Students should already be familiar with:

  • subject pronouns

  • plurals

  • helping verbs

  • past verbs

  • positive, negative, and question forms

ESOL Fundamentals Guide
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One Red S - video thumbnail.jpg

3rd-Person 's'

It may be common for students to use the 3rd-person 's' when they don't need it, or to drop it when it is needed.

To help them, we've created the ONE RED 'S' rule.

Past Basic - video thumbnail.jpg

Past Basic

If your students are saying or writing things like "she didn't went" or "do you played", then what they need is the ONE BLUE WORD rule.

The rules applies to all past tenses.

Yes-No Questions - video thumbnail.jpg

Yes/No Questions and Short Answers

Instead of creating yes/no questions from scratch, learners should take affirmative sentences and alter them. It only takes 1 step!

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The Fundamentals Guide includes:

Prerequisites in more detail


  • Poster of the One Red ‘S’ Rule

  • Irregular Verbs for elementary learners

  • An Overview of Helping Verbs

Slideshows for each video

Bonus Notes for each topic such as:

  • You need at least 2 words after ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; you can’t say, “Yes, I’m.”

  • With multiple verb phrases, add the One Red ‘S’ rule or the 1 Blue Word rule to each.

Related Teaching Tips like Writing with Colors

Recommended Activities

and more!