Making Suggestions

Suggestion box – first and second conditionals


This is a fun way to review the first and second conditionals, this activity obviously works best if you edit the materials in the worksheet to be more applicable to your clients’ own situations.

Step 1. Introduce the idea of a staff suggestion box and ask whether the students’ company has one. Ask whether the students use it and if they know how suggestions are processed, etc.

Give out some blank slips of paper to students and ask them to write out some suggestions for the company, they don’t all have to be serious. Collect the suggestions in a suitable container.

Step 2. Put students in groups of 2 to 4. Give each group a copy of worksheet 1. Explain that this is the list of suggestions collected from the box this month. The students’ first job is to decide whether each suggestion is realistic and doable or unrealistic and unworkable. Suggestions should be marked with an r or u. Go through the first couple as a class, to make sure that the task is clear. Different groups might have different opinions on this.

Step 3. Explain that in this company, the suggestions are assessed by a different group of staff members each month. This month it’s their turn. Tell  students that you’ve managed to get hold of some of the assessments made by last month’s group but, unfortunately, they got shredded. Give the students the cut-out strips from page 2 and ask them to try and piece them together. There is more than one way to match up these sentences and at the end, the students will have a couple of sentence stems left over.

Step 4. When the students have finished matching the sentences, divide the board vertically into two halves and use the left-hand side of the board to give an explanation of the first conditional i.e., that it is used in realistic and possible situations. And ask the students to look at their matched sentences to try and elicit the form.

Now using the left-over sentence stems elicit some possible sentence ends and put these on the board as examples.

Step 5. Students return to the suggestions on worksheet 1 and for each one marked as realistic, they should decide whether the suggestions in good and worth pursuing, or not so good and can be rejected. Each group nominates a speaker who at the end of the discussion will make an oral report explaining whether the suggestion was accepted or rejected, and why.


Step 6. After students have reported, explain that, unfortunately, their responsibilities don’t end there. It’s company policy that even the unrealistic or crazy suggestions also need to be responded to. Again, you have managed to acquire some of the material from the last staff meeting, but this has somehow got even more scrambled. Give out the cut up sentences from page 3  and ask groups to try and piece them together. It’s best to hand these out one at a time, otherwise, it can get very confusing.

Step 7. When the students have pieced together the sentences, use the other half of the board to explain that the second conditional is often used to talk about unrealistic, unlikely or hypothetical situations, and elicit the grammar form from the students.

Take one of the examples marked as unrealistic from the suggestions on worksheet one and elicit some possible consequences.


Step 8. Students go through the suggestions marked as unrealistic on worksheet 1 and prepare some sentences as to why each of these suggestions has been rejected. A different speaker should make the report at the end.

Step 9. When students have completed this stage, they just have one more job to do. Explain that some late suggestions have just been received. One at a time read out the suggestions which you collected at the start of the class and have the students discuss their merits and whether they should be implemented.


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