Introduction to Teaching English Online

Speaking Activities For “Yet” And “Already”

Oral practice for present perfect with “yet” and “already”.

Guessing games for “yet” and “already”

There are quite a few possible guessing games. In one variation a student writes or is given a list of ten stages they must go through in order to complete a complex task, e.g. the steps to fix a photocopier. Without showing the list to their partner, they draw a line across the list at the point they imagine they have got to, e.g. after turning one of the knobs but before pulling out the paper. They tell their partner only what they are trying to achieve. Their partner then asks them questions about what they have already done (e.g. “Have you opened the front cover yet?”) and tries to work out what stage they are at now. This is quite challenging because many of the things they think of won’t be on the list at all, e.g. “Have you called the service engineer yet?” “No, and I’m not planning to. I’m going to fix it myself”.

Students can also guess what the activity is. One student writes or is given a list of smaller actions and draws a line across it as described above. That person then describes things before and after that line (e.g. “I’ve already had my haircut but I haven’t joined any clubs yet”) until their partner guesses what bigger thing they are trying to achieve (in this case, finding a girlfriend).

You can also play a guessing game based on the idea of being halfway through your holiday. One person draws their perfect round the world trip on a map with seven stops and circles one of those stops as the place they are now. Their partner tries to find out where that place is with questions and answers like “Have you been to Bali?” “No, I’m not planning on going there. / No, I’ve already finished with Asia. / Yes, ages ago. / I’m there now. Good guess!” The same game can be played with a map of the town, with one student picking places they will go and marking their present position on it, with this variation also being suitable for teaching the names of shops or knowledge of a place (e.g. London) they might really visit.

Students can also imagine they are phoning their friend from their time machine, making their partner(s) guess the year with questions like “Has WWII happened yet?”

Personalisation games for “yet” and “already”

In one personalised guessing game, students choose a time one day that week or the previous week and tell their partner the day but not the time, e.g. “The day before yesterday”. They imagine that it is now that time and say what they had really done and had yet to do (because they would go on to do it later in the day) until their partner guesses the exact time they are thinking of. This can also be played with the person who is guessing asking questions, e.g. “Have you left the house yet?”

A simpler personalised guessing game is for one student to think of something they really haven’t done yet (but will or must do in the future). They explain when they are likely to do it, why they have to do it, why they haven’t done it yet, if their partner probably has already done it or not etc until their partner guesses what the action is.

Students can also compete with each other by trying to find things that their partner has to do but hasn’t done or hasn’t finished yet, e.g. “Have you had a shower today?” “No, I always have one in the evening.” and “Have you revised for the test?” “A little bit”. If they are playing for points, they get one point for each “Not yet” answer (but no points for things their partner hasn’t done and aren’t going to do).

A much simpler activity is for students to ask each other questions and/or tell each other information to find things they both haven’t done yet, e.g. “Have you spoken to your parents today?” “No, I left the house before they got up. You?” “I’m going to phone them tonight, so that’s the same.”

Roleplays for “yet” and “already”

A nice way of setting up a range of language for roleplays is to tell them that they should say “No, not yet.” to half the things they are asked about and then explain why and/or promise future action. This works if the roles are teacher/student, parent/child, boss/employee, club chairman/club member, bride/wedding planner, etc.

Another realistic situation for this language is giving advice, e.g. “Have you been to the doctor yet?” “Yes, but he says it is all in my head”.

Written by Alex Case for April 2012
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

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