Questionable Qualities: An activity with embedded questions

Here’s a quick form of practice to reinforce the use of embedded questions as objects, subjects, and complements.

Step 1 –
Tell students they’ll be creating descriptions about fictitious people based on a dominant quality in their character. Give students the Embedded Questions Activity_handout. Look the photos in Set A. The first two fictitious people are named Clueless Cleave and Clever Chloe. Look at the model sentences about each person: Cleave never knows what to do in a crisis. / Chloe always knows how a problem can be solved quickly. Ask students to identify the objects in each sentence. Note how an embedded question can be in the form of a question word + an infinitive.

Step 2 – Have students work in pairs to complete the sentences in Set A. Ask students to share their ideas with the class.

Step 3 – Look the photos in Set B. There are two fictitious people named Grumpy Gretchen and Gracious Greg. Look at the model sentences about each person: Why people smile and say hello to strangers is a mystery to Gretchen. / Whether to share or not is never a question for Greg. Ask students to identify the subjects in each sentence. Note how an embedded question can be in the form of whether (or not) + an infinitive.

Step 4 – Have students work in pairs to complete the sentences in Set B. Ask students to share their ideas with the class.

Step 5 – Look the photos in Set C. There are two fictitious people named Laid-back Luke and Ambitious Barbara. Look at the model sentences about each person: The nice thing about Luke is how he never complains. / It’s surprising how much Barbara can get done in one week. Ask students to identify the embedded questions and then indicate which is a subject complement and which is an adjective complement.

Step 6 – Have students work in pairs to complete the sentences in Set C. Ask students to share their ideas with the class.

Step 7 – (optional) – Ask students to decide if any of the sentences could be applied to themselves. Can they create at least one sentence about their own character using an embedded question?

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