Personalised sentence matching game

Mike Astbury

Freelance English teacher and games enthusiast Mike Astbury returns with another game idea for your classroom! This activity focuses on matching up sentences using an element of personalisation to make the language more meaningful and includes downloadable cards which you can print out and use straight away.

For this game I’ve made a set of cards and a handout that you can download here. It requires very little preparation and is a great way for your class to practise second conditionals. This lesson was made for an intermediate level class.


Students will be working in pairs and each pair will get six cards and a handout. Print enough cards and handouts for your class and cut them up.

For some quick revision before the game write the following sentence prompts on the board:

If I could have any animal as a pet, …

The world would be a better place…

Students work together in pairs to complete these sentences (just speaking together, not writing). In open class feedback ask your class to give as many answers as they can and elicit corrections if there are any mistakes. Students then have three minutes on their own to write down as many correct sentences as they can remember. They then compare their sentences with their partners.

How to play

Each pair is given six cards and a handout. They work together to complete the sentences with second conditionals. Monitor as they work and assist where necessary.

Students keep working until every pair has six sentences. Early finishers use the cards as prompts for additional sentences in their books, trying to think of as many varied answers for each one as possible.

Once every group has finished, they collect the cards and handouts and pass them clockwise to the pair next to them, making sure that the cards are shuffled. Students then look at the cards that have been passed to them and try and match the sentence halves together.

Once students have finished they can quickly check each other’s work. Then the sentences get shuffled and passed clockwise again. The sentences continue to travel around the room (this may take a little organisation depending on the layout of your classroom).

Eventually the cards and handouts will start to make it back to the students who wrote them. Before they do, collect the cards. Then, when students get their original handout they have to work in their pairs to remember and write down the prompts that they were given on the cards. It’s worth noting that as long as they can write a logical and correct sentence, they don’t need to recall their original sentences exactly.

Follow up

You can use the completed handouts to inform your delayed error correction. You can also repeat the game in its entirety in a future revision lesson by cutting up the completed handouts and using the resulting cards for the game. This additional layer of personalisation is appreciated by the students and helps to make the language more meaningful and memorable.

You could adapt the game to another grammar point by writing prompts on the board that students can choose from.  If there are lots of different prompts this adds a significant challenge to the game as students can no longer rely on a process of elimination to work out the answers.

Thanks for reading!

Find more games, activities and lesson plans, and read previous blogs from Mike Astbury.

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