Games to practice relative clauses

Updated: The fruits of the musings below are now available at: Relative clauses games/ worksheets

Have been really struggling to come up with some ideas for a couple of lessons on this. I usually just get students to define words for each other, but we did that to revise vocabulary already (note to self- how many times must you be told to improve your long term planning!) and anyway that completely leaves out non-defining relative clauses. Ditto for Taboo, too similar and too limited in the language it brings up. Am slowly coming up with enough ideas to both fill my lessons and write an upcoming “15 ways…” article, but in the meantime thought I might share the best fruits of Google:

The PowerPoint for which is at:

More game ideas towards the bottom of:

including some nice personalisation and a mix of defining and non-defining (although unfortunately in different games)

And there on page two of my Google search was a reminder that I actually had my own classic relative clauses game on

It is also coming back to me that the Intermediate Communication Games game “Archeologists” should or can be used for this point, making sentences like “This wooden and cat gut contraption, which we found in a large clay pit, was used to strain spaghetti that was too fat for a colander” for a tennis racket. Any other suggestions very gratefully accepted.

This entry was posted in Grammar, Grammar games, relative clauses, TEFL, TEFL games. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Games to practice relative clauses

  1. Sandy says:

    Alex, I can remember doing a crossword with defining clauses as clues (defining clues?) some years back. For example, “This is a small metal tool that you use / is used for opening doors” (=key!). I think the object was to get the students to provide the definitions, the second time around anyway.

    I personally preferred the ‘student-centred’ approach – “This is the student who gets up my nose every day” sort of thing!

  2. Alex Case says:

    Thanks Sandy, I’d forgotten about that classic. In the end I did my How British Is Your English lesson (link above) for defining, then this new slang worksheet for non-defining,

    then a variation on Fairytale Domines from Intermediate Communication Games where they had to be sparing with the cards they use and just add more and more detail to their partner’s to mix them up in the next lesson. Same with explaining plots of films in incredible detail, and Bob’s your uncle (or builder)

    More links and hopefully full “15 ways…” article hopefully coming at the weekend

  3. Acorn says:

    I saw a game played in an open class. The topic was relative clauses. They played Hot Seat. 2 (from 2 teams) students sat in front of a TV (a board would do). A picture of an elephant was showed. Other students in the respective teams would raise there hands and give clues using the relative clause: It is an animal that is big. The first student to guess it, wins a point.

  4. Alex Case says:

    Thanks Acorn

    I’ll try to put more of my own ideas and worksheets up next month, but if anyone is in a rush for ideas on this grammar point, leave a comment here and I’ll slap something together

  5. Mary An Stringile says:

    Hi Alex. Thanks for sharing your tools on relative clauses. Unlike you, I know some very basic Japanese and teach an after-school club on beginning Japanese (grammar, Haragana writing, speaking, listening (movies like “Shall We Dance?”) and sushi making (California roll). The kids like it. On another front, your dog looks adorable. Did you acquire him while in Japan, or did you have him /her transported to you?

  6. Alex Case says:

    Never had a dog- are you confusing me with someone I link to here??

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