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English Class Rules


SUBMITTED BY: Jeff Maeshiro 


GRAMMAR: Verb Infinitive (helping verb + bare infinitive)

EXAMPLE: You must not drink hard liquor in English class.  

DATE ADDED: Mar 02, 2010


15-25 min.
 7 votes: 4.5-star

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BRIEF OUTLINE:This is a relatively quick game to practice the must/mustn't grammar form while also reviewing verbs and basic rules of behavior in English class. It also reinforces the stronger nature of the "must" form over the "have to" form.





  1. Before the game begins, give the class part of a sentence ("speak Japanese") and challenge them to form a 'must or must not' sentence: "We must not speak Japanese in English class."  Then, proceed with the game. 
  2. After splitting the class into groups of 4-6 students, give each group a copy of the worksheet and have them decide the order they will write/answer within their groups.
  3. Then, say a part of a sentence and each group first must decide if the sentence they are going to write is a 'must/must not" sentence, and then one person in each group must write the sentence on their worksheet and bring it to a teacher to check their answer.  NOTE: Only one student in each group can write the answer.
  4. If the sentence is written correctly, for example "We must speak English in English class." then that team receives points in accordance with the order they answered.  NOTE: If there are six groups, then the first group's member that gets the correct answer will get six points, the next team five, the next team four, then three, then two and the last team will get one point.  Write the points obtained on the board.
  5. Once the round is over, the pencil switch hands in each group and the next round begins.
  6. The team with the most points is the champion.
  7. The parts of sentences that I use are:
    • speak English
    • sleep
    • eat food
    • take notes
    • run around
    • study hard
    • play video games
    • read our textbook
    • talk with our friends
    • listen to our teachers



  • One of the best aspects of this activity is what little preparation it requires. And, any rules can be used, as long as the verbs are simple enough. If available, sometimes 100 yen whiteboards and erasable markers make this game more enjoyable, although in this particular instance I feel the worksheet provided is best, as the final product is an actual list of class rules.
  • The point system can be adjusted to be fairer to slower groups. For example, if there are six groups, the first two groups that come to the front get six points while the next two groups get four points and the last two groups get two points.
  • Because the final question is more difficult, it is always fun to make this last question worth double points and let the groups choose their best player to take that one.



  • The order of this list was designed with these criteria in mind:

    • use verbs simple enough for students to be able to write without review.
    • make guessing whether each sentence requires a "must" or "mustn't" more difficult as the game progresses.
    • make the first answer easy and progressively become more difficult as the game goes on.
  • In my experience, this game should be able to be explained completely in English and without translation from the JTE, with the exception of explaining the part about choosing their order within the team. For the example sentence before the game starts, one suggestion is to simply grab a nearby student and mimic the actions they have to take when answering:
    • 1. Bring them up to the front with their paper.
    • 2. Have them read the sentence.
    • 3. You mimic writing the points they receive on the board.
  • It's most fair to the students if you rotate around the classroom, as this game benefits the groups closest to the front of the class.
  • I am very lenient when it comes to the reading of the sentences but I usually tell them to rewrite the answer if there are grammar/spelling mistakes.
  • Encourage every student to write their own sentence as some will have faster teammates to write the answer for them, or some students may not come up at all.
  • For me, the structure of this game is the 'perfect game' because it combines listening, writing and speaking into an activity that gets students excited about studying English. It's simply a side benefit that they are actually studying English at the same time that they're having fun.



  • The Rules List was originally designed using vocabulary from the New Horizon series so please tailor your rules to your classes accordingly.
  • This game can get a bit rowdy so you might want to tell your students beforehand that the game is a little dangerous, so please don't run.
  • I think it's important to tell the class to use teamwork within their teams, or they may think they aren't supposed to help their teammates at all.

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This page was last modified on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:56:34 AM