Essay on ESL teaching

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Assignment : Teaching Grammar to ESL Students

1. I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day. (a recovering alcoholic at an AA meeting)

STRUCTURE: ‘used’ structure

FORM: subject + used to + infinitive

B. FUNCTION AND MEANING It talks about an action that happened regularly in the past but no longer happens in the present.


Meaning: Students may think that he is talking about the present, rather than the past. Some learners may use ‘used to’ in place of the simple present (E.g. they might say ‘I used to speak Somali at home’; instead of saying ‘I speak Somali at home’.) students might not understand that used to was a recurring habit in the past rather than it happening once.

Form: Student may
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Model1: the film started at 10:00 am, we arrived at 10:30. When we arrived, the film had started.

Model2: the bus had left when we arrived.

Model3: the shop had closed when we arrived.


1. Did the film start when I arrived (YES/NO) (Answer: NO)

2. Was the film on when I arrived? (YES/NO) (Answer: YES)

3. Is the action past or present? (PAST/PRESENT) (Answer: past)

Upper-Intermediate/Advanced Structure
3. If I had studied in school, I would have gone to university. (a grandparent telling his grandchildren his regrets and how his life could have been different)

A.STRUCTURE: Type 3 conditional.

If clause conditional clause. If + past perfect simple + would + have + past participle.

Function and meaning:
A grandparent is talking about the past situation that could have happened but with regrets he mentions about his dream that did not come true. It talks about a dream but with no possibility of coming true.

Meaning: The learners may mix up the concept with other conditionals, they might talk about the possibility of dreams coming true (for example, the learner may say ‘if I study, I would go to university).

Form: Some learners may not understand the use of auxiliary verbs, so some of the auxiliaries may be left out (e.g.
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