Teaching report verbs to ESL students

The most common verbs we use to report what someone says are "say" and "say". These are the verbs that students learn first when they learn the reported speech. Of course, that is fine, but there will be a moment in the learning of your students when they will want to use other verbs to report more precisely what someone is saying.

We use a lot of different verbs in English, and the way we use it in a sentence varies, for example:

Verb + gerund: James denied taking the money.

Verb + preposition + gerund: They apologized for arriving late. [19659002] Verb + Infinitive: Susan promised to work hard.

Here is an effective way to teach some of these different report verbs while practicing listening and speaking.

Need a short story with a lot of dialogue. Your characters must do the things we use to report the verbs! They must promise, offer, beg, encourage, threaten, suggest, apologize, and so on. The number of these things that they do depends on how many of these verbal forms you want to teach.

Here is a story I often use:

Adam, 7, was leaving school one afternoon when he saw a group of elderly boys, aged 8, smoking.

One of them, Chris, said "Hey, Adam, have a brake on that." What did Chris do? (offer)

"No, I do not want to," Adam replied. What did Adam do? (refusal)

& nbsp; Continue. It's really good, "said Chris, then Trevor said" I smoke 5 times a day. What did Chris do? And Trevor? (encourage / boast)

& # 39; Continue. You will like it and you can join our gang, "said Chris.

"Well, okay, then," said Adam. What did Chris do? And Adam? (persuading / agreeing)

Adam coughed and coughed and he felt sick. On his way home, he stopped to buy mints to get rid of the smell. But when he came home, Mom was waiting for her and she gave him a big kiss.

& # 39; Adam. You have smoked! she says. What did mom do? (Accuser)

"No, I did not do it." What did Adam do? (Deny)

& # 39; Tell me the truth Adam. & # 39;

"OK, I smoked, but only a little bit." What did Adam do? (admits)

"Adam, if you smoke again, I'll tell Daddy." What did mom do? (threat)

# Non Mom, please, do not tell daddy. I am really sorry. I do not smoke anymore. What did Adam do? (beg / excuse / promise)

& # 39; OK, Adam. You should not listen to these naughty boys. Now, why do not you go upstairs doing your homework? What did mom do? (advise / suggest)

Note that after each part of the dialogue there is a question. Each of these questions requires a different report verb for the answer. So the answer to the first question, "What did Chris do?" is "He offered a car/">cigarette to Adam". The answer to the following: "What did Adam do?" is "He refused to smoke", and so on.

Here's how to use the story in your class:

1. Make a worksheet with only the questions written on them, and a little space underneath for students to write their answers.

2. Read the story once or twice for the essentials, asking students to answer some general questions of understanding (How old are Adam and Chris? What is Adam? tried for the first time?)

3. Distribute your worksheet and have students answer questions as they listen again. If you want to make it a little easier, write the verb you want them to use next to each question, as shown in the story above.

4. Read the story again, stopping after each question to allow students to write their answers.

5. React the answers, correcting if necessary and writing the verbs of the report on the table in columns, each with a heading:

verb + infinitive

verb + object + infinitive

verb + gerund

verb + object + preposition + gerund

verb + preposition + gerund

verb + than

6. Read the story one or two more times, asking each student to give you the answers orally as you progress through the story. They should be able to do it now without referring to their worksheets.

7. Finally, distribute the story with a dialogue, questions and answers, so that your students have the verbs and their rules in a context that is easy to memorize.

To practice these report verbs, you can set up a role. play activity. Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5. Write each verb on a small piece of paper and give 3 or 4 to each student. Tell them that they are friends who share a home, but they have been living together for a while and their habits start to irritate each other. They are going to have a house meeting to discuss their grievances! If a student has pieces of paper with, for example, "deny," "accuse," and "apologize," he must refuse to do anything, accuse someone of doing something and s & # 39; To excuse doing something.

Modeling the activity First with some students: "Mario, you always leave your laundry on the floor." "Elena, if you do not stop playing loud music at 2am, I'm throwing your stereo through the window." Ask the students what you said. (You accused David of leaving his laundry on the floor, you threatened to throw Elena's stereo through the window.)

Now it's groups turn. Give them a few minutes to gather their thoughts, then tell them to start their meeting. Designate a stronger student in each group to act as "chair" of the meeting if you wish.

After about ten minutes, or when the conversation is in progress, stop the activity and ask the roommates to report back to the class on what happened at the meeting, using the verbs of reporting.

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