A substitution drill is a classroom technique used to practice new language. It involves the teacher first modeling a word or a sentence and the learners repeating it. The teacher then substitutes one or more key words, or changes the prompt, and the learners say the new structure. Substitution drills work best at the beginning levels. They enable students to focus on structure while learning related vocabulary.  Teachers first teach a dialogue or sentence structure, then allow students to substitute different content words.


A: It’s __________ today.


B: It sure is.

A: How about going _____________?


B: I went _______________ last week.


A: All right then. What should we do?

B: Let’s stay home and watch TV.

Drill is a method of teaching technique used for practicing sound or sentence partners concerned with the fixation of specific association for automatic recall. The final goal is a more or less effortless exchange of ideas in real – life conversation. The “Drill” is here refers to the “Response drill” in teaching grammar

Types of Pattern Drill

There are thirteen types of drill. They are:

  1. Repetition Drills

This drill is the simplest drill used in learning language patterns. It is used at the very beginning of language class. Language learners merely repeat what the teacher says or the tape recorder produces. This may be used for the presentation of new vocabulary and will be useful for pronunciations class.


Teacher : I study in the morning

Students : I study in the morning

Teacher : I study in the afternoon

Students : I study in the afternoon.

  1. Substitutions Drill

Language learners are required to replace one word with another. They may replace a word of the model sentence with a pronoun, number, or gander and make some the necessary change.


Teacher : John is cold

Teacher : Hungry

Students : John is hungry

Teacher : in the class

Students : John is in the class

Teacher : John and Marry

Student : John and Marry are in the class

  1. Transformation Drill

Language learners are required to change sentences from negative to positive, from positive to interrogative, or from simple present tense to simple past tense, depending on the instructions from the teacher.


Teacher : The book is new

Students : is the book new?

Teacher : we are in the class

Students : are we in the class

  1. Replacement Drill

Language learners replace a noun with a pronoun. It is the same drill as substitution drill but it involves with a replacement.


Teacher : I like the book

Student : I like it

Teacher : I met the people in Jakarta

Student : I met them in Jakarta

Teacher : John will come here

Student : he will come here

  1. Response Drill

Language learners respond to somebody’s sentence. In this drill this answers are patterned after the questions. This drill may involve “wh” questions or “yes/no” questions.


Teacher : Alice is at school.

Teacher : Where is Alice?

    Students : At school.

  1. Cued Response Drill

In this drill language learners are provide with a cue before or after the questions.


Teacher : What did the man buy? (A book)

Students : The man bought a book.

Teacher : Who will help us? (His brother)

Students : His brother will help us.

  1. Rejoinder Drill

It is similar to the cued response drill. In this drill language learners are given instruction of how to respond.


Teacher : come to my house (be polite)

Students : Would you like to come to my house

Teacher : your idea is not good (disagree)

Students : I disagree with your idea

  1. Restatement

Language learners rephrase an utterance and address it to somebody else, according to the content of the utterance.


Teacher : Tell him where you live

Students : I live at Raden Intan Street no.5

Teacher : Ask her what she has for breakfast

Students : What do you have for breakfast?

  1. Completion Drill

Language learners are told to supply a missing word in a sentence or statement.


Teacher : I bring my book and you bring….

Student : I bring my book and you bring your book

Teacher : I have to solve… own problems

Students : I have to solve my own problems.

  1. Expansion Drill

Language learners build up a statement by adding a word or phrase.


Teacher : Mathematics

Students : We study mathematics

Teacher : everyday

Students : We study mathematics everyday.

  1. Contraction Drill

Language learners replace a phrase or clause with a single word or shorter expressions.


Teacher : I didn’t mean to kill the bird

Students : I didn’t mean it

Teacher : don’t go to the plane

Students : don’t go there

  1. Integration Drill

Language learners combine two separate statements.


Teacher : Which one do you think is true? The earth goes around the sun or the sun goes around

Student : I think the earth goes around the sun

Teacher : I know that lady. She is a wearing a blue shirt

Student : I know the lady wearing a blue shirt.

  1. Translation Drill

Language learners translate a sentence a from their mother tongue to the target language


Teacher : Saya sangat senang buah – buahan.

Student : I like fruit very much.

Teacher : Ada beberapa murid di kelas itu.

Student : There are some students in that class.