Fun Basic Sentence Structure


I was preparing a class on types of clauses and I really wanted to include a warmer. I struggled for a while but finally remembered that activity I always used to play in class (very bad, isn’t it?). It had to do with groups of words or chunks of sentences. Just what you need to teach about sentences.

It’s that activity where every body had to write the name of a person, fold the paper and pass it on to the next person and then write a verb, then a place…Well here is how I use it to teach basic sentence structure.

Sentence construction basic


What you need:

  1. A sheet of paper per student
  2. Minimum 4-5 students (a lot more fun that way)
  3. Different whiteboard marker colours (not mandatory…I just like making it pretty)

How to make it:

This is more like preparing your board rather than making materials.

Write the following sentence on the board with an example to illustrate:

  2. My green cat + Mickey Mouse + saw + 5 ninja turtles +  in Primark + last Friday

Then give a sheet of paper to each student and you are ready to start.

How to play it:

Each student writes a name at the very top of the sheet. Fold the paper to cover the name and pass it to your left. On the new paper you received write another name. Fold and pass. Everybody writes SAW (for basic students, that way you don’t have to explain the whole verb+object story)…Fold and pass…Repeat  until the end like in the example.

Each student gets to unfold one of the papers and read it to the class. I promise you some of the sentences will make you all laugh.

If you were looking for a nice little warmer, you can stop the activity here. But if you want to teach your students about basic sentence structure here is my tip.

Use a different marker to circle each of the sentence elements of your sentence on the board (here we have Subject, Verb, Object, Adverbial clause of place and Adverbial clause of time). Now simply tell your students that this is the order you follow when forming a sentence in English. Of course there are other structures, but if you are teaching beginner/basic students, knowing this structure is already a good start.

Have your students practice making some sentences and make them memorise their example. That way if they ever forget which clause goes first for example, they just have to think of that sentence and they will know the answer.

Hope you enjoy it…and your students too!


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