Excuses speaking activity

The aim of this excuses speaking activity is to come up with an explanation in 10 different situations. It requires quick thinking and creativity from the students and might easily be introduced as a game where whoever invents the best excuse gets a point.

The Task

A student needs to come with an excuse in a given situation. The premise is that the students are not telling the truth excusing themselves. The rest of the group / their partner should ask questions to see whether the invented story checks out, prompting the excuse maker to stick to the false scenario. If after three questions the excuse still holds up, the student gets a point.


Situation: You don’t have your homework, the teacher won’t believe the same old story. What’s your excuse?

Student: My brother took my homework to school with him by accident!

Question from the class: What brother? I didn’t know you had a brother.

To try more speaking activities take a look at the Small Talk lesson plan or Moral Dilemmas.

Personal Experience

I planned this excuses speaking activity for my teenage students, who are not always particularly keen on speaking in class, or opt out with “I don’t know”/” It depends.” This activity requires a lot of creativity and fast thinking, which is why not all students felt comfortable inventing excuses. Still, it engages the whole group in trying to uncover the truth. It is a pretty funny and dynamic exercise, suitable to use at the end of class when the group are getting restless counting down the minutes.




  1. I used this with my weaker PET class of 13-year-olds as a way to finish the class, they were absolutely delighted to role play these situations and had lots of fun, it really got them speaking. A great success, and will certainly try with my more advanced PET group. Think you could adapt this for adults, too?

    • Hi Chris, that’s great! I originally used this activity with teens and tweens but I’m sure adults could benefit from it as well as long as the content is appropriate.

  2. Hi! This site is amazing! Thanks a lot for all these ideas and materials! Unfortunately I can’t open the document Excuses (It’s written Sorry, this page can’t be found).Please, help me with it.

    • Hi, Ellen! Thanks for letting me know there was something wrong with the link. I think I’ve fixed it now. Enjoy your class!

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