Ideas for Using Scrambled Sentences
The No Prep Alternative–Print the page with the scrambled sentences, use sentences from your class’s grammar book, or make up your own. Write the words for one sentence on the board in mixed-up order. I usually use a single column format, with all the nouns together, pronouns together, etc. Students work individually to arrange the words into a grammatically correct sentence. When they think they’ve got it, they cal you over to check. You can set a time limit to provide a little more structure. When the time is up, they can compare their answers with a partner or you can ask one or two students to write their sentences on the board.

Scrambled Sentences in Envelopes–This is my personal favorite. (I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I didn’t make it up.) It’s a fast paced fun game that really gets students thinking about grammatical form and syntax. It requires some preparation on your part, but if you keep the envelopes you can recycle them over and over again.

Preparation: Cut each sentence into words or groups of words. Put one the cards for one or two complete sentences into one envelope. You want a total of six or seven envelopes, all with different sentences. Each envelope should be numbered.

In-class: Divide the class into three or four teams. Have each team choose a team name. Write these names on the board. Under each name, write the numbers of the envelopes. Here’s where the fun begins. Begin by giving each team one envelope. When they think they’ve got the right answer, they call you over to check. If it’s correct, circle the number of that envelope on the board (under their team name) and give them a new envelope. The first team to correctly arrange the words in all the envelopes wins. Award a small prize to the winning team.

Noun Clauses – Scrambled Sentences
See Ideas for Using Scrambled Sentences -for activity suggestions.

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I don’t know
why I keep
loving you.
What you do
to me makes
me crazy.
We say that
we’ll be nice
to each other.
Then we fight,
and I wonder
why we stay
I really don’t
think we should
get married.
Tell me what
you think we
should do.
I promise that
I’ll listen carefully.

Simple Past & Past Progressive – Scrambled Sentences
See Ideas for Using Scrambled Sentences for activity suggestions.

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I was cooking
dinner when my
cat threw up.
While Alex was
watching TV, we
were drinking beer.
Our teacher was
explaining the past
progressive when we
had an earthquake.
I was studying
English while my
friends were relaxing
at the beach.
John was driving
down the street
when he hit
a pedestrian.
I was working
on the computer
while you were
sleeping on the couch.
The bomb exploded
when I was
We were dancing
when the police

Unreal Conditionals – Scramble Sentences
See Ideas for Using Scrambled Sentences for activity suggestions.

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If chickens had
lips, then they’d
be able to
I wouldn’t eat
that if I
were you.
I wouldn’t marry
you if you
were the last
person on earth!
If I asked
you out on a
date, what would
you say?
I wouldn’t have
said that if
I were you.
I would if
I could, but
I can’t, so
I won’t
If you really
loved me, you
wouldn’t have done
If you could
have seen the
look on his
face, you would
have died.
Had I known
that you were
such a flake,*
*an unreliable person (slang)

wouldn’t have asked
you to house-sit for me.

Tense Review – Sentence Match
Level: High-intermediate through Advanced

Preparation: 1 minute (Print this page. Cut the table into cards. Bring to class and use.)

Objective: Students will recognize various verb tenses/aspects.

Directions: Distribute one card per student. Students should walk around the room and find the missing half of their sentence. Combinations must be grammatically correct and logical. Remind students that they should pay attention to punctuation. This sheet has a total of eleven sentences, which allows for twenty-two students. If your class size is larger than this, just duplicate one sentence for every two extra students. Once students have found their match, ask each pair to read their sentence and identify both the timeframe and the tense(s) used. If necessary, emphasize any tricky grammar structures. Students can then work together as partners on the next activity.

Variation: Make multiple copies of this page, cut the same as above, divide students into pairs or groups, and give each pair/group a complete set of all the sentences to match.

By the time my brother arrives, I’ll have cleaned the whole house.
I didn’t go out for dinner because I had already eaten.
They go to the movies every Friday night.
Don’t call me after 11 o’clock– I’ll be sleeping.
His flight arrives tomorrow at five.
I’ve been to Spain four times.
When you get back to town, we’ll have a party.
I’ve been waiting here for almost an hour.
I stayed home last night and watched TV.
I was studying when the fire started.
I won’t speak to him until he apologizes.

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