for EFL teachers / in English · 23 grudnia 2014

A story with contradictions galore

At times I like to crack a really bad joke, or two. Just to change the mood at the lesson. Students then seem more relaxed. And that is especially important just in the middle of some boring grammar drill. Another way I bring some humour to the classroom is to start a lesson with a funny text. Just as a warmup. My students put their thinking caps on and switch from their mother tongue into English.

One  of such texts is one about contradictions. Students not only learn  a new term „contradiction” but also read something less stuffy, more creative. It gives them a lot of joy and prepares for the next stage of the lesson. Even if some students treat it as a kind of „chestnut joke”, I do not care ;-).

Read the story. There are lots of contradictions in it. Find them!

Example: He’s a vegetarian, so he doesn’t eat meat. Why was he eating a hot dog?


My mate Stuart is a funny bloke. He’s insomniac, he’s dyslexic, and he’s an atheist.

He’s single, unemployed, and lives all alone in a small basement flat without even a pet for company. Also he’s vegetarian and teetotal, and he doesn’t touch caffeine. He’s pretty anti-social, actually.

I went round to see him last Sunday. As I walked up the drive, his dog started barking. His wife answered the door, and we went upstairs to their living room. He was in a bad mood because he had overslept that morning and had been late for church. He had a bit of hangover, as well. Over a cup of coffee, he told me about the wild party they’d had at his house the night before. They’d had a barbecue in the garden with hamburgers and hot dogs. One of his favourite pastimes is crosswords, and he spends all his lunch break at work doing them.

‘So how are you, Stuart?’ I asked him the other day.

‘KO, mate, KO. How about you?’

Anyway, as I said, Stuart’s and insomniac, dyslexic, atheist. S the joke is that that he lies awake all night wondering about the existence of dog. Get it?



  1. Introduce the word ‘contradiction’.
  2. Elicit examples.
  3. Pre-teach necessary words.
  4. Let them read – distribute copies of the text.
  5. Students work in pairs or groups of three.
  6. Discuss in class the answers. Elicit possible solutions for problems.