Car-related vocabulary

English vocabulary exercises

Describing military vehicles – resources for teachers

Military vehicles - exercises on describing vehicles. English practice for military learners.There are two purposes of the presented exercises. First, I wanted to introduce vocabulary related to vehicles, including the military ones, and second, to practice positioning objects in space.

If you decide to use the presentation provided I suggest the following plan for the classes:

1) Show two sets of pictures – they depict different types of vehicles (slide #1, #2).

2) Give the students words and expressions from slide #3 – all of them cut out seperately.

3) Ask the students to assign each word to a vehicle it fits best, e.g. “family” should go to the picture of spacious, luxurious car with a family inside.

4) Then, ask them to desrcibe each vehicle and/or justify their choice of words. They should already know the vocabulary required for describing the striking features of each vehicle.

5) Now the positioning part of the lesson. Print slide #4 and #5 on the same sheet of paper, on different sides though (double side print mode). Cut it along the lines on slide #4.

6) Introduce basic expressions to position objects in space. Put special emphasis on collocations and definite articles: on the page, on the paper, in the picture, on the left/right, in the middle, in the centre, at the top, at the bottom, in the background/foreground, etc.A small 9-fields diagram with instructions where to put each part.

7) Give students the previously cut pieces and tell them to put it into the right space of 9-fields diagram (like in ‘noughts and crosses’ / ‘tic-tac-toe’ game).

8) If they are sure that all pieces went to the right place, ask them to turn over each piece – a smiling face should appear – a small reward for a well done exercise. :-)

9) Now distribute the 9-fields empty diagrams from slide #6 (there are four diagrams to be cut out). They will be used for students’ notes.

10) There are two sets of pictures for working in pairs (slide #8 and #9, slide #10 and #11). The pairs of students will have the same set of vehicles, however, placed in differend cells of the table provided.

11) Tell students to discover the location of each vehicle from the partner’s diagram. Who completes the diagram first – he wins. Students do not have to answer to wrongly constructed questions. They cannot show their diagrams to the other students. While asking for a location they MUST use at least one word from the vocabulary provided on slide #3 and #7 (some new, useful expressions). Whenever any word is used, it cannot be used again, so with each question asked, the next person has a more limited choice of words to ask the question. This trick forces students to use new vocabulary. What’s more, to win this little competition, one should use as many words in his/her question as possible, limiting the opponent’s choice and chances.

Useful vocabulary to describe vehicles

12) Draw students’ attention to the fact they must be precise in describing vehicles they are asking about because there are pairs of vehicles similar to each other (2 bicycles, 2 quads, 2 howitzers, etc.).

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Good vs. bad writing examples

ISAF driving directive - fragment from the chart exhibited in BAF DFAC.Some real writing examples

Last time I provided you some writing samples prepared by native Polish using English as a second language. This time let’s have a look at English native speakers’ performance. All discussed fragments of military texts were taken from real ISAF documents. All of them were attributed to English native speakers, or at least a native speaker approved them. As you suspect, I found perfect, sophisticated language usage examples as well as  occurences of minor or even terrible misuse of a mother tongue.

 Right place for an apostrophe

Such a tiny element as an apostrophe may cause big troubles to English users. Continue reading “Good vs. bad writing examples” »

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Writing task – example answers

Today samples of my students’ writing are the answers to the task recently published here. It is the first task, part A of the 3rd level exam. For your awareness, and additional educational effect I publish students’ work verbatim, with all errors

A soldier doing writing task. It's not that easy to write something in English!

A soldier doing writing task in English. Image source:

they’ve made. Hover the cursor over the highlighted part to see the comment on what is wrong with each part and then click the number to go to the footnotes with corrected version of the highlighted part.


First sample of writing (with errors!):


I would like to inform you about situation in Forward Operating Base Ghazni (FOB Ghazni). The most important issue is the unacceptable behaviour of the local security company named BAATFA. Our sentry at the gates and in the towers[1] noticed the following occurances[2].

The first, employees of the company very often late[3] for duty giving no justification or explanation.

The second, their weapons are left without attention. Moreover, personel of the BAATFA company use their guns in the wrong way aiming weapons at fellow soldiers.

The third, their[4]often chat with passers-by – local people disturbing them from[5] duties. Even more, they do not observe peremeter during noon prayers. Continue reading “Writing task – example answers” »

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Writing tasks on force protection issues

Military English exam - writing task on force protectionToday, I present you the whole examination set on level 3. The writing tasks below were designed to address force protection issues, which have recently dominated Polish media after the break into FOB Ghazni, Afghanistan. See the press articles on it here: Video reconstruction of the attack & media release, article in Although the exam tasks were inspired by actual events, all data inside are fictional with no relevance to real bases, FP system or ISAF reality. We call it sanitized version. Even though, once you try to do this test, you will handle the FP issues on the theatre easily. For your convenience, at the bottom of the article you will find ready-to-print pdf version of the set. Good luck! Continue reading “Writing tasks on force protection issues” »

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Speaking on level 2

Level 2 speaking task

Another exam set from the oral part of the level 2 English exam. It consists of examinee’s sheet with a task and a corresponding examiner’s sheet which contains some data you will be required to ask about. This time the examination set is followed by my guidaince and set ot tips how to approach this kind of task. Use my hints to improve your performance and gain more points during exam. Good luck! Continue reading “Speaking on level 2” »

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Level 2 speaking

Level 2 speaking task

This is an example of the exam set you may encounter during oral part of your level 2 English exam. It consists of examinee’s sheet with a task and a corresponding examiner’s sheet which contains some data you will be required to ask about.



The examiner is your foreign friend
who has just taken part in a language course in England.
You would like to take this kind of course next year and you need some information.

Ask about:

– where in England – how long?
– want to go – price?
– problem – only £900 – cheaper course?
– lessons – days / hours?
– course – difficult?
– any homework after classes?
– contact – how if decide?

You speak first, “I’ve heard you’ve been on a language course in England.”



You are the candidate’s foreign friend who
who has just taken part in a language course in England.
You give him / her information about it.

Say – course in Brighton – three weeks
– price £1200
Suggest taking a two-week course – cheaper
Inform – lessons every day morning 9 -12 / afternoon 1-3
– hard course / high level
– much homework / little free time
Promise to give the e-mail address of the school.

The candidate speaks first by saying: “I’ve heard you’ve been on a language course in England.”

You can expect some of these additional questions to appear during the conversation:

1.  Why are you learning English?
2. Tell me about the best training course you have ever taken part in?
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning a foreign language abroad?
4. Do you think knowledge of English is important nowadays? Why?

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