A noun or a verb? Word stress board game

The aim of this game is to practice word stress in double-duty, two-syllable words which may serve as both nouns and verbs (protest, insult, reject, etc.) This game works great both with teenage and adult students. I have used it during regular as well as conversation classes.

The Task

Start with the Prezi presentation where students need to figure out missing caption for three news-related pictures. Try eliciting from them words such as suspect, protest, increase, survey, record. Decide whether the words in bold are nouns or verbs (easily seen in the context). The final aim is to elicit the rule of word stress for nouns (the first syllable) and verbs (the second syllable).


Time to practice. Divide the class into pairs or groups of three. Each group gets a copy of the board, counters and a dice. They roll the dice and move along the board. Depending on whether they roll odd or even numbers, they need to use the word they land on as a noun or a verb to make a sentence, paying special attention to the word stress.

Example: one of the students rolled 1, landed on the word INCREASE. They need to use it as a noun, so the sentence could be There has been an INcrease in the level of unemployment in Spain.

The first person to get 8 sentences right wins (there is no “finish” square).

For more pronunciation games focusing on word stress see this pronunciation maze.

Personal Experience

It is a very useful activity to make students realise that some words have multiple functions in English, and their meaning depends not only on the context but also on the way we pronounce them. The board game is a lot of fun and helps with pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. It also encourages peer correction, as it is up to the group to accept/reject the sentences made.



A noun or a verb

One Comment

  1. So glad I stumbled upon your page! Great article, will sure try it out in my next class. Thanks!

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