ESL Activities - Odd-One-Out

This simple activity practises vocabulary and to some extent speaking. Make a list of four or five words, all but one of which have something in common. Ask the students to find the "odd-one-out".

Don't be surprised if they come up with some surprising answers. Just ask them to justify their choice. You may well find it logical. Take, for example:

  • dog, cat, donkey, dragon

The answer could be dragon (because it is the only mythical creature) or cat (because all the other words start with "d").

Ideally, the students should phrase their justification in a form such as:

  • I think the odd-one-out is dragon because it is a mythical creature and all the others are real creatures.

Here are some suggested words. You can easily find more. And one good exercise is to ask your students to create some lists (along with valid justifications).

Words Some possible answers
dog, cat, donkey, dragon cat - begins c
dragon - mythological
banana, tomato, peach, apple, pear banana - shape
Thailand, Singapore, Tokyo, England, Vietnam Tokyo - city, not country
England - not in Asia
car, aeroplane, truck, bus, train aeroplane - flies
truck - not for passengers
train - guided by rails
camera, computer, television, telephone, fax-machine camera - doesn't need electricity
television - 4 syllables
love, hatred, fear, greed, anger love - positive
greed - not an emotion
hotel, motel, town-house, condominium, classroom condominium - 5 syllables
classroom - not for residence
water, bottle, shop, pencil, river water - uncountable noun
branch, strawberry, anvil, iceberg, boat anvil - doesn't float in water