Reported speech and creative writing: 50 ways 

After reading the reported conversation and discussing what it is about, the students practise simple reported speech structures by rewriting each line into direct speech while changing tenses, pronouns, possessive adjectives and time references when necessary. With the aid of a few extra words provided, the result will be the actual lyrics from “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon. The students listen to the song and check their answers at the end.


The class can then work together and write a few more “ways to leave your lover”, following the model in the chorus. The students first choose one of the one-syllable proper names in the circle and match it with any words that rhyme in the box on the right. They then write their own lines, such as “Go to the gym, Tim”, “Don’t pull my leg, Meg”, “Get on that van, Dan”, or “Let’s make a deal, Neil”. The types of sentences will vary depending on the level of the students, so the possibilities are endless! Can the group of students come up with the remaining forty-five pieces of advice to make the song title a reality?



9 thoughts on “Reported speech and creative writing: 50 ways ”

  1. I’ve been teaching ESL for quite sometime in Pakistan and in Lahore. We come across mixed level of students. You may see here a student from a medical school, another one doing MBA, the third one with just some elementary studies from a third-rated public school, a girl from a village with hardly any pedagogical background, a high graduate with great difficulty in grammar and speaking, a student who does welding somewhere and went to primary school many years ago…all in the same ESL class. We can’t afford to have separate classes for different levels from commercial point of view. You plan this song 🎶 activity with the mixed level of students. They go nuts. ESL teaching and even song teaching in ESL classroom need adaptation.


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