384. Teaching Grammar & Social English

In this episode I’m talking about recent things I’ve been teaching in my classes including some grammar and some social English. There’s an absolutely massive amount of grammar crammed into this episode and quite a lot of silly improvisation too!

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Introduction

I’ll give an overview of the groups I’m teaching,and what I’m teaching them including some grammar and vocab. Essentially you can learn what my students have been learning. I’ll also talk about some considerations I make as a teacher and activities I use.

The classes are quite low, probably lower than the average listener of this podcast.

Two classes – A2 (pre-intermediate) and B1.2 (good intermediate)

CEFR A0 – A1 – A2 – B1 – B2 – C1 – C2

Needs of the groups

Gradable and ungradable adjectives

I’ve been using Cutting Edge Intermediate 3rd edition, but a little bit of googling reveals several pages online with good sources of info and some exercises, such as this one from Espresso English . net, which I am paraphrasing.

Regular Adjective

Graded with:

  • a little, a bit, slightly, fairly, rather
  • very, extremely, immensely, intensely, hugely
  • Really
  • pretty
Extreme Adjective (absolutely, completely)

Graded with:

  • absolutely
  • completely
  • Utterly
  • Really
  • pretty
angry furious
bad awful, terrible, horrible
big huge, gigantic, massive, enormous
clean spotless
cold freezing
crowded packed
dirty filthy
funny hilarious
good wonderful, fantastic, excellent
hot boiling
hungry starving
interesting fascinating
old ancient
pretty gorgeous
scary terrifying
small tiny, minute
surprising astounding
tired Exhausted, knackered
ugly hideous

Absolute Adjectives

Another type of extreme adjective is called an “absolute” adjective.

These are words that are either “yes or no.” It’s binary, black and white, there’s no grading – not even with words like ‘completely’. For example, dead – you can’t be “a little bit dead” or “very dead” – either YES, you are dead, or NO, you’re not dead.

Here’s a list of some absolute adjectives and their opposites:

It’s fun to play with these ones. I find it funny to grade these absolute adjectives and when you do it knowingly it starts to reveal how you can bend the language to make it humourous or ironic.

Absolute Adjective Opposite
complete incomplete
Equal (all animals are equal…) unequal
essential non-essential; extraneous
dead alive
fatal not fatal
full empty
ideal not ideal
impossible possible
infinite finite
married single / divorced / separated / widowed
perfect imperfect
pregnant not pregnant
unique not unique
universal not universal
unknown known
true false

Exercises here www.espressoenglish.net/extreme-adjectives-in-english/

Present simple vs present continuous

Present simple: Facts, always true, habits (things you do every time) and also permanent situations.

Present continuous: What you’re doing right now. Temporary truths. Things that are changing (e.g. social trends). Future plans.

Present continuous, going to & will for future

Social English

Making polite requests

Borrow and lend

Could you lend me your

Could I borrow your

Could I borrow your xxx from you?

Do you mind _ing

Would you mind _ing

I was wondering if you could

Do you think you could…

You couldn’t… could you?

Invitations

What are you doing on Saturday?

I’m not doing anything.

Would you like to have a drink?

Do you fancy having a drink?

Shall we have a drink?

Let’s have a drink shall we?

Do you want to have a drink?

How about we have a drink?

What about having a drink?

Sure that sounds great.

I’d love to.

That sounds great, but…

I’d love to, but…

I can’t

I can’t make it

The Lying Game

Mystery Story Narrative Tenses

Murder Mystery

LEPCUPPIC

  • Yongping Wang

    Hi Luke! It’s a fan from China! I have a lot of friends who enjoy your podcasts. Just let you know hhhhhh. I went for a holiday weeks ago so I have a lot of podcasts to cover..it’s why I comment today on this Oct.1 podcast .. Anyway, I’m very grateful to you you know, I’ve been listening to your podcasts while walking, resting, and after I go to bed but before I actually sleep. Thank you thank you hhhhh.

  • Nastia

    Hello Luke! Please do the podcast for teacher!) That would be fantastic!

  • Ptholome

    Hi Luke. Is this episode already transcribed?

