Some are linked to an sample transcript, or some lyrics from one of the games.
Three contestants attend a meeting run by the fourth, for their strange addiction.
A contestant advertises an audience-suggested product in the style of some music that is played in.
A contestant sings about an audience member's job, with the others accompanying the chants.
Contestants act a scene with each sentence starting with successive letters of the alphabet.
Variation:90 Second Alphabet - as above but with a time limit.
The contestants act out a soap opera, but as animals (e.g. hamsters, dinosaurs)
One contestant auditions the others for roles in a play, giving them songs or acts to perform.
Contestants present the World's Worst auditions for a role (name used in radio series).
The contestants improvise a story given the title, in the style of their chosen author.
Two contestants act out a scene starting with a last line and working backwards to the beginning.
Contestants present the World's Worst applicants for a job (name used in radio series).
Two contestants sing a ballad about an audience member.
Bartender (Bar Scene, Bar)
Contestants sing their troubles to a bartender, who sings back some advice.
One contestant interviews another, the author of a book on a chosen topic.
Change Of Company
Contestants act out a story, changing into various types of casts (occupations, nationalities etc.)
Contestants act a scene, displaying the emotion associated with whichever prop(s) they are holding.
Two contestants are famous singers performing an anthem on a topic with the other two introducing.
Two contestants improvise a scene changing into various famous couples suggested by the audience.
Contestants play the judge, prosecution, and various witnesses (using props) trying to solve a court case.
The "winners" (or Drew's choice of players) read out the credits in a given style/impression/scene.
Dating Service (Videos)
Contestants act out short dating service videos using hats & masks (see also "Hats").
Daytime Talk Show
Contestants act out a talk show with one as host, two guests and one audience member.
Dead Bodies (Fainting Bodies)
One contestant in a play must move, and speak for, two dead bodies and a third who enters and dies.
Variation: An audience member is sometimes used as one of the dead bodies.
Two contestants perform a scene directed by a third, the director, based on audience suggestions.
Contestants act a scene with one (often the guest) having their voice provided from offstage.
Two contestants sing a duet on a given topic (see also some "Song Styles").
During a scene contestants switch into the emotions suggested by the audience.
Every Other Line
One contestant reads from a play, while the other acts a scene and tries to reach a given end line.
One contestant is an "expert" on an obscure topic, interviewed by another contestant.
A contestant translates as another explains an aspect of a foreign country in that language.
Contestants commentate on the others acting as models at a fashion show.
Film and Theatre Styles (Film, Theater and TV Styles)
Two contestants are given a scene and then various film/theater/TV styles to act it out in.
Contestants must improvise a new soundtrack for a piece of film on a given topic.
One contestant reviews a film, acted out by the other three.
One contestant narrates a film trailer which is performed by the other three.
The contestants act out a scene while maintaining a given expression (happy, constipated, etc.)
Foreign Film Dub
2 contestants act a film in the given language, with the others translating.
A scene is played with contestants switching between forward and reverse (see also Video Players)
Contestants speak at the funeral of a person with a strange quirk, usually singing a unison hymn.
A host and three contestants act out a game show with the show name taken from the audience.
A two person "Song Styles"-type game about a particular occupation.
See "Film & Theatre Styles". (name used on radio and in the pilot)
The contestants each sing a verse of a gospel song on a given topic.
(The) Great Debate
Contestants debate a given topic, each playing a particular type of person (occupation etc).
Two contestants advertise a Greatest Hits album, naming songs performed by another (or 2).
See "News Flash".
Hands Through/Helping Hands
Two contestants act out a scene but one has his hands provided by a third contestant.
Contestants give "World's Worst" examples (dating agency video, audition) using weird hats (see also "Dating Service").
Here He Is Now
Two contestants discuss quirks of the other two contestants, which they must show when they enter.
Hey you down there
One contestant narrates a public information video whilst others act it out.
The contestants each sing a verse of a hoedown song on a given topic.
See Director, but usually played with one contestant directing and three acting.
Two contestants perform a home shopping programme selling useless items.
If You Know What I Mean
Contestants perform a scene speaking in (or inventing) euphemisms.
