ESL grammar games can be used to facilitate the repeated use of certain target structures, this is vital to the learning and retention of new grammar forms. Grammar games come in many forms, but they all have this single aim at their heart, to repeatedly and accurately use or manipulate language structures to achieve a specific aim.
Adjective comparisons and superlatives with Venn diagrams
Using Venn diagrams, students sort two sets of adjectives before playing a dice game to practise comparative and superlative forms.
This is the classic ESL grammar game for practising past tense forms (mainly past continuous). Students are accused of a heinous crime and must make sure they’ve got their stories are straight.
A selection of board games to give students practise of using various tenses and other structures.
Crosswords can be used to test your students’ knowledge of verb forms.
Describe the (imaginary) picture
In this challenging activity aimed at more advanced ESL classes, students must describe a picture to their classmates. The trick is that sometimes there is no picture for the student to describe and they must use their imagination to bluff their way through.
Find someone who …
An extremely useful and flexible mingling activity. A great way to get students up on their feet and talking to their classmates. Works as the perfect, first lesson ice breaker.
Fortune teller: practise the going to future form
There’s some cutting up involved, but the work pays off with this nice way to practise predicting the future.
Four in a row
A printable three person game in which students compete to join up four suitable answers.
One of the best ESL grammar games ever created. Great for giving students a nice send off at the end of the course or before the holiday break. Here’s my own take on the game as well as some questions to get you started.
Test students’ memories, add useful vocabulary and practise there is and there are, all by collecting some random household junk before you go out.
Past perfect predicaments
A humorous activity to practise the past perfect / continuous tense.
Past tense stories
Students practise making stories using the past simple tense.
A spot the lie type game using playing cards.
This activity gets students using prepositions of position to copy their classmates’ creations. It’s more than worth the little bit of preparation and gathering of equipment that’s needed beforehand.
Present continuous mime games
Students act out familiar activities in a guessing game designed to practise the present continuous tense.
Snap! : present tense to be
Get students familiar with the different forms of to be with this cut-out and play card game.
Stand up if you’ve ever…
One of my favourite ESL grammar games. It’s great for practising the present perfect and always sparks off plenty of fascinating conversations.
Tic Tac Toe
A quick and easy way to review various grammatical structures.
What’s in your fridge?
A materials free game to practise using countable and uncountable nouns – there is / there are, some / any, etc.
What’s the movie?
A useful writing activity to review the present simple tense and introduce the vocabulary of talking about films and stories.
Who’s the liar?
This game is fun to play at the end of a class. Students interrogate each other to find the liar in the pack. Often ends in mild hysteria.
Review various forms of English with these printable puzzles.
If you like these ESL grammar games, check out our page of ESL vocabulary games too.