Grammar tips


By the time I was 11… (past perfect)

…I had learnt how to windsurf.

By no means was I a pro, but I could do it! I used to go down to a local reservoir and practise in the summer.

By the time I was (age)…  This phrase is commonly used with the past perfect.

  • What’s the past perfect again? We form it using had + past participle.
  • What does the past perfect do? It shows that one past action happened before another.

So why don’t you have a go and think about what you could do when you were younger.

By the time I was two, I had learnt to walk.

By the time I was five, I had been to America.

By the time I was fifteen, I had lived in France for 2 years.

By 2017, I had worked in three countries.

By the time I finished reading this, I had learnt how to use the past perfect!



How can I practise and improve my listening?

This is a question I have been asked by many students in the past. I have often suggested they choose one of the many fascinating podcasts from the BBC Radio 4 website. Podcasts are excellent, because you can listen to them over and over again, pause when you like and rewind when necessary. However, many students often come back to me and say, “I still can’t understand everything.’

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, and I may have found a useful solution.  On BBC iPlayer Radio 4, there is a series called ‘In Touch’ which also offers full transcripts of the podcast.

Below is a link to an interesting one, entitled ‘ Why Can’t I Sleep?’ The podcast is about 20 minutes long and the webpage offers a full transcript. Copy the link below and have a go! Let me know if it makes the listening process any easier at all.




Verb Patterns – the answers

The last post posed the question: –

What’s the difference between these sentences?

  1. I’ll never forget meeting The Queen.
  2. I forgot to meet The Queen! Whoops!

Do you know the answer?

Well, the first sentence describes a memory and the second is something I had to do, but didn’t! Here are two more examples to explain the meaning a bit more.

  1. I’ll never forget seeing Macchu Picchu for the first time. It was an incredible moment which I will treasure forever.
  2. Oh no! I forgot to buy milk! I will pop out to the shop and get some now.


So the rule is:-

forget + v+ing = a memory (good or bad) in the past

forget + to+infinitive = something you have/had to do


Actually, the same also goes for the verb remember.

  1. I remember buying my first ever CD. It was by The Beatles and I still love their music now.
  2. I must remember to email my boss tomorrow about the important meeting.

So the rule is:-

remember + v+ing = a memory (good or bad) in the past

remember + to+infinitive = something you have/had to do



Verb Patterns

What’s the difference between these sentences?

  1. I’ll never forget meeting The Queen.
  2. I forgot to meet The Queen! Whoops!

Check the next post for the answer 😉


A little bit of language fun!



Organised whiteboard work makes a happy teacher and hopefully satisfied students! This is a nice example I found on Anthony Ash’s website (see link below).

Whiteboard Aims & Objectives: Why Lesson Menus don’t Work



I’m happy to say that I have been offered a teaching post at the very prestigious Leeds English Language School. Follow the link below to check it out.

Leeds English Language School