Modals of Necessity ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

It's a date!

ESL Must and Mustn't Activity - Grammar and Writing Exercises: Gap-fill, Writing Sentences from Prompts - Speaking Activity: Guided Discussion, Freer Practice - Pair work - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this must and mustn't activity, students write and discuss advice about going on a date using must, mustn't and needn't. Students begin by imagining that they are going to go on a date. This is their first date in a long time and their best friend has offered some advice on how to make a good impression. Students then complete the advice on the worksheet with must, mustn't or needn't. Next, in pairs, students discuss the advice using questions from the worksheet. After that, students imagine that their date went really well and that they are about to take their new boyfriend or girlfriend to have dinner with their parents. Students then write six pieces of advice for their new boyfriend or girlfriend to help them make a good first impression using must, mustn't and needn't. Afterwards, students take it in turns to read each piece of advice to their partner who says whether they agree or disagree with the advice and which piece of advice they think is the most important.
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ESL Modals of Necessity Game - Speaking: Matching, Forming Sentences - Pair work - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

This free modals of necessity speaking activity helps students to practice making sentences with the modal verbs of necessity: must, mustn't, need to and needn't. Students take it in turns to turn over a modal verb of necessity card and an action card. If the two cards can be combined to make a meaningful sentence, e.g. 'mustn't' and 'drive fast', the student reads out the sentence and adds a justification, e.g. 'You mustn't drive fast because you might have an accident'. If the student does this successfully, they keep the cards and have another turn. If the cards don't match or the student can't justify the sentence, the cards are turned back over. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
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Necessary Skills

ESL Have to and Need to Game - Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Freer Practice - Intermediate (B1) - 35 minutes

In this engaging modals of necessity game, students ask yes/no questions with have (got) to and need to in order to find out which secret job each classmate has. Students imagine that they have the job on their card and think about the skills needed for that job. The students' task is to find out who has each job on the worksheet by asking questions about the skills needed for each occupation. Students walk around asking and answering yes/no questions with have (got) to and need to, e.g. 'Do you need to be a good communicator?' 'Have you got to look smart and professional in your job?' When a classmate answers 'yes' to a series of questions about one job, the student writes their name next to the occupation. When the students have completed the worksheet, check the correct answers with the class. Students score one point for each correct match. The student with the most points wins the game.
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You'll need to...

ESL Future Necessity Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 20 minutes

In this fun modals of necessity game, students practice expressing future necessity with will need to... Students take it in turns to turn over a card. Each card represents something a person will need to do before doing an activity shown on the worksheet. The student with the card then tries to match the card with an activity and make a sentence expressing future necessity, e.g. 'Before taking an exam, you'll need to study hard'. If the student makes a suitable sentence, they write the phrase on the card in the appropriate place on the worksheet and score one point. If the student is unable to make a suitable or grammatically correct sentence, the card is placed at the bottom of the pile. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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Bare Necessity

ESL Modals of Necessity Game - Vocabulary and Speaking: Forming Sentences from Prompts, Guessing - Group work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this fun have to and need to game, students guess activities from statements expressing necessity. One player from each team comes to the front of the class. Show an activity card to both players. Players then take it in turns to make a statement about the activity to their team using modal verbs and expressions of necessity. Players can make statements talking about what a person needs to do in the activity or by stating what materials, equipment, or tools someone needs for the activity, e.g. You have to... You need a..., etc. After a player has made a statement, their team is allowed one guess. If a team guesses correctly on their first try, they get five points. On the second try, they score four points and so on. When the activity has been guessed, a new round starts with two new players. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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Did you need to take that?

ESL Past Necessity Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Writing Sentences from Prompts, Guided Discussion, Freer Practice - Group work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 35 minutes

In this needed to and didn't need to activity, students practice expressing past necessity by talking about the need for certain items in different situations. In two groups, students imagine that they went to each place mentioned on the worksheet. Next, students look at the items they took and didn't take to each place and think about whether they needed to take each item with them or not. Students then write a sentence for each item using I needed to take..., I didn't need to take..., or I needn't have taken... Finally, in their groups, students discuss whether they needed to take the items or not.
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