Tag Archives: functions

Word of the Day: to Suggest and How to Make Suggestions

Would you agree with me if I said one of the trickiest verbs in English is ” suggest“?

This is one of the most common mistakes students make with this verb. Do you have this mistake?

My  mother suggested me to learn English

The sentence above is wrong  because “suggest” is not followed by object+infinitive. 

Below you’ll find some of the most common structures with “suggest”:


  • Suggest+that clause:  We can use present, past, should+infinitive and subjunctive in the that clause. That  can be omitted in informal style.

My mother suggested (that) I should learn English.

I suggest (that) you study a bit more

  •  Suggest+-ing

I suggest eating in that Italian restaurant.

  • Suggest+ Wh-word (when, where, who, how..etc)

Can you suggest where we  can have a nice meal?

  • Suggest+ noun

He suggested  the new restaurant in town for the wedding.

If we need to mention the person who receives the suggestion, we use a to-construction.

He suggested a new restaurant to me.

     He suggested me a new restaurant.


And now that we are on the subject, do you know how to make suggestions in English?

Click “play” on the interactive mind map below to study the different ways we can suggest in English and then see the video to do some practice.

Mapa Mental creado con GoConqr por cristina.cabal

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Tools used: Goconqr and Picovico

Miss Universe Contest’s Flub: Learning How to Apologize

You might be wondering what a “flub” is. A flub is an embarrassing mistake or blunder and this is precisely the best word to describe what happened at this year’s Miss Universe pageant where Miss Colombia was by mistakenly crowned Miss Universe by host Steve Harvey.

Yes, I agree. Everybody makes mistakes, to err is human and stuff like that, but  -hey Steve!- this one was just huge, enormous. It was a Himalayan blunder. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip and you wanted to crown Miss Colombia and thought nobody would notice!

Anyway, I feel bad for both misses, don’t you?

At the Golden Globes this year, the actor Jamie Foxx parodied this situation and this gives me the chance to have a look at the ways we can apologize in English. See? Every cloud has a silver lining!

Level: Intermediate

Age group: any


Step 1.Watch the video and write down all the expressions Jamie Foxx uses to apologize. Check them at the end of this post.


Step 2. Speaking.Get students in groups of three or four and ask them to discuss the following questions

♥ What’s the worst mistake you’ve made at work/school and how did you deal with it?

♥ What is the biggest mistake you have ever made and what did you learn from it?

♥ Is it easy for you to admit that you have made a mistake or do you tend to blame         others or circumstances for your mistakes?

Step 3.Do you know when to use excuse me, pardon (me), beg your pardon and sorry?


  • You usually use sorry to apologize after you have done something wrong. It is the simplest way to apologize.
  • If you want to be more polite, you can always use the longer version “I’m sorry”.
  • If you want to emphasize how sorry you are, you can use “I’m so /terribly/very/extremely/really sorry”.
  • If you want to say what you’re sorry for, you can say:

                   I am sorry I shouted at you

                  I am sorry about last night

                 I am sorry for being late

  • When you accidentally step on someone’s toe , you say ” I’m sorry” or just “Sorry”
  • When you bump into someone on the street, you say “Sorry”
  • When we hear bad news  and we want to express our feelings, we say “ I am sorry to hear that.”
  • It is also used as a polite way of introducing disappointing information or bad news I’m sorry, but you have not passed the test
  • Used when you have said something that is not correct, and want to say something that is correct. For example: A synonym of large  is small – sorry big!
  • Used when you disagree with someon. For example: I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you here.


  • when you want to interrupt someone. For example: Excuse me, I have a question.
  • When you want to call someone’s attention. For example: Excuse me,can I have the bill?
  • When you are trying to leave a room and someone is in your way
  • When you want ot ask for permission to do something , you might start with Excuse me, can I open the window?
  • Excuse me can also be used, especially in American English, when you have not heard or understood what someone has said. For example:You’re late.’ ‘Excuse me?’ ‘I said you’re late.’ ‘Oh, sorry.’


  • Speakers of British English usually use pardon when they have not heard or understood what soemone has said. For example: ‘My name is Timothy.’ ‘Pardon?
  • In American English, it is also possible to use pardon me in these situations.
  • In British English, you usually say pardon me when you have done something slightly impolite such as burping or sneezing. In American English, you usually say excuse me.


  • This expression  is rather old-fashioned. It is used to apologize for doing something embarrassing or for making a mistake in what you have said

                          A synonym for big is small – beg your pardon- it’s large.

Source: http://www.ldoceonline.com/

Answers to Step 1 (video): I’m sorry folks, I’ve made a mistake, horrible mistake, I take full responsility, I apologize.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Get Students Out of their Seats with a Lesson on Gender Stereotypes

My beloved father was a chauvinist doctor and my mother was an undercover feminist. I am sure you’ve heard the saying “opposites attract”and that appeared to be the case with my parents. It was not an easy combination to live with. My father was the main breadwinner and my mother was the housewife. These were their roles in the house and to be honest, I don’t think my mother had an issue with that arrangement. The problem was he expected us (three sisters) to fully cooperate doing housework while my only brother did nothing but smile when we complained it was unfair. My father, on the other hand, and contradictorily,  expected us to get the best marks at school ’cause we were expected to go to university and get a degree so as not be the housewife my mother was. Who understands men? 😉

Today I want to share with you a lesson I did with my Intermediate students about Gender Stereotypes. This is a lesson where common general stereotypes about men and women are challenged.

Level: B1/B2

Aim: Get students to discuss general stereotypes about men and women using different expressions to give opinion.


1. Give handouts containing expressions used to give opinion. Here. Encourage students to use a variety of expressions when they give opinion.

2. Ask   Do you know any stereotypes about men and women? Instruct students to talk for about five minutes and then ask them to give feedback.

3. Play the video  Differences between Men and Women to get students into the mood. It’s a funny little video. I hope nobody takes offence.

4.Using Blue-tack, stick the posters containing the statements they need to discuss on the walls of the classroom. Posters here

5. Ask students to, working in twos or threes, wander around the classroom and randomly choose the posters they want to discuss.

Sticking posters on the walls of the classroom enables students to get out of their seats and talk to different people. As always it is important to make sure they understand the importance of using English and only English.

Learn English and have fun!

Making Suggestions

Once again I have used some online free tools to spice up my lessons; believe me, something vey much needed at this time of year when students, and shall I say teachers too? begin to feel the necessity of giving English a break. Good weather and a sun-oriented classroom doesn’t help much either.
So this time the structures I need to teach are those to Make Suggestions. Very useful structures to learn, don’t you agree?

To revise the structures I have worked with  a tool I have  already used several times. I like it and I highly recommended.It’s called Goconqr
por cristina.cabal

Fancy a bit of practice?