ICAL TEFL Courses & Resources

Discarding Adverbs – adverb activity

Students learning English are often described as Beginners, Intermediate or Advanced. Roughly speaking this is their level, i.e. how much English they know, how well they can speak and understand and so on.

For more, see Learner Levels‏ in TEFL.

A Flashcard is a small card with a picture on it. It may also have the name of the picture on the reverse. They are incredibly useful in the TEFL classroom and well worth using; often teachers will make their own.

For more, see Flashcards‏‎ and TEFL.

Adverbs tell us more about nouns or verbs, etc.

Adverbs of Degree tell us how much: Is there enough wine?

Adverbs of Frequency tell us how often: I never eat meat.

Adverbs of Time tell us when: I saw him last Sunday.

Adverbs of Manner tell us how: She dances badly.

Adverbs of Place to tell us where: I saw him at the cinema.

For more, see Adverbs in English Grammar.

Adverbs in MindDiscarding Adverbs is a game based on a simple set of cards which can be used to practice different kinds of adverbs with your class. The game is also useful in helping to create and practicing questions‏‎.

It helps if the class know each other, but it can also be used to get to know other students in the class a little better.


Create a set of flashcards‏‎, each with an adverb on it. If, for example, you wanted your class to practice adverbs of frequency, you would create a set of cards like this:

  1. always
  2. sometimes
  3. occasionally
  4. never

(This is a short list; depending on the level of your class you can make this longer of course.)

Have one word on each card and you will need enough cards so that each student in the class can have four or five (you can have duplicates, of course).

Running the Activity

Firstly explain the activity to your class. Take a card at random from the pile but don't let anyone see it. Then begin to ask questions to each student telling them they MUST answer honestly with a single adverb of frequency. The aim is to find a student who gives the word on your card.

Suppose the word you have is: SOMETIMES

Teacher: John, how often do you go to the cinema?
John: Never.

Teacher: Maria, how often do you visit your grandmother?
Maria: Occasionally.

Teacher: Paulo, how often do you take the train?
Paulo: Rarely.

Teacher: Kelly, how often do you eat pizza?
Kelly: Sometimes.

And because a student has found the word on the card, the teacher can give up the card (i.e. discard it).

Once the class understands the principle, the next step is to get them to play it.

Get all the students sitting in a circle (if you can move them) and give each of them 2 cards; it doesn't matter if they have duplicates when you deal them out. Tell them the aim is to get rid of their cards and the first person to do so is the winner.

Choose a student at random to start things off. They can ask anyone in the class a question. If that person answers with the word on the card then the student can give up the card to the teacher; if they don't get the right answer then nothing happens and the next student in the circle asks a question of another student.

The trick then is to find the right question and ask the right person!

Keep going round the circle till finally someone has given up all their cards.

Variations on a Theme

The same game can be played with many different variations. With adverbs of manner or degree, for example.

Image © MyThoughtsMindMaps
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