In/ at/ on/ no preposition SNAP

He’s ____ another line ________ yesterday ______ midday It is ____ the meeting room
Rely ____ _______ today _______ exactly 4 o’clock See you ______ a few minutes!
______ the 16th _______ last week ______ about 3:30 I will retire ______ 2 years
Insist _______ ______ this week Arrive ______ the station ______ advance
_______ Easter Sunday _______ next year Leave a message ______ reception ______ the 80’s
______ my birthday _______ the day after tomorrow Work _______ head office ________ the 21st century
______ 17 January _____ the day before yesterday ___ the end of the year ______ January
______ New Year’s Day ______ the week before last _____ the beginning _______ the second half of the year
______ the 2nd  Saturday of  April ________ the week after next ______ the start _______ the summer
______ my own ________ next month ______ the top _______ the rainy season
________ my desk ________ this month _____ the bottom I live _______ London
_______ the roof __________ last month _______ exactly this point _______ the filing cabinet
______ average ______ tomorrow _______ 1 pm ________ front of the main gate
______ this date _____ next week ________ noon ______ the middle
_______ this day _______ this year ________ midnight _____ the Southwest
arrive _______ time ________ last year ______ two in the morning ______ that general area
Work ____ a project ______ next …. _____ midnight ______ the morning
_____ the ground floor _____ the moment _____ the early evening
Get _____ the bus _____ addition to
_____ the internet
Insist ______ Things ____ common
_____ top of



Accompanying article

Do your students complain that learning what preposition goes with which word is boring and/ or difficult? I’d be willing to put money on it. Did you telling them they just need to use them and practice them over and over again not fill them with enthusiasm, Well, ‘Prepositions SNAP’ may well be the answer.

The game SNAP is a simple children’s game that can be played with a normal pack of cards. The pack is divided equally between the two players and then they take turns placing their cards face up on the table in two piles (one for each player). If the cards shown are at any time the same, the people playing must shout ‘SNAP!’ as fast as they can. The first person to shout SNAP can take all the cards that are down on the table. The aim of the game is to get the whole pack of cards.

Most people seem to be familiar with the game in its original form. Obviously, taking in a pack of real playing cards to demonstrate will help them get the idea. I then tend to introduce just a couple more rules. Students should take turns turning their cards over, not at the same time, and if anyone shouts SNAP and they are not the same they must give 3 cards to their partner as a penalty.

Now to introduce ‘Prepositions SNAP’. It’s basically the game described above, but SNAP is when the prepositions that fill the gaps on the cards are the same. For example, ‘An interview _____ a job’ and ‘Have lamb _____ dinner’ are both SNAP because they both take ‘for’. If you expect your students to know most of the phrases already, give one pack of ‘Prepositions SNAP’ cards out to each pair and off they go (with you as the judge).

If your students need a bit of preparation first, write the prepositions (,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,) up on the board and elicit a word that goes with each one. Then give out the packs of SNAP cards and get the students to put them in columns by preposition. When they finished, you’ve checked their answers and they’ve written the difficult ones down they simply shuffle, deal and play. I also like to give my students the language they need to talk about the game itself: ‘It’s your turn’, ‘to deal’, ‘to shuffle’, ‘to turn over a card’ ‘to cheat’ etc, as well as the literal meaning of the word ‘snap’.

Whenever anyone in the class wins, you can stop the whole class. In the groups that haven’t finished, the person with the most cards in their hand wins.

The same game can be adapted for a whole bunch of language points that usually make the students groan, e.g. phrases with make and do, verb + infinitive/ -ing form. In fact, there are so many uses that you’ll probably be looking for a variation or two. Well, the same pack of cards can easily be used for a pellmanism (the memory game where you spread the cards across the table face down and have to ‘pick a pair’) or a simple race to put them (correctly in columns). Alternatively, you could try my variation on SNAP, which I call MATCH SNAP. Again, the students have half the cards each. This time both students chose one card from their hand and they then slap their cards down on the table face up at the same time. They must then find a card in their hand with the same preposition as the one their partner put down, and slap this one on top, saying ‘SNAP!’ The first person to do so correctly takes all four cards and puts them on his/ her side of the table. When both students have got through their hands they count how many cards they have won to see who is the winner. If anything, this is even more competitive and frenetic than the original SNAP game.

Originally published in English Teaching Professional magazine.


PDF for easy saving and printing: Prepositions Snap

Related pages

Prepositions page

Snap and pelmanism in EFL classes (TEFLtastic classics Part Seven)

2 Responses to In/ at/ on/ no preposition SNAP

  1. page says:

    It would be nice if you included the key to your exercises too!

  2. Tim says:

    To be fair, if you don’t know the answers, you shouldn’t be teaching English.

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