    • Check the episode page. I wrote a lot of notes in preparation, some parts are fully transcribed, others are just notes. You could transcribe the bits which are not included in my notes.

      • Ptholome

        ok, but because I have chunks <i dfon't know if peopel is going to think thry must come here and copy the part which is done.

      • You might want to see a doctor about that.

        (Joke – ha ha etc )

      • Ptholome

        I didn’t see that I validated this post before I finished it. :)

  • Елена Конюхова

    Hi Luke!

    I’ve been listening to your podcasts for more than one year and used to do it regularly while hiking, or jogging, or driving. I didn’t think of writing in the comments section, but this podcast motivated me.

    Actually, I’m very grateful to you because your podcasts influenced some vital changes in my life.

    Shortly, about a year ago my company closed. I started to think what to do with my life. It is not easy to find a new job in my home town especially for people of my age.

    Thanks to my son, he supported me very much. I found that learning English was a great pleasure. I started to listen to podcasts, read books in English, watch films in English, learn songs, looking for other learners to chat with, etc. I met very dedicated LEPsters, I joined our transcribing group, I had lessons with a tutor from italki. I had no confidence and was very scared to speak during a first meeting with other learners and a tutor. But little by little I was making a progress.

    And I ended up teaching. My first qualification is an English teacher, but I haven’t been doing that for 32 years. And your podcasts, especially when you teach vocabulary and grammar, help me very much. Although It has been going for three weeks, and I can’t foresee about my future, but I hope for the best.

    By the way, I hesitated very much, but I sent my anecdote to you. For me it was a brave deed.

    Thank you very much.

    • A lovely message and a great success story!

      • Елена Конюхова

        Thanks!
        You took part of the credit for that!

      • Ptholome

        You are much better than you believe Elena. I am sure you are going to succeed.
        Remember: Big dream, commitment, put everything you have into it, enjoying the journey and in the hard moments you must visualise the final result. Because you can do it and are going to do it.
        Big hug from Spain.

  • Elena

    Hi Luke!
    I’ve been listening to your podcasts for more than one year and used to do it regularly while hiking, or jogging, or driving. I didn’t think of writing in the comments section, but this podcast motivated me.
    Actually, I’m very grateful to you because your podcasts influenced some vital changes in my life.
    Shortly, about a year ago my company closed. I started to think what to do with my life. It is not easy to find a new job in my home town especially for people of my age.
    Thanks to my son, he supported me very much. I found that learning English was a great pleasure. I started to listen to podcasts, read books in English, watch films in English, learn songs, looking for other learners to chat with, etc. I met very dedicated LEPsters, I joined our transcribing group, I had lessons with a tutor from italki. I had no confidence and was very scared to speak during a first meeting with other learners and a tutor. But little by little I was making a progress.
    And I ended up teaching. My first qualification is an English teacher, but I haven’t been doing that for 32 years. And your podcasts, especially when you teach vocabulary and grammar, help me very much. Although It has been going for three weeks, and I can’t foresee about my future, but I hope for the best.
    By the way, I hesitated very much, but I sent my anecdote to you. For me it was a brave deed.
    Thank you very much.

  • Paolo Magnaghi

    Great !! Thank you very much Luke for this episode !!

  • Yaron

    Hi,
    Regarding to the “absolute” adjective… its remind me the following briliiant clasic scene from the princess bride film

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbE8E1ez97M

    Cheers,
    Yaron

    • Catherine Bear

      Hi Yaron, what is this movie called? Never seen it…

      • Yaron

        Hi Catherine,

        It’s called “The Princess Bride” – it’s a classic from the 80’s.
        There are a lot of common quotes in this movie. You can check the following list:

        www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2012/09/25-great-quotes-from-the-princess-bride.html?a=1

        (BTW, some of them, nowadays are used as meme)

        I highly recommend you to watch this movie… pure fun.

        Cheers
        Yaron

      • Catherine Bear

        Dear Yaron, thank you!

        I will! Sounds quite intriguing… :)

        Have a nice day and say hello to your lovely wife from a LEPster. Does she listen to the Luke’s English Podcast too?

        Do you have any friends who are listening?

