Entries in Grammar (5)


The TOEIC Times 1: The Super Quiz Machine


There are plenty of sites that can help you prepare for the TOEIC -- so many, in fact, that it is not easy to know where to begin. For pure grammar practice similar to Part V of the test, I can suggest the Super Quiz Machine from the very complete English learning site Many Things.

As its name implies, the site contains many things -- many, many things, in fact -- for learners of English.

The Super Quiz Machine generates random 20 question grammar quizzes; you can go back over your answers and correct the ones you missed.

The weakness of the quiz machine is that it does not explain correction, but the site also includes many specific grammar exercises -- which I may take a look at for the next post of "The TOEIC Times."


Article quizzes: the, a, and or nothing?

The student above didn't know his science lesson very well, but he did know that he was talking about "ice" in general, so there was no need to say "the ice!"

Here are some exercises to review the use of articles. Some of them will refer to your general knowledge of English, and not only to cases seen in the exercises in class.

1. Quiz: Definite Article or Zero Article?

2. The Definite and Zero Article Exercise

3. Exercise in Choosing Articles (text about American sports)

4. Five Elementary/Pre-intermediate Article Exercises These are the easiest ones -- use for extra revision if you're having difficulties.


Time Expression Revision Exercises

Here is a selection of  online exercises to review different expressions of time:

1. Past Time Expressions

2. For or since with present perfect

3. Various time expressions (Attn. -- a lot of ads on this page, so it's kind of messy to navigate. The ten "time expression" questions are on the same page.

4. Various time expressions: 9 intermediate level time expression exercises. Good images but you have to follow the context and the story to understand.

5. Time expression + verb tense review

This is the exercise used in my 2nd year Bachelor's class this week.


Seven links for my sales and management students: Week 1

Well, it's back to school and time to communicate Internet resources to you to help you work on your English outside of class.

Here are five links for the first week -- some are connected to work done in class, others not.

1. Audio file for the text "Stress, holidays and work."

In my sales class, we listened to this and some of you found it difficult. In my management classes, we didn't use the audio, but it could be interesting for you to listen to the text.

2. The News: The Death of Laurent Fignon

There's not a lot of English on this YouTube video -- just the song and the introduction. But if you're interested in cycling, you might like this.

For something more traditional, read this article from The Telegraph.

3. Flash Quiz: Basic Question Words

It's been a long time since you've spoken English, and some students have forgotten basic question words like "Who, What, When, and Where!" Try this Flash Quiz to remember. Be careful -- it's timed.

4. Le vocabulaire de la vente et le commerce

There are 49 French-English quizzes on this site -- expect to see this link again!

5. Visit a Japanese University

A subtitled video with basic English expressions. Slow speaking; good for revision.

6. "Is it OK to lie in job interviews?"

Audio extract used in my management assistant class. Go to the extract from 30/03/2010.

7. "The Elegant Guide to Telephone Etiquette"

Video extract used in my management assistant class.


TOEIC Listening Class Thursday February 11th

I hate February. I don't know about you, but winter in Aveyron weighs upon me starting on about, I guess, February the 1st at 6:00 am.  I suppose the only good thing about February is that it is blessedly short. But then it is followed by my second least favorite month, March, which happens to be terribly long.

Be that as it may, here we are, a week and a half away from the TOEIC. It should be nice to have this class all together in a large group; at least it will warm up the rooms!

For your lab work today, you will have a great deal of choice so do your best to use it well. There are four activities, three listening-centered, and plus an extra reading/visual activity to give you a break. You can do the activities in any order, and will report back to the class on a few things you heard or learned. Take some notes so you remember some vocabulary words, key expressions, and so that you can follow up by speaking to the class.

ACTIVITY ONE: Watching and listening to a news video

Choose a news video from VOA News. The stories with video news are marked with a TV screen. Try to choose a story of interest to you and don't worry if it's long -- "extensive listening" is good practice too.

ACTIVITY TWO: Do one or two theme-based business English listening activities

Listening to Business Spotlight podcasts can be a chance to brush up on a vocabulary theme you're not very familiar with. Many podcasts contain an exercise to do, and the answers are given at the end, directly in the audio. Try to identify if there is an exercise to do and what the task is.

The accents are authentic and a bit on the TOEICky side, IMO. Be careful because a few of the activities include German (it's a German site) but this should be indicated in the description.

There are 13 pages of podcasts, and even reading the descriptions is a good vocabulary activity.


In honor of any student who has ever been late turning in a report or other homework because of "printer problems." Of course the problem wasn't you -- it was the printer:

Why I Believe Printers Were Sent from Hell from The Oatmeal (no audio)


Go to the site Many Things. As the name implies, there are many things on this site, for example the 3,000 question Super Quiz Machine (don't worry, the quizzes are broken down in groups of 20) which can give some good practice for Part V of the TOEIC. Choose what you want to work on -- not necessarily audio.


Try to find an interesting English audio or video yourself and share the link with me, either through a comment here or by email. This can be something you already know, or something you find in class today. I'll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with!