Be used to
Few and Little
Get Used To
Have and Have Got
Lend and Borrow
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple
Present Perfect Continuous
Present Perfect Simple
Say and Tell
Small and Little
So and Such
Too and Enough
Will and Going to
If + present + will + verb
1. I usually give some examples of superstitions, e.g. If you break a mirror, you will... (they give
the answer, since they already know Future Simple Tense).
2. Then I give some more oral examples for them to finish.
3. After that they make their own examples.
4. Now they write down an example or two.
5. In groups they try to figure out what goes with the IF clause, what with the main clause. They report back to the class.
6. In groups, they make new examples of "silly" superstitions.
For homework, they write several sentences asking other students: What happens if you... (they finish). Other students give answers, and then they choose the silliest one.
I definitely try to make fun of it, because I think the first conditional is easy to comprehend (it is very similar to the first conditional in their mother tongue), so that they aren't bored.
Maja Hadzic, Belgrade, Serbia
1. First I start asking my students what they would like to do. They usually suggest watching a video,
learning a new song, playing games, listening to stories, etc.
2. I write their suggestions on the board.
3. Then I mention the conditions in order to get what they have suggested.
4. The sentences written on the board have different colours. I use green for the word "IF", red for the modal verbs "WILL" or "CAN" and blue for the verbs. They immediately notice I am teaching a new structure.
5. Later I ask them to tell the conditions their parents establish at home, like what will your mother do if you behave well?
6. In pairs they talk about it.
7. I help them mention different things their parents have told them about good habits; like what happens if you eat vegetables... brush your teeth... don't smoke... go to bed early, etc.
Liliana, Lima, Peru
1- After explaining to the students that we use the first conditional to express situations that are likely
to happen, I make up a story telling them I am going through a difficult
situation, I try to sound very convincing so they'll help me to find a solution
for this problem. E.g. I tell the students I've just broken up with my
girlfriend, that I suffered very much in the relationship because she was
unfaithful to me, I gave her a second chance and she failed me again so I
decided not to go on with her and break up. Finally I tell them that she is
calling me to beg for forgiveness that she really wants to be with me and she's
regretted what she's done. Then I write the first clause of the conditional "if
you get back with her,..." the students will try to give me some advice by completing it with the second clause.
If you get back with her, she will make you suffer.
If you give her another chance, you'll be very unhappy
2- You can have the students create their own situations and share ideas. They come up with very nice or crazy pieces of advice so you laugh very much in class at the same time they are practicing.
Andres Hoyos Rivera, Medellín-Colombia
When I start teaching conditionals I usually ask students what they understand by conditionals? then
explain that conditionals talk about a condition which has a result related to it. You can give examples like...
"You want to go to the movies tonight and you have asked your friend to pick you up from home. You are sure that your parents will allow you to go to the movies, but if for some reason they say "no", will you go or not?
"If your parents say no, you won't go."... there is a high possibility of you not going to the movies if your parents say no. Now you can help them to understand that there is a condition (parents do not agree) and the result of that condition (you won't go).
Then, you can give them the structure for when we talk about a condition which has a high possibility:
Ss have pieces of paper... each student writes the first part "If I win the lottery I will buy a car... and
then swap papers. So the next student starts the sentence with the last one...
example: "If I buy a car I will drive fast"... and so on.
If you..., change places!". Students sit in a circle, teacher starts by standing in the centre and says, for
example: "If you have long hair, change places!, all students with long hair should get up and change places with another student. Lots of fun!
I usually ask my students which country they wouId like to visit. Then I give them a chart with four
countries, for example, "if I go to China I will visit ------, I will eat
------, I will drink ----- and ask them to fill in the gaps. Then they write a
sentence with their favourite country using first conditional. They feedback in pairs or in groups and then in class.
After having them notice the structure and its use, I ask them to choose a famous person for them to be and
imagine they are on a ship which is sinking. I also tell them that there's a
lifeboat, but only 4 seats. I ask them to write down what they will do if they
go to the lifeboat, They discuss and they have to choose which 4 people have the best arguments.
Maja, I like your idea of using superstitions as they are great for cross cultural interaction, however,
in my opinion, superstitions are usually expressed in the zero conditional as
they are basic 'rules' so to speak that generally don't change.
e.g. If you break a mirror, you GET 7 years of bad luck.
This is shown in your 6th point in having them make new superstitions. Your suggestion 'What happens if...' is acutally a zero conditional structure. A first conditional struture would be:
'What WILL happen if...' Which, again in my opinion, sounds a little strange for a superstion.
I use New English File pre-int, unit 6. In this unit the vocab focus is animals...
I elicit a list of dangerous animals and another list of cute animals. Go through pronunciation etc. I then write two sentences...
If my cat and my dog have a fight, I think my cat will probably win. (can be used with the imperitive to make it a touch more authentic)
If a piranah and a jellyfish had a fight, the jellyfish would win.
I ask the students concept Qs to establish that there is a much higher chance of my cat and dog fighting and that you should therefore use the 1st conditional.
It can be quite interesting when you also ask the students to justify their statements or change the subject from animals to something else like super heros/famous people/other members of staff and so on.
If you have a good way of introducing or practising this grammar point, tell us about it here...
Try our grammar discussion forums for further help.
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