IRREGULAR VERBS: ‘TERRY’ CHALLENGING

There are two categories of ELT bloggers: a) those who give clear and straightforward headlines for their blog posts (e.g. Think You Know Irregular Verbs? Think Again); b) those who try to come up with some attention-grabbing headlines (e.g. Why Irregular Verbs Business Is Flirting With Disaster or What the Future of Irregular Verbs Looks Like After Coronavirus) (NB. Headline generators might be quite fun to play one-sentence games, e.g. the Opposites Game), and those who just aren’t math people.

Irregular verbs are times tables in grammar – despite many teachers/coaches/gurus/memory wizards/just wizards/you name them who promise the world and are ready to show you a shortcut with only 3 clicks for just $3.99 (Special Offer and 99% DISCOUNT!), there is only one way to learn and remember them – drrrrill.

Today I will share one of the games to revise irregular verbs in a fun way. Unlike some other games that I posted in the pre-COVID-19 era (see Battleship: Irregular Verbs) , this game is ‘paper unfriendly’, though I would most definitely ask my learners to have a sheet of paper at hand to make a list of their ‘Top Unfavorite Verbs Ever’.

  • Task for students: while playing, jot down the verbs you find challenging to remember

I had a fun game template already so my main task was to make the game/learning meaningful.

About the game:

Meet Terry.

The objective of the game is to collect Terry’s feathers strewn all over the place. The player picks a feather and answers a question. If the answer is correct, Terry will get to keep the feather. Otherwise, Terry will get a chance to star in the Naked and Afraid series.

I made this game for higher-level students so most of the questions have both forms of irregular verbs.

The game is based on mnemonic rhyming groups. It’s probably one of the most efficient approaches to memorizing irregular verbs compared to learning them in alphabetical order. I’ve used a few rhymes kindly shared by Zdenek from Engames.eu.

To make mnemonics work, have your students read them out loud.

  • Task for students: while playing, read out loud each question.

After the game:

Ask students to write short poems with their Top Unfavorite Verbs:

  • Make a list of verbs on the right side of your paper (with their forms);
  • Add verb complements to each verb;
  • Look out of the window and write a list of people you see (or ask your students to watch a livestream);
  • Add verbs to these nouns;
  • Read out your poem.

I’ve posted the game in the learners’ section of my English domain to keep it separate from ‘dissecting a frog’, not to kill all the fun.

View the Game

More resources:

Looking for more irregular verb games? Check out this fun and highly addictive Irregular Verb Wheel Game by Macmillan Dictionary.

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