Stories

  • We usually use the past tense in stories or narratives.
  • The first paragraph usually sets the scene (who, where, when, what). Start your narrative with an introduction that will encourage your reader to continue reading.
  • Divide your story into paragraphs.
  • Develop your story using sequencing expressions like first, then, later, next and finally.
  • Don’t write about too many events. It is better to describe fewer things in more detail.
  • Give a definite ending to your story.
  • Use time expressions. Add background detail.
  • Use adjectives and write about your feelings. Use adverbs to you’re your story interesting.
  • Use linking words to join phrases and sentences (however, although, as, instead, in spite of).
  • Make sure you begin and end with the sentence you are given.
  • Don’t change the words you are given to start or finish your story.
  • Use the names you are given in the sentence as characters in your story.
  • Use a variety of vocabulary.
  • Avoid unnecessary repetition.
  • Check your past tenses carefully.
  • Use a variety of words and expressions to show sequence.
  • Use past perfect for things that happened before the main events of the story.
  • Use descriptive adjectives and adverbs.
  • Use past continuous for background information.
  • Show how your story was resolved.
  • Alternatively, you can leave the reader in suspense.

Useful language

Saying when something happened:
  • It all started…
  • Some time later…
  • Shortly after that…
  • Soon after…
  • Gradually…
  • Slowly…
  • Minutes later…
  • Meanwhile…
  • Eventually…
  • In the end…
Making your story interesting:
  • Suddenly…
  • At that moment…
  • All of a sudden…
Using adverbs and adjectives for description:
  • It was amazing/incredible/ wonderful/ so unexpected…
  • I felt so scared/ worried/ nervous/ frightened…
  • …incredibly scary…
  • Absolutely overjoyed…
  • Completely miserable…
  • Totally overwhelming…
  • Fantastically happy…
The end of the story:
  • When it was over…
  • When I looked back…
  • After all that happened…
  • It had all been…
  • At last,…

Last summer my girlfriend Jane and I were outside Buckingham Palace, taking photos. It was a lovely sunny day. I took a photo of Jane and then she took one of me.

I was just putting my camera away when a tall, young man approached us and kindly offered to take a photo of the two of us together, with Buckingham Palace in the background. So I showed him how to use the camera and we stood in front of the railings. I thought it was a bit strange because he kept walking backwards, much further than I thought was necessary. Then, suddenly, he turned round and ran off with my camera. I shouted but he kept on running.

Luckily for us, there was a police officer not far away and he saw what happened and caught the thief.

I think one of the worst moments of my life was when I nearly didn’t make it to my final German oral exam at university.

Three friends and I had taken advantage of the week between the end of the written exams and our oral to visit some people we knew in Augsburg in Germany. Unfortunately, there was a train strike in the whole of the UK the day we were due to travel home and we, being students, had opted to travel by train.

Our journey by train and ferry back home went well, but we arrived in London to find that there were no trains back to Manchester that night. Our initial plan was to spend the night in Euston station and catch the first train the next morning, but the taxi driver who took us to Euston refused to let four young girls spend the night in a railway station. Instead he took us to a makeshift hostel for stranded passengers in a gym somewhere in the middle of London, and so we stayed the night there.

The next morning we got up at 6 a.m., grabbed our things, and went back to Euston to catch the train. We arrived in Manchester at 10.30 with just enough time to run home, get showered and get to university in time for our orals at 12.30. I still can’t believe we actually made it, and I hate to think what would have happened if we’d spent the night in the station.

Anna began to think about why Mark had stopped talking to her. It was really strange. He had been perfectly friendly up until the weekend and then, when she had seen him at the party, he had ignored her.

She thought it all started when they were studying together for their exams. He seemed to get very cross with her when she was trying to explain something to him. Then he had suddenly packed his books up and walked out.

The next day at school he laughed behind her back when she answered questions in class. She went up to him afterwards and told him he was rude. He just laughed again and she felt totally miserable. Then she found someone poured yoghurt into her schoolbag all over her books. She knew it was Mark so she tried to talk to him at the party but he refused to speak to her.

Maybe it was because he thought Anna was cleverer then him. The question was , what was she going to do now?

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