        I have one, but have told at least to three very good friends of mine. Maybe they wil listen one day too.

        Cat

      • Yaron

        Thanks Cat. I will.
        My wife don’t listen to Luke’s English podcast. She was exposed to english in very young age, so her English is quite good (better than mine for sure). Furthermore, she’s less engage with Luke’s materials (Star wars, Marvels, British comedy like Monty Python, etc.). I also think that Luke’s speaking tempo is a bit slow for her…

        I have one colleague who listen to Luke’s every now and then, but he is not a LEP’s “addict” like myself.

        Thanks,
        Yaron

      • Catherine Bear

        Hi Yaron,

        Okay, lucky you! To have someone who has a higher level is just great.
        Is a privilege, is it not? But usually they say ‘You have to separate the family and language learning”. I often hear that couples shouldn’t be teaching each other. Do you agree on this one?

        Do you jog again or still suffering from your injury?

        Do you swim in a hall or in a lake?

        Take care,

        Cat

      • *pool

      • Catherine Bear

        what pool? where? :)

      • LOL – it’s a pool not a hall! Swimming pool ;)

      • Catherine Bear

        Oh, then I picked up a false friend!

        I was translating in my head “Schwimmhalle” (German) into “Swimming hall”. :)

        Thank you for the clarification.

        Can you also say “pool” to a pool with a roof above it? I thought pool were outdoors.

      • Yep, indoor too.

      • Funnily enough, there is such a thing as a ‘pool hall’ too (see pic) uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af152074fcf8cc3490cf74c49e10b00830e01bb0ce1dccd4e08bbd39685abe54.jpg

      • Catherine Bear

        LOL. :)

        My son was telling me yesterday (he watches how I am writing comments and corrects me in my English or my German): “Mum, nobody says Schwimmhalle, it is Hallenbad (like “hall bath”), you’ve learned a wrong German! You have to edit your comment and correct it.” He was embarassed for me. I don’t know where I picked this word, Schwimmhalle. Schwimmbad would have been better. You know, sometimes there are some words, sticking in your head, totally wrong, for many many years. I have to re-learn those. :)

        Well, I speak quite a perfect German, but sometimes I use words what are old-fashioned or are not used any more, or are spoken in some German dialect. The German I learned first, was in my middle school, back in the Soviet Union. It was a GDR kind of German.

      • Catherine Bear

        Oh yes, you definitely can’t swim in this one. :)

      • Yaron

        Every now and then, my wife correct my English… it is fine by me, I even happy about it. Anyhow, it hasn’t occur so often, since we are not speaking in English so much. BTW – I don’t know what we would do when the kids will start to understand English, probably we will need to learn another language….

        I still have my injury, and according to the physiotherapist it is not going to be change soon. So, yes I’m keep with the swiming for now. Unfortunately, I swim in a swiming pool (when I was young I used to swim in a lake – which is much nicer experience). However it has it’s own benefits (it’s not depended on weather, the swiming hall is walking distance from my home, etc.)
        Thanks for your concern.

        Why didn’t you send an enrty to the Anecdote Competition?

        Yaron

      • Catherine Bear

        Dear Yaron, oh yes, swimming is the best way, I guess. You appear very fit on your picture. I think you are a good sportsman.

        What other languages do you (you and your wife) speak besides Hebrew and English? Maybe you pick up German? :)

        Yes, they say, that bathing in a lake is quite a pleasure, even more, when you are totally naked. :))

        Well, I was thinking about participating, but couldn’t think of any story interesting enough to share… :(

        I enjoyed your cookey story with your bright children. :)

        Cat

      • Yaron

        I don’t think that my wife will learn German…. but, in fact, I tried to learn German a bit. Anyhow, my level is stuck in very basic stuff like knowing numbers, basic polite words like Bitte, Entschuldigung, Danke, and very few basic question like wie gehts?, wie alt bist du? … but realy shame on me, I don’t know more than that.

        Skinny dipping (this is the phrase used for swimming nude) – well, how I learned this phrase could be another short anecdote… :)

        Thanks for your positive feedback on my story.
        Next time (and probably there will be another LEP episode which involve LEPSTERS recording) , I suggest to you not to overthink about it, take it easy, and go for it.

