ESL Grammar Games


ESL Grammar Game - Reading and Speaking Activity - Elementary and above - 25 minutes

This is a useful grammar game that helps students practice error correction. Divide the students into four teams (A, B, C and D). Write 12 sentences on the board and tell the class that each one contains a grammar mistake. Tell the teams to read the sentences and look for the mistakes. Explain that each team starts with 100 points and that they are going to gamble points, depending on how confident they are about correctly identifying a grammar mistake. Team A starts and chooses a sentence for Team B to correct. Team B decides how many points they would like to gamble (the more confident they are, the more points they gamble). The maximum bet is 50 points. The members of Team B then consult with each other and give their correction. If the team correctly identifies the grammar mistake, add the points they gambled to their total. If they fail to identify the mistake, they lose the amount of points gambled. Team A then has a chance to steal the points by correcting the sentence. If Team A answer correctly, they get the points that Team B would have won. Team B then chooses a sentence for Team C to correct and so on. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Grammar Auction

ESL Grammar Game - Reading and Speaking Activity - Elementary and above - 25 minutes

Here is a handy game to help your students identify grammar mistakes. Write or display the 16 sentences on the board. Divide the students into four teams. Explain that all the sentences on the board are for sale and that you are going to auction the sentences off to the highest bidder. Tell the students that each team has $100 and that their task is to buy the sentences they think are correct. In their teams, the students then discuss which sentences they think are right and decide which ones to buy. The students should also decide how much they are prepared to pay for each sentence. Tell the students that they shouldn't spend too much money too soon as once they have spent all their money, they won't be able to buy any more sentences. You then take on the role of an auctioneer and sell each sentence to the team who offers the most money. Keep track of how much each team has spent on the board. When all the sentences have been sold, go through them one at a time and elicit which ones are correct and which are incorrect. If a sentence is wrong, ask the students to correct the mistake. The team that bought the most correct sentences wins the game. If it's a draw, the team with the most money left wins.

Grammar Races

ESL Grammar Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary and above - 25 minutes

This ESL game is ideal for reviewing all aspects of grammar. It also helps you to spot problem areas or common mistakes that your students are making. Divide the students into four teams. Choose one student in each team to be the 'runner' and one student to be the 'writer'. Assign each team a number and allocate a space on the board for each team to write. Have the writers stand next to their space by the board. Give each team a different keyword. The keywords should be vocabulary you wish the students to revise. Each team must then come up with sentences using their keyword. When a team thinks of a sentence, they tell the runner. The runner then goes to the board and tells the sentence to the writer who writes it on the board. After a few minutes, stop the round and evaluate the sentences from each team. Award one to three points for each sentence, depending on the grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary usage. If you spot a mistake, ask the other teams to identify and correct it. The first student to raise their hand and correct the mistake scores the points for their team. Play a few rounds using different keywords each time. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Just a minute!

ESL Grammar Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate and above - 25 minutes

This grammar game works best with small class sizes as the teacher is involved in the game. Divide the students into groups of eight. Have each group sit around a table. You can make the groups bigger or smaller, depending on your class size. Give each group a piece of A4 paper labeled 'The speaker is right' and a piece of A4 paper labeled 'The challenger is right'. Also, give each student ten counters. Have one student in each group keep the time. The first student is given a topic to talk about for one minute by the student sitting to their right, e.g. holidays. The student then starts talking about the topic and the other students in the group listen. When someone in the group hears the speaker make a grammar mistake, they challenge the student. The student timing pauses the stopwatch and the challenger explains what the student said without correcting the mistake. The members of the group then vote on who is right by placing one counter on either 'The speaker is right' or 'The challenger is right' paper. The teacher then judges who is correct. If the speaker is correct, the speaker takes all the counters on 'The speaker is right' paper. If the challenger is correct, the challenger takes all the counters on 'The challenger is right' paper. The teacher withdraws the counters on the other paper from the game. If the challenger is right, they must attempt to correct the speaker's grammar mistake. If the challenger does this successfully, they take one more counter from the speaker. If the correction is wrong, the challenger gives the speaker one counter. The speaker then resumes talking about the topic until the time limit is up. If there is a second challenge, the process is repeated. When the time limit has been reached, the next student is given a topic to talk about by the person on their right and so on. If a student runs out of counters, they are out of the game. The student with the most counters at the end of the game wins.

Verb Races

ESL Grammar Game - Writing Activity - Elementary and above - 20 minutes

Here is a fun grammar game for practicing or reviewing verb conjugations. Divide the students into equal teams of seven. Equal teams of five or six are also possible. Have each team sit in a line facing the board. Assign every student in each team with a subject pronoun. For example, the first student in each line is 'I'. The second student is 'you', etc. Give the first student in each line a piece of paper. Pick a present tense and a verb, e.g. present simple and 'run'. The first student conjugates the verb using their subject pronoun and writes it on the paper, e.g. I run. The student then passes the paper to the student behind them. The second student writes their verb conjugation (e.g. You run) and passes the paper to the person behind them and so on down the line. When the student at the end of the line has written on the paper, the student runs to the board to write all the answers up for everyone to see. The first team to correctly write all the verb conjugations on the board in the right order scores a point, e.g. I run, You run, He runs, She runs, They run, etc. The student at the back of each line then moves to the front and everyone else moves back one place, changing to a different subject pronoun as they go. The game is then repeated with a different tense and verb, and so on. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

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