The Last Word

Learning Aim

A game for all levels of English above pre-Intermediate (B1, B2, C1, C2)

  • Listening: understanding the rules of the game
  • Listening: to other players
  • Pronunciation: Practising saying words
  • Vocabulary: Recalling and using words in English

Game Synopsis

This is a filler game. For example it can either be used when waiting for other members of the class to arrive or as a reward, especially for younger players, at the end of a teaching session.

It is quick, competitive and engaging. Learners are intent on winning and forget they are thinking and speaking in English because they want to win.

Resources required

  • two dice, if possible have one dice that is much larger than the others, if not use differently coloured ones
  • whiteboard or blackboard to write up the target letter/s and the words used


Introduce the game, and go through the rules. Give an example of a turn. Emphasise that the game is about speed.

Order of play

  1. Use a simple method to select who is the first player (last birthday, who last went to a party, who last ate a boiled egg, etc.)
  2. A letter or combination of letters is selected, usually by the teacher. This is the letter or letters that each word has to start with. The selected letter/s can be “e” or “ch”. (Note for harder variations you can designate that the target letter/s come at the end of a word.)
  3. The start player rolls the large target dice once and that number is the target number. Place this on a book or somewhere prominent so it can be seen be all and not knocked over!
  4. The start player by taking the “rolling” dice and tries to say a word that starts or ends with the target letter/s.
  5. If they say a correct word they roll the dice, if it is the same number as the target dice they have said the “last word” and won.
  6. If not, they pass the dice (or it is grabbed by the next player) and they have their turn.
  7. Repeat stages 5 and 6 as rapidly as possible.


Two alternatives. The simple scoring methods suits younger learners.

Simple scoring

The player who says the “last word” scores a point. Note this on the whiteboard / blackboard.

Advanced scoring

The player who says the “last word” scores points for every word that has been said in answer to the current “target word”. (Note this requires that each word is written on the blackboard or whiteboard.) Be prepared for cries of “its a lucky game!”


Example of play

  1. The teacher selects a “ch” as the target letters.
  2. The player who last visited a shoe shop takes the target dice and rolls a “4”
  3. The first player says “charlie” and rolls a 3 with the rolling dice
  4. The next says: “chips” and rolls 5.
  5. The next says: “chimpanzee” and rolls 1.
  6. The next says: “chocolate” and rolls 4. The “last word!”
  7. They score 4 points under the advanced scoring or 1 point using the simple scoring rule.

Note on speed

The teacher should drive this game to go as fast as the players can manage. Obviously use your knowledge and judgement of the players, but at times you might wish to drive the play by grabbing the dice and passing it to the next player, or if a player hesitates too long pass the dice to the next player… As the learners get familiar with this game, they will drive this themselves.

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