Christmas story - Simple Past practice + other tenses

The Christmas Truce
by David G. Stratman
It (be) (1)___________________ December 25, 1914, only 5 months into World War I. German, British, and French soldiers, already sick and tired of the senseless killing, (disobey) (2)___________________ their superiors and fraternized with "the enemy" along two-thirds of the Western Front (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops (hold) (3)___________________ Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, "Merry Christmas."
"You no shoot, we no shoot." Thousands of troops (stream) (4)___________________ across a no-man's land strewn with rotting corpses. They (sing) (5)___________________ Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, (share) (6)___________________ rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they (try) (7)___________________ to kill a few short hours before. They (agree) (8)___________________ to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.
A shudder (run) (9)___________________ through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides (declare) (10)___________________ this spontaneous peace-making to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement (eradicate) (11)___________________ and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.
Not many people (hear) (12)___________________ the story of the Christmas Truce. On Christmas Day, 1988, a story in the Boston Globe (mention) (13)___________________ that a local FM radio host played "Christmas in the Trenches," a ballad about the Christmas Truce, several times and was startled by the effect. The song (become) (14)___________________ the most requested recording during the holidays in Boston on several FM stations. "Even more startling than the number of requests I (get) (15)___________________ is the reaction to the ballad afterward by callers who (not/hear) (16)___________________ it before," said the radio host. "They telephone me deeply moved, sometimes in tears, asking, 'What the hell did I just hear?' "
You can probably guess why the callers (be) (17)___________________ in tears. The Christmas Truce story (go) (18)___________________ against most of what we have been taught about people. It (give) (19)___________________ us a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be and says, "This really happened once." It reminds us of those thoughts we (keep) (20)___________________ hidden away, out of range of the TV and newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean human life (be) (21)___________________. It is like hearing that our deepest wishes really (be) (22)___________________ true: the world really could be different.


Claire's routine - Simple Present Tense

Image from
Listen to Claire, a teacher, talk about her daily routine.
As you listen complete the quiz below.

Daily routine - Simple Present tense 1

What activities do you do daily?  Do you do some exercise every day?  Do you go to work by bus or by car?  What do you do after work?  Do you cook your own dinner?  How often do you read the newspaper?

In our lives we normally do the same things every day.  This is our routine.

In the video below you'll see a teacher, Sam, talking about his routine.
Watch the video and then complete the text about him.

Original video from British Council

Daily routine - Simple Present tense

When we talk about our daily routine, we use verbs conjugated in the Simple Present tense.
The idea is that we usually do the same things every day.  It's our routine or habit.
When we want to express this idea (of our routine) in English, we use the Simple Present tense.

For example:
I get up at 6.30 from Monday to Friday.
I have a shower and then I get dressed.
After that, I have a big breakfast with milk and cereal and fruit.
I leave for work at about 7.30.
I start work at 8 and I finish work at 4.
After work I do some exercise.
Sometimes I have dinner at home, but sometimes I go out with my friends.
I usually go to bed at about 11.30.

The video below shows a teacher, Kim, talking about her routine.
Watch the video and answer the questions about Kim.

Image belongs to
Original video from British Council

Numbers - Listening activity

Learning the numbers in English is not difficult, but you need a lot of practice with them.

In this post you can practise numbers in English with a listening activity.

1. 50% of our production represents ______ units.
2, 575,000

2. The invoice amount is US$ _______.
47, 803.59

3. The number of employees in our factory is ______.

4. Sales this month are up by _____ per cent.

5. The price of the tickets is _____ euros.

Score =
Correct answers:

Spring - Idioms

Spring Idioms

Spring has just started in my country, Argentina.  Argentina is located in South America, so our spring time runs from September to December.

There are some interesting idiomatic expressions related to this wonderful time of the year.  Some of them, because they're in English, refer to Spring as happening in the months of March, April and May.

A ray of sunshine

a person who brings joy when he or she arrives
April showers bring May flowers
the rain is necessary to allow the plants to come back to life after winter
Be full of the joys of spring

to be very happy
Butterflies in my stomach

feeling nervous about something
Hope springs eternal

People will keep on hoping, no matter what the odds
Late bloomer

a person who finally develops a skill later than others
March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb
March begins with colder weather but then the temperature warms up and the snow melts
No spring chicken

no longer a young person
Spring fever
to feel restless from the long cold winter and to be full of joy that the spring has arrived
Spring into action

To suddenly start doing something
Spring to life

to become suddenly alive or more alive
Spring to one’s feet

to stand up quickly
Spring up

to appear or develop suddenly; to sprout
The grass is always greener on the other side
to think that an alternative will be better, even though it probably won’t be


Adelante Africa - Reading and gap-fill exercise

Do you know any organization that helps children at risk?
Do you support any organization that works to support children at risk around the world?

There is one NGO called Adelante Africa that works hard to help children in Uganda to have an education, but most importantly to have a better life.

You can read about how it all started in the article below.  As you read you can practise your English completing the blanks with the missing words.