Exercise: The Colonel (Present Perfect)

I think I have had a very interesting life. I’m 73 now and I don’t work anymore. I was in the army for 51 years. I retired when I was 69. I have been to so many countries that I can’t remember all of them. I’ve been to Australia six or seven times and to South Africa three times. I have also been once to Russia but I didn’t like it at all: much too cold for me!

They say that love is the greatest thing and I agree. I’ve been married four times but never for more than five years. I don’t think women really understand me!

I’ve never been on television, but I’ve been on the radio once. It was a programme about life in the military about twenty years ago. I met the Prime Minister on the same day. Actually, I’ve met a lot of famous people: members of the royal family, famous politicians and also famous cinema and television personalities. I’ve never met the American President though which is a pity.

Because I’ve travelled a lot, I’ve seen a lot of wonderful things and have also eaten and drunk some strange foods and drinks. I ate cat and rat in India and drank something called Mirto on a little island in Italy many years ago.

  • What job __________ before retiring?
  • He worked in the army.
  • __________ he in the army?
  • For 51 years.
  • How many__________ been to Australia?
  • Six or seven times.
  • __________ like Russia?
  • No, it was too cold.
  • __________ married so many times?
  • Because women don’t understand him.
  • Has he ever__________ ?
  • Yes, he has. But never on TV.
  • When__________ the prime minister?
  • When he was on the radio.
  • Has__________ American president?
  • No, he hasn’t but he wants to.
  • Where__________ cat and rat?
  • In India.
  • __________ drunk Mirto?
  • Yes, he has. In Italy.

Oral Class Framework

Unless it is your first class, you will probably be asked to choose the topic yourself – either from a list/selection of topics, or from a specific webpage / library. We will talk about the topic for up to 30 minutes, and if there is time left your teacher will introduce another oral exercise to continue with. The objective is to talk as much as possible, and to ask as many questions as you need to.

Some useful resources include:

You should prepare some written notes in your WB which you will use during the class. These notes must not be full sentences but what you do write must be good quality and without elementary errors. In addition to writing these notes.

Your homework activity also includes finding 2 or 3 interesting idioms / pieces of vocabulary to include in the conversation – highlight these in your WB notes. Of course if you have any doubts about anything you should ask your teacher at least one day before the class is due.


Below is a list of questions about your chosen topic / article / clip that you should be able to talk about during the class. The answers to these questions will inform your note-making before class.



Introducing the piece : 5 minutes

  1. Why did you choose the topic?
  2. What is the topic about?
  3. Describe the article briefly (prepare to talk for about 2 minutes about this).


Your experience of the piece : 5 minutes

  1. Mention the most interesting / surprising information.
  2. Explain the reaction / feelings that you had to what you have read / listened to / watched.
  3. Prepare 5-10 questions to ask either the author or other people mentioned in the piece.


What happens next? : 5 minutes (optional)

Speculate on how the future would be different if things were done differently in the present, or about how things might have been done differently in the past if we had known what we know now.

Flashcards Deluxe – Vocabulary Study App

Flashcards Deluxe is an easy to use, powerful and fully-featured flashcard app which you can use to study anything you want.

(There is a free light version available but it is limited to 6 cards and not recommended. The version you will need costs 3.99€).


  • Timed Quiz Mode
  • Text to speech (TTS) audio in 18 languages
  • No internet connection needed to study
  • Multiple choice option
  • Spelling tests (listen to audio and use keyboard to answer)


You can access free vocabulary lists uploaded by your teacher by downloading decks of flashcards from the group: Kiers McFarlane


Try the smartphone app Flashcards Deluxe.


Making A Business Presentation in English

eye-contact2This outline provides a guide to giving a business presentation in English.

Each section begins with the presentation section concerned, then the language formulas appropriate to giving a presentation.

Finally, each section has important points to keep in mind during the presentation.

Opening Statements

  • First of all, I’d like to thank you all for coming here today.
  • My name is X and I am the (your position) at (your company).

Try to make eye contact with everyone you are speaking to if possible. You can also smile at individual members of the audience to put them at their ease.

  • I’d briefly like to take you through today’s presentation.
  • First, we’re going to …
  • After that, we’ll be taking a look at …
  • Once we’ve identified our challenges we will be able to …
  • Finally, I’ll outline what …

Make sure to indicate each point on your presentation as you introduce each topic. This can be done with a slide (Power Point) presentation, or by pointing to each point on the display device you are using.

Asking for Questions

  • Please feel free to interrupt me with any questions you may have during the presentation.
  • I’d like to ask you to keep any questions you may have for the end of the presentation.

You can also request the participants to leave questions to the end of the presentation. However, it is important to let participants know that you are willing to answer any questions they may have.

