Game for Practicing So/Too/Neither/Either
Skill focus: Speaking
Grammar: Additions and Responses (So, Too, Neither, Not either), Yes/No Questions
ESL Level: Intermediate
Overview: Students pose a question to a partner to elicit a response that will allow them to use a particular phrase such as “So do I!”
Number of students: 3 or more
Materials needed: one set of response cards for each group of 3/4 students.
Time Required: 25 minutes
This is a good activity for reviewing Yes/No questions and additions and responses. I have taught this lesson once. It requires very clear explanation because it can be difficult for students to grasp. This activity should be done after you have taught the expressions for additions such as “So can I / Neither can I.”
Speaking Activity Preparation
Choose your target language. I used the 8 expressions below.
- So am I. (I am too.)
- Neither am I. (I’m not either.)
- So do I. (I do too)
- Neither did I. (I didn’t either.)
- So can I. (I can too.)
- Neither can I. (I can’t either.)
- So have I. (I have too.)
- Neither have I. (I haven’t either.)
Cut each sentence from the set into a strip (let’s call them cards). You’ll be giving a set to each group of four students. I had 16 students so I made four sets. You can download my set here (shown below)
Speaking Activity Execution
1. Review the target language you have chosen.
2. Show the students that you have a card in your hand that says “So do I.” Tell them that you want to use this expression in a conversation. What question can you ask that will allow you to say “So do I?”
Write on board:
To help students make the Yes/No question, underline the auxiliary/modal/BE verb in the addition (So do I.) Tell them that you will us this helping verb to start the Yes/No question. Draw an arrow from the do to first line of the conversation, and put “Do…” at the beginning of the question.
3. Get student suggestions for questions. For example, “Do you have a car?” Ask this question to a student in the class who you know drives to school, e.g. “Jose, do you have a car?” When he answers, “Yes, I do,” then you can respond with “So do I!” (assuming you have a car). Then you can give Jose the card. Explain that the aim of the game is to get rid of your cards.
Now, change the question to something that would be false for you. For example, “Sue, do you have long hair? (Yes, I do.). Explain to the students that you do not have long hair, so you cannot respond affirmatively “So do I.” Therefore, it’s a bad question and you cannot use your card. You can just say “Oh, I don’t.”
At this point, some students will begin to grasp the game. Repeat the above explanation two or three more times with different expressions. Try a negative card such as “Neither can I.” For example:
Again, underline the modal verb can, move it to the first line and form a question (“Can you fly?”) that will allow you to use your addition “Neither can I!”
4. Once students have grasped the game, distribute a set of cut cards to each group of 4 students. Tell each student to take two cards. They may begin by asking each other questions. Restate that the aim of the game is to use each card. When they do so, they give the card to the other student (or another version could be that they can just put it face down on the table (that way the game actually ends)).
My stronger students enjoyed this activity. It took a while for some of them to grasp it though. Be sure to take your time in explaining. The strengths of this game are that it shows students the role of the auxiliary/modal/BE verb in forming questions, answering questions, and using additions, which is good English practice. Too many students only know how to answer questions and not ask them themselves.
Some of my students were using the addition, e.g. “So am I”, to answer the question. For example, “A: Are you tired?-> B: So am I!” Make sure they understand that the answer to the first Yes/No question will be Yes/No. After the question is answered, the person who asked the question can use his addition “So am I” if it applies.
If you are confident you can explain it clearly, give the activity a try. Please leave a comment and let me know how it went.
– Matthew Barton / Creator of www.englishcurrent.com