Modal Verbs of Speculation and Deduction - ESL EFL Activities, Games and Worksheets
Could be, Might be, Must be
ESL EFL Speaking and Writing Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 Minutes
In this fun group activity, students make deductions with could be, might be, can't be, and must be. In the activity, students play a guessing game where they make deductions and guess places from descriptions. The class is divided into groups of four (Student A, B, C and D) and each student is given a corresponding set of five sentence cards. Student A starts by reading a sentence describing a place to the group, e.g. Some people are walking and some are sitting down. The other students in the group then make deductions about where the place is, e.g. It could be an airport. Student A then reads out a second sentence and the other students continue to make deductions. This continues until they have guessed the place. Each clue gets progressively easier, so by clue 4 or 5 the students should know the place being described. Student B then reads his/her sentences to the group and so on. When all the students have read their sentences, the correct answers are checked with the class. Each group is then divided into two pairs. Each pair thinks of a place and then writes five clues to describe it. Pairs then read out their clues one by one to the other pair in the group and they make deductions and try to guess the place.
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What's the truth?
ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 35 Minutes
In this enjoyable speaking activity, students speculate the truth behind various situations using different modal verbs of speculation. The class is divided into groups of four or five. Each group is given a set of cards. The students place the Situation and Truth cards face down on the desk in two separate piles. The Speculate cards are mixed up and spread out face down. One student turns over the first Truth card and keeps it secret from the other students in the group. The other students in the group then choose a Speculate card each. The student with the Truth card turns over the first Situation card and reads it to the group. The other students then begin a conversation where they speculate the truth behind the situation. The aim is to try and guess the truth about the person in the situation using the modal verb of speculation on their card. The student with the Truth card listens to the conversation. When someone guesses the correct answer, they stop the conversation and give the student who guessed correctly the Truth card. If no one manages to guess the correct answer, the student with the Truth card keeps it. This process continues with a different student picking up the Truth card each time until all the cards have been used. The student with the most Truth cards at the end of the game is the winner.
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Who is it?
ESL EFL Reading and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 40 Minutes
This group discussion activity helps students to practice past and present modal verbs of deduction. The class is divided into small groups and each group is given a copy of the worksheet. The groups read each question on the worksheet, e.g. You see a classmate chatting on their phone. Who is it? The students then use past and present modal verbs of deduction to discuss and answer each question. The students base their answers on what they know about their classmates, e.g. It could be Jin as he is always using his phone. It might have been Ayumi because she loves chatting, etc. Each group then agrees on and writes down the name of one student for each item. When everyone has finished, each group gives their answers along with justifications. The people named are asked if they agree that it could be/have been them and if the justification is valid. If they say yes, the group that named the person gets one point. The group with the most points after all the answers have been given is the winner.
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