Lesson 23 – Small ads

Warm up

  1. Tell students to look at section 1 and ask them what it is and where it is from. Check that they all recognize that it is a selection of small advertisements known as ‘small ads’ from a newspaper or magazine.
  2. Ask them if they or anyone they know has ever bought anything from a small ads page. Ask them what was bought. Ask them if they know why the person was selling the item.
  3. Tell them to read the circled ad. Ask them what the object is exactly. Who would wear it? When, where and why?
  4. Ask them why the person might be selling it. Tell them they have two or three minutes to talk about possible reasons with their neighbors. Listen to their suggestions.

Main Activity


  1. Explain that the article tells the true story behind the wedding dress. Tell students to read the first snippet only and talk about the question with their neighbors.
  2. Talk about their answers before giving the real one.
  3. Repeat the process with the other snippets and questions one by one.
Small ads
The wedding dress
Ben, a struggling DJ with no money, proposed the night before Felicity flew home to Melbourne. They had been going out for two years. When he proposed, she thought marriage was exactly what she wanted.
Back in Melbourne, her grandmother insisted on paying for the dress.
Her mother knew a fashionable young dressmaker. Felicity sketched a design, and as the dressmaker gradually put it together, Felicity became carried along by it all. Now she wonders why she stayed away from London for so long.
She returned to London ready to marry. But things had changed.
For three months she told herself that everything would be OK. Then during another silly argument, Ben finally said it.
Felicity begged him not to leave her. So they stayed together until, a month later, she finally said, ‘Well, you’re actually right. It was a heartbreaking decision. Everyone back home knew she had left to get married. She felt she would disappoint all of them.
That is when she realized she had just become caught up in everything. Ben and Felicity are still friends. She is in another relationship now.
  1. Put the students in groups of three or four.
  2. Tell them to read the other ads. Ask if there are any words or details they do not understand, and explain.
  3. Tell them to discuss the ads and think of the story behind the items and why they are being advertised. Tell them to try to think of unusual stories and make notes of their ideas for each ad.
  4. Listen as they discuss and try to make suggestions for making their stories more interesting. Make a mental note of the groups with better stories.
  5. Ask the groups with more interesting stories to tell them to the class.
  6. Ask them who they think will want the items.

Follow up

  • Each group chooses one of the ads.
  • They work together to write up their story from the notes they made.
  • They exchange their stories with another group.
  • They read each other’s stories and underline anything they think is incorrect English.
  • The groups that exchanged stories joined together and discussed the underlined possible mistakes. Give help where needed.
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