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When teaching grammar with games you have to consider many aspects at the moment of

choosing one. First of all you have to take into consideration your students ‘age. This is very

important because you cannot use the same game to teach the simple present to children and to

teenagers. Here are some points that are important to be aware when selecting a game for our

students stated by Hong and which Vernon mentions in her article “Teaching Grammar with

Games in the ESL Classroom”:

• Grammar point and vocabulary implicated in it.

• Purpose of the game.

• If the game taxing level fits with the students ability one.

• If the game fits with your student´s likes.

• Type of materials you or your students are going to need.

• If you can have your class under control.


Here are some advantages of using games to teach grammar mentioned by some authors in an

article written by Vernon, S. According to Saricoban and Metin when students learn grammar

through games, later on they can apply and utilize more easily that knowledge. Another benefit

stated by these two authors is that games let students to "practice and internalize vocabulary,

grammar and structures extensively." Due to they are bared over and over again to the same

target grammar. In addition, when students are playing, they fell motivated and this facilitates

their lore. Talking about inner motivation Saricoban and Metin affirm that games excite

competition among students, so they are more willing to acquire the target grammar. Aydan
Ersoz, another important author, claims that transforming a grammar lesson into a game permits

your students to gain knowledge of the target grammar in context in a meaningful manner.


Vernon, S. mention that some games are just “time fillers”. That is that they don´t involve a

specific skill, sub-skill, grammar point, etc, to practice or learn with them. These types of games

are simply to have fun, so they only waste your teaching time. For that reason you have to

choose carefully which game you are going to use in your class.


FOR CHILDREN (up to 12 years-old)

Classmates Pile

This is my variation of the game “If you had the chance” by Rinvolucri and Davis (1997) in one

of their grammar games books. This game is appropriate to practice different grammar

structures. E.g. second conditional, etc. First teacher asks students to arrange their sits in a

circle. Everybody sits down, and teacher presents the grammar structure he/she has chosen for

students to practice. Teacher can give a brief review of the grammar point chosen if it is

necessary. Teacher explains the mechanics of the game:

1.A student has to say the grammar structure chosen, in this case (2nd conditional as in

Rinvolucri and Davis (1997) game):

Someone who had eat a tiger if they had the chance, move two to the right.

2.Students who would do what their classmate says if the had the chance; have to move two

spaces to the right and maybe sit on another student lap. If not, they stay in their seat.
3.Then the student on the right that is on the chair (not in a students lap) of the one who has said

the sentence is going say another one.

Students are going to be piling one above another, and teacher decides when to stop and change

the structure a little bit.

“Piling Classmates” is proper for children up to 12 years old due to they are full of energy as

Rinvoluncri and Davis (1997) mention in their “If you had the chance” game. It is needed to

metion this game is not appropriate for adults.

FOR TEENAGERS (up to 16 years-old)

Whose am I?

I change the structure of this game a little bit from the one of Rinvolucri and Davis(1997) in one

of their grammar games books. In my version this is a role-play game. First; teacher has to bring

to the class: clothes, or china paper for customs, and sleeps of paper with characters´ names of

singers, actors, cartoons, or even of well known politicians. Then in the classroom teacher

explains to students that he/she is going to give them a sleep of paper with a characters’ name

which they have to keep in secret. Now, teachers tells them they must use in their presentation

certain grammar structures (e.g. past simple, future, etc,) depending on the students level. Take

into consideration that if you are going to ask to your students to use any future structure, then

the character they have to represent must be alive in order to talk about their future plans. Then

teacher clarify the procedure of the game.

Rules :

1. Students have to characterize its famous person and talk as they were he/she/it for one

minute, in other words they have to talk in first person using the grammar structure the teacher

had chosen to practice.

2. Students can use paper or clothes to represent he/she/it.

3. The rest of the group has to guess, at the end of the minute, to whom is their classmate

representing to.

It is important to tell students that they have to make not that easy the guessing game.

This game is suitable for teenagers up to 16 years old because it is fun. They are representing

famous people with their personal touch. It surely catches their attention, which is very difficult

due to their age.

One disadvantage of the “Whose am I?” game is that teacher maybe faces some troubles with

students who are very shy and don´t want to past to the front and present.

FOR ADULTS (from 17 and older)


This is a problem solving game of Rinvolucri and Davis(1997). Here teacher presents to

students a face with eyes in the back (could be a picture card or teacher can draw it on the

board). Then students are asked to jot down advantages and disadvantages of having eyes on the

head’s back.

If people had eyes in the backs of their heads, then they ____ would /might/

could/ would have to ____(+ infinitive).

This structure is supplied by Rinvolucri and Davis(1997) to practice second conditional, besides

that students can practice modals with it.

Here I introduce a variation of the game presented by Rinvolucri and Davis (1997). When

students have finished written at least ten sentences, teacher group them in teams of four and

each group shares their sentences and chose one of the most interesting advantages and one of

the disadvantages. Then, each team has to represent them at the front of the class (could be

through a picture, or acting it). Finally, teacher asks students to vote for the most imaginative

team. Praising the winner team depends on the teacher.

This game is appropriate for lower to upper-intermediate levels adults because there is the fact

that “eyes” is a funny game which make them get involved in it, it awakes their imagination.

And as they are adults up to 17 years old this type of games helps them to forget about their

problems at home, and to center their attention in the situation presented.


Rinvolucri, M., and Davis, P. (1997). More Grammar Games: Cognitive,

Affective and Movement Activities for EFL Students. Retrieved from: 18542173-English-Teaching-ResourcesMore-


Vernon, S. Teaching Grammar with Games in the ESL Classroom. Retrieved

October 26th, 2009, from:


Ways to Teach Grammar to Students. Retrieved October 26th, 2009, from: