Students usually form positive sentences with a correct word order easier than question sentences. They often confuse the word order especially in special questions irrespective of tense forms. Here are some exercises you can use to practise question forming both in written and oral forms. The tasks are suitable for all levels.
Prepare sentences in the tense you want your students to practise. Students should ask questions to the underlined words:
- He saw several football matches last week.
- They have selected the material I want.
- Mary is very grateful to her.
- I have waited for her for half an hour.
- You must look through the whole text.
Prepare a set of words and ask students to put the words in the correct order to make questions:
- stay, he, of, won’t, out, home, he’ll, going, at, instead?
- trip, England, came, Mary, any, to, made, she, has, since, business?
- your, in, you, what, brother, doing, yesterday, was. when, came?
- your, this, from, does, suggested, differ, the, method, one, by, friend?
- is, school, your, is, far, not, your, it, from, house?
Put students in pairs. Give a set of pictures. Students should and ask each other questions on the topic in the picture. For example,
The examples of the questions:
— daily routines,
- When do you get up?
- What do you have for breakfast?
- When do your classes start?
— summer holidays,
- Where did you spend your summer holidays?
- With whom did you go there?
- What did you do there?
— unforgettable day,
- Have you ever had an unforgettable day?
- When was it?
- What did you like on that day?
— your plans for the weekend
- What plans do you have for the weekend?
- Are you going to meet your friends at the weekend?
- Where are you going to go with them?
In this fun ‘Wh’ questions game, students ask each other ‘Wh’ questions to establish the correct line up in teams as quickly as possible, according to the criteria you call out. For example, if you ask them to line up as quickly as possible by age, the students should ask each other the question ‘How old are you?’ The first team to line up correctly wins three points. The second team wins two points. The third team wins one point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Ask students to form questions and type them in Wheel Decide. Then put students in pairs, ask to spin the wheel and take turns to answer the questions.
Before class, prepare a list of answers for questions you want to review. In the activity, students play a game where they are given an answer and they have to race to come up with the correct question. The class is divided into two teams. An answer is read. The team to respond with the correct question wins a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Here is a fun adaptation of the famous TV game show ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ Divide the class into two teams. Ask each team to prepare a set of questions to ask during the game. In the lesson put two chairs at the front of the class. A player from each team then comes and sits in a chair at the front of the class. The opponent’s team asks a question for $100. Give the player time to think and discuss the answer in a team. If the team gets the answer right, put a tick next to $100. Then, repeat the process with another team. When both teams have answered correctly, it’s time for a $200 question and so on. Each team also gets three lifelines to use when they are not sure of the answer. Fifty-Fifty — This is where two of the four answers are eliminated, so only two possible answers remain. Ask a “friend” — The players can google the answer in English.
Organize a pair work in the form of “job interviews” for unusual jobs. Prepare a set of cards with the weirdest jobs ever, for example, a pet food tester, a bed tester, a line stander etc. Ask students to make a list of possible questions to be asked at the job interviews. Give 10 minutes to role play dialogues then change job seekers.
What activities do you use to practise making questions?