Basic English verbs – ideas for activities.

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Verb to be activities

Do you think practising “to be” or “have got” is difficult or boring? Check out our ideas for quick and very effective activities for students at levels A0-A1.

We’ve sorted them out from very easy and most basic to more challenging and open-ended activities. And they work for all basic verbs!

#1 Positive, negative & questions

This is the simplest activity you can do to practise the form of any basic verb in English. Even if it seems mundane, it works great for form drilling!

On the board, write a few simple sentences with the verb you want to practise. Get the students to transform them from positive to negative to questions, and the other way around.

Alternatively, you can ask students to write these sentences for other students to transform.

#2 Sentence scrambles

Before the lesson, prepare slips of paper with short sentences on them (positive, negative and questions). Cut them out into individual words and spread them out on the table.

Students’ task is to put the words back together to make sentences.

#3 Gap-filling for each other

Students write a few sentences each (all with the verb you want to practise). Next, they erase or cover the verb form in these sentences. They pass their sentences to another student who has to complete the gaps with the correct form of the verb.

#4 Prompts

On the board write two prompts: a verb + topic or words.

For example:

be + nationality

have got + dog

Students have to make true sentences about themselves using these prompts. Alternatively, you can ask them to produce 2 true and 1 false sentence and have other students guess which one is false.

to be activities

#5 Ask & answer questions

Prepare a list of a few easy topics, e.g. hobby, home, family, etc. Students have to come up with one question for each topic to ask other students. They have to make sure that their questions have the verb you want them to practise. Next, they ask their questions to other students (or you) who have to answer them. And they have to answer using full sentences (read this article to find out why).

#6 Describe a photo

Before the lesson, prepare a few photos. Make sure they are relatively easy to describe for your beginner students. Ideally, choose photos with some people in them. During the class distribute or display the photos and ask the students to describe them in as much detail as they can. Whenever they can, they should use complete sentences.

#7 Situations

Before the lesson prepare a few photos of different situations, e.g. in a restaurant, in a shop, at school, etc. In the class, present the photos and ask the students to come up with sentences or questions they could use in these situations. If you want them to practise a particular verb, ask them to use it in these sentences.

Some of these activities might seem boring to you, but remember that if you’re teaching levels A0, all this stuff is new to them! It’s the beginning of their adventure with English and they probably still find it exciting!

If you want to save time preparing these activities, check out our Basic Grammar Activities.

Basic Grammar Activities