The Internet TESL Journal

Finish the Sentence

Gerard Counihan
profesorSs [at]

Level: Good beginner/Intermediate.

A simple activity which at first sight looks like a grammar-type exercise. However, the students must complete each unfinished phrase truthfully. The example given, for instance, can have many different endings, according to each person's situation.

Most importantly, I would advise you to start this activity in silence, with each student writing down his or her own completion. This guarantees that people will not be stuck for words, which usually happens if you present somebody with a half-finished sentence and ask for an immediate verbal reaction. I have found that, if you give students time to think, they will produce better sentences. The bonus here is that if, for example, you have a group of seven, each student will probably come up with a different finish. This will definitely trigger interest on the part of the other students, and reduce tension. Moreover, it is the student who gets to create something. The teacher merely oversees, and hence does not dominate the class.


Now you try it.

If any of the sentences should provoke debate, let it develop.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. V, No. 5, May 1999