Number one for English language teachers

Teenagers: Writing: Grammar auctions

Type: Reference material

An activity designed to practise grammar and proof reading.

  • Choose ten to fifteen sentences that your students have written in past compositions or are similar to those students often write. Half should be correct and the other half contain errors that are typical of your students. For example:
He has visited China ten years ago.
I usually live in Bolivia, but am living in Peru at the moment.
If had a lot of money, I will buy a sports car.
When you arrive in Paris, you will see the Eiffel Tower.
  • Write these sentences onto big pieces of card or onto the board. Prepare ‘pretend’ money for the students or use Monopoly money.
  • Students, in groups, get a chance to look at the sentences and decide which they want to buy. If they buy a ‘good’ sentence, they will make a profit. If they buy a ‘bad’ sentence, one that contains a grammar error, they will lose their money. Auction the sentences to the class. (Who will give me one thousand dollars for this sentence, two thousand, three thousand? Going! Going! Gone! Sold to Mario’s team!)

This often leads to a lot of competition between groups and fun, but most importantly encourages students to look carefully at the sentences and discuss whether the grammar is correct or not. The ability to spot errors in their own writing is hard for students, but is a skill they need to develop to become more successful writers, especially in exams. If students like the activity, you could incorporate it into regular diagnosis of their compositions.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Thank you for this! I can't wait to use it in the classroom once this COVID 19 confinement is over.

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  • We hope the lesson goes well!
    The onestopenglish team

  • Thanks Sophie. Great to hear it's a fail safe-option for you!

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  • Have used this for years. Never fails. Thanks for the idea.

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