Word Game for the ESL Classroom

Using a Collocation Dictionary
Using a Collocation Dictionary. Image Source / Getty Images

Here are two printable word games for the ESL classroom that help students improve their understanding of parts of speech. It's a variation on classic cloze exercises, except that students need to choose any word from a given part of speech. For example: It was a __________ (Adjective) day outside. Students have such a great time while learning important skills - without thinking too hard about it!

Aim: Recognizing Parts of Speech

Activity: Fill in the gap story completion

Level: Lower level to intermediate


  • Write a few words up on the board representing various parts of speech (i.e. noun, verb, adverb, etc.). As a group, ask students to identify the part of speech for each word. Write down those parts of speech as students identify them.
  • Pointing out the various parts of speech recorded on the board, call on random students asking them to offer other examples for the indicated part of speech.
  • Once students feel comfortable with these various parts of speech, have students pair up.
  • Distribute the worksheet, make sure to cut each sheet in quarters between the word list and the story.
  • Ask students to work together to fill in the word sheet. Once students have filled in the word sheet, they should fill in the story. Go around the room helping students with difficulty.
  • Variation:
    • In order to teach specific vocabulary, provide a vocabulary list of target words for each part of speech.
    • Do the above introductory steps, but instead of writing just any word on the board, make sure to use words from your target vocabulary list.
    • Ask students to use the target vocabulary list when giving further examples of each part of speech.
    • Instruct students to complete the worksheet using words on the target vocabulary list.
    • Explore the use of word forms to further improve vocabulary expansion through knowledge of parts of speech. 

    A Day in the Life ... Worksheet

    Adjective ______________________________
    Month _________________________________
    Man's name____________________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Noun __________________________________
    Noun __________________________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Adjective ______________________________
    Verb ending in - ing ____________________
    Adverb ________________________________
    Verb Weather __________________________
    Verb Transportation ____________________
    Verb Transportation - ing ________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Adverb of frequency ____________________

    A Day in the Life ...Exercise

    It was a __________ (Adjective) day in __________ (Month) and the __________ (Man's name) decided to __________ (Verb). As soon as he got to the __________ (Noun), he sat down and took out his __________ (Noun). He certainly hadn't expected to be able to __________ (Verb), but was __________ (Adjective) for the chance to do so. __________ (Verb ending in -ing), the time passed __________ (Adverb) and before he knew it, it was time to go home. He gathered his things and began to walk home. Unfortunately, it began to __________ (Verb concerning the weather) so he decided to __________ (Verb of transportation i.e. take a taxi, run, skip, etc.). While he was _________ (Verb of transportation i.e. take a taxi, run, skip, etc. in the -ing form), he noticed that he had forgotten to __________ (Verb). He __________ (Adverb of frequency) forgot such things!

    The World of Work -  Worksheet

    Noun ________________________________
    Verb _________________________________
    Adjective _____________________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Verb __________________________________
    Verb _________________________________
    Noun  _________________________________
    Verb ___________________________________
    Verb ___________________________________
    Adjective  ______________________________
    Verb __________________________________

    The World of Work -  Exercise

    I work in an / a _________ (noun) that _________ (verb) for _________ (noun). It's a _________ (adjective) job that requires me to _________ (verb) every day. Some days, I can _________ (verb), but that's only on special occasions. I _________ (verb) my position. It is full of opportunities to _________ (verb) or _________ (verb). The _________ (noun) are often _________ (adjective), but it's a job so I won't complain! Some days customers want _________ (verb), on other days my boss asks me to _________ (verb). It's really _________ (adjective). Have you ever had to _________ (verb)? If so, I hope you are happy.