Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №1/1999

“Step by Step” by BONK

Any adult learner of English who has ever studied the English language in this country is sure to have come across the textbook of English written by a team of authors among whom is Natalya Alexandrovna Bonk. The textbook became known simply as Bonk. And when asked what textbook you use in your English classes many very often would reply, “мы занимаемся по Бонку” declining this name as a noun of the masculine gender. Indeed The Textbook of English by N. A. Bonk, N. A Lukyanova, G. A. Kotiy, and L. G. Pamukhina may be rightfully called a bestseller on the market of English textbooks in this country. The first edition was published in the early ’60s, and up to now (after almost 40 years!) it can be found in almost any bookstore (on the black market for sure) and in many English language classrooms. One may doubt that there will ever be another textbook that could challenge this phenomenal “eternal” universal English course for adult learners. However, Natalya Alexandrovna has written a new two – volume textbook which she called English Step by Step. For four years this book has already been used at various educational establishments, including the Academy of Foreign Trade, the extramural correspondence courses at the Moscow Institute of Physics (MIFI), secondary schools, and at the Institute of Literature named after A. M. Gorky where Natalya Alexandrovna teaches English at the Foreign Language Department and at the courses of foreign languages and gives consultations on methods because the syllabus is based on this book. She kindly agreed to give an interview to our newspaper, tell us about her new textbook, and share some facts from her biography of a textbook-writer.


Why did you venture writing a new textbook? The old one is still very popular and has been a great success for almost forty years of its existence

Well, you have actually answered the question by just asking it. Forty years is a very, very long time, isn’t it? Why hasn’t anyone ventured to outstrip that “good old Bonk”, with so many language colleges and universities around? Isn’t it unnatural that with each new book for adult learners I write, I find myself competing with the old team a lawful member of which I am? Perhaps the strenuous and time – consuming work of a textbook writer isn’t as rewarding as all that and needs encouragement? Perhaps it’s a painful thing for a teacher to part with something he’s got used to and try something else?

English Step by Step isn’t actually my first attempt to write a new thorough course for adult beginners. In 1986 “Vyschaya Shkola” published a book called English Coursebook for Beginners. I wrote it with I. I. Levina, a Ph. D and a native speaker of English. The first part of Step by Step is related to English Coursebook for Beginners and uses some material from it, but it’s a fundamentally different book, which without making any concessions in the quality of pronunciation, most definitely subjects phonetics to language acquisition, i.e. to an intensive accumulation of lexis, grammar structures and working out speech habits. This time my assistant was my own daughter Irina who turned out very efficient and inventive, though she isn’t a professional teacher of English. The second part of the course, which first saw print entitled English for International Cooperation, was written by myself without any co-authors. Now it has also been renamed English Step by Step. Together the two books cover a complete grammatical and lexical syllabus for approximately 500 hours of classroom work. I think we have made the right choice with the name because learning the language step by step, with reasonably small portions of new information immediately reinforced by a set of exercises (including taped ones), is the main methodological principle of the book.


How much does English Step by Step differ from the old book?

If you mean the one that will soon celebrate its fortieth birthday, the answer should be that they have two things in common – both cover a fundamental syllabus and are written thoroughly. In all other ways Step by Step is an absolutely different book:

A. Step by Step offers a new approach to the beginning of the course with each unit being a blend of rapidly increasing lexis, grammar and phonetics necessary to produce the given language repertoire articulately, and this actually means eliminating the boredom of a traditional introductory course as such.

B. In part one the main types of texts are micro-dialogues and short texts with an element of humour, illustrated with pictures, not the usual topical texts of “At the Lesson” or “ My Family” type.

C. It goes without saying that there is no ideology of any kind in either the texts or the exercises.

D. Both parts are accompanied by six cassettes, recorded by native English speakers, all graduates of British universities. The recording covers all the texts, a good portion of exercises, some examples from grammar rules, and even the new vocabulary.

The new words were recorded at the request of extramural students at the Correspondence School of the Moscow Institute of Physics (MIFI) where they have been successfully using the book for three years. By the way, the School gets lots and lots of letters from their students with very favourable opinions of the course.


How did you select the topics and the language material?

Oh, I tried to be very, very pragmatic here! Even towards the middle of Part One, and especially in Part Two I tried to select things that are typical for modern life and might be useful for the learner. As examples I could give the names of some texts that will give an idea of the principle of choosing topics: “Television in Modern Life”, “An Interview for a Job”, “Planning One’s Day Round”, “At a Joint Venture Meeting”, “Making an Appointment”, “Making Hotel Reservations by Telephone”, “Discussing Sports and Games”. Routine topics are by no means neglected, either. I only tried to make them more “true to life”, so to speak.


Could you say a few words more about the texts in Part Two?

