I’ll start off right and let you all in on my favourite phrasal verbs game, which I’ve aptly named The Ultimate Phrasal Verbs Game. I created it last year when I noticed that teaching phrasal verbs seemed to be a problem for all of my students, whether they were beginners, upper intermediate or advanced. Whether I was teaching my class to first year English students at the University of Barcelona or giving private lessons to teenagers, the look of dread and eye rolls I got when I said “phrasal” verbs was pretty much the same.
Why are phrasal verbs so difficult?
Well, who would think that a simple verb + preposition combination could have so many meanings? Take “come up”, for example, which can be used to ask someone to come up to an office, talk about an upcoming event, or an interruption to your plans, as in something came up. Or give up, which has nothing to do with giving and may correspond to several meanings in another language (give up can be translated as dejar or rendirse in Spanish for example). I was tired of repetitive worksheets and textbook exercises that really didn’t seem to do the job. Enter… The Ultimate Phrasal Verbs Game!
One phrasal verb book I love, Domina Los Malditos Phrasal Verbs, has an excellent list and explanation on when and how to use phrasal verbs. I use it with my classes and tutoring students the class before playing the game. It’s bilingual, actually, so the explanations are in English and Spanish. I highly recommend this book! You can grab it for a great price on Amazon (the Kindle version is even less than the print version!). I’ve used it for countless tutoring sessions and classes. You can grab your copy from Amazon here. If you’re in the UK or Europe, please grab your phrasal verbs book here.
How to Play The Ultimate Phrasal Verbs Game
It’s actually quite simple:
- You start with sets of game cards containing phrasal verbs you’ve used with your students.
- Split your students into groups of 2 to 4 and give each group a set; I suggest photocopying the cards on different colour sheets of paper for each team
- Tell students to lay the cards out on the desk and create a story with as many phrasal verbs as possible. Let them choose the topic of the story – their creativity may surprise you!
- I’ve done this in countless private tutoring sessions and it works like a charm. Students remember the phrasal verbs from the stories they’ve created, stay engaged as they move the game cards around to create the best story, and have fun
- Challenge: You can set a time limit to make it more challenging. For more advanced students, have them choose cards at random from a ziploc bag. Students should then create the story using phrasal verbs in the order they draw!
Don’t know if you’ll have time to do all the prep for that? Don’t worry – I’ve done it for you! Just click the form below to join my list to access my welcome pack printables. You’ll receive detailed game instructions, game cards with 60 common phrasal verbs, blank cards you can fill in. It includes trusty Goal Setting template in the welcome pack, which can be used for your students or even yourself. Check out my post on how I use my goal setting template here.
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Nice game, I’ll use it here in Hamburg, Germany and also add it to the next edition of ESLWeekender at https://news.englishtrainers.org/ on Saturday.
Best wishes – and thanks
Thanks so much! It’s great to have readers from so many countries 🙂 Your magazine looks like a great resource, too. If you could please include a link back to my site, that would be great. Thank you!