EFL - ESL activities and games using 'since' and 'for' with the present perfect

This ESL lesson plan contains activities and games for teaching the present perfect with since and for to elementary level English students (A2). Feel free to use these ideas in your ESL classes. If you're an iOS or Android user, try this lesson out on our TEFL Handbook app. It gives you offline access to all of our materials, perfect for quick reference in the classroom.

Lead-in activity

The board work below shows one way that you can illustrate the use of since and for. Explain to the class that we use for to express duration and since to highlight when a particular event or activity began. Next, write the sample 'How long' question on the board and elicit example responses using both for and since. Finally, you can use the timeline to expand the concept in terms of the common time expressions that apply to each.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for present perfect since and for | Elementary

ESL classroom activities

For vs since 

Students have to complete time expressions with the target grammar for the lesson. 

Add the following style of prompt to the board and have the students complete them with for or since

1. _____ six weeks. 
2. _____ Sunday. 
3. _____ this morning. 
4. _____ a long time. 
5. _____ breakfast time. 
6. _____ 1967. 

Once they have finished, they can compare their answers with a partner.

Perfect sentences 

Students have to make present perfect sentences from a list of prompts on the board. 

Add the prompts below to the board and have the students work individually to make present perfect sentences that use for or since

1. I / here / three days 
2. John / learn English / 1994 
3. Mary and Mark / England / four years 
4. He / guitar / a long time 
5. We / visit France / 1984 

They should compare their answers with a partner when they have finished.

Interview time 

For this writing and speaking activity, the students have to prepare questions and then use them to interview a partner. 

Tell your students that they will create present perfect questions using since and for that they will use to interview a partner. Before they begin the interview part of this activity, write the following prompts on the board and elicit possible questions: 

In school 
Failed an exam 
Helped someone 
Studying English 
Argued with your family 
Watched a film 

Monitor the students as they interview each other and correct any mistakes.

Related ESL games

Here is one game that English teachers can use to practice the present perfect with since and for. As usual, our suggestions require the minimum of resources (whiteboard, markers and some students).

Call my bluff: Since, for, just, already and yet 

Players have to trick the opposing side using a present perfect statement about themselves. 

The aim of this game is to trick the opposing team using present perfect statements. On each turn, a student is randomly given one of the words from the game title and must make a present perfect statement about themselves. The statement can be true or false. The opposing team should then ask follow-up questions to determine whether it's true or not. Encourage the other team to ask questions by awarding a point for each grammatically correct question. 

The student in play gets 5 points for a grammatically correct sentence and another 5 for bluffing the other team.

More A2 level ESL lesson plans

Our suggested next lesson on expressing possibility. If you've found these materials useful, be sure to check out our full list of elementary ESL lesson plans, A2 lower and A2 upper. For other levels, have a look at our complete selection of EFL - ESL lesson plans. If you use an iOS or Android device, try out the TEFL Handbook app. An ESL lesson planner for English teachers. It has a lot more content and gives you faster access to our ESL resources, making it easier to use in class.

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