Reported Speech: The Marriage Counselor (Speaking Activity) ESL

Skill Focus: Reported speech, speaking

ESL Level: Intermediate+

Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Materials: Copy of sheet for each student

Activity Download: reported-speech-counselor-roleplays.docx


First, in groups of three, students brainstorm problems that a newly married couple might have that could cause them to stop speaking to each other. Secondly, the three students are each assigned a role: husband, wife, or marriage counselor. The marriage counselor’s role is to save the marriage. But, because the newly weds aren’t on speaking terms, everything the husband or wife says must go through the counselor, who must relay it to the other person using reported speech.

As a bonus, there are three role-plays for practicing reported speech on the second on the second page that can be done in pairs.

Activity Preview – The Counselor (Page 1)

activity for practicing reported speech

Note that the sample role-play uses the reporting verb ‘said’ followed by the present simple because the condition is still true now (He said that you never take out the garbage). Feel free to change this if you feel it will confuse your students.

My students really enjoyed this activity. We didn’t have enough men in the class so we had to have some same-sex marriages, but they didn’t seem to mind.

role-plays for practicing reported speech

Here are some additional role-plays for reported speech.

Have fun in your English classes!

– Matthew Barton of (Copyright)

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2 comments on “Reported Speech: The Marriage Counselor (Speaking Activity) ESL

  1. Shr (Posted on 3-26-2017 at 15:11) Reply

    Very nice

  2. Andreea (Posted on 10-9-2018 at 18:00) Reply

    Wonderful ideas! Thank you!

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