• Back to Basics: Review Present Simple and Modals

    I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a has started, and it’s amazing.  So, in the spirit of great David Attenborough documentaries, our listening exercise today is a clip from another one of his incredible shows-Africa.  Before we watch the clip and complete the exercises, let’s review some basic grammar concepts: present simple and modal verbs.  Sometimes, when you’re learning a language and improving a lot (thanks to our talented LOI instructors!), it’s important to make sure you have a solid base.  Even advanced students need reminders about these conjugations at times.  As always, we love to hear from you, so write your answers in the comments section below!

    Present Simple

    Form: (I/You/We/They) + (verb)     (He/She/It) + (verb)s

    • repeated actions (hobbies, habits, daily events) 
    • facts, generalizations 
    • events in near future
    • now (non-continuous verbs: be, have, need, want, like, hate, and more.)


    1. He (is not needing/does not need) help right now.
    2. My flight (leave/leaves) tomorrow at 11:00.
    3. New York (are/is) a big city.
    4. I (wake/wakes) up at 7:00 each day.
    5. I (is/am) at your apartment now.

    Click here for more present tense conjugation practice.

    Modal Verbs:

    Form: (Subject) + (modal) + (base verb)



    1. You (could to be/could be) right.
    2. He (couldn’t find/couldn’t found) his car keys.
    3. Could (you gives/you give) me a ride to school?
    4. She (cans watch/can watch) the game tonight.
    5. They (must to go/must go) to the repair shop.
    6. He (doesn’t must go/must not go).


    1. The Drongo __ the Kalahari’s greatest _________, and these ___ his victims.
    2. After warming up in the morning sun, the meerkats _____ their search for breakfast.
    3. The Drongo ___ now _____ his tricks, but he _____ first ___ the confidence of his victims.
    4. He _____ an eagle on the hunt and ______ a warning, one that _____ the meerkats gratefully scurrying to safety.
    5. Now, he ___ their trust.
    6. He ______ another warning, but this time, ___ a false alarm.
    7. The meerkats fell for it.  The idiom, ‘to fall for’ means to believe something without reservation.  Do you often fall for someone’s tricks?
    8. How is the Drongo a ‘trickster’?
    9. This all _____ too easy.  He _____ the same trick again.
    10. The meerkats aren’t stupid.  They’ll only ____ for it once.
    11. No meerkat ___ _______ that.  Sentries never ___.  But, the sentry ____ no danger.
    12. Of course, ___ the Drongo.
    13. Now, he ___ _____ his prize.

    timelines source

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