Stop/try/remember to say “banana”

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

Verb patterns can often be confusing for students and some verbs like stop, try and remember are even more so, given that the meaning of the verb changes depending on whether it’s followed by the gerund or the infinitive. I developed this activity for my FCE students to practise using the different meanings after I had presented the grammar.

1) The students worked in pairs. They were given one of the following sentences on a slip of paper, and with their partner, they had to say what it meant. They were allowed to look at their grammar notes at this stage. After a short time, the slips were passed round.

  • He/She went on saying “banana”
  • He/She stopped to say “banana”
  • He/She stopped saying “banana”
  • He/She remembered saying “banana”
  • He/She remembered to say “banana”
  • He/She regretted saying “banana”
  • He/She regretted to say “banana”
  • He/She enjoyed saying “banana”
  • He/She tried to say “banana”

2) Next, I stopped them and acted out one of the sentences. They had to tell me which one it was. We did this a couple more times before I asked them to do the same thing in their pairs – one act the sentence on their slip and the other guess the sentence. Again, the slips were passed around.

3) Lastly, all the slips were collected in and put in a little bag. One student came up to the front of the class, took a slip and acted it out. The first student to shout out the correct sentence  won a point for their pair/team.

Both my teenage students and my adult students enjoyed this activity – even the shy ones – and there were quite a few giggles. We followed it up with a transformations exercise based on the grammar.

Here’s a power point slide with the phrases on. I used it for my cut-ups: Stop saying banana


  1. I LOVE this! I used to do a very similar activity all the time, but I haven’t had a chance to work with verb tenses since they switched my classes. I strongly suggest teachers who haven’t tried it yet give it a shot.

    1. Thanks, Carissa!

  2. Jocelyn · · Reply

    Ahhh just what I was looking for! Thank you! Have I told you lately that I love you?

    1. You’re welcome! I hope it’s useful! All declarations of love gratefully received!

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