Types of Worksheet

Worksheets range in type from straight-text multiple-choice questions to illustrated puzzles and mind games. Here are a few examples of worksheet types that have proved particularly effective in teaching English. For each type we list language points it works well with.

Matching Worksheets

This type of worksheet usually asks students to match up pairs of items (for example opposite words or start and end of a tag question). This is often done by having one column of items on the left and the matching items, not in the same order, in a column on the right. Students have to draw lines between the matching items. (This is sometimes known as a spaghetti exercise.)

Here are some ideas:

  • match abbreviations or contractions to long form (etc. ↔ et cetera)
  • match synonyms (right ↔ correct) or antonyms (right ↔ left)
  • match word to definition (hot ↔ having a high temperature)
  • match baby animal to adult animal (cub ↔ lion)
  • match sound to animal (croak ↔ frog)
  • match numeral to written number (5 ↔ five)
  • match written time to spoken time (4:40 ↔ half-past-four)
  • match phonemic symbol to word with corresponding sound (/i:/ ↔ sheep)
  • complete the collocation (make ↔ your bed)
  • complete the sentence (If you bite your nails ↔ you'll get sore fingers.)
  • question/response (How are you? ↔ I'm fine, thank you.)
  • listening task (Who stole the money? ↔ John)
  • match picture to word (picture of dog ↔ dog)

Word Scrambles Worksheets

Word scrambles or jumbles help improve vocabulary and spelling. In this type of worksheet the letters of each word are mixed up and students have to put them into the proper order.

Here are some different types of words you can scramble:

  • key vocabulary
  • spelling list words
  • names of students in the classroom
  • teachers’ last names
  • names of places
  • number words (thousand, million etc)
  • words that are commonly misspelled
  • words with silent letters or other unique features
  • words based on a sound you are working on
  • holiday or special event vocabulary
  • grammar terms
  • almost anything

Jumbled Sentences Worksheets

Here, each sentence is presented with its words all mixed up and students have to put them into the correct order (for example: walked/dog/the/boy/his → The boy walked his dog | time/go/to/it's/almost/school/to → It's almost time to go to school).

Here are some examples:

  • sentences in a particular tense
  • sentences in mixed tenses
  • interrogative sentences
  • negative sentences
  • adjective order (complete sentence, or just adjectives and noun)

Sorting Worksheets

With sorting worksheets, students are presented with a collection of items (words, phrases, phonemic characters etc) and asked to "sort" them into particular categories (for example: male and female; stress on first, second and third syllable; Africa, Asia, Europe, S. America). From the examples, you can see that there might be two, three, four or more categories. This usually depends on the particular language point and level. One of the most common ways of doing this is to have all the items entered randomly in a box at the bottom of the worksheet, with a column for each category above - into which students write the appropriate item.

Here are some ideas (the figures in brackets represent the number of possible columns):

  • sort into positive and negative - 2
  • sort into phrases and clauses - 2
  • sort clauses into dependent and independent - 2
  • sort into prefixes and suffixes - 2
  • listening task - he said, she said - 2
  • listening task - mentioned/not mentioned - 2
  • listening task - True/False/Not Mentioned - 3
  • sort nouns into Person/Place/Thing - 3
  • sort words into parts of speech - 2, 3, 4
  • sort verbs into tenses  - 2, 3, 4
  • sort words by word stress (1st, 2nd syllable etc) - 2, 3, 4

Other Worksheets

There are several other types of worksheet, including:

  • Multiple Choice Worksheets are basically quiz-type exercises
  • Gap Fill Worksheets where students insert the right words in gaps in the text
  • Word Puzzle Worksheets include crosswords, word search and word maze
  • Labelling Worksheets where students annotate an illustration

Make Your Own Worksheets