Laura Elena Biculescu Laura Elena Biculescu

Regrets - Third conditional
Upper-Intermediate level


In this lesson the students will review language used for talking about regrets and the unreal past. The lesson starts with a lead in about regrets and the context for the TL is created through exposure to a reading text about the mistakes some companies made when entering a new market. The students will read the text for comprehension and then it will be used to highlight the TL. The students will also practice speaking and writing for the last activities which integrate the two productive skills as a follow up to grammar. They work in groups and write a conditional chain story that explains how a man who was late for work ends up in jail. Then they will write down three regrets that they have about the past and talk about them with their partners.


Abc Pictures
Abc HO #1 Reading - What's in a name?
Abc HO #2 The rules
Abc HO#3 - Gap fill
Abc HO#4 - Matching (back up)

Main Aims

  • To provide review, clarification and practice of the third conditional in the context of regrets.

Subsidiary Aims

  • Reading for specific information and creating a context for introducing the third conditional. Writing and speaking as productive skills following grammar with focus on accuracy.


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Try to elicit from the students the idea of regret. Introduce regrets about the past as the topic of the day

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text

Give the students the reading text and tell the they have 5 minutes to read it and answer the questions.

Highlighting (2-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Draw the students' attention to the words written in bold in the text. Elicit the tenses and grammatical structure from them.

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

Divide the students into two groups and give them the second hand out. Let them work together and discover the rules for themselves. When they have finished, do a whole class feedback and go over the rules as quickly as possible.

Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Group the students into pairs and give them the next HO#3. Instruct them to fill the gaps with the correct form of the verb in the brackets. Have them check with other pairs and then do a whole class feedback, asking for additional explanations. If the students seem to struggle and have trouble understanding, offer extra clarification and give them HO#4. If not, proceed to the next stage.

Controlled Practice (optional) (8-10 minutes) • To concept check again and make sure that the TL is clear.

Group the students into pairs and give them HO#4. Instruct them to match the beginning of the sentence from the first column with its ending from the second column. Have them check with other pairs and then do a whole class feedback, asking for additional explanations.

Semi-Controlled Practice - Conditional chain (8-10 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Put the two photos up on the board and explain to students that John was late this morning. It is now 22:00 pm and he is in jail. He's had a very bad day. "If he hadn't been late that morning...." Instructs the students to continue the story and explain why is John in prison.

Free Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Group the students in pairs and tell them to think about their mistakes and regrets from the past and talk about them with their partners. Model the activity by sharing some of your own regrets using the TL.

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