Extending a Sentence

An important part of developing good written English is your ability to construct longer and more detailed sentences. Learners of English as a second or foreign language often use very short sentences and struggle to make longer more detailed ones.

Here is a task that shows you how you can develop a simple sentence like 'I made tea.' into a detailed text.

  • Go to the website: http://www.telescopictext.com/. You will see the sentence with shaded words.
  • Click on a shaded and see that part of the sentence expand. Read the new sentence and then choose another part to click on.

  • Keep clicking and reading the sentence until there are no more shaded words.
  • You see now how a simple sentence can be made more detailed.
  • Now create your own detailed sentences from one of these:
    - I went to the beach.
    - I saw a film.
    - I went to school
  • Once you have finished your sentence you can post it in the comments below and I'll publish the best ones here on the blog in a couple of weeks.

Hope you enjoyed this activity. Come back tomorrow for some more EFL ESL activities.

Related links for teachers:

Nik Peachey


Um Carioca em Brasília said...
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Lee Ann said...

Great activity. But please be sure the sentences are grammatically correct. "I made myself tea" says that you made yourself. It should be "I made tea for myself."

Nik Peachey said...

Sorry Mr Tolbert, but "I made myself tea." is perfectly acceptable English, as is "I made myself a sandwich", "I made myself a cup of coffee." etc.

It does not mean that I made myself into a cup of tea or a sandwich, which would be a totally different thing.



Anonymous said...

Hi Nik

This looks great and we would love to use it. Can you tell us where the create page is on the site for extending a sentence?



Nik Peachey said...

Hi Miriam

The extendable sentence is a one off work of art, so you can't generate your own on the site. You could do something similar using Word or an interactive whiteboard.

Nik Peachey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

I'd been playing around with this and am very glad to have your explanation!

Um Carioca em Brasília said...

Hey, Nik, have you noticed that you can now write your own "extendable" texts just like "I made tea" at http://www.telescopictext.com. Just point to http://www.telescopictext.org (*** .org ***) to check it out. It's amazing! Thanks again for your tip!

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Elysio

Yes I noticed that and wrote something about it on one of my other blogs. Good to point it out here though.
A Tool for Helping Students Develop More Complex Sentences





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