English Writing Exercises for B1 – A narrative

Preparation

1. Read the task and the story below. In which paragraph (A-D) does the writer ___

1   set the scene?

2   describe the ending?

3   describe the lead-up to the main event?

4   describe the main event?

Write a story that involves a mobile phone.

[A ]

About two months ago, I was having a coffee with cousin at a café in town. We were talking about eighteenth birthday party. Ellie mentioned a friend of mine, Tom, and asked if he was going to be there. ‘I haven’t seen him for months,’ I replied. ‘I’m not even sure that I’ve got his number.’ While we were chatting, I took out phone and checked.

[B ]

About two weeks later, it was the day of party and I was getting everything ready. To surprise, I had a call from Tom. Naturally, I told him about the party. ‘Why don’t you come along?’ I suggested. He accepted the invitation.

[C ]

When Ellie arrived for the party, I told her what had happened. ‘It’s such a coincidence,’ I said to her. ‘I hadn’t spoken to Tom for months, but he phoned today. And he’s coming to the party!’ At the party that evening, Tom and Ellie got on really well together.

[D ]

In the end, Tom explained what had happened. ‘You left a long message on voicemail,’ he said. ‘You must have dialled number by mistake when you were in the café. You were talking to Ellie about me. I heard everything!’

Show answers

1 A  2 D   3 B   4 C

2. Put the time expressions in the correct groups. Tick the three that are in the story in exercise 1.

about two months ago      about two weeks later      after a while

eventually      in the end      one Saturday last month

A non-specific time expressions for starting a narrative

    1 _____.

    2 _____.

B expressions for ordering events

    3 _____.

    4 _____.

C expressions for bringing the narrative to an end

   5 _____.

   6 _____.

Show answers

1 about two months ago ✓   2 one Saturday last month

3 about two weeks later ✓ 4 after a while   5 eventually

6 in the end ✓

Writing Strategy

1 You can make your narrative more interesting by using comment adverbs such as luckily, unfortunately, Thank goodness, etc.

2 When you are narrating events, use a variety of tenses such as past simple, past continuous, present perfect, past perfect, used to, etc.

3. Read the Writing Strategy. Then, in the story in exercise 1, find and underline:

1 three comment adverbs.

2 an example of a) the past simple, b) the past continuous and c) the past perfect.

Show answers

1 to surprise, naturally

2a mentioned, asked, replied, took, checked, was, had,

told, suggested, accepted, arrived, told, said, phoned,

got on, explained, left, were, heard

3b was having, were talking, were chatting, was getting

4c had happened, hadn’t spoken

4. Complete the sentences with the comment adverbs below.

luckily      sadly      suddenly      to surprise      wisely

1 It was cold and cloudy, but ________. there were lots of people on the beach.

2 I lost wallet, but ________. I found it again.

3 _____. a car ran into us. I didn’t see it coming because it happened so quickly.

4 _____. grandmother is rather ill.

5 _____, Joe saves a little of his pocket money each week.

Show answers

1 to surprise   2 luckily   3 Suddenly   4 Sadly

5 Wisely

Writing Guide

5. You are going to do the task in exercise 1. Make notes below.

1 Set the scene ________.

2 Lead-up ________.

3 Main event ________.

4 Ending ________.

Show answers

your own answers

6. Write your story using your notes from exercise 5.

Extra exercises

Strategy

Try to avoid repeating similar wording in different places in your text. You can do this by using reference words (e.g. it, this, both, them, neither) to refer back to things that you have already mentioned.

1. Read the Strategy. Then rewrite 1-4 replacing the underlined words with the words below. Combine the sentences if necessary.

either      this       which      who

1   The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is set in Narnia.

 Narnia is a fantasy world.

2   Some people say the film is funny and some say it’s clever.

 Personally, I didn’t think it was funny or clever.

3   The Life of Pi tells the story of a boy. He is the only survivor of a shipwreck.

4   At 3 hours and 40 minutes, the film is rather long, but the fact that the film is 3 hours and 40 minutes long didn’t spoil overall enjoyment.

Show answers

1 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is set in Narnia. This is a fantasy world.

2 Some people say the film is funny and some say it’s clever. Personally, I didn’t think it was either.

3 The Life of Pi tells the story of a boy who is the only survivor of a shipwreck.

4 At 3 hours and 40 minutes, this film is rather long, but this didn’t soil overall enjoyment.

2. Read the task below and write the review.

Your teacher has asked you to write a review of a film or TV series for the school magazine. Write your review describing the film or TV series and saying what you liked and didn’t like about it.

–  Give your article a title and interesting introduction.

–  Describe the plot and characters.

–  Use an appropriate style.