Practising Grammar Through Conversation, Speaking Skills

Conversation Practice: Past Simple and Present Perfect

Student A

Below you have a set of questions to ask Student B, and Student B has a set of questions too. Take it in turns to ask each other these questions and try to ask follow-up questions to the answers the other student gives.

Here’s an example:

Student A: What’s the best film you’ve seen so far this year?
Student B:  “The Bridge of Spies”
Student A:  “Who’s in it?”   (….What’s it about? Where did you see it? Did you see it in English? etc)

Student A’s questions

  • So far this year what’s the most interesting book you’ve read?
  • Who was the last person you rang or texted on your phone?
  • What’s the best new song you’ve listened to recently?
  • When did you last go to a picnic or a barbecue with friends?
  • What was the most useful course you took last year? (eg. computing, languages, driving, etc)
  • What’s the most exciting city you’ve ever visited?
  • When did you last use the Internet to practise your English?
  • What was the last thing you complained about?

Student B

Below you have a set of questions to ask Student A, and Student A has a set of questions too. Take it in turns to ask each other these questions and try to ask follow-up questions to the answers the other student gives.

Here’s an example: 

Student A: What’s the best film you’ve seen so far this year?
Student B:  “The Bridge of Spies”
Student A:  “Who’s in it?”   (….What’s it about? Where did you see it? Did you see it in English? etc)

Student B’s questions

  • What’s the best TV programme or series you’ve watched so far this year?
  • When did you last go out with friends? 
  • What’s one of the worst films you’ve ever seen?
  • Who was the last person who sent you an email?
  • What was the best thing you did last year?
  • (If it’s after 4pm ask:) Have you had a productive day today?
  • (If it’s before 4pm ask:) Did you have a productive day yesterday?
  • What’s the most useful English word or phrase you’ve learnt lately?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve done this month?
Conversation Questions to practice English, Speaking Skills

Conversation Questions: Football

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These conversation questions are a resource for both teachers and students. They can be used in class, or with a study buddy, or with somebody you do a language exchange with. They are great for writing practice too!

Tips for learners

  • In those in-between times when you can’t find somebody to practise with I recommending trying to write down your answers, or even talking out loud to yourself!
  • Ensure you make notes of useful words and phrases that you either couldn’t remember or didn’t know when you were trying to explain something. This will really help you to move forward with your English.
  • I also highly recommend going through the questions a second or third time at a later date with somebody else, as a way of revision, and you are sure to notice that you are able to explain things faster and more effectively.
  • Try to make your partner speak as much as possible. Remember to ask follow-up questions as this helps the conversation flow. What’s more, it’s important to react to their answers, to show interest, just as you would if you were engaging in a real conversation in your native language. For instance you can gently nod your head, or you can use expressions such as:

    Wow!

    Really?
    That’s amazing!
    Me too!
    I totally agree.
    You’re joking!

    It may feel a little unnatural at first, especially as you might feel you are ‘overreacting’ but keep practising and you will gradually improve. And next time you are around native speakers really pay attention to how they converse.

    Let’s Talk About Football*

    1. Can you explain the basic rules of football in English?
    2. Do you play football? What position do you play?
    3. Which football team do you support?
    4. Who’s your favourite player at the moment?
    5. Have you ever been to a first division football match? [if your partner says they’ve been to many, ask them to tell you about a particular match which stands out]
    6. Have you ever watched a football match with English commentary?
    7. Do you read the football pages in newspapers? Do you read football magazines?
    8. Have you been to an international football match, such as a Champions League or World Cup match?
    9. Why do you think people adore football so much?
    10. In your opinion, who is the best footballer ever and why?
    11. Do you think professional footballers have a duty to set a good example to children?
    12. What would you say are some of the negative aspects of professional football?
    13. Do you think that it’s necessary to train from a very early age if you want to be a successful footballer?
    14. What changes would you like to see in how professional football matches are played?
    15. Women’s football is becoming more and more popular. What do you think has led to this increase in popularity?
    16. What do you think about the prices of football tickets and merchandise?

    *In the US they say ‘soccer’.

    Let’s Talk About: Books and Reading
    Let’s Talk About: The Weather

Speaking Skills

ESL Conversation Questions: Books and Reading

These conversation questions are a resource for both teachers and students. They can be used in class, or with a study buddy, or with somebody you do a language exchange with.

Tips for learners

  • In those in-between times when you can’t find somebody to practise with I recommending trying to write down your answers, or even talking out loud to yourself!
  • Ensure you make notes of useful words and phrases that you either couldn’t remember or didn’t know when you were trying to explain something. This will really help you to move forward with your English.
  • I also highly recommend going through the questions a second or third time at a later date with somebody else, as a way of revision, and you are sure to notice that you are able to explain things faster and more effectively.

Let’s talk about Books and Reading! 🤓📚

  1. What’s the last book you read for pleasure (ie. not for work or school)? Would you recommend it or not?
  2. What kinds of books do you usually read? – The classics? Detective novels? Historical novels? Biographies? Travel? Science-fiction? Non-Fiction?
  3. How do you choose the books you’re going to read? – Favourite authors? Recommendations from friends? Browsing in bookstores or online?
  4. Do you prefer to read paper books or digital books? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each format?
  5. What are your favourite books from your childhood? What makes them so special? Is there a certain character who stands out? If so, why?
  6. Have any books you’ve read had an important effect on your life? If so, how?
  7. Talk about one of the books you had to read at school that you really enjoyed.
  8. Talk about one of your least favourite compulsory books at school.
  9. Have you ever thought about writing a book? If so, what kind of book would it be?
  10. Where do you normally read?
  11. Do you usually read one book at a time or do you prefer to have several books on the go?
  12. Do you finish every book you start? Even it’s quite boring?
  13. Do you ever make notes or underline things you have read so that you can return to them later?
  14. Does the cover of a book matter much to you? Is it something you notice?
  15. Do you like giving books as presents? If so, what’s the last book you gave to somebody? And why did you choose it?
  16. Have you enjoyed film versions of books you have read?
  17. What advantages can reading bring?
  18. If you could meet any famous author (alive or dead) who would you choose and why? And what two questions would you ask them?
  19. If you met somebody who was learning your native language. which books or writers would you recommend to them?
  20. Do you ever read books in English? If so, what have you read? And do you have any recommendations?

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Conversation questions: Let’s Talk about the Weather