Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Functional Language - ESL EFL Activities, Worksheets and Games

On this page of Teach-This.com, 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 to help teach your students how to agree and disagree with positive, negative, and personal statements.

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.

Describing People, Places and Things

These enjoyable ESL activities help students to learn how to describe people. There are activities, worksheets and lessons to teach students how to describe someone’s appearance, personality and character. You will also find teaching activities to help students practice describing places and things.

Asking For and Giving Advice

On this page, there are teaching activities for students to practice asking for and giving advice. These inventive ESL activities enable students to practice various structures for giving advice in different situations such as giving advice about health issues and giving travel advice. Students also learn how to state and explain problems.

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.

Holidays and Travel

These imaginative teaching activities help students to master common expressions used in holiday and travel situations. Students learn how to ask and answer questions about all types of travel information such as booking and confirming a hotel room, asking about prices, opening hours, etc. Students also learn how to describe holiday experiences and talk about travel plans.

Introductions and Giving Personal Information

These functional language activities teach students how to introduce themselves and others formally and informally. Students learn a variety of expressions for greeting someone as well as how to make introductions and polite conversation. This page also contains a variety of fun games, worksheets and activities for students to practice asking and answering personal information 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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