To teach the conjunctions of time, it is crucial that the students understand the meaning of the conjunctions. That is why I have created the following graphic organiser which I use to explain the meaning of the conjunctions:
I print the picture and hand it out to my students.
Then I explain the meaning of the conjunctions. If I teach monolingual classes I translate the meaning of the words and then I explain how the usage differs in English. However, if you teach an international group you need to explain the meaning in English.
- AFTER means later or then.
- WHEN says that action 2 happens after action one. Moreover, action one is certain to happen.
- BEFORE means sooner.
- WHILE – the two actions happen at the same time.
- AS SOON AS – immediately after.
- IF – is similar to when, but the action 1 may not happen and then the action 2 will not happen. I like to emphasize that IF includes a decision.
I am not saying that the explanation is perfect, but it works pretty well for my students so it might work for your students, too.
Conjunctions of time – practise
Now your students understand the meaning of the conjunctions. But can they use them?
I suppose that there will be some exercises in your textbooks or that you can find some worksheets online. So I created two rather unusual exercises to practise the grammar.
The first one is a game. Download the following pdf document and open it in Acrobat reader by Adobe (the game will not work otherwise).
The game is called Penalty Shootout. Your task is to choose the correct answer and then score a goal.
The second unusual activity to practice the conjunctions of time is a video quiz.
Students prepare a piece of paper and watch the video and write down their answer for each sentence. There are eight sentences and the students can see the correct answers at the end.
I hope you will find these activities useful and that your students will learn the conjunctions of time and will use them correctly.