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A game for practising jobs vocabulary

This is a variation of the classic 20 Questions game (animal, vegetable, mineral - you remember the one?) Partner A thinks of a thing and partner B has to work it out by asking Yes/No questions. It's a really good oral fluency games for relatively advanced learners.

My version here relates to job vocabulary. Assuming you have taught, say, 25 jobs using word lists, pictures, definitions, written and spoken texts and so on, let's say you want to embed this knowledge a week or two later, this is what you could do.

Partner A chooses a job which has been learned. Partner B is given a list of 15 questions he or she can ask in any order. Partner B can guess the answer at any time. If partner B uses all 15 questions up they score 15 points. If they correctly guess the job in less than 15 questions they get a number of points equivalent to the number of questions they needed, i.e. 10 questions for a right answer gets 10 points. If they make an incorrect guess at any point they get an extra 10 points. If Partner B cannot guess the job they get an extra 10 points. The aim is to score as few points as possible.

Let's say you have taught these 25 jobs:

Teacher, nurse, doctor, bus driver, computer programmer, plumber, baker, vet, shop salesperson, builder, secretary, electrician, call centre worker, engineer, train guard, postman/woman, headteacher, receptionist, bank clerk, cleaner, website designer, financial consultant, video games designer, refuse collector, farmer.

Here are 15 possible yes/no questions:

1.  Do you work with the public?
2.  Do you work outside?
3.  Do you work with young people?
4.  Do you repair things?
5.  Do you work in a hotel?
6.  Do you work with animals?
7.  Do you do a creative job?
8.  Do you earn a lot of money?
9.  Do you have control over other people?
10. Did you have to go to university to do your job?
11. Did you have to do an apprenticehip to do your job?
12. Do you think your job is boring?
13. Is your job physical?
14. Is your job stressful?
15. Is your job dangerous?

Perhaps you could work out variations on this task. With some classes you could remove the questions from view after a certain amount of time. Or you could display gapped versions of the questions. With others you could let them add their own questions.

The value of the game is that students are recycling the target language multiple times, listening and reading, working on their pronunciation. In its basic form there is no spontaneous use of student-created language, but you could work this in with my suggestions above. This could work well with a Y9 or Y10 class and take about 20 minutes.


  1. Great idea! I love the 20 questions-type games, and their variants. I will definitely try to implement this. I like the twist of trying to minimize the number of questions students ask for more points.

  2. Thanks for commenting. It should work well.


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