ESL Conjunctions Exercises

Instructor: Elizabeth Hemmons

Beth has taught early childhood education, including students with special needs, for the past 11 years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.

Conjunctions are an important part of language and are used frequently. In this lesson, we will explore some fun and simple exercises to teach conjunctions to ESL students.

Teaching Conjunctions to ESL Students

In the English language, conjunctions are used in almost every conversation and interaction. Conjunctions are connector words that join two parts of a sentence together. Using conjunctions gives language smoother flow and also helps you give more information using fewer words. Beginning ESL students should start by learning the simpler conjunctions, such as:

  • and
  • but
  • or
  • so

More advanced ESL students can work on more difficult conjunctions, such as:

  • although
  • because
  • before
  • after
  • as
  • unless

Find the Missing Conjunction

Choosing the proper conjunction to use within a sentence can be tricky for ESL students, since sometimes more than one conjunction can be used. For this activity, the teacher will pass out a different conjunction to each student and read to them a sentence that is missing the conjunction. The student who has the missing conjunction that fits in the blank can provide it to the teacher and read the sentence to make sure it makes sense. Sometimes, more than one can be used and the sentence would still be correct, so multiple students may have usable conjunctions in hand.

The Longest Story

A fun way to practice using conjunctions is to create a really long story. Select 5-10 conjunctions, write them on note cards and pass them out to the students in the group. As the teacher, you can start the story by stating two sentences connected with a conjunction. Then, a student can jump in by using a conjunction to continue the story. This continues until all of the conjunctions have been used or until everyone has had a turn.

An example would be, 'Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in a big castle and the castle was made out of candy. But there was a big giant who kept eating the candy. So the princess trained her dragon to guard the castle.' This game is a fun way to express creativity and make your students laugh!

Put it All Together

Another way to practice conjunctions is to combine short, simple sentences into longer, more complex ones that still make sense. Write some short, simple sentences on note cards and have each student pick two. They must then combine the two sentences to create one long sentence using a conjunction. This sentence must make sense and sound correct. For example, 'Yesterday was Saturday' plus 'Tomorrow is Monday' turns into 'Tomorrow is Monday and yesterday was Saturday.'

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