Concentration Games: Find Matches for Idioms, Vocabulary, & Irregular Verbs

These concentration games will help you practice the meanings of some very common phrasal verb idioms, as well as words from important Latin roots and irregular past tense verbs.

demo: how to play concentration games, with examples of each typeconcentration games: a demonstration

Idioms are groups of words that do not mean the same thing as the individual words put together. Some of our most common idioms are phrasal verbs-- a verb followed by one or more prepositions (technically particles), used to express a single thought.

For example, you can turn a radio or a stove burner or the air conditioning on, off, up, or down. To turn it on is to start the electricity or gas running. To turn it off is to stop the flow of electricity. To turn up the volume (or the heat, or the A.C.) is to increase it, and to turn it down is to reduce it.

English is rich in synonyms-- words that have very similar meanings. In conversation we almost always choose the shorter (Anglo-Saxon-based) words rather than the longer French/Latin ones.

This is true even when we need to add prepositions to the short words. You won’t hear someone say, “Please increase the volume of the TV; I can’t hear it well.” They’ll probably shout, “Turn up the TV!”

If you’d like to review these idioms before playing, go to List of Idioms, Phrasal Verbs A-L, and Idioms List, Phrasal Verbs M-Z.

How to Play Concentration Games

Concentration (also called Memory) is a card game in which a player or players try to match pairs of cards.

All the cards (in this case 12) are laid out, face down, in rows. Players take turns turning over two cards, trying to get a match. If the cards do not match, they are turned back over and the next player takes a turn.

All players concentrate on remembering the position of each card, so that when they see its match, they can turn both over on their next turn, winning that pair of cards. The game is over when all cards have been matched. The player with the most matches wins.

You can also play these games alone, trying to match the cards faster than in your previous games. If you’re still not really sure of all the matches, play again and again, until you are completely comfortable with their meanings.

As a bonus, these games are excellent memory and “brain training.”

Choose a Game: Idioms, Words from Roots, Irregular Verbs

For Concentration Game 1 for Phrasal Verbs, click here. 

Click here for Game 2.

 EnglishHints has three more memory games for practicing the meanings of words made from various Latin root and prefix combinations. See Memory Game 1 (Acquire a Quest?) for practicing roots from the Latin verb quaerere: require, inquisitive, quest, etc. Memory Game 2 practices words from cedere:  precede, success, etc., and Memory Game 3 practices vertere: convert, reverse, etc.

There are also three games for matching the irregular pasts with the main present tense (and infinitive) form of 17 of the most important irregular verbs in English (to be as two matches: am/is with was, are with were). Other verbs practiced are do, get, go, have (all in irregular verb game 1), eat, make, say, see, take, tell (game 2), and buy, find, give, know, leave, and think (game 3.).

Each game also links to a mobile version, with 2 rows of six cards rather than 3 rows of four cards, for phones that cannot fit in all four rows. (If you can fit them all in landscape mode, the regular games are probably easier to play than the mobile.)

For more memory work outs, see Games of Memory for Kids These games are designed for kids, but are good for stretching adult memories too. They are mostly picture to picture matching, but will be good vocabulary practice for Beginners if you say the name of each item as soon as you see the picture. (In coins, you’d say “one dime” or “three pennies,” etc.)

Enjoy the mental work-out you get from these memory and contration games!

HomeESL Games> Concentration Games.

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