Presenting the Current Situation

  • I’d like to begin by outlining our present situation.
  • As you know …
  • You may not know that …

As you know‘ or ‘You may not know that’ are polite ways of informing those who don’t know without offending those who do know certain facts.

Moving Forward

  • Let’s take a look at some of the implications of this.
  • Taking into consideration what we have said about X, we can see that Y …
  • The main reason for these actions is …
  • We have to keep in mind that … when we consider …
  • As a result of X, Y will …

As you continue through the presentation, often remind the listeners of the relationship between the current subject and what has been said before during the presentation.

Using Visual Aids

  • As you can see from this graph representing …
  • If you could just take a look at …
  • Looking at X we can see that …

Use visual aids to emphasise your main points in a conversation. Fewer visual aids that are meaningful leave a stronger impression than using a lot of visual aids that might also confuse listeners.

Mentioning Problems

  • Obviously, this has led to some problems with …
  • Unfortunately, this means that …
  • As a direct result of X, we are having problems with Y…
  • This also causes …

Always provide examples of evidence to prove your point.

Listing Options

Always provide examples of evidence to prove your point.

  • There are a number of alternatives in this case. We can …
  • If we had … , we would …
  • Had we … , we could have … Do we need to X or Y?
  • I think we can clearly see that we can either … or …
  • We have been considering …
  • What if we …

Use the second conditional form to consider present options:

  • If we were doing this now, we would be making more sales very soon.

Use the third conditional for considering different outcomes based on past actions:

  • If the company hadn’t released this on time, there would have been major repercussions.

Proposing a Solution

  • The solution to X is …
  • I suggest we …
  • Based on … the answer is to …
  • If we keep in mind that … , Y is the best solution to our problem.

When providing your solutions to various problems, remember to refer to the evidence that you have previously presented. Try to make your solution a clear answer to what has been discussed during the presentation.

  • So, how does this all relate to X?
  • How long will this take to implement?
  • How much is this all going to cost?

Use questions to introduce concerns that you know the listeners will have. Answer these questions clearly and efficiently.

Summarising – Finishing the Presentation

  • We’ve discussed many points today. Let me quickly summarize the principal points:
  • I’d like to quickly go over the main points of today’s topic:
  • Before we end, let me briefly recap what we have discussed here today.

It is important to repeat the main points of your presentation quickly. This recap should be brief and, if possible, using different vocabulary than that used during the presentation.

Make sure to focus only on the most important areas of the presentation.

  • Thank you all very much for taking the time to listen to this presentation. Now, if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them.
  • I think that’s about it. I’d like to thank you all for coming in today. Do you have any questions?

Make sure to thank everybody and leave the discussion open for further questions from participants.

Activity: Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

how-humans-and-animals-really-compare-in-speed-and-strength-_xsyg Sprinting / Running very fast

  • Usain Bolt is really fast
  • He can run at 27.5 MPH
  • A dog is faster than him.
  • An ostrich is faster than a dog.
  • The fastest animal is the cheetah.
  • A cheetah is faster than all the other animals.
  • The slowest in the group is Usain Bolt
  • Usain is slower than all the other animals.
  • An ostrich is slower than a horse.
  • An ostrich can run at 43 MPH.
  • A cheetah is not slower than any other animal.


Write sentences similar to the sentences for the Sprinting image. 

how-humans-and-animals-really-compare-in-speed-and-strength-_xsyh Swimming really fast
how-humans-and-animals-really-compare-in-speed-and-strength-_xsyf Jumping really far
how-humans-and-animals-really-compare-in-speed-and-strength-_xsye Lifting really heavy weights

Sprinting / Running





Exercise: Articles

I have  ___ uncle who lives in  ___ home for  ___ elderly. He is  ___  honest man. He used to be  ___  FBI agent. He once saved  ___  one-year-old boy from  ___  fire. He has many interesting stories.

He told me that he once met  ___  alien from  ___  space. This alien didn’t need  ___  oxygen to live; it didn’t have  ___ nose. That’s  ___  hard story to believe. I’m not sure he was telling me  ___  truth. Maybe he isn’t so honest, after all.

___ stress can make ___  life unpleasant. In  ___  day, I work at ___  office.  ___ people I work with are busy, and  ___  work we do isn’t easy.

When I drive to  ___  work, usually  ___  highways are really busy. If there’s  ___  accident during  ___  rush hour, it can be  ___  chaos on the roads.

I don’t watch  ___  TV. I get  ___  information and  ___  news, etc., from  ___  Internet. I don’t often go to  ___  cinema, either. I’m interested in  ___  finance. I heard  ___  Euro is losing value, compared to ___  US dollar.

I like Japan. ___ crime is quite low there. When I fly to Japan, I usually fly to  ___  Narita Airport. The last time I was in Japan, I climbed  ___ Mount Fuji. It was fun. I am tall. __ Japanese are generally shorter than I am.