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Narrative tenses

See also:
grammar:
time expressions - past
 
functions:
past events - talking about
 
skills:
stories
 
skills:
anecdotes
 
grammar:
verb forms
 
 
 

Narrative tenses are the tenses that we use to talk about past events and to tell stories. The most common of these is the past simple. Three other tenses, Read more

 

The following ESL resources are available for Narrative tenses:

 
 
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Bank robbery - alibis
Split bank robbery story with gaps (pair work) leading to alibis game (whole class). (7 sheets including instructions sheet and answers.)
 
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Boracay story
Revision of narrative tenses gap fill
 
 

 

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Error slips - verb forms
Twelve error correction slips for past and present perfect tenses, would and used to. Includes explanatory notes.
 
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Jenny's trip to Taiwan
Now includes analysis of tenses
 
 

 

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Locked out! - Cut up story
Story a woman getting locked out of her flat. Uses past simple, past continuous and past perfect simple tenses. Includes ordering and gap-fill tasks, and event sequencing with cards to highlight the difference between the chronological order of events and the order in which they are mentioned in the story. Four sheets including complete text for reference.
 
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Mrs Jones's cat
Goes with pic story formerly in Headway Intermediate. (Past simple and past continuous only.)
 
 

 

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Narrative tenses - Simple story - A lucky escape
Story ordering and gap fill exercises for a simple story using narrative tenses: past simple, past continuous and past perfect (including some passives). The exercise can be used either to revise or introduce the past perfect. The cards can be used to highlight the difference between the true chronological order of events and the order in which events are mentioned when using the past perfect tense.
 
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Narrative tenses practice - sentence completion and pairwork
Eight personalized sentences with multiple choice endings. Students complete and then make questions to find their partner's answers. Concept checking statements are included to check students' understanding of past tenses.
 
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Past perfect anecdote
Cut up story (office impostor) and analysis
 
 

 

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Plane anecdote with narrative tenses
Story ordering activity about an incident on a flight with follow-up gap-fill task. Uses past simple, past continuous and past perfect tenses.
 
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Urban myth - madman on the loose
Cut up urban myth (14 strips) about a madman with a knife. (Not for the faint-hearted!) Grammar gap-fill follow up.
 
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Narrative tenses quiz: a spooky experience
Ten mulitple-choice questions that relate a short spooky experience.
 
 

 

 
 
 
Narrative tenses news story
Complete the news story by putting the verbs in the correct tense.
 
 

 

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'
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 

General English course books (adults)

Global Intermediate Coursebook book cover 

Global Intermediate Coursebook

Lindsay Clandfield   Rebecca Robb Benne   
 
Unit 2 Lives and Legends  Page 19   Past simple & past continuous
 
Unit 2 Lives and Legends  Page 21   Past perfect & past simple
 
 
Inside Out Student's Book Advanced book cover 

Inside Out Student's Book Advanced

Ceri Jones   Tania Bastow   
 
Unit 2 Taste  Page 19   Past tenses
Three short exercise based on the preceding reading text
 
 
Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate book cover 

Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate

Vaughan Jones   Susan Kay   
 
Unit 14 Review 2  Page 133 
 
 
New Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate students' book book cover 

New Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate students' book

Peter Moore   Sarah Cunningham   
 
Module 3 Adventures and mishap  Pages 34 - 35  Verb forms in the narrative
Follow-up exercise and analysis of language in previous listening. Three short gapped stories with audio to check answers
 
 
New Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate book cover 

New Inside Out Student's Book Upper Intermediate

Susan Kay   Vaughan Jones   
 
Unit 4 Challenge  Page 39   Grammar: narrative tenses
Follow-up grammar exercises
 
 

Photocopiable resource books

Grammar Activities 2 - Upper Intermediate book cover 

Grammar Activities 2 - Upper Intermediate

Will Forsyth   Sue Lavender   
 
48 - 51 Past tenses  Pages 48 - 51  Detective story
Complete a gapped story with pictures. Past simple, past perfect, past continuous.
 
 
Intermediate Communication Games book cover 

Intermediate Communication Games

Jill Hadfield   
 
9 - Sci-fi dominoes / Fairytale dominoes  Page 9 
Story-making using picture card prompts.
 
22 - It wasn't me, Officer  Page 22 
Role play with cards. Ss have to identify various suspects for thefts.
 
 
Play Games with English Book 2 (1981-8) book cover 

Play Games with English Book 2 (1981-8)

Colin Granger   John Plumb   
 
Memory 7 Accident page 45  Page 45 
Accident scene. Ss have to remember the exact scene and complete sentences (multiple choice) 'A man was just crossing / had just crossed / was just going to cross the road' etc.
 
 

General English adult course resource packs

Reward Intermediate Resource Pack book cover 

Reward Intermediate Resource Pack

Susan Kay   
 
6 As different as chalk and cheese  Page 6 
Story writing activity. Ss complete sentences from prompts and pass to the S on the left.
 
 
Reward Upper-intermediate Resource Pack book cover 

Reward Upper-intermediate Resource Pack

Susan Kay   
 
6a It made my day  Page 6 
Whole class / large group. Writing an anecdote. 'Write, fold and pass' activity to construct a funny anecdote.
 
8a Something strange happend on the way to...  Page 8 
Ss write a supernatural story using question prompts. Exchange and correct.
 
 

Grammar

Comparison with as...as...

Comparison with <i>as</i>...</i>as...</as>: picture
 
Detailed grammar reference notes on comparison with as....
Three pages, illustrated. Includes positive and negative forms, modifiers and common similes.
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Download Comparison with as...as - grammar notes (PDF)
 
 

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)