The following activities were all follow-up activities for Unit 5E in Solutions Upper-Intermediate. Having looked at the examples of the different reporting structures following the reporting verbs in the unit and having done all the exercises in the book and the workbook, some more activities were necessary to make students more confident about using the appropriate structures.

Activity 1. Grammar police

Six students in the class get a sign with one of the 6 sturctures i.e

  • verb + infinitive with to
  • verb + object + infinitive with to
  • verb + gerund
  • verb + preposition + gerund
  • verb + object + preposition + gerund
  • verb + that + should-clause

They stand in different parts of the classroom so that they are not too close to each other. All the reporting verbs are put on cards and scatterd on a desk in the middle of the classroom.

(Reporting verbs on cards – here in the order of the structures above:

  • agree, offer, promise, refuse, threaten
  • tell, advise, ask, order, forbid, instruct, invite, encourage, remind, warn, persuade, beg, command, request, dare, urge
  • admit, deny, recommend, suggest, report, mention, propose
  • apologise for, boast of, confess to, insist on
  • accuse sb of, warn sb agains, congratulate sb on
  • demand, insist, suggest, propose, recommend, request, advise)

The students without a sign have to pick up a card and try to “sell” it to the student with a sign – that is they have to find which verb is followed by which structure. The students with the signs can accept the cards or refuse them – then the appropriate sign/structure has to be found for that card.

When all the cards have been selected and none is left on the desk in the middle, the students become grammar police and now they can use their courssebooks to check whether all the verbs (cards) are at the right place. Corrections can be made now.

Activity 2. Demo sentence

Now that each structure has its verb, students sit down in 6 small groups according to the reporting structures – they join the students with the signs from the previous activity.

The small groups have to come up with 3-4 sentences demonstrating 3 or 4 of the verbs in their group. When ready, they read out their demo sentences and the other groups have to make a sentence with the appropriate reporting verb and structure. For example the demo sentence might be “Please, young lady, give me some money, I am hungry!” and then the right sentence is “He begged the young lady to give him some money.

I turned this part of the activity into a competition – the fastest group to come up with the right sentence was given points.

Activity 3. Noughts and crosses

It is quite easy to turn this grammar point into the popular game where one group is assigned noughts the other one crosses and on a grid of 3×3 they have to make 3 in a row.

Of course at the beginning each square is given a number, as the students (groups or pairs) call out a number, they are given a reporting verb and they have to produce a sentence. If the correct sentence is produced they get a nought or a cross according to their group. The winner is the first group with three noughts/crosses in a line.

Activity 4. Translation

It was my students’ homework to write a sentence with each of the above verbs. In class I gave them slips of papers and they had to choose 2 or 3 sentences that they now translated into Hungarian. I collected the slips and read out the sentences that the students now had to translate back into English.  (not too much preparation for the teacher and great practice for the students!)

Activity 5. Short dialogues

In this activity the students have to produce short dialogues, little situations demonstrating  any of the above reporting verbs. They act it out in front of the rest of the class, who have to guess with an appropriate sentence which reporting verb have been demonstrated. (similar to Activity 2. but more kinaesthetic)