If you’re learning English and you want to improve your skills, one of the best things you can do is have conversations in English. Whether you chat with other English learners or are part of a language exchange with native speakers, just talking as often as possible will help your pronunciation and listening skills. You’ll also pick up all kinds of words that will make you sound like a natural.
But sometimes it can be hard to think of interesting topics as an ESL learner. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ESL conversation topics for adults that go beyond small talk. Not only will you get a chance to practice your English, but you’ll have some pretty interesting chats in the process.
Take a look at some fantastic ESL conversation questions below.
- What are your favorite hobbies?
- What activity would you do if you had unlimited money?
- How much time do you spend on your hobbies daily/weekly?
- Have you ever tried to take up a new hobby but then quit?
- Are there any hobbies you plan to take up in the future?
- What is the most interesting or unusual hobby you’ve ever heard of?
- Do you have any hobbies that others might think are strange?
- What hobbies did you have as a child?
- What is the one food you wouldn’t want to live without?
- Do you think you’re a good cook? If so, what are your specialties?
- What foods do you hate?
- What types of foods did you eat in your family growing up?
- What are some popular foods from your culture or country?
- What is your ultimate comfort food?
- Do you eat healthy foods?
- What’s more important: flavor or health? Why?
- Do you like traveling? Why or why not?
- What’s the best place you’ve been to? What did you like about it?
- Do you enjoy air travel? Why or why not?
- What travel destinations are on your bucket list?
- Why do you think people like to travel?
- Is there anywhere you wouldn’t like to visit? If so, why?
- How do you think travel will change in the next 20 years? 50 years?
- What is better: backpacking or staying in a resort?
- Do you prefer hot or cold destinations? Why?
- How would you describe your culture?
- Is your culture known for anything, like food or music?
- What kinds of celebrations do you have in your culture? Which is your favorite?
- Do you think a person’s culture is important? Why or why not?
- Are there any stereotypes about your culture?
- What does “culture” mean to you?
- What would you do if you won $50 million tomorrow?
- If your house were on fire, what one item would you save from the house?
- If you had to choose between love and money, what would you choose and why?
- Would you be able to pack up and move to a new country where you didn’t know anyone?
- If you could change any laws in your country, what would you change?
- Do you have any siblings? How would you describe them?
- What was it like growing up in your family?
- Does your family have any traditions?
- Who are you closest to in your family?
- Do you see or talk to your family regularly?
- Do you have a large extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.)?
- What do you like best about your family?
- Is there anything you don’t like about your family?
- Has anyone in your family ever done anything that really embarrassed you?
- What are you most afraid of?
- What were you afraid of as a child?
- Do you have any phobias?
- Why do you think we have fears?
- Is fear a useful feeling? Why or why not?
- What one movie do you absolutely love?
- What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
- Have you ever walked out of a movie theater?
- What is your favorite movie genre (type of movie)?
- What was the first movie you ever saw?
- Do you ever watch movies in English or with English subtitles?
- Who is your favorite actor? Why?
- Do you work? What kind of job do you have?
- Do you like your job? Why or why not?
- What is your dream job?
- How well do you get along with your co-workers?
- What do you think of working remotely (from home)?
- What’s more important: job enjoyment or a high salary?
Get talking with these ESL conversation questions
Ready to be an English conversation starter? Pick some of your favorite ESL discussion questions above and have them ready to go next time you want to practice your English speaking. It’s time to improve your language skills in a fun and interesting way!
Andrea is a Canadian freelance writer and editor specializing in English, e-learning, EdTech, and SaaS. She has a background as an ESL teacher in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. In her free time, Andrea loves hanging out with her husband and children, creating recipes in the kitchen, and reading fiction. She also loves camping and jumping into lakes whenever possible. Learn more about Andrea on LinkedIn or check out her website.