Murder, Mystery, and Language Acquisition!

Learning to speak a new language takes dedication, hard work, and consistent study. But there is no reason your language-learning process has to consist of only textbooks and vocabulary lists! If you use your imagination, you can come up with numerous activities that can supplement your efforts to learn English. For example, you could gather a group of fellow English language students and host a murder mystery game.

What Is a Murder Mystery Game?

A murder mystery game revolves around an imaginary murder. All the game participants play potential suspects! This activity helps to broaden your conversational skills, particularly with past tense verbs, as you are questioning your fellow game participants about their activities on the night of the “murder.” You and your fellow game participants will be eagerly motivated to solve the mystery, rather than concentrating on rote memorization as you learn English.

How to Get Started

There are a number of murder mystery game kits available for purchase, or you can create everything you need at home. To start, draw the outline of the “victim” on a chalkboard or dry erase board and have each game participant create a grid on a piece of paper. They should then fill in the names of fellow “suspects” as well as their guesses regarding each suspect’s motive, his or her weapon, and where they believe the crime took place. To solve the mystery, participants must determine the suspect, the motive, the murder weapon and the setting of the crime. As the game progresses, participants ask each other questions to fill in their clue sheet. The first person to solve the murder wins! Will it be you?

Any opportunity to practice your English skills will help you solidify your mastery of the language. Feel free to get creative with the practice methods you implement to learn English—it will keep motivated and won’t feel like such hard work! What games do you enjoy playing when learning English? Have you tried the murder mystery method?

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