Why didn't you come to the party?

This speaking activity involves students working in pairs to make up excuses.

Said Ali


  • Ask students if they've ever had a party. If they have, tell them to share their experiences with the class. If they haven't, explain to them what a party is.
  • Tell students to 'remember' the class party they had last week. All the students in the class were invited but some didn't come.
  • Divide the class into A students who attended the party, and B students who didn't attend.
  • Tell A students who attended the party to ask B students questions to find the reasons for not attending.
  • Tell B students who didn't attend the party to prepare their excuses for when they are asked for them. Tell them to give a range of excuses in different ways, so they don't repeat the same excuse every time.
  • Make sure to keep the students changing partners. The A students could also tell the B student about the party.


  • If you use this activity when you've just introduced a new structure that is appropriate here, for example had to or was/were, you will hopefully notice that students will use it without you having to prompt them.
  • You can do some variations, such as excuses for not doing things on time or excuses for not keeping your word, etc.
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