Özgür Biçer Özgür Biçer

Advice Letters, Modals of Advice
Intermediate level


In this lesson, students will examine the meaning, form and pronunciation of modal verbs must/should/had better through the context of a letter giving advice to a friend visiting England. They will practice the related items through controlled practice; and produce their own ideas for a person who will visit Turkey.


Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice in the context of travel advices using must, should and had better.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide accuracy in written production by means of modal verbs of advice.


Lead-in (4-6 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

I’ll show students the lead-in pictures one by one and I’ll ask the questions below accordingly: •Where is the driver seat in England? Is it on the right side or left side? So, is it necessary to have driving licence for England? •When you cross a street in England, which side do you look at first, right or left? Is it important to do that? What happens if we don’t? •Does it rain a lot in England? Is it a good idea to have an umbrella if you go to England? •Would you like to watch a London derby when you go there? If I go, I don’t want to miss such a chance. •It’s not possible to see the Queen in the street, but what do you need to do if you see her in London? (Elicit some answers and tell them the word “curtsy” for women and “bow” for men, then show the photo) Attach the pictures on the board as you elicit some answers.

Exposure & Highlighting (10-12 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation and to draw students' attention to the target language

Give the letter to the students but don't tell them what it is about. They are going to read it for gist. Give them three minutes to read and try to elicit "advice" since it's the main idea of the letter. Try to elicit that not all the modal verbs has the same degree of strength or seriousness. Next, put a cline on the board, tell them to underline the sentences which matches the pictures. Then ask them to put the pictures and write the related sentences on this cline on the board according to the strength of advice.

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

Begin with the CCQs: Must - Will something bad happen if I don’t look right first, then left? Yes, a car can hit me. What happens if I don’t bow when I see the Queen? It’s very rude not to bow. Should - Will something bad happen if I don’t see Dublin? No, I’ll just miss the chance. Is it a bad thing to go to England with a girlfriend? No, but I’ll miss the chance to go on the loose. Had better – Do I need to take a raincoat with me? No, Josh has umbrellas if we need. Is it necessary to take boots with me? No, I can buy if I need. With the sentences written on the board, ask students the negative forms of must/should/had better. The answers may be like mustn't/shouldn't/had not better (if they say it true as "had better not", don't mention the probable mistake. You need to clarify that "mustn't" is not a negative advice, it's a prohibition. Give examples: You mustn't drive from the right line in England, you’ll be punished if you do. You mustn't smoke in the stadiums in England, it is forbidden. You need to show students a more polite/formal way of giving negative advice is as "I don’t think you should" instead of "you shouldn't". Give examples: The weather is sunny, you shouldn't wear a coat. - Informal The weather is sunny, I don't think you should wear a coat. Formal/More polite Next, drill the modal verbs with the weak pronunciation: Shoud – /ʃəd/ Had better – /həd betər/ Must – /məst/ Then, drill all the sentences written on the board and remember to model the pronunciation with the weak form of the modal verbs. Listen and check while drilling, model and repeat with the students or appoint a student whenever necessary.

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

Give students the letter from Tokyo. Tell them to read, fill in the blanks and that there are also blanks which should be filled in with the negative forms of the related modal verbs. Give them five minutes to complete. When they finish, ask them to peer-check and get feedback from whole class.

Free Practice (10-12 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Tell students that your friend Josh is coming to Turkey in September. If there is enough time, ask them to both think and write an advice letter to Josh about Turkey in pairs (if there is not enough time, set this as a speaking activity; if there is not enough students for pair work, set this as an individual activity). Then, ask them to tell their advices to other pairs (or students) and check how much they agree on the travel advices about Turkey. Monitor and take notes as the students write/speak; write all the sentences with grammar mistakes of the target form on the board, highlight the mistakes and try to elicit the correction.

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