This is a role-play to practise the structure of ‘have something done’. Students have bumped into an old friend and are trying to arrange a meeting but, unfortunately, they seem to be too busy having their eyebrows waxed and their coats dry cleaned to meet up with their friend.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes  


  1. To clarify and reinforce the structure have something done. 
  2. To do a role-play to practise and increase confidence in the correct use of have something done.


  1. What a lame excuse PDF worksheet


  1. Give the students the PDF worksheet and ask them to individually separate the expressions in Exercise 1 into two groups: things they are able to do themselves and things they would have to ask or pay someone to do for them.
  2. In pairs, ask the students to compare their lists.
  3. Explain and clarify the difference between to do something yourself and to have something done for you.
  4. Students work individually to complete the table (Exercise 2) with all the things they will need to have done the following week, e.g. have their car fixed, have their coat dry cleaned, etc. Tell them to leave three squares empty.
  5. Tell the students they have just bumped into an old friend from school who is only in town until Friday.
  6. The students have to check their schedule to see if they can squeeze their friend in. Student A: So lovely to see you again. Fancy a cup of coffee Tuesday morning? Student B: Oh my goodness. That would be lovely but I’m having my eyebrows waxed. How about in the evening? Student A: Oh no. I’m afraid I’m having my teeth checked.
  7. Students are only allowed to offer their friend 3 options (they don’t want to seem desperate after all!) before they switch pairs.
  8. When the students have spoken to at least 3 people in the classroom, ask them how many friends they have managed to squeeze into their busy schedules.

Fast finishers:

  1. Students write down 5 things they would be happy to pay for, e.g. to have their house cleaned every week, and 5 things they would rather do themselves to save money, e.g. to paint the walls in their house.

What a lame excuse! Worksheet

P.S. This post is dedicated to Alex who has recently discovered the joys of essentialism.

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