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Passive Perfection Game

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Level – most. You can alter the difficulty by specifying the tenses they should use; having them write the verb in simple or past participle form; including or omitting the Student 4 pile etc.

Class size – 2 or more students. Can be played with two individual students, with each student writing all four piles then swapping. Also in pairs, with each students writing two piles. Also in threes, either by omitting the Student 4 pile or by combing Student 2 and Student 3 in to one.

Preparation required – extremely little, just some pieces of scrap paper for ‘cards’.


- Divide students into groups of 4, and have them choose a team name and a team spokesperson
- Give each student about 5-10 blank cards
- Student 1 from each group writes a person/animal on each of their cards, e.g. ‘my dad’, ‘George Bush’, ‘a purple-spotted flying alligator’. Encourage them to use their imaginations!
- Student 2 writes a verb (simple form or past participle form depending on how much they need to be tested on this) on each of their cards, e.g. killed, scratched, kissed
- Student 3 writes the name of a tense, e.g. past simple, future perfect continuous
- Student 4 writes ‘by + person/animal’ e.g. ‘by Cinderella’ or anything along those lines, such as ‘at 4 o’clock’, ‘in the garden’, ‘with the lead piping in the drawing room’ etc. (You could tailor this part to what you are specifically teaching at the time (e.g. passive + by) or omit it altogether.)

- It adds an element of surprise and humour if the groups then switch cards so that one team has all the cards written by another group. They should be kept in 4 separate piles, as written by students 1,2,3,4.
- One card is drawn from each pile and the team makes a sentence in the passive form using the information and tense given. A point is given if the sentence is correct and makes sense. Of course, sometimes it won’t make sense, depending on the nouns and verbs they choose (e.g. the alligator was written by George Bush) but you could give them a point if they get the grammar right and are able to suggest an alternative.

Have fun, hope it works for you :) I played it with a group of imaginative 16-18 year olds and it was quite hilarious and at times bizarre (Paris Hilton will be killed by my grandmother at midnight, my classmate was being scratched by a pig etc).

from Samantha, teaching in Košice, Slovak Republic

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