Tag Archives: quiz

The Article in English: Explanation, Exercises and a Challenging Quiz

Although the use of the article in English seems a priori an easy subject to teach, the truth is that some students struggle with the use and omission of it.

What can you find in this post?

  • Intermediate level:
  1. Animated video with some rules on the use and omission of the articles “the, a/an”
  2. Some links to exercises from around the web to consolidate knowledge.
  • Advanced Level:
  1. An engaging quiz with feedback notes featuring some difficult cases related to the use and omission of articles.

 

Grammar. Watch the presentation. Pause it as often as necessary to understand and assimilate the rules.

Exercises: Links to interactive exercises  from around the web to consolidate knowledge.

 


The quiz

 

Quiz: Word of the Year 2016 and 15 New Words Added to Dictionaries

After much discussion Oxford Dictionaries has decided to choose the adjective “post-truth” as its Word of the Year 2016. The adjective means ”relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” and although it has existed for a decade now, this year has seen a spike in its use due, mainly, to the referendum in the United Kingdom and the US elections.

Some common collocations for the adjective are:

  • post-truth politics
  • post-truth age
  • post-truth era
  • post-truth democracy
  • post-truth society

The term, closely associated with the noun“post-truth politics” has been chosen ahead of terms such as “Brexiteer” (someone who supports the Brexit) and “alt-right”, (group of people with far right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States).

I would gladly explain and elaborate a bit more on this adjective, but it isn’t worth the effort as Oxford Dictionaries has published a beautiful explanatory article giving all the details. You can read it here.

I’m not going to lie. This week has been tough for a multiple of reasons, and believe it or not, one of the things that brought a smile to my face was designing this little quiz with all the new words added to dictionaries this year. To be honest, I didn’t know most of them and learning what they meant and inventing false definitions for the quiz was something I really enjoyed.

So, without further ado, here’s the quiz. I hope you enjoy it!

Some Personality Adjectives Spanish Speakers can Easily Remember & Why

Do you speak Spanish? Then, it’s your lucky day today! Why? Because without you being aware of it, you know lots of personality adjectives in English. Unfortunately, in most cases, you’ll  still have to learn the Germanic equivalent if you want to sound informal, but we are off to a good start and besides, sometimes we all want to sound a bit more academic, don’t we?

A bit of history first.

Why does English have so many words of Latin origin?

Although some of the most frequent used words in English have Germanic roots, there are lots of words in English that have Latin origins.

This is due to the fact that during the Renaissance period, which started in France but reached England via France, there were a lot of new ideas or old ideas rediscovered. The problem was that there were no words to describe them in English, so the language adopted or adapted Latin words. In fact, during this period the English lexicon is said to have doubled in size.

What is more, for more than a century, the English aristocracy couldn’t speak any English. William the Conqueror had conquered England (1066) but he didn’t speak the language and although he tried at first, he very soon gave up. He was the first Norman King of England and all the barons he appointed spoke French. But not only did the aristocracy speak French, the religious institutions also spoke French. And that’s the reason why Latin words sound more prestigious than Germanic ones.

About 10,000 French words entered English in the century after the Norman invasion.

It was not until 1204 that the English nobility lost their estates in France and it is then when they started to adopt English as their language, but the Latin form coexisted with the Germanic one.

So, English has a huge number of synonyms, where the main difference is the level of formality, being the prestigious form the Latin option.

Think for example of the adjectives friendly, motherly or clever and their synonyms amicable, maternal and intelligent where the difference is the level of formality, being the Latin choice the most formal one.

So, these are some of the adjectives to describe personality you didn’t know you knew. Warning: spelling sometimes is different. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Source: Oxford Dictionary blog

At the end of the list, you’ll find a spelling quiz .

