Alexandra van den Heever Alexandra van den Heever

Relationships - Talking About People Indirectly TP2 11.17.14
Intermediate level


In this lesson, students will learn how to talk about people indirectly, using expressions that are less direct in order to be friendlier and soften criticism. They will do a reading that will show them how to use indirect phrases, and then practice comparison between direct and indirect phrases that are tied together by similar meaning.


Abc Textbook Handout #1
Abc Textbook Handout #2
Abc CD
Abc Textbook Handout #3

Main Aims

  • To practice functional language for talking about people indirectly.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To listen to a conversation to guess the meaning of the phrases from contextual clues


Lead-up/Setting Context (5-6 minutes) • To give students a topic that is relatable to them and gives meaning to the activities

Put page 24 on the projector and ask students to look at the picture. Ask what they think the relationship is between the two women? Introduce the word "gossip". Put them into pairs. Discuss with your partner what these two women could be gossiping about. Take one minute. Ask two or three students to report back to the class.

Listening - Activity #1 (7-9 minutes) • To get students to listen to a conversation and be able to pull information from it

Tell students what we will be doing - listening to a conversation between these two and answering T/F statements about it Pass around Textbook Handout #1, open CD files Tell students to quickly read through the questions so they know what to listen for Listen, then complete the T/F activity with your partner Play the listening a couple of times as needed

Reading - Activity #2 (7-9 minutes) • To show students how indirect phrases can replace direct phrases

Direct students' attention to Activity #2. Explain that the phrases underneath the conversation are more direct ways of saying the phrases numbered in the conversation. Point to the first example "it was boring/it wasn't particularly interesting". Ask - why might we want to use the indirect phrase instead of the direct phrase? Tell students to read through the paragraph and then work in pairs to match the direct phrases with the indirect ones.

Listening - Activity #3 (4-5 minutes) • To allow students to listen to examples of indirect phrases and learn how to pronounce them

Ask students to listen and repeat the indirect phrases from the conversation. Ask them which of the direct phrases from Activity #2 relate to the indirect phrases they hear

Reading - Activity #4 (7-9 minutes) • To have students read indirect/direct phrases and match them together

Tell them to get into pairs and work on Activity #4, give hand out Walk around and monitor. Be sure that they understand the meanings of the phrases. When they are done, go over answers

Extra Activity (7-9 minutes) • To allow students to make their own indirect phrases

Pull up pg 159 on the projector. Show them the pictures of people, explain that in groups of three, they should look at each person and make up their own indirect phrases about them. The word bank is useful. If they can, try to use the adverbs listed and keep in mind gradable and non-gradable adjectives. Can they say "absolutely average"? No! If there is time, ask students for some of their answers.

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