Past Perfect Games, ESL Activities and Worksheets

Explanations

ESL Past Perfect Game - Reading and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

Here is an amusing past perfect game to play in class. The class is divided into groups of four. Each group is given a set of situation cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. Students then take it in turns to pick up a card and read the sentence aloud to the rest of the group, e.g. 'I slept in my car all night'. The other students have to each come up with an explanation for the situation using the past perfect, e.g. 'I slept in my car all night, because the car had broken down and I was miles from home'. Each explanation the students give must be different. Students receive one point for each believable explanation they can come up with. Then the next student picks up a card and so on. This continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the highest number of points at the end of the game wins.
 

I wish and If only

ESL Past Perfect Game - Reading and Writing Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this past perfect game, students use 'I wish' and 'If only' + 'the past perfect' to express regrets about health problems. The class is divided into teams of three. A health problem is read out to the class (e.g. 'I've got a toothache'.) and a time limit of two minutes is set. The teams then write down as many regrets as they can for the ailment using 'I wish' and 'If only' + 'the past perfect'. For example, 'I wish I hadn’t eaten so many sweets'. 'If only I had gone to the dentist more often', etc. When the time limit has been reached, the teams stop writing and swap their paper with another team for marking. Teams score one point for each appropriate regret in the past perfect. The scores are written on the board and the next health problem is read out, and so on. The team with the highest score at the end of the game is the winner.
 

Past Perfect Party

ESL Past Simple and Past Perfect Worksheet - Reading and Writing Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this past simple and past perfect worksheet, students write emails describing a series of events. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students read through a scenario about a disastrous party. The students then match problems that happened at the party with explanations of what happened. After the students have done that, they write an email about the party using the past simple to talk about the problems and the past perfect to explain what happened. When everyone has finished, the students read their emails to the class. Afterwards, students use the past simple and past perfect to write a reply to the email, detailing the unfortunate events that happened to someone else. Finally, the students read their completed emails to the class and feedback is given.
 

Truth Seekers

ESL Past Perfect Activity - Matching, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

In this fun past perfect activity, students ask and answer questions about their experiences of growing up. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by matching an activity with one of the pictures on the worksheet and writing the activity under the picture. After the answers have been checked, the students put a cross through one activity in each category. The students are then divided into pairs. Students take it in turns to ask and answer questions about the activities in the pictures using the past perfect, e.g. 'Had you broken a bone by the time you were seven?' When a partner asks about the activities that are crossed out, students have to lie about their experiences. When talking about experiences that are not crossed out, students tell the truth. Their partner then asks follow-up questions to help them find out if the student is telling the truth or lying. Their partner then guesses whether the student is lying or telling the truth and the answer is revealed. For each correct guess, students win a point. The student with the most points at the end of the activity is the winner.
 

What had happened?

ESL Past Perfect Game - Reading, Writing, Matching and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 35 minutes

In this entertaining past perfect game, students complete and match past simple sentences with explanations in the past perfect. The students are divided into pairs and each pair is given a set of number cards. Each card contains an incomplete past simple sentence. The students look at each sentence and think about what had happened and how the sentence might be continued using the past perfect. Students do this orally or by writing their ideas on a piece of paper. Afterwards, the students give their ideas and the teacher checks their use of the past perfect. Each pair is then given a set of letter cards. Each card contains the second part of one of the past simple sentences. The students spread both sets of cards out on the table face up. Students then take it in turns to match each past simple sentence with an explanation. Each time a student matches two cards together, they complete the gap with the verb in brackets in the past perfect tense and keep the two cards. When everyone has finished, the correct answers are checked with the class. Students score one point for each correctly matched and completed pair of cards. The student with the highest score in each pair wins the game.
 

Why did you say that?

ESL Past Perfect Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Matching - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

In this rewarding past perfect activity, students write explanations for saying certain things and then play a game where they match a partner's explanations to questions. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students write explanations in the past perfect tense for saying the things shown on their worksheet, e.g. 'Why did you say 'I'm sorry' to your friend?' 'I had forgotten her birthday'. When all the explanations have been written down, the students are divided into pairs. Students then take it in turns to read one of their explanations at random to their partner. Their partner has one chance to try to match the explanation to the right 'Why did you say...?' question. If a student makes a correct match, he or she wins a point. This continues back and forth until all the past perfect explanations have been read out. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Fact or Fiction

ESL Past Perfect Activity - Reading, Writing and Speaking - Intermediate - 40 minutes

In this creative past perfect activity, students write realistic and imaginative explanations for situations. Each pair of students is given a copy of the worksheet. The students write two explanations for each situation on their worksheet - a realistic explanation (Fact) and an imaginative explanation (Fiction). When everyone has finished writing, the class votes for the most realistic and imaginative explanations. The teacher reads out the first situation from the worksheet, i.e. 'I walked into class, but I didn’t recognize anyone'. The pairs then take it in turns to read their ‘Fact’ explanation to the class using the past perfect, e.g. 'You had walked into the wrong class'. The class then votes for the most realistic explanation and one point is awarded to the winning pair. The pairs then read out their 'Fiction' explanations, e.g. 'You had lost your memory'. Again, the class votes for the best one. This process continues with the second situation and so on. The pair with the highest number of points at the end of the activity is the winner.
 

The Other Half

ESL Past Perfect Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Matching - Intermediate - 35 minutes

In this engaging past perfect activity, students complete and match sentences in the past perfect tense. Each student is given a copy of the first worksheet. The students think about how the 15 sentences on the worksheet might be continued. The students then complete the sentences in the past perfect tense using their own ideas. After that, the students are divided into pairs. The students compare their sentences by reading them to each other. Each student is then given an A or B worksheet. Student A starts by reading the first sentence half to Student B. Student B listens and tries to find the other half of the sentence. When Student B thinks they have found a matching ending, they read it to Student A. When both students agree the two halves match, they mark the matching number or letter next to the sentence. This continues until all the sentence halves have been matched. Afterwards, the answers are checked with the class. Finally, the students check how many sentences were the same as what they wrote on the first worksheet.
 

Puzzled

ESL Past Perfect Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 25 minutes

In this intriguing past perfect game, students listen to puzzles and ask yes/no questions in order to work out the solutions. The students are divided into groups of four and each group is given a set of puzzles. The students take it in turns to read out a puzzle for the other members of the group to solve. The group members ask yes/no questions to the student in order to work out the solution to the puzzle. The first student to solve the puzzle wins a point. The next student then takes a puzzle and reads it to the group and so on. This continues until all the puzzles have been solved. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 
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