        Cheers

      • Catherine Bear

        Good advice, thanks! And great start with German, congrats!
        Looking forward for your next anecdotes. :)

  • stanislavfeldman

    Hello Luke,
    May I know more about your brother’s music? (background music of this episode).
    It is so cool! Can I download or listen to it online anywhere?

    • Hi Stan,
      I did an episode about my brother’s music a couple of years ago. It’s Episode 234, Making “Choons” with My Brother. You can listen to it here teacherluke.co.uk/2014/11/11/234-making-choons-with-jim/
      Also, his music is on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
      Soundcloud link: soundcloud.com/jt-2000
      Bandcamp link: jt2000.bandcamp.com/releases
      I agree – his music is cool! I’m glad you are interested in it.
      All the best,
      Luke

      • Thank you Luke. I will listen to that episode.
        You’ve got so many episodes, it’s almost impossible to listen to all of them. I especially like unscripted episodes where you chat with your friends or relatives.

      • Catherine Bear

        Hi Stan!

        I have to make a confession:
        As I saw your conversation with Luke (above), the first thing I thought was… Well, well, it is Luke himself writing this question, or even James — just to ellicit that kind of conversation on James’ musical and digital abilities. There, there…

        Then I looked up your recent conversations on the Disqus (sorry for spying on you), and saw that you have written some comments on other websites… in Russian! That was the confirmation for me, that it wasn’t Luke or James. :)) Luke doesn’t speak Russian — just listen how is saying this “Zdravstvuyte” [Hello in Russian] in the recent episode – SOOO FUNNY!!! :)))) And so cute. I almost died with laughing. Thank you Luke for entertaining us sooo much!!! :)))

        Cat

      • Hello Catherine,

        Well, you behaved like a detective, quite surprising for me. =)
        I am definitely not Luke nor James.

      • Catherine Bear

        Yes, Stan, I’m that sort of a person, really bad. :-)
        Just looking and looking, tracing people, we all leave our digital footprints everywhere we go. :))
        No, well, I looked you up, because it was so suspicious — your English is just excellent, I thought it has to be Luke or James. :) And also I never saw your name in the comments.
        So, enough of self-defense.
        Cheers,
        Cat

      • Thanks for the complement about my English, I always try to push it further.
        I hadn’t left any comment before but I’m a regular listener. You would probably agree Luke’s podcast is just amazing. =)

      • Catherine Bear

        Stan, yes, I agree, of course. :)
        Nice hat!
        Cheers,
        Cat

  • I missed this type of episode. Completely amazing!

    • Catherine Bear

      Dear Zdenek,

      I think Luke is quickly reacting to the priorities indicated in his recent survey. The grammar was one of the most demanded topics in there.

      By the way, are you that guy with his own podcast? You were mentioned in one of the episodes I’ve been listening to recently. You were having some kind of argument with Luke, he was saying to you “Chill out, man, you are cool!” and referring to you as the most eligible bachelor of the Czech Republic. :)) I forgot the name of the episode though.

      Take care!
      Cat

      • Oh really? Haha. I seem to be arguing with everyone these days. Cool name btw.

      • Catherine Bear

        Zdenek, is this you with this terrific anecdote? It was SOOOO funny! My favourite one. What an awkward situation it was, wasn’t it? Your poor friend, and the poor healthy looking guy… Hilarious!!! :))
        Cat
        ps: Your English is superb!!!
        pps: What cool name do you mean? Catherine Bear? It is my nickname btw, a free translation of my real name. I thought if I took an English name I could master English more quickly ;))

      • Thank you so much. I guess the reason this might feel so is because I told this anecdote many times and it is indeed a true story.

      • Catherine Bear

        Well, this is the fate of an anecdote, being beaten all the time. And it gets better and better with each time. Like Luke said, those are little stories we keep telling all the time, throughout our lifes. With all this cutting and polishing they become brilliant one day, and you can shine in a competition with them. :)

      • And yes, I like the bear bit in your name. It does sound very cool to me.

  • Jack

    Luke`s English podcast is absolutely, unbelievably, mesmerizingly brilliant.