As implied by the name, in the No Yes Or No Answers ESL activity students have to ask and answer questions without using the words yes or no.
Students complete this activity in groups of two or three.
- One/two students ask the other student in the group lots of closed (yes/no) questions. Optionally, you can set a grammar structure for these questions, according to your target language.
- However, the student answering the questions cannot use the words “yes” or “no”. Every time they use one of them, the person who asked the question gains a point. They are also not allowed to hesitate, and must answer as quickly as possible. Any hesitation longer than two or three seconds (depending on the level) also results in a point.
- This interaction continues for one or two minutes (use a timer). At the end of the time the students change roles, and it is another student’s turn to answer questions.
- Repeat this process for as long as desired.
The No Yes Or No Answers ESL activity is great for practising question formation, as well as encouraging students to think of alternatives to basic language structures in their answers.
Alternatively you could just use it as a warmer, and a fun way to get students talking at the start of class. You might want to give students a different topic (e.g. travel experiences) for each round to get them started.
For a similar activity involving questions, try Bananas.
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