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Improve your punctuation

Course: Grammar lab, Unit: Punctuation

  • 70 min
  • In class
  • Writing


Lesson Objectives

  • Understand how correct punctuation can make your writing easier to understand
  • Know when to use some different punctuation marks

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria

  • Use a variety of punctuation marks correctly
  • Correctly answer questions on a news article about punctuation
  • Research the rules of a punctuation mark and explain it to other students

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Activities (12)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

This lesson covers a range of English punctuation marks, at varying levels of difficulty. You may not wish to send every activity to your students, depending on their proficiency in English.

 

Warm up

Warm up

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Look at the example phrases and choose the one with the correct meaning. How do the different uses of punctuation affect the meaning of the sentences?


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to activate students' knowledge of English punctuation.After students have answered the questions, briefly discuss how changes in punctuation affect the meaning of the sentences. These points will be covered in greater detail in the Commas and Apostrophes activities.

 

Lead in

Lead in

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Discuss the questions about punctuation.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to discuss the purpose and importance of punctuation in English.

 

Commas

Commas

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to learn and practise the correct use of commas.

If necessary, explain to students that a clause is a unit of English sentences, and is made up of at least a noun and a verb phrase, and usually explains and gives information about a single idea.

After students have completed the activity, have them discuss how these rules make texts easier to understand.

 

Apostrophes

Apostrophes

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Read the reference material 'Apostrophes' and rewrite the phrases using apostrophes and possessive pronouns.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise the use of apostrophes for possession and contraction. Each phrase refers to a famous phrase or object, although it is not important that the students recognize these.

Students should not include full stops in their answers.

 

Colons and semicolons

Colons and semicolons

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Challenge activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to check students' understanding of the correct use of colons and semicolons.

After students have completed the activity, discuss why these rules of colon and semicolon usage exist, and how they make texts easier to understand.

 

Practice

Practice

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Rewrite the text, using appropriate capital letters, full stops, commas, colons, semicolons, and apostrophes.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to apply the punctuation rules studied and practised in the previous activities.

There will be legitimate variations of the model answer.

 

Main ideas

Main ideas

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Individual
  • Challenge activity


Student instructions

Skim the article and match the sentences to complete them.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to develop the skill of skimming a text in relation to the theme of punctuation. It will suit more advanced students.

Refer students to the reference material if necessary.

 

Comprehend

Comprehend

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Challenge activity


Student instructions

Read the article again and answer the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to develop reading comprehension skills in relation to the topic of punctuation. It will suit more advanced students.

 

Research

Research

Recommendations

  • 12 mins
  • Group
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to have students research an English punctuation mark, and then explain it to other students.

Divide the class into pairs and make sure they choose a variety of punctuation marks to research. They should then present their findings to other pairs.

 

Follow up

Follow up

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Challenge activity


Student instructions

Discuss the questions about punctuation.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to further discuss attitudes towards punctuation.

 

Exit ticket

Exit ticket

Recommendations

  • 1 mins
  • Individual
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to compare students' abilities before and after the lesson.

 
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