Learning & Teaching Foreign Languages

Pattern practice


Pattern practice involves the manipulation of syntactic structures by learners in order to facilitate memorisation and the formation of second language habits.

In the audio-lingual method, the teacher presents a structure which learners transform by substituting different elements of a particular paradigm. Here is an example of short affirmative answers, substituting the personal pronoun :

Is John busy? YES, HE IS.
Is the secretary busy? YES, SHE IS.
Is the telephone busy? YES, IT IS.
Am I right? YES, YOU ARE.
Are you and John busy? YES, WE ARE.
Are the students homesick? YES, THEY ARE.
Are you busy? YES, I AM.


(Lado & Fries, 1957, cited in Oller, 1979)


  1. Classroom illustration: Contrast
  2. Read more: Lado

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