Pas Cap (A spelling game)

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

I loved this game when I was learning French at school (probably because I was really good at it) and was delighted to be able to use it in class yesterday. I know it as Pas Cap (short for Pas Capable?), and I’m sure it has a name in English but I don’t know what it is. We used it as a warmer, but it would be a great cooler or filler.

Each student in turn says a letter, with a the spelling of a particular word in mind. The aim is not to complete a word. If you do, you’re out! You can set up your friends by making it impossible for them not to finish a word. If at any point you think someone doesn’t have a word in mind you can challenge them to tell you.

For example:

Elena: D (thinking of dog)

Paula: A (thinking of dad)

Margarita: M (thinking of damage) [My students didn’t know dam, and I decided not to tell them]

Clara: A (thinking of damage)

Andres: G (thinking of damage)

Natalia: I (thinking of damaging)

Elena: N (thinking of damaging)

Paula: Arrrrgh! G! (eliminated)

Carry on until there is one victor.  And then your students will probably want to play again so that they can wipe the smug grin off the winner’s face!

Thank you, Mrs Dawson, my inspiring French teacher from school! You’re also the reason there are squeaky dog toys in my classroom.


  1. I think the English name for this is ‘ghost’. Not really sure why. A more advanced version allows players to add the new letter to the beginning OR end of the word. 🙂

  2. C Scheetz · · Reply

    This is my first time visiting your blog. What’s the deal with the squeaky dog toys?

    1. Hi C Scheetz and thanks for visiting!
      I use the toys (like these chicken ones in games in class. They’re like buzzers that they press before answering. You can either give one to each team or put just one on the floor and one person from each team has to grab for it. It’s fun!

  3. Enrique M · · Reply

    Yeah, I also know it as “Ghost” I think it’s really fun. However, I’d rather use it in small groups so you can write the words on the board and everybody can see them as well as the “ghost” they receive (my teacher would draw ghosts for those who finished the word).

  4. When I learned the game in Sweden we called it “Witch” (there is probably a very good reason for that, which I don’t know 🙂 )
    I “our” version of the game you’re automatically out if you challenge a person to tell you his word and he’s really thinking about a real word. If you want people to stay in the game a little bit longer, you can give him/her a second chance, i.e. the first time a person is forced to complete a word (or challenges someone who has a real word) he becomes a “half-witch” and the second time he becomes the “Witch” and is then out.

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