See "Mission: Impossible"
Contestants present an infomercial on a given topic using random props from a box.
Two contestants interrogate another about a bizarre crime suggested by the audience.
A contestant interviews fictional/historical character in the style of a given magazine/TV show.
Irish Drinking Song
Contestants each sing single lines in an Irish Drinking Song on a given topic.
Let's Make A Date
A contestant is on a dating program and must ask questions and guess the quirk for each date.
Two contestants act out a scene, but must each replace one particular letter with another.
Two contestants act a scene using the others (or audience/guests) as any required props.
The contestants each sing a verse of a march on a given topic.
Contestants are host, contestant, audience and phone friends in a styled Millionaire game show.
Mission: Impossible (or Mission Improbable)
Contestants perform a scene Mission:Impossible style, with one providing the tape message.
Three contestants each sing one verse of a song on a given topic, the others backing them up.
Two contestants act out a given scene, but they can only move when moved by two audience members.
Musical (American Musical)
The contestants perform a musical based on the life of an audience member.
Contestants during a scene become a particular character when holding a certain prop.
Musical Film Review
Clive reads a movie summary from a guide, a contestant reviews the film which the others perform.
Two producers discuss a musical on a given topic, which is acted out by the other two.
Narrate (for each other)/Film Noire
Two contestants perform a scene, narrating their thoughts on the other's actions.
Two 'hosts' question a field reporter in front of a green screen who must work out where he is.
A host, expert, reporter and interviewee cover a news report on a children's/biblical story.
Number of words
The four contestants are given a scene, but each can only speak a fixed number of words at a time.
Old Job/New Job (or vice versa)
One (or more) contestants must incorporate aspects of a previous job into their current one.
Opera (Rock Opera)
The contestants perform an opera based on the life of an audience member.
The party host must guess the strange quirks assigned to each party guest.
Using props (wigs, hats, etc), contestants become panel members discussing a topic with Clive as host.
Used in radio series for other games (couples, home shopping) catering to specific pairings.
Two or more contestants put their heads through holes cut from a picture and act out a scene.
A contestant must work out their achievement from the questions asked at a press conference they give.
Prison Visitor (Prison Scene, Prison Cell)
The prison visitor has problems of prisoners sung to them, and sings back replies.
Each of two pairs of contestants gets a prop for which the contestants must find uses.
Contestants sing their troubles to a psychiatrist, who sings solutions back.
See "Questions Only", but contestants must maintain a different impression each time they enter.
Only questions may be used in a scene. Contestants may swap when one makes a mistake. Sometimes played with hats.
Two contestants act a scene but when a third shouts "Change" they must alter the line they have just said.
One contestant is the host of a bizarre quiz show, the others are the contestants.
The contestants each sing a verse of a rap song on a given topic.
Remember That Song?
During a scene, characters recall each others' past songs which they must perform.
The contestants are given a show, and must discuss and audience-chosen topic in that show's style.
A reunion is enacted for people of a certain occupation, concluding with a song.
The contestants each sing a verse of an Oz Rock song on a given topic.
Scene to Music
Contestants act out a scene in the mood/style suggested by music which is played in.
Scene to Rap
The contestants perform a scene by rapping.
Scene with a Prop
Contestants are given a prop and must develop a scene using it.
Scene With Audience Member
Contestants perform a scene with an audience member reading lines from a card.
Scenes Cut From A Movie
The contestants invent scenes that never made it into audience-suggested movies.
Scenes from a Hat
Clive pulls audience suggestions for scenes out of a hat, which the contestants step forward and perform.
Given a scene and secret's location, two contestants act the scene during which the secret is revealed.
A scene is performed lying down on the stage with the camera shooting from above.
The contestants perform the start and end scenes of a soap opera set in a location given by the audience.
A contestant is given a topic and a style of song to perform.
The contestants act out a scene speaking only in song titles.
Variation: Contestants swap over (as in Questions Only) if they mess up.
Sound Effects (i)
One contestant acts out a scene whilst another provides the sound effects. Variation: Two contestants act whilst audience members provide the effects.
