B.E.L.L. Tips – Halloween

jack o lantern on brown wooden table

B.E.L.L. Tips – Halloween

Issue #43

Learn English Here!

Tips and Tricks for Business English Language Learners (B.E.L.L.)


Each week I will send out some handy tips and useful exercises for adults learning to navigate and use the English language. Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. For more in-depth language coaching, use the link below to schedule a 1:1 consultation.

Halloween is the second largest holiday celebration in America (Christmas is the largest). It is estimated that consumers in the U.S. will spend about $12.2 BILLION dollars on Halloween in 2023. On average, each person spends about $100 on costumes, candy and home decor.

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Explore all of the vocabulary in this infographic about Halloween Monsters. Look up words you don’t know and try writing them in a new sentence.


Conditionals are sentences with two parts. One part of the sentence describes a condition, and the other part of the sentence describes the result of that condition.


If you work all day, you will be tired at night.
(condition) (result)
You will be tired at night if you work all day.
(result) (condition)

Notice that either the condition clause or the result clause can go first in the sentence. However, if we put the condition first, we must place a comma after the condition clause.

Last week we looked at Zero, First and Second Conditionals. Today, we will look at Third and Mixed Conditionals.

Third Conditional

Used to express hypothetical or alternative PAST situations and their probable results.

Condition clause – past perfect
Result clause – would have, might have, could have (plus a past participle)


If I hadn’t studied business, I might have become a doctor.
If Don had been at the meeting, he wouldn’t have missed the announcement.
They might not have come to the party even if we had invited them.

Mixed Conditional

(Past Condition, Present Result)

Used to express hypothetical or alternative past situations and their probable effects on the present.

Condition clause – past perfect
Result clause – would, might (plus the base form of the verb)


If I had gotten a master’s degree, I might have a better job right now.
If Karen hadn’t taken time off to raise her kids, she might be the general manager now.
(Karen took time off to raise her kids and she isn’t the general manager now.)
Carl wouldn’t be in trouble if he had listened to his friends’ advice.
(Carl is in trouble and he didn’t listen to his friends’ advice.)

Mixed Conditional

(Present Condition, Past Result)

Used to express hypothetical present situations and their probable effects on the past.

Condition clause – simple past
Result clause – would have, might have, could have (plus a past participle)


If I were you, I would have taken the job offer.
If Kevin spoke good English, he might have gotten the job.
(Kevin doesn’t speak good English, and he didn’t get the job.)
We would have been able to go on vacation to Europe this year if the economy weren’t so bad.
(The economy is bad and the speaker of the sentence did not go on vacation to Europe)

Time to practice!

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the third conditional or mixed conditional.

  1. If I hadn’t taken my current job, _________________.
  2. _______________ if I had studied something else in college.
  3. If my current boss hadn’t hired me, _________________.
  4. ____________ if I had learned English when I was a child.
  5. If I had been my high school’s valedictorian, ______________.
  6. If my family had moved to the United States when I was very young, ____________.
  7. _______________ if I had inherited a large sum of money five years ago.


This brief video explains the origins of Trick-or-treating in America.

For Writing practice, use the video to transcribe (write down or type the narration as you listen) what you hear.

video preview

Listening and Reading Practice:

Horror films are very popular in America. Why? There are psychological reasons behind our fascination with scary movies. Listen to this NPR interview about this interesting topic. You can read the transcript as you listen too:


Weekly Challenge

Correct the sentences below:

  1. I called Kate this morning and she told me she’ll call me back in a half an hour.
  2. We regularly conduct emergency drills for ensuring that we are prepared for an emergency.
  3. Brad is 32 now. He completes 33 years in October.
  4. These are the most cheap gas prices I have seen in my life.
  5. Yesterday, I must sent a very important email to a client.
  6. We knew there was a gas leak because it smelled really badly inside the house.
  7. My parents always told me that it’s important being positive.
  8. For the economy, we haven’t been able to hire any new people.
  9. He says that he’s been really tired since several weeks ago.
  10. A friend of us is going to pick us up at the airport.

Bonus Video

As my Halloween TREAT for you, here’s a bonus video explaining the origins of the Jack O’Lantern:

video preview

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