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Annoying and unusual rules

1.- Introduction to lesson

Today we are going to look at annoying rules that exist or have existed in the past in the UK. We are also going to look at the modal verbs can, could and be allowed to.


2.- Your turn…

What rules would you expect to find in the following places?

  • Airports
  • Bars and pubs
  • Hospitals
  • Museums
  • Planes


3.- Pre-listening task

Look at the following pictures taken from rules that currently exist in the UK. Do these rules exist in your country?




4.- Listening

4.1.- Listen to two people complaining about rules they find annoying. Make a note of what each person is complaining about.


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4.2.- Tapescript

1. One rule I find really annoying is when you take you dog for a walk and you want to let it run loose on the beach you can’t because it’s not allowed.

You see, I live right next to the beach and in winter no one uses it as its too cold and rainy to sit on, so it’s the perfect place to let the dog run around. I always clean up after my dog, so I don’t see what the problem is.

2. What really annoys me is that I can’t smoke anywhere anymore. Smoking has been banned in all public places. I used to love going to a pub or a bar and having a nice glass of wine and a cigarette and now that pleasure has been taken away from me.

In my mind, a bar is a place where you go to relax and enjoy yourself. For me, that involves cigarettes and alcohol. Now I have to go outside to enjoy myself and usually it’s cold and wet. Looking on the bright side, there’s usually lots of people to talk to!


4.3.- Match the two halves to make a phrase.

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1)One rule I
2)What really annoys me
3)A rule that does
4)One thing I find
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5.- Spoken response to listening

Answer the following questions:

  • Which of the complaints above do you agree with?
  • Which do you disagree with?
  • Can you think of any annoying rules that exist in your country?


6.- Listening – Unusual and ironic laws

You are going to listen to your teacher talk about some rules in England. Before you listen, try to learn the following vocabulary:

To date back to: datar
To eliminate: eliminar
The reign of: el reinado de
Treason: traición
Death penalty: pena de muerte
To abolish: abolir
Outdated: pasado de moda


A mince Pie

A postage stamp


6.1.- Answer the following questions with complete sentences.

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1)Why do lost of unusual laws still exist in England?
2)When are mince pies usually eaten?
3)What happens if you use a stamp of the Queen and place it on upside down?
4)Why do you think the 3rd rule was originally brought in?
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6.2.- Look at the tapescript and underline any examples of the modal verb can.

(Para ver la solución hacer doble click en texto; un click vuelve a posición original)




7.- Focus on Grammar – Modal verbs Can, could, be able to

7.1.- Read the following questions

  • Can you run from your country to London?  
  • Can you eat 50 bananas in one day? 
  • Can I go to your house after school? 
  • Can you help me? 
  • Can you travel from New York to London by train? 
  • Can you see mountains from your bedroom window? 


7.2.- Can you put the above questions with can into the correct boxes in the table?

(Para ver la solución hacer doble click en texto; un click vuelve a posición original)



7.3.- You can write the ability questions with ‘able to’ and you can rewrite the possibility and request questions with ‘could’. Complete the rest of the table.

(Para ver la solución hacer doble click en texto; un click vuelve a posición original)


Remember: Although you can make a request using could, the answer is always with can :

  • e.g. could you lend me a pen? Yes I can.


7.4.- Complete the sentences with can, can’t, could, couldn’t or be able to.

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1)Last week we park in the street because there were road works.
2)You no longer smoke in public places in the UK.
3)Unfortunately, we swim.
4) they come with us on holiday?
5)That bag is too big you take it on the plane.
6)There was lots of space on the train so they do their homework.
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8.- Your turn…

Answer the following questions out loud in as much detail as possible.

  • When you were younger were your parents strict?
  • What kind of rules did they impose on you?
  • Did your friends have different rules? What rules did they have?

Useful phrases:

  • I wasn’t able to….
  • I was able to…
  • I could…
  • I couldn’t...


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