Sentence Builder game

To practice matching past and present "to be" verbs to the correct subject and time frame

In this game students score points by placing words on the board, and completing sentences.


Print, cut and possibly laminate the cards. You’ll need enough sets for groups of ~5 people. There are a lot, so you can probably get away with printing only the first 3 (maybe 2… maybe..) pages.

Print a board (and optional scoresheet) for each group.


Each group gets one deck and one board. The cards are shuffled and 3 cards are dealt to each player. Choose a starting player using any method you like – I assume jan-ken.

Each player’s turn goes like this:

  1. Play a card from their hand to the board. It may go on any row, in any empty space, as long as it works with any other card already on that row. For example, if “yesterday” is already placed then a present tense verb (is/are/am) can’t be used on that row. Colours are there to give hints to students with weaker English.
  2. The player scores the points printed on the card.
  3. If the placed card is the fourth one on a row, the player also scores the points on every card on the row again. This is in addition to the points from placing the card. Discard all the cards on that row to make room for a new sentence.
  4. If the player can’t play a card they discard a card instead.
  5. Draw a card. The player should have 3 cards.
  6. Pass play to the next player.

The winner can either be the first to a certain number (like 30, or 42, or 50 or 10π), or whoever has the most points at the end of the lesson .


Feel free to change the cards, perhaps to include more verbs. I already included eat/eats/ate and some foods.

There are some larger sized cards in the "board and extras" file for use in demonstrating. You may wish to colour them in to match the real cards.

I haven't tried it but JHS3 may like it as a review exercise.


Submitted by Tommy Hoffmann on Wed, 06/14/2017 - 12:03


Took this and made a version to introduce JHS 1 to basic verbs (I/you, am, are, play, have, like...) and S+V+O. Explaining it to low-level 1-nensei isn't easy, but it worked really, really well.