A Relatively Easy Quiz: An activity for relative adverbs

This is a game that requires advanced students to identify a place, time, reason, or manner based on prompts with relative adverbs (where, when, why, and how). Initially, the teacher gives the prompts. Once students learn the patterns used, they can give prompts to one another. Note: The game is outlined below using relative pronouns with no antecedent nouns. (This is where the Statue of Libery is. VS.  This is the place where the Statue of Liberty is.) You can easily modify the prompts to include antecedent nouns, unless of course the adverb is “how”.

Step 1 –Write four categories on the board. My suggestions: places in the U.S., ceremonies, nature, and medical problems. Tell students to get in small groups. (If possible, have them sit in four groups.) In turn, ask each group to choose a category. When they do, supply a prompt. The prompt must include a relative adverb. Examples:

  • Places in the U.S: This is where the Statue of Liberty is. > New York City
  • Places in the U.S.: This is where the faces of four presidents are carved into a mountain. > Mount Rushmore (South Dakota)
  • Ceremonies: This is when three athletes win a gold, silver, and bronze medal. > The Olympic Medal (Award) Ceremony
  • Ceremonies: This is when a new president takes an oath of office. > Inauguration
  • Nature: This is how skunks protect themselves. > They can have a strong odor.
  • Nature: This is why days are shorter in one half of the year and longer in the other half. > The Earth is tilted/ is on an axis. It points away from the sun for half a year and then points toward it for the other half.
  • Medical problems: This is why we wash our hands so often. > To avoid germs.
  • Medical problems: This is how you should lift a heavy object to avoid back pain. > Bend your knees and lift with your legs.

A group must listen to the prompt and then identify the subject being described.  If a group is unable to identify the subject within 10 seconds, the next group may answer.

Step 2 – Share the prompts with the students on the board. Have them identify the relative adverbs used. Example: (Places in the U.S) This is where the Statue of Liberty is. Explain how the adverbs correspond to place, time, reason, or manner.

Step 3 – Have students help you create new categories (historical events, places around town, tourist spots, holidays, science, dangers, sports, cooking, etc.) List the names of categories on the board and be sure that the number of categories matches the number of small groups playing the game. Assign a category to each group. Groups will write 3-4 prompts for their category. Each member needs to write the prompts down.

Step 4 – Have new groups form so that each new group has completely new members. The idea is that each member should have an original set of prompts to share. The members will take turns reading out prompts for the others to respond to.

To print out these instructions, use my Relative adverbs_handout.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. sultan23c says:

    I wanna say thanks for all your hard work and dedicated contribution that you have done for English learners in all around the world.
    I have followed your advice.
    and think you will be my role model.
    I will be in touch with you and even I might ask you for advice.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you for your support!

  2. Gilma de Lainez says:

    Greetings from El Salvador!

    I just wanted to point out the fact that Noun Clauses as Subjects should be followed by a verb in singular form.

    You can use this book as a reference: “Communicate what you mean. A concise Advanced Grammar” Second Edition, by Carroll Washington Pollock, page 158, where it says: “When a noun clause is the subject of a sentence, the main verb of the completed sentence is singular in form. Examples: What they do in their free time IS none of my business. / When Sue got married IS a secret.”

    This is the book I used when I was studying to become an English teacher, and it’s helped me a lot.

    I’m teaching this topic tomorrow, and I’m definitely using the song you suggest, which is one of my favorite songs from “My best friend’s wedding” soundtrack.

    Love your posts! Great work!!

    1. Hello Gilma! Thank you for sharing a useful resource.
      Like you, I still hold on to many grammar books. Certain questions drive me to my library in search of an answer.

      I hope your lesson went well.

      Kind regards to you from Boston!

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