Sustainable articles

There was confusion in class recently about the meaning of ‘sustainability’, so let’s take a few minutes out to get our heads around this extremely important social issue. Below is the opening of the Wikipedia entry on sustainability. Find out what sustainablity actually is and at the same time practice using articles!

A related practice activity focusing on the effects of plastic on the environment can be found here. And if you need ideas about how to choose articles to go with nouns, read this.

As usual, if you think an article isn’t needed, just leave the drop-down menu blank! Continue reading

Plastic articles

Just as plastic causes problems for our planet, articles cause all kinds of problems for students of English, especially when their first language doesn’t really have them (Indonesian!).

In a more recent practice activity the focus is on sustainable development and how that relates to the envirnoment. Meanwhile if you’re not sure about how to use articles in English (a, an, the), read this first, and then try the activity below!

In addition to the instruction given, if no article is suitable then don’t make a selection. Good luck! Continue reading

Mangkunegaran – recounting an experience

I already know the theory – give me the gapfill!


In IELTS speaking part 2 you are required to speak for between 1 and 2 minutes about a topic given by the examiner. Although it is difficult to predict the topic, the generic features of your spoken text are likely to follow one of two types. Here I demonstrate one of these types – recount.

First I’ll talk you through the predictable features of recount and then we’ll look at an example. Continue reading

To be or to do? Gapfill!

The behaviours of ‘western’ and Indonesian businessmen eloquently discussed by George B. Whitfield, III.

  • What advice would you give to foreign businessmen in Indonesia?!
  • Is there a right and a wrong way for them to behave?
  • Have you ever witnessed any ‘wrong’ behaviour? Comments below!

Fill in the gaps with words and phrases from the box. Then click ‘Check your answers!’ for feedback. (There are more words and phrases in the list than there are gaps!)

If you agree or disagree with any of the claims made by the writer, add a comment and let’s discuss! Continue reading

A lack of ‘lack’

Indonesian students sometimes struggle because they lack of critical thinking skills.

It’s true that ‘lack’ collocates strongly with ‘of’, but only when ‘lack’ is a noun. When ‘lack’ is a verb, there is no ‘of’!

  • Indonesian students sometimes struggle because they lack critical thinking skills.

If you really want to use lack of then treat ‘lack’ as a noun:

  • A lack of critical thinking skills sometimes causes Indonesian students to struggle.

Once again, in lack of, ‘lack’ is a noun, not a verb!

Remember to read the instructions carefully before you begin! ×
Select words from the drop-down menus to complete the text. When you have finished, click 'Check your answers!' for feedback.

OK I understand


Some students demonstrate a understanding when it comes to the word ‘lack’. Perhaps they the ability to identify the difference between noun and verb forms? Or perhaps there is a examples of ‘lack’ in the texts that they read? Either way there is a definite ‘lack’ as a verb in their writing!