Should We Talk About Romance on Valentine’s Day?

One doesn’t have to talk about romance on Valentine’s Day. I find the topic makes some feel uncomfortable, so you have to consider how best to approach it if you’re going to approach it at all. I just hosted a live stream with a couple hundred learners, and I invited them to build a story with me using vocabulary such as fall deeply in love and have a crush on someone. Some humor was involved, so we kept the tale rather light. In the end, we had a short work that we titled Love Story in the Bookstore. It was meaningful without getting personal, and I think that makes romance easier to approach in the classroom.

Whether it’s February 14 or not, wedding customs are an interesting topic for the classroom. Wedding practices vary from culture to culture, from family to family and from generation to generation, so it’s not difficult to develop a class discussion that explores similarities and differences. I have a three-part video lesson on American wedding customs with two review exercises on my website. (Click to view Part 1 and the easy and difficult review exercises.)

In general, traditions and etiquette provide a meaningful context for modal verbs of necessity and all the modal-like expressions that convey the same meanings. Check out my Modals of Necessity_handout with two classroom tasks. The first 10-question task tests how well students understand degrees of necessity. The second 7-question activity challenges students to give warnings, advice, and suggestions for a range of potential problems connected to marriage proposals and weddings.

For an overview of the modals of necessity, I invite learners to watch my 19-minute grammar lesson that uses the context of etiquette and traditions within the British royal family, featuring an interview with a British English teacher who has been a guest at Buckingham Palace. Watch the video “Megxit and Modals.”

Related post:
Teaching Modals: What Can and Can’t Be Done

Photo credit:
Hand, Finger, Woman, Heart, Sand by connerdesign. Retrieved from the Public Domain at

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