Thank you, it’s an important thing to speak about. The textual material in Part Two could be divided into three main categories:

a) topical texts either containing a problem to discuss, e.g. “Television in Modern Life”, or informative texts, e.g. “A Few Facts from the History of Big Cities”, partly based on my own impressions of a certain similarity in the structure of London and Moscow;

b) situational dialogues;

c) short texts within the grammar section, which in addition to reinforcing grammar, bring in some new vocabulary, thus taking some lexical “burden” off the longer and more serious topical texts.


Are you working on new projects at the moment?

A good question. The answer is yes. I’ve just finished writing answer keys to exercises and have begun working on the student’s book with additional exercises and easy home reading stuff. Next comes the teacher’s guide which, among other things, will contain test papers so that the teacher shouldn’t rack his brains over them. My serious intention is, to do that all fairly soon.


There is a great variety of textbooks on the market now. On the one hand, it is just what many teachers dreamed of, when there wasn’t any choice. On the other hand, this situation looks chaotic and disastrous for a language teacher. What do you think about it?

I don’t think a professional teacher ought to be embarrassed by this opportunity to make a choice. It’s a normal situation. We are just not used to it. We ought to admit though that most of those really brilliant publications we can see on the bookshop counters are either British or American. As to our own production, there isn’t much to be baffled by. I must say that schools, particularly specialised ones, are a lot better off than adult learners. As to adults, my firm belief is that at least for the first year, and better still for the first two years, an adult beginner in this country should be provided with an up-to-date coursebook taking care of specific difficulties of a native Russian speaker. I do hope that English Step by Step meets these requirements. But, as the English proverb says, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. I do hope, dear colleagues, you will appreciate the newly made “pudding”. Try it, and, of course, any criticism is welcome.

Moscow Pedagogical State University Presents:

1998 Entrance Examination in English


The written test measures your ability to understand and analyze what you read recognize relationships between parts of a sentence use the tenses (active and passive voice) correctly, use the articles correctly. The main rules of morphology and syntax are also tested. Each written test has four sections. You will have two hours for the entire test.


Test-taking Tips

Task I.

Opening the brackets measures your knowledge of tenses
ability to see the difference between active and passive constructions
ability to use modal verbs
knowledge of the construction “Complex Object”.


Task II.

It measures your ability to put five types of questions:
to the subject


Task III.

The Multiple Choice Section measures your
knowledge of the meaning of words
ability to use the articles
ability to use the tenses
knowledge of the degrees of comparison of adjectives
knowledge of the difference between adjectives and adverbs.


Task IV.

The translation from Russian into English measures your knowledge of English grammar and the meaning of words.
All the texts are narrative passages or completed short stories.
Before opening the brackets carefully read the whole text and try to figure out the succession of actions in the text. Pay attention to direct and reported speech.


TASK I. Complete the story by supplying the correct form of the verb.

One day I ______ (1. to return) home later than usual. I ______ (2. to have) a lot of work to do at the office that day. I ______ (3. to walk) along London streets ______ (4. to look) for a cafй ______ (5. to have) supper: I ______ (6. to go) down Bond Street, ______ (7. to turn) left and ______ (8. to find) myself in a quiet street. I ______ (9. to see) a small cafй. I. ______ (10. to die) of hunger as I hardly ______ (11. to have) anything to eat that day. So I ______ (12. to feel) happy when I ______ (13. to see) light in the windows and ______ (14. to come in). The owner ______ (15. to welcome) me warmly and hardly I ______ (16. to say) a word when he ______ (17. to bring) a hot supper and a cup of tea for me. It ______ (18. to be) just what I ______ (19. to dream) of all the way. After supper I ______ (20. to thank) him and ______ (21. to ask): “Why your cafй still ______ (22. to open)? It ______ (23. to be) nearly midnight, eh?”

“The thing ______ (24. to be)”,  ______ (25. to answer) the man, “that one of my customers ______ (26. to fall) asleep here at the table”.

I ______ (27. to look around) and really ______ (28. to see) a man ______ (29. to sleep) at the table with a bottle of whisky on it. “ Why ______ (30. not to wake up) you him up?”

“I ______ (31. to try) to”. “He ______ (32. to refuse) to pay?”

“Just the contrary. Every time I ______ (33. to try) ______ (34. to wake) him up, he ______ (35. to pay) the bill, ______ (36. to give) me a rip and ______ (37. to fall) asleep again. So I ______ (38. not to think) I ______ (39. to close) my cafй until he ______ (40. to wake) up himself, ______ (41. to understand) what ______ (42. to happen) around him and ______ (43. to leave) the cafe.”

I ______ (44. to come) across a lot of smart people in my life, but upon my word, I don’t think I ever ______ (45. to know) a cunning man like him.


