Entries Tagged as 'ESL Activities'

Less and Fewer – Quantity Activity

Another activity is available from the AllEnglish collection for you to use in practice or in your classrooms.

Less or Fewer

Here’s a hint:  less is used with non-count nouns; fewer is used with count nouns.  They both mean a lower quantity.

This is free to use.  Just remember to credit AllEnglish as the reference.

Puzzling Plurals: Daylight Saving and other Savings

Sources on the internet state, and I agree, that the standard is to call it Daylight Saving Time (no -s on saving)

I recommend just remembering this, but some people like rules, so here’s my attempt:

Consistent with the rule that nouns that function as adjectives are never plural (except the word sport, as in sports bar, or sports team),  if you put the gerund (noun) saving in front of the word time, there is no need for an -s ending on saving.

Click here for an activity to practice this rule.

However, the rule is challenged when you use the word saving to modify bond or account, which become savings bond and savings account.

In marketing and consumer materials, the word savings is used as a plural noun as seen in these examples: “Storewide Savings” and “Mega Sale Savings“.

Incidentally, in 2010 in the United States (but not all states), Daylight Saving Time begins on November 7, 2010 at 2:00 am.

Question: How can you squeeze more English practice into 2 minutes?

Answer:  Make lists!

If you’re a student, and your teacher has been telling you that you need to practice more, or you need to work on your vocabulary (you know who you are!), make a list!  This will help you with classification as well as vocabulary growth. Do you need to go to the grocery store?  Make a list!  Would you like to learn what’s going on in your neighborhood this weekend?  Make a list!

Teachers, if you have an additional 2 minutes in class, it’s easy to have students divide into partners that compete to write the longest list.  It helps students organize their thinking for classification essays, builds their vocabulary, and adds a little friendly competition to make the class a little more challenging.

Click here for the link that describes one version of this activity.

Activity: Past Simple vs. Past Progressive

Here’s an activity you can use to practice the difference between the Past Simple and the Past Progressive.  Remember: use the past simple if the action happened once in the past;  use the past progressive if the action happened over a period of time in the past.

Past Simple and the Past Progressive

This activity is also available in PDF.

Future Tense Activity: “will”

In my experience, it’s always been easier to teach the future with will after a couple of grueling semesters of drilling irregular past forms and mastering the verb to be with the present participle for the present progressive.  The ease of this verb tense is a welcome change.

Learning the future with will is like a vacation!  So, as summer comes to an end, and you think about your future classes, here’s an activity to help you practice changing verbs from the present simple tense to the future tense.

Future Tense Activity: will

Sense and Sentence Ability: Noun Clauses

Test yourself:  Write a sentence in which both the subject and the object are noun clauses.  One thing to remember is that noun clauses can appear in declarative and interrogative sentences, so don’t forget to punctuate correctly.


  • What you see is what you get.
  • Did what you just said answer how we can fix the problem?

Practice with this Noun Clause Activity. (also in PDF)

Present Perfect Progressive ESL Activity

Although it’s not the most frequently studied verb tenses, the present perfect progressive is used quite frequently in speech.

It is used to describe the beginning of an ongoing action in the past that is continuing now and will continue into the future.  Here is an activity to help you recognize how it is used in everyday speech.

Past Simple or Past Progressive? ESL Activity

When deciding whether to use the past simple or the past progressive, consider this:

The past simple is used to describe an action that happened once and now it’s finished.  The past progressive describes an ongoing action in the past that is now finished.

Read this dialogue and decide which verb tense fits the context better:

Past Simple vs. Past Progressive

This activity is also available in PDF.

Sense and Sentence Ability: Prepositional Phrases

Test yourself:  Write a sentence that begins with a prepositional phrase. Don’t forget to punctuate correctly!

Example:  In the morning, my alarm goes off at 6:00 am.

Here is an activity that might help you use prepositional phrases as transitional phrases:

Now or Later? Activity with the Present Progressive

Students learning English tend to use only will or going to to express the future, but did you know that the present progressive can also be used to express events in the near future?

The present progressive form of the verb (to be + ___-ing) stays the same;  all you have to do is add context, and you’re finished!  Until you get comfortable using the present progressive to express the future, you can become familiar with the form and meaning with this activity:

This activity is also available on a combined PDF document.