PERSONALITY ADJECTIVES SPANISH PEOPLE CAN EASILY REMEMBER

  • Responsible /rɪˈspɒn.sə.bəl/
  • Rebellious /rɪˈbel.i.əs/
  • Emotional /ɪˈməʊ.ʃəəl/
  • Anxious /ˈæŋk.ʃəs/
  • Strict /strɪkt/
  • Adventurous /ədˈven.tʃəəs/
  • Affable /ˈæf.ə.bəl/
  • Calm/kɑːm/
  • Considerate /kənˈsɪd.əət/
  • Ambitious /æmˈbɪʃ.əs/
  • Generous /ˈdʒen.əəs/
  • Sociable /ˈsəʊ.ʃə.bəl/
  • Creative /kriˈeɪ.tɪv/
  • Diplomatic /ˌdɪp.ləˈmæt.ɪk/
  • Intellectual /ˌɪn.təlˈek.tʃu.əl/
  • Intelligent /ɪnˈtel.ɪ.dʒənt/
  • Passionate /ˈpæʃ.əət/
  • Persistent /pəˈsɪs.tənt/
  • Practical /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/
  • Romantic /rəʊˈmæn.tɪk/
  • Competitive /kəmˈpet.ɪ.tɪv/
  • Aggressive /əˈɡres.ɪv/
  • Insecure /ˌɪn.sɪˈkjʊər/
  • Impatient /ɪmˈpeɪ.ʃənt/
  • Patient/ˈpeɪ.ʃənt/
  • Immature /ˌɪm.əˈtʃʊər
  • Mature/məˈtʃʊər/
  • Affectionate /əˈfek.ʃəət/
  • Independent /ˌɪn.dɪˈpen.dənt/
  • Stupid /ˈstjuː.pɪd/
  • Honest /ˈɒn.ɪst/
  • Organized /ˈɔː.ɡəaɪzd/
  • Imaginative /ɪˈmædʒ.ɪ.nə.tɪv/
  • Conservative /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪv/
  • Conventional /kənˈven.ʃəəl/
  • Cruel/ˈkruː.əl/
  • Extrovert /ˈek.strə.vɜːt/
  • Introvert /ˈɪn.trə.vɜːt/
  • Modest /ˈmɒd.ɪst/

On the hand, be careful with these “false friends”.

  • Sensible /ˈsen.sə.bəl/= someone who has common sense and is practical
  • Sensitive /ˈsen.sɪ.tɪv/ = a person who is easily hurt or offended
  • Sympathetic /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪk/= someone who understands other people’s feelings

Here’s a little spelling quiz.

Quiz Challenge: 30 Common Phrasal Verbs that you Really Need to Know

Can we still be friends if today’s post is on phrasal verbs?

I know, I know, I’ve been a student, too. I know what you’re thinking. How, for goodness sake, one is supposed to learn that a car pulls in/off/over/out/up/away and into something and be expected not to make a mistake?

When I was a student at university, they made us learn like two thousand phrasal verbs or maybe more. I cannot remember exactly how many, but what I do remember is that I had them sellotaped  -sticky notes hadn’t been invented yet- on the walls of every single room in the flat I was sharing. I am pretty sure my flatmates entertained the idea of asking me to leave, especially when they heard me enter a room, point at the wall and recite the list, but I am pretty sure they learned a phrasal verb or two.

Anyway, I am not planning to ask my students to memorise long lists of phrasal verbs out of context. There are more pleasant ways to learn them, aren’t there?

This quiz below is a good example of that. According to Roy Norris, author of Ready for First, Ready for Advanced and Straightforward (advanced) among others, these are the 30 most common phrasal verbs in English.

Do you have any others to add to the list?

 

This is how I suggest you work with the quiz:

  • Do the quiz
  • Once you have finished doing it, try to remember which phrasal verbs were tested and write them down on a piece of paper together with their meaning.
  • Do the quiz once again and compare your written answers with the ones given in the quiz.
  • Write down the ones you didn’t know. Look them up in a good dictionary and read the example sentences to see how they are used in context.
  • Try the quiz again some other day to consolidate knowledge.

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Quiz: Fixing Most Common Mistakes Seen in Intermediate Written Exams

I must be doing something wrong. On second thought, perhaps my students are doing something wrong.

