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Macmillan Life Skills: language is a life skill

Language is a life skill

Learning a language is about understanding what words mean, grammar, spelling and pronunciation. But there is more to it than that. This year, as part of the Macmillan Life Skills series, Macmillan Dictionary has been focussing on an area of language learning students of English often find difficult to master: pragmatics.

This week …

The final installment in our series of lesson plans, written by author Jonathan Marks, to help learners with pragmatics. This lesson plan includes detailed teacher's notes with answer key and student worksheets.

Expressing yourself: praising someone

Overview: In this lesson learners review, consolidate and practise ways of praising someone.

Total time for activities: 30–35 minutes

Level: upper intermediate to advanced

You can download the pdf of this month's lesson plan here.

Resources archive: lesson plans

A year-long series of lesson plans helping students with useful language.

Expressing yourself: praising someone

Lesson plan 11 (praise): helps learners to develop their awareness of expressions for praising someone.

Lesson plan 10 (criticize): helps learners to develop their awareness of expressions for expressing criticism.

Lesson plan 9 (warn): helps learners to develop their awareness of expressions for giving warnings.

Lesson plan 8 (advice): helps learners to develop their awareness of expressions for giving advice, and ways of reporting advice.

Lesson plan 7 (hello/goodbye): helps learners to develop their awareness of ways of saying hello and goodbye.

Lesson plan 6 (sure/unsure): helps learners to develop their awareness and understanding of expressions meaning "I'm sure" and "I'm not sure", and practise using these expressions.

Lesson plan 5 (opinion): helps learners review and consolidate ways of expressing opinions.

Lesson plan 4 (agree/disagree): helps learners review and consolidate ways of expressing agreement or disagreement.

Lesson plan 3 (apologize): helps learners review and consolidate ways of apologizing and accepting apologies.

Lesson plan 2 (suggest): helps learners review, consolidate and practise ways of making and reporting suggestions.

Lesson plan 1 (don't know): helps learners to develop their awareness and understanding of expressions meaning 'I don't know' and practise using these expressions.

What is pragmatics?

To use the Macmillan Dictionary definition, pragmatics is "the study of how language is used in particular situations to express a meaning or attitude that may not be obvious from the actual words".

Learning how to express yourself and convey a message successfully is an important life skill. It's a skill that we all need to master in order to be successful academically and professionally.

Free resources

Throughout 2014 Macmillan Dictionary has been providing a series of resources in the form of lesson plans and blog posts focussing on questions such as:

  • How do you say politely that you don't know something?
  • What are the best ways to apologize?
  • In what ways can you give your opinion?
  • What language do you use when you want to praise someone?

To tackle these and other questions, we've been publishing a free pragmatics lesson plan on this page each month. You can also follow us on Macmillan Dictionary Blog where we've been publishing regular posts on this subject written by our core team of authors as well as guest authors.

To find out more about pragmatics, read Michael Rundell's first post on the blog: Learning about pragmatics: a useful life skill.

Watch the recording of our Life Skills Day webinars – including Jonathan Marks' session on pragmatics – on the Macmillan Life Skills Day page.

For more free resources and information about Life Skills, visit the dedicated Macmillan Education Life Skills page.

More resources

To find out what other types of resources are available on Macmillan Dictionary, visit our popular English language resources page.