Author: British Council | Uploaded on 1 June 2022
1. Present examples
Write these sentences on the board with the words underlined as shown. Ask. “What do you notice about the underlined words in the sentences?”
a) The list of items is on the table.
b) Here are the keys.
c) Babou is a teacher.
d) Five kilometres is too far to walk.
e) Football and volleyball are my favourite sports.
To help learners:
Ask: “What are list, keys, Babou, five kilometres, and football and volleyball?” Elicit that they are the subject of the sentence.
Ask “Is ‘list’ singular or plural?” Elicit that it’s singular – there is one list.
Ask “Are ‘keys’ singular or plural?” Elicit that they are plural.
Now write these sentences on the board with the words underlined as shown. Ask. “What do you notice about the underlined words in the sentences?”
f) All of my family is here.
g) All of my family are here.
To help learners:
Ask: “What’s the difference between sentence f) and sentence g)?” Elicit that in sentence f) the speaker / writer thinks of their family as one unit, but in sentence g) the family is made up of individual people so is plural.
2. Take feedback
Ask learners to share their feedback on what they noticed in the examples. Some key points you might want to share with them include:
- If the subject is singular we use ‘is’ (Sentence a and c)
- If the subject is plural we use ‘are’ (Sentence b)
- If we are talking about distances (five kilometres), periods of time (three hours) or sums of money ($10) we use ‘is’ (Sentence d)
- If there are two subjects connected with ‘and’ we use ‘are’ (Sentence e)
3. Use the grammar
a. Is or are?
Write up some sentences but leave out the ‘is /are’. Say: “Complete the sentences with the correct word.”
1. Two years _____ a long time.
2. Chicken and fish _____ my two favourite foods.
3. My uncle _____ a policeman.
4. The children ____ playing football.
b. Correct or incorrect?
Write up some sentences on the board. Some are correct some are incorrect. Say: “Here are some sentences. Which sentences are correct and which ones are incorrect. Correct the ones with mistakes.”
1. My friend is very unhappy.
2. There is crocodiles and fish in the lake.”
3. $20 are too expensive for that.
4. All the men are at work.
Write up some sentences on the board. Say “Choose the correct word to complete the sentences.”
1. Everyone is / are here now.
2. The teachers is / are all in their classes.
3. Justin is / are watching TV.
4. Two hours is / are all we have.