People Interested in Zippy and ZAny Zcribbling

PIZZAZ has been an Online Resource since 1995 from Leslie Opp-Beckman
For Scribblers and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)


Description for Tongue Twisters: A recipe for making fail-proof twisters.

ESOL student level:
These activities scale well to beginner through advanced level proficiency and can be used with all ages.

For more activities:
Return to PIZZAZ!

Warm-Up Activities

  1. Can you say these famous tongue twisters fast?
    "She sells seashells down by the seashore."
    "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."
  2. Ask students to say tongue twisters from their own languages for the class.
  3. See: Kids Universe, Tongue Twisters and Mr. Twister's English Tongue Twisters with lots more examples.



  1. Write your full name, including any nicknames you may have:

  2. Now choose one of the names to us e for this activity
    (names that begin with b, d, l, m, p, s, or t are easiest).


Now students work in groups of three. Dictionaries are okay!
Students: Pass your paper to the person on your right. Write one answer for number (3) for the paper you just received. Your answer must begin with the first sound in the person's name (e.g. Mary - made a mess). Then pass the paper again and write an answer for (4), again using the same sound that begins the name. Continue doing this until all the blanks on all the papers are full. You should have lots of different answers from all the people in your group when your paper comes back to you!

  1. What did s/he do? ___________________________________
  2. Where? ___________________________________
  3. When? ___________________________________
  4. Why? because ___________________________________
    because ___________________________________
    because ___________________________________


Now use your paper to make funny tongue twister combinations. How many can you create? Which one is the funniest?
Another option: students put together the tongue twisters for each other.

    Example answers:
    WHO: Mary
    DID WHAT: met a man, ate mangoes, married a monkey
    WHERE: in Minnesota, at the Market, in Montreal
    WHEN: on May 5th, at midnight, in the middle of winter
    WHY: because she was mad, by mistake, because her mother made her do it
    Example possible combinations:
    Mary met a man at the market on May 5th because her mother made her do it.
    Mary married a monkey in Minnesota at midnight because she was mad.
    Mary ate mangoes in Montreal in the middle of winter by mistake.
    Examples of more twisters from some creative visitors to the web site:

    Marie married a monkey in the mall at Mercy on May 24th by mistake. (Courtesy of Kayla, October 2004.)

    Wanda the witch washed her wig on a windy Wednesday, so Wanda's wig blew away in the wind. Moral: Witches who wash wigs on windy Wednesdays are whacko!!! (Courtesy of Coco, July 2004.)

Follow-Up Activities

  1. Students' work can be compiled into a class anthology or wall display.
  2. Students can illustrate poems with hand-drawn or computer-generated images.

© 2010, Leslie Opp-Beckman, Ph.D., Distance Education Coordinator and ESOL Instructor
Email: leslieob@uoregon.edu
URL: http://www.uoregon.edu/~leslieob/
5212 University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute Eugene, Oregon 97403-5212 USA
Permission to copy and distribute for educational, non-profit use only.
This page last updated: 26 March 2010
University of Oregon