EL Game Series (06): “Last Word”

[Welcome to the EL game series. These posts are all short introductions to games you can play in the EL. Because learning to play games in English can take a long time, some posts will explain how to play simple versions of games. Other posts tell you why you should use games to practice English. You can also use the tags to find other posts you might be interested in.]



“Last Word” is a game about quick thinking and vocabulary knowledge. However, you can easily change or adapt the rules to make a new game that is the right level of challenge.

The basics: There are two kinds of cards in the box: letters (a, b, c…) and categories (round things, things found in the kitchen, sports things…). There is also an electronic timer (definitely don’t use) and scoreboard (use if you want to).

For English Learners:

  • Some categories involve pop culture (famous people, famous books, etc.). I recommend skipping those cards.
  • Game 1: Put six categories in the middle of the table. Turn over one letter card. The first person to say a word starting with the letter and matching a category takes the category card. Turn over a new letter and continue until all categories are gone.
  • Game 2: Show one category card and one letter. Someone says a word starting with the letter and matching the category. They take the letter card and turn over a new letter. Continue until no one can think of an answer matching the category. Choose a new category and start again.
  • Game 3: Show a letter and category card and set a 2-minute timer. Each person/team writes down as many words as they can think of that match the category and start with the letter. After the timer ends, compare lists to see who thought of more words.
  • Variation: Play one of the games above, but switch the letters and categories.

Final Thoughts: The tools in the box are so simple that you can make up any game that you want. You can even try using the categories for a different game of Pictionary or charades.