TASK II. Make up five questions on the above story.


TASK III. Choose the right answer. Only one answer is correct.

1. ____ a lot of time for museums at the weekend.
A.) There are; B.) It is; C.) It will be; D.) There is

2. The table cloth Mary ____ is very pretty.
A.) has laid; B.) lay; C.) lied; D.) has lain

3. ____ tasteless clothes!
A.) What; B.) What a; C.) How; D.) How a

4. I can’t see you ____ the picture.
A.) on; B.) at; C.) from; D.) in

5. I like all kinds of music ____ jazz.
A.) besides; B.) except; C.) beside; D.) accept

6. He behaved ____ .
A.) strange; B.) strange way; C.) strangely; D.) very strange

7. I saw her open the window and ____ to someone.
A.) waved; B.) wave; C.) waving; D.) to wave

8. ____ Pamela’s cousins.
A.) They is; B.) This are; C.) There is; D.) These are

9. To give ____ is easier than to follow it.
A.) an advice; B.) advice; C.) advices; D.) the advices

10. Michael’s new apartment is ____ .
A.) much large; B.) much more larger; C.) much larger; D.) more larger

11. He said he didn’t know when ____ .
A.) was her birthday; B.) is her birthday; C.) her birthday was; D.) her birthday will be

12. We have to prepare the documents by tomorrow, ____ we?
A.) haven’t; B.) don’t; C.) have; D.) has

13. I don’t like ____ tasteless things.
A.) so; B.) such a; C.) such; D.) so a

14. Must you really go now? Can’t you ____ for a drink?
A.) to leave; B.) stay; C.) be left; D.) to stay

15. John asked Mary ____ late for dinner.
A.) didn’t be; B.) don’t be; C.) not to be; D.) not be

16. Can you make your son ____ more agreeable?
A.) be; B.) to be; C.) being; D.) will be

17. I couldn’t find that house as I ____ there only once.
A.) have been; B.) was; C.) had been; D.) was being

18. They’ll arrive ____ the Congress Hall in half an hour.
A.) in; B.) at; C.) to; D.) –

19. There will come a day when we ____ again.
A.) will meet; B.) meet; C.) will have been meeting; D.) are meeting

20. When I came back, a new metro line ____ .
A.) was being built; B.) had built; C.) was building; D.) has been built


TASK IV. Translate into English.

1. Новости очень печальные. Кто тебе их рассказал?
2. Я так рад, что он уже все сделал и нам не надо помогать ему.
3. Паркеры в декабре будут путешествовать по Южной Америке, и я не знаю, вернутся ли они к Рождеству.
4. У тебя покраснели глаза. Ты плакала? – Ну, что ты! Разве ты когда-нибудь видел, чтобы я плакала?
5. Мой старший брат сказал мне, чтобы я не включал магнитофон, если я не знаю, как это делать.
6. Он почувствовал, что кто-то дотронулся до его плеча.
7. Его домик стоял в самом дальнем конце деревни. Мы с трудом нашли его.
8. Он сказал, что сделает это к четырем часам, и никто не сможет заставить его сделать это раньше.
9. Было холодно, моросил дождь, на улице было мало народу. Наступило самое неприятное время года.
10. Я даже представить себе не могу, чем он сейчас занимается, я не встречался с ним уже несколько лет.


The Keys and Explanations:

Task I

1. was returning The Past Continuous is used to denote an action going on at a given past moment. You can’t use the Past Simple here because it denotes a completed past action.

2. had had The Past Perfect is used to denote an action prior to the action expressed by the verb to return. You can’t use the Past Simple because it doesn’t denote priority.

3. walked;

4. looking If you had “and” you could have said was walking and looking.

5. to have The infinitive of purpose is used here.

6. went;

7. turned;

8. found;

9. saw The Past Simple is used to denote succession of actions in the past.

10. was dying Mind the spelling of such verbs as to die and to lie in the form of the Present Continuous – ie is changed into y(+ing.) The Present Continuous is used to denote an action going on at a certain moment in the past.

11. had had The Past Perfect is used to denote an action prior to the action expressed by the verb to die.

12. felt;

13. saw;

14. came;

15. welcomed The Past Simple is used to denote succession of actions in the Past.

16. had said The Past Perfect is used in the main clauses of complex sentences with hardly . . . when, scarcely . . . when, no sooner . . . than.

17. brought;

18. was The Past Simple is used to denote a simple action in the past.

19. had dreamt/dreamed or had been dreaming The Past Perfect or the Past Perfect Continuous are used to denote an action which began before a given past moment (expressed by the verb to be) and continued into it.

20. thanked;

21. asked The Past Simple is used to denote succession of actions in the past.

