Some games to help teach grammar to teenagers and young learners.

Photo of teenage students playing a game in the classroom.

Source: FatCamera, Getty Images/iStockphoto

One approach to teaching grammar, which is especially successful with teenagers, who enjoy more independence and have more English in their heads, is the discovery method.


For the use of ‘the’ with proper nouns, cut up the following:

Rome Africa Beijing
Netherlands Philippines USA
Poland Senegal New Zealand
Amazon Nile Thames
Pacific Mediterranean Atlantic
Andes Alps Himalayas
Buenos Aires Asia Europe


  • Jumble them up and hand the words to groups of 3 or 4 students.
  • Ask them to organise the words into groups of three and tell you what the groups are e.g. cities, mountain ranges.
  • Divide the groups into those which take ‘the’ and those which don’t.
  • Come up with the rules = cities do not take ‘the’, plural countries like Netherlands take ‘the'.
  • Ask students to expand the activity into: shops, hotels, cinemas, streets… and write up the rules on big sheets of paper to put onto the classroom walls.

Students have been allowed to notice patterns for themselves and come up with ‘rules’.

More ideas for teaching grammar from Macmillan

Nice practice activities for younger students:

  • Play games with English 1 and 2 by Colin Granger

An excellent book, especially for teaching older children and adults is:

  • Uncovering Grammar by Scott Thornbury