ESL Intermediate Vocabulary: Word List & Games

Instructor: Jacob Compton

Jacob has taught ESL in three Asian countries and has a master's degree in education.

In this lesson, we will go over a list of vocabulary terms ideal for intermediate ESL students. You'll also be given a few examples of activities you can use to teach these vocabulary terms in class.

Vocabulary for Intermediate ESL Students

Intermediate ESL students cover a variety of topics in class, and one area these students tend to cover is place and location vocabulary. Below, you will find a list of vocabulary terms regarding towns and cities that you can use in late elementary and middle school.

Vocabulary List

  1. Community: A group of people living in the same area
  2. Neighborhood: An area within a town or city
  3. Urban: An adjective referring to being in or from a city
  4. Building: A structure, like a house or a school, with walls and a roof
  5. Street: A road in a town or a city (often, but not always, with building lining both sides)
  6. Grocery store: A store that sells large amounts of food
  7. Fire department: The government branch in charge of fire prevention and fighting
  8. Police station: A state, town or city police force's headquarters (often with a jail inside)
  9. Cafe: A place that sells coffee and desserts
  10. Restaurant: A place that prepares and sells food for you to eat there
  11. Library: A place that keeps books for people to read, as well as other materials
  12. School: A building where children go to learn
  13. City hall: A building where the government of a town or city is located
  14. Salon: A place to go for a haircut and other beauty services

Activities for Learning Vocabulary

Below, you will find three different activities geared toward helping intermediate ESL students learn the above vocabulary terms. These games can help students understand definitions, spell the words properly and use the words correctly in conversation.

Word Jumble

Have students look at the jumbled words below and un-jumble the letters to find the vocabulary words. If you are doing this with a large group, write the jumbled letters on the board, or create a worksheet with these jumbled words. This activity helps students learn how to properly spell vocabulary words. Feel free to add more words to the activity as you see fit.

  • refi pmettnrade
  • nubar
  • ertest
  • ytci lhal
  • olsna
  • barrily
  • oolhsc
  • yrrgoec reots

Word Match

Instruct students to match the provided definition with the correct vocabulary term by drawing lines from the definition to the term. This activity is best done using worksheets (though you can also turn it into a group game of hangman on the board). To create a worksheet, make two columns displaying the following (add more definitions and vocabulary terms as you see fit):

Column 1

  • An area within a town or city
  • A place that prepares and sells food for you to eat there
  • A place to go for a haircut and other beauty services
  • An adjective referring to being in or from a city
  • A place that sells coffee and desserts
  • A group of people living in the same area
  • A police force's headquarters

Column 2

  • Urban
  • Salon
  • Community
  • Restaurant
  • Police station
  • Neighborhood
  • Cafe

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