© Markus Trienke, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. Source

A tree surrounded by sheep near Bryncrug in west Wales.

Worksheet No. 11

These Worksheets are based on textbooks written by NL Clay (1905-1991) and used in English schools from the 1920s to the 1960s. They focus on vocabulary, sentence structure, and clear speaking. They are best studied in pairs or small groups, because that allows you to pool ideas and encourages you to speak; but you may of course share your sentences with me.


For each group of words, compose a single sentence that uses at least one of them. They are generated randomly from a list of very common English words.

I. Agreement. Indicate. His.

II. Lie. Enjoy. Action.

III. Board. Toward. Admit.

See more Spinners.

Silent Letters

‘Lamb’ is not the only English word ending with a silent ‘b’. How many more can you think of? See if you can think of at least nine. Can you get two of your words into a single sentence?

Suggested words (in A to Z order)

Bomb. Climb. Comb. Crumb. Dumb. Jamb. Limb. Numb. Plumb. Succumb. Thumb. Tomb. Womb.


Examine these sentences. What do the they tell us about the mood of the person described? See if you can expand each sentence into a little scene that brings out the mood more clearly.

IHe stared. IIHe winked. IIIHe glared. IVHe rolled his eyes. VHis eyes sparkled. VIHis eyes twinkled. VIIHis eyes narrowed. VIIIHis eyes moistened. IXHe blinked. XHe dropped his glance. XIHis face fell.

Suggested moods (in A to Z order)

IAmusement. IIAnger. IIIAstonishment. IVDisappointment. VExcitement. VIIrritation. VIILighthearted conspiracy. VIIIMild surprise. IXRetreat. XSuspicion. XITearfulness.


Sometimes, we don’t know (or we don’t care, or we don’t want to say) who caused something to happen. In these cases, we may use a passive construction.

For example

i. Somebody has fired him.
→ He’s been fired.

ii. They have taken him to hospital.
→ He’s been taken to hospital.

iii. Please check that nobody has tampered with the seal.
→ Please check the seal hasn’t been tampered with.

ISomeone has stolen my bag. IISomeone has opened this letter. IIISomeone has cut the line. IVSomeone told me not to speak to you. VPeople have told me it’s not cheap. VII’ve been told it’s not cheap. VIISomebody must have bribed him. VIIIHas somebody found your keys? IXSomebody has refused your application. XThey have put off the meeting till tomorrow. XINobody has ever caught him. XIINobody noticed him arrive.

Suggested passives

IMy bag’s been stolen. IIThis letter has been opened. IIIThe line has been cut. IVI’ve been told not to speak to you. VI’ve been told it’s not cheap. VIHe must have been bribed. VIIHave your keys been found? VIIIYour application has been refused. IXThe meeting has been put off till tomorrow. XHe’s never been caught. XIHis arrival went unnoticed.


Turn these notes into a short passage of continuous prose. Try to include some direct speech.

Schoolteacher. Went into butcher’s shop. Six chickens on display. Said his pupils like a mealtime challenge. Asked for three toughest chickens. Butcher pleased. Chance to clear old stock. Laid them on counter. Schoolteacher grateful. Remains polite. Orders other three.

Based on an anecdote in Modern Eloquence (1900) Volume 10. See Tough Customer.


Speak each group of words out aloud, making the difference in pronunciation clear.

ISchool, scowl. IIRule, role. IIIPlay, flay. IVLaugh, leaf. VSure, shore. VISnow, snore. VIIFleece, floss. VIIILittle, litter.

Read this short passage out aloud, clearly and without haste.

MARY had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And every where that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go;
He followed her to school one day — 
That was against the rule,
It made the children laugh and play,
To see a lamb at school.

From Poems for Our Children (1830) by Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879). See the whole poem at Mary’s Lamb.