ESL grammar games for focusing on form

esl grammar gamesESL 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.

Grammar games and activities by form

I have decided to start grouping activities together on single pages. This will enable me to post shorter ideas which don’t really warrant a whole post.

Past Simple Activities

Present Perfect Activities

Passive Voice Activities

First Condtional Activities

Comparative and Superlative Activities

Reported Speech Activities

Grammar Games

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.

Board games
A selection of board games to give students practice 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.

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.

Grammar photosets
In our Tech section, you can find some photosets which help to illustrate some different grammar points.

Kim’s game
Test students’ memories, add useful vocabulary and practise there is and there are, all by collecting some random household junk before you go out.

Lying games
Deceit can be so much fun.

Preposition constructions
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 game
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 and guessing game to review the present simple tense and introduce the vocabulary of talking about films and stories.

Other grammar activities

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.

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.

Making arrangements
This twist on a classic ESL activity is for practising the present continuous to make future arrangements.

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.

What’s my dream job?
A quick materials-free activity to reinforce the use of the present simple when talking about work duties.