Sunday, 17 December 2017

Functional Language - ESL EFL Activities, Worksheets and Games

On this page of, you will find all our ESL teaching activities, games and worksheets related to functional language. Functional language is language that we use to perform various functions such as making requests, giving advice, complaining, agreeing, disagreeing, asking for permission, etc.

Learning functional language gives students of English the skills to communicate effectively in various everyday situations. Functional language contains a lot of fixed expressions. For example, we can make suggestions in numerous ways, e.g. How about...? Let’s... I thought we could..., etc. Because there are so many expressions for each function, it is best to teach these structures in manageable chunks. Try to limit the number of structures you introduce in each lesson to help your students remember the specific phrases. Functional language can also be taught early in a student’s English language development. There are some basic structures that when introduced enable students to make themselves understood even if their level of English is quite low.

The teaching materials in this section include worksheets, lessons, games and fun communicative activities to help demonstrate and practice each function. Each teaching activity is categorized according to the level and type of activity. To help students put the language structures into context, we have created a variety of activities that use dialogues and role-plays based on realistic situations. By focusing on and practicing these structures regularly, students will be able to build on their English language knowledge and communicate successfully.

The functional language topics are listed below:

Agreeing and Disagreeing

This page provides a wealth of functional language activities, worksheets and games to help teach your students how to agree and disagree with positive and negative statements and opinions.

Asking Questions

This impressive selection of activities help students to master asking and answering questions. On the page, you will find a wealth of games and worksheets to help students practice 'Wh' and yes/no questions in a range of tenses.

Complaining and Apologizing

These functional language activities teach students how to make and deal with complaints in English. Students also learn how to soften complaints, apologize, make requests, and give excuses. This page also contains several role-plays and teaching activities that cover common and business complaints.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

On this page, you will find engaging teaching activities and worksheets to help students practice their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The page also contains a variety of topic-based lessons to help students develop their skills. The resources in this section also combine other useful skills such as negotiating, prioritizing, ordering, analyzing and evaluating.

Describing Character and Personality

This page offers a range of activities and worksheets to teach students how to describe someone's personality and character. These resources also help students learn a variety of positive and negative character and personality adjectives.

Describing People's Appearance

These enjoyable ESL activities help to teach students how to describe someone's appearance. This includes their physical appearance and clothing. Students can learn how to use the 'verb to be' to describe height, body build and age, and how to use 'have' and 'has' to describe hair colour, hair length and facial features. These resources also help students to practice a wide range of adjectives related to appearance.

Describing Places

This page provides worksheets and activities to help students practice describing places, famous landmarks and buildings. There are also lessons and games to help teach related adjectives and practice writing descriptions of places.

Describing Things

This page offers a variety of entertaining games, worksheets and activities to help students practice describing things. The resources also help students learn essential language and adjectives to describe objects.

Getting to Know You

On this page, you will find engaging worksheets, activities, games and icebreakers for the first day of class to help your students get to know each other and practice giving personal information.

Asking For and Giving Advice

These functional language activities, games and worksheets help to teach students how to ask for and give advice. The resources also help students learn a variety of structures for asking and giving advice on a number of everyday topics.

Asking For and Giving Directions

This page offers engaging functional language worksheets, activities and games to help students practice asking for and giving directions.

Giving Opinions

In this section, you will find functional language activities about giving opinions. This extensive set of worksheets and activities help students practice expressing and defending an opinion, asking others for their opinion, giving reasons for an opinion, hypothesizing, arguing for and against a topic, agreeing, disagreeing as well as asking embedded questions to gain more information.


These functional language activities, worksheets and games help to teach students how to formally and informally greet someone, introduce themselves and others, make small talk, end a conversation and say goodbye. This page also provides fun activities for students to use on the first day of class to get to know each other and make introductions.

Indirect Questions

This page provides entertaining activities, lessons and worksheets for teaching students how to make indirect questions. Students learn how indirect questions are formed, why we use them, and how to change direct questions into indirect questions.

Making Suggestions

This page provides teachers with a variety of engaging ESL activities based on making suggestions. There are activities to help students practice making, accepting and rejecting suggestions, raising objections, suggesting alternatives, and making excuses. Students can also practice inviting, accepting and declining invitations.

Ordering Food and Drink

These imaginative ESL teaching activities help students learn how to order food and drink in a restaurant. Students also get the opportunity to practice various role-plays in situations where they dine out. The activities also provide students with a variety of useful dining expressions and questions that people use when they are at a restaurant.

Asking Permission and Making Requests

The functional language activities on this page focus on how to ask for permission and make requests in different situations. Students also learn how to give and refuse permission, make polite requests and offers, and ask for help and favours.


This page is packed with authentic shopping role-plays and insightful activities to help students master shopping language and expressions. Students can practice a variety of everyday shopping situations to help them communicate effectively when buying or selling things.

Socializing and Small Talk

These functional language activities help students to learn techniques for making small talk and socializing. These techniques include using echo questions and words, practicing phrases for showing attention, agreement and interest, and asking follow-up questions. Students also learn what small talk is, and how and when to use it as well as common phrases and responses to everyday expressions.


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