Office Equipment Inventions- Past Tense review

Level: Intermediate

Topic: Profession, work or study

Grammar Topic: Past Simple

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Type: Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan Text

 

Guess the office equipment inventions past tense review 

Choose one of the typical pieces of office equipment below. Can your partner guess which one you have 

chosen just by asking Yes/ No questions? (E.g. Do you use it everyday?) 

 

Tippex (= correcting fluid= liquid paper)   

 

A pencil sharpener 

hole 

punch 

 Post 

its 

  A 

Dictaphone (= voice recorder) 

ruler 

  A 

noticeboard 

 A 

headset 

A paper clip 

 

Thumbtacks (= drawing pins)  An ashtray 

A laptop   

 

A wastepaper basket (= a bin)  A mousepad 

A stapler   

 

A drinks machine 

 

A fire alarm 

A box of staples 

 

A vending machine   

A smoke detector 

A calculator 

 

A ballpoint (pen)= A biro 

Pot plants 

A pair of scissors 

 

A fountain pen 

 

Lockers 

An 

A4 

ring 

binder 

 Bookends 

  A 

coat 

rack 

A ream of photocopy paper    Bookshelves 

 

A projector screen 

diary 

  A 

cubicle 

  An 

umbrella 

stand 

A date stamp 

 

An intercom 

 

An automatic pencil  

An address book 

 

A mobile phone 

 

A (permanent) market 

 

A photocopier 

 

A fax (machine) 

 

A picture frame 

mouse 

  A 

monitor 

  A 

projector 

An 

answer 

machine 

 Sellotape 

  A 

video 

cabinet 

An eraser  

 

Blinds 

 

 

A glue stick (= a Pritt stick) 

A rubber band 

 

An electronic dictionary 

A box of tissues 

 

 

A printer   

 

An instruction manual 

A whiteboard marker 

An envelope 

 

A clipboard 

 

A briefcase 

 

A (postage) stamp   

A desk calendar 

 

A light switch 

A desk lamp 

 

A business card holder 

A plug 

A filing cabinet 

 

A key ring 

 

A socket 

A cupboard 

 

A partition 

 

A security badge 

Some drawers 

 

A board room table   

A coat hangar 

A tube of glue 

 

A swivel chair 

 

A button 

water 

cooler 

 A 

notepad 

  A 

bulb 

A fire extinguisher   

A first aid box 

 

A fluorescent light 

 

Continue the game, but with other equipment you use in your job that is not written above. 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2008 

 

Worksheet 2 

Guess the name of the office equipment below 

This was invented by a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro, who was working for a newspaper and was 

annoyed at wasting so much time filling fountain pens with ink. 

I think this is the _________________________ 

 

This was invented by Dick Drew, , the same man who had earlier invented masking tape who was 

working for 3M at the time. It became 3M’s most successful product ever. 

I think this is    ___________________________ 

 

Although Xerox later became the most famous brand for this product due to producing the first compact 

version that could be connected to a normal telephone line in 1966, in fact the first machine that could 

transmit writing through an electrical wire had been invented in 1843 by the Englishman Alexander Bain. 

I think this is the    ___________________________ 

 

This was invented by Bette Nesmith Graham, who was working as a typist and needed something to 

correct the many mistakes she made while she was typing. The invention was bought by Gillette 

Corporation in 1979 for $47.5 million plus royalties. IBM had    previously rejected the product in the 

1950’s. 

I think this is    ___________________________ 

 

Although this invention seems very simple, the modern version wasn’t invented until 1899, by which 

time steel that was flexible enough to be bent into this shape had become commonly available. Before 

that time people had used string and pins etc. to hold paper together, but all those methods damaged the 

paper. 

I think this is the ___________________________ 

 

These things were invented by accident when Spencer Silver was working in the 3M laboratories trying to 

develop a strong glue. Although the glue he developed was not strong enough for what he was looking 

for, it later became famous for how easy it was to remove it from the surface it had been stuck to. 

I think these are ____________________________ 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2008 

 

Worksheet 3 

Past tenses grammar presentation and practice 

Read the texts again and by memory and grammatical knowledge, fill in the gaps without looking at the 

worksheet above. 

This _____________ (invent) by a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro, who _____________ (work) for a 

newspaper and was annoyed at wasting so much time filling fountain pens with ink. 

 

This ______________ (invent) by Dick Drew, who was working for 3M, the same man who had earlier 

invented masking tape. It became 3M’s most successful product ever. 

 

Although Xerox later ________________ (become) the most famous brand for this product due to 

producing the first compact version that could be connected to a normal telephone line in 1966, in fact the 

first machine that could transmit writing through an electrical wire ___________________ (invent) in 

1843 by the Englishman Alexander Bain. 

 

This ________________ (invent) by Bette Nesmith Graham, who _______________ (work) as a typist 

and needed something to correct the many mistakes she ____________ (make) while she 

___________________ (type). The invention ___________________ (buy) by Gillette Corporation in 

1979 for $47.5 million plus royalties. IBM ___________________ (previously reject) the product in the 

1950’s. 

 

Although this invention seems very simple, the modern version ______________ (not invented) until 

1899, by which time steel that was flexible enough to be bent into this shape ______________ (become) 

commonly available. Before that time people ___________ (use) string and pins etc. to hold paper 

together, but all those methods damaged the paper. 

 

These things ________________ (invent) by accident when Spencer Silver ________________ (work) in 

the 3M laboratories trying to develop a strong glue. Although the glue he developed was not strong 

enough for what he was looking for, it later ______________ (become) famous for how easy it was to 

remove it from the surface it _______________________ (stick) to. 

Check your answers with Worksheet 2. Why are the different tenses used in each case? 

 

Using the tenses above, test each other on the facts above with full questions and answers. 

 

Make up stories about the inventions of the other objects on Worksheet 1 and see if your partner can 

guess which one you are describing. 

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2008