at, in, on is through gestures or pictures.
For in:
Use your hands to make a circular gesture around yourself.
For on:
Hold one hand palm upwards, tap your palm with the tips of your fingers on your other hand.
For at:
Stand next to a chair, table or desk and point down at the desk.

Activity: Office and living room

Having students draw pictures and dictate them to each other to copy will inevitably bring up prepositions.
Often prepositions of space like next to, under, and above will also come up. Here is one way of doing a
picture dictation, which reviews furniture vocabulary:

1. Divide the class into two groups of the same number of students, A and B.
2. Tell the As that they must draw a picture of an office and include six or seven objects of office
vocabulary (e.g. desk, armchair, plant, photocopier)
3. Tell the Bs that they must draw a picture of a living room and include six or seven things which you
typically find in a living room (e.g. television, sofa, bookcase)
4. Give them a time limit to finish their drawings. Write the furniture vocabulary words up on the board
for students to refer to.
5. Ask each student A to work with a student B. Without showing his/her picture, A dictates to B
everything that is in his/her picture while B draws. Then swap roles, with B describing and A drawing.
6. Circulate and make notes of any problems they have with prepositions.
7. Finally, ask them to compare their drawings. Focus on the errors that students made with the

Activity: Hands tied

A great way to practise prepositions of space is to use actual blocks for students to use. Cuisinaire rods or
Lego blocks are perfect for this. There are several ways of exploiting them. The following is a way that I
used them with a secondary class in Mexico.

1. Draw a simple picture of a structure that the students should reproduce with their rods or Lego.
2. Give each pair of students in the class enough pieces for them to build the structure you drew a
picture of.
3. Ask one student from each pair to come up and look at the picture youve drawn. Explain that they
can study the picture for only one minute.
4. When they have seen the picture, ask each student to go back and sit down facing their partner.
5. Tell them to put their hands behind their backs.
6. The students must now describe how to make the structure to their partners, without taking their
hands from behind their backs.

You can follow this up by asking them to make their own structures and explain to their partner how to make
You can help students remember prepositions by asking them to personalise them. Here are some activities
to personalise in, at and on for time and space.

Activity: When did it happen?

Give students a copy of the following skeleton text:

An Important Event

I was at/on/in __________________ (place) when it happened. It was at ___________ (time) on

___________ (day). It was in ___________ (month), in ___________ (year). I remember that I felt
___________ (how did you feel?).

Ask them to complete the text, then read it to a partner. Can their partner guess what the event was? You
can do the same text but change the title to read A frightening event/My happiest moment/My worst
moment, etc.

Activity: Where's the best place to live?

Bring in a map of the city or town where you teach. Ask students to tell you where the best place to live in
the city is. As students begin to tell you, elicit the following prepositional phrases: on street, in the centre,
in neighbourhood, at the end of street. Do the same activity with the following questions:

Wheres the most dangerous part of the city?

Where are the best restaurants/bars?
Whats the most boring/ugliest part of the city?

Activity: Working times

The following questionnaire is for business students to practise the prepositions in, on, at for time. It can be
easily adapted for general English.

Working times questionnaire

Answer the questions. Write a time, day, month or year. Use the correct preposition.

1. When do you leave for work? _________

2. When do you finish work? _________
3. What days dont you go to work? _________
4. When do you get paid? _________
5. When do you have your holidays? _________
6. When did you last take a day off? _________
7. When do you have to do your taxes? _________
8. When did you start working at the place you are now? _________
9. When is the busiest time of year for you at work? _________
10. When is the slowest time of year for you at work? _________