When we talk about functions we are looking at specific language tasks. They can be related to students’ jobs or personal lives. At work they may need language for answering a phone or sending an email. Outside of work they may want to make a hotel or restaurant reservation. Many parts of daily conversations can be broken down into functions as well. Things like greetings or showing thanks are very helpful in daily speech.

One nice thing about teaching from a functional point of view is that it’s easy to manage. Students see a clear progression of what they can’t do at the start and what they can do at the end. Ideally every class allows students to express themselves more clearly. Functional language study is one way to make that happen.

Apologies / Complaints / Bad News / Interrupting

making complaints
restaurant complaints
making complaints
talking to the landlord
breaking bad news English worksheet


asking for clarification
asking for clarification

Describing People, Places and Things

describing people
describing appearance
describing people
describing scenes
describing personality
describing personality
describing things
describing things


giving advice
giving advice

Giving Directions

basic map for giving directions
simple map for giving directions

Giving Instructions

giving instructions
giving positive feedback

Introducing People

introducing people
meeting people

Reporting a Problem

apartment problems
reporting a crime
police sketch artist activity
wanted poster
describing faces

Appointments / Reservations / Invitations / Schedules

making appointments
running late rescheduling
hotel reservations
simple invitations

Restaurants / Shopping

restaurant menu
ordering in a restaurant
making shopping lists

Talking on the Telephone

telephone numbers
taking phone messages
sharing addresses
phone messages
shopping lists
gap dictation

Telling Time

telling time
telling time
telling time
travel times

Visiting a Doctor

human body vocabulary
human head vocabulary
visiting a doctor conversation
basic symptoms vocabulary
symptoms vocabulary
symptoms review worksheet
patient report

Writing Email

making requests via email
making urgent requests via email
conflict resolution via email