Do you know when your mum tells you off over and over again for not tidying your room and you just nod your head, promise it will never happen again and then, for some unknown reason, you seem unable to keep your promise? My students do it all the time. It’s called being nice. They are very nice, but being nice won’t help them pass exams.

So, you highlight the mistake, explain why it is a mistake, ask students if they have understood, they nod their head and  say they do, you elicit some examples and  give them exercises to consolidate and when you think you have seen the last of this mistake, here it is again, sticking its tongue out at you.

Below you’ll find a quiz with some of these very persistent mistakes students at intermediate level, and probably above, make.

This is how I suggest you do this quiz

  1. Do the quiz. Obviously 🙂
  2. Read the grammar and do the exercises when provided.
  3. For spelling mistakes: try to remember the words commonly misspelt featured in the quiz and write them down with the correct spelling.
  4. Grammar mistakes: Do you remember the mistakes? Can you remember why they were wrong? Write a sentence for each of the mistakes you can remember.
  5. Do the quiz again and correct your own sentences and the spelling of the words now.
  6. Were there any grammar or spelling mistakes you could not remember? Repeat numbers 3, 4 and 5.

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Quiz: Fixing Most Common Mistakes Seen in Intermediate Written Exams

Ready to start the quiz? Here we go! Which of these sentences is correct?

I am interested in participate in a seminar

I am interested in participating in a seminar

Which of these sentences is correct? Don’t forget to read the grammar and do the exercises

There are a lot of meals that they are easy to cook

There are a lot of meals that are easy to cook

There are a lot of meals they are easy to cook

Another very frequent mistake. Which is correct?

From my point of view is very difficult to be the boss.

From my point of view, it is very difficult to be the boss.

Let’s try spelling now! Which is correct?

possible

posible

accommodationaccomodation
helpfulhelpfull

Ready for the next grammar mistake? Which is correct?

I don’t mind sharing it with other family

I don’t mind sharing it with another family

Think hard! Which is correct? Choose and then read the grammar and do the exercises

I would like to know how much does it cost

I would like to know how much it costs

Let’s see vocabulary now. Which is correct?

My mother is a great cook

My mother is a great cooker

Concentrate! Which is correct?

I prefer stay in a hotel

I prefer to stay in a hotel

And now, what do you say?

I couldn’t find the information on your website

I couldn’t find the information in your website

Let’s go for spelling again. Which one is correct?

comfortable

confortable

definitelydefinetely

Which is correct?

business

bussines

What’s the plural of “life”

lifes

lives

Let’s focus on articles now. Which is correct?

I strongly believe that the fast food is not healthy

I strongly believe that fast food is not healthy

Which is correct?

The dates of the seminar are not enough clear

The dates of the seminar are not clear enough

What do you say?

I am completely agree wih you

I completely agree with you

Think hard! What do you say?

Fast food is becoming very popular

Fast food it is becoming very popular

What’s the opposite of the adjective “polite”?

Impolite

Unpolite

Which is correct?

Everybody loves you

Everybody love you

What’s the correct spelling?

greatful

grateful

And now?

successful

sucessful

Which is correct?

neccesary

necessary

What do you say? At or in?

They arrived in London yesterday

They arrived at London yesterday

Which is correct in this context? Don’t forget to read the grammar and do the exercises.

In the end we decided to cancel the trip

At the end we decided to cancel the trip

Which preposition collocates with “depend”?

It depends on her

It depends from her

It depends of her

What do you say? Choose the correct answer and then read the grammar and do the exercises

The mountains were covered with snow

The mountains were covered by snow

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You might be interested in doing these other quizzes

A Quiz: 25 Common Idioms that you Really Need to Know

I know the feeling. I have been there. You have studied English really hard this year. You have been willing to go the extra mile a thousand times because you knew it was going to be worth your while.  You have even burnt the candle at both ends staying up too late and getting up too early when studying for finals. Now you feel really happy with your effort, and it is time to take a breather. At last, after struggling for a long time with English pronunciation you are able to communicate in English fluently and understand native speakers pretty well, at least in an academic context.

