Articles Review: Find the Mistake (Speaking Pair Work)

English Level: Upper-Intermediate+

Language Focus: Articles (a/an/the)

Class time: 25 minutes

Worksheet Downloadarticles-pairwork-mistakes.docx


Activity Description

This activity should be done after reviewing/teaching the rules for articles. Students should also know that we use ‘an’ before a noun with a vowel sound. For information about this see here.

  1. Put students in pairs.
  2. Explain to them that each student will get 9 sentences. They will read their sentences to their partner, who should then decide if the sentence is correct or not. If it contains an error, he or she should try to correct it.
  3. The partner has the answers (given in brackets); he or she can give the hints as needed so his or her partner can try to find the mistake.
  4. Let them start. Students take turns reading sentences and correcting them until they are finished.

Article Activity Notes

  1. Encourage students to read their sentences aloud to their partner and make him or her listen (this is speaking and listening practice). Don’t let them look at the sheets together (this would be reading practice).
  2. Be prepared to have to explain the difference between “to go to university” and “to go to the university on Main St.” afterwards.  Basically, when the nouns ‘school/university/college’ are considered as the activity of getting an education (as in, ‘I want to go to school’), then no article is used. When ‘school/university/college’ are used to refer to buildings, then an article is used (There is a school on my street. The school is an elementary school.)

Articles Speaking Activity Preview

Student A. Read the below sentences to a partner. Get him or her to correct the errors. Note that not all sentences have errors.

  1. I told hairdresser that I would like haircut. (+the hairdresser , +a haircut)
  2. I like my eggs scrambled. (no mistakes).
  3. My mother put three eggs into pot. (+the pot)
  4. There is university in downtown Chicago. (+a university)
  5. Earth is planet in space. (+a planet)
  6. My daughter goes to school on the corner of Main and Keele street. (+the school)
  7. Retired people enjoy leisure activities in old age. (no mistakes)
  8. Love is mystery. (+a mystery)
  9. Birds sing in trees in spring. (no mistakes, but ‘the spring’ is okay too)

Student B. Read the below sentences to a partner. Get him or her to correct the errors. Note that not all sentences have errors.

  1. My father was honourable man. (+an honourable)
  2. My manager helped keep meeting on schedule. (+the facilitator / + the meeting)
  3. Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia are English-speaking countries. (+the United Kingdom)
  4. English language is easier than Chinese. (+The English language)
  5. My son goes to school every day. (no mistakes)
  6. We have same problem. (+the same)
  7. Children can cause stress. (no mistakes)
  8. Love between my father and my mother is strong. (+the love)
  9. Fire extinguisher in hallway outside of our class is red. (+The fire extinguisher / +the hallway)

Best of luck with your English classes.

– Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com

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2 comments on “Articles Review: Find the Mistake (Speaking Pair Work)

  1. Deema (Posted on 11-19-2017 at 11:03) Reply

    Sentence 4 why the English language not English language only without the

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 11-19-2017 at 15:19) Reply

      We don’t use ‘the’ before ‘English’ when it is used as a noun. However, in this case, the subject is ‘English language’, so the noun is ‘language’ and ‘English’ is just an adjective. We need to use an article before a noun like language (it is not a proper noun).

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