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Idioms: preparation and organisation

Worksheet overview

With this ESL worksheet, students will learn idioms related to preparation, planning and organisation. It can be used both in Business English and General English classes, even though the examples and dialogues are more business-oriented. It will be useful for students who plan events, and manage projects. Another interesting worksheet is “Phrasal verbs: Project management”.

The first group of idioms (e.g. get my ducks in a row, lay the groundwork, a well-oiled machine, put a spanner in the works) are introduced through  short dialogue. Students match the idioms to their definitions. To practise, they complete a multiple-choice activity. Then, they are given questions and are asked to match the sentences from activity 2 to the corresponding question. After that they answer the questions, sharing their own ideas.

Next, students are given a second dialogue, which contains the rest of the idioms (e.g. fall through the cracks, to be all over the shop, get your act together).  They need to complete a gap-fill activity first, and then they match the idioms to their definitions. To practise the second group of idioms, they are asked to paraphrase 5 sentences, using a suitable idiom. 

The last 2 activities are focused on speaking. First, students discuss 7 questions given, talking about their personal experiences, and using the idioms. Finally, they are asked to come up with a dialogue, incorporating at least 5 idioms from this lesson.

To review these preparation-related idioms, and for more speaking practice, you can use the conversation cards.


Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

This worksheet works well in combination with the following lesson plans

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