Friday, December 20, 2013


I've just made available a  downloadable and printable course unit on Shopping.

The unit comes with an accompanying URL with audio clips, teachers' notes, answer key, glossary and extra practice activity.

It's free for anyone to print out, distribute and use with their class. All resources are mobile-device friendly.

It can be found here:

Let me know if you have positive feedback and I will produce more like it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Although there is a separate site for younger learners:, I have long received complaints from schoolteachers about some of the content on the main site.

So I have 'cleaned up' the quizzes on 'crimes' so that there is no more murder or manslaughter, while trying to provide useful vocabulary such as 'crook' and 'arrest'.

I hope the changes will be appreciated and remember to check out the junior site if you have a class of young 'uns!

The two quizzes on crime vocabulary are at:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Updated Activities

Three of the extended activities have been updated to look nicer and to work on mobile devices, including smartphones.

These are:

1 Idioms
2 Specific Action Verbs
3 Phrasal Verbs

Sample screenshots:

On mobile:

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I spent a class going over some words ending in -ism or -ist, words such as 'capitalism' and 'theist'.

Afterwards, I got to wondering how many such words there are in English.

It turns out that there are plenty. lists 887 words ending in -ism and 1201 words ending in -ist. There are more ending in -ist because of words like 'list' or 'mist'.

Words ending in -ism:
In order of how common they are:

Words ending in -ist:
In order of how common they are:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Etymology on Google

I noticed something very interesting today when I googled the etymology of the word 'restaurant'.

If you type into Google, 'etymology' and another word, Google provides you with a little infographic and a summary of the etymology of the word - right there in the search results.

This is what I got:

Isn't that fun? It's another way that Google can be a useful tool for educators!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Using Visual Language

Have you ever noticed how some words or phrases in English bring up a visual image?

English is an expressive language and we have many ways of getting a point across. Perhaps the most powerful way to get a point across is to use a phrase with a strong visual element. Here are five examples:

1 "It took my breath away"

"The sight of the Grand Canyon was so amazing that it took my breath away!"

Can you imagine seeing the Grand Canyon and being so mesmerised that you can't breathe? What a great expression this is!

2 "Torture"

"Sitting through Professor Droneworth's three-hour lecture was torture!"

The lecture was not only boring, but it was equivalent to being tortured, perhaps in a Medieval dungeon!

3 "The Green Light"

"After much persuasion, my boss finally gave us the green light to go ahead with the project."

Here is one for business English usage. Imagine your boss holding up a traffic light. And it's green!

4 "A breakthrough"

"Scientists have made a breakthrough in the fight against Cancer."

Imagine scientists trapped in a locked room and they're bashing the door, trying to get out. Finally, they break through the door! Our example sentence has even more visual imagery with the word 'fight'. Scientists are 'fighting' Cancer. This is great, expressive language.

5 "My lips are sealed"

"I won't tell anyone your secret. My lips are sealed!"

Imagine having sealed lips. Any secret would surely be safe!

So here we have seen five examples of visual imagery in language. There are many more; these are just to give you some inspiration.

Use these and any other examples you find to become more expressive and therefore a better conversationalist!

Friday, September 06, 2013


The reading web app now has a notes section. Just like the main app, it can be viewed on mobile too!

Also, and unfortunately, some of the activities developed in HTML5, including the reading app, will not work in Chrome if you refresh the page. This is a problem with the current version of Chrome and will be fixed when they update Chrome in a couple of weeks. If you face this issue, please try using Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer instead!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ultimate Reading Practice

Introducing a new activity on RoadToGrammar: Ultimate Reading Practice:

Click here to try it

Ultimate Reading practice is a web app that has 50 short reading activities for upper-intermediate and advanced learners.

The passages are 100-200 words each and each one has four or five questions, mainly multiple choice. Each one has a word count and the difficulty level shown according to the CEFR levels.

These should provide great practice for any learner who will be taking the IELTS or TOEFL tests, or similar.

The web app can be viewed on tablets and phones, including the iPad.

A guide to answering these types of questions will be available next week on the site.


Friday, August 02, 2013

Words have lives, too

Just like us, words have lives. They are born, they struggle for survival and eventually they die.

Words have to come from somewhere. They are born when a new word is coined. 

Words might need to compete with other words for survival. For example, you could say 'maybe' or you could say 'perhaps'. I think you would agree that the word 'maybe' is more popular. Everyone seems to say 'maybe', but only a few people use 'perhaps'. As a word becomes less popular, it could begin to sound old-fashioned and it's decline is hastened. Eventually, nobody uses it anymore and the word is 'dead'.

The Darwinian-style life struggle of a word is influenced by coevolutionary social, technological, and political factors (see this link for empirical research).

A word most often lives longer than we do. A word can live for a few hundred years or more. Many Latin words have even outlived the death of their own language and live on in other host languages to this day, in phrases like alma mater.  

I'm trying to think of some words which are currently in their death throes and what comes to mind are the words used to describe groups of animals. After all, when was the last time you heard someone talking about a clowder of cats?

Monday, July 01, 2013

Language of Truth and Lies: Performatives

I found a fascinating video description of 'performatives'... and how they are used to tell lies that are technically true!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Describing Products

Introducing a new vocabulary activity: Describing Products and Services.

This activity is suitable for adults studying Business English who wish to expand or test their range of vocabulary. It can also be used for General English learners. This activity is recommended for Intermediate Level and up.

Try it here (mobile friendly):
Download it here:

Sample screenshot:

Friday, May 03, 2013


A couple of updates to Road To Grammar:

1 Quiz #327: They're, There or Their has been expanded to 20 questions. I found that this is a very good topic for elementary level students, especially those who learn by listening and find it hard to distinguish between the three.

The quiz is at:

The notes are here:

2 There was a problem with the direct linking system, which I have fixed. Now you can go directly to a quiz by adding a question mark and the quiz number to the url.

For example, to go to quiz 50:

Monday, March 04, 2013

Emphatic Adjectives

There is a new activity on RoadToGrammar today for English learners to practise the topic of Emphatic Adjectives.

The activity can be found here:

The pdf worksheet can be downloaded here:

Screenshot on desktop:

Screenshot on mobile:

You may notice that this activity can be done on any device - PC, tablet or phone. Over the coming months, all content on will be reformatted to be accessible on any device.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Notes Pages

All the grammar notes pages on have been reformatted to be readable on any device - desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.

See here for an example:

This is the beginning of a project to make ALL the content on RoadToGrammar readable and usable on any device.

New Quiz: YOUR and YOU'RE

There is another new quiz on Road to Grammar on the topic YOUR and YOU'RE - many learners - and even native speakers - mix up these two ...