Purpose:  to recognize the structure of a sentence by identifying the subject and predicate and matching them

Preparation Time:  10-15 minutes

Materials:  cardboard squares and required number of sentences (e.g., if there are 20 students in the class, you’ll need 10 sentences).

Preparation:  Prepare the sentences.  The degree of complexity depends on the level of the students.  Be sure to use vocabulary they already know.  Create extra sentences, so that you can model the activity with the students until they all understand how to proceed.


1. Separate all the noun phrases (subject) from the verb phrases (predicate) and write each phrase on a cardboard square.  For example, in the sentence “The girls laugh happily,” you would write THE GIRLS on one square and LAUGH HAPPILY on another.  If you write everything in capital letters, it will be more difficult to distinguish which part is the beginning and which part is the end of the sentence.

2. Have the students do the following:

  • Take one square and form a circle, holding their cardboard squares in front of them.
  • Each reads aloud the phrase on the cardboard square.
  • After everyone reads, move around and try to find the other half.
  • Pair up if they think they’ve formed a correct sentence.
  • Everyone judges the sentences and negotiates changes.

Variations:  This activity can be used with students at all levels by varying the difficulty and complexity of the sentences.

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