Teaching parts of speech - subject, verb, object

dog drinking milkshake
15 Feb Shelley Vernon 13 Comments

Hello teachers!


A dismayed ESL teacher found that his students did not understand the concepts of subject, verb, object. When he tried to explain English grammar, he found that he needed to explain grammar. My games and teaching philosophy work for this too! Here's how to teach the concepts of subject, verb, object.


Explain what they are with pictures, like the dog drinking the milkshake in the picture at the top of this blog.


subject - who or what does the action - THE DOG
verb - what is the action - DRINKS
object - what is affected by the action - MILKSHAKE


Pupils think of more and identify the parts of speech with colours

Ask pupils for other examples of subjects, verbs and objects.

Using the picture above you might get:

The dog is wearing glasses.

The dog is lying on the chair.

The dog is wearing a robe.

Then show a list of ten sentences and ask kids to read out all the verbs.
If you have these on the board have a kid underline all the verbs in green as the class calls them out.
Then have the class identify all the subjects - underline in pink.
And then do the objects - underline in blue.


A game to put the parts of speech into sentences

Have the class choose and write down EITHER a subject, an object or a verb,
(preferably using the colour code on the board).

Now kids go around the class looking for two other people with whom to make a sentence.
If a child has written down an object he or she has to find a subject and a verb.
When kids have joined up in groups of three they stand in their groups and wait a few minutes for others to finish.
Don't wait till everyone has finished.
Ask everyone who hasn't made a group to sit down and be prepared to switch places with a student in a group. Then listen to the sentences that have been created. Have each student sitting down swap places with someone in a group. This is important as they are included, even though they did not manage to find partners to make a sentence.


Follow-up idea

Using pictures ask children to make up 3 sentences each using a subject, verb and object. With the blog picture here examples are. The dog drinks milkshake. The dog is lying on the bed. The dog is wearing sunglasses. I can see a dog. Try finding the subject, verb and object in questions...can you see the dog?


In a future lesson you can play this again, but making groups of four and including adverbs.

Get the book in download or in paperback.

ESL games book cover

All the best

Kind regards

Shelley Ann Vernon


Thank you so much for your help. I really found it very useful. I'm sure my students will like it too.
Dear Shelley, Thank you very much for your useful ideas. I really appreciate it. Yours faithfully, Silvia
Thank you very much, dear Shelley! I am always inspired to read your materials and get a lot of creative ideas after reading it! Love from Belgrade, Verica
Dear Verica, Hi there! Nice to hear from you, I hope all is well in Belgrade. I have fond memories of my visit there. All the best Shelley
Thank you Shelly. This is very useful, I'm going to practice with my children.
Dear Lena, Thanks for your kind words - great - I hope it goes well. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, anytime. All the best Shelley Ann Vernon
Dear Shelley thank you for your practical ideas .They are very useful for teachers and funny for students....Thanks a lot
Dear Patricia, Thanks for your comment - I'm so glad you like the ideas, and I hope it goes well when you try them out. All the best Shelley
You recently shared a game called BANG! I do not think it is appropriate considering the school shootings that have been happening lately. Maybe you could revamp it. I hope you take this in the spirit it is intended. Best wishes, Christa Grant
Dear Christa, You are so right. In the game description I say that teachers can change the situation to anything. It could be turning the person to stone, or casting a spell. Each teacher has to choose something that she or he is happy with. Thanks for your helpful comment! Kind regards Shelley Ann Vernon
Thank you mam it was fabulous.
great and helpful
Gracias, it´s an easy way


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