Find the liar

joker-card-01A pack of playing cards is a handy item to keep in your bag. They’re good for selecting random students for tasks and you can use them for a variety of quick and easy games too. This very simple game is great for filling up ten minutes at the end of a class.

This game practices asking questions in a variety of tenses and forces students to be a bit inventive in their thinking.

Take from the deck the same number of cards as there are students and make sure that one of the cards is a Joker. Pass the cards around, each student takes one card without looking at the others.

Inform the students that if they now hold the joker, they cannot tell the truth, the other students must tell the truth.

Going round the class, students take it in turns to ask any other student one question. What they ask depends on their level and how well they know each other. Example questions might be:

  • Do you like English? 
  • Do you drive a red car?
  • Did you enjoy your weekend with your parents-in-law?
  • Have you lived in another country?

Focusing on open questions will make the activity more challenging.

  • Where did you go for your holidays last year?
  • What kind of music do you like?
  • What’s your favourite food?
  • Where do you live?
  • How often do you go running?

If they think they have found the liar they can make a challenge, but if they are wrong they have to sit out the rest of the round.

Sharper students might quickly identify a way to win. For example asking, are you a woman? Or are you wearing shoes? It’s up to the teacher to make an arbitrary judgment as to whether a question is too specific.

If the teacher takes part too, it generally adds to the fun. The game often descends into hysterics with students struggling to keep a straight face when they get dealt the Joker.

To spice it up a bit, try adding a second Joker to the pack.


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