Twenty Questions


Any level.

Skills Practised

Asking and answering 'Yes or No' questions.


Flexible (usually 4-6 minutes per round with as many rounds as you like).

About this game

This game is a variation on the traditional 'Twenty Questions', with players asking questions requiring a 'Yes' or 'No' answer to discover whatever the 'question-master' is thinking of. Unlike the traditional game, which starts with the question 'Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?', this version starts with the question-master stating the general topic of whatever he or she is thinking of. This could be one of the topics found on the 'topic cards' provided (animals, countries, foods, sports, actors, actresses, singers, bands, movies, T.V. shows) or another topic related to whatever your students have recently studied. Players may earn points in a variety of ways, with each keeping a record of their score.


1. Print out the topic cards here or make your own set of cards.

2. Make sure each player has a piece of paper on which to record his or her points.

How it Works

1. Put the topic cards face down in a pile on a table at the front of the classroom and put a pen and piece of paper next to the pile. After explaining the game, ask for a student to volunteer to be the first question-master. This student then comes forward and takes the top card and thinks of something relevant to the card's topic. After writing this on the piece of paper provided*, he or she then states the topic.

2. Players begin asking 'Yes or No' questions, with the first player to raise a hand asking the first question. If the question is grammatically correct, this player earns a point and the question-master answers it. If the question is not grammatically correct, another player may try to ask the same question correctly, again after raising a hand. If correct, this player earns a point. If it is still not correct, ask the question again yourself and have the question-master answer it. (If the question-master isn't sure of an answer, he or she should say so.)

3. The game continues with players asking questions as above. If any player thinks he or she knows what the question-master is thinking of, he or she should say so. If it is not correct, the question-master earns one point and play continues as before. If it is correct, the player guessing earns three points and becomes the next question-master. This player then comes forward, picks up the next topic card, and play continues as above.

4. If no-one has guessed what the question-master is thinking of after twenty questions have been asked, the question-master states what it is and earns one point. Another student then volunteers to be the next question-master.

5. After playing however many rounds you wish your students to play, they add up their points to find the winner.

- It might be best to keep a record on the board of the number of questions asked during each round.
- If your students are having trouble thinking of questions, you can help out by asking some yourself.
- If a beginner or lower-intermediate class is playing, you might like to write some model questions on the board before play begins.

*this allows question-masters to prove that they haven't changed whatever it is they're thinking of during play in order to gain extra points.

<< Back to free games

© 2009