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English language quizzes

Narrative tenses : news story

Gap-fill exercise

Fill the gaps with a suitable form of the verb in brackets. Most of these are past simple or past perfect, some are passive and a few are other tenses.

In Nigeria, a three-year-old British girl (reunite) with her parents after being freed by kidnappers in southern Nigeria who (hold) her for four days.
Margaret Hill's parents, Mike and Oluchi Hill, said she was in good health but "covered in mosquito bites".

The kidnappers (threaten) to kill the girl unless a ransom (pay) or Briton Mr Hill (take) her place. Mr Hill, an oil worker, (say) no ransom (pay). He told Sky News that his daughter (return) "in a little bit of a trance", but soon began coming back to life and talking to her mother. The child (hold) "in the bush... in some sort of hut", he said. "I don't think she had much to eat because she is hungry now."

Margaret (snatch) on Thursday morning when gunmen (smash) the window of a car driving her to school in Port Harcourt as it stood in traffic. The car's driver (stab) as he tried to protect the girl.

Her Nigerian mother, Oluchi Hill, later (say) the abductors (contact) her and (demand) an unspecified ransom for Margaret's release. The kidnappers (vow) to kill the girl unless her father, a British expatriate oil worker originally from Murton in County Durham, took her place.

Our correspondent says more than 200 hostages (take) by armed groups in the last 18 months in Nigeria, but none has ever been killed.

Resources page for narrative tenses
Notes on narrative tenses
Gap fill exercises
Narrative tenses - anecdote
Complete the anecdote about an incident on a plane by putting the verbs in the correct tense.
Narrative tenses - James Bond
Adaptation of a short passage from Diamonds are Forever
Pakistan - China by bicycle
15 gap text: past simple, past continuous, past perfect, past perfect continuous.
Past simple and continuous - anecdote - the Donkey Dog
Short anecdote about a frightening experience, gapped for past continuous and past simple plus 'enormous' and 'the biggest'
Narrative tenses exercise: past perfect simple and continuous; past simple

Quizzes - multiple choice / short answer
Narrative tenses quiz: a spooky experience
Ten mulitple-choice questions that relate a short spooky experience.


ESL lesson plans

Reading and vocabulary: workplace discrimination

Reading and vocabulary: workplace discrimination: picture
Work clothing vocabulary.
News story in graded English about woman who was sent home for refusing to wear high-heeled shoes.
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Download Dress code (PDF)

ESL lesson plans

Reading and vocabulary: How Donald Trump got rich: a tale of three Trumps

Reading and vocabulary: How Donald Trump got rich: a tale of three Trumps: picture
Three articles in graded English with lead-in and comprehension tasks.
Jigsaw reading for groups of three.
Grammar follow-up on participle clauses (PDF advanced version)
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Download Intermediate (PDF)
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Download Advanced (PDF)