Topic: Secondary

Sub-topics

Relevant for Secondary School teachers and students.

Subordinate clauses in sentences: Activity

Try to construct 10 new sentences, each containing one or more of these subordinate clauses.

Word frequency in speech and writing

Comparing word frequencies is an interesting way to think about some of the differences between speech and writing. Which are the most frequent words in speech, and how do they compare with the most frequent words in writing?

Word frequency in speech and writing: Activity

Spoken English

the

I

you

and

it

a

’s*

to

of

that

Written English

the

of

Word order

We have to have some sort of structure to organise words if we are to communicate. That structure is a big part of grammar. Linguists use a term – syntax – to describe word order.

Word order: Activity

The dog chased the girl.
The girl chased the dog.
The bus has left.
Has the bus left?
The woman with the walking-stick knocked on the door.
The woman knocked on the door with the walking-stick.
Only Lisa ate icecream.
Lisa ate only icec

Word salads (secondary)

In this resource we’ll look at what grammar is and why we need it. First of all, take a look at the word salads. They can be found in the Activity pages within the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right of this page. The slides show real spoken sentences drawn from our corpus, which have been jumbled up into the wrong order. The students' task is to rearrange the words into an order that makes sense.

Word salads (secondary): Activity 1

Sentence 1

sometimes
her
I
hate

Sentence 2

water
of
can
a
I
glass
have
please

Adjective identification

In this activity, students work through the criteria for identifying adjectives.

Adjective identification: Activity 1

Which words do you think are adjectives?

Adjective identification: Activity 2

Somehow, it didn't seem wise.

Is wise an adjective?

Adverb identification

In this activity, students work through the criteria for identifying adverbs.

Adverb identification: Activity 1

Which words do you think are adverbs? Remember the following clues:

Ambiguity and headlines

Newspaper headlines often compress sequences of actions into very compact structures. Sometimes the meaning becomes ambiguous as a result.

Ambiguity and headlines: Activity

Police chase driver in hospital

Violinist linked to Japan Airlines crash blossoms

BT ducks break-up with price cuts

Reagan wins on budget, but more lies ahead

Juvenile court to try shooting defendant

Analysing language choices in reviews

In this lesson, students examine word choice in a pair of published reviews.

Goals

  • Identify words with particular effects in a particular genre of English writing, the review.
  • Discuss the effects of word choice in real language in use.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will look at two published reviews and analyse the language choices that the writers made.

Analysing language choices in reviews: Activity

It’s reasonably compact, compared to most smartphones these days, with a 3.7in screen that’s slightly bigger than the iPhone’s. It looks neat enough, but when you pick it up it feels like no other phone around. The screen is slightly curved, and so are the edges of the phone. It all feels like a smooth, tactile pebble, with glossy front and matte back. It’s made from polycarbonate, that is plastic, but it’s put together like it’s one piece. Even the tiny holes on the bottom edge for the speaker are individually precision-milled.

Attitudes to new modes

In this lesson, students will explore new modes of communication such as texting, online chat, and Facebook, which often come in for criticism from people who believe that they are damaging the way we use language.

Attitudes to new modes: Activity

From a BBC News article about the expression LOL entering the dictionary:

"There is a worrying trend of adults mimicking teen-speak," says Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign, in the Daily Mail.

"They [adults] are using slang words and ignoring grammar. Their language is deteriorating."

Baby Sentences

Goals

  • Use implicit grammatical knowledge to translate examples of infant speech into complete sentences.
  • (For older students) use explicit grammatical knowledge to identify the types of changes that have been made in translating from the original examples.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will look at some real examples of English spoken by infants, and translate it into adult speech.

Baby Sentences: Activity

Daddy go work

Mummy read

Daddy bike

What that

Where blanket

Sock off

Teddy fall

Sammy tired

Building characters

Goals

  • Understand some of the ways that writers use language to create characters
  • Analyse the use of language in a literary text

Lesson Plan

  • You could start by asking students to think about some of the ways that writers use language to create fictional characters. What makes a convincing character? What are some of their favourite characters from fiction, and why?
  • Next, talk students through the first passage from Jekyll & Hyde.

Building characters: Activity

This extract is from later in the novel, where Mr. Hyde attacks a stranger in the street. Read it through, and think:

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