Ask the middle man

middleman - a present simple gameThis activity is good for practising asking questions in the first and third person, important for helping students distinguish between using do and does. It looks a bit complicated at first but everyone should have it worked out after a couple of practise rounds.

When to play

Asking questions in the present simple is one of the trickier things that beginner English learners need to get to grips with. This activity gets students to practise asking and answering questions as well as listening to their classmates doing the same.

How to play

Do this activity as a class or if that’s not possible in largish groups of five to eight members. Create a deck of cards with activities which you think one or more of your students do. For example, walk in the park, read a newspaper, go shopping at a market. Here’s an example deck.

Put the cards face down on the table. The first student (A) takes a card and then asks the person to their right (B) if one of the other students (C,D,E, etc.)  does this activity. The object of the exercise is to get a positive answer. If a positive answer is received then  student A should ask a follow up question (who, why, what, where, etc) but always with student B as an intermediary. If the task is successfully completed (ie. positve answer recieved and follow up question asked) then the student keeps the card. if the answer was negative the card goes back to the bottom of the deck.

For example, student A picks the card “drive to work“. Student A thinks student G drives to work so asks the person to their right (student B) “does G drive to work?“. Student B asks student G “do you drive to work?“. Student G replies “yes, I do” or “no, I don’t” and student B relays the information back to student A, “yes, he does” or “no, he doesn’t“. If A was right and G does drive to work then A should pose a follow up question (again through B) for example, “what kind of car does G drive?” which B again puts to G and relays the additional info back to A. A keeps the card and student B now plays the role of A and student C the role of B.  If the answer to A’s original question about driving to work was negative, because G cycles to work then the original card goes back into the deck for a later round.

The person with the most cards at the end is the winner.


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