Sound Effects (ii)
The contestants act out a scene and have to incorporate sound effects which are played in.
Two contestants act out an activity in slow motion, while the other two commentate.
Stand, sit, lie (down)/bend
At all times in a scene, one contestant must be standing, one sitting, one lying down/bending.
One contestant narrates a story with the others acting it out. The audience gives a title and moral.
Contestants act out a scene, each given a particular character they must perform.
A contestant is given a worldwide problem, and superhero name. He names the others as they join him.
Contestants are appearing in a 'Survivor'-style show, stuck in a strange location.
The audience chooses initial positions of 2 contestants. They start a scene based on those positions, when another contestant shouts "freeze", they swap places and start a new scene from the current positions.
Two contestants host a telethon, the others sing the 'help-a-song' as various celebrities.
That'll Be Charlie Now
One contestant is Charlie, the other 3 discuss his many quirks which he must show when he enters.
Two contestants visit a restaurant with a chosen theme, with the others as waiter and host.
This is the Story of Your Life
The contestants are host, guest and acquaintances on a "This is Your Life" show.
Three-Headed Broadway Star
Given a style and title, three contestants sing a broadway song, alternating words.
Three of A Kind
Similar to Old Job, New Job. Three contestants in a scene must involve an occupation they used to share.
Two contestants act out a given scene as two characters (e.g. Capt. Kirk and Mr Spock).
Three contestants act scenes from a chosen movie, another fast forwards, rewinds, etc.
Weird Newscasters/Weird Newsreaders
A news anchor has a co-anchor, sports/finance reporter and weather/traffic reporter with strange quirks.
What Are You Trying To Say?
Two contestants converse, but keep reading insults into everything the other says.
What's In The Bag?
Contestants perform a scene incorporating items they find in audience members' bags.
Two contestants act out a scene, incorporating audience-suggested lines on pieces of paper given to them.
The contestants, on the "World's Worst step", perform examples of the World's Worst of a given topic.
Wrong Theme Tune
Contestants improvise a TV show in the style of another TV show whose theme is played in.
Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.” We also now have a PDF of these 200 prompts.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get five new Student Opinion questions delivered to you every week.
What issues do you care most about? What topics do you find yourself discussing most passionately, whether online, at the dinner table, in the classroom or with your friends?
Our annual Student Editorial Contest invites you to write an evidence-based persuasive piece on an issue that matters to you. To help jump-start your brainstorming, we have gathered a list of 200 writing prompts from our daily Student Opinion feature that invite you to take a stand.
Though you won’t be limited to these topics for the contest, you’ll see that our list touches on every aspect of modern life, from politics to sports, culture, education and technology. We hope the range inspires you, and we hope the fact that each question links to at least one related Times article gives you a starting point for finding evidence.
So skim the list below to think about the topic you’d most like to take on.
For more information, here are links to our spring 2014 editorial-writing contest, a list of winners from that contest and a related lesson plan on argumentative writing.
- Is Cheating Getting Worse?
- Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
- Does Your School Hand Out Too Many A’s?
- Should Middle School Students Be Drug Tested?
- Should Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too?
- How Seriously Should We Take Standardized Tests?
- How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
- Do You Spend Too Much Time Preparing for Standardized Tests?
- Should Schools Offer Cash Bonuses for Good Test Scores?
- Should We Rethink How Long Students Spend in High School?
- Do Schools Provide Students With Enough Opportunities to Be Creative?
- What Are You Really Learning at School?
- How Important Is Arts Education?
- Does Gym Help Students Perform Better in All Their Classes?
- Who Should Be Able to See Students’ Records?
- Are Children of Illegal Immigrants Entitled to a Public Education?
- What Is the Right Amount of Group Work in School?
- Is Your School Day Too Short?
- Do You Think a Longer School Calendar Is a Good Idea?
- Should the Dropout Age Be Raised?
- Should Students Be Allowed to Skip Senior Year of High School?
- How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
- Should Schools Be Allowed to Use Corporal Punishment?
- How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
- How Should Schools Address Bullying?
- Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students’ ID Cards?
- What Do You Think of Grouping Students by Ability in Schools?
- Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
- Does Class Size Matter?
- Should All Students Get Equal Space in a Yearbook?
- Is Prom Worth It?
- How Important Are Parent-Teacher Conferences?
- Should All Children Be Able to Go to Preschool?
- Should Colleges Use Admissions Criteria Other Than SAT Scores and Grades?
- What Criteria Should Be Used in Awarding Scholarships for College?
- Do You Support Affirmative Action?
- Do College Rankings Matter?
- How Necessary Is a College Education?
- Should Engineers Pay Less for College Than English Majors?
- Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive?
- Does Technology Make Us More Alone?
- Are You Distracted by Technology?
- Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
- Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smart Phones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
- Has Facebook Lost Its Edge?
- Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
- Should What You Say on Facebook Be Grounds for Getting Fired?
- Should People Be Allowed to Obscure Their Identities Online?
- What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying?
- Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?
- Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?
- Should Tablet Computers Become the Primary Way Students Learn in Class?
- Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools?
- Should Computer Games Be Used for Classroom Instruction?
- How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone?
- Should Companies Collect Information About You?
- Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
- Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful to Be Meaningful?
- Do You Worry We Are Filming Too Much?
- Would You Want a Pair of Google’s Computer Glasses?
- How Would You Feel About a Computer Grading Your Essays?
- What Role Will Robots Play in Our Future?
- How Many Text Messages Are Too Many?
- How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?
- Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV and in the Movies?
- Do TV Shows Like ‘16 and Pregnant’ Promote or Discourage Teenage Pregnancy?
- Does TV Capture the Diversity of America Yet?
- Is TV Too White?
- Is TV Stronger Than Ever, or Becoming Obsolete?
- Does Reality TV Promote Dangerous Stereotypes?
- What Current Musicians Do You Think Will Stand the Test of Time?
- What Artists or Bands of Today Are Destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
- What Musician, Actor or Author Should Be a Superstar, but Hasn’t Quite Made It Yet?
- Will Musical Training Make You More Successful?
- Should Video Games Be Considered a Sport?
- Should Stores Sell Violent Video Games to Minors?
- Can a Video Game Be a Work of Art?
- Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent in Real Life?
- When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
- What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
- What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
- To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
- Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?
- Where Is the Line Between Truth and Fiction?
- Can Graffiti Ever Be Considered Art?
- Do We Need Art in Our Lives?
- What Makes a Good Commercial?
- Why Did a Cheerios Ad Attract So Many Angry Comments Online?
- Does Pop Culture Deserve Serious Study?
- Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
- Is School Designed More for Girls Than Boys?
- Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
- How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
- Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?
- Is It O.K. for Men and Boys to Comment on Women and Girls on the Street?
- What Should We Do to Fight Sexual Violence Against Young Women?
- How Do You Feel About Rihanna and Chris Brown Getting Back Together?
- Do Fraternities Promote Misogyny?
- Why Aren’t There More Girls in Leadership Roles?
- Why Aren’t More Girls Choosing to Pursue Careers in Math and Science?
- Should Women Be Allowed to Fight on the Front Lines Alongside Men?
- Do You Believe in Equal Rights for Women and Men?
- Are Women Better at Compromising and Collaborating?
- Do Boys Have Less Intense Friendships Than Girls?
- If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?
- Should Parents Let Their Children Play Football?
- Should College Football Players Get Paid?
- When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying?
- Has Baseball Lost Its Cool?
- Are Some Youth Sports Too Intense?
- Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots?
- Where Should Colleges and Sports Teams Draw the Line in Selling Naming Rights?
- Should Colleges Fund Wellness Programs Instead of Sports?
- Is Cheerleading a Sport?
- How Big a Deal Is It That an N.B.A. Player Came Out as Gay?
- Should There Be Stricter Rules About How Coaches Treat Their Players?
- Should Athletes Who Dope Have to Forfeit Their Titles and Medals?
- Should Sports Betting Be Legal Everywhere?
- Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports?
- Would You Want a Bike Share Program for Your Community?
- What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
- If You Were Governor of Your State, How Would You Spend a Budget Surplus?
