ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Three: Practicing Syntax: Agreeing and Disagreeing: Shortening compound sentences with either, neither, but, so, and too


The first four activities in this lesson are pre-reading ones, designed to get students used to working together writing, talking and thinking about language and syntax. In this third activity, the teacher talk is about main verbs and helping verbs in compound sentences. The student work in this activity should have a scaffolding effect as students try to figure out syntax on their own and then work in groups to write sentences using it.

Writing Compound Sentences with neither, either, so, and too


During an interactive lecture, students will learn how to use either, neither, so and too in compound sentences, practice what they’ve learned by completing a fill in the blanks handout, and then use what they’ve learned by working in groups writing examples of the sentences.


Teacher talk and direction
Individuals, groups of three


Venn diagrams from Activity One
Handout Three: Compound Sentences
Newsprint and markers.


Begin your interactive lecture.

A simple sentence has a subject and a verb. If the subjects of two simple sentences agree or disagree with the same verb they can be joined together with and.

I like turtles. You like turtles. I like turtle and you like turtles.

I don’t like rabbits. She doesn’t like rabbits. I don’t like rabbits and she doesn’t like rabbits.

To keep joining like sentences with and would become repetitious. We like to shorten these sentences in English. Subjects that agree are joined with and and so or too. So comes after and and too comes at the end of the sentence.

I like turtles and so do you. Jack likes turtles and Mary does too.

Subjects that agree negatively are also joined with and and neither or either. Neither comes after and. Neither is used when the helping verb is positive: does, can, will, etc. Either comes at the end of the sentence and is used when the helping verb is negative: doesn’t, can’t, won’t, etc.

Turtles can’t fly and neither can rabbits. Turtles can’t fly and rabbits can’t either.

Ask the class where the no is in the first sentence. It’s in neither: neither do you. Ask the class where the no is in the second sentence. It’s in doesn’t: Jack doesn’t either.

Subjects that disagree are joined with but:

The turtle likes to swim.  The rabbit doesn’t like to swim.

The turtle likes to swim, but the rabbit doesn’t.

Notice in the compound sentence above that the main verb does not need to be repeated in the but clause: but the rabbit doesn’t.

2. Hand out the handout:

Compound Sentences

A. Fill in the blanks with neither, either, so, too, and but:

1. The turtle has a head and _____________ does the rabbit.

2.The rabbit doesn’t have money and _____________ does the turtle.

3. The turtle has a nose and the rabbit does ______________.

4. The rabbit doesn’t have a credit card and the turtle doesn’t ____________

5. The rabbit doesn’t have a shell, and _______________ the turtle does.

B. Change to compound sentences.

1. The rabbit eats carrots. The turtle eats carrots

2. Turtles have heads. Rabbits have heads.

3. The turtle doesn’t have six legs. The rabbit doesn’t have six legs.

4. Turtles don’t have wings. Rabbits don’t have wings.

5. The turtle is green. The rabbit is brown.

Individuals fill in the blanks and change the sentences. Then groups of three compare their answers and discuss any discrepancies. All groups should come to a final decision on what words belong in the blanks and how to write the sentences. Groups share their answers and the class arrives at a consensus of correct answers.

3. Using the Venn diagrams as prompts, groups of three create their own sentences using neither, either, too, so and but. They write them on newsprint and the class examines them making sure that all are correct and the syntax is good.




Checkout the two previous Rabbit and Turtle Lesson Plans:


ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity One: Similarities and Differences


ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Two: Writing Simple Sentences

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