Modals of Ability Game: Prove It!

Are you ready to introduce modals of ability? We hope you’ll try our NEW Grammar School lesson on Can and Could. After you use the lesson, try this fun and easy game to review “can” as a modal of ability.

Prove It!

1. Write the following 10 questions on the board (or copy and print these and make handouts).

1. Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds?
2. Can you touch your tongue to your nose?
3. Can you whistle?
4. Can you stare without blinking for 60 seconds?
5. Can you say the English alphabet without making a mistake?
6. Can you stand on one leg with your eyes closed for five seconds?
7. Can you make someone yawn in 10 seconds?
8. Can you make someone laugh in 10 seconds?
9. Can you count to 25 in English?
10. Can you draw a/an…(insert animal)?

2. Give each student 3–5 points to start with. Use coins or slips of paper (or any objects) to represent the points.

3. Send students around the room to ask each other questions, just as they would in a traditional Find Someone Who activity. In this game, students have to do more than say yes or no. They have to prove their abilities to collect points. If they can’t prove their abilities, they lose a point. When a student loses all of his or her points, he/she is out of the game and becomes an observer/judge. The last student standing (or the one with the most points when you end the game) is the winner. Note: Remind students that they must not ask the same question twice during the game.


1. Can you stand on one foot for 60 seconds?

A: “Can you stand on one foot for 60 seconds?”
B: “Yes, I can.”
A: “Prove it!”
B: Stands on one foot, but loses balance after 30 seconds. B gives one point to A.


A: “Can you stand on one foot for 60 seconds?”
B: “Yes, I can.”
A: “Prove it!”
B: Stands on one foot for 60 seconds without losing balance. A gives one point to B.


A: “Can you stand on one foot for 60 seconds?”
B: “No, I can’t.” (No points are exchanged. Move on to a different classmate.)


A: “Can you stand on one foot for 60 seconds?”
B: “Yes, I can.”
A: “I believe you.” (No points are exchanged. Students find other classmates to challenge.)

Note: If too many students use this “safe” option, you can disallow it.

Increase the Difficulty

To make the game a bit more difficult, don’t put the whole question on the board. If you or another observer hears students asking the question incorrectly, you can take a point away from them.

  • stand one foot / 60 seconds
  • touch tongue to nose
  • whistle
  • stare without blinking / 60 seconds
  • say English alphabet
  • stand one leg / eyes closed / 5 seconds
  • make someone yawn
  • make someone laugh
  • count to 25 / English
  • draw a…

Other Abilities

You can use our ideas, or you can make up any abilities you want. You could include some abilities based on lessons you have taught in class. Ask your students to help you think of some, too. Here are a few more abilities:

  • pat head and rub belly at same time
  • name every person in the class
  • name 10 countries
  • hop on one leg for 10 seconds
  • spell my name backwards
  • name all of the months in English
  • sing a verse from…
  • roll your r’s
  • say three /th/ words
  • breakdance

Find this week’s Spotlight lesson in the Grammar School – Basic Grammar Structures.


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Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

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