Adverbs Of Frequency Games

Motivating activities to practise expressions like “once a week” and “hardly ever”.

In this article, I am using “adverbs of frequency” to include expressions like “once a week”, as well as the simpler ones like “sometimes” and “always”. There are so many fun, personalised activities that you can do with this point that it might be tempting to spend too much time on it. You can make the activities more useful by adding practice of the third person S and adding phrases like “once every two months” and “almost always”, but even so you might have to wait for another group of students before you can try out all these ideas!

1. Adverbs of frequency Answer Me

Make packs of cards up with a selection of expressions like either “usually” and “hardly ever” or “twice a week” and “once a day”. Students deal all the cards out. They can look at their own cards but shouldn’t show them to each other. They ask each other “How often” questions and can discard their cards as they get answers which are exactly the same as their cards. For example, if they ask “How often do you clean your teeth?” and get the answer “three times a day”, they can discard a card if they have one with that written on it. The first person with no cards left (or the person with fewest cards when the teacher stops the game) is the winner.

2. That often too

Students ask each other “How often” questions to find things that they do with the same frequency, e.g. things they both do once a month or seldom do. This can also be extended to include people they know, e.g. “How often do your friends email you?” and “How often does your grandfather talk about the war?”

3. More often more more more

Students ask each other about things that they think they do more often than their partner(s), e.g. “How often do you watch Korean soap operas?” or “How often do you floss?”, and get one point for each time their own adverb of frequency is more often than that of their partner(s). For example, if their answer is “four times a day” but the others say “once every two days”, they get one point.

4. Warmer cooler more often less often

Students ask their partners to guess something about them with a “How often” question like “How often do I skip lunch?” If their partner’s first answer isn’t the right adverb of frequency, they give hints like “much more often” and “a little less often” until their partners get exactly the right one.

5. How often how many times

Students choose one of the adverbs of frequency for their partner(s) to try to make as many true sentences about them with as they can, stopping whenever one of the sentences is not true. They score one point for each true sentence they made until that point, then switch roles. For example, if they choose “often” their partners can try with the sentence “You often argue with your younger brother”. If this gets a response like “That’s true” or “You’re right”, they can continue with “You often watch TV during dinner” etc, stopping whenever the response is a correction like “Actually, I always…”

6. Adverbs of frequency ladder game

Either on the whiteboard or on a worksheet, give students a vertical list of adverbs of frequency with the most frequent at the top and the least frequent at the bottom, e.g. “never”, “almost never”, “hardly ever”, “sometimes”, “often”, “very often”, “usually” and “always” from bottom to top. Students ask each other “How often” questions with the aim of getting the answer that is written on the next rung up on the ladder. The aim of the game is to climb to the top of the ladder without making any mistakes, falling back all the way to the bottom of the ladder whenever their partner gives them an answer which isn’t written just above them on the ladder.

7. Adverbs of frequency guessing

Students choose or are given an adverb of frequency and give hints about what it is until their partners guess correctly. For example, for “twice a week” they could say “Many people wash their hair this often” and “I go to the laundrette this often”.

Written by Alex Case for July 2011
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

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