The How Well Do You Know Your Friend ESL game is a ‘Mr and Mrs’ style game in which students have to answer questions about their partner.
You will need a list of ten suitable questions to ask the students using your target grammar (e.g. How many siblings do they have?).
If you have an Internet connection and projector, simply use the ready-made questions in our How Well Do You Know Your Friend Generator. Select your target grammar from the dropdown menu. You can choose to read out the questions, or (if you have a projector) display them on the board.
Otherwise, prepare the questions as a list to read out, or a slideshow to present.
Divide the students into pairs.
Optionally, you can give the students five or ten minutes at the start to find out as much as they can about their partner, by asking questions in the target language. Include this if your students don’t know each other well, but skip it if you’re practising the second conditional or just doing the activity as a warmer.
Students can write notes to help them remember the information they find out, but they cannot refer to them in the game itself.
- One student from each pair comes and sits on a row of chairs at the front. All students, including those at the front, will need a piece of paper/notebook.
- Present the questions one at a time.
- After each question, the student at the front writes down the correct answer for them in secret. Their partner tries to write down the same answer, again in secret. Strictly enforce no gestures or whispering!
- The pairs take it in turns to reveal their answers for the question. If their answers match they win a point.
- Repeat for future questions, swapping the partner roles after half the game.
- The pair with the most points at the end of the game wins.
The How Well Do You Know Your Friend ESL game can be used to practise different grammar by tailoring the questions you ask. It’s particularly useful when students have only recently learned a structure, because the repetition involved will help familiarise them with it. Or for a warmer, you could just use random questions.
With beginners, a good option is the present simple. Make sure the students practise the third person singular when they give answers about their friend.
For the past simple, try asking students about recent events, e.g. the last place they went on holiday, or what they ate for dinner last night. For the future simple, ask students to imagine their lives years in the future, or something they will do next.
With intermediate students, you can also use it to practise the second conditional. Ask your students to consider hypothetical situations such as What would they buy first if they won the lottery?.
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