Just by sheer luck, at a party, you are introduced to a British person and you feel it’s your opportunity to shine. You feel confident. You have a little chat and everything is going well. You are beginning to relax when all of a sudden, you are like…

  • “Did he just say something about the skin of my teeth?”
  • “Hot potato? Where are the potatoes? I can’t see any! Oh my God! Is this English?”
  • “Did he just say “you rock!”?, and now what ? Am I supposed to take him to a rock concert or maybe he wants me to sing rock?”

Yes. I’ve been there. I know how you feel. Native speakers use idioms all the time, just like you do in your own native language, probably without realizing it. The good news is that you can do something about it. It’s true that it’s quite difficult to feel confident using idiomatic expressions when you’re speaking a foreign language, and I wouldn’t dare suggest  that you use them, but you need to know what they mean if you want to follow a conversation.

In this quiz you’ll find some very common idioms used by native speakers.

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Tool used: Riddle

25 COMMON IDIOMS

Do you know what these idioms mean ?

If something is on your bucket list

You need to buy it quickly

You want to do it before you die

It is something you do when it is raining

If you cut corners

You do something in the easiest or most inexpensive way

You are in a strong position when you are competing with someone else

You stop doing something before you have finished

If you bite off more than you can chew

You eat everything on a plate, thus depriving anyone else of having any

You take on a task that is way too big

You drink very heavily

If you hit the sack

you go to bed

you go to the gym

you quit your job

If you do something once in a blue moon

You do it very often

You do it once a month

You do it very rarely

If something is a piece of cake

It is easy or simple

It is very sweet

It is only for girls

If you see eye to eye with someone

You are in love with someone

You agree on something with someone

You have a dispute with someone

If you rock

You’re great

You love music

You love dancing

If you do something by the skin of your teeth

You do it by a very narrow margin, only just

You do it because you’re very stubborn

You do it because it’s important for your health

If you go the extra mile

You run a marathon although you haven’t trained for it

You pay a lot of money for something

You make a special effort to achieve something

If you cannot get your head around something

you cannot decide between two options

you don’t understand something

you cannot attend an event because you have a headache

If something is a far cry from something else

It is very different

It is very far

It is very irritating

If something is a hot potato

It is an issue that makes you very happy

It is an issue that sounds unbelievable

It is an issue which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed

If you beat around the bush

You do whatever it takes to help someone

You avoid talking about a difficult or embarrassing subject

You begin to talk about important things

If you pull yourself together

you calm down and behave normally

you state a fact so that there are no doubts or objections

you start studying for finals

If you blow smoke

You are a chain- smoker

you exaggerate or say things that aren’t true to make you seem better

You speak in an angry tone

If something is a no-brainer

it is priceless

it has no brains

it is an easy decision

If you take something with a pinch of salt

you don’t completely believe something

you add salt in it because it is insipid

you assume something is true without checking

If you hit the books

You throw the books away because you don’t plan to use them again

You begin to study in a serious way

You don’t like books

If something is up in the air

It is very light and it floats

It is very high and you cannot reach it

It is uncertain or unsure

If you sit tight

You wait patiently

You take a test or an exam

You are in a comfortable position

If you face the music

You do what somebody wants you to do

You are in an excellent state of health

You accept the consequences of your mistakes or actions

If something rings a bell

It sounds familiar

It is musical

It is important

If you cut to the chase

You take shortcuts to get somewhere

You leave the unnecessary details and get to the point

You stop chasing someone

If someone kicks the bucket

They die

They reveal a secret

They break their leg and have to use crutches

The Sore Thumb: A Subject-Verb Agreement Quiz

Yes, I am doing this. I am publishing this post. And I am publishing this post even when I am well aware that it is going to stir up controversy.

How does she dare, I can almost hear you say, create a quiz about subject-verb agreement when she is not even a native speaker?

