Substitution and Elimination Word Problems Worksheet

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Substitution and elimination of words can be a very common process for ESL teachers. Students are introduced to the concepts of the word “substitute” and “remove” early in the ESL classroom. At first glance, the concept of these two terms may not be easily understood. After all, how can the English teacher to get their students to substitute words for other words? This is an important question that many ESL teachers find themselves asking at one time or another.

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In order to help address this issue, consider using the Word Substitutions and Elimination Word Problems Worksheet. Developed by Jon Kelly and Melinda Blau, this is a useful tool for ESL teachers. The Worksheet can be used to introduce students to the concept of substitution and elimination of words in ESL vocabulary. It is also useful as a reference tool to teach students to identify common verbs such as “be,” “have,” “do,” and “eat.”

The student submits a list of words (maybe even several lists) that they associate with the corresponding English verbs. Then, using a Word Search Function, the teacher can search for the word by using any of the provided categories. For example, if the student includes the word “be” in his/her list then the search criterion will be “be man.” When the class has reviewed the word, the teacher can then make a choice concerning which common verb should be substituted for the missing word.

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This is an excellent choice as the students have already associated the word with the action it describes. For instance, to say “The dog eats the apple.” Then, the students can list the commonly used apple (i.e., the common apple). This choice should satisfy ESL students as they understand that the action of eating an apple is to eat an apple. The student can then choose to eliminate the word from his/her vocabulary (i.e., “the apple” would become “thee’s apple”) or replace it with a more appropriate word.

Substitution and Elimination Word Problems arise quite often at home. Students often have a long list of common verbs such as “be”, “have” and “eat.” There are usually three common exceptions to this rule: the preposition “to,” “from” and “while.” If these words are used without the preposition then the student is left with only one acceptable word to solve the substitution and elimination puzzle.

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The common verbs “be”, “have”, and “eat” are easy to resolve in the present tense. Students may argue that these verbs do not change their meaning, but this argument is incorrect. In order to solve the substitution and elimination problem, the student must ensure that the new word does not change the meaning of the existing one. Students should not assume that the new word will be used in the same context as the other two. They should check to see if it is used in the same way as the other two verbs.

Elimination and substitution word problems can arise when students are creating a sentence diagram. Students need to be sure that all of the words in the sentence belong to one category, so that they can eliminate the words that do not fit. For example, the student might create a sentence diagram that includes the common verbs “be”, “have”, “eat”, “sleep”, and “run”. They would add a word to the end of the verb, as well as another word to the beginning of the verb. This would make the diagram looks like the image above.

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Another substitution and elimination issue came up when someone is stating a fact and want to include a particular number of unknown words. For example, a teacher may state, “The boy ate nine apples.” However, they do not want to say, “The boy ate nine apples over the weekend.”

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