Looking into the future

27 Feb 2015

a little gift

I offered people three index cards for placing in their books at the start of the lesson they would need to be on page 16, page 178 (grammar section) and page 196 (the answer section)
Participants tend to find these useful but as always it is up to you.

Word formations (paper 1 part 3) – from the homework p14 – 15

These eight questions can be tricky as they are about doing two things:

  1. knowing what part of speech needs to fit into the gap in the text (noun, adjective, verb, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection or article)
    • the first four parts of speech listed are the most common
    • rarely will the part of speech listed as the KEYWORD be the same as the answer
    • this is context reading – spotting the part of speech which fits into the gap by the type of words around it.
  2. being able to take the KEYWORD at the end of the line and convert it into the appropriate part of speech
    • most common are noun → adjective, noun → verb, verb → adjective, verb → noun but occasionally the other options show up.
    • don’t forget the negative forms too (the Cambridge English: Proficiency examiners seem inordinately fond of negative forms in this exam)


topics that reoccur regularly

In unit 2.1 there is a theme of holidays – this is a common reoccuring topic for the Cambridge examiners because most cultures have the concept of holidays and it is a safe and fairly neutral topic for reading, writing, listening and speaking about it is worth having something to say about:


Collocations are set of words that occur in the language of an individual, a group of speaker of a language (colleagues at work may have a short hand reference), a region or a larger language group and their being together seems to be more common than expected.
Native speakers of particular language have little patterns of language, almost pre-set phrases. that come together in speech and feel natural and when another word pairing occurs – it throws the native speaker listener / reader off slightly – giving the phrase a poetic feel. The words may not be wrong grammatically or in meaning but a native speaker would view it as interesting, unusual or foreign.
These phrases and common sayings need to become second nature to you – I would recommend keeping either a vocabulary book or a commonplace book for recording these and to review them regularly.

There are collocation dictionaries available – I have never bought one but Macmillan produce a Macmillan Collocations Dictionary if you are interested.

Looking into the future in English

Some languages live without a future tense or verbal form and make future references by means of time words – English can also do that too but it tends to use the future forms of the verb – a listing of the principle forms are listed in the grammar section on pages 178-9
What the grammar section perhaps cannot convey is some of the subtle subtexts that are detected by a native speaker.

More commonly now you might say “Would you like to dance?” – notice the indirectness and more uncertain forms which are increasingly common in English.

The compulsory writing task -paper 2 part 1

The writing paper (paper 2) is one hour 30 minutes long and involves two writing tasks the first is the compulsory one (everyone has to do it). It takes the form of two short texts (around 100 words) which are either of complementary or contrasting viewpoints on a subject. Your task is to summarise the two texts and evaluate the ideas expressed in them. Here are some pointers for this task:

Homework for 05 March 2015

  1. pp 16 – 17 exercises 2-3
  2. pp 22 – 23 writing file 1 – I personally recommend using the texts given and ignoring most of the exercises which are designed to “help” you.
  3. preparing unit 2.3
  4. (optionally) exercises 3 – 5 on pages 18 and 19

“Your Moment of Zen”

Jon Stewart, an American comedian and presenter of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, has at the end of his show a short clip he calls the “Your Moment of Zen” so here is a video that is light relief and might make you think a little too.

A classic sketch from The Two Ronnies, a sketch show which had a lot of word play in it. This sketch probably has the highest punchline rate as every line by Ronnie Corbett (the contestant) is a punchline.