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Class secrets

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Class secrets for modals for possibility
Paul Kaye, British Council, Syria

This is a speaking exercise for modal verbs used to express possibility, for intermediate / upper intermediate classes.

There are a variety of forms in both past and present, making it suitable for a class who are revising these structures. In addition, the exercise could be used to introduce the various forms and tenses. In this case the learners would do the exercise without you drawing their attention to the forms themselves, then analyse. This approach can help demystify an area learners often feel apprehensive about.

Before the class, prepare enough photocopies of the worksheet for each learner to have a copy.

Worksheet 53k pdf


  • Ask the class the question below (If you have learners who are already famous in the class for a certain characteristic, you can make reference to that instead): 
'Who here do you think might be very sleepy today?'
  • Ask learners to suggest people and explain their reasons why.
  • Give out the worksheet and ask learners to complete the worksheet, working in pairs. If you are working with a new class, make sure they know each other's names.
  • When learners have finished completing the sentences, ask them to get up and walk around to check their ideas with the people they have named.
  • Give them time and encourage discussion, but monitor closely. This will help guide the next steps if you are using this exercise to introduce this area.
  • To finish the exercise, ask the class how successful they were in guessing and elicit any interesting answers they want to share.