Adverbs speaking game

Mike Astbury

As a games enthusiast, Freelance English teacher, Mike Astbury is passionate about finding fun ways to teach English, even if it means making classroom games himself. Continuing his series of fun classroom activities, Mike’s back with another learning game, this time focussed around adverbs.

This is a quick speaking game that can be adapted to practise various language structures. In the example game we’ll be looking at an adverbs of frequency game I made for strong pre-intermediate (A2+) younger learners, but later in the post I’ll make some suggestions of how the game could be adapted.


For this game I’ve prepared some activity cards to print and cut out. The first set of cards is common activities and chores. The second set is expressions of frequency. Each group of 4 or 5 students will need a copy of both sets of cards.

You should demonstrate how it’s played with 1 or 2 example rounds before handing out the cards. When students are playing careful monitoring is important; as with any new game it will take some students a couple of rounds of play before they get the hang of it.

How to play

Each group is given a set of activity cards and frequency cards. Each player takes three activity cards and one player, who is judge for the round, takes a frequency card and shows it to the other players. The judge doesn’t need their activity cards, and so should put them aside for this round.

The demo game is shown as a group of 3 for simplicity, but the game works best in groups of 4 or 5.

Adverb Speaking Game Diagram

The other players review their cards and decide which activity the judge does ‘sometimes’. The players are trying to guess based on what they know about the judge.

Adverb Speaking Game Diagram

Player 1 says: “I think you sometimes read a book.”

Player 2 says: “You sometimes vacuum the carpet.”

The judge chooses the winner based on which is true, or the closest to the truth.

Judge: “Player 1 wins. I sometimes read a book, but I never vacuum the carpet.”

The judge gives the frequency card to the winner and player 1 keeps it. This makes it easy for students to keep track of their score.

Adverb Speaking Game Diagram

The role of judge passes clockwise and every player draws back up to 3 activity cards. The activity cards that were used are put at the bottom of the deck so that they will be recycled back into the game. They keep playing until every student has had a chance to be judge at least twice.

Follow up

Students shuffle the 2 sets of cards and take 5 from each set. They then write sentences about the other students in their group based on their cards. Once they’re done, they take turns reading the sentences and seeing if they were right. For example, one student writes down, and then reads out: “Stefan plays football twice a week,” and Stefan agrees. Students put ticks or crosses next to each sentence to show if they were right or wrong.

Students can then mingle with other groups. In the mingle, students take turns reading their sentences and their partner guesses if the sentences were true or not.


Instead of just using word cards for the activities, you can use the alternative set of activity cards in the same handout that was linked earlier with space for students to draw pictures. Before playing the game, give students time to draw on the cards to revise the vocabulary and personalise the cards.
In future lessons you can use the same activity cards with different language structures. For example, make cards with like, don’t like, hate, love (Alice doesn’t like going swimming) or yesterday, last year, this morning (Sam ate breakfast this morning).

You can find more games and activities at Mike’s websiteTeaching Games EFL.  If you’re interested in similar games for adult classes Mike recommends his Speaking Game with Personality Adjectives. These games use mechanics that are found in games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity and are a mix of word association and trying to appeal to a ‘judge’. Experiment with making your own version for, or with, your class.

If you found this activity interesting you might also enjoy Mike’s article, Drawing Phrasal Verbs, which gets students working in pairs to create and illustrate sentences containing phrasal verbs.

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