Published 21st November 2017

Ask a native English-speaker what a conditional is and you will no doubt get a very blank look in response. In the TEFL classroom, however, conditionals are a very important part of our courses as they are a common feature of the English language. This means that it is very important that our students learn to recognise and use conditionals in their English.

So here is a fun game which can be used to practise any of the conditionals, depending on the learning stage of your learners.

  • Give each student a piece of paper.
  • Decide which conditional structure will be used.
  • Each student writes a sentence in that structure at the top of the paper.
  • Then they pass it to the student on their left.
  • Each student must then write a second conditional sentence which follows from the previous one. In other words, they would use the second part of the previous sentence as the first part of the next one.
  • After each sentence is written, the student must fold over the piece of paper so that only one sentence is showing ie the student is only able to see the previous sentence.
  • This continues being passed around until the papers return back to their original student.
  • Students can then unfold their papers and read out their conditional chain stories.

For example, once you have explained the meaning and structure of the second conditional, the following chain story might be written:

If I won the lottery, I’d buy a Ferrari.

If I bought a Ferrari, I’d drive to France.

If I drove to France, I’d eat a lot of pasta.

If I ate a lot of pasta, I’d get fat.

If I got fat, I wouldn’t fit into my clothes.

What you should find is that your students end up creating very humorous stories while at the same time they have practised the conditional structure. Though conditional structures can be difficult to remember and use accurately and appropriately, doing activities like this will create opportunities for your students to utilise them and so become more comfortable with using them.