Inspiration for Writing: Inference Riddle Games

Who doesn’t like a good riddle?

It seems to me that children nowadays never listen to riddles. In fact, I don’t think I have ever asked a riddle to my children, but when I was a kid, things were different. I don’t know if things have changed for the better or for the worse, but they have certainly changed.  I used to sleep over at my grandma’s twice a week when I was at primary school. I have such good memories! I looked forward to those evenings spent playing cards and singing old Asturian songs. My granny had a memory like an elephant and could even remember the lullabies her mother used to sing to her… and the riddles, she always surprised me with a new one. It’s a pity she’s not here anymore, she would have helped me write this post. Unfortunately, I have a memory like a sieve and I can only remember one of the riddles she asked me and my siblings. She gave us one clue at a time and we wouldn’t let her continue until we had run out of ideas; then she gave us the second clue and so on

  • a minute has one
  • a moment has two
  • but a second, none . Who am I?

Answer: The M

Giving homework to our students is something we often do. I’m not going to discuss in this post whether this is a good or bad thing to do, though with me teaching adults and being flexible for this reason, I cannot see any disadvantages to dedicating some time to brushing up on some of the contents studied during the week. It will surely hurt nobody! Having said this, I also want to point out that giving students assignments they will enjoy and assignments where they will have to produce their own content, makes all the difference.

Level: B2 (Advanced)

Aim: to improve writing through riddles


  • Write the word “Riddle” on the board and ask students to explain or give an example of what a riddle is (A question or statement intentionally phrased so as to require ingenuity in ascertaining its answer or meaning-Oxford Dictionary).
  • Give two examples of riddles and ask students to guess the answer.

                 Example 1. What flies forever, and never rests? (The wind)

For the second example of a riddle, read one clue at a time and let them guess before you read the second clue.

Example 2

  • a minute has one
  • a moment has two
  • but a second, none . Who am I?

                                             Answer: The M


  • Tell students their task at home will be to write a riddle to be read in class and for the other students to guess. They can decide whether to write a short riddle like example 1 above or an inference riddle with some clues as example 2 above.
  • Go to and play some inference riddles with them. For a more student-centred approach, you can ask volunteers to read the clues.


  • In this stage, students will need to read the written assignment.
  • Depending on how large your class is, you might want to ask students to work in pairs or in small groups.
  • Groups will take it, in turn, to read their riddles to the rest of the groups. If it is an inference riddle with several clues, ask students to read one clue at a time. With each clue, groups will need to make a guess. Allow only one guess per clue.
  • Points should be awarded for every correct guess.
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