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How Do You Mean?

How Do You Mean?

What might a 'fléogewhæl' look like? Which sounds wetter – crackle or murmur?


Key stage 2 literacy.


How Do You Mean? helps students think about how the English language works and how words mean. It offers opportunities to explore word origins and meanings, understand how words are created and how their purpose and use alters over time.

It can be used with a whole class, but contains concepts and extension activities that can challenge the most able students. The insights from this resource will give pupils an understanding of the concepts of morphology and language change and increase their power to use and interpret words more creatively and intelligently.


How Do You Mean? contains seven interactive games. In each game students manipulate, analyse and investigate words. They can put them in order, join them up in new ways, find new meanings for them, or kick some out of the language altogether.

From the teacher resources area you can download offline versions for four of the games as well as a comprehensive scheme of work providing additional activities, further instructions and the rationale behind each of the games.

The resource also contains copies of old dictionaries from the British Library archives which allow students to investigate how words have changed. There are extensive links to the British Library website and associated activities, which allow further investigation to take place.

Online resource

How Do You Mean?