This is a quick and simple game to practise word formation, in this case making nouns from verbs and adjectives using suffixes. This post includes everything you need to play the game and illustrated step by step instructions. This was designed with FCE students in mind for the Use of English test and my students found it very useful.

Click here to download the game – the pdf includes the word cards to cut out, the game board and the answer key

You can also download a Powerpoint template to make your own version


Students work in pairs and each pair start with a game board between them and a set of word cards in front of them. They draw the first three cards so that both players can see them and the first player picks a card and decides where it should go on their side of the board, according to the suffix required to make a noun. They draw a new card and it’s the second players turn to choose a card.

In the demo game below, player one on the right has started by placing popular on their side of the board next to ‘____ity’ (popular – popularity). Now, player two on the left has their turn. By giving students three words to choose from each turn, they are less likely to get completely stuck and it gives them more time to think about more difficult  words.

Demo game 1 - Word formation game.pngThey continue to take turns, choosing where to place each word on their side of the board. The game continues until all of the cards have been placed. Then students are given the answer key to check their answers and words in the wrong place are removed.

In the demo game below we only have two mistakes occur – occurrence and accept – acceptance.

Demo game 2 - Word formation game.pngOnce incorrect answers are removed, they see who has ‘won’ each suffix by comparing the numbers of correct words on each side. Players get a point for each suffix they win, and the player with the most points wins. Any incorrect answers are written on the board and the students’ notebooks.

Side note: I focus on the competitive element of the game during set up, so that students are motivated to try to win, but at the end it’s a cooperative task to check their answers. I tend not to focus on the competitive side of games in general and praise students for successful completion of tasks above winning, especially where students have worked well together.


If you notice your students making a lot of mistakes half way through the game it can be helpful to point out that there are six words for each suffix. This stops them from matching too many words with one suffix and overlooking the others. You can then give them a chance to change their answers at the end of the game before you give them the answer sheet.

Also, for more support, you could play the game two verses two, so students are able to discuss their answers.

For a tougher game, you can say that any incorrect answers in a section mean that you lose that section, even if you have more correct answers overall. This can stop students from rushing through the game too quickly. It’s also a good variant if you play the game a second time for revision.


In the game ‘present’ has the suffix ‘presentation’ but ‘presence’ is also correct. It’s worth pointing out the difference between ‘to present’ and ‘to be present.’ I’ve also seen students confuse accept with except, leading to acception instead of acceptance.

Click here to download the game – the pdf includes the word cards to cut out, the game board and the answer key

You can also download a Powerpoint template to make your own version

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Click here to go to the exam resources page, where I have more games and activities for exam classes.