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A function in English language teaching is a skill such as describing, comparing, expressing opinions or giving instructions.[1]

Students need to practise functions both verbally and in writing and in both formal and informal contexts.

Role plays and simulations, whether as pairwork or group work, are ideal vehicles for practicing the language of functions.

Key functions[edit]

  • agreeing/disagreeing
  • comparing
  • compromising
  • concluding
  • describing
  • generalising
  • giving examples
  • giving/inviting opinions
  • expressing doubt
  • hedging
  • interrupting/pre-empting interruptions
  • making recommendations
  • persuading
  • playing for time
  • summarising
  • summing up


  1. ELD Strategies, What Are Language Functions?

See also[edit]

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