Topic: Secondary


Relevant for Secondary School teachers and students.

Word clouds in action


  • Examine a poem as a corpus, like a body of linguistic data.
  • Linguistically analyse the words used in a poem.
  • Create a word list based on a poem.
  • Present linguistic findings visually using Wordle.

Lesson Plan

Wordle is a simple corpus tool which allows you to paste in text and create a ‘word cloud’ that displays the frequency of words by their relative size in a cloud.

Word frequency

What are the most frequently used words in English? And could we do without them?

Word frequency: Activity

The 10 most common English words are:











Can you answer the following questions without using these 10 words?

World Englishes debate

This is a challenging lesson that can be a fantastic springboard for discussion with more able students. How do we decide whether regional, non-standard English is acceptable or not, and what role does context play?

World Englishes debate: Activity

In 1991, Professor Randolph Quirk and Professor Braj Kachru published articles in English Today debating the value of World Englishes.

Prof. Quirk argued that we must have a strong standard for English that does not allow for incorrect vocabulary or grammar.

Prof. Kachru argued that English must serve different purposes for millions of people around the world, and therefore, because a single standard is impossible, we must appreciate the variation in English worldwide.

Where do you stand?

Writing a story with prepositions

Applying knowledge of prepositions to a short story

This lesson looks at how you might use your knowledge of prepositions and preposition phrases to write a short story aimed at children.

Writing an advertisement with adjectives

In this activity, you will write a brief entry advertisement that describes a product and makes it sound as attractive as possible.


  • Identify the adjectives in an online advertisement.
  • Write an original advertisement using an array of descriptive and effective adjectives.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will write Ebay advertisements to sell products. To make your item sound attractive you will need to describe it in detail, using a range of adjectives. 

Writing an advertisement with adjectives: Activity

Fairydolls Toy Peapod Family

Approximate heights 16cm, 12cm and 8cm.

These little figures have a dense staple polyester filling. All felt used here is a good-quality wool blend. Heads are natural beechwood beads.

Suitable for gentle play or lovely Christmas stocking fillers.

All natural materials. Original hand-crafted items.

Writing with different sentence types

In this lesson, students explore the effects of using different types of sentences, such as simple sentences, compound sentences and complex sentences. In the National Curriculum compound sentences and complex sentences are now lumped together as multi-clause sentences.

Writing with tense and aspect

This lesson asks students to apply theirr understanding of tense, aspect, and time to structure passages of writing.


  • Arrange sentences in order based on tense and aspect in the sentences.
  • Practise ordering and re-ordering sentences in various ways using tense and aspect to convey the appropriate order of events.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will arrange a passage of writing and explore expressions of time in English.

Writing with tense and aspect: Activity 2

Here is the outline sequence of events (don’t forget that you can add more):

Active or passive voice?

Are the following constructions active or passive?

Adverb or adjective?

Work out whether the highlighted word is an adverb or an adjective

In each of the following examples, indicate whether the highlighted word is an adverb or an adjective:

Agents or non-agents?

In each of these examples the Subject is highlighted. For each one, decide whether or not the Subject identifies an agent (or more than one agent) who carries out an action.

Aspect and tense

Look at the highlighted verb phrase in each example, then decide which category of tense and aspect to place it in.

Compounds: Break apart the words

Break down each of the following words into its meaningful parts. Label each part as either a prefix, a suffix, or a lexical base (a part which can typically be used as a word on its own).

Example: unkindness: un- (prefix) + kind (lexical base) + -ness (suffix)

You can check your work by pressing the buttons to see the answers.

Coordinating or subordinating conjunction?

In each of the following sentences a conjunction is highlighted. Is it a coordinating conjunction or a subordinating conjunction?

Direct Object or Subject Complement?

Is the highlighted Complement a Direct Object or a Subject Complement?

Finite or nonfinite?

In each of the following sentences, indicate whether the highlighted verb is finite or nonfinite.

Identify the adjective phrase Head

Find the Head word (the most pivotal word) of each highlighted phrase

In each example an adjective phrase is marked in square brackets. Identify the Head word of each phrase by clicking on it.

Identify the adjectives

Click on the words that you think are adjectives to select or deselect them.

Identify the Adverbials

Find the Adverbials in a range of examples

Identify the Adverbials in each example (there is only one in each sentence). To select a sequence of words, click on the first and last words.


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