Number one for English language teachers

Grammar activities: Can do / can't do

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

An activity that is likely to lead to disagreement and discussion!


  • Take into the class a common everyday object, such as a paper clip, a rubber band, a match, a key, a coin, a plastic cup, etc.
  • Give the learners some time to think individually of as many things as possible the object could be used for. Then get them to compare their suggestions in small groups – depending on the level, you might need to prime them with 'You can ...... with it', 'You can use it for –ing ......'. Collect suggestions from the whole class.
  • As an optional further stage, ask them to brainstorm in a similar way all the things that you can't do with the object in question. 

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