- When Is the Use of Military Force Justified?
- What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security?
- Should the U.S. Be Spying on Its Friends?
- Do You Trust Your Government?
- What Do You Think of the Police Tactic of Stop-and-Frisk?
- Do Rich People Get Off Easier When They Break the Law?
- Should Rich People Have to Pay More Taxes?
- Do Laws That Ban Offensive Words Make the World a Better Place?
- Is It Principled, or Irresponsible, for Politicians to Threaten a Shutdown?
- Do Leaders Have Moral Obligations?
- Do Great Leaders Have to Be Outgoing?
- How Should We Prevent Future Mass Shootings?
- Should Guns Be Permitted on College Campuses?
- Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School?
- What Is Your Relationship With Guns?
- Do You Support or Oppose the Death Penalty?
- When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences?
- Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies?
- When Do You Become an Adult?
- When Should You Be Able to Buy Cigarettes, Drink Alcohol, Vote, Drive and Fight in Wars?
- Should the Morning-After Pill Be Sold Over the Counter to People Under 17?
- Should Birth Control Pills Be Available to Teenage Girls Without a Prescription?
- Is Modern Culture Ruining Childhood?
- Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve?
- How, and by Whom, Should Children Be Taught Appropriate Behavior?
- What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
- Do ‘Shame and Blame’ Work to Change Teenage Behavior?
- How Should Children Be Taught About Puberty and Sex?
- Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
- How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?
- Should Children Be Allowed to Wear Whatever They Want?
- How Should Educators and Legislators Deal With Minors Who ‘Sext’?
- Do You Think Child Stars Have It Rough?
- Is Smoking Still a Problem Among Teenagers?
- Are Antismoking Ads Effective?
- Is Drinking and Driving Still a Problem for Teenagers?
- Do You Think a Healthier School Lunch Program Is a Lost Cause?
- How Concerned Are You About Where Your Food Comes From?
- Is It Ethical to Eat Meat?
- Do You Prefer Your Tacos ‘Authentic’ or ‘Appropriated’?
- Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?
- Should Marijuana Be Legal?
- Should Students Be Required to Take Drug Tests?
- Do Bystanders Have a Responsibility to Intervene When There is Trouble?
- Should You Care About the Health and Safety of Those Making Your Clothing?
- Can Money Buy You Happiness?
- Does Buying and Accumulating More and More Stuff Make Us Happier?
- Are We Losing the Art of Listening?
- Do People Complain Too Much?
- Can Kindness Become Cool?
- Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work?
- How Important Is Keeping Your Cool?
- When Should You Compromise?
- Is Your Generation More Self-Centered Than Earlier Generations?
- Can You Be Good Without God?
- Have Curse Words Become So Common They Have Lost Their Shock Value?
- What Words or Phrases Should Be Retired in 2014?
- What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
- Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage?
- How Important Do You Think It Is to Marry Someone With the Same Religion?
- How Long Is It O.K. to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant?
- Does Keeping a Messy Desk Make People More Creative?
- How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
- Should Scientists Try to Help People Beat Old Age So We Can Live Longer Lives?
- Given Unlimited Resources, What Scientific or Medical Problem Would You Investigate?
- When Is It O.K. to Replace Human Limbs With Technology?
- Do You Think Life Exists — or Has Ever Existed — Somewhere Besides Earth?
- Should Fertilized Eggs Be Given Legal ‘Personhood’?
- How Concerned Are You About Climate Change?
- Is It Wrong for a Newspaper to Publish a Front-Page Photo of a Man About to Die?
- What Causes Should Philanthropic Groups Finance?
- Should Charities Focus More on America?
- Should the Private Lives of Famous People Be Off Limits?
- Did a Newspaper Act Irresponsibly by Publishing the Addresses of Gun Owners?
- Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
- What Time Should Black Friday Sales Start?
- Do You Shop at Locally Owned Businesses?
- How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?
Technology and Social Media
Arts and Media: TV, Music, Video Games and Literature
Sports and Athletics
Politics and the Legal System
Parenting and Childhood
Health and Nutrition
Personal Character and Morality Questions