These 3 games provide some extra speaking practice when discussing functions of such verbs as: should, shouldn’t, must, have to, and not have to to express advice, obligation, and prohibition. It is a good idea for pre-intermediate and intermediate students, adults and teenagers alike.
#1 Group speaking game
Cut up the Situation cards and distribute one stack per group / pair of students. Students take turns picking one card and they have to react to the situation accordingly, using appropriate words such as should/ shouldn’t/ must/ mustn’t/ have to/ not have to. They get a point for each correct sentence.Their partner(s) should make sure the sentence is correct / logical before awarding the speaker with a point.
Situation: You are going to your best friend’s wedding.
Sentence: You should buy a present/ You have to wear nice clothes/ You mustn’t be late.
#2 Dice game
Cut up the Situation cards and distribute one stack per group / pair of students. Assign each word to a number on the dice: 1 = should, 2= shouldn’t etc. Students take turns picking up situation cards and rolling the dice. They need to react to the situation accordingly using the word they rolled.
Situation: You are going to your best friend’s wedding. Number rolled: 2, which means shouldn’t
Sentence: You shouldn’t arrive late.
#3 Guessing game
Cut up the Situation cards and distribute one stack per group / pair of students. Students divide the cards equally. Students take turns to put forward 2 or 3 cards facing up so that their partner(s) can read them. They describe only one situation, using appropriate words. The others must guess which situation is being described. Whoever guesses first, collects the card and gets a point. The other card put forward by the students goes back to his pile.
Cards put forward: You are going to your best friend’s wedding. You are planning a trip to Asia.
Student’s description: You must take your passport
Correct answer: You are planning a trip to Asia.
For more grammar practice see Conditional structures fun activities.
I have been playing these games with many different groups or individual students very often leaving the written exercises for homework. They were a great opportunity for students to gain confidence when using the keywords and created a lot of opportunities for some new, relevant language to emerge. I tried to make the situations as relatable to my students as possible so that they could use their real life experience and opinions when coming up with the sentences. I have also noticed that, on many occasions, these activities have helped to clear doubts regarding must vs have to.