Formal and Informal Functional Language Dominoes


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Lesson Plan Content:

Formal and Informal Functional Language Dominoes
Without looking below, put all the cards that you are given into a big ring by joining
phrases which have the same meaning/ function/ purpose.

Hint: The phrases should be in formal/ informal (or informal/ formal) pairs. Make sure that
you have matched up the phrases that way.

Check your answers with a photocopy of the cards worksheet. The card in the right hand
column has the same function as the card in the right hand column of the next row. The
very last card links with the very first one.

Circle the more formal phrase in each pair.

Test each other in pairs:

Read out two phrases and see if your partner can repeat back the one which is more


Read out a phrase and see if your partner can identify if it is formal or informal


Read out a phrase and see if your partner can make another version which is more or
less formal. Other phrases not below are fine as long as they have the same function
but different formality. Help them with sentence starters, key words etc if they get stuck

Play an actual game of dominoes with the cards, starting with seven cards each and
taking more if you can’t match any of the cards you have with the ones which are on the
table. Anyone with no cards left wins the game (even if the whole loop isn’t finished).

Written by Alex Case for © 2017


Cards to cut up/ Suggested answers
Don’t cut the cards along the middle between the two columns (so that they have two
sides like dominoes).

Please find… (that you requested)


How may I help you?

What can I do for you?

I look forward to seeing you then.

See you then.

Can you do me a favour and tell me…?

I would be grateful if you could inform


Is it okay for me to…?

Might it be possible for me to…?

I’m free… if that’s good for you.

I am available…, if it is convenient with


I look forward to hearing from you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Any more questions, just let me know.

If you need any further information, please

do not hesitate to contact me.


Thank you in advance.

Good morning. … Corp …speaking. How

may I help you?


How’s it going?/ are things?/ ’s life?

I hope you are well.

Do you fancy… (with us)?

We would like to invite you to…

How are you getting on with…?

I was wondering about the progress of…

I reckon you should definitely…

Written by Alex Case for © 2017


My advice would probably be to…

Please accept our sincerest apologies.

Sorry about that.

Sorry, but…

We regret to inform you that…

Hi guys

To: All staff

Best wishes

Sincerely yours

(Make sure you) don’t…

Please ensure that you refrain from…

Dear Mr Case

Hi Alex

May I introduce my colleague…?

This is…


Please allow me to introduce myself,…

I am very grateful for…

Thanks for…

I’m afraid I was not completely satisfied


… was totally unacceptable.

Here’s… (you asked for).

Written by Alex Case for © 2017


Brainstorming stage
Without looking above for now, brainstorm suitable phrases into the categories below, with
a mix of different levels of formality if possible. Sometimes more than two phrases from
the cards fit in one category below, and many other phrases not above are also suitable.
Answering the telephone

Email opening greeting (= the very first thing)

Introducing yourself

Social English/ Friendly phrases




Enquiries/ Asking for information

Asking for permission

Making arrangements (fixing meetings, etc)

Written by Alex Case for © 2017



Checking progress

Advice/ Recommendations/ Suggestions/ Feedback

Making complaints


Giving bad news

Instructions/ Commands/ Demanding action

Talking about documents (attachments etc)

Introducing other people

Email closing greeting (= the thing just before the writer’s name at the bottom)

Mentioning future contact

Look at the cards to check your answers, starting with mixed up cards again. Then
brainstorm more, e.g. ones with medium formality. You will get one point for each correct
phrase which isn’t on the cards and which no other team got. Even small changes are fine.

Written by Alex Case for © 2017


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