Sentence Blocks – without Function Words


1. Follow the same procedure as for Sentence Blocks (p.62). The only difference is that T, or whoever writes the starting sentence(s) on the board, omits the function words – articles, prepositions, pronouns, etc. The aim is to make the sentence blocks activity more challenging, making SS supply more of the language themselves, rather than reading the whole sentence from the board. For example, if the starting sentence is:

Mark was buying a sandwich when he saw a notice about working in a restaurant.

…the sentence without function words would be:

Mark ____ buying ____ sandwich ____ ____ saw ____ notice ____ working ____ ____ restaurant.

You could leave a gap for the missing function words, as above (which would be easier), or write the sentence without gaps, like this:

Mark buying sandwich saw notice working restaurant.

T should ensure that SS are clear what the correct sentence is before they start to build each sentence block. SS may not paraphrase or otherwise change the content words in the sentence. (Or, T may allow this, to make it easier.) This activity may require more monitoring, checking, and correcting than the regular sentence blocks activity! If SS produce a sentence that is different to the original one, but it works grammatically and makes sense, then that is fine, e.g.

Mark was buying a sandwich and saw a notice regarding working at a restaurant.


  • This challenge may be better suited to higher-level SS, but of course you could still do it with lower-level groups. A simple sentence without function words might be:

____ like coffee. (I like coffee.)


Or, you could simply write ‘like coffee.’ and elicit the whole sentence.

  • T may need to elicit from SS what function words are before doing this activity. Function words are the words that make the grammar in the sentence, e.g.