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Find someone who

Teaching grammar

can be adapted to suit any structure or structures. For example, if we

want the students to practise using the present perfect, we could make a chart asking them to find someone who has never been to lndia, has always liked music, has never eaten raw

fish, has always had coffee for breakfast, etc. We can also get them to write the questions themselves to make it more interesting forthem or, at the beginning of a course, we can find

out one interesting fact about each individualstudent and putthese facts into the chart (e.9.

Find someone who is a keen swimmer, Find someone who plays in an orchestra, etc.). The activìty thus becomes an excellent way for them to get to know each other. There are many mini-surveys that we can use for grammar practice in this way, which involve wh- and other question forms. For example, we can construct (or have our students construct) any number of lifestyle questions asking such things asWhat ttme do you normally get up? What do you have for breakfast? How many cups of coffee do you dilnk in a day? Or, if we want the students to practise past tenses, they can design a questionnaire in order to ask When did you last go to the cinema? Who did you go with? What was the name of the

film? What did you think of the film? elc.

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Many games from television and radio (and games that people play at home in their everyday lives) can be adapted for classroom use (see 21.4.2). The following three examples, however, show howwe can design games especiallyfor our learners. The idea is thatthey (and games like them) will engage the students and encourage them to use the target structures

with enthusiasm.

fixar:lple ''l 2

Ask the right question


the students will be able to think of questions to elicit particular answers (and so

practise a variety of question forms)

Activity: grammar activation game

Language: questions (especially wh- questions)


older children and above

Level: elementary plus [CEFR A2+] .ff"r, ,U-0,

This game, which is suitable for all levels, forces the students to think carefully about the

exact construction of the questions they are asking. lt can be done in pairs, as a team game,

or by individual students standing in front of the whole class.

' Prepare a set of cards with words or phrases on them (see Figure 14).

' Have the students sit in two teams: Team A and Team B. Put the pile of cards face down between the teams,

' Ask a member of Team A to pick up the f irst card, but not to show it to anyone else.

This student has to ask the members of their own team questions until one of the team

members gives the exact answer that is written on the card. . Count the number of questions that are asked. That is Team As score (so far).

' Repeat the procedure, but this time with a student from Team B. Once again, count the

number of questions. That is Team B's score so far.


clrl¡.ri.r:t 14

. Keep going like this until it is time to finish the game - when everyone has had a go,

when the cards have run out or when you sense that the level of enthusiasm is facling, " Count up the total score of each team. The team with the lowest score wins.




ü ilrT:iff


['icllrre -i 1,t Answer cards







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a newscaner

$ fi


';1¡¡¡r¡,1., i ; Putting sentences back together again


the students will be able to put sentence elements in the correct order

No, I clon,t

Activity: reordering words into correct sentence sequences

Language: comparative and superlative forms of adjectives


young learners


intermediate ICEFR A2] dffcsr ¡O-+Z

A common way of practising and testing syntax - the order of words in a sentence - is to

the students sentences with the words in the wrong order, e.g. bananas I don't I eating

likefor I don't like eating bananas and to askthem to reorderthe words to make a correct' sentence. But such word-ordering activities can be used in a more game-like way, too. " Put the students in two teams. lf they want, they can decide on names for their teams.



' Provide two sets of envelopes, each numbered 1-12 (for example). ln each envelope are the words that make up a complete sentence, written individually on cards. Both envelopes marked 1 will contain the same set of word cards (see Figure 1 5), and there will be two envelopes for sentence number 2, number 3, and so on.

la nd



Fiquie l5 Cards for game envelope 1

' Write the numbers 1-12 on the board twice, once for each team, Put the two piles of twelve envelopes at the front of the class. A student from each team comes up and selects an envelope (they don't have to choose them in order), and takes it backto the team. When the team have rearranged the words and written the sentence down on a piece of paper, they cross off the relevant number of the envelope on the board.

' The first team to finish gets two bonus points.

' Look at the sentences they have written down. Cive a point for each correct sentence.

There are other ways of having students put words in the right order. For example, they ca move them around on an lWB. They can hold words on cards in front of them or above theit heads without looking at them and the other students can get them to stand in the right

order to make sentences.


Teaclring CraT"[3j

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Stepping stones



students will be able to combine subject' verb object and complement phrases

¡nto sentences about what people have done

Activity: sentence-makingboardgame

Language: present perfect and sentence elements




learners (approximately


eleven Years old)

elementary ICEFR A2+]

låcsr 36-42



like tÀe following example

word order and the elements

easy for teachers to replicate'

This is the sequence for


of a sentenc"'


drawings' pieces of paper' etc'



'stepping stones':

the initructions

¡j '-,"


in order to


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find l) the"iï:;i*:

" Te' rhe students to iead

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or the stones and 4) the aim or the same'

are fairly


S&øppLng ffi4onøs


$tow to p[ag

i'¡'" .it

rô srone to cross the river. Make correct sentences by




tn""gurn" ìs to step from stone to

r.^ñ cr^nê

stepping on a stone of each colour:

a blul stone + a recl

Plafers can steP lìke

stone + a pìnk stone + an


s' ã

this: e'





The youngest PlaYer

goes first

'ut" :,::nt"n'u He/she is allowed to iump over two stones




is correct? Player 1 gets-1 point

The sentence is not correcti Pluy"t 1 {alls !Wh"n players I'au" fatttn into the river The other players play in the same way'

into the rìver' 3 tìmes' they drop out of the game


Thø ruløs

a You are not




allowed to rePeat the-sentences of other players

uùo*ua to look at a list of irregular verbs'

. You ur" allowed to ask {or helP'

,"r ,stepping stones, rrom your Turn by A Acevedo and J Harmer (Klett Verlas)



when a



a sentenc"z wiat iupp"ni

after a ptayer has fallen in the

river three times?

understood 'allowed to' in the instructions'

instructions again and to play the game:

" Check that the students have

' Ask the students to read the

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a lol




a shower







f igL-rre 1 1 Board for 'Stepping stones' from Your Turn by A Acevedo and J Harmer (Klett Verlag)

. Checkthat the students have completed the game successfully by asking them to share the sentences they have made with the class.

. As an added bonus, the students can practise allowed fo bysaying whatthey are and

not allowed to do in school. Board games designed especially for language However, many other games such as Pictionary,

for general language practice, too.

learning usually practise specific language. Monopoly, Cluedo, etc. are extremely

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Of the many grammars on offer, serious researchers and students will want to look at Biber et al (2002) and Carter and McCarthy (2006), both of which pay special attention to spoken as well as written grammar. Carter, IVcCarthy, Mark and O'Keefe (201 1) is a grammar for students. Swan (2005a) is a book which a large number of teachers and students rely on. Parrott (20 i 0) oflers 'grammar for language teachers' and Aarts, Chalker and Weiner

(2014) offer a'dictionary of English grammar'.

Harmer (2O12: Units 1-1 7) explains grammar concepts through stories of

teachers' lives.