22. is open;

23. is;

24. is The Present Simple of the verb to be is used to denote actions going on at the moment of speaking.

25. answered The Past Simple is used to denote a simple fact in the past.

26. has fallen The Present Perfect is used to denote an action connected with the present through its result. You don’t know the exact time of the action.

27. looked;

28. saw The Past Simple is used to denote succession of actions in the past.

29. sleeping Participle I is used here as an attribute to the noun man. You can’t say was sleeping as you don’t have who here.

30. don’t you wake him up If you didn’t have you here you could have said “why not wake him up”.

31. tried to, have tried to You can consider it as a single past action or as an action connected with the present. Mind the spelling of such verbs as try, cry in the Past Simple: y is changed into i.

32. does he refuse The Present Simple is used to refer the action to the present. did he refuse The Past Simple is used to denote an action which took place in the past when he tried to wake him up.

33. try to wake;

34. pays;

35. gives;

36. falls asleep The Present Simple is used to denote succession of actions in the present.

38. don’t think The Present Simple of the verb to think is used to denote an action going on at the moment of speaking, but the verb to think is not used in the Continuous in this meaning.

39. won’t/shan’t The Future Simple is used in the main clause of a complex sentence with a clause of time.

40. wakes up;

41. understands;

43. leaves They are homogeneous parts of the sentence. Although the action refers to the future, the Present Simple is used in clauses of time, condition and concession. Future tenses can’t be used here.

42. is happenning The Present Continuous is used to denote an action going on at a certain moment at the present.

44. have come;

45. have known The Present Perfect is used to denote actions connected with the present. We don’t know the exact time of the actions, that’s why the Past Simple can’t be used here.


Task III

1. D.
      A. Can’t be used because the noun time is uncountable and can’t be used with the verb in the plural. B. and C. can’t be used because of it.

2. A.
Mind the difference between the verbs to lie and to lay and the three forms of these verbs.

3. A.
Is impossible because the noun clothes is always in the plural and can’t be used with the indefinite article. C. Is also wrong, how could be used in the sentence How tasteless the clothes are. D. The same case + the indefinite article.

4. D.
E.g. in the picture, in the photo, but on the map.

5. B.
“за исключением”. D. Accept is the verb “принимать”. C. Beside is used in another context, when you speak about the position of something, e.g. beside the lake. A. Besides – the meaning is “кроме того”.

6. С.
    Only an adverb can be used here. B. Is not possible in this context. It can be possible in such a sentence He behaved in a strange way.

7. B.
     Open and wave
are homogeneous parts of speech used as part of a complex object.

8. D.
are impossible because of the subject-verb agreement.

9. B.
The noun advice is uncountable, that is why it can’t be used in the plural and with the indefinite article.

10. C.
intensifies the comparative degree of an adjective – much larger, but much more difficult.

11. C.
Mind the sequence of tenses and the word order in reported speech. A. Is impossible because of the word order. B. Is impossible because of the word order and the sequence of tenses. D. Is impossible because of the sequence of tenses.

12. B.
     Have to
is a modal verb, it requires the auxiliary verb do to form questions and negative sentences.

13. C.
     A. Can be used only in the following context: Your clothes are so tasteless (so refers to the adjective). B. The indefinite article can’t be used with nouns in the plural.

14. B.
     Mind the difference between the verbs to stay and to leave. D. Can’t be used because the infinitive is used without the particle to after modal verbs.

15. C.
In reported speech only this construction is possible in negative sentences.

16. A.
In the construction Complex Object after the verb to make the infinitive is used without the particle to.

17. C.
Only the Past Perfect is possible here, because the action in the subordinate clause is prior to the action in the main clause.

18. B.
         To arrive in a country, a large place, but to arrive at a small place.

19. B.
     The Present Simple is used in clauses of time to denote future actions.

20. A.
     The action took place at a certain period of time in the past, this is the Past Simple in the Passive Voice.


Task IV

1. The news is very sad. Who (has) told you it?

2. I am very glad that he has done everything and we needn’t help/don’t need to help them.

3. The Parkers will be travelling (will travel) in South America in December and I don’t know if they will be back/have come back by Christmas.

4. Your eyes are red (have grown red.). Have you been crying? – Oh, no. Have you ever seen me cry/crying?

5. My elder brother told/has told me not to turn on the tape-recorder if I didn’t know/don’t know how to do it.

6. He felt somebody touch his shoulder.

7. His house was in the furthest (farthest) end of the village. We could hardly find it.

8. He said he would have done it by four o’clock, and nobody would make him do it earlier.

9. It was cold, it was drizzling, there were few people outside. The most unpleasant time of the year had come.

10. I can’t imagine what he is doing now. I haven’t met him for many years.


By Olga Kleimenova,

Moscow Pedagogical State University


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