I might regret it, but the truth is that I sort of needed to clarify in my mind one of the most obscure points of grammar in the English language- namely that of subject-verb agreement-,  because contrary to what one might think a singular subject in English does not always demand a singular verb, and what looks like a plural subject might not be so and take a singular verb instead. To top it all, when there is disagreement among grammarians, both singular and plural forms can be used.

To create this quiz, I have done a lot of research on the Internet and read what some noted grammarians have to say about this issue and  I have found that they don’t always agree. For this reason, I have tried to avoid the most controversial subject-verb agreement issues.

Hope you find it useful!

 

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The Spelling Challenge: are you up to it?

Is it definetely or definitely? Which is correct, possession or possesion?

Most students struggle with English spelling and no wonder, English spelling is difficult. Plain and simple. The best advice I can probably give you to improve your spelling is to read a lot and then if you keep misspelling a word, you might want to write it down  several times ( I’m sorry! I know it sounds like a very traditional thing to do, but it works and this is what is really important, isn’t it?). Doing spelling quizzes can also help, and it’s certainly more fun than writing the tricky word several times.

So, are you up to a little challenge? Then, try these three quizzes based on students’ common spelling mistakes found in Intermediate, Advanced and Proficiency exams. I have created them with the aim of helping my students get rid of these common spelling mistakes and I hope they are helpful to anybody visiting the blog!

 

This is how I suggest you work with the quizzes:

  • Start with the intermediate quiz even though you are an advanced or proficiency student. Life is full of surprises and it doesn’t hurt to double-check tricky words.
  • Once you have finished the quiz, try to remember which words were tested and write them down on a piece of paper. You don’t only need to be able to recognise them, but to remember its correct spelling.
  • Do the quiz once again and compare your written answers with the ones given in the quiz.

Good luck!

 

Easy? Good! Let’s take the advanced quiz now!

Piece of cake? Well done! Let’s try now the most difficult one!

I’d like to finish this post with an excellent piece of advice from Thomas Jefferson.

“Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.”

(Thomas Jefferson, American president  1800-1809, in a letter to his daughter Martha)

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The quiz: 13 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary in 2015

Three years ago, a colleague of mine wrote the word “selfie” on the board. She says none of her students knew what the word meant. Nowadays, even my great grandmother, should I have one, would most definitely know what a “selfie” is, and would probably have taken one or two to send her peers.

It is said that the English language has more words than any other language in the world and it seems it might be true. The Oxford Dictionary Online stores over 600,000 words. Despite this number, new words are coined, clipped and blended all the time and although some of them are very soon forgotten, others make their way into the dictionary.
But how do they choose the words they include in a dictionary? The answer is simple: people need to use them. Basically editors watch the word for several years to see how it is used in both spoken and written English. They check to see that the word is used to express an idea clearly, and that the idea is understood. Then, when the word is seen in writing and speech regularly, it can go in the dictionary.

New words are added every year, but also words that are no longer used are eliminated.

Every year, the Oxford Dictionary selects a Word of the Year. “Selfie” was chosen Word of the Year three years ago. This year, the award has been given to the emoji (plural emoji or emojis) Face with Tears of Joy. The decision to choose a pictogram as word of the year, when it is clearly not a word, has been publicly criticized by many. But despite the selection of this word being frowned upon in many circles, the question to consider is: if words are used to communicate, aren’t emojis also used to communicate feelings and emotions in this new digital era?

So, as stated above, lots of new words enter the dictionaries every year. In this little quiz below you will find some of the most recent additions to the dictionaries

Are you up to the challenge?

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Most Common Pronunciation Mistakes Heard in Oral Exams

Even for the most confident students  taking an oral exam can be quite stressful. Twice a year, in June and September,  I  assess students’ speaking abilities acting  as both an interlocutor asking questions and interacting with students, or an assessor listening to students’ performance.

It was while acting as an assessor that I  decided to write down the most common pronunciation  mistakes students make  with the intention of  going over them ,with my own students, at the very beginning of the course.

I  have created a quiz with, what I hope, will be the last I see of these pronunciation mistakes. I hope you find it useful!

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