15 games for the language of likes and dislikes

1. Likes and dislikes mimes Students mime whole sentences about likes and dislikes, e.g. miming “I hate tea” by showing picking up a cup from a saucer, sipping, and looking disgusted and maybe spitting it out. The game can be personalized by students only being given a single word or picture clue and miming their […]

1. Likes and dislikes mimes
Students mime whole sentences about likes and dislikes, e.g. miming “I hate tea” by showing picking up a cup from a saucer, sipping, and looking disgusted and maybe spitting it out. The game can be personalized by students only being given a single word or picture clue and miming their own reaction to it.

2. Likes and dislikes Pictionary
The same language and cards as are used for Likes and Dislikes Mimes above can be used if the students make drawing on the board or in their notebooks that represent the whole sentences.

3. The likes and dislikes ladder game
Write a succession of likes and dislikes expressions on the board, starting from the most negative at the bottom, e.g. “really hate” or “(utterly) detest”, and getting more positive as they go up until they finish with a really positive one at the top, e.g. “adore” or “love”. Between 5 and 8 expressions usually works best. Draw a ladder next to the expressions, with one rung for each expression. Start with a magnet or drawing of a person climbing the ladder at the bottom. To reach the first rung, students must ask you a question to which your true answer is the expression written there, e.g. “How do you feel about grey skies/ Manchester United/ cockroaches?” They then have to ask questions to get each answer in succession until they reach the top. Any time they get an answer that is not written directly above their present position, the magnet or drawing “falls” back to the bottom of the ladder and has to start again. They can, however, just ask exactly the same questions again if they like (and can remember them). When they have successfully reached the top of the ladder, students can play the same game in pairs.

4. Who likes?
Students guess which person in the class is being described from their likes and dislikes. This can be organized many ways. One is for students to write sentences on one piece of paper each describing what they really like, don’t really like etc, to be taken in by the teacher, shuffled, and dealt out to other people. The person who received it then reads out the sentences to the rest of their group or the class, starting with the most difficult to guess from, until someone guesses who it is.

5. Which celebrity likes?
In a similar way to Who Likes above, students listen to each other and guess the famous person from their likes and dislikes. The research for this can be done by the teacher or the students, or they can just use their imagination about the person they are writing or speaking about.

6. Chain writing likes and dislikes blind date
Each student is given a copy of a worksheet that represents a letter from someone that is interested in meeting for a blind date, with lots of sentence starters about likes and dislikes, e.g. “I split up from my last boyfriend/ girlfriend because he/ she didn’t like ….” or “Most people think it is strange that I love …., but I can’t get enough of it.” They fill in the first gap, fold the paper so that sentence they completed can’t be seen, then pass it along to the next person. Repeat for each gapped sentence until the whole letter is finished. After it is passed one more time, students can open the letters, read them and decide if the letters make sense, who is the best person to date or which of the people writing would match well with each other.

7. Graded reader blind date
This game uses the blind date idea to bring some self-study materials into the classroom. Each student is given a graded reader and gets an idea about it from reading the back of the book and the first couple of pages. Working in groups of 3 to 6 students, students work together to find the best match between the interests of each person and the books they have been given, without showing the books to each other. This can also be played after people have finished reading the whole book.

8. Holidays blind date
The blind date idea can also be used for talking about holidays. In the more controlled version, students are given details about one holiday each and try to find the best match for each one in their group without showing them to each other, similar to Graded Reader Blind Date above. In the more creative version, students guess what kinds of things will be most popular with a particular student or students in generally and try to design a holiday to suit them, perhaps within a certain price limit.

9. Language learning blind date
In this variation on the blind date game, students try to match different ways of learning languages, e.g. blogging in English or singing karaoke in English, with people in their group. As with Holidays Blind Date above, a more creative version is for them to design language learning packages that they think will be popular and then ask questions to choose which of the other groups’ ideas would most suit them.

10. Likes and dislikes same and different
Students have 5 minutes to find as many similarities in their likes and dislikes with their partner as possible, e.g. “I like ice cream. And you?” “I like ice cream too. One point.” After finding out which pair in the class had most similarities, you can play the same game again but with people trying to find things that are different with a new partner. This can also be played as a mingling game.

11. Likes and dislikes unique mingle game
Another mingling game that can be played with this language is trying to find one like or dislike that is unique to you in the whole class, e.g. asking every person as you walk round if they also hate the smell of roses until you find someone who has the same feelings about what you are asking about, in which case you should choose a new thing to ask about and start again, or you find that you are unique and you can sit down.

12. Likes and dislikes find how many who/ questionnaires
Another nice mingling game is for students to make predictions about how many people in the class like, really dislike etc. various things and then go around asking questions to check.

13. Which one do I like?
This is similar to the Japanese game show where celebrities have to pretend to like foods they hate. Students tell the class three things they like, love, hate etc, e.g. “I hate dogs, tomatoes and the colour blue”. One of those things should be untrue. The other students ask them questions until they can guess which one isn’t true, e.g. “Why do you hate all dogs?”, “Do you like ketchup?” or “Do you eat pizza without tomatoes?” The person answering can continue to lie in their answers about the one thing that is false.

14. I like everything
This is like an easier version of Which One Do I Like? above. Students are asked “Do you like spiders/ sky diving/ maths homework etc?” and must answer “Yes” to every question, whether it is true or not. The other students then ask additional questions and try to work out from the believability of their answers, body language etc whether they are lying or not.

15. Likes and dislikes Mastermind
One student tells the others one thing they hate, one thing they dislike, one thing they don’t mind, one thing they like and one thing they love, but with the things not in that order and without telling them which one is which, e.g. “History, washing up, people who sniff, hot weather, lilac”. The other students guess which one is which, e.g. “You hate people who sniff. You dislike washing up. You don’t mind history. You dislike lilac. You hate hot weather.” The person whose likes and dislikes they are talking about should only respond with “None/ one/ two/ three/ four/ five correct”. They then try again and again with only the same hint each time on how many they have correct until they get all five right. This can also be played with more or fewer (between three and six) likes and dislikes expressions.

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net July 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.


  • Stia_lb says:

    Really interesting and useful games, thank you..

  • Thomas, China says:

    Great ideas….the ladder one is awesome during one-to-one tuition!

  • Veronica says:

    Hi I am taking the tefl course and I have to prepare a class for teenagers, thank you so much for your help…

    Guayaquil, Ecuador

  • moni says:

    This are very good games for students to learn likes and dislikes and i hope that my students like it jejeje as I do.Here is my e-mail so we can comunicate as teachers and help us each other.

Leave a comment

TEFL.net : ESL Lesson Plans : Classroom Ideas : Games : 